William (Bill) V. H

Authors of the Stories from the Book

Biography: "A Ward of the Probate Court."

William (Bill) V. H., Akron or Kent, Ohio.
(OM, p. 296 in 1st edition.)

Bill's sobriety date is uncertain. He joined the Fellowship in 1937, and slipped, but was known to be active in the program by September 1937.

Just out of high school Bill landed a job with a local university as an office assistant. He advanced in his work and took a year off to attend an engineering college.

He enlisted in World War I and served on five fronts, from Alsace to the North Sea. When back in the rest area he began drinking red wine and cognac.

When he returned from the war he tried to hide his drinking from his mother and the girl he was to marry, but he got drunk the day their engagement was announced, and missed the party. The engagement was off.

He was again working in the President's office at the university, but he also was active in many civic activities. He tried to control his drinking and his sprees were only in private clubs or away from home.

He lost his job at the University although probably not because of his drinking, then held a variety of jobs, and got married, but his marriage failed because of his drinking.

Soon he could not hold a job and began getting arrested for drunk driving and disorderly conduct. Eventually he became a ward of the Probate Court, and was admitted to a State hospital at least twice.

Finally, a friend he had known in his drinking days, who was now sober, sought him out and persuaded him to enter the hospital under the care of Dr. Bob.

He was one of the five men Sister Ignatia remembered coming to the hospital after being in terrible accidents because of drinking, who had later come into A.A..

Dr. Bob made a favorable impression on him immediately by spending much time with him telling him of his own drinking experiences.

At the meetings, however, he was not happy with some of the Oxford Group practices. He thought it was throwing the spiritual right at the new person. It was too hard for the alcoholics.

He must have had a friendly, outgoing personality. Dorothy S., then wife of Clarence S. ("The Home Brewmeister") recalled how he had welcomed her when she attended her first meeting the day Clarence got out of the hospital. He told her that he wanted to meet her because they thought Clarence was a pretty wonderful person, and they wanted to see if she was good enough for him.

Bill tried to emulate the humility he saw in Dr. Bob and Anne S. He had 12th stepped Lavelle K., who with his wife took care of Dr. Bob and Anne in their last years. Lavelle was devastated when Bill slipped, as he had tried to pattern himself on him.

After Dr. Bob and Anne died, Bill hated to go to the meeting at King School (to which the A.A. group had moved). It broke his heart not to see Dr. Bob there, because he had meant so much to him. He said he would go a hell of a long way to hear Dr. Bob.

 

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