AA’s Bill W. and Some Quotable A.A. History Remarks

Dick B.

AA’s Bill W. and Some Quotable A.A. History Remarks

Dick B., copyright 2005

Bill W. said, “I was an agnostic, an atheist on top of it.” Feb 10, 1948, recorded talk

Bill W. said: “But alcoholism is my illness. . . Yes, if there was any great physician that could cure alcohol sickness, I’d better seek him now, at once. . . [yet] After all, a conservative atheist like me ought to be able to get on without anything like that. . . . Never mind, I thought, a nickel would get me to the hospital. . . . Here I was on my way to be cured.” [Bill W.: My First Forty Years, pp.139-140]

Lois Wilson said: “Bill was an atheist.” [recorded interview taped by T. Willard Hunter, in the Dick B. historical collections]

Bill W. said, “I remember saying to myself, ‘I’ll do anything, anything at all. If there be a Great Physician, I’ll call on him’. Then with neither faith nor hope, I cried out. . .” [Bill W., My First Forty Years, p. 145]

Bill W. said, “If there be a God, let Him show Himself” [Pass It On, p.121; Bill W., supra., p. 145] 

Bill W. said, “I became acutely conscious of a Presence. . . . ‘This,’ I thought, ‘must be the great reality. The God of the preachers’.” [Pass It On, p. 121]

Bill W. wrote, “God either is, or He isn’t.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 53]

Bill W. said, “For sure I’d been born again.” [Bill W., My First Forty Years, p. 147]

A.A. said, “He always said that after that experience, he never again doubted the existence of God. He never took another drink.” [Pass It On., p. 121]

Bill W. said, “Henrietta [wife of A.A. Number Three, Bill Dotson] the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 2001, p. 191]

Bill W. wrote, “When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 51]

The Big Book said, of Fitzhugh-Mayo, “This man recounts that he tumbled out of bed to his knees. In a few seconds he was overwhelmed by a conviction of the Presence of God. . . . His alcoholic problem was taken away. . . . Save for a few brief moments of temptation the thought of drink has never returned. . . . Seemingly he could not drink even if he would. God had restored his sanity.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 57]

A strange comment from Bill about the meeting with A.A. Number Three Bill Dotson: “Why, we said, we’ve got a cure for alcoholism.’ We used to call it a cure. We’ve changed our minds since.”

Bill W. said, “Dr. Bob, when it came to spiritual matters, was far better instructed than I. And Anne perhaps better than either of us.” [recorded tapes of Bill at Founders Day, 1959]

Bill W. said, “So all during the summer of 1935, I lived with the Smiths. An experience I shall never, never forget. You see it must be remembered that I was almost without any religious instruction. A few things picked up from the Oxford Group, odd pieces of reading. I had quit the Congregational Sunday School when 10, because I was asked to sign a temperance pledge! So that was the extent of my spiritual training and theological knowledge at the moment. And here were these people: so tender, so wise, so devout in the best sense of the word. The house was frightfully run down, and I remember sitting in what was then a portage flat in the place, but which was nevertheless effused with a real radiance at hand. We’d sit there beside the fireplace and read from the Bible. And I’m rather an impatient fellow when they tried to train me on the meditation business. In other words, they became my teachers.” [recorded tapes of Bill W. at Founders Day, 1959]

Bill W. said, “Never once [will] I forget those early mornings there. Anne sitting by the fireplace. Our Quiet Times. Reading from the Bible. Corinthians, that greatest of all definitions of love. James, who said that ‘Faith Without Works is Dead.” (recorded tapes of Bill W., at Founders Day, 1954]

References: Dick B. acquired the entire collection of public talks by Bill W. A benefactor donated them to The Wilson House. They are entrusted to Richard K. for his review of Bill’s many A.A. history remarks. For background materials, see Dick B., Turning Point (http://www.dickb.com/Turning.shtml); Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous (http://www.dickb.com/Akron.shtml); Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal (http://www.dickb.com/annesm.shtml); Dick B.’s twenty-five published titles on A.A. history (http://www.dickb.com/shtml). See also the books by AA author and historian, Richard K.: The First Forty; So You Think That Drunks Can’t Be Cured; Separating Fact From Fiction. All these latter three are published by Golden Text Publishing Company, Mass.


Copyright © Dick B.


Back to Dick B. Index

In practicing our Traditions, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. has neither endorsed nor are they affiliated with Silkworth.net. Alcoholics Anonymous®, AA®, and the Big Book® are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.