Fellowship meetings were born through what I believe to be Divine Intervention. Bill Wilson was a chronic, bottom of the barrel alcoholic. Told by many professionals that he would drink himself to death and that he was of the variety of alcoholic that was incapable of ever giving up alcohol.
Not satisfied with that ending diagnosis, he sought to find a way to stay sober.
Bill W struggled with bouts of sobriety and even more with bouts of relapse. He was eventually approached by an old drinking friend, who like himself had been diagnosed hopeless, incurable and destined to die a drunk. But something had changed in his friend, I will quote the Big Book of AA;
“The door opened and he stood there, fresh-skinned and glowing. There was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different. What had happened?
I pushed a drink across the table. He refused it. Disappointed but curious, I wondered what had got into the fellow. He wasn’t himself.
“Come, what’s this all about?” I queried.
He looked straight at me. Simply, but smilingly, he said, “I’ve got religion.”
I was aghast. So that was it – last summer an alcoholic crackpot; now, I suspected, a little cracked about religion. He had that starry-eyed look. Yes, the old boy was on fire all right. But bless his heart, let him rant! Besides, my gin would last longer than his preaching.”
Little did Bill know, this was to be the birth of one of the most successful forms of treatment for alcoholism and addiction on the planet.
If you would like to read the rest of Bill W’s story please click the link ahead and see how this simple meeting of two alcoholics changed the world.
Bill now understood the importance of carrying the message. He feared that if he didn’t speak to another drunk and tell him what he had experienced he would certainly drink again.
Bill being now 5 months sober was on a business trip. At one end of the hotel lobby was a bar, filled with laughter and what seemed like joy. The panic rose as for one of the first times, the urge to drink grabbed hold of him. Now this is the pivotal moment, instead of going into the bar, he went to a phone and dialled a local church. He was put in touch with yet another chronic alcoholic named Bob Smith. After many attempts to stop drinking on his own accord, Dr Bob had come to the same conclusion as Bill W, he was to die a drinking drunk.
Much time went into this communication with “Dr Bob” eventually leading to Bill moving into Dr Bob’s house. On July the 10th 1935, Dr Bob had his last drink and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous was born.
In my humble opinion that original lifesaving message that is written in the Big Book by the first 100 sober members of AA has been diluted and doesn’t carry as much weight as I believe it once did. Maybe it’s because of treatment centres having influences on the fellowship, maybe it’s just natural growth of more and more experience put into the fellowship since those early days. The fact remains that AA and Bill W’s experience of what works to keep a hopeless, alcoholic sober, remains at our very finger tips. Just open the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, start reading, it’s all there…