Bill Wilson & Dr.Bob

In Recovery Lifestyles by Carmell PellyLeave a Comment

The essence of 12-step programs remains one alcoholic or addict helping another.
Bill and Dr.Bob saved my life and introduced me to God. Who are they?
Dr. Robert H. Smith (also known as Dr. Bob Smith), was born to a couple in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. His parents took him to religious services four times a week, and in response, he determined he would never attend religious services when he grew up. Dr. Smith began drinking during his graduation and he noticed that he could recover from the effects of drinking easier than his classmates and would not experience withdrawals. This caused him to believe he was an alcoholic from the time he began drinking. After attaining his medical degree, he got married in 1915 and opened up his own office in Akron, Ohio. He struggled for the next 17 years with alcohol which led to frequent conflicts with his wife while trying to hold together a medical practice.
William Griffith Wilson (whom we know as Bill Wilson) was born to a couple in Vermont in the year 1895, on November 26. His parents separated when he was 11 and a few years later, he experienced an episode of depression. In 1918 Bill was married and then deployed by the military to France. He visited a cathedral while in France and experienced the overwhelming presence of God, which filled him and reassured him. After the war, Bill worked on wall street. By the late 1920s, Bill descended into alcoholism. In 1934, when he was visited by his old friend who was using alcohol in the past but had gotten sober with the help of a spiritual group. He suggested the same to Bill, but Bill was resistant as he did not believe in religion/existence of God. On this, Bill was suggested to create his own inception of God, a power greater than himself. His life changed when Bill met a psychiatrist in Towns Hospital, Dr. Silkworth, who taught him that chronic alcoholism was not a problem of morality but “physical allergy.” After leaving Towns Hospital, Bill was reborn. He was now sober and searched the streets of Brooklyn to help other “alcoholics”.
Dr. Bob and Bill meet:
While Bill was able to maintain sobriety 6 months, he founded a company in Ohio along with a couple of friends. However, it did not flourish due to his past stories of drinking. He had almost relapsed after feeling dejected when he went near a bar to take a drink. However, Bill instead went to a public phone booth nearby and started making calls to find out another “alcoholic” like him to talk to. After a few calls, he contacted Dr. Bob Smith, a surgeon by profession. Dr. Bob had also attended the same spiritual group meetings. Bill was able to convince Dr. Bob to meet him but only for 15 min. Bill claimed that he had a “cure” for alcoholism and Dr. Bob agreed to meet him only on the insistence of his wife. Although Dr. Bob went inside a room to have a quick talk with Bill, they ended up talking for 5 h.
Bill stayed in Ohio for 3 more months and worked with Dr. Bob to help other people taking excessive alcohol to become sober. Bob could not stay completely abstinent and had multiple lapses until June 10, 1935, which became the founding date of AA. Since this day, Bob and Bill have been sober and were in fellowship to help other people stay abstinent.

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