A.A.'s Bill Wilson
AA’s Bill W. and Some
Quotable A.A. History Remarks
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.
Bill W. wrote, “God either is, or He isn’t.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p.
Bill W. said, “For sure I’d been born again.” [Bill W., My First Forty Years, p.
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,
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.
Dick B. © 2005
This website is designed and maintained by
American Creations of Maui
American Creations of Maui