Friday, Jul. 02, 2010

The Founders

William Griffith Wilson ("Bill W.") and Robert Holbrook Smith ("Dr. Bob S.") founded what would eventually be known as Alcoholics Anonymous. Wilson, a New York stockbroker, had recently overcome his ruinous alcoholism after speaking with a friend who'd sworn off drinking — in exchange for religion — and witnessing "a great white light" in his hospital room. He joined a Christian movement called the Oxford Group, which led to his meeting Smith in Akron, Ohio. Wilson, who knew from one of his doctors that alcoholism was at least in part a physical problem, spread the word to the struggling surgeon, who had his last drink on June 10, 1935, the founding date of AA. Smith died in 1950, and Wilson — whom Aldous Huxley called "the greatest social architect of our century" — died in 1971.