April 22nd, 2007

reading, activism, writing

Book # 21: My Name is Bill:Bill Wilson -- His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous

A fascinating book about a fascinating man. Author Susan Cheever paints a sympathetic portrait of a complicated human being.

If Bill Wilson were an active alcoholic today, he'd find hundreds of thousands of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to help him get sober. Instead he looked at his own addiction and the situation for alcoholics in the 1930's and found little effective help. He became the co-founder of AA with another alcoholic, Dr. Bob Smith, and transformed alcohol addiction from a lack of willpower into a disease.

Since then many other programs have developed that might have helped today's Bill Wilson to shed his addictions to smoking, his experiments with LSD, and his sexual addiction.

Considering the impact that AA has had on addiction treatment it still amazes me that it took one drunk helping another to get the ball rolling.