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Works by
Bill Wilson
(Aka Bill W. and William Griffith Wilson)
(Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous)
[November 26, 1895 - January 24, 1971]

Profile created December 28, 2007
Books
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (1939, 1955, 1976, 2001)
    It's more than a book. It's a way of life. Alcoholics Anonymous -- or the Big Book -- has served as a lifeline to millions worldwide. First published in 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous sets forth cornerstone concepts of recovery from alcoholism and tells the stories of men and women who have overcome the disease. With publication of the second edition in 1955, the third edition in 1976, and now the fourth edition in 2001, the essential recovery text has remained unchanged while personal stories have been added to reflect the growing and diverse fellowship. The long-awaited fourth edition features 24 new personal stories of recovery. Key features and benefits ·the most widely used resource for millions of individuals in recovery ·contains full, original text describing AA program ·updated with 24 new personal stories.

  • Bill W.: My First 40 Years (2000)
    I was born, to be exact, in a hotel then known as Wilson House.
    I was born, perhaps rightly, in a room just back of the old bar.


    It was the beginning of a life that would change the lives of millions. Told here for the first time in his own words is the story of the man who would come to be known as Bill W. -- a man who, for his part in founding the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, would be celebrated as one of the important figures of the twentieth century.

    The terrifying darkness had become complete. In agony of spirit, I again thought of the cancer of alcoholism which had now consumed me in mind and spirit, and soon the body. But what of the Great Physician? For a brief moment, I suppose, the last trace of my obstinacy was crushed out as the abyss yawned.

    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, "If there be a God, let him show himself."

  • The A.A. Service Manual Combined with Twelve Concepts for World Service (1988)

  • As Bill Sees It: The AA Way of Life (1967)

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age: A Brief History of AA (1957)

Audio/Video
  • Bill Wilson - Alcoholics Anonymous Speaker CD, Varieties of Religious Experiences (1968)
    This CD contains Bill W. speaking at the 34th AA Anniversary in 1968. He talks extensively about the differences between his spiritual experience, which came suddenly, versus that of Dr. Bob, which came over the course of many years. Background The CD comes from the Don B library. Over the past 20 years, Don has collected one of the largest tape and CD libraries in the Western United States. The purpose of this library is to restore the original history of the AA program from the early 1930s through the 1970s. As such, we buy, sell, and trade CD and Tape collections. This CD has been digitally re-mastered to eliminate as much noise as possible. We feel it is of the highest quality, and we are sure you will agree. Whether you are in AA, NA, OAA, SAA, we believe you will really enjoy hearing one of the founding members of our society talk about his personal experience, strength, and hope. Mission Our mission is to provide the public with easy access to the original teachings of the founders of the AA program. Our primary purpose is the preservation and recording of the great oral history of AA, and we respect the great traditions of anonymity that helped AA grow.

  • Bill Wilson - Speaking at NCAA Spring Conference, San Francisco (1951)
    This CD contains Bill W. speaking at the NCAA Spring Conference in 1951. He talks about his personal story of recovery from Alcohol and the early days of AA. This CD comes with a money back guarantee for sound quality. If you're not 100% satisfied with the quality of the recording we'll gladly refund your money or send you a new CD. This production comes from Sonic Serenity in partnership with the Don B library. Over the past 20 years, Don has collected one of the largest tape and CD libraries in the Western United States. The purpose of the library is to restore the original history of the AA program from the early 1930s through the 1970s. We buy CD and Tape collections and we'll gladly take any donations. This CD has been digitally re-mastered to eliminate as much noise as possible. We feel it is of the highest quality, and we are sure you will agree. Whether you are in AA, NA, OAA, SAA, we believe you will really enjoy hearing one of the founding members of our society talk about his personal experience, strength, and hope. Our mission is to provide the public with easy access to the original teachings of the founders of the AA program. Our primary purpose is the preservation and recording of the great oral history of AA, and we respect the great traditions of anonymity that helped AA grow.

  • Bill W. and Dr. Bob - Co-founders of AA Recorded at the Alcoholics Convention in 1950 (1950)

See also:
  • The Lois Wilson Story: When Love Is Not Enough -- The Authorized Biography of the Cofounder of Al-Anon (2005) by William Borchert

  • My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson--His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous (2004) by Susan Cheever (daugher of John Cheever)
    Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide organization that since 1935 has helped people break free from the destructive influence of intoxicating and addictive substances. This great wave of comfort and help that has covered the world had its beginning in one man, born shortly before the start of the twentieth century. Utilizing exhaustive research, Cheever traces Bill Wilson's life beginning with his birth in a small town in Vermont, where, following the breakup of his parents' marriage, he was raised primarily by his grandparents. Handsome and intelligent, with a wit and charm that both women and men responded to, he seemed at the outset to be capable of achieving anything he wanted.

    Wilson, however, also suffered from deep-seated insecurity, and once he was away from the provincial Vermont town, he found that alcohol helped relieve his self-doubts and brought out the charm and wit that had made him a favorite in school.

    "Help" eventually turned to dependence, and years after his first beer -- consumed at a Newport, Rhode Island, dinner party -- Bill Wilson finally had to come to terms with the fact that, while he loved the way alcohol made him feel, his life was spiraling out of control. Through a painful process of trial and error, using a blend of experiences, ideas, and medical knowledge gained through several hospitalizations, he was able to stop drinking. A few months later, when he met Dr. Robert Smith of Akron, Ohio, and was able to help him stop drinking also, Alcoholics Anonymous was born. Each man found in the other the support he needed to overcome the hold alcohol had on them. Together they discovered the power they had to help other alcoholics.

    Success did not come overnight, however, and as Cheever compellingly relates, Wilson had many struggles in a life fraught with controversies, including experiments with LSD and an unconventional fifty-three-year marriage to also Lois Wilson.

    As one of the most influential and important thinkers of the twentieth century, Bill Wilson changed the way our society deals with addiction, and his ideas in turn have benefited countless individuals and their families. His life was complex, and in Susan Cheever's fascinating biography, he emerges as a man of great passion and courage; it is a story fully told for the first time.

  • Bill W.: A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson (2000) by Francis Hartigan
    When Bill Wilson, with his friend Dr. Bob Smith, founded Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935, his hope was that AA would become a safe haven for those who suffered from this disease. Thirty years after his death, AA continues to help millions of alcoholics recover from what had been commonly regarded as a hopeless addiction. Still, while Wilson was a visionary for millions, he was no saint. After cofounding Alcoholics Anonymous, he stayed sober for over thirty-five years, helping countless thousands rebuild their lives. But at the same time, Wilson suffered form debilitating bouts of clinical depression, was a womanizer, and experimented with LSD.  Francis Hartigan, the former secretary and confidant to Wilson's wife, Lois, has exhaustively researched his subject, writing with a complete insider's knowledge. Drawing on extensive interviews with Lois Wilson and scores of early members of AA, he fully explores Wilson's organizational genius, his devotion to the cause, and almost martyr-like selflessness. That Wilson, like all of us, had to struggle with his own personal demons makes this biography all the more moving and inspirational. Hartigan reveals the story of Wilson's life to be as humorous, horrific, and powerful as any of the AA vignettes told daily around the world.

  • Bill W. and Mr. Wilson: The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder (2000) by Matthew J. Raphael
    William Griffith Wilson, cited by "Time" magazine as one of the hundred most influential individuals of the twentieth century, is better known as Bill W., cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous. In this book, Matthew J. Raphael, himself a member of A.A. (and writing here under a pseudonym, in accordance with A.A.'s tradition of anonymity), presents a revealing new look at both the legendary Bill W. and the private Mr. Wilson, who tried to live apart from his own celebrity.

  • Bill W.: The Absorbing and Deeply Moving Life Story of Bill Wilson, Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (1975, 1999) by Robert Thomsen
    This is the story of a man whose discovery and vision have changed the lives of millions of people throughout the world. Robert Thomsen's biography takes readers through the events of Bill W.'s life, all the while detailing Bill's growing dependence on alcohol. Thomsen writes of the collapse that brought Bill to the verge of death and the luminous instant of insight that saved him. This turning point led Bill to the encounter in 1935 with Dr. Bob and the start of what was to be a new beginning for countless others who despaired of finding rescue and redemption. Every night at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings around the world, a speaker says, "Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now." This describes the story of Bill W., a stirring spiritual odyssey through the triumph, failure, and rebirth, with vital meaning for men and women everywhere.

  • The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson in Letters (1995) by S.J., Robert Fitzgerald
    The Soul of Sponsorship explores the relationship of Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and his spiritual adviser and friend, Father Ed Dowling. Many might consider that such a remarkable individual as Bill Wilson, who was the primary author of AA literature, would be able to deal with many of life's problems on his own. Reading The Soul of Sponsorship will illuminate and answer the question of how Father Ed, an Irish Catholic Jesuit priest who was not an alcoholic, was able to be of such great help to Bill Wilson.

    Part of AA's Twelfth Step reminds us "to carry this message to alcoholics," and The Soul of Sponsorship illustrates how sober alcoholics still need the principles of the Twelve Steps brought to them by friends, sponsors, and spiritual advisers. Some of the problems faced by Bill Wilson were:

    • depression in recovery

    • dependency issues

    • whether or not to experiment with LSD

    • the place of money and power in AA

    • knowing God's plan and will

    • learning from mistake

    Father Ed taught Bill the importance of "discernment." In Father Ed's Jesuit tradition, discernment was a gift, passed down to him from St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, who described his own struggle with discernment in Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The Twelve Steps of AA and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius presuppose that there is a caring God whose will can be known. The act of tuning in to God's action at one's center is discernment. The big question is, how do you know your Higher Power is speaking and revealing Himself through your feelings and desires?

    What Bill learned from Father Ed can be found in books and articles he wrote for AA. For the good of AA and himself, Bill learned to listen to his desires, be aware of his inner dynamics, and tune into the action of God within. Doing this meant learning to recognize and identify his personal movements -- those inner promptings and attractions often called emotions or affections -- which are part of ordinary human experiences. The person who helped Bill grow in discernment was Father Ed, the Jesuit priest with a cane who limped into the New York AA clubhouse one sleet-filled November night in 1940.

    The two "fellow travelers," Father Ed Dowling and Bill Wilson, gave each other perhaps the greatest gift friends can give: calling on each to know who he is -- before God.

  • 'Pass It On': The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A. A. Message Reached the World (1984)

  • Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers (1980)

  • Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous (1979) by Ernest Kurtz
    The most complete history of A.A. ever written. Not-God contains anecdotes and excerpts from the diaries, correspondence, and occasional memoirs of A.A.'s early figures. A fascinating, fast-moving, and authoritative account of the discovery and development of the program and fellowship that we know today as Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (1952)
    This classic book, used by A.A. members and groups around the world, lays out the principles by which A.A. members recover and by which the fellowship functions. The basic text clarifies the Steps which constitute the A.A. way of life and the Traditions, by which A.A. maintains its unity.

Note: Bill was the husband of Lois Wilson, founder of Al-Anon.

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