Rebel With a Cause!

Motorcyclists have a reputation as free spirits, non-conformists and risk takers. We should not be surprised, then, that Bill W. was a biker! Live to ride, ride to live! (Lois was Bill’s wife. She, too, was important to AA’s development.)

by Mark H.

I love this photo of Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA, from 1925, nine years before he got sober. I came across it at an AA club in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. I was there deer hunting last November and snapped a photo of it with my cell phone (sorry, the quality isn’t very good).

Here’s some information on Bill from Wikipedia:

William Griffith Wilson (November 26, 1895 January 24, 1971), also known as Bill Wilson or Bill W., was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

AA is an international mutual aid fellowship with about 2 million members worldwide belonging to approximately 10,000 groups, associations, organizations, cooperatives, and fellowships of alcoholics helping other alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety.

Following AA’s Twelfth Tradition of anonymity, Wilson is commonly known as “Bill W.” or “Bill.” In order to communicate among one another, members of “AA” will often ask those who appear to be suffering or having a relapse from alcoholism if they are “friends of Bill”. Although this question can be confusing, because “Bill” is a common name, it does provide a means of establishing a rapport with those who are familiar with the saying and in need of help.

After Wilson’s death in 1971, and amidst much controversy within the fellowship, his full name was included in obituaries by journalists who were unaware of the significance of maintaining anonymity within the organization.

Wilson’s sobriety from alcohol, which he maintained until his death, began December 11, 1934. In 1955 Wilson turned over control of AA to a board of trustees. Wilson died of emphysema complicated by pneumonia in 1971. In 1999 Time listed him as “Bill W.: The Healer” in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.

Thanks Bill W., you did good, you made us proud!


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