12 STEPS

At Ann’s insistence, the nagging wife, Dr. Bob, agreed to go to the Seiberling Estate that Mother’s Day afternoon to meet this character from New York, but she had to promise that they would stay no longer than fifteen minutes. When they met at the Gatehouse, Bill looked at Dr. Bob, who was perspiring, shaking with bloodshot eyes, and said, “Dr. Smith, it is so good to meet you.” Dr. Bob replied, “Yes, Mr. Wilson, it is good to meet you also, but we must be very brief. I have but a few minutes.” And Bill replied, “Dr., I understand. You look like you could use a drink.” And that piqued Dr. Bob’s curiosity about this “Rummy from New York.” Fifteen minutes and six hours later, they were still at it, and Ann Smith suggested that they return to the Smith residence to continue their discussion. One month later, on June 10, Dr. Bob had his last drink. Three days later, Bill and Dr. Bob talked to an alcoholic attorney of the hopeless variety, Bill Dotson, “Anonymous Number Three,” and three months later, Bill returned to New York; Dr. Bob had taken his last drink, and Alcoholics Anonymous had been born, but nobody knew it at that time. Dr. Bob and Bill Dotson in Akron and Bill Wilson in New York went to work feverishly on improving their success rate. By the end of 1936, there were a total of ten sober members of this rag-tail group. In the Fall of 1937, Bill visited Dr. Bob. Bill had a little over 2 ½ years of sobriety and Dr. Bob a little over two years. They were comparing their experience with helping alkys find sobriety. As they compared notes and counted noses, they were struck with an amazing fact; approximately 40 hopeless, helpless alcoholics were sober as a result of the simple program of action which they had learned from the Oxfordites. The age of miracles was with them; forty miracles were trying to carry the message of hope to the hopeless. They knew they must find a way to present this simple program of action in such a manner that alcoholics everywhere could have a chance to live and become useful and successful citizens again. The outcome of this realization bore fruit in 1939 with the writing and publication of our basic text, the book Alcoholics Anonymous. It has remained virtually unchanged since the original printing and has become the basic text for recovery for something in excess of 200 different anonymous fellowships over these few years. Some of these are Al-Anon, Alateen, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sex-Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, Smokers Anonymous, Incest Survivors Anonymous, Shoppers Anonymous, Depressives Anonymous, and on, and on, and on. It is estimated that something over 20 million people are now using the “Big Book” to learn the direction for taking the 12 steps. It is now the second leading best seller of all time… “and we are sure our way of living has its advantages for all” (pg xiii). The only differences in these different anonymous programs are Step One, The Problem (what is it we are powerless over), and Step Twelve (who is it that we can help). Steps Two through Eleven are the same for all. And so here we are, about to soberly embark on a journey through a book that could never have been written by a guy who could never have had the wisdom we will find as we study the experience of more than 100 recovered men and women shared in this volume. We, the hopeless, are doing the impossible and will soon learn how we can make this miracle reality in our lives. I said there were seven main characters in this scenario. I think there were nine. Had it not been for a lady named Ann and a gal named Lois, Bill and Dr. Bob would never have met, and where would you and I be today?

Bill Dotson 3rd member sober

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