Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Today in U.S.A. History: Founding of Alcoholics Anonymous

"A seemingly unplanned meeting in Akron, Ohio in 1935 between two men, both of whom were termed "hopeless" alcoholics, began a program of recovery that has helped millions find sobriety and serenity.

Bill W. was one of those men. In fighting his own battle against drinking, he had already learned that helping other alcoholics was the key to maintaining his own sobriety, the principle that would later become step twelve in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. A stock broker from New York, Bill W. had traveled to Akron, Ohio on May 12, 1935 for a shareholders' meeting and proxy fight, which did not turn out his way. Fighting desperately to maintain his sobriety, his immediate reaction was, "I've got to find another alcoholic."

A few inquiries lead him to a meeting with an Akron surgeon, forever to be remembered simply as "Dr. Bob," who had struggled for years with his own drinking problem.

The effect the meeting had on Dr. Bob was immediate, as he tells it in his own words, and soon he too put down the bottle (June 10, 1935), never to pick it up again. The bond formed between the two men would grow into a movement that would literally affect the lives of millions."

Information about Alcoholics Anonymous can be found at its world headquarters: http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/en_information_aa.cfm

Although Matt Talbot died ten years before the founding of AA in the USA and in Dublin in 1946, Fr. Morgan Costelloe, long-time Vice- Postulator for the Cause of the Venerable Matt Talbot, has written that Matt's approach to overcoming alcoholism essentially incorporated the twelve steps of AA. (See Fr. Costelloe's booklet, Matt Talbot: Hope for Addicts (2001 edition), Veritas Publications, Dublin and also available through Matt Talbot Retreats.)