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This is a help to study the Big Book, to fill in some of the "missing facts," answering some questions. Have your big book open to check these out.
In the Roman Numeral Section:
1. - Page xiii – "more than one hundred"
2. - Page xvii - "The very first case"
3. - Page xxvi - "We believe and"
4. - Page xxix - "Man brought in"
5. - Page xxix - "Man deciding his situation hopeless"
In The First 164 Pages:
1. - Page 2 - "Night Law course"
2. - Page 3 - "worked on a farm"
3. - Page 4 - "Friend he telephoned in Montreal."
4. - Page 4 - "Wife's parents"
5. - Page 7 - "Brother-in-law the Physician"
6. - Page 7 - "nationally-known hospital"
7. - Page 7 - "Belladonna Treatment"
8. - Page 7 - "Kind Doctor"
9. - Page 9 - "Details of the airplane charter to complete a jag."
10. - Page 9 - "The two men who appeared in court with Ebby"
11. - Page 15 - "The Western city"
12. - Page 16 - "Poor chap who committed suicide in Bill's house"
13. - Page 26 - "The certain American businessman"
14. - Page 32 - "The man of thirty"
15. - Page 35 - "Jim the Car Salesman"
16. - Page 39 - "Fred the Accountant"
17. - Page 43 - Staff member at a world renowned hospital"
18. - Page 50 - "American Statesman"
19. - Page 55 - "Minister's son and atheist"
20. - Page 80 - "Accepted money from bitterly hated business rival. "
21. - Page 96 - "One of our fellowship who failed entirely"
22. - Page 102 - "Many of us keep liquor in our homes"
23. - Page 124 - "We know of Situations . . . Love affairs"
24. - Page 135 - "heavy smoker and coffee drinker"
25. - Page 136 - "The member who spent most of his life in big business"
26. - Page 138-139 - "Executive of a bank who was undoubtedly alcoholic."
27. - Page 140 - "Prominent Dr in Chicago"
28. - Page 149 - "The little company and the two employees"
29. - Page 154 - "Clergyman"
30. - Page 156 - "The head nurse they called"
31. - Page 156-157 - "The man on the bed"
32. - Page 158 - "Campaigns and speeches"
33. - Page 158 - "Devil may care young chap"
34. - Page 159 - "Who were the 'seven more'?"
35. - Page 160 - "One man and his wife place their house at AA's disposal"
36. - Page 161 - "The community is thirty miles away."
37. - Page 162 - "Well known hospital for treatment"
38. - Page 162 - "One of our member's was a patient there."
39. - Page 162 - "Dr. at the hospital"
40. - Page 162 - "Eastern City"
41. - Page 163 - "AA member living in large community"
42. - Page 163 - "Prominent Psychiatrist and his clinic"
43. - Page 163 - "Chief Psychiatrist of a large public hospital"
In Dr. Bob's Story
1. - Page 171 - "Small New England villiage"
2. - Page 172 - "One of the best colleges in the country"
3. - Page 173 - "One of the largest universities"
4. - Page 174 - "Another of the leading universities"
5. - Page 174 - "Western City"
6. - Page 175 - "Local Sanitariums where Bob committed himself"
7. - Page 175 - "Scylla and Charybdis"
8. - Page 175 - "Local hospital"
9. - Page 175 - "Dr. from Dr. Bob's hometown"
10. - Page 178 - "The crowd of people Dr Bob was thrown in with"
11. - Page 179 - "Lady who called on Anne S. Saturday"
12. - Page 179 - "The friend at whose home Dr. Bob woke up"
"We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body." was a total experience of 74 members from 1935 through 1938 as the original manuscript went to press, 41 known to have achieved permanent sobriety, a slight "alcoholic exaggeration," unless the wives were counted also. Florence Rankin, the first woman to achieve a considerable period of sobriety, and the only woman sober at that time, went back to the bottle and died an apparent suicide in 1939. See Pioneers of A.A. Return
The very first case that Bill and Bob worked on was Eddie R. They were not successful with Eddie. He was from a prominent Youngstown, Ohio, family, had lost his rented house and was about to lose his job. At Doctor Bob's funeral in 1950, Eddie R. was there with one year of sobriety.
This was stated in an article in the "Lancet Journal" published in 1937. Return
Hank P. -- His story in the first edition of the big book was titled "The Unbeliever". Hank was a high-pressure kind of guy. He was called a "promoter among promoters". Hank had worked for Standard Oil of New Jersey. He was the 2nd member in New York. Hank wrote chapter 10 "To Employers." He subsequently relapsed in September 1939, and never again gained any degree of sobriety. Return
John Henry Fitzhugh M. His story is in all of the editions of the big book, titled "Our Southern Friend". Fitz was from Hancock, Missouri and got sober in November 1935. He was 12 stepped by Bill from Towns Hospital and was considered AA number 3 in New York. He attended the Rockefeller Dinner given on February 8, 1940 in New York. Return
Brooklyn Law School classes at the time were held in the offices of the Heffley School of Commerce in the historic Brooklyn Eagle [old newspaper] Building.
This was located less than half a mile from Bill and Lois's home at 182 Clinton Street. Bill would walk to the Law School. Return
Mid April – mid May 1925. They worked on the Goldfoot family dairy farm in Scotia, New York near Schenectady. Mr. Goldfoot's two sons worked for General Electric. Return
Richard O. "Dick" Johnson of Greenshields and Company, a medium sized brokerage firm in Montreal. (November 1929) Return
Doctor Clark Burnham -
Matilda Hoyt Burnham (Spelman) -
Doctor Leonard V. Strong Jr, the husband of Bill's younger sister Dorothy. Dr Strong attended the Rockefeller Dinner, February 8, 1940. He was one of the first trustees on the first board of the Alcoholic Foundation in April 1938. He died April 24, 1989. Leonard and Dorothy are both buried in the East Dorset Cemetary only 150 feet from the Wilson Family plot. Return
Belladonna is the name of a poisonous Eurasian perennial herb whose alkaloid extract or tincture was used as a sedative-antispasmotic drug in the early treatment of alcoholism. It is also known as "Deadly Nightshade." Return
Dr William Duncan Silkworth. "Silky" was chief physician and psychologist at Towns Hospital. Graduated Princeton University in 1896 and from New York University, Bellevue Medical School in 1900. He arrived at Towns hospital in 1930 with his theory on alcoholism as a combination physical allergy and compulsion to drink. He used a holistic approach to treating disorders. Author of "The Doctors Opinion" in the big book. He attended the Rockefeller Dinner on February 8, 1940. Return
There was a new airfield by the Equinox House in Manchester, Vermont. Ebby and Bill drank all night and then decided to hire a plane. They radioed ahead that they would be coming. A high school band and complete fanfare was there to greet them when they landed. After they landed, they both got out of the plane only to fall flat on their faces. They were so drunk that they couldn't even stand up. Return
Rowland Hazard and Cebra G., both were from the Oxford Group at the time. Rowland was never a member of AA. Cebra later joined AA while living in France. Return
Cleveland, Ohio Return
Bill C., was a "guest" for nearly a year. He was a lawyer and gambler (professional bridge player). This happened in the summer of 1936 at their home at 182 Clinton St. Upon returning home from visiting Fitz M and others in Maryland, Bill opened the door to the strong smell of the natural gas that had ended the "poor chaps" life. Over the next few months, Bill and Lois discovered that he had been selling off all of their good dress clothes to finance his drinking and gambling. Return
Rowland Hazard of the Oxford Group. He never joined AA but never drank again and died at his desk at work, sober. Return
"The man of thirty who was ambitious in business and remained bone dry for 25 years only to die after 4 years of drinking."
This story was probably adapted from the chapter "First Steps" in the book "The Common Sense of Drinking" by Richard Peabody. There is one story on page 37 that speaks of a man 36 years old that had been drinking for 16 years and another story on page 123 regarding a man who gave up drinking to make a million dollars.
Neither one of these actually match the story in the big book. The story on page 123 is the one that most closely matches the story in the book. The big discrepancy in the story is the amount of sobriety this man had (full text below). The big book speaks of 25 years of sobriety and the other states he had 5 years sober.
"Some years ago there lived a man who decided to give up drinking until he could make a million dollars, at which time he intended to drink in moderation. It took him 5 years of sobriety to make the million; then he begins his "moderate" drinking. In two or three years he lost all his money, and in another three he died of alcoholism." Return
Percy Pollick. He was a psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Return
Alfred E. Smith, four time governor of New York and was unsuccessfully the first Roman Catholic presidential candidate. Return
This is believed to be an Oxford Group story passed along through the groupers. Return
Our co-founder, Bill W. Return
Our co-founder, Dr Bob. He said "I was adamant on having liquor. I said we had to prove that you could live in the presence of liquor. So I got two big bottles and put them right on the sideboard and that drove Anne wild for awhile." Return
Eddie R. the very first prospect approached by Bill and Bob before they helped Bill D, AA number three, "the man on the bed." Eddie was sober for a short time when his wife told him of an affair she had had and Eddie got drunk. Eddie was present at Dr Bob's funeral, 15 years later in 1950, with about 12 months sobriety. Return
Earl T. from Chicago. His story is titled "He Sold Himself Short" in the second edition of the big book. Return
Clarence S. from Cleveland, Ohio. (880 Euclid Ave), Sobriety date: February 11, 1938. Died Sober: March 22, 1984. His story was in the first through third editions of the big book entitled "The Home Brewmeister." Clarence led a revolt to separate from the Oxford Group and announced a special meeting of alcoholics, starting the Cleveland group, May 18, 1939 at the Cleveland Heights home of Abby G.. This was the first group to be called "Alcoholics Anonymous." He attended John D. Rockefeller's A.A. dinner February 8, 1940. He was also the leader of a group of dissident anti-Conference and anti-General Service Office members. Return
Dan Craske, M.D., (Additional references in the story "he Sold Himself Short") 3rd edition - Page 294 last paragraph, 4th edition - Page 265 last paragraph. Return
Honor Dealers Company, Auto Polish Dealership. Jimmy B., whose story is "The Vicious Cycle", first appearing in the 2nd edition, and Bill W. co-founder of AA. Additional references in the story "The Vicious Cycle", 3rd edition on page 246 - 1st paragraph, 4th edition on page 227 - 1st paragraph. Return
Reverend Walter F. Tunks, Rector at St Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio. Return
Mrs. Hall, admissions nurse at Akron City Hospital. Return
Bill D. ran for city councilman but lost the election. Return
Ernie G. was 30 years old. He later married Dr. Bob's daughter Sue against Bob's wishes. Sue liked Ernie, but he later turned out to be a less than likeable man. Ernie's story, "The Seven Month Slip" was in the First Edition of the Big Book
In Akron, there was another Ernie G. who got sober later and who was a very good AA member and much was written about him. Don't get these two Ernie G's mixed up in your history. Return
Here is the list of the next 10 members. Note: Some of these had slips and came back right away. We are not certain who Bill counted or in what order. See Pioneers of A.A.
Ernie G. - Akron, 8/1935 (the Seven Month Slip)
T. Henry and Clarace Williams, 876 Palisades Drive, Akron, Ohio. T. Henry was an engineer at the company where Bill W. was waging a proxy battle to gain control of National Rubber Machinery in May of 1935. The company was founded in 1928 and located at 917 Swietzer Ave, Akron, Ohio. In 1942 they switched from making machinery for the rubber industry to machinery for the plastic industry. Return
Cleveland, Ohio Return
Charles B. Towns Hospital, 293 Central Park West, New York City, New York Return
Our co-founder Bill W. Return
Dr. William Duncan Silkworth Return
New York City, New York Return
Hank P., Montclair, New Jersey Return
Dr. Howard of Montclair, New Jersey Return
Dr. Russel E. Blaisdell, Rockland State Hospital near Orangeburg, New York. He attended the Rockefeller Dinner on February 8, 1940.
St Johnsbury, Vermont Return
Dartmouth University from 1899-1902 Return
University of Michigan From 1905-1907 Return
Rush Medical University. Dr Bob graduated from Rush in 1910 Return
Akron, Ohio Return
Fair Oaks Villa, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio Return
Scylla is the name of a small finger of land on the Italian coast, which projects into the Strait of Messina, and sits opposite the Sicilian coast. In between is a very destructive whirlpool named Charybdis. The reference is often used to describe being in a life threatening situation. In the context used here, the statement is made as an analogy: "I was between Scylla" implies he was out in deep water "and Charybdis" implies if he went one way, he would die by drowning in the whirlpool. If he went the other way, he would die by being smashed up on the rocky coast.
When Ulysses tried to make his way through this narrow passageway, in the "The Odyssey" by Homer, Scylla, a female monster with twelve feet and six heads, managed to kill six of his sailors.
Shakespeare used this expression in his "Merchant of Venice"; "When I shun Scylla your father, I fall into Charybdis your mother."
Today we say things like "I was between a rock and a hard place" and "between the devil and the deep blue sea". Bill's reference has fallen from popular usage, but is occasionally used in academic circles. Return
People's Hospital Return
This occurred in 1914. The doctor was from St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The doctor was able to get Dr. Bob back home to the house on Summer Street where he was born. He remained in bed for two months. It took another two months before he returned to Akron. Return
The Oxford Group Return
Lilly. She was Dr Bob's receptionist in his medical practice in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and her husband's name was Everett. Return
As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of A.A. with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In A.A. and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!
ABC Page 60 -- Barefoot's Recovery Pages
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On the Web February, 2007
in the Spirit of Cooperation
Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and SOBRIETY