Breaking Bill’s Anonymity


If you have not read or heard, there is a movement (by non-AA organizations) to have a U.S. stamp commemorating Bill W.
Below is a letter from the General Manager of the General Service Office detailing their position.

DATE: July 19, 2013
RE: Petition for Bill Wilson Commemorative Stamp
Dear Friends:
Warm Greetings from G.S.O.!
We have recently been made aware of an effort made by several non-A.A. organizations who have petitioned the U.S. Postal Service to develop a Bill Wilson commemorative stamp (a photo of Bill). The copy of their petition that was forwarded to us also suggested that if such a stamp is created, it would be “unveiled during the 2015 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous in Atlanta, GA (July 2-5, 2015).”
We are writing to let you know that the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous and the General Service Office, which coordinate the International Convention, have not been contacted directly regarding this. Furthermore, there are no such plans in place, nor will there be, to include this as part of our upcoming convention.
A letter to the appropriate department at the U.S. Postal Service has been dispatched, explaining our principle of anonymity, and clarifying that this effort is not endorsed or supported by Alcoholics Anonymous.
As you all know, our organization cherishes the principle of personal anonymity of our members, both living and deceased. Our founders believed, as Bill said in a letter to a newspaper editor in 1950, that “personal success in the A.A. program requires humility, that we have no right to claim distinction for the gift of sobriety.”
Bill W. wrote that before Dr. Bob died, they both firmly agreed that neither one of them would accept public honors for A.A. work. Bill felt that “such an example, set before future generations of power-driving A.A. members, might prove to be worth more than any prestige which such honors could confer upon either of us. This was our estimate, and I still believe it to be the right one.” (Letter, February 1960)
We send our gratitude for your continued service to Alcoholics Anonymous and hope this information is helpful to you. Should you receive questions or concerns about this matter, please contact our Public Information desk at publicinfo@aa.orq.


2 thoughts on “Breaking Bill’s Anonymity

  1. I have mixed feelings. Bill W. is a greater legend than most others, and yet there is the anonymity issue. Wonder what his descendants think?

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