Bill W. and His Critics…


“Concerning those cracks about me—you shouldn’t be too much bothered… You see, people have been trying to save A. A. from me for years.”

—Bill W.

In the above excerpt, from a 1961 letter written to a couple of A.A. friends, Bill W. used self-deprecating wit to address the criticism that had been coming his way almost from the moment he and Dr. Bob cofounded the A.A. program in 1935.
(Bob, less of a controversial character, managed to avoid the worst of it.) Even if Bill became somewhat inured to it over the years, such criticism rankled, and he could and did defend himself and Alcoholics Anonymous vigorously. But at the same time, he used it as occasion for self-inventory: “Were it not for my severe critics,” he wrote, “I might have got off track lots of times.”


These quotes and more can be read in the Fall-2015 issue of Markings – Your (AA) Archives Newsletter.


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