Bill Wilson’s Gospel

Op-Ed Columnist —

On Dec. 14, 1934, a failed stockbroker named Bill Wilson was struggling with alcoholism at a New York City detox center. It was his fourth stay at the center and nothing had worked. This time, he tried a remedy called the belladonna cure — infusions of a hallucinogenic drug made from a poisonous plant — and he consulted a friend named Ebby Thacher, who told him to give up drinking and give his life over to the service of God.

Wilson was not a believer, but, later that night, at the end of his rope, he called out in his hospital room: “If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything. Anything!”

As Wilson described it, a white light suffused his room and the presence of God appeared. “It seemed to me, in the mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing,” he testified later. “And then it burst upon me that I was a free man.”

Wilson never touched alcohol again….

Bill Wilson’s Gospel

1 thought on “Bill Wilson’s Gospel

  1. Chaz

    I read the article. Surpisingly tolerant. Thought perhaps was a ramp-up for another “cult” accusation.

    From my viewpoint, I continue to conclude that the Big Book is merely a collection of experiences and suggestions. It is not gospel, it is not holy text.

    The big book states at least twice that the steps are but suggestions.

    A bunch of guys 75 years ago discovered an effective solution where nothing even remotely similar in its effectiveness had existed. They kept it anonymous to avoid the social stigma that kept many trapped in the secrecy of the their drinking.

    All the kings horses and all the kings men have yet to come up with anything better. For me, I ask, why alter what works? It works for me and many others. No, make that many, many others. Even if it doesn’t work for all.

    Yet the nay-sayer seem to wish to scandalize it. To throw around the word, “cult” with a complete lack of validity.

    Oh well. To me, even the debate over AA is a borderline “outside issue”. It works for me and thousands, if not millions, of others. Here I sit vacationing in a resort town 4 hours from home and I can attend up to 4 meetings a day if I were so inclined.

    This is a blessing. And it all started with a guy open-minded enough to try something new.




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