AA’s Beginning – Time to Do Outreach Again

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A.A. began in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, as the outcome of a meeting between Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon. Both had been hopeless alcoholics.

Bill emphasized that alcoholism was a malady of mind, emotions, and body. Bill learned this important fact from Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital in New York. Bill had often been a patient of Dr. Silkworth. Though a physician, Dr. Bob had not known alcoholism to be a disease. Responding to Bill’s convincing ideas, Dr. Bob soon got sober, never to drink again. This sparked the founding of A.A.

Both men immediately set to work with alcoholics at Akron’s City Hospital. One patient quickly achieved complete sobriety. These three men made up the nucleus of the first A.A. group.

Cooperation with the professional community has been an objective of Alcoholics Anonymous from its very beginnings. Over the years Alcoholics Anonymous has not been as favored by the medical community as it once was. MAT (Medical Assisted Treatment) has not viewed A.A. as complimentary. COVID also shut down our ability to go into hospitals and treatment centers.

The Cleveland District Office has been reaching out to hospitals and treatment centers to let them know we have no opinion on outside issues and we are available to help the alcoholic who still suffers. We will be forming a Committee in the near future and will ask our members to help us go back to our roots in the hospitals to continue our primary purpose to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.