Bill W. had been sober for 6 months, and had been trying without even a little success to help others to achieve sobriety. Using the principles of the Oxford Group, he was attempting to help others find the answers they needed to their alcoholism. It was working for him, but was doing nothing for those he was trying to help.
He went on a trip to Akron, Ohio and found himself frustrated and triggered. He felt a strong craving to drink and needed to do something fast. He got a hold of a local preacher and told him his plight. Knowing how serving others helped him, he asked if he could reach out to a fellow alcoholic. And that is just what he did.
When Bill approached Dr. Bob, he met with a wall of resistance. But after a few minutes of listening to what Bill had to say, Dr. Bob realized Bill was onto something. They met that night for 6 hours. And Bill didn’t go back home for months afterwards.
Together, the two men established a group, then unnamed, and worked to spread the word. After the first five years passed with many followers joining the meetings, “Alcoholics Anonymous” was written and became the “bible” of the program. Thus the name for AA was also established, by the title of the book.
Both Bill and Dr. Bob report that much of the early success they had came from service, service to other alcoholics, reaching out to those who were still drowning. In fact, both men have stories of when they were close to drinking and they decided instead to reach out to lift up another person. Eventually, the 12-steps were written, organizing the program into the cohesive and clearly explained process that it is today.