Monday, August 06, 2012
Who Invented AA? It was God Almighty that invented A.A., said Bill W.
Who invented A.A.? "God Almighty," said Bill Wilson
Copyright 2012. Anonymous. All rights reserved.
When I was in New York in the very early 1990's doing my research at General Services, at Stepping Stones, with archivist Frank Mauser, and with A.A.'s first archivist (then retired) Nell Wing, I had many a meal and conference with Nell. She knew Bill Wilson and his wife Lois very well.
One day Nell said to me, Bill always said "Nobody invented A.A." And, at that time, she was preparing her book for publication.
The book was first published by Parkside Publishing Corporation. Then came a revised and expanded edition. You can find it under Nell Wing, Grateful to Have Been There: My 42 Years with Bill and Lois and the Evolution of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d ed. Revised and Expanded (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 1998.
There, on pages 100-01, Nell states:
"My friend heard Clancy make a talk about the Big Book in which he said, "I'm not a particularly religious person, but I tell you I am absolutely positive that the Big Book had to have been written with Divine Guidance. Because it was written in 1938, when Bill W. was only about two-and-one-half years sober. . . ."
"He [Bill W.] said on many occasions, "Nobody invented AA" or "Everything in AA is borrowed from somewhere else." Although that is an overstatement, Bill did draw from many other sources that influenced him . First and foremost, he was profoundly influenced by his own spiritual experience in Towns Hospital after what proved to be his last binge. The experience really began with Ebby's earlier visit. . . ."
Nell made it plain to me that she was a Buddhist and that she didn't think the Bible had anything to do with Big Book ideas. She remarked to me on the phone: "Why your higher power can even be a chair.".
However, Rev. Sam Shoemaker's record of Bill Wilson's November 9, 1954 address at the Commodore Hotel in New York--something Nell got from the Episcopal Church Archives in Austin, Texas quotes Bill as follows:
"Who invented AA? It was God Almighty that invented A.A."