Lets Ask Bill
These excerpts from various talks and articles by and on Bill W. reveal a wealth of the thinking and insight of the co-founder of A.A.
Q - Do alcoholics as a class differ from other people?
A - Some years ago the doctors
began to look at Alcoholics Anonymous and they got about thirty of us together
and they said to themselves "Well, now that these fellows are in A.A., and they
won't lie so badly, and maybe for the first time we'll get a good look at what
the interior of a drunk is like." So a number of us were examined at great
length by psychiatrists, and all sorts of tests taken, and the object of this
particular inquiry was to see whether alcoholics as a class differed from other
people, and if they did, just why and how much.
A number of us were invited to attend the conclave, and a number of learned papers were read, and finally one of these physicians (a very noted one - the meeting took place at the New York Academy of Medicine) began to sum up what he thought the conclusion which they had arrived at was this: that the alcoholic is emotionally on the childish side. That the alcoholic is a person who is more sensitive emotionally than the average person. And then, they ascribed another quality to us - they used the word "grandiosity," they were grandiose (meaning by that that as a type we were what you might call "All of nothing people.") Someone once described it by saying all alcoholics hanker for the moon when perhaps the stars would have done just as well. As a class, we're like that, said the doctors. (Memphis, Tenn., Sept.18-20, 1947)
Return to the "Lets Ask Bill" Page
Return to the A. A. History Page
Return to the West Baltimore Group Home Page