Quotes from Bill W.

Thank You!

"Most of us feel we need look no further for Utopia. We have it with us right here and now. Each day my friend's simple talk in our kitchen multiplies itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will to men."

Bill Wilson

Source: C. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book, Bill's Story, p. 16.

"There is however, a vast amount of fun about it all. I suppose some would be shocked at our seeming worldliness and levity. But just underneath there is deadly seriousness. Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.16.

"An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature. Our struggles with them are variously strenuous, comic, and tragic. One poor chap committed suicide in my home. He could not, or would not, see our way of life."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 16.

"We meet frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek. At these informal gatherings one may often see 50 to 200 persons. We are growing in numbers and power."

Bill Wilson

Source: c.1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, pp 15 - 16.

(*in 2001 A.A. is composed of over 100,000 groups.)

"I have seen hundreds of families set their feet in the path that really goes somewhere; have seen the most impossible domestic situations righted; feuds and bitterness of all sorts wiped out. I have seen men come out of asylums and resume a vital place in the lives of their families and communities. Business and professional men have regained their standing. There is scarcely any form of trouble and misery which has not been overcome among us."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 15.

"We commenced to make many fast friends and a fellowship has grown up among us of which it is a wonderful thing to feel a part of. The joy of living we really have, even under pressure and difficulty."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 15.

"Faith without works was dead. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surly drink again, and if he drank, he would surly die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it was just like that."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, pp. 14 -15.

"Common sense would thus become uncommon sense. I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to receive. But that would be in great measure."

Bill Wilson

Source: c.1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 13.

"My schoolmate visited me, and I fully acquainted him with my problems and deficiencies. We made a list of people I had hurt or toward whom I felt resentment. I expressed my entire willingness to approach these individuals, admitting my wrong. Never was I to be critical of them. I was to right all such matters to the utmost of my ability."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p 13.

"There (in the hospital) I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the foist time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch. I have not had a drink since." -Bill Wilson

"Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough. At long last I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p 12

"It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power Greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 12

"Despite the living example of my friend there remained in me the vestiges of my old prejudice. The word God still aroused a certain antipathy. When the thought was expressed that there might be a God personaI to me this feeling was intensified. I didn't like the idea."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.12.

"I saw that my friend was much more than inwardly reorganized. He was on a different footing. His roots grasped new soil."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, pp.11-12.

"Had this power originated in him? Obviously it had not . There had been no more power in him than there was in me at that minute; and this was none at all. That floored me. It began to look as though religious people were right after all. Here was something at work in a human heart which had done the impossible. My ideas about miracles were drastically revised right then. Never mind the musty past; here sat a miracle directly across the kitchen table. He shouted great tidings."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.11.

"But my friend sat before me, and he made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself. His human will had failed. Doctors had pronounced him incurable. Society was about to lock him up. Like myself, he had admitted complete defeat. Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known!"

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.11.

"The wars which had been fought, the burnings and chicanery that religious dispute had facilitated, made me sick. I honestly doubter whether, on balance, the religions of mankind had done any good. Judging from what I had seen in Europe and since, the power of God in human affairs was negligible, the Brotherhood of Man a grim jest. If there was a Devil, he seemed the Boss Universal, and he certainly had me."

Bill Wilson

Source: c.1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 11.

"To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claim Him. His moral teaching--most excellent. For myself, I had adopted those parts which seemed convenient and not too difficult; the rest I disregarded."

Bill Wilson

Source: c.1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.11.

"My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionists, suggested vast laws and forces at work. Despite contrary indications, I had little doubt that a might purpose and rhythm underlay all. How could there be so much of precise and immutable law, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew nether time nor limitation. But that was as far as I had gone."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcohoics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 10.

"I had always believed in a Power greater than myself. I had often pondered these things. I was not an atheist. Few people really are, for that means blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere." -Bill Wilson

"I was aghast. So that was it__last summer an alcoholic crackpot: now, I suspected, a little cracked about religion. He had that starry-eyed look. Yes, the old boy was on fire all right, But bless his heart, let him rant! Besides, my gin would last longer that his preaching."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.9.

"The door opened and he stood there, fresh-skinned and glowing. there was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different. What had happened? I pushed a drink across the table. He refused it. Disappointed but curious, I wondered what had got into the fellow, He wasn't himself. 'Come, what's all this about?' I queried. He looked straight at me. Simply, but smilingly, he said, 'I've got religion."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 9.

"The cheery voice of an old school friend asked if he might come over. He was sober. It was years since I could remember his coming to New York in that condition. I was amazed. Rumor had it that he had been committed for alcoholic insanity. I wondered how he had escaped. Of course he would have dinner, and then I could drink openly with him. Unmindful of his welfare, I thought only of recapturing the spirit of other days. There was that time we had chartered an airplane to complete a jag! His coming was an oasis in this dreary desert of futility. The very thing--an oasis! Drinkers are like that."

Bill Wilson

Source: c.1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, pp. 8-9.

"Near the end of that bleak November, I sat drinking in my kitchen. With a certain satisfaction I reflected there was enough gin concealed about the house to carry me through that night and the next day. My wife was at work. I wondered whether I dared hide a full bottle of gin near the head of our bed. I would need it by daylight."

Bill Wilson

Source: c.1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 8.

"How dark it is before the dawn! In reality, that was the beginning of my last debauch. I was soon to be catapulted into what I like to call the fourth dimension of existence. I was to know happiness, peace, and usefulness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes."

Bill Wilson

Source: c.1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story

"Trembling, I stepped from the hospital a broken man. Fear sobered me for a bit. Then came the insanity of the first drink, and on Armistice Day, 1934, I was off again. Everyone became resigned to the certainty that I would have to be shut up somewhere, or would stumble along to a miserable end."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p 8.

"No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity. Quicksand stretched around me in all directions. I had met my match. Alcohol was my master."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.8.

"...the frightful day came when I drank once more. The curve of my declining moral and bodily health fell off like a ski-jump. After a time I returned to the hospital. This was the finish, the curtain, it seemed to me. My weary and despairing wife was informed that it would all end with heart failure during delirium tremens, or I would develop a wet brain, perhaps within a year. She would soon have to give me over to the undertaker or the asylum."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.7

"It relieved me somewhat to learn that in alcoholics the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to combating liquor, though it often remains strong in other respects. My incredible behavior in the face of a desperate desire to stop was explained. Understanding myself now, I fared forth in high hope. For three or four months the goose hung high. I went to town regularly and even made a little money. Surely this was the answer--self-knowledge."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. 1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p. 7

"My writhing nerves were stilled at last. A morning paper told me the market had gone to hell again. Well, so had I. The market would recover, but I wouldn't. That was a hard thought. Should I kill myself? No--not now. Then a mental fog settled down. Gin would fix that. So two bottles, and--oblivion."

Bill Wilson

Source: c. AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill's Story, p.6

"My drinking assumed serious proportions, continuing all day and almost every night. The remonstrances of my friends terminated in a row and I became a lone wolf. There were many unhappy scenes in our sumptuous apartment. There had been no real infidelity, for loyalty to my wife, helped at times by extreme drunkenness. Kept me our of those scrapes.

Bill Wilson

Source: c.1939, AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, "Bill's Story", p. 3

"God is either everything, or He is nothing."

-Bill Wilson

"every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us" No matter how unreasonable others may seem, I am responsible for not reacting negatively. Regardless of what is happening around me I will always have the prerogative, and the responsibility, of choosing what happens within me. I am the creator of my own reality. When I [review my day], I know that I must stop judging others. If I judge others, I am probably judging myself. Whoever is upsetting me most is my best teacher. I have much to learn from him or her, and in my hearts, I should thank that person."

-Bill Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 88

*also found in "Daily Reflections" for the day October 7

"Since open-mindedness and experimentation are supposed to be the indispensable attributes of our 'scientific' civilization, it seems strange that so many scientists are reluctant to try out personally the hypothesis that God came first and man afterward. They prefer to believe that man is the chance product of evolution; that God, the Creator, does not exist. I can only report that I have experimented with both concepts and that, in my case, the God concept has proved to be a better basis for living than the man-centered one. Nevertheless, I would be the first to defend your right to think as you will. I simply ask this question: in your own life, have you ever really tried to think and act as though there might be a God? Have you experimented?"

-Bill Wilson, Letter, 1950

"The temporary good is enemy to the permanent best."

-Bill Wilson

"Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is."

Bill Wilson

"As Bill Sees It"

"In God's economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is."

-Bill Wilson

"Years ago I used to commiserate with all people who suffered. Now I commiserate only with those who suffer in ignorance, who do not understand the purpose and ultimate utility of pain."

-Bill Wilson

"AA is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a story of suffering transmuted, under grace, into spiritual progress."

-Bill Wilson

"In the wake of my spiritual experience there came a vision of a society of alcoholics, each identifying with and transmitting his experience to the next -- chain style. If each sufferer were to carry the news of the scientific hopelessness of alcoholism to each new prospect, he might be able to lay every newcomer wide open to a transforming spiritual experience. This concept proved to be the foundation of such success as Alcoholics Anonymous has since achieved."

-Bill Wilson

"But for every man who drinks others are involved - the wife who trembles in fear of the next debauch; the mother and father who see their son wasting away."

-Bill Wilson

"Because of our kinship in suffering, our channels of contact have always been charged with the language of the heart."

-Bill Wilson

"I have become a pupil of the AA movement rather than the teacher."

-Bill Wilson

William Griffith Wilson   11-26-1895 to 1-24-1971   Bill W., co-founder of A. A.
William Griffith Wilson 11-26-1895 to 1-24-1971 Bill W., co-founder of A. A.

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Comments 3 comments

steve 5 years ago

We LOVE you Bill!!!!!!!!!! RIP


shellye 5 years ago

Without Bill wilson and Dr. Bob. I don't know where i would. thank you for the program of recovery. Its because of you that I have a life I am proud of. thank you so for your hard work. much love!


mishelly81 4 years ago from Florida

Bill W. Has changed my fiance' s life. Thank you!

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