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A Narrative Timeline Of AA History

Public Version vApril 04'

1923 to 1928

A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003

1923

Bill W’s mother, Emily, married Dr Charles Strobel. (PIO 75)

Dr Bob and Anne adopted a daughter, Suzanne (age 5) the same age as their son Smitty. (CH 2-11, DBGO 35-36)

May, Lois experienced her third ectopic pregnancy which led to surgical removal of her ovaries. Bill W was so drunk he did not go to the hospital to see her. (BW-RT 128, LR 34, RAA 147, BW-FH 37)

Dec 25, Christmas, Bill W wrote a vow in the flyleaf of the family bible: “Thank you for your love and help this terrible year. For your Christmas, I make you this present: No liquor will pass my lips for one year. I’ll make the effort to keep my word and make you happy.” Two months later, there was another such vow. (BW-RT 127, RAA 148, BW-FH 33)

1924

Bil W’s grandfather (and substitute father) Gardner Fayette Griffith, died. (BW-RT 128, PIO 70)

Bill W finished law school but never picked up his diploma. He showed up for a final exam so drunk he could not read the questions. He paid a $15 fee ($160 today) for the diploma but was required to attend a commencement ceremony to pick it up. He was unwilling to do that. (LR 31, PIO 67, 70, BW-FH 32, WPR 59)

Feb, Bill W again vowed not to drink. As time passed, there would be still other vows. (BW-RT 127)

1925

Apr, Bill W and Lois began a one-year motorcycle/camping trip on a three-wheeler Harley-Davidson with sidecar to evaluate businesses. Among the places they visited were GE in Schenectady, NY and Portland Cement in Egypt, PA. By winter, they were in FL and then headed north into Canada. Bill was one of the first “market analysts.” His alcoholism progressed. (PIO 69-75, BW-FH 5, LR 37, 39, WPR 59-60)

1926

Bill W’s drinking problem was openly discussed with his benefactor, Frank Shaw, at business conferences between him and Shaw. (PIO 75, BW-RT 141) For the next few years fortune threw money and applause Bill’s way. (PIO 75) However, his success as a securities analyst was to be marred by a worsening drinking problem. (PIO 407)

Spring, Bill W and Lois returned to Brooklyn for the marriage of Lois’ sister, Kitty, on Jun 17. Lois was matron of honor. Both Lois and Bill had previously been injured in a motorcycle accident. (BW-RT 141, LR 60-61)

Jun/Jul, Bill and Lois departed for another six months of investigating businesses. They could have traveled first class on Bill’s expense account and $20,000 line of credit ($210,000 today). Instead, they drove a second-hand DeSoto Lois outfitted with curtains so that they could sleep along side of the road. (BW-FH 40, WPR 60 says the auto was a fairly new Dodge)

1927

Jan, Bill W wrote to Lois “There will be no booze during 1927.” It was a short-lived promise. (LR 69)

Summer, Bill W and Lois went to Cuba to investigate the Cuban Sugar Co. in Havana. Bill’s drinking created many problems and he accomplished little. Frank Shaw wrote to Bill expressing concern. In Sep, Bill wrote to Shaw that drinking had always been a problem for him and he was “through with alcohol forever.” (PIO 79-80, BW-FH 43-44)

Sept/Oct (?), on the way home, Bill W and Lois stopped in Miami Beach, FL to see Bill’s father and his second wife, Christine. Bill first met his half-sister, Helen, born in 1916. (PIO 80)

On returning to NY, Bill W and Lois rented a three-room apartment at 38 Livingston St in Brooklyn. Not big enough for Bill’s desires, he enlarged it by renting the apartment next door and knocking out the walls between them. (BW-RT 144, LR 71, PIO 80-81)

By the end of 1927, Bill W was so depressed by his behavior and drinking that he signed over to Lois all rights, title and interests of his stockbroker accounts with Baylis and Co. and Tobey and Kirk. (LR 72, PIO 82)

1928

Bill W was a star margin trader among his Wall St associates and made great financial strides. However, there was no question about the severity of his drinking. He sank into a form of hostility that poisoned his relationships. Bill’s brother-in-law, Dr Leonard V Strong (his sister Dorothy’s husband) confronted him on the progressive nature of his drinking and referred Bill to a colleague for a physical examination. (BW-RT 144-145, PIO 81, GB 29)

Summer (?), a group of Rhodes Scholars returned home to S. Africa, from Oxford U, England to tell how their lives changed through meeting Frank Buchman. A railway employee labeled their train compartment The Oxford Group. The press took it up and the name stuck (the name First Century Christian Fellowship faded). (RAA 120, www)

Sep 28, St Thomas Hospital in Akron, OH opened. Shortly after, Dr Bob and Sister Ignatia met for the first time. Sister Ignatia (of the Sisters of Charity of St Augustine) was the registration clerk at the hospital. At this time, she was unaware of Dr Bob’s drinking problem. Later, Dr Bob, who loved to give people nicknames, gave Sister Ignatia the nicknames of “Angel Alcoholics Anonymous,” "Little Angel of AA’s," "Little Sister of Alcoholics Anonymous" and "Ig." (LOH 202, 372, SI 6-9, DBGO 45-46)

Oct 20, Bill W signed a pledge in the family Bible: “To my beloved wife that has endured so much, let this stand as evidence to you that I have finished with drink forever.” On Thanksgiving, Bill pledged again in the family Bible: “My strength is renewed a thousand fold in my love for you.” (PIO 81)


A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003

 
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