Sunday, November 20, 2016

A DOCUMENTARY ON BILL W.: THE CO-FOUNDER OF AA

BILL W AT THE BEDSIDE OF A FELLOW ALCOHOLIC
AA IS NEITHER RELIGIOUS NOR ANTI-RELIGIOUS

This week's arts and culture piece begins like this:

William Griffith Wilson was born on Nov. 26, 1895. For recovering alcoholics the world over, the fact that the date falls near Thanksgiving is no accident.

Several years ago, California-based producer Dan Carracino and New York City director Kevin Hanlon became fascinated by Bill’s story and the phenomenon of Alcoholics Anonymous. Their documentary “Bill W.” was released in 2012 and recently aired on PBS SoCal.

ANGELUS: Neither of you are alcoholics. Why Bill Wilson?

Kevin: About 10 years ago I happened to be reading Ernest Kurtz’s book about AA history — “Not-God” — which I found to be a page-turner. It’s a fascinating story even if you’re not an alcoholic or don’t have people in your life who are alcoholics. Bill W. was on the precipice of destruction, of death, and found a way out that no one else had been able to find before, at least not on the scale that he did.

Dan: It’s just a fantastic story. No one knew how much was hanging in the balance that afternoon in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel in Akron, Ohio, where, on May 12, 1935, Bill made the fateful phone call that led him to AA co-founder Dr. Bob Smith. The whole trajectory of the history and treatment of alcoholism changed that afternoon. It changed because Bill figured out that in order to keep sober himself, he had to help another drunk.

READ THE WHOLE COLUMN HERE.

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