In 1934 a heavy drinker considered as incurable by the doctors tries to recover. He understands that alcoholism is a mental and physical illness but not a sin. After failing in a spiritual approach, he conceives that only a former alcoholic can help a patient disavowed by his family and friends.
He stops drinking but that is not enough. During a professional visit that goes very badly at Akron OH, he feels that he will relapse and looks in the city for another incurable for a mutual help. He finds a surgeon whom he heals and persuades. Bill W. and Dr. Bob consciously launched a chain of healing from that disabling illness, without a doctor, without a psychoanalyst, without a priest, simply by ordinary people helping other ordinary people.
They reached at the first attempt a balanced practice, based on the instinctive desire of drinkers to group together for avoiding their natural surroundings, on the protection against relapsing simply brought by the pride of helping another victim, on the anonymity and the absence of a guru which allow the patient to keep his freedom of thought.
They have founded a fraternity without registration and without obligation, without fees and without sponsoring, operating through regular local meetings where it is forbidden to debate anything else than the healing from alcohol. They are the Alcoholics Anonymous.
The method is pragmatic and the early successes are blatant. That deserves a book in which the two founders actively participate. This is another achievement. The first typed draft is sent to a large number of sympathizers invited to comment from their personal experience.
The modifications are written on a reference copy that is considered suitable for publication early in 1939. This 161-page document is a unique example of a collective text serving a great cause. It was sold for $ 1.58M including premium by Sotheby's on June 18, 2004. It is estimated $ 2M for sale by Profiles in History in Calabasas CA on May 5, single lot of the sale here linked on iCollector bidding platform.
The book titled Alcoholics Anonymous is also known by its nickname The Big Book. Its basic principles are applied in all countries of the world.
SOLD for $ 2M before fees