“Everyone in this audience has had his great hour of realization. Every alcoholic here has come to the identical path that I did, the realization that I was utterly unable to go on living; that I was in the grip of an obsession which my own resources could not break. How well I remember my first realization of that stark dilemma. It was in the summer of 1934. I lay in Towns Hospital in New York. The good doctor there at my other visits had been encouraging but now he sat speaking to Lois downstairs. And she was inquiring, “Why, oh why can’t he get well, Doctor? His willpower is strong enough in other things. Why can’t he break this insanity? “And the doctor proceeded to explain to her that my obsession was indeed the master of my will. And it condemned me to go on drinking against anything that I could do or that medical science could do that he knew of. So Lois, like every wife here, had her hour of realization that I was hopeless.”

“Then came an interval of a few months. and during that period a friend of mine who had been released of his obsession by the grace of God came to visit me. And over my kitchen table formula which has now flowered into our Twelve Steps of recovery. And that simple essence was, you remember, that he admitted that he couldn’t manage his own life. That he had got honest with himself as never before. That he had made a confession of his character defects. That he had tried to sweep away the debris the past and was mending his broken relationships with others. And then he told me of a new kind of giving that demanded no rewards. And then, rather hesitantly, because he knew my agnosticism, he said that to do these things “I asked for God’s help.” Thus spoke one alcoholic to another in a kitchen basement on Clinton Street in Brooklyn 1934.” -Bill W.