Bill Wilson was 65 years old when he gave this talk at the first Al-Anon World Service Conference held in New York in 1961. Delegates from 10 states and two Canadian provinces attended this trial event, where they met with staff from AA’s World Service Office and the Board of Trustees.
Al-Anon is a separate entity from Alcoholics Anonymous, but their histories are intertwined. Whereas AA aims to help alcoholics to stop drinking and change their lives, Al-Anon helps the spouses and loved ones of the alcoholic to reclaim their happiness and their lives.
This talk is brief; Bill speaks for about 15 minutes on the benefits he believes AI-Anon will reap by forming its own conference, based on his experience with AA. “The world is taking increasing notice,” he notes. He goes on to tell the crowd, “Each one of these yearly meetings, be they dull, be they controversial, are really an insurance policy which can guarantee the future unity and the functioning of your society. May God bless and keep you all. You will surely look back upon this day as a great one in the annals of the Al-Anon Family Groups.”
He concludes by saying about the two fellowships, “Hey folks, ain’t it pretty damn wonderful.”