Alcoholics Anonymous Founders' Day
annually on June 10th
On today's date in 1935, in Akron, Ohio, the organization that would become Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by William G. Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith. Wilson, a New York stockbroker and alcoholic, had been getting help to get sober from the Oxford Group. He also had tried helping others with their sobriety but was not successful. While on a business trip to Akron in June of 1935, he felt the need to drink. Instead, he got into contact with Smith, an Akron surgeon and alcoholic, who had also sought help from the Oxford Group. Smith had yet to become completely sober yet, however. With Wilson's support, Smith was able to dry out. June 10 was the date of his sobriety.
On that day, Wilson and Smith decided that they would continue to work to stay sober by getting support from others who were struggling with the issue of alcohol dependence. They defined alcoholism as "a malady of mind, emotions and body," and began helping alcoholics at Akron's City Hospital. Their group grew, and later in 1935, a similar group was formed in New York, and in 1939, a third group was formed in Cleveland. After four years, about 100 alcoholics had become sober among the three groups.
A book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was written by Wilson and published in 1939 and laid out the organization's Twelve Steps of recovery. After the book's publishing, as well as other media attention, Alcoholics Anonymous greatly expanded. By 1950, there were an estimated 100,000 recovered alcoholics on account of the group. That same year, in Cleveland, Alcoholics Anonymous held their first international convention. It was here that the organization's Twelve Traditions were adopted. Today, in the United States, there are an estimated 55,000 Alcoholics Anonymous groups comprised of 1.2 million members.
How to Observe Alcoholics Anonymous Founders' Day
There are a few different ways the day could be marked:
- Attend the official Founders' Day event in Akron, or an event held in another city.
- Read Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Read or subscribe to AA Grapevine.
- Read or learn the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Reach out to someone who currently struggles with alcohol, or to someone who has benefited from Alcoholics Anonymous.
- If you struggle with alcoholism, perhaps today is the day to look into Alcoholics Anonymous. Find a chapter near you.