My Name is BillOriginal air date: May 17, 2013
My guest today is Susan Cheever, she’s a prolific author who has written numerous times about how alcoholism has intersected with her own life. First in a memoir about her father, John Cheever called, Home Before Dark and then in her own memoir called Note Found in a Bottle.
But when Time Magazine asked her to write a profile about Bill Wilson co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the most influential and important thinkers of the twentieth century, she was amazed to find that there had never been a proper, fully documented biography.
Bill W. was a drunk and then a drunk whose life had become unmanageable. In 1935 when Wilson quit drinking there was no sustainable recovery program. He had quit drinking and then relapsed for decades and then eventually though epiphany and collaboration found a method for life-long success. He wrote the self-help book Alcoholics Anonymous, and crafted the 12-step program and wrote The Twelve Traditions. Those books and the ideas within have elevated millions of people on to a life free from addiction.
Susan Cheever’s biography called, My Name is Bill: Bill Wilson, His Life, and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous reveals in painful detail a man who was as an alcoholic, a husband, a friend, a colleague and a visionary.