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Living the Spiritual Disciplines and Virtues in 12-Step Recovery

Reflections in Recovery

"Bill W. and Dr. Bob”: Your Story and Mine (Posted September 21, 2013)

“Bill W. and Dr. Bob” begins like a meeting: "Hi, I’m _______, and I’m an alcoholic." And it ends like a meeting: "Let’s close with a moment of silence  . . ." In between we hear the stories of two alcoholics just like we would at a meeting. And we nod, and we laugh, and we identify. For their story is our story. In fact, theirs made ours possible. Because they got sober, we got sober.

That is in any case how I saw the play. For me, it wasn’t just another fictionalized drama about some fictitious characters. It was an experience I had lived myself. The sense of intimacy and immediacy that we experience at a meeting is conveyed in this stage version in a way that the movie versions that are around simply can’t. It helps that the theatre is small, no bigger than many of the rooms we meet in. The plainness of the stage set adds to the simple, meeting-like environment. It also helps that the actors know they are, in their own way, carrying the message.

The acting is generally good. However, special mention needs to be made of Timothy Crowe’s performance. His portrayal of Dr. Bob is deeply moving and helps to anchor the play in the same way that the good doctor helped to anchor Bill and the fledging AA fellowship. Deborah Hedwall in the role of Anne is also a great pleasure to watch.

“Bill W. and Dr. Bob” is not only worth seeing, but worth supporting. This can be done by telling others about the play, and/or by contributing financially to a national college tour of the play planned by the Hazelden Foundation. Hazelden is underwriting the current off-Broadway production and, according to it, all net proceeds will go to finance the college tour. For more, please log on to

[Image: Playbill for NYC production of "Bill W. and Dr. Bob."]


  1. The NYC production ended its run 05/24/14 (see Links). For productions being staged around the country click on Find a Production
  2. For an unusual collection of 72 photos of Bill W. and Lois (some copies on display at Soho Playhouse), click on to    

For other posts, please click on Reflections.