Personal Stories: 4th Edition

               Roman Numerals             Chapters 1-11             Appendices             Personal Stories: 4th Edition             Personal Stories: ES&H

               Roman Numerals                   Chapters 1–11                       Appendices                    Personal Stories:                  Personal Stories:
                                                                                                                                                            4th Edition                             ES&H 

Scroll down to each story. Audios are provided for the ten in Part I: Pioneers of A.A. To listen to one, please click on its link. To go to another Q&A section, please click on its name or book. 

Part I: Pioneers of AA

Dr. Bob's Nightmare

Doctor Bob's Nightmare


  1. L1: What is the name of the “small New England villagewhere Dr. Bob was born? – St. Johnsbury, Vermont.


  1. L15-16: “After high school,” Dr. Bob spent “four years in one of the best colleges in the country, where drinking seemed to be a major extra-curricular activity.” What college was this? – Dartmouth University, 1899-1902.  


  1. L8: Dr. Bob later took up “the study of medicine, entering one of the largest universities in the country.” – What was its name? – University of Michigan, 1905-1907.  


  1. L1-2: He also took up “the business of drinking” and after his sophomore year was forced to transfer to “another of the leading universities of the country,” where despite more drinking sprees he managed to graduate in 1910. What university was this? – Rush Medical University.
  2. L20: Dr. Bob “was able to secure a much coveted internship in a western city.” What city was this? – Akron, Ohio.


  1. L1: Continued drinking causing his health to deteriorate, Dr. Bob “incarcerated” himself “ at least a dozen times in one of the local sanitariums.” Where was this? – Fair Oaks Villa, Cuyahoga Falls.
  2. L1: There he felt caught “between Scylla and Charybdis,” tortured by his stomach if he did not drink, and by his nerves if he did. The allusion is to a famous Greek epic. Which one?  – Homer’s The Odyssey.
  3. The names are of two mythical sea monsters which Odysseus (Ulysses in Roman mythology) was forced to confront as he sailed through what was later believed to be the Strait of Messina. Scylla is believed to represent a rocky shoal on one side and Charybdis a whirlpool on the other. Where is this Strait? – In the central Mediterranean, between Calabria and Sicily.
  4. This myth is alluded to in connection with taking inventory in Step 4 of the 12&12, p. 49: “You need not pass this way” . . . “You dare not look.” What are the two “monsters” referenced here? – Pride and Fear.
  5. What expression do we use today to convey the idea of having to choose between two evils or equally difficult options? – To be “between a rock and a hard place.”
  6. L4: “After three years of this I wound up in the local hospital.” What hospital was this? – People’s Hospital.
  7. L9: ”Finally, my father had to send a doctor from my hometown.” Which was? – St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
  8. L18: “With the passing of the 18th Amendment I felt quite safe.” What was this constitutional amendment? – Prohibition.
  9. When did it go into effect? – January 17, 1920.
  10. When was it repealed? – December 5, 1933, by the 21st Amendment.
  11. Which group considered a predecessor of AA was finally destroyed by its identification with Prohibition? – The Washingtonian Society.
  12. What other controversy had they become involved earlier in their history that ushered in their decline? – Abolition.
  13. Their story is mentioned in the Tradition which their negative experience inspired. Which Tradition is this? – Tradition 10 in the 12&12.
    Cross-reference for Prohibition: “Women Suffer Too,” p. 203; “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” p. 183; “Our Southern Friend,” p. 212.


  1. “About the time of the beer experiment I was thrown in with a crowd of people who attracted me because of their seeming poise, health, and happiness.” Who were these folks? – The Oxford Group.


  1. L3-5: “About this time a lady called up my wife one Saturday afternoon saying she wanted me to come over that evening to meet a friend of hers who might help me.” Who was this lady? – Henrietta Seiberling.
  2. What is the name of Dr. Bob’s wife? – Anne.
  3. Who was the friend? – Bill W.
  4. L29-30: “I woke up at a friend’s house, in a town near home.” Who was this friend? – Lilly, Dr. Bob’s receptionist in his medical practice in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three

Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three


  1. Title: “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three.” – This alkie is also known as “The Man in the Bed.” Who was he? – Bill D.
  2. Was this alcoholic really AA number 3? – He was the third person after Bill W. and Dr. Bob to get and stay sober.
  3. Were there other alcoholics before him that Bill and Dr. Bob worked on but who didn’t make it? – Yes, a Dr. McKay and Eddie R.
  4. Do we know anything about these alcoholics? – We know Eddie was the man who chased Dr. Bob’s wife Anne around the house wielding a knife and threatening to kill her.
  5. Bill D.’s story did not appear in the first edition of the Big Book. Why was this? – He didn’t want to write it, reportedly because he thought he should be paid for it.
  6. Was any alcoholic paid for writing his or her story? – No.
  7. Fourteen years later he agreed to let somebody visit him in Akron, interview him, and write the story for him. Who was this? – Bill W.
  8. L18-19: “So, at the time Dr. Bob and Bill came along . . “ – How long were these men sober at the time? – Sixteen days and 6 months, respectively.


  1. L30: “Then Prohibition came into effect.” When was this? – January 17, 1920.
    Cross-reference: “Dr. Bob’s Nightmare,” p. 175, L18; “Women Suffer Too,” p. 203; “Our Southern Friend,” p. 212. 


  1. L19: On June 26, 1935, I came to in the hospital . . .” What hospital? – Akron City Hospital.
    Cross-reference: Foreword to Second Edition, p. xvii, LL6-7; "A Vision for You," p. 156, L18-19 and p. 158, L30-334. 


  1. L11: “. . . and my pride prevented me from listening to them . . .” Why was this? – Offering to help, in the mind of an active alcoholic, can be perceived as being condescending or being talked down to. 


  1. LL4-6: “I have gone to this Higher Power and I have told Him that I am willing to put His world first, above everything.” What is the principle Bill D. is willing to practice here? – First Things First, at its ultimate and overarching spiritual level.      
  2. LL20-22: “They said, ‘Let’s forget about those other things [smoking and gambling], that is, trying to eliminate them all at once, and concentrate on the drinking.’”  What is the principle behind this suggestion? – First Things First, at its immediate practical level.
    Cross-reference: Foreword to Second Edition, p. xvii; “The Family Afterward,” p. 135, L6-7; “He Sold Himself  Short,” p. 264, L1-2.           
    To hear Bill D. talk, click on "AA Number Three – Bill D.

Gratitude in Action

Gratitude in Action


  1. Blurb: Besides being one of the founders of AA in Canada (Quebec), Dave B. eventually served AA at the national level. In what capacity did he do this?  – He was a class B (alcoholic) Trustee.  
  2. L22-23: “. . . I got a letter or a note, something from Bobbie or from Bill . . . Who was Bobbie? – Margaret “Bobbie” B., “AA National Secretary #2,” who replaced Ruth Hock after she left to get married.
  3. L23-23: “. . . or one of the other members of the central office in New York . . .”   Where was this office? – At 415 Lexington Avenue, across from Grand Central Station, the third of AA's headquarters (1944–1950). 
  4. Where was the second  AA office located? – At 30 Vesey Street, near Church Street (1940–1944).  
  5. What was the location of the first office? – 17 William Street in Newark, N.J. (1938–1940).   
  6. The Newark headquarters doubled up as the office of an auto dealership. What was  the name of this company? – Honor Dealers.
  7. The company was owned by New York AA number 2. Who was this, and what is the name of his story in the 1st edition of the Big Book? – Hank P., author of “The Unbeliever” (now first story in ES&H).
  8. Who was Hank’s secretary? – Ruth Hock, who then became AA's first secretary.
  9. Ruth Hock is known for discovering one of AA’s most cherished prayers. Which prayer is this, and where did it appear? – The Serenity Prayer, in an obituary in The New York Herald Tribune.
  10. Who worked with Hank in this dealership? – Bill W.
  11. What is this office most famous for? – This is where Bill wrote most of the Big B, and where Ruth Hock typed the original manuscript. 
    To hear Ruth speak, click on Ruth Hock's Recollections.

Women Suffer Too

Women Suffer Too


  1. Title: The story “Women Suffer Too” was written by one of the first female alcoholic to have achieved permanent sobriety in AA. What was her name? – Marty M., of Brooklyn, NY.
  2. A biography of Marty was published in 2005 under the name A Biography of Mrs. Marty Mann: The First Lady of Alcoholics Anonymous. Marty wasn’t actually the first woman to join AA. What are the names of the women who preceded her? – “The Lady known as ‘Lil’” in Akron, Florence Rankin (author of "A Feminine Victory” in 1st edition of Big Book), and Mary Campbell.
    Cross-reference: As Bill Sees It, p. 302; Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 182.  


  1. “The times I grew in (the Prohibition era immortalized by Scott Fitzgerald and John Held Jr.) . . . “ Who was Fitzgerald? – An American novelist and short-story writer (1986–1940).
  2. What is his most famous novel, in which he “immortalized” the Prohibition era (along with the Jazz Age and the Roaring 20’s)? – The Great Gatsby.
  3. What else do we know about him that we can identify with? – He was an alcoholic.
  4. What other well-known novelist and fellow-alcoholic was he close friends with?– Ernest Hemingway.
  5. Who was John Held Jr.? – A magazine illustrator of the same period who did magazine cover for some of Fitzgerald’s short stories.
    Cross-reference for Prohibition: “Dr. Bob’s Nightmare,” p. 175, L18;  “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” p. 183; “Our Southern Friend,” p. 212; “The Keys to the Kingdom,” p. 268, LL14-15.  


  1. L5-6: “’Blanks’ were more frequent, and I seldom knew how I’d got home.” – What are “blanks”? – Blackouts.  


  1. L16-17: “That was the point at which my doctor gave me the book Alcoholics Anonymous to read.” What was the name of this doctor? – Harry Tiebout.
  2. Why did he give her the book? – His Freudian therapy had failed to sober her up.
  3. Who else later saw this this doctor for therapy? – Bill W.
  4. How did Marty describe to the doctor what happened to her when she had a spiritual experience? – “I surrendered."
  5. ”Where did she first hear that term used? – In a hymn sung in church.
  6. Why wasn’t the term used in the Big Book or later in the 12&12? – To avoid negative associations with a practice of the Akron Oxford Group which required newcomers, before they could attend meetings, to get on their knees and “make a surrender” involving praying and sharing. Alkies resented what they considered a forced religious ritual.
  7. What national organization did Marty help to found? – The National Council on Alcoholism, which she directed for 24 years.
    Cross-reference to Harry Tiebout: Appendix II: The Medical View on AA, p. 569, fourth paragraph. 
    Cross-reference to surrender: Personal Stories: 4th Edition, "A Business Man's Recovery," p. 24, L2. 


  1. L22-23: “I went trembling into a house in Brooklyn filled with strangers.” Whose house was this? – Bill and Lois’ house on Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, NY.
    Cross-reference to meeting place: Foreword to Second Edition, p. xvi, L1-36.  


  1. L30-31: “. . . for I can say many times daily ‘Thy will be done, not mine’ . . . and mean it.” Saying this prayer helps us to practice two principles. What are these? – Surrender and acceptance.
  2. What is its original source ? – Luke 22:42.
  3. Where in our two basic texts do we find various versions of it? In the Big Book: pp. 63, 67, 85, 87-88; in the 12&12: S2, p. 32; S3, pp. 40-41; S11, p. 102, and pp. 102-103.

Our Southern Friend

Our Southern Friend


  1. Title: Who is the author of this story? – Fitz M., who sobered up October 1935 and was AA Number 3 in NYC.
  2. Part of his story is recounted in the Big Book as “the experience of a man who though he was an atheist.” Where is this? – In “We Agnostics,” pp. 55-56.
  3. His writing is reminiscent of the interior monologue or stream of consciousness style AA Number 2 in NYC used in his story. Who was this alcoholic and what is the title of his story? – Hank P., “The Unbeliever.”
  4. Where can we read this story? – In the 75th Anniversary Edition of the Big Book and in ES&H, p. 5.
  5. L21-22: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works." What is the source of this quote? – Matthew 5:16. 
    Cross-reference: “The Doctor’s Opinion,” p. xxxi; “We Agnostics,” p. 56; “The Vicious Cycle,” p. 219. 


  1. L14-15: “He poured out two drinks. ‘Here’s looking at you,’ said he. I gulped it down and choked.” Where is that line from” – Casablanca, said to Ingrid Bergman by Humphrey Bogart.
  2. L28: “And so I met John Barleycorn.” The name personifies alcohol. What is its original source? – British folklore.
  3. What British novelist and alcoholic made this part of the title of his “Alcoholic Memoirs” autobiography? – Jack London (1876-1916).  


  1. L25-26: “The atmosphere of ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ prevails and I absorb it.” What is the source of this expression? – Luke 12:19.
  2. L32-34: “The Armistice is signed on the eleventh [of November] and the draft is called off.” Armistice Day signals the end of which war? – WWI.
  3. What national holiday celebrates this event, and when? – Veteran’s Day, November 11.
    Cross-reference: “Bill’s Story,” p. 8, L14-164.  


  1. L6: “I call the bootlegger and fill up my charred keg.” Why bootlegger? – These are the days of Prohibition.
    Cross-reference for Prohibition: “Dr. Bob’s Nightmare,” p. 175, L18; “Women Suffer Too,” p. 203; “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” p. 183.  


  1. L6-8: “She begs me to go to a hospital for alcoholics that has been recommended.” What hospital is this? – Towns Hospital on Central Park West in NYC.
    Cross-reference: “The Doctor’s Opinion,” pp. xxv and xxxi; “Bill’s Story,” p. 7; “A Vision for You,” p.162; “Our Southern Friend,” p. 213.  


  1. L1-2: “One man comes back, closing the door behind him.” Who is this man? – Bill W.  


    1. L5-7: “’Who are you to say there is no God’?” Where do we first come across this question in the Big Book? – In Chapter
        4: “We Agnostics,” p. 56. 


  1. L16-17: “I learn that honesty is truth and that truth shall make us free!” What is the source of this phrase? – John 8:32.

The Vicious Cycle

The Vicious Cycle


  1. The writer of “The Vicious Cycle” was the first self-proclaimed atheist to join AA. What was his name? – Jim B.
  2. P226 L19: He and "Hank” became leaders of the pro-psychology group against the pro-religion group led by an old friend and schoolmate mentioned in the story. Who is this man? – Fitz M.
  3. The most contentious character in the group, our agnostic was about to be expelled when he pulled out a copy of the Big Book's preface and pointed to the text of what would become one of the 12 Traditions. Which tradition was this? – The 3rd Tradition.
  4. Later, when the 12&12 is published and this story is told in that Tradition, he’s identified by another name. What name is this? – Ed.
  5. The Tradition goes on to recount how, having relapsed and nearing another bottom in a cheap hotel room, he happened upon a book. He opened it, read, and never drank again. What book was this? – A Gideon Bible
  6. Thirty-years later, in 1968, he recounted his story in the Grapevine book Spiritual Awakenings. What is the title of this story? – “Sober for Thirty Years,” p. 119.  


  1. P223 L33-P224 L1: “Oddly enough, the big shot who fired me . . .” Who was this? – Hank P. (see p. 226, LL19-20). This “big shot” would fire him again a second time, when Jim went off the deep end and relapsed (see p. 228, LL27-28).  


  1. L28: “. . . fought shy of including my story in the book.” Jim’s story was included in a later edition. Which? – The Second Edition.  


  1. L13-14: “. . . by the grace of God as I understand Him . . .” The atheist who claimed credit for qualifying “God” with the phrase “as we understood Him” in the end apparently came to share an understanding of God found throughout the Big Book. What is this understanding? – Of God as a God of grace.

The Man Who Mastered Fear

The Man Who Mastered Fear


  1. Blurb: This man mastered fear and “started A.A. in Detroit.” What is his name?– Archie T.
  2. In the first edition of the Big Book this story had a different title. What was it? – “The Fearful One.” 


  1. LL9-10: “Fear froze me in my tracks . . .” The incident he recounts seems to be connected with a particular kind of phobia. What is this? – Agoraphobia.
  2. What kind of fear is this? – Fear of open or public places (Gk. agora, marketplace + Gk. phobos, fear, via Lat. phobia).


  1. LL12-13: “”Immediately a great feeling of peace descended upon me . . .” What would we say in AA happened to this man? – That he had a spiritual experience. 
  2. LL17-18: “The scales had dropped from my eyes, and I could see life from its proper perspective.” These words echo the experience of one of our founders. Who was this? – Bill W., in his own story, p. 12, LL27-28.
  3. Both men stress a transformational change as a result of their spiritual awakening. What is this? – A change in outlook: they came to see things radically different from the way they were used to seeing them before.


  1. LL3-4: “Fear has never again ruled my life . . .” The author attributes this “miracle” to his applying to his “daily life the principles embodied in our Twelve Steps” (p. 251, LL26-27). According to him, what specific principle seems to have been instrumental in lifting the fear from him? – Faith in “a Power greater than myself.”
    To hear Archie speak, click on “Archie T. ‘The Man Who Mastered Fear’.” 

He Sold Himself Short

He Sold Himself Short


  1. Author: Who is the author of this story? – Earl T., of Akron Ohio, who sobered up April 1937. 


  1. L24-25: “I had seen Howard, an ex-doctor, mooching a dime for a drink.” Who was this man? – Howard S. of Akron, who later got sober and resumed his medical practice.


  1. L5: "Then and then only, after a thorough indoctrination . . . was I allowed to attend my first meeting." Which group was this requirement for membership inherited from? – The Oxford Group.


  1. L4: "The six steps were . . . " Where were these steps borrowed from? – The Oxford Group.


  1. L31: “. . . I must place this program above everything else . . ." What is the spiritual principle involved here? – First Things First.


  1. L31: “The doctor, a young man . . . ” The name of this doctor? – Dan Craske, M.D.
    Cross-reference: “To Employers,” p. 140, LL19-20 (to doctor); “The Family Afterward,” p. 135 (to Earl); Why We Were Chosen.

The Keys to the Kingdom

The Keys of the Kingdom


  1. “This worldly lady helped to develop A.A. in Chicago and thus passed her keys to many.” Though not generally recognized as such, this may have been the first woman to achieve long-term sobriety in AA (date of sobriety 09/13/39). What is her name? – Sylvia K.
  2. When she arrived in Akron from Chicago, the men and their wives were not particularly welcoming of her, as they tended not to be of women alcoholics in general. They had a saying which reflected their attitude. What was this saying? – “Under every skirt, there is a slip,” slip referring of course to a relapse.
  3. What did the men do with the new female arrivals? – The turned them over to Dr. Bob’s wife Anne and the other wives.
  4. Thirty years after she got sober, Sylvia wrote a postscript to her story in the Grapevine. What was its title? – “Don’t Take Our Word for It.”
  5. LL14-15: “John Held Jr, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Where else in the Personal Stories do we read about this two men?–In “Women Suffer Too,” above, p. 203, LL13-15.


  1. LL10-11: “The next day I received a visit from Mr. T., a recovered alcoholic.” Who was this man? – Earl T.
  2. Why did she call him a "recovered" alcoholic? – Because he had stopped drinking and was now physically sober.
  3. What does the Big Book say about that kind of recovery? – That it is not enough (Chapter 6: Into Action, p. 82, LL28-29). 
  4. Why is that? – Because alcoholism is a threefold disease, not only physical, but mental and spiritual as well (Chapter 5: How It Works, p. 64, LL26-27).
  5. What is the name of Earl's story in the Big Book? – “He Sold Himself Short” (shown above).
  6. Sylvia was wealthy, and her personal assistant became the secretary of the first Intergroup office in the country. Where was this? – In Chicago.


  1. LL5-6: “. . . that was given so freely to me by my ex-alkie friends. . . ” What did the author mean by “ex-alkie?” – That they were no longer drinking. 
  2. The expression was later dropped, since it was realized that we remain alcoholic even after we stop drinking.
  3. Exactly what does that mean? That we cannot resume drinking without relapsing into our physical disease, and that our mental and spiritual recovery is a life-long process and does not come to an end. 
  4. Another term used early on was dropped for the same reason. What was this? – “Cured.” 

Part II: They Stopped in Time

Physician, Heal Thyself!

Physician, Heal Thyself!


  1. L1: “I am a physician, licensed to practice in a western state.” What is the name of this physician, and what state is he referring to? – Dr. Earle M.; the state of California.
  2. LL7-8: “I never lost any of it. I never was on skid row.” The alcoholic who says he/she is different from other alcoholics because he/she never did X, Y, or Z is said in the rooms to be suffering from a particular kind of ailment. What is this? – “The never wuz’s.”


  1. LL15: “. . .  and I got books by Emmet Fox.” Who was Emmet Fox, and what was his best known book? – An exponent of New Thought, a philosophy which has much in common with what later would be known as the New Age movement; best known for his book The Sermon on the Mount, where the sermon is interpreted from a New Though perspective.
  2. The book was apparently read by other AA’s, including one of our founders. Who was this? – Dr. Bob, as reported in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers.
  3. Where can this book now be read? In The Recovery Bible, discussed in Ray's Book Reviews.

My Chance to Live


  1. Author: Unknown


  1. L3: “At this point I surrendered.” The word “surrender” is used only in the story section of the Big Book, not in the first 164 pages and not anywhere in the 12&12. Why is this? – Because of the negative association the term took as a result of the experience of alcoholics in the Oxford Group, where becoming a member required "making a surrender" on one's knees in front of others.
    Cross-reference: “Women Suffer Too,” p. 205. 

Me an Alcoholic?


  1. Author: Unknown


  1. L16: “I had absolute faith in science, and only in science. ‘Knowledge is power.’” To what philosopher is this quote originally attributed? – Francis Bacon.


  1. LL8-9: “”There’s nothing I can do,” said this man’s psychoanalyst about his alcoholism, “and nothing medicine can do.” This echoes a similar story in the Big Book (in “There Is a Solution,” pp. 26-27) involving another alcoholic and a famous psychiatrist. The name of these two men? – Rowland H. and Carl Jung.
  2. What quality does the author attribute to his doctor’s “confession?” – The humility to admit that all his knowledge was powerless to help the alcoholic.
  3. Where does the author say he finally found this power? – In his first AA meeting.


  1. L2: “Be still, and know that I am God.” What psalm in the Bible is this quote from? – Psalm 46:10. 

A Drunk Like You


  1. Author: Unknown


  1. L18-19: “The Lost Weekend, Days of Wine and Roses . . .” Who starred in these movies? – Ray Milland and Jane Wyman in the first and Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in the second. 

Acceptance Was the Answer


  1. Acceptance Was the Answer” is the 4th edition's title of the best known and most frequently quoted story in the Big Book. What is the original title of the story in the 3rd edition? – “Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict,” p. 439.
  2. Who wrote the story, and why was the title changed? – Dr. Paul O. Unintendedly, it had helped to fuel the dual-addiction controversy then going on in AA.
  3. A sought-after speaker, he addressed a 1980 AA Conference at a famous beach resort in Palm Beach, FL. What is the name of this resort? – The Breakers.


  1. L28-31: “. . . there is absolutely nothing in the world more important to me . . . not taking a drink is by far the most important thing I do each day.” What is the principle here? – First Things First.


  1. L8-20: “And acceptance is the answer . . . my attitudes.” This passage is one of the best known in the Personal Stories section of the Big Book.      
  2. L21-22: “. . . ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’” Which of Shakespeare’s play is this line from? – As You Like It.
  3. L28-29: “. . . that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here.” What famous prose poem are these lines inspired by? – Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann.  
    To hear Dr. Paul O. speak, click on "Dr. Paul O. – Love and Tolerance."  

Window of Opportunity


  1. Author: Unknown


  1. LL19-20: “My college had a long history of drinkers, including Dr. Bob.” Dr. Bob said that in this Ivy League university “drinking seemed to be a major extra-curricular activity.” What university was this? – Dartmouth, in New Hampshire.
    Cross-reference: “Dr. Bob’s Nightmare,” p. 172, LL15-16.  

Part III: They Lost Nearly All



  1. Blurb: “Alcohol clipped this pilot’s wings until sobriety and hard work brought him back to the sky.” What is the name of this pilot? – Lyle P.


  1. “. . . and joined a major airline.” What airline was this? – Northwest Airlines.


  1. “. . . I and my two fellow flight crew members were arrested.” When and where was this? – March 8, 1990, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  2. What was unusual about this arrest? – It was the first case of airline pilots being arrested for flying while intoxicated.


  1. “’Cowards die a thousand deaths, a brave man only once.’” Where is this quote from? – Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar


  1. “. . . the president of the airline had decided personally to reinstate me.” What was of particular interest about the background of this CEO? – He was the adult child of an alcoholic.   

Another Chance


  1. Author: Who is the author of this story? – Bertha V. of Louisville, Kentucky, who got sober in AA in April 1972.

Freedom from Bondage


  1. Blurb: “Young when she joined . . .” Who is the author of this story and how old was she when she joined AA? – Wynn C.; joined in 1947 in California at age 33. 


  1. L11: “About this time I met a man . . .” Wynn married five times, her last husband being a member of AA. What was his name? – George C.


  1. LL29-31: “A.A. has given me serenity of purpose and the opportunity to be of service to God and to the people about me . . .” Though she doesn’t mention it in her story, Wynn was well known for a particular kind of 12-Step work. What was this? – She helped to start (with Jack P.) more than 80 meetings in hospitals, jails, and prisons in southern California.


  1. LL3-4: “. . . happy are you who know these things and do them.” What is the source of this quote? – John 13:17.
  2. The Book of James, a favorite of Dr. Bob's and the Akron Group of AA, carries a similar message. What is this? – "Be you doers of the word, and not hearers only," James I:22-25. 


  1. LL23-25: “The only real freedom a human being can ever know is doing what you ought to do because you want to do it.” Who said these words, and what book is he known for? – Chuck C., who wrote A New Pair of Glasses.
  2. Similar words were later echoed by a much beloved pope. Who was this? – Pope John Paul II.
    To listen to Wynn tell her story, click on "Wynn L. – Freedom from Bondage."

A.A. Taught Him to Handle Sobriety


  1. L1: “When I had been in A.A. only a short while . . .” Who is the author of this story? – Bob P. of Connecticut, who joined AA in 1961 in NYC.


  1. LL32-33: “. . . Dr. Harry Tiebout, the psychiatrist who probably knew more about alcoholism than any other in the world.” Dr. Tiebout was the therapist of a number of AAs, including one of our founders. Who was this? – Bill W.
  2. Dr. Tiebout was one of the doctors who received a copy of the original manuscript of the Big Book. A woman under his care finally got sober after he gave her this book to read. Who was this woman? – Marty M.
  3. Originally trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst, Dr. Tiebout became attracted to AA ideas and wrote in particular about a key AA principle to which he was introduced by Marty. What principle is this? – Surrender.
  4. Though the concept is central to them, the term itself is never used in the first 164 pages of the Big Book or in the 12&12. Why is this? – It was negatively associated with a certain overly religious Oxford Group practice.
    Cross-reference to surrender: "Women Suffer Too," p. 205.
    Cross-reference to Harry Tiebout: Appendix II: The Medical View on AA, p. 569.


  1. LL7-8: “. . . I found myself drying out on a drunk farm.” – Which “farm” was this? – High Watch Recovery Center, in Kent, Connecticut, inspired by Bill W. and founded in 1940 as the world’s first 12-Step treatment center.
  2.  A nun at the farm is reported to have introduced Bill W. to a prayer he subsequently used in the 12&12. Which prayer is this, and what is the nun's name? – The Prayer of St. Francis, and Sister Francis.