Roman Numerals

               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 part. To listen to its audio, please click on its link. To go to another Q&A section, please click on its name or book. 



  1. L1-2: “. . . the book ‘Alcoholics Anonymous'.” What was Bill W.’s early name for the book? – “The Book of Experience.”
  2. What were some of the names later proposed for the book? –  “One Hundred Men,” “The Dry Life,” “The Dry Way,” “Dry Frontiers,” “The Empty Glass,” and “One Hundred Men.”
  3. Why was “One Hundred Men” rejected?  – The first woman, Florence R., joined the group.
  4. It finally came down to two choices: "Alcoholics Anonymous," and another title. What was this other title?  – “The Way Out.”
  5. Which of the two main groups favored the first name? – The New York Group.
  6. Which favored the second? – The Akron Group.
  7. Did Bill W. and Dr. Bob favor different titles? – No.
  8. Which title did they both favor? – "Alcoholics Anonymous."
  9. When the titles were voted upon, which title won? – "The Way Out."
  10. Why was that name not chosen in the end? – There were already too many books with that title.
    Cross-reference: Foreword to First Edition, p. XIII. 

Foreword to First Edition


  1. L1-3: “More than one hundred men and women.” Is this an exact count of how many AAs had gotten and stayed sober as of the publishing of the BB? – No. The record seems to show that between 1935 and 1938, about 74 members had so “recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body.”
  2. Why the claim, then? – The stated number may have included AAs who got but did not stay sober during the entire period in question. For a variety of reasons, recovery in AA does not lend itself to precise head counts.
  3. How many among these were actually women? – Reportedly one.
  4. What was her name, and where was she from? – Florence R., of NYC. She relapsed after a year or so, and apparently committed suicide in 1939.
  5. Her story was published in the 1st edition of the BB and is reprinted in ES&H. What is its title there? – “A Feminine Victory,” pp. 16-23.
    Cross-reference: Chapter 8: To Wives, footnote, p.104.

Foreword to Second Edition


  1. L25-26: ". . .  a New York stockbroker and an Akron physician. Who were these men? – Bill W. and Dr. Bob.  


  1. L1-3: ". . . an alcoholic friend who had been in contact with the Oxford Groups."  Who was this friend? – Ebby T.     
  2. Where had the meeting taken place? – In the kitchen of Bill & Lois' Clinton Street apartment in Brooklyn Heights.
    Cross-reference to meeting place: “Women Suffer Too,” p. 201, L22-233.  


  1. L6-7: Prominent attorney, ex-city councilman, and former church deacon, “AA number three” started his eighth detox in six months at Akron City Hospital by assaulting two nurses. What was his name? – Bill D.
  2. Known as “the man on the bed,” his story appears Part I: Pioneers of A.A. What is its title? – “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” p. 182.
    Cross-reference: See entry for "A Vision for You," p. 156, in Chapters 1-11.
  3. How long had Dr. Bob been sober when he and Bill went to work on what was “Their very first case?” – 16 days.
  4. Was this really their first case? – No. There were two earlier but unsuccessful cases.
  5. Who were these alcoholics? – a Dr. McKay and Eddie R.
    Cross-reference: “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” Personal Stories Section, 4th Edition, p. 182.

The Doctor’s Opinion


  1. L7-8: “. . . chief physician at a nationally prominent hospital.” What hospital was this? – Towns Hospital on Central Park West, NYC.   
  2. L13-16: “In late 1934 I attended a patient . . . who was an alcoholic of a type I had come to regard as hopeless. Who was this patient? – Bill W.
    Cross-reference: “Bill’s Story,” p. 7; “A Vision for You,” p. 162; “Our Southern Friend,” p. 213.  


  1. L20: “. . . one of the leading contributors of this book? Who was that? – Bill W.      


  1. L7-9: “. . . and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery." This echoes the words of a well-known Swiss psychiatrist. Who was this? – Carl Jung.
  2. Whom had this psychiatrist treated, unsuccessfully? – Rowland H. 
  3. What was his advice to him? – To seek a spiritual experience.      
  4. Where did Rowland find it? – In the Oxford Group in NYC.    


  1. L3-6: Who was the man “brought in to be treated for chronic alcoholism” who also had had a “gastric hemorrhage” and “seemed to be a case of pathological mental deterioration?” – Hank P.
  2. AA number 2 in NY, he got sober in the same hospital Bill W. did. What hospital was this? – Towns Hospital on Central Park West, in NYC.
  3. What is the title of his story, which appeared in the 1st edition of the BB? – “The Unbeliever,” now in ES&H, p. 5.
  4. L21-25: Another patient “had hidden in a deserted barn determined to die.” He got sober at the same hospital and became AA number 3 in NY. What was his name? – Fitz M.
  5. His story appears in Part I: Pioneers of A.A. What is its title? – “Our Southern Friend,” p. 208.
    Cross-reference to Towns Hospital: “The Doctor’s Opinion,” p. XXV; “Bill’s Story,” p. 7; “A Vision for You,” p. 162; “Our Southern Friend,”  p. 213.
    Cross-reference to Fitz M.:  “We Agnostics,” p. 56; “The Vicious Cycle,” p. 219; “Our Southern Friend,” pp. 497–507.