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Bill Wilson, Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

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Bill Wilson, Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

The story of Bill Wilson is inspiring and although his work and leadership has affected so many with alcohol dependency issues, it’s truly amazing how his work has inspired others including his own wife, Lois, who started Al-Anon, a support network for loved ones of alcoholics.

The areas in which Bill Wilson is a leader are numerous, in fact the work Mr. Wilson did as co-founder of AA was a testament to his pioneering spirit, ability to organize and motivate others and his innovative approach to a problem as wide reaching as alcoholism while facing adversity. When Bill Wilson co-founded AA with Dr. Bob Smith in the 1930’s, it was a true innovation. At that time, although alcoholics could seek medical treatment for their addiction, there was nothing around that treated the whole person: body, mind and soul.

In fact, no other program today rivals the reach and he ability to turn alcoholics lives around like AA, it’s an original. Bill Wilson’s ability to stay true to his values and truly motivate people throughout his life is singularly inspiring. Many times he was offered great honors such as the cover of Time Magazine or an Honorary Law degree from Yale University but he would not accept them because he felt it would go against everything that he’d worked for including the idea of anonymity (Howell, 2013).

Bill Wilson Showed many qualities that were exceptional. For example, his ability to carry on while financially in duress, as well as, under mental stresses. His ability to care for others while he dealt with his own issues showed a great compassion and empathy for his fellow man. Mr. Wilson also showed great courage by never giving up, even when the odds were against him. He just kept trying to get his message out there, to help anyone who would listen, he showed great strength of character and tenacity.

Although Bill dealt with bouts of depression and felt alone a lot of the time, he was able to realize that he wasn’t fighting a battle alone. There were many others out there in the world who were struggling with their addictions, fighting for their lives too. He was able to accept his addiction and not let it hold him back but used it to shine a light on it and help others. He showed great perseverance and resilience yet never sacrificed his morals and values. He lifted others up when they were down and never tore them down when they made mistakes or back slid, he recognized his own humanity but also that of his followers. I think that is one area in which leaders like Bill Wilson stand out. They bring empathy into their leadership and they put themselves in their followers place. They don’t put themselves above them, instead they are able to understand where their followers are coming from and help them on a more personal level.

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