Many people familiar with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and associated groups know the basic story of their origins. The New York Times recently wrote a review of a theatrical production called Bill W. and Dr. Bob, which is currently being performed regularly at the Soho Playhouse.
This dramatic play has been performed in many states, and helps to tell the story about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s. As stated on the play’s website, “The vision of this production is to celebrate the power of recovery, educate people about the disease of alcoholism through breaking down barriers and stigmas, and support outreach to all who still suffer and their friends and loved ones.”
At the time, the country was going through the Great Depression following the stock market crash, and prohibition of alcohol was also repealed. Many people sought comfort in drinking, especially men. The chance meeting of Bob Smith and Bill Wilson resulted in what is now a worldwide network with millions of members, all seeking to provide help for each other, to find comradery and solace in knowing that there is a way out of the trap of alcoholism.
As co-writer and producer Samuel Shem discusses in the video below, the proceeds from the production go to fund a tour of medical schools around the country to help educate students in an artful way. For more information on the production, check out their site.