On Jill’s and my trip to Akron, a highlight was visiting again the Gatehouse of the Seiberling Estate where Bill and Dr. Bob had their auspicious first meeting from which blossomed Alcoholics Anonymous that today, more than 80 years later, is still bumbling along.
It’s the second or third time I’ve sat in this space, which I consider to be one of the most sacred places I’ve been privileged to visit on the planet. I never tire of hearing the story of how Bill hooked Dr. Bob into that several hour initial conversation despite the fact that Dr. Bob had proclaimed he would stay no longer than 15 minutes after the dinner Henrietta Seiberling served at 5:00 pm due to a raging hangover from the previous day’s binge drinking. Bill leaned over the small table in the library and proclaimed words to the effect, “I’m not here to get you sober. I’m here talking to you so that I stay sober.
As an agnostic atheist I was mightily pleased that the headline to the panel discussing this propitious meeting between Bill and Dr. Bob is one which is relevant to we atheists, agnostics and free thinkers.
I also had a most interesting conversation with one of the volunteers at Dr. Bob’s house on Ardmore Avenue about the need for AA to become less rigidly dogmatic that it has devolved into during the last 30-35 years. He related that he has a sponsee who struggles with the archaic language of the Big Book who is a non-believer, but who attends AA for the Fellowship, drunks sharing the human power of staying sober with each each other.