AA Founders’ Day Date in the current year: June 10, 2024

AA Founders’ Day AA Founders’ Day, referred to as simply Founders’ Day within Alcoholics Anonymous, is observed by Alcoholics Anonymous chapters across the world on June 10 to commemorate AA’s anniversary.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship that promotes abstinence-based alcoholism recovery through its twelve-step program. It was co-founded by Bill Wilson, commonly known as Bill W., and Bob Smith, also known as Dr. Bob, in 1935.

Bill Wilson’s alcoholism nearly ruined his life. He failed to pick up his law school diploma due to being too drunk, let constant drinking ruin his burgeoning Wall Street career and damage his marriage, and was hospitalized for alcoholism four times in two years.

In late 1934, shortly before his fourth hospitalization, Wilson met with an old drinking companion of his who had quit drinking thanks to the Oxford Group, a Christian organization that helped its members remain sober. Upon being discharged from the hospital, Wilson joined the Oxford Group and began recruiting other alcoholics to help them become sober.

During a business trip to Akon, Ohio Wilson met Robert Smith, a surgeon and fellow Oxford Group member. By the time he met Wilson, Smith had been a member for over two years but had failed to stay sober. After talking to Wilson, he decided to commit to sobriety and had his last drink on June 10, 1935. This date is considered the founding anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous and observed as AA Founders’ Day.

Both finally sober, Wilson and Smith decided to develop a program that would help even the worst alcoholics denounce drinking. Unlike the Oxford Society, they based their approach on the idea that alcoholism is a state of insanity rather than a sin. Wilson and Smith’s recovery program had sober alcoholics provide drinking alcoholics with spiritual guidance by showing them that life without alcohol was possible and rather enjoyable.

Wilson and Smith originally established Oxford Group chapters in New York and Akron, respectively. However, they eventually split from the Oxford Group. In 1939, Wilson published a book entitled Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism. Referred to as the Big Book by AA members, it gave the name to the program.

Having finished writing the book, Wilson briefly summarized his methods in six basic steps and then broke them down into smaller sections. This is how the Twelve Steps program was born. Today, similar programs based on Wilson’s original twelve steps are used to help people recover from substance and behavioral addictions and achieve spiritual awakening.

As we’ve already mentioned above, the day Smith achieved sobriety is considered the founding anniversary of AA. The celebration of Founders’ Day is considered an important part of the legacy left by Bill W. and Bob Smith. The biggest Founders’ Day celebration takes place in Akron, Ohio where AA was founded. It is attended by about 10,000 AA members from all over the world each year.

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