Founding of Alcoholics Anonymous

By the time Prohibition was repealed in 1933, alcoholism was becoming a much too prevalent problem. To combat this, Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in Akron in 1935 by Bill Wilson, a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Robert Smith, an Akron surgeon. The idea came about when discovering that alcoholics helping each other resulted in a great chance of sobriety. Wilson and Smith began working with struggling alcoholics at Akron’s City Hospital. They were seeing almost immediate sobriety with the patients they worked with. Due to the success of the Akron group, a New York and Cleveland recovering alcoholics group was established. By 1939, the group had produced 100 sober individuals. The group was growing and growing and by 1950, over 100,000 recovering alcoholics could be identified. Individuals began travelling from all around the world and admitted themselves to the St. Thomas Hospital in Akron to receive care from Dr. Smith and his staff. Today, Alcoholics Anonymous is the most well renowned organization for helping alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. 

 

Dr. Bob Smith & Bill Wilson

Dr. Bob Smith & Bill Wilson

Photo via: Alcoholics Anonymous