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Letter from Bill Wilson to Jim Burwell
November 14, 1961

Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.

November 14, 1961

Dear Jim,

First, all the best to you both. And thanks for your remembrance of mother - she die[d] May 15th last. When, during the last few months she realized she could not get out of bed alone, she began to quit eating. This was quite deliberate, and it finally did her in. That was the way she wanted it, and she made a swell job of passing away - in fact, was mighty cheerful about it.

You may have noticed my article in the Grapevine, which indicates that I have taken another several steps toward the sidelines. For many years I meant business on this, and at last the time is now here.

I think there are a few situations in which I can still help. Our trusteeship needs several more out of town members, and perhaps a better method of selection. Eventually I expect we shall have to shift the ratio and install an A.A. Chairman of the Board. If we fail to do this, we shall be denying our present-day capabilities. And whether this is a good idea or not, we shall never know unless we try.

As to the Twelve Step Houses - well, there you've got me. I haven't actually seen one of these operations in a very long time. I think the impression at the office is that some seem good, some seem fair, and others practically no good. About the best that can be done is to restrain them from soliciting money at the top public level or busting anonymity for public and the like. From this end we try to hold the line at this top level. Beyond that there isn't a thing that we can really do except to leave these situations to the areas concerned. It's like the trouble we used to have with the clubhouses in the old days. Some were damn good, some were damn bad. But these things do have a way [of] working around, after enough experience. What the outcome of the Twelfth Step Houses will finally be, I'm less qualified to predict than anybody I know. I'm getting like Rip Van Winkle, just waking up in the Adirondacks!

Meanwhile, the old desk gets piled pretty high, in spite of my supposed retirement. I could make a full-time job of answering mail; another full-time job looking after all my old friends in trouble; a full-time job of traveling and speaking; a full-time job of messing around the office.

But I don't think these are the most effective things that I could do from herein. I shall continue to do a little of all of them, but the assignment has gotten so big that it couldn't be handled anyway. So I'm beginning to get out from under a great many of these things which may often be desirable to do, but which are becoming impossible.

Once again the old desk is piled up - so I have to fly. I know you'll understand.

In affection,

/s/ Bill



Index of A.A. History Pages on Barefoot's World

As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of A.A. with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In A.A. and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!

ABC Page 60 -- Barefoot's Recovery Pages



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