Letter from Bill Wilson to Jim Burwell
November 14, 1961
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.
November 14, 1961
First, all the best to
you both. And thanks for your remembrance of mother - she die [sic] 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
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.
Back to AA History Page