friend of Bill W.

English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

An allusion to William Griffith Wilson (1895–1971), known as “Bill W.”, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Pronunciation edit

  • (file)

Noun edit

friend of Bill W. (plural friends of Bill W.)

  1. (idiomatic, euphemistic) A recovering alcoholic, especially one who is a member of the organization Alcoholics Anonymous.
    • 1994 May 31, “Obituary: Middletown BRIAN EDWARD CRAWFORD”, in Providence Journal, USA, page D10:
      He was a friend of Bill W. and had just celebrated Ten Years of Sobriety.
    • 2003 February 23, Lynne Margolis, “Delbert McClinton rocks the boat for music lovers”, in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, retrieved July 8, 2011:
      The Sandy Beaches cruise offers Alcoholics Anonymous meetings billed simply as Friends of Bill W.
    • 2004, Jack Canfield et al., Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul,[1], →ISBN, page 49:
      Most people in recovery know that asking if you are a friend of Bill W. is an anonymous way to identify yourself as a member of AA.

Usage notes edit

  • Because of the stigma attached to alcoholism, and Alcoholics Anonymous' commitment to protecting the identities of its members, the phrase is a furtive shibboleth for individuals to identify themselves as members of Alcoholics Anonymous, or to identify Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on schedules, etc.
  • Often used in eulogies and obituaries when the deceased person was a recovering alcoholic.

See also edit

References edit