An allusion to William Griffith Wilson (1895–1971), one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.
friend of Bill W. (plural friends of Bill W.)
- (idiomatic, euphemistic) A recovering alcoholic, especially one who is a member of the organization Alcoholics Anonymous.
- 1994 May 31, "Obituary: Middletown BRIAN EDWARD CRAWFORD," Providence Journal (USA), p. D10:
- He was a friend of Bill W. and had just celebrated Ten Years of Sobriety.
- 2003 Feb. 23, Lynne Margolis, "Delbert McClinton rocks the boat for music lovers," 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,, →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.
- 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.
- Often used in eulogies and obituaries when the deceased person was a recovering alcoholic.