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Big Book – A Business Man’s Recovery

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RUDELL, BILL – Bill wrote the first edition Big Book story, “A Businessman’s Recovery.” Bill Ruddell was born in 1900. According to his story in the Big Book, he first got sober in February 1937.

A Business Man’s Recovery — William Ruddell
New Jersey
Original Manuscript, p. 242 in 1st edition

Bill Ruddell was born in 1900. According to his story in the Big Book, he first got sober in February 1937.

When the Alcoholic Foundation was established in the spring of 1938, he was appointed as a trustee. He almost immediately got drunk and was replaced by Harry Brick (“A Different Slant”)

He was underage to join the Army in WW I, but ran away from home and lied about his age to join up. It was in the Army that he started to drink.

He tried many geographic cures. Instead of coming home from Germany after the war he stayed, then took jobs in Russia, England, and back to Germany.

He came home in 1924 hoping Prohibition could help him stop drinking. There he discovered the speakeasies.

So he shipped off to the Venezuela for a job in the oil fields. They soon poured him on a ship and sent him home.

He had tried doctors, hospitals, psychiatrists, rest cures, changes of scenery, etc., to try to stop drinking. He got married to a woman named Kathleen, hoping marriage would solve his problem. But even Kathleen couldn’t help.

Finally he consulted a doctor who referred him to A.A. Bill Wilson talked to him and told him his own story, then told him to think about it for a few days. He was back to see Bill again the next day.

Dr. Bob and the twelve men and women whose stories are in this section were among the early members of A.A.’s first groups. The third edition introduces this section by saying that they all had passed away of natural causes, having maintained complete sobriety.

But it is known that Marty Mann and Clarence Snyder were both still living  when the third edition was published, and Marty had a later slip of which perhaps the editors of the third edition were unaware.



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