Bill W.—no last name needed—is familiar to any kid dragged to a church basement on a Friday night and told to quietly eat butter cookies while grownups take turns talking about how their obsession with alcohol repeatedly, unceasingly, keeps ruining their lives. Bill's the long-dead co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he's revered as something close to a personal, tangible messiah among the hard cases who cling for dear life to his books, his "higher power" mantra, and his now-ubiquitous 12-step program. At a time when alcoholism either led to jail or the asylum, Bill W. offered a way out. But the singular—and perhaps most powerful—message that oozes from Bill W
., an occasionally slow-moving documentary probing Wilson's life, is a simple, inescapable fact about the man: He was just another alcoholic.
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Bill W.: The Alcoholic Behind Alcoholics Anonymous