Bill W. Could Get His Own Postage Stamp

By Mei Schultz 07/10/13

Groups petition the USPS to put the co-founder's face on a postage stamp in honor of AA's 80th anniversary in 2015.

AA's co-founder Bill Wilson via

In honor of the 80th anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous in June 2015, a group of organizations is petitioning the US Postal Service to commemorate AA co-founder Bill Wilson with an official postage stamp. "The creation of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon has helped millions of alcoholics, addicts, and family members," reads the petition, which was launched by the non-profit group Writers in Treatment, the International REEL Recovery Film Festival and In the Rooms. It has collected 307 signatures so far. "bill w. is an american legend. people can turn trials into good to help so many others despite their imperfections," comments one petitioner. AA was founded by Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, drawing from the teachings of the Oxford Group, a religious organization that advocated for self-improvement by encouraging members to admit wrongs, make amends, and use prayer and meditation. Wilson used these principles to recover from alcoholism, and to create the 12-step method underlying AA. Meeting groups began to materialize after World War II, and there are now more than 1.3 million Americans AA members and millions more across the globe. About 250,000 Americans also belong to Al-Anon, a support group for the families of addicts started by Wilson and Smith's wives, Lois Wilson and Anne SmithThe goal is to unveil the stamps at the 80th Anniversary convention on June 12-14, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia, which is expected to draw 75,000 participants.

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Mei Schultz is a copy editor, journalist and uUndergraduate Research Assistant at Columbia University Medical Center. You can find her on Linkedin.