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Co-founder William Griffith Wilson, more commonly known as Bill W, is the “incurable alcoholic” who made most of the annotations, but in the late 1930s, numerous typescripts of the work, whose aim was to show others how the members of AA, “…more than one hundred men and women [who had] recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body”, were produced and sent to anyone who inquired, with the request that those who found the book helpful, especially those working with alcoholics, should provide them with feedback.

This present multilith copy was kept by AA as the master and incorporated ideas suggested by outsiders before the work was properly published for the first time in April, 1939.