The “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” Show
Interview with Bill Boyles about
the September 2012 Vermont A.A. History Workshops
By Dick B.
© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
You can hear this radio interview right now!
You may hear Dick B. interview Christian Recovery leader Bill Boyles, Part 2, on the September 23, 2012, episode of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show here:
Episodes of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show are archived at:
Today’s guest is William Boyles of Wyoming, Delaware. Bill returns for this interview because of the major role he plays in our quest for Alcoholics Anonymous history and the roots of the Christian Recovery Movement. More significantly, because of his role in supporting and participating deeply in our recent, week-long workshops in the State of Vermont.
Bill twice came to East Dorset, Vermont years back to participate in my weekend A.A. history seminars at the Wilson House. He distributes free large quantities of our history books. He was a major sponsor of the Second Nationwide History Conference in Delaware. He left a prestigious job with a Delaware utility, formed a non-profit Christian Recovery program called Won Way Out, and also traveled from Delaware to Brentwood, (Northern) California, to be a speaker at our Christian Recovery conference there.
Bill is a devoted Christian, a long-recovered AA, and much involved in recovery outreach in his community, churches, and 12 Step meetings Not surprisingly, when Bill came up to Vermont to be a participant in the A.A. history workshops there, he brought a newcomer who probably enthused more over the many places visited than anyone else in our group.
Today, Bill will tell us about the workshops, the Vermont locations, the historical findings, and the challenges unearthed at St. Johnsbury, East Dorset, and Norwich University. He will also discuss our meetings in Manchester and the trip in general.
Take it away, Bill
Synopsis of the Bill Boyles Remarks in the Interview
St. Johnsbury, Vermont:
Bill traveled 8 hours up from Delaware and 8 hours back with his newcomer friend, Charles B., and they joined our workshops at St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Bill talked about Dr. Bob’s birthplace and boyhood home on Summer Street. He was much interested in how “modest,” “humble,” and “basic” the Smith home was. This particularly since Bob’s father was not only a Judge and prominent in church, YMCA, and St. Johnsbury Academy affairs, but also much involved in banking, legislative, and business affairs. In short, Bill felt this reflected the entire Smith family traditions focused on things spiritual rather than things material.
Bill and Charles attended meetings at the Dr. Bob home. They noted that locals there knew very little about A.A.’s Christian roots.
Bill was enthusiastic over the entire trip, pointing out that he had been sober for more than 25 years, a student of the Steps, the Big Book, and now of the A.A. cofounders.
From the whole scene, Bill believed he had obtained a very clear picture of the importance to the Smiths of the Word of God and pursuing Christian principles. He noted the significance of The Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury where thousands “came to know the Lord.”
At North Congregational Church, he was particularly struck by the archives showing the extensive participation of the Smith family. Even records of the Sunday school and how much was paid by each person. He reviewed the many resource volumes carefully, and he participated in the dedication of the Dr. Bob Core Library there, urging people to stop in, and gain the extensive information on A.A. History and the opportunity to access it. He believes recovery people need much more information about the Christian roots of A.A. and Dr. Bob’s Christian upbringing fully evidenced by the resources at St. Johnsbury
Bill had never been to Manchester before. He was impressed by the wealth of the community residents. Particularly the large homes of the “summer people” who included the entire family of Bill Wilson’s wife, Lois Burnham, and the entire family of Bill’s sponsor Ebby Thacher.
Much was learned by visiting the First Congregational Church which was attended every week by Burr and Burton Academy students, which reserved a pew in the church for those students, and was the location of graduation and other functions for the students. He also visited Burr and Burton Academy where Bill Wilson, Bill’s girlfriend Bertha Bamford, Ebby Thacher, and Roger Perkins—son of the Congregational pastor with whom Ebby boarded during his time at the Academy.
As he traveled, Bill sensed the clear need for the Vermont facts concerning individuals in recovery. The roll of the family was apparent. The Vermont locations were small towns. Community was paramount, as was family and upbringing. He believed there is a similar need today with more fellowship in small groups.
He enjoyed hanging out with other workshop participants as the trip progressed. He expressed a special interest in today’s technology where by MP3, newcomers and AAs can download talks. He believes this is the wave of future information about A.A. History and the Christian recovery movement.
Northfield, Vermont (location of Norwich University):
This huge, prestigious, and very old United States military academy was attended by Bill Wilson, Ebby Thacher, and Lois’s brother Rogers Burnham. Our team poured over the archives and the well-stocked library.
Bill was particularly interested in the detailed school records of courses and grades. He noted that Bill’ grades indicated Bill had been poor in mathematics but excelled in English and French.
Jim H., our participant, driver, and photographer, took over 800 photos throughout the workshop visits. Bill commented that “seeing is believing.” Hence we will soon have pictures that we can share with sponsees, newcomers, and at programs.
Bill noted the plaque devoted to A.A. and Bill Wilson and its mention of 12 Steps for the symptoms of addictions. He recalled the plaque at Dr. Bob’s house in St. Johnsbury which specifically mentioned both alcoholism and addictions.
About our newcomer participant, Charles:
Bill pointed out that we had “dumped” much information on him that left him somewhat baffled. But the sixteen hours of travel enabled lots of talk about A.A. History. Charles was amazed at how truly Christian A.A. was and even is today. He wanted to start carrying the message. He was fired up to learn, see, and pass it on. Bill believed the Spirit is leading him into full-time ministry.
Bill was very interested in seeing the production of a documentary, of many photos, writings, and website materials on A.A. History and the Christian Recovery Movement. He was most
thankful for the participation of Tuchy Palmieri from Connecticut—who is reprinting so many Oxford Group and other historical books that Bill himself has studied and believes should be more widely read.