Historical Tidbit: Who wrote Chapter 8 of the Big Book, “To Wives”?

Who wrote Chapter 8 of the Big Book, “To Wives”?


G.S.O.’s Archives can provide extensive historical information about A.A.W.S.’s literature and pamphlets: origins; content; editions; printings; changes; and corrections that have been made over time.

Based on the readily available reference material, Bill Wilson was the author of the chapter of the “Big Book” titled: “To Wives“.

Chapter Eleven/’PASS IT ON’ (p. 200)

“Bill wrote at least ten of the opening chapters of the book; there is some reason to believe that “To Employers” may have been written by Hank. But there is no doubt about the authorship of “To Wives.” Of that chapter, Lois said, “Bill wrote it, and I was mad.” She added, “I wasn’t so much mad as hurt. I still don’t know why Bill wrote it. I’ve never really gotten into it — why he insisted upon writing it. I said to him, ‘Well, do you want me to write it?’ And he said no, he thought it should be in the same style as the rest of the book.”

Lois Remembers (pg. 113-14)

“By then I had had my own awakening and realized how much the understanding and loving cooperation of the wife could help the alcoholic in his newfound sobriety. Earlier Bill and I had been puzzled and disappointed that not all the families continued as happy as it seemed they should be, after the pink-cloud period experienced by many new members had waned. We had begun to realize how distorted the relationships in families of alcoholics could often be, how important it was for families to understand about alcoholism and to rearrange their own thinking.”

“Therefore I had expected Bill to ask me to ask me to write the chapter “To Wives” and perhaps the following one, “The Family Afterward“. When I shyly suggested this, he said no; he thought the book, except for the stories, should all be written in the same style. I have never known why he didn’t want me to write about the wives, and it hurt me at first; but our lives were so full that I didn’t have time to think about it much”.

BOB and The Good Oldtimers (pg. 152)

In the same letter, [letter from Bill W. to Dr. Bob S., dated June, 1938] Bill suggested that Anne have a chapter in the book to herself. “My feeling,” said Bill, “is that Anne should do the one portraying the wife.” Her modesty–her inclination toward staying in the background–may have been the reason that she did not write it.

Lois did not write the chapter, either; she wasn’t asked. When she suggested that she do so, Bill said, “Oh, no. It should be in the same style as the book.”

Recently, Lois said, “I’ve always been hurt by it, and I still don’t know why Bill didn’t ask me, although I never brought it up again.”

Bill himself wrote the chapter that came to be called “To Wives,” and Marie B., the wife of a member from Cleveland, wrote a personal account for the story section of the first edition.”


Critique of Chapter 8 – To Wives | AA Agnostica

Who Wrote TO WIVES? (webs.com)

Back to Basics Archivist Page 3 (aabacktobasics.org)


One comment

  1. […] This is an interesting article on Women & Booze. The main thesis is that men and women interact with alcohol differently, therefore, Alcoholic Anonymous is not the best option for women, since many are not alcoholic according to the author. There are several important points she raises about women & booze such as the lack of ability of A.A, to adapt and update program elements that may not make sense any longer, or maybe never did. This is valid and I have presented similar thoughts before. In addition, the chapter, “To Wives” was not actually written by Lois Wilson, which further supports the claims of AA being anti-feminist Who wrote Chapter 8 of the Big Book, “To Wives”?. […]

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