New Bedford has a very interesting connection to Bill Wilson – or Bill W. – the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

When you consider the story, you can argue that AA may have started here on the SouthCoast. Now that's something worth plastering all over the place.

In a fact that has been researched and verified by various biographers, a young Bill Wilson swallowed his first adult drink of alcohol, that he said tasted good, at a social event in New Bedford at what we know today as the Wamsutta Club at the James Arnold Mansion.

It was 1917, and officer candidate Wilson was invited to a social put on by the people with means. Wilson remembered his New Bedford experience.

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In the book Clean and Sober: How Bill W. Founded Alcoholics Anonymous and Helped Millions, Bob Frost wrote that in 1917, Wilson was 21 years old and took his first serious alcoholic drink that started the fire. Years later, Bill W. recalled the experience in New Bedford and referred to it as the miracle that started it all.

It was that first drink that led him down his path that would eventually lead to the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous and the help it was able to provide for millions.

This is yet another feather in our cap. People in recovery will look at the beautiful Wamsutta Club with a new sense of awe.

To think that New Bedford had a role in the creation of one of the greatest self-help organizations around the globe.


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Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

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