28 February, 2021

The Foreign Hand

The Covid shutdown meant no one could stay in the hotel where Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson was 'born behind the bar' in 1895

The Foreign Hand

The shrinelike birthplace of one of the two Vermont natives who founded Alcoholics Anonymous is in danger of closing, another victim of the pandemic. The shutdown from March until midsummer meant no one could stay in the hotel where AA co-founder Bill Wilson was “born behind the bar” in 1895, reports the Associated Press. “The house is a symbol of hope. It’s a symbol of humanity. It’s a symbol of our commonality, and it’s a place to feel it, touch it, smell it, experience it,” said Andrea Barthwell, formerly in the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

As someone in recovery, she said, walking the halls of the Wilson House had a profound impact. “It would be an incredible loss to have that go down because of Covid,” she said. The shutdown meant recovery groups couldn’t rent the East Dorset hotel for seminars, and local Alcoholics Anonymous groups that attracted people from nearby states or even farther couldn’t use the meeting rooms.

AA memorabilia festoons the largest meeting room in Wilson House,...

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