A friend of Bill?


“I like your necklace. Are you a friend of Bill W.?”

Knowing that this is a reference to AA, and although I’ve never gone to meetings, instinctively I answered, “Yes”.  I’m a former drinker and I’ve worked hard to stay that way, pretty much on my own.

Tim, offering that he is 19 years sober and still goes to meetings 5 days a week, seemed to want to talk.

I told him the story of the pendant. Last year, almost 8 months after I quit drinking, I took a road trip with my son. On that trip, the first I can recall without alcohol, I made a point of buying myself little rewards to celebrate my sobriety.

On our last day I found myself in a Native American shop looking at sterling silver jewelry. As I browsed, one piece with an unusual design caught my eye. I asked the shopkeeper if he knew the significance of the symbol, and he said he didn’t. I was drawn to it and it was reasonably priced, so I bought it.

Back at the hotel room with my iPad, I did a search for “triangle in circle symbol”. I learned that it’s widely used in AA. What? Wow. Seriously.

I’ve worn this pendant a lot. Tim was the first person who approached me and acknowledged its connection to AA and recovery. I felt proud to be wearing it and happy that it helped me connect to a kindred spirit.

Afterward, I wondered about my response to the “Bill W.” question. Am I a “friend of Bill” if I embrace a life of recovery but I don’t go to AA?  Is it unauthentic to wear a symbol of a movement that I support but to which I don’t “belong”?

Here’s what I think: the sober community is diverse and no matter how we got here, we share a common bond. Code words and symbolism that help us to connect to one another can only be a good thing.

7 Comments on “A friend of Bill?”

  1. tfay64 says:

    I like it, it kind of looks like my tattoo I got over 2 years ago! hmmmm….. 🙂

  2. Riversurfer says:

    The last that you wrote: “the sober community is diverse and no matter how we got here, we share a common bond” is precisely how I see it too. Even if you don’t attend any AA meetings you are still one of AA as you have embarked on the same journey as any other sober alkie. We are both friends of Bill and also… you have that beautiful necklace, I need to find one too! 🙂

    Take care dear Ginny!

  3. Hi Ginny! As a regular attendee of AA, there is no doubt in my mind… you are absolutely a friend of Bill W.’s! Thanks for following, and I look forward to reading more from your blog!

  4. UnPickled says:

    I’ve often wondered the same thing about the authenticity of wearing an AA symbol. I like your take on it, and I’m glad to see all the comments that agree. And I’d love it if we could all find each other so easily!!

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