AKRON, Ohio, June 10 (UPI) -- It was June 10, 1935, when Alcoholics Anonymous came into existence in Akron as Dr. Robert Smith took his last drink.
The Columbus Dispatch says Smith, a surgeon, was feeling jittery after a bender when AA co-founder Bill Wilson gave him a beer to steady his scalpel just before an operation.
The newspaper said Dr. Bob and Bill W. (AA members use only their first names) pledged that after that last drink, they'd help each other remain sober and work to help others.
That was the beginning of AA and its 12-step program that includes an admission that a person is powerless against addiction and submission to a higher power.
Bill D., a patient at Akron City Hospital, became the third member of AA's first group that summer. A second group started that same year in New York, followed in 1939 by a third group in Cleveland.
Today, Alcoholics Anonymous claims more than 2 million members in about 150 countries.