Alcoholics Anonymous: Visual Aids for the Sane

Birth of an A.A. Slogan by Michael X.

In 1935 Bill Wilson met Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. Wilson remained in Akron for a time and stayed close to his new friend...closer than you may have imagined. Wilson had been sober for about 6 months and was still suffering from the physical ravages of alcohol. Among his chronic ailments were hemorroids and a variety of urological problems including bladder infections and an enlarged prostate.

As luck, or as some people call it, "the Will of God," would have it, Dr. Bob's specialty was proctology. In keeping with the Oxford Group slogan, "No charge for soul surgery," Bob examined Wilson's rectum pro bono. Wilson's lower region was extremely tender, and he cried, "Easy does it, Smithy!" as Dr. Bob inserted his finger.

The slogan "Easy Does It" became a sort of running inside joke between the founders. Wilson liked to say it in Smith's presence because Smith would blush everytime he did. It was Wilson's way of having a little fun with ol' Smithy. The saying gradually caught on with others. Today "Easy Does It" is inscribed on plaques around the world in A.A. clubhouses. But few people know it came straight from Bill Wilson's ass.

Fortunately Smith persisted with his examination and was able to give Wilson the treatment he needed. Hence Smith used to reply to Wilson, "Easy Does It. But Do It!" which has also become popular in AA.