Leaving Rehab can be exciting but full of dangers. Suddenly alone after being surrounded by people with similar interests and goals. Now you re-enter civilian life and face triggers all round you. This can start on the journey home.
So when our clients are about to leave treatment and fly home, we always reassure them they can find help along the way. For example, at airports if triggered and have a craving or just anxious about waiting alone, then they can find help.
The way to do this in airports is, approach the information desk and ask them to make an announcement for “a friend of Bill W” this is because for other members of Alcoholics Anonymous this is code that a fellow is in need.
Bill W is the name of one of the co-founders of AA, Bill Wilson.
Someone has even printed a bumper sticker “FRIEND OF BILL W” and people will acknowledge each other by beeping and honking.
F.O.B. is an acronym - Friend of Bill
The Anonymity of AA is all important for member’s confidentiality and privacy, this means that you are only expected to introduce yourself by your first name in AA meetings.
Anonymity is also to ensure humility, fairness and equality within the fellowship, so a judge, Doctor or film star is no more important than a homeless person from the street.
Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith cofounded alcoholics anonymous in 1935
The fear of being stigmatized and rejected as an alcoholic or addict is usually not that bad in reality, specially nowadays. However, it is everyone’s right to find that out for themselves, so no other member is allowed to reveal names of fellow members. Many people who come to Rehab do worry about employers and neighbors finding out so we recommend – easy does it.
The main reason for being open about recovery is to let other suffering alcoholics/addicts know there is help. So when you do start telling friends and family you will be surprised how many people will approach you for advice.
These days many high profile people make it publically known that they are recovering Addicts and Alcoholics, this can encourage more people to reach out for help.
Saying Friend of Bill is also a gentle and polite way to identify yourself as a fellow of AA or NA amongst people you may recognize from AA meetings.
I am a friend of Bills W