March 21 1966 Ebby Thatcher died in Ballston Spa, New York. Ebby was the man who Bill Wilson called his sponsor because it was Ebby who came to Bill in his Brooklyn kitchen November 1934 and told how he had stopped drinking.
We know this as a central part of “Bill’s Story” on pages 8 to 14 in The Big Book. On page 11, Bill writes:
“But my friend sat before me, and he made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself. His human will had failed.”
Ebby stayed sober for a few years and then drank again. He sobered up with the new program—it had morphed from the Oxford Group to become AA. In and out he went—struggling with jobs and relationships. In the last few years of his life Ebby lived with a community of AA people in Ballston Spa who ensured that he did not drink, so that he would be able to die not drinking.
I celebrate Ebby because it is clear that he was used by God. Not to be an AA star like Bill, but to carry the message and be a cog in the wheel. The consequences for his own life are not the stuff that any of us in sobriety wish for but we owe this deep debt to Ebby T. for getting Bill Wilson sober. And the rest is our history.