June 10, 1935. Dr. Robert Smith takes his last alcoholic drink, a beer to steady his hands for surgery, a moment that marks the birth of Alcoholics Anonymous. Smith had been desperately addicted to drinking until meeting Bill Wilson, a New York stockbroker and himself a reformed alcoholic. Wilson had been involved with the Oxford Group, a Christian fellowship that sought to tackle alcohol addiction, and Smith was the first person he had mentored to sobriety. The pair moved away from the Oxford Group and developed their own philosophy with their ’12 Steps’ to beating alcoholism. Today AA has more than two million members in around 115,000 help groups in 180 countries around the world.
Also on June 10: Bridget Bishop becomes the first person executed in the Salem Witch Trials (1692); start of the first ever Oxford University vs Cambridge University Boat Race (1829); Saint Rafqa becomes Lebanon’s first female saint (2001).
Born on June 10: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921), Judy Garland (1922), Liz Hurley (1965).