Bill Wilson was the founder of the twelve-step recovery program called Alcoholics Anonymous, who was once listed in Timemagazine as one of the Top 100 People of the 20th century, but never found freedom from his own addictive behavior.

According the Aaron Goerner, the author of “My Name Is Bill”, Wilson did not benefit from the steps laid out in his own program: "Despite his victory over drink, Wilson remained incurably addictive. He chain-smoked himself into terminal emphysema. Even on his death bed, he puffed incorrigibly as he suffocated." Wilson did not drink for the last 37 years of his life, and yet he always craved alcohol. "As he lay dying and semi-delirious, he repeatedly demanded whiskey."

Although he battled the problem of alcohol addiction, he gave in to other obsessions. Wilson was serially unfaithful to his long-suffering wife. He had innumerable affairs and a long-term mistress with whom he contemplated eloping to Ireland. Despite his program's insistence on "rigorous honesty," Bill Wilson lived a lie.