Profiles in Recovery
Bill McLellan


As a former Marine Bill McLellan did not shy away from hard work. After the Marines he enrolled in university, paid for by the GI bill. At the end of his junior year McLellan took an internship with a global science company. Once he graduated, McLellan started his career (with the same company) in their training program. One day he got a call that there had been a wreck. His parents were driving, and his dad had a heart attack while behind the wheel. His mother was able to pull the car over but then suffered a heart attached herself. In a period of only a few hours McLellan lost both his parents.

Listening to a recording of his testimonial given to his men’s bible study group you hear McLellan pause to regroup himself.
He admits, “I never really dealt with their deaths. My two sisters were a falling apart and I had to hold it together.” McLellan often traveled for work and drinking alcohol during these trips was the norm. “Everyone drank, I just didn’t realize I was the only one drinking in excess every time.” While waiting for his then wife at her psychiatrist appointment, he was called back into the doctor’s office. It was after his conversation with the psychiatrist McLellan realized he was an alcoholic. He started treatment the treatment a few days later. He calls, “It was one of those Holy Spirit moments”.

McLellan began his journey with sobriety at the age of 41, today he is 81 and plans to be sober at 82. He has kept sober by helping others become sober and stay sober.

Day Job:
Retired Executive

What I lost to addiction:
My children’s respect, my wife’s trust, confidence in my work and several friendships.

What worked for me:
Treatment and AA
I was led to sobriety by a psychologist and a great sponsor.

Best advice for newbies:
Don’t drink.
Go to meetings.
Pray to your higher power for support.

Rules I live by:
Go to meetings several times a week. Stay clear of active alcoholics until I find a way to them.

Proudest moment:
When my son said, “when you quit drinking you became a nice guy”.

Rock bottom moment:
When my young sons were afraid on me.

On my bucket list:
I joined AA at 41 and I want to still be sober at 82 (I’m currently 81).

At my worst, I was:
I was drinking every day, passing out of on the couch most evenings.

How I get through the holidays:
When I am at a party and there are too many drinks around I go home.

I get inspired by:
The young people coming into this program (AA). They get better fast.

On Finding Purpose:
One of the main things that keeps me sober is helping others; when I get a chance to help someone I take it.

If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].


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