Ebby was the one that carried the message to Bill W. from the Oxford
groups. Ebby had various relapses until 1964.
Ebby had carried the message of the Oxford Group to Bill with great care and dedication -- that recovery from alcoholism was possible using spiritual principles, but only if it was combined with practical actions. Bill Wilson never took another drink, and left Towns Hospital to dedicate the rest of his life to carrying the message to other alcoholics.
Ebby, however, took a different path, one that caused him to have a series of relapses. The man whom Bill Wilson called his sponsor could not stay sober himself, and became an embarrassment. There were periods of sobriety, some long, some short, but eventually Ebby would, "fall off the wagon," as he called it.
Ebby drifted in and out of sobriety, and in and out of AA, with many AA members trying to help him regain a more stable sobriety. The person who was ultimately successful was Searcy W., who had established a hospital for alcoholics in Texas. Early in 1953, Searcy had asked Bill what he would like to see happen in AA, and Bill said, "I would like for Ebby to have a chance to sober up in your clinic." Several months later, it came to pass, and after a short slip in 1954, Ebby remained sober for seven years.
In 1961, Ebby's girlfriend died and the next day Ebby got drunk. He apparently still believed that his sobriety was conditional on having the right woman, and now she was gone. Ebby moved back to New York and lived at several places for the next two years, one of which was at his brother Ken's home in Delmar, a suburb of Albany. He had emphysema, the same disease that caused Bill's death, and was in poor health, his weight having dropped from 170 to 122 pounds.
Ebby eventually came to Margaret and Micky McPike's farm outside Ballston Spa, New York, in May, 1964 and it was under their loving care that he finished the final two years of his life, dying sober on March 21, 1966.