November Grapevine Articles, page 2.
Nov 1952                                My Last Slip Was Off a Horse

BROTHER - That Was It!

     Most of us wish to remember our last binge. Me too. I was a slipper. My last slip was off a
horse. I had pitched for three days and then I got pitched--straight off a horse's back. I came
in, as usual, at the crack of dawn. I stalled into the stall to hiccup a drunken good morning to
my daughter's new Palomino. This mare was not only new but she was as wild as a March
hare. My fifteen-year-old daughter had "broken" the filly but the horse evidently sensed a
difference between the feel of my lovely sober daughter and her inebriated dad.

     The mare did not like the contrast. There was no bridle and no saddle on this steed when
I eased a looped leg over her spine. I mounted her from the manger. She flew out of that barn
door like a shot out of a cannon. All I had to hold on to was that tiny tuft of blond mane at the
base of her neck. She jumped, and she kicked, and she balked, and she bucked! Horses
must have some sort of secret springs in their flanks, because she got me out of rhythm with,
her romping so that when she was going up, I was coming down. With that last lunge I was
pitched into the air like a flying squirrel. When I came down on that hard barn lot I was out of
breath and out, period.

     At the hospital the x-rays revealed three broken ribs, internal injuries and public
intoxication. I was on the tick for 19 days. But that was my last binge. Resentment has thrown
me, boredom has thrown me, but when that mare threw me, that was IT.

     All joking aside, I found out just how many fine AA friends I had while I was in that
hospital, and with God's help and a 24 hour AA program I am dry and feel that I can remain

Richmond, Indiana
Nov 1952                                                From the Grass Roots


     At times, often, in fact, I'm proud and happy to be an alcoholic. My life was unmanageable
and snarled up before I ever knew the taste of beer or before drinking ever became a
problem to me.

     I remember being unhappy most of the time, as a child, and in high school. The "virtues"
of self-pity, laziness, moral and physical cowardice, lack of discipline and self-centeredness
became greatly accentuated when I started drinking.

     Things haven't changed completely since I've been in AA, but they have changed
noticeably. I believe I'd really be in back of the eight-ball royally now, if I had never drunk and
become an alcoholic. I hate to think that the old sick personality would still be dominant if it
weren't for becoming a drinking problem.

     I have a hometown friend whom we'll call Jack Jones. Jack made me sick with his
self-pity and inferiority complex. He was sorry for himself because he had a minor heart
ailment which kept him out of the war and because he wasn't blessed with an athletic
physique and ability to match. He always ruined our evenings, even with dates, by his
self-pitying remarks. Jack is not an alcoholic and probably never will be, but his personality is
keeping him in a living hell.

     He possibly had three times the self-pity I had. I became an alcoholic, joined AA and have
found an answer to the eradication of self-pity and am working on it. Jack, the non-alcoholic,
is still, as far as I know, in his living hell. I'll take my disease of alcoholism in preference to his

     I know of many others of my acquaintance who are non-alcoholics and who are missing a
lot of what life has to offer mainly because they suffer from immorality, self-pity, big shot
complexes, pride, arrogance, vanity, inferiority complexes, etcetera. They're not alcoholics
and some don't even drink. But, you couldn't pay me to change places with them.

     I'll take my alcoholism and the AA way of life which points the way to the good life. I'm
sorry I had to pass the entrance exams to qualify me for admission into AA but if it's helping
straighten out my life in ways other than quitting drinking. I'm for it!

Dick H.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Nov 1954                        Caution - Please Use the Hand Rails

     IN many public buildings you will see the sign "PLEASE USE THE HAND RAILS," posted
prominently near all stairways. This sign has been put there for a purpose. Safety planners
know that the added support of these rails will make it just a little safer for those using the
stairway. It is by no means certain that you will fall if you disregard the warning, but it is
certain that using them will diminish the hazard.

     Children and aged people, because of their occasional uncertain footing, are almost sure
to use the hand rails. They are anxious to avoid anything that threatens to be a hazard. The
majority of others confidently disregard these signs, and we proceed up the steps absorbed
in our own thoughts of other things. Some few may fall as the result of their heedlessness,
but the greater number find the hand rails unnecessary. Repeated use of the stairs without
the help of the hand rails causes us to be less conscious of them, and we finally become
convinced that the hand rails are put there for the children and the aged only.

     AA has its "hand rails," too. The right rail might be called contact with the higher power,
and the left rail might be called attendance at meetings.

     The newcomers, or "children," invariably use everything they can to insure that their
ascent of the Twelve Steps will be free from falls. The trip looks difficult and beset with many
doubts, so newcomers cling to the hand rails of AA in desperation, hoping that the ascent will
become possible. So it is with the "aged" or more experienced AAs. They have learned by
experience that they must use everything available to maintain their sobriety.

     The rest of us, in our heedlessness, become over-confident, and soon get to the place
where we feel that these two important hand rails are unnecessary for us. We smugly reason
that these aids are intended to be used by the "children" and the aged only, and are not at all
necessary for us in our new found strength.

     The maintenance of sobriety is of paramount importance to us all. We can ill afford to
take any chances, even minor ones. The consequences of a fall are so agonizing and
shattering that we should cling with frenzy to every single thing that will help prevent a
possible catastrophe.

     Let us use the "hand rails" of AA that are provided to insure that we will be a little safer, a
little surer, and a little less likely to fall.

Bob H.
Dunkirk, Indiana
Nov 1958                                        From the Grass Roots

Thanks for the Privilege

     IT'S two days after Thanksgiving Day but I would like to say this anyway.

     I am deeply grateful to be sober and for all the good friends I have found in AA. I don't
believe friendship like this exists in any other organization.

     I am also thankful that I live in this great and beautiful country. I was born in another
country, so maybe I am especially thankful for the privilege to live here.

     I wish that all the groups would show their appreciation for this great AA and send in at
least two dollars per member a year--about half a cent a day is all the General Service Office
asks for.

     When we think of all the money we spent on booze and all the money we spent on foolish
things after we got drunk, booze never did cost too much.

     But now, when we are sober and have more money than we ever had before, if the
chairman or secretary mentions that we should send some money to General Headquarters,
there is always dickering and squabbling about a few dollars. Anyone of us used to go out
and spend that much in a couple of hours and think nothing of it. I can't understand how
people can change so completely and get so darn tight.

     You may print this if you wish.

 In case you're a worrier about chronology of events, this teller was received last year
sometime after Thanksgiving--too late to include in a timely edition--Ed.

A. S.
Kokomo, Indiana