|September Grapevine Articles
|Sept 1946 Indianapolis Churches Offer Clubrooms
An Episcopal rector in Indianapolis, with the approval of his "board," has made
available to a sectional A.A. group the facilities of the church parish house for
its weekly meeting. The facilities include a commodious meeting room, well
equipped with chairs, speaker's desk, a large refreshment room with adequate
table-seating, and a housekeeper to prepare coffee and cake or doughnuts.
Nonetheless sympathetic is the offer of the Unitarian church of the city, with
accommodations equally pleasant and suitable.
|Sept 1946 The Clip Sheet
Indianapolis, Ind., Star: "Indianapolis women who formed their own group of
Alcoholics Anonymous a year ago report that there have been few slips among
those who have decided to stop drinking. Ages of the women in the group are
from 24 to 55 years. Housewives outnumber the business career women in the
Eleven of them offer growth beyond sobriety
WE ARE ALL familiar with the first great promise of Alcoholics
Anonymous--that through its teachings and by working the Twelve Steps, we
can recover from alcoholism and be able to attain and maintain sobriety. Great
as this promise is, it is not the only promise the program makes - contrary to
the current belief of many.
I was well into my twenty-fourth year of continuous sobriety in the AA
program, at a meeting 1,200 miles away from my home group, before it was
brought to my attention that the Big Book makes us eleven other promises
besides that of sobriety.
On page 96 of the original 1939 edition of Alcoholics Anonymous and
starting In the last paragraph on page 83 of the second and third editions, are
these assurances: "We are going to know a new freedom and a new
happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will
comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far
down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit
others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose
interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip
away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and
of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle
situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for
us what we could not do for ourselves."
In all three editions, these words follow: "Are these extravagant promises?
We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes
slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."
Go back and read the eleven promises again. They are beautiful. They
assure us of happiness, serenity, peace, and freedom from regret, self-pity,
selfishness, and insecurity. Are not these the things we so desperately sought,
along with sobriety, when we came to AA? I believe that they are and that
newcomers should be informed of these promises when they are being told of
the AA way of life.
|Sept 1982 Falling Off the Cloud
AFTER BEING dry in AA for three months, I was feeling good, residing on
a pink cloud. Things at home were looking up. My work was of a higher quality
than at any time I could remember. I had been going to meetings regularly,
making about five or six a week. I paid attention and tried to follow directions
and suggestions. All in all, everything was in order and times were good.
Being a creature of habit, I had been following a routine throughout each
week. One Monday, there was the beginning of a break in this routine: I
transferred to the day shift at work. The first week, nothing much changed. I
attended meetings every night, slept four hours, worked under pressure (put on
by myself) for eight hours. Soon, I realized that slowing down in some area
was essential to my health. I started skipping meetings and sleeping more. And
I fell off my pink cloud.
Miserable and lonely, sitting on my pity pot for hours, I began to realize
that I was not enjoying life and that my program was not working. Maybe the
solution would be to stop going to AA meetings. (In fact, I didn't want to be
seen in that condition by my fellow members. Pride told me it was all right; I
could make it on my own. Fear told me I dared not risk a meeting; it would
spoil my misery.) Then, I decided that I wasn't going to talk to any AA people
or read any more of their literature. I would go to one meeting a week and
refuse to listen. Or maybe it would make more sense just to quit and tell them
the exact reason: I couldn't work the program.
One night, I was telling my wife off for the tenth time, and I wound up by
informing her, "I'm going to a bar and practice 'Easy Does It.' " She
immediately informed me that I had just spoken an AA slogan. AA does ruin
your drinking! I told her I was going to bed instead.
Friday night found me on the way to my home group. I hadn't shaved or
had a bath in a week, and I stank. I sat through the meeting wanting to go
home. As soon as the Lord's Prayer ended, a friend next to me put his hand on
my shoulder, wished me well, looked at his hand, and walked away. That show
of affection turned my thinking around. I started feeling better. Two days later,
my depression vanished.
|Sept 1990 Salt and Pepper
My name is "Salt" and this is my goodbye to "Pepper." We're both alcoholics.
Pepper came into the program about a year after I did. His final adventure
included sideswiping half a dozen parked cars just a few blocks from home.
Moments later there was a fine display of flashing lights as the police
surrounded his house, where he hid drunk and trembling.
Like many of us, his first AA meeting was forced. Afterwards his wife asked
him how he liked it and he told her the dues were fifty dollars. That was to
finance his next drunk. But things took a turn for the better.
Joe H.--Pepper's real name--got sober and active in AA. His stories were the
kind that doubled us up and made civilians wonder at our sanity. For example,
there was the time (Joe was a plumber) when he mistakenly hooked a client's
toilet to the hot water lines, creating excitement in the bathroom.
Joe was the first black in this area to achieve a quarter century of sobriety. He
would've had twenty-seven years in August this year. He was also the first
black delegate to the General Service Conference from northern Indiana.
And--who cares about the "black"--he was a good friend of many of us in the
AA Fellowship. I remember once when Joe's friend Jim was in a deep
depression for many months. Joe called on him every day, took tons of verbal
abuse, and forced Jim to get out of bed and into the world, rescuing him from
My name is also Joe H.--and Joe and I both did a lot of AA talks around the
midwest. Both of us had been Conference delegates, and our backgrounds
were similar in other respects. Except I'm white.
When AAers heard that Joe H. from Fort Wayne was going to talk, they didn't
know which of us to expect. He carried the message much better than I did,
and on one occasion in southern Indiana after I'd given a lead, a fellow came up
to me and said, "My wife got all dressed up to attend this meeting with me, but
she thought Joe H. was a black man from Fort Wayne." He got a kick out of
that story. Then somebody came up with new tags. I was Salt and he was
Pepper's health started failing him about two years ago. Last week he was
sitting in his living room talking to his wife. He got up from his chair, saying,
"Well, I'd better be getting around," and fell over dead. He was seventy-three.
Funeral services were held in the same church where--more than twenty-five
years ago--Joe let his wife out of the car to go in for Sunday services, as a
deacon yelled to her:
"Don't bring that drunk in here."
But by funeral time, Joe was a respected and active member of the church.
Perhaps Joe's isn't an unusual story. But I thought it should be recorded. It's
Salt's way of saying goodbye to Pepper.
|September Grapevine Articles