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"It Might Have Been Worse"
(p. 382 in 2nd edition, p. 373 in 3rd edition,
p. 348 in the 4th edition.)
Stopped in Time
was a looming cloud in this banker's
bright sky. With rare foresight he realized
it could become a tornado."
sobriety date and place of entry into
A.A. are unknown.
raised in a family of modest circumstances,
in a small town in the Midwest. He attended
public schools, worked part-time after
school and during vacations, and participated
in some athletics. But ambition to succeed
was instilled in him by his Scandinavian
parents who had come to this country because
they thought there were better opportunities
service in the Army (presumably World War I) interrupted
his plans for success. After the war he continued his education,
married and had a family, and got started in business.
hard and in time became an officer and
director of a large commercial bank, and
also became a director in many important
did not start until he was thirty-five
and fairly successful in his career, but
success brought increased social activities
which involved alcohol. At first it was
just an occasional drink, then the "nineteenth
hole" at the golf course, then cocktail
hours. Eventually the increased drinking
substituted for what he really enjoyed
doing. Golf, hunting, and fishing became
excuses to drink excessively.
promises and broke them many times; went
on the wagon and fell off; tried psychiatry
but gave the psychiatrist no cooperation.
Blackouts, personality changes, hangovers
and remorse resulted in his living in
constant fear. He thought no one knew
the extent of his drinking and was surprised
to learn later than that everyone knew.
His wife tried to control the amount he
drank; tried leaving or threatening to
leave. Nothing seemed to work.
a drunk which ruined his wife's birthday
party, his daughter said "It's Alcoholics
anonymous - or else!"
in A.A. called on him the next day, spent
most of the day with him, and took him
to his first meeting that night.
he wondered if he belonged in AA because
he hadn't had the experience of jails,
lost jobs, lost families that he heard
others describe. But the answer was in
the first step. Most certainly he was
powerless over alcohol, and for him his
life had become unmanageable. It wasn't
how far he had gone, but where he was
headed. He was wise enough to recognize
to realize how his obsession with alcohol
had lead to self-pity, resentments, dishonest
thinking, prejudice, ego, a critical and
antagonistic attitude toward anyone and
everyone who dared to cross him, and vanity.
It took him some time to realize that
the Twelve Steps were designed to help
correct these defects of character and
so help remove the obsession to drink.
to do whatever he was told to do simplified
the program for him. He was told to study
the AA book, not just read it, to go to
meetings, and to get active.
desperately in earnest to follow through
and understand what was expected of him
as a member of A.A. and to take each Step
of the Twelve as rapidly as possible.
that AA is a spiritual program didn't
scare him or raise any prejudice in his
mind. He couldn't afford that luxury.
He had tried his way and had failed.
joined A.A. he did so for the sole purpose
of getting sober and staying sober. But
he found it was so much more. A new and
different outlook on life started opening
up almost immediately. Each day seemed
to be so much more productive and satisfying.
He got so much more enjoyment out of living,
and found an inner pleasure in simple
all, he was grateful to A.A. for his sobriety,
which meant so much to his family, friends
and business associates, because God and
A.A. were able to do for him something
he was unable to do for himself.