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1575 NMOlson@aol.com
Significant January Dates in A.A. History Significant January Dates in A.A. History 1/1/2004 4:07:00 AM Happy New Year to all 795 AA History Lovers.  By popular demand, I am resuming sending the monthly significant dates in A.A. history.



Nancy



January 1:  

1946:  The A.A. Grapevine increased the cost of a year's subscription to $2.50. 

1948:  "Columbus Dispatch" reported first anniversary of Central Ohio A.A. Group.

1948:  First A.A. meeting was held in Japan, English speaking.

1988:  West Virginia A.A. began first statewide toll-free telephone hotline.



January 2:

1889:  Bridget Della Mary Gavin (Sister Ignatia) was born in Ireland.

2003:  Mid-Southern California Archives moved to new location in Riverside.



January 3:

1939:  First sale of Works Publishing Co. stock was recorded.

1941:  Jack Alexander told Bill Wilson the Oxford Group would be in his Saturday Evening Post article on A.A.



January 4:

1939:  Dr. Bob stated in a letter to Ruth Hock that A.A. had to get away from the Oxford Group atmosphere.

1940:  First A.A. group was founded in Detroit, Michigan.

1941:  Bill and Lois Wilson drove to Bedford Hills, NY, to see Stepping Stones and broke in through an unlocked window.



January 5:

1941:  Bill and Lois visited Bedford Hills again.

1941:  Bill Wilson told Jack Alexander that Jack was "the toast of A.A. -- in Coca Cola, of course."



January 6: 

2000:  Stephen Poe, compiler of the Concordance to Alcoholics Anonymous, died.



January 8:

1938:  New York A.A. split from the Oxford Group.



January 12:

1943:  Press reported the first A.A. group in Pontiac, Michigan.



January 13:

1988:  Jack Norris, M.D., Chairman/Trustees of A.A. for 27 yrs. died.

2003:  Dr. Earle Marsh, author of "Physician Heal Thyself," sober 49 years, died



January 15: 

1941:  A.A. Bulletin No. 2 reported St. Louis group had ten members.

1941:  Bill Wilson asked Ruth Hock to get him "spook book," "The    Unobstructed Universe."

1945:  First A.A. meeting held in Springfield, Missouri.

1948:  Polk Health Center Alcoholic Clinic for Negroes started operations with 14 willing subjects.  The Washington Black Group of A.A. cooperated with the clinic.



January 17:

1919:  18th amendment, "Prohibition," became law.



January 19:

1940:  First A.A. group met in Detroit, Mich.

1943:  Canadian newspaper reported eight men met at "Little Denmark," a Toronto restaurant, to discuss starting Canada's first A.A. group.

1999:  Frank M., A.A. Archivist since 1983, died.



January 20:

1954:  Hank Parkhurst, author of "The Unbeliever" in the first edition of the Big Book, died in Pennington, NJ.



January 21:

1951:  A.A. Grapevine published memorial issue on Dr. Bob.



January 23:

1961:  Bill W. sent an appreciation letter, which he considered long-overdue,  to Dr. Carl Jung for his contribution to A.A.



January 24:

1918:  Bill Wilson and Lois Burnham were married, days before he was sent to Europe in WW I.

1971:  Bill Wilson died in Miami, Florida, only weeks after sending a postcard to Senator Harold Hughes of Iowa, saying he wanted to live long enough to see Hughes become President.



January 25:

1915:  Dr. Bob Smith married Anne Ripley.



January 26:

1971:  New York Times published Bill's obituary on page 1.



January 27:

1971:  The Washington Post published an obituary of Bill Wilson written by Donald Graham, son of the owner of the Washington Post. 



January 30:

1961:  Dr. Carl Jung answers Bill's letter with "Spiritus Contra Spiritum."



Other significant things that happened in January (no specific date available):



1938:  Jim Burwell, author of "The Vicious Cycle," a former atheist, gave A.A. "God as we understand Him."

1940:  First AA meeting not in a home meets at Kings School, Akron, Ohio.

1942:  "Drunks are Square Pegs" was published.

1951:  The A.A. Grapevine published a memorial issue on Dr. Bob.

1984:  "Pass It On," the story of Bill W. and how the A.A. message reached the world, was published.

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1576 jeffrey4200
Wynn L. Freedom From Bondage Wynn L. Freedom From Bondage 1/1/2004 2:42:00 PM

She married and divorced four times before finding A.A. The first
time she married for financial security; her second husband was a
prominent bandleader and she sang with his band;

I wanted to know if anyone know the name of the band she sang with
or the bandleaders name. If you have any information please let me
know.
Thank you
Jeffrey Nilsen

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1577 gratitude
Re: Question On When Districts Started Question On When Districts Started 1/1/2004 6:34:00 PM
Hello AAHLs,



Just so happens there's an article in BOX 459 that speaks about the
district and how it relates to the DCM (the DCMC in larger districts). 
Please see quote below:



"The term “district” was mentioned during early General Service
Conferences, and both “district” and 'district committee member' were
used informally in the 1950s. The term 'district' was included in the
1955 draft of The Third Legacy Manual of World Service (now titled The
A.A. Service Manual) and 20 years later was formalized in a 1975
supplement to The Service Manual.



"In today’s Service Manual a district is clearly defined as  'a
geographical unit containing the right number of groups — right in
terms of the D.C.M.’s ability to keep in frequent touch with them, to
learn their problems, and to find ways to contribute to their growth.
In most areas a district includes six to 20 groups. In metropolitan
districts the number is generally 15 to 20, while in rural or suburban
districts it can be as small as five.'   (To encourage maximum group
participation, some areas have incorporated linguistic districts. These
usually have a bilingual D.C.M. or liaison, and their boundaries may be
independent of the conventional geographic district boundaries.)"



Phil L.

Outgoing DCMC Distric 4 - Long Beach

Singleness
of Purpose Workshop
- March 21

gratitude@linkline.com





Arthur wrote:



Hi History Lovers


 


Can anyone help me pin
down the year that Districts started
and the General Service Structure position of District Committee Member
(DCM)
was established?


 


I would dearly like to
find out in what year the Third
Legacy Manual defined Districts and DCMs. My guess is the early 1960’s
but that is only a guess.


 


The earliest reference to
“district” I can find
in Conference advisory actions is a 1966 action for a glossary to be
added to
the Service Manual. There is a 1956 advisory action that uses the term
“district” but it seems more in the context of what would make up
an Area rather than a District.


 


Any help or citations
from written references would be most
appreciated.


 


Cheers


Arthur






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1578 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine Clip Sheet, Feb. ''48 Grapevine Clip Sheet, Feb. ''48 1/2/2004 4:35:00 AM Grapevine, Feb. '48



[Note:  There was no clip sheet column for Dec. '47 or Jan. '48.]



The Clip Sheet

Excerpts from the Public Press



Boston, Mass., "Post": "Guernsey Island in the English Channel has an effective way of handling topers. It still retains its ancient custom of blacklisting alcoholics, in the hope of reforming them. A member of the tippler's family applies to the court, which issues an official order that no one is to sell him liquor thereafter, and to put teeth into the ruling the court orders a police photo of the offender to be posted in every bar. In England in the days of Oliver Cromwell drunkards were punished by being forced to walk around in a barrel with their heads protruding from the top and their arms dangling on the sides through holes. It has been suggested that this custom may be the origin of the term 'pickled.'

"The ancient Romans used an 'aversion therapy' that is not unlike certain modern methods in use. Chronic alcoholics had to drink wine in which live eels were swimming, on the theory that this would create excessive disgust.

"The word teetotaler, by the way, stems from the French 'the-a-toute a 1'heure,' which means literally 'tea in a little while.'

"Alexander the Great would have lived longer if he had squeezed less grapes. He was a prodigious drinker, one of the mightiest, in fact, of his era. But he carried the crock to the spigot once too often. After two nights of guzzling he drained the so-called Hercules cup, which was the equivalent of six bottles of wine. He never awoke."

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1579 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine Clip Shee, March ''48 Grapevine Clip Shee, March ''48 1/3/2004 6:04:00 AM Grapevine, March '48



Clip Sheet - - Items of Interest from the Public Press



"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette": "Vicious Den of Pinochle Players Unmasked: VICE RAIDERS CRASH A.A. PARTY -- Police Snoopers Smash into Roomful of Ex-Drinkers Quietly Whooping It Up for Abstinence -- It was the members of a police squad who wanted to be anonymous and not the Alcoholics, after an incident Saturday night which left the four raiders red-faced and sputtering. As you might or might not know, Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of persons whose purpose is to rehabilitate tipplers. Saturday night is usually the thirstiest night of the week for a drinker and, in an effort to get him 'over the knuckle,' as they say, the A.A.s sponsor a little social every Saturday eve for members and wives. This social consists of card games such as bridge, pinochle, '500' and other amusements such as bingo. Everyone pitches in for the sandwiches and coffee, and a good, dry time is had by all. Such was the situation Saturday night on the second floor at 3701 Fifth Avenue where the A.A.s were laughing it up to the tune of 'nine under the B' and 'four no trump' when there came a knocking at the door. It was the kind of bold, hard knock that settled silence over the 100 or so persons gathered in the recreation room. An anonymous member opened the door, and a broad-shouldered man shouldered his way into the room, flashed a badge, and blustered: 'What's going on in here? We've had a complaint about this place.' Three other policemany-looking men followed him and surveyed the soiree with steely eyes. It was explained that this was a harmless Alcoholics Anonymous social and they were welcome to join in the card games if they didn't mind not playing for stakes. The four men clutched their hats, muttered something about 'we must have made a mistake,' slowly backed out of the door and tiptoed away. Some of the A.A. members claimed at least two of the raiders were members of Lieutenant Lawrence Maloney's vice squad. This, however, the lieutenant denied, declaring that all members of his squad were with him on other business Saturday night."



Sydney (Australia) "Sun," January 1: "Sydney Women Alcoholics in New Group.  Inaugural meeting of a women's group of Alcoholics Anonymous, first of its kind in Australia, will be held in Sydney on January 14. The meeting is open to any woman with an alcoholic problem and no other visitors will be permitted. ... This society of mutual aid is expanding rapidly in Australia. Alcoholics Anonymous is nonsectarian and non-political. A.A. is so busy applying its principles to alcoholic sufferers that it has no place for arguments about creeds or politics."



Sydney "Sun." January 16: "Women Alcoholics Urge Special Clinic.  'Many women have experienced mental hospital treatment when recognition of their malady as a public health problem would have been more humane,' said a spokesman of Alcoholics Anonymous Inter-Group today. 'We know alcoholism as a disease. In most cases, proper place for treatment is in a public hospital or alcoholic clinic. ... Because no hospital or clinic exists, many alcoholics are forced into institutions and gaols where no treatment for their disease is given.'"



Santa Rosa (Calif.) "Press Democrat": "There was a contribution to Santa Rosa's Memorial Hospital Fund last week that is, perhaps, one of the most unusual to date. It was a $1,600 donation. There have been others larger, others smaller, but none with a more dramatic story behind it. The contribution is money that might have been wasted, and came from men whose lives, too, might have been wasted. It came from the Santa Rosa Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is the grateful contribution of former alcoholics now devoting their efforts to aid other victims of alcoholism, including some now successful businessmen for whom A.A. provided a turning point in life. ... The substantial hospital contribution is too significant to pass unnoticed, and calls for some recognition of the role A.A. has been playing in rebuilding lives right here in our community, lives that faced ruin as a result of the disease of alcoholism. The local group was established October 9, 1945, with six members. ... There is now a membership of 75, but over 100 have been benefited during the past two years. ... The need for hospitalization and medical attention is critical in a great many cases. Since alcoholism is recognized as a disease, the medical profession, the psychiatrists, courts and the hospitals are cooperating with A.A. in every way possible. But the A.A. here recognizes the need for an adequate hospital in Santa Rosa, and is doing its share to get one -- doing it with money that cured alcoholics might have wasted had it not been for Alcoholics Anonymous."



Elmira (N. Y.) "Advertiser": "It is a great privilege to attend a meeting of this wonderful group which has found the way to bring peace and sobriety to so many hundreds of sick and troubled folks. Its method is simple and direct. It works for the proud and the humble, the rich and the poor -- works because an alcoholic of any estate is the suffering blood brother of every other man or woman who has passed beyond the border into the land where drinking is a thief that steals away family and friends and respect and money and health and mind and finally life itself -- does all that and more unless by some miracle he can find the way not to take the drink that numbs and dooms him."



New York "Herald Tribune": "TOWN'S 80 TOPERS EXILED FROM BARS.  Five Women in Group Facing 90-Day Discipline -- Bedford, Pa. (UP)  Drinks were shut off today for five women and 75 men of "known intemperate habits" in this mountain community of 3,500. The ban was put into effect through resurrection of a nearly forgotten state law forbidding sale of liquor to persons of such habits. Proprietors of each of the 11 bars in the town were ordered to post in a prominent place lists containing the names of the 80 drinkers in the police department's 'doghouse.' The lists will be brought up to date every 90 days. If any of the wayward drinkers shows improved habits their names will be removed. Assistant Police Chief H. A. Clark said: 'We just decided we'd put up with these people long enough. If we had to help them home every night, it was a nuisance. If we brought them in and fined them, we were taking bread out of their wives' and children's mouths. This will work better.' "



Brewton (Ala.) Standard": "If there were any who might have gone to the meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous which was held here recently in order to scoff, we are quite sure that they remained to offer prayerful thanks for an organization that is doing such a wonderful piece of work. Most of us are inclined to look on a man or women who is a victim of the alcohol habit as just another sot. But the A.A.s will soon convince you otherwise. While the disease is incurable, it can be arrested through the own efforts of the victim and with the help of his friends, so the A.A.s say. And they not only say it, they demonstrate it by their own experience. One remarkable thing about Alcoholics Anonymous is that it is not a crusading organization. It solicits no members and does not impose itself on any alcoholic who does not first request help. And therein, in our judgment, lies its greatest strength. It does not presume to interfere with the personal rights, and liberties of any person to consume as much alcohol as he chooses. But it does offer to that person who seeks aid in his problem what seems to be the greatest 'cure' for drinking that has ever been devised. The word 'cure' as we have used it here is ours -- not that of the A.A.s. They make no claim that their philosophy can cure alcoholism. ... The inspiring thing about the organization is the spiritual rebirth that appears to take place in those who adopt the philosophy which it teaches."

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1580 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine Clip Sheet, April ''48 Grapevine Clip Sheet, April ''48 1/4/2004 2:03:00 AM Grapevine, April '48





THE CLIPSHEET -Excerpts from the Public Press



Alliance, Neb., "Times & Herald": "Worn and haggard police officers who wonder what will happen next on Saturday nights will be very much interested in a classification of drunks as outlined by a New Jersey police chief some time ago.

"Police have met most of the following engaging characters and if not, they will be glad to be on the lookout for the types they haven't yet had the displeasure to meet.

"Here are the different classifications of persons who have swilled too much C2-H5-OH in one form or another:

     "Alias Joe Louis

"1. The fighting drunk -- gets nasty after a few drinks and wants to fight anyone he sees, male or female.

"2. The religious drunk -- heads for the nearest church and drops off to sleep. (This species is comparatively rare in Alliance.)

     "3. The leaning drunk -- is reluctant to move and wants to lean on the nearest upright solid substance, whether it is the policeman, a fellow pedestrian, lamp post or a plain wall.

"4. The crying drunk -- this obnoxious person carries a good part of the community's alcohol in his system and a large part of the woes of the world on his heaving shoulders.

"Unsweet Adeline"

"5. The singing drunk -- here's the person who after a few bottles or drinks is convinced he can make Tibbett look and sound like a chump. Flats where he should sharp.

"6. The suspicious drunk -- he's convinced that the police or his companions or both, are trying to railroad him into some asylum or jail, where he rightly should be, by the way.

"7. The wife-beating drunk -- this character is usually a small man mentally and physically and would not engage in a fight with a 7-year-old boy without the false courage of a bottle. When he drinks he wants to lambaste somebody, usually his ever-suffering wife.

"8. The running drunk -- this guy is always in a hurry. He goes crabwise down the street, usually in search of another shot.

"The Big Gesture

"9. The generous drunk -- this slaphappy person is tighter than Jack Benny with a nickel until he drinks too much and then he makes a fool of himself by going around waving fistfulls of bills at everybody. It's usually the money to pay off an old telephone bill.

"10. The loving drunk -- he always wants to kiss every woman in sight except his own wife.

"11. The talking drunk -- tells interminable stories, invariably about himself. None of the yarns has any point or interest.

"12. The important drunk -- this is the person who wants to dominate everybody around him and who is filled with yarns about all the big shots he knows.

"This unsavory crew are all well known to most policemen. The average citizen meets them once in a while. They make up 12 good arguments for Alcoholics Anonymous. Because they aren't.



"VA Recommends A.A.

"Newsweek": Even the harassed doctors, long used to sobering up lost-week-end revelers, had never seen anything like it. From Friday to Monday, drunken veterans reeled into Veterans Administration hospitals demanding the cure.

     "Of the thousands who applied, about 10,000 veterans were treated for alcoholism in 1947, as compared with 6,459 in 1946 and 3,529 in 1945.

"Although tests showed that almost none of the alcoholics had service-connected disabilities or appeared to be suffering from alcoholism because of service connections, alarmed relatives, energetic local politicians, and veterans' organizations insisted that they be cared for in the already overcrowded VA hospitals.

"Boozers: In exasperation, authorities finally made a nationwide survey among the VA hospitals. Last week Dr. Harvey Tompkins, assistant chief of the neuro-psychiatric division, gave Newsweek these facts:

"Two-thirds of the veteran cases are 'pure, uncomplicated alcoholism,' with no evidence of mental illness. The others have accompanying mental or emotional ailments ranging from manic-depressive psychoses to less serious psychoneuroses. More than 10 per cent of all VA neuropsychiatric cases are alcoholics. (Inexplicably, the Southeast and Southwest account for more than half the alcoholic patients.)

"The Veterans Administration has no specific treatment for alcoholism. In some instances it takes weeks, and in others months or years, to curb the craving for drink. VA doctors have tried insulin injections, forced vomiting to make the men "rum-sick," and group psychotherapy -- but with very little success.

"In some hospitals, Dr. Tompkins said, 'as few as 10 per cent of the patients show themselves amenable to treatment at all.'  The great majority entering the hospital with uncomplicated alcoholism merely stay long enough to sober up and then demand release.

"A.A. Aid: For the veteran who wants to recover, VA doctors recommend Alcoholics Anonymous help as the best course. Nearly all VA institutions have made a working arrangement with this group, providing space in the hospitals for A.A. meetings and personal interviews with the patients. In turn, many cured veterans become A.A. crusaders and work in the wards on new cases.



"Night Club Now A.A.

Des Moines, Iowa, "Register": Babe's nightclub in downtown Des Moines, under padlock as a liquor nuisance since Oct. 29, was taken over Wednesday by the Des Moines chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous as a clubroom.

"District Judge Loy Ladd, who had ordered the place padlocked, required the A.A. group to post a bond guaranteeing that no liquor will be brought on the premises.

"'I am granting this application because I feel that this particular group (Alcoholics Anonymous) is one of the best organizations for suppression of intemperance in existence today,' Judge Ladd said.

     "'In Des Moines they have proven themselves successful in curbing and curing alcoholics,' he said.



"Sentenced to A.A."

Westport, Conn., "Herald": A sentence was imposed in Town Court this week by Judge Leo Nevas that deserves more than local attention.

"A chronic alcoholic who is a solitary drinker was before the bench. Such cases have been there before, leaving the judge and prosecutor worried because the state has no hospital to which the habitual drunkard can be sent for treatment. Although medicine and jurisprudence are today looking upon these cases as sick people rather than as only inebriates, nothing official has been done to cure them.

"The court cannot overlook the offenses when the drinkers become public nuisances, which the case of this week definitely is. But fines do no good and jail sentences too often aggravate the mental illness which makes a man or woman a drunkard. What can the court do? Judge Nevas decided. He imposed a jail sentence but suspended it on certain conditions. These conditions are what make his decision important.

"The drunkard, he ordered, must once more become a member of Alcoholic Anonymous. She must report to the Yale Clinic for treatment. She must keep in close contact with her own physician. She must report to the probation officer weekly. Should she fail to do these things she must go to jail even though Judge Nevas knows well that a term there will do her no good unless it should frighten her to do the things he has ordered.

"This sentence was imposed in the hope that the woman wants to help herself. If she doesn't, none of the suggestions will help. Alcoholics Anonymous, with its increasing record of aid to drinkers, can accomplish nothing without the determined cooperation of the patient. It is unlikely that the Yale Clinic can help those who refuse to help themselves.

"Judge Nevas, however, was willing to believe the woman's insistence that she did not want to drink and would do anything to stop the habit. If she really means that, the clinic will probably turn her back to society completely cured.

"This is a little court but into it can come problems of great importance, and this was one of them. Other courts might well emulate the example set by Judge Nevas. Other courts, too, might well watch how this case turns out. It should be of interest to everyone.

"And the case plus the decision emphasizes anew the need for a state-operated clinic in Fairfield County set up properly for the treatment of habitual drunkards. There seems to be no other way to help them.



"De-Smartize" Drink

Boston, Mass., "Boston University News":  "Our culture is too tolerant of drunkards of either sex," claims Dr. Herbert D. Lamson, Professor of Sociology.

"Commenting on the proposed Massachusetts law to control the sale of alcoholics to women 'barflies,' Dr. Lamson argues that 'the alcoholic problem should be controlled for both sexes. A law which differentiates cannot be a far-reaching measure nor can it touch the basic problem.

"'We must de-smartize the drink. We have been sold a bill of goods that it's smart to consume liquor by persons who have profit motive at stake. Profits in the industry are great,' continued the sociology expert. 'Alcoholism plays a great role in family disintegration, and society must face its abuses.'

"As an alternative program to laws, Prof. Lamson suggests preventive methods. Alcoholics Anonymous is now in the first stages of the curative method, but a preventive approach must be begun in schools with health and alcoholic education, commencing in the grade school and varying at different school levels.

"'We must have institutions for alcoholics, and not throw them in jail. Jail isn't helping them solve their problem,' says the doctor. 'Provide recreational facilities, hobby centers, and athletic contests as outlets for escape,' concludes Dr. Lamson, 'and it will do more than any patch-work laws can possibly do.'"

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1581 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine, June ''44, Mail Call for the Armed Forces Grapevine, June ''44, Mail Call for the Armed Forces 1/5/2004 4:33:00 AM This new series comes to us courtesy of Tony C.



Grapevine, June '44



Mail Call for All A.A.'s in the Armed Forces



When the idea of bringing out a New York Metropolitan A. A. paper was conceived, one of the first thoughts was that it might prove particularly helpful to our members in the Service. If anyone doubts what such a paper can mean to these men, here, we think, is the answer. Corporal Hugh B., now in England, had no knowledge of

our project when he wrote one to us recently: "Your letter of ten days ago was much appreciated and was one of the most newsy A.A. letters I have received.  Certainly was interesting to hear about the boys and gals all over the world. Made me think that we should have a monthly publication. Think it over!"



The records kept by our Central Office show approximately 300 A.A. members now in Service, with some 40 coming from the New York area and belonging to various Metropolitan Groups. These figures, due to constant changes, are probably not complete. Of the New York crowd, the files indicate 26 are in the Army, 9 in the

Navy, and 5 scattered between the Merchant Marine and other auxiliary services.  Eleven are known to be commissioned officers and the remainder are serving in the ranks.



These men, and in a few cases women, are as a rule cut off rather abruptly from any direct contacts with the Groups and are often subject to disturbing new influences and unusual temptations to take that fatal first drink. They, it would seem, face a harder battle in their recovery than most of us, benefiting, as many of us do, from almost daily association with our fellow members. Yet frequently they come through unscathed! We would like to give you a few examples of their clear thinking along A. A. principles:



A Navy lieutenant (j.g), who joined A.A. over two years ago, wrote us recently from a South Pacific Island: "Your mention of John N. [an A.A. of even longer standing, now a lieutenant in the Army. Ed.] caused me to investigate.  He was evacuated for stomach trouble two days before I looked him up and for four months he had been only half a mile from my camp. Such is life!" [Both these men have had fine records of sobriety with A.A. and have now seen considerable service at an advanced base. What an A.A. meeting that would have been. Ed.]



In December, John N., the Army lieutenant, had written: "We have arrived at a New Island and are set up in a coconut grove. Your letter was most welcome. How often these days I think of the fine times I had in A.A. and the wonderful people I have met. The whole thing means an awful lot to me and I thank God for being allowed to be a part of it. My work is interesting but hectic but I have really improved on the 'Easy Does It' department. I know who to thank for that too. So Flushing has a separate group now. That is wonderful!"



Again we quote our naval correspondent: "I should like to address an A.A. gathering now, as I have a perspective that few get the opportunity to enjoy, having been completely apart from the Group for nearly a year, and it is easy to see the fundamentals closely, and determine the main factors --  I think even more closely than

when one is steeped in A. A. work with daily contact. It is easier to see how the program works into every day normal life too."



Once more, from Bob H., now an Army sergeant overseas, written last Thanksgiving Day: "When I think of myself just eighteen months ago, I realize, too, just how much I have to be thankful for. I've been more fortunate than most -- maybe someday I'll feel I've earned my breaks. I should hate to have anything happen to me now, before I have a chance to do something, however small, worth-while with my life." [This man had worried about not getting the spiritual side of the program. Ed.]



THE WORDS OF A DANGLING MAN



"'Off Again, On Again Finnegan' has a new lot of loyal rooters: the 'You're In--You're Out' Selective Service inductees, aged twenty-six to thirty-eight.

  "For the past six months, on alternate Tuesdays, the Home Editions of the paper you read had us in the Army or Navy  'within a month,' but by Seven Star Final time, one of the two Washington authorities (the one who hadn't had a press interview earlier in the day) was quoted as saying that men over twenty-six would probably not be called 'until later in the year.' And so it goes, and so we go -- crazy!

  "But wait: Easy Does It. How thankful I've been for having that little 'punch-line' pounded into my daily living. To me, that's a first 'first step.' It keeps me from jumping to conclusions, making snap judgments, becoming excited or irritated over the way things 'seem' to be. It cautions me to cut my pace, mentally, and make certain things are as they may seem. It permits, above all, the serenity that comes, with reflection, as I repeat the process of turning my will and my life over to the care of My Higher Power. Does that sound simple? Or do you think I'm putting down one little word after

another here because that's what our program tells me I should do? Well, I'll tell you, if twelve months ago I had been riding the Selective Service Merry-go-round (without A.A.) two things would have happened: (1) My wife would have been relieved at the prospect of my being in service, preferably in Timbuktu (if that's at the other end of the world); and (2) I would have been a rip-roaring, hell-bent-for-another-drink, psychoneurotic alcoholic.  Today, I'm sober and not in service. Tomorrow, I may be in service, I don't know. But I do know that tomorrow I'll be sober, through the Grace of God and Alcoholics Anonymous. David R."

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1582 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine, July ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, July ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/6/2004 3:13:00 AM Grapevine, July '44



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



In our first issue we told of the near reunion on a South Pacific Island of two veteran A.A. members, one a Navy, the other an Army, lieutenant. Our Navy friend now writes: "Have been having a few A.A. reunions out here on my own. Finally ran into John N., who has returned to this isle after an absence of several months. We see each other frequently and reminisce about the real old days. In addition to Johnny, I had a reunion with the master of a Liberty ship which came in here a short while ago -- he was a member of the Frisco group and out on the ship we just left the South Pacific and were right back in the old atmosphere. Both of us agreed that without the Group, neither would be here. Such reunions as these do wonders for people who have been more or less completely cut off, and living in a world apart. Give my best to all the old gang, and tell them to start those letters coming!" [That closing sentence should give us pause for thought. Ed.]



The South Pacific lads are, it seems, our most prolific correspondents, and the following recent letter from Navy Lieutenant Bob W. to a fellow-member of a New Jersey Group contains so much sound A.A. philosophy that we are quoting it, in as far as space permits, verbatim:



"Dear Tom: Life has been very full and interesting for the past few months. I am still living the way you expect me to and if I was ever tempted I am sure the memory of those who mean so much to me would intervene and put a halt to such ideas. There are plenty of boys who aren't doing themselves any good out here but it is quite easy to get a 'don't give a damn' attitude when you're so far from any civilization. There will be more than ever for us to do when this is over, Tom.



"News about the new groups is very interesting. Personally I think it is a healthy sign. Every great philosophy of living, Christianity, Mohammedanism, or what have you, has grown because the original leader has multiplied himself by creating other strong leaders who in turn did the same thing. Whether you conceive of A.A. in the category of a religion or not, it certainly is a plan of life for those of us who need it and it will spread only as fast as capable leaders develop to organize in such a way that it will be accessible to as many as possible. Some are more effective

with certain types than others but there are all types who need the program. You say you prefer the 'bottle drunks' and the Salvation Army bums. Someone else wants to deal with 'dignified drunks,' whatever they are. The need for this thing is far beyond the question of personalities but we still have to remember that we and our prospects are human beings, so it behooves us to present our merchandise as attractively as possible. If you work more effectively with one kind, which is quite likely, and someone else does better with another, I say full steam ahead on that basis. The underlying need and the answer to it will remain the same and we will all be happier because we will be doing our best work. Some of the groups will probably die off if the leadership isn't there, but they will merge with stronger groups.



"I didn't mean to get going on that subject but I am enthusiastic about the development. It seemed to me at times that the South Orange meetings were getting so large as to be somewhat awesome to new members who were naturally a little shy. One

of the most important holds on the new man is making him feel that he has a real part in the scheme.



"When you get a chance, please give me the late news. You can do a lot of good for your SOUTH SEAS BRANCH, you know. One of the extra dividends of A.A. is that you get to know such damned fine people. Sincerely, Bob." [We, too, wonder who the "dignified drunks" are and think it would be restful 12th Step work to contact a few. Ed.]



ONCE AGAIN, EASY DOES IT



"Dear Bud: I feel like a rat not having answered your letter long ago; I'm afraid I'm not a very good correspondent. At least I can now tell you where I am -- Maui is the spot, the Hawaiian Islands the locale. This must be almost anti-climactic for you to hear, as I'm sure by this time you have pictured me anywhere but here -- probably down under, in a jungle surrounded by Japs. However, I'm in no hurry; I'll probably get there soon enough. Meanwhile this is a grand spot, and I feel very lucky indeed to be here. This climate just suits me, the scenery, flowers, etc., are lovely, the swimming superb, and recreational facilities are excellent. As far as I'm concerned, these Islands are all they're cracked up to be and more. I've seen Pearl Harbor, done Honolulu, swum at Waikiki, and lolled around the Royal Hawaiian. Even so, I'll take Maui.



"I've had several letters from Bob D., and these, together with yours, have kept me pretty well posted on doings in New York. Was sorry to learn that the new Club House fell thru; but no doubt this will be only a question of time. I was interested, too, to learn of the proposed -- shall I say 'Trade' publication. Sounds intriguing, if it

can be worked out. Give my best to Ed C., Bob D., Chase, Bill C., John, and all the rest, including the gals. Best regards, Bob H."



[On receipt of Bob's letter, we immediately got in touch with the Central Office which will send him by Air Mail the address of the Honolulu group (see story in this and previous issue). As a veteran A.A., "dry" for two years, we believe he can he of invaluable assistance to that fledgling group which is trying so hard to consolidate its beachhead, and that he, in turn, will be pleasantly surprised to find A.A. has now reached the Hawaiian Island's. Ed.]



First reactions to The Grapevine received from A.A.s in Service are favorable. Accordingly, we urge all members to send in interesting data, especially from members overseas, expressing ideas dealing with the Program, methods of handling their special problems, or amusing incidents of Service life.



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1584 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine, Aug ''44, Mail Call for All A. A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, Aug ''44, Mail Call for All A. A.s in the Armed Forces 1/7/2004 3:21:00 AM Grapevine, Aug. '44



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



In answer to our D-day letter, that old raconteur, Warrant Officer Norman M., shot one back at us from the South Pacific in near record time. His letter, dated June 15, enclosed as an exchange copy for The Grapevine an amusing Picture Supplement to an

Air Force paper. Norman writes: "The Grapevine! There's a sardonic double entendre masthead if I ever saw one. It, like the whole tone of the paper, is perfectly A.A. in spirit. The utter lack of finality in editorializing as well as its sense of humor about its mission is grand! And what a gem it is for an A.A. to get overseas.

Alcoholics are such a peculiarly 'much-in-common' group that I sometimes doubt how I'd behave in the Tokyo chapter of the A.A.! Comes that day, I think we'd better start one. Talk of alibis! Whew! The very thought makes me jittery and I can't get to 24th Street soon enough."



(The ideas expressed in the following letter are, according to the author, "the result of much meditation during tropical nights on a South Pacific Island." We hope other members in the Service, wherever stationed, will find time to meditate and pass on to us as helpful an analysis of their conclusions on the effectiveness of the

Program.)



"As an officer in the Navy, completely apart from active touch with the Group for 11 months, I have had considerable opportunity to reflect that certain phases of the overall picture have been the most important in the A.A. Program; a program which has proved to be the most powerful influence in shaping my life. At a distance, not

clouded by too close a perspective resulting from very active participation in Group matters, one has occasion to get a clearer view of the problem as a whole. Two years ago I attended my first meeting. It impressed me terrifically--so much so, in fact, that for the first year I 'worked' the program every possible moment, i.e., meetings, calls, discussions, etc., as well as trying to practice the principles. This, combined with the fact that I reached the portals of A.A. fully 'ripe,' and anxious to do something about my problem, has made it easy for me to remain 'dry' since that first meeting. From my reflections on A.A., and what it has meant to me, three salient factors have impressed themselves on my mind:



"1. The definite and final realization that I cannot take a drink and react like a normal person. This had been pointed out by others before A.A., but it took the understanding, and the 'decide for yourself' approach of A.A. to convince me. Now I realize the fatality of believing that 'this time will be different,' and know that, no matter how long sober, the same old pattern will start with the first drink,

whenever taken. To my mind, no other method has been devised to convince the alcoholic as conclusively of this fact as the plan of A.A., of hearing and watching (on '12th step' work) other alcoholics and their experiences.



"2. The gradual stirring and awakening of the Spiritual side of my personality: Before A.A. I had never given consideration to spiritual thought, or the power to be transmitted and released through contact with God, and the resultant influence in shaping one's life. Through the Program, an interest in Spiritual thought evolved, I

know not exactly how, and this contact with a 'Higher Power' has resulted in the banishment of fear, a peace of mind which I never expected to enjoy, and a change in my whole method of living. In fact, it has reached into corners of my life far apart from the problem which led me to A.A.



"3. The friendships which have resulted from being in the Group: These are truly real friendships in every sense of the word. While I feel that I have many friends outside of A.A., and also the ties that bind me and my brother officers. I know that in time of crisis of any kind, none would stand by with clearer understanding or a more sincere desire to help than each or all of my many friends in the Group. For from the teaching of A.A. as a program of living come richer friendships than any others.



"To my mind, any one of the above three factors would, of itself, make the Program worthwhile. Combined, they have remolded my life, and provided it with its greatest experience.  Y.G."



FROM THE ATLANTIC FRONT



On the eve of D-day, another good A.A. member, an Army officer in a responsible post, writing from England, gives his method of working out the problem of lack of A.A. contacts:  "We are pretty tense wondering if and when the big show is going to start. I think often, with pleasure, of our small meetings. In fact, I believe I have an even deeper appreciation of them and the friendships made there than I did before.  Being over here under present circumstances gives you a pretty sharp perception of values. A.A. has been working without a 'slip' for me. By reading and rereading the book and holding regular thought sessions with myself, I have been able to compensate in part for the lack of association and group therapy. Feel very confident but not cocky."



ADDITIONAL OVERSEAS NOTES



From one of our two-man Group on a South Pacific Island (see the last issue):



"G. and myself have a wonderful time together. To meet one of the boys in a place like this is really out of the world. He has a jolt which is very harassing and he takes it right in his stride. His attitude is a fine example. ... I have met lots of people in my travels but give me the understanding, tolerant group of people I left

at 24th Street. John"

   

What locality is your guess on this one? "Both typewriters and ink are scarce in these parts. So are napkins, matches, good coffee, female legs with proper curves (all the ladies look like they're muscle-bound), streets that know where they're going, sunshine, and good plumbing."

 

From an Island in the South Pacific: "It's so damned hot here that even a nonalcoholic would 'blow his top' on a drink. "



A London oddity: "A cabbie from Brooklyn who'd been here since the last war."





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Grapevine, Sept. ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, Sept. ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/8/2004 3:20:00 AM Grapevine, Sept. '44



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



We received a letter from Bill X., who has been in Northern Ireland, which starts innocently enough with a pat on the hack for the Editors and winds up with the germ of a great idea for a new column for the paper:



"Congratulations to the staff. Two copies have come along now and Grapevine has proved a 24th Street extension course for me [24th Street refers to the New York clubhouse]. It will be particularly helpful for isolated individuals sweating out the prologues to pub-crawling without the Group; and for new Johnny-come-latelys out in

Jeeptown, Arizona, with the book only. Grapevine is a meeting by mail.



"That new group in Honolulu will be aided no little by the publication of their tribulations in getting started because we are all rooting them on from all over the world. The house organ idea, with the chit-chat, lore and some party line thinking, establishes a newer sense of unity which projects the group therapy phase a step further. It's terrific.



"Why not have a little 'Alibi Alley' or 'rationalization of the month' column, printing the phoniest excuses submitted. For example, 'Well it was like this, see, it was the night of the invasion, and here I am sitting back hundreds of miles from the action, squarely behind a typewriter, a chair-borne paragraph trooper. So, getting such lousy breaks, and being such an eventful day, how could a little drink or

possibly two hurt anybody, and even if it did hurt a bit, how could it compare to the thousands of casualties on the beachhead, and how could such an insignificant taking of a drink or possibly two be noticed during such a catastrophic, world-shaking event. And, oh yes! I have just been promoted to sergeant, and that in itself calls

for a little good-humored drink of celebration or possibly two, in itself.'



"'That's right, you only get promoted to sergeant once. After showing up at noon the next day when I was on duty, and with the shakes no less, I damn near got busted. since that time I have taken some active steps including coming clean on the whole

deal to my boss. And I have a date with one of the highest churchmen over here to pass the story on, etc. Grapevine (the first issue) had come a few days after the 'slip' and it was a real antidote to the fogs and fears. I simply sat down and had a

meeting with the whole outfit. So you can understand my enthusiasm for Grapevine."



Permission, accompanied by the encouraging comment, "More strength and success to you," was obtained to print this interesting official communication: "The Army War College Library would appreciate greatly being placed on your mailing list to receive

future copies, and also to receive a copy of each back number. This is a subject which has a bearing upon the efficiency of military personnel." To the Librarian, our best Grapevine bow.



LIEUTENANT RE-DISCOVERS BEAUTIES OF "EASY DOES IT"



One of the strongest motives behind the starting of The Grapevine -- in fact the main thing that pushed the Editors from the talking to the acting stage -- was the need so often expressed in letters from A.A.s in the Service for more A.A. news. We felt that their deep desire for a feeling of contact with A.A. might be fulfilled at least in

part by such a publication -- by us and for us. And, as the first issue emerged from the presses, a letter came to one of the Editors from a woman A.A., a Second Lieutenant stationed in an out-of-the-way place. It was a cry for help:



"' . . . if things keep up the way they have been going I'm going to be in more trouble than I can handle. ... I've been recommended for promotion, but ... My work is more than satisfying, but off duty I'm a total loss. There isn't a single soul here that speaks the same language. ... The Army is a funny place. One is expected to drink, but not to get noisy or pass out or do any of the things drunks

do. ... I've met a few A.A.s but we've only been in the same place for a short time. Several of them were in the same boat as I, skating on thin ice, but I don't know the outcome. Frankly, I'm scared. Has this problem been discussed at meetings? If so, has anyone offered any constructive suggestions? M.L."



A copy of The Grapevine went off by return mail. And now comes this:



"Dear Editors: The second copy of The Grapevine just arrived. Does that mean I'm to get it every month? It's proving no end of a help to me. Thanks so much for getting it started, anyhow. ... I guess there isn't much one can do about the sort of spot that I'm in. There isn't anything wrong but loneliness and boredom, and there's no way out of that, for now. ... Right after the first copy of the paper arrived I decided to try to take it a little easier (I'd forgotten all about 'Easy Does It'). ... I was working so very hard that the hectic on-duty and the static off-duty hours didn't mix. For some reason it doesn't seem as bad to be bored now. M.L.

P.S. I got that promotion I wrote you about."



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1586 alev101@aol.com
Which city is this they are referring to in this passage? Which city is this they are referring to in this passage? 1/8/2004 12:11:00 PM
Does anyone know which city they are referring to in this passage?

 

page 163

 

    We know of an A.A. member who was living in a

large community.  He had lived there but a few weeks

when he found that the place probably contained

more alcoholics per square mile than any city in the

country.  This was only a few days ago at this writing.

(1939)  the authorities were much concerned.

 

Stumped in NYC

Ava

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1587 Lash, William (Bill)
RE: Which city is this they are referring to in this passage? Which city is this they are referring to in this passage? 1/9/2004 8:42:00 AM
According to my notes they are talking about Hank P. in Montclair N.J.

 

 

 

 

 


-----Original Message-----
From: alev101@aol.com [mailto:alev101@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 5:11 PM
To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Which city is this they are referring to in this passage?


Does anyone know which city they are referring to in this passage?

 

page 163

 

    We know of an A.A. member who was living in a

large community.  He had lived there but a few weeks

when he found that the place probably contained

more alcoholics per square mile than any city in the

country.  This was only a few days ago at this writing.

(1939)  the authorities were much concerned.

 

Stumped in NYC

Ava





Yahoo! Groups Links




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Grapevine, October ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, October ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/9/2004 3:47:00 AM Grapevine, October '44



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



We are fortunate to have secured the following story for this issue of The Grapevine from an A.A. who participated in the preparations for D-Day and the actual invasion.  We think his conclusions should he helpful to all A.A.s:



When we sailed out of New York harbor bound for England I was riding a high swell of confidence that I would be able to keep on the A.A. beam without too much trouble.  Several factors contributed to that comfortable feeling. We had just completed a period of training that was pretty tough for a 40-year-old, chair-borne officer, and I

had survived the spells of low spirits that so often accompany physical exhaustion.



"The Army had twisted, flexed and P.T.'d us into top condition. Among the officers traveling with me was a close friend who knew about A.A. and was wholeheartedly in favor of my membership. My foot-locker contained an elemental A.A. library: 'the' book, Screwtape Letters, Return to Religion, Lost Weekend, and Christian Behavior, to which I planned to turn for remindful reading. Finally, I was enroute to a C.O. who previously had been informed that I was not drinking, thus relieving me of prospects of any embarrassment, imagined or real, over the 'have-one-on-me' kind of

comradeship with him. So, notwithstanding the thoughts of danger that occur to anyone moving into a combat zone, I had few misgivings about anything and particularly not about alcohol even though each hour took me farther from 24th Street and the revitalizing smaller meetings.



"On the arrival in the ETO [European Theater of Operations] I quickly began to appreciate the difficulties that are likely to confront an A.A. away from other A.A.s unless the pattern of the new way of

thinking has been carved very deep. England had already been overrun by Yanks and the British had decided, not without basis, that we liked to drink, knew how to drink and had the money to pay for our drinks. So, in their efforts to be hospitable, the Scotch, the Irish, the Welsh and the English doled out whiskey, gin, rum, and mild bitters from their limited stock. That was fine for non-alcoholic Yanks, and they went to no greater excesses than are inevitable for any nationality away from restraints of home and living under wartime pressure. For quite a time I went along all right with the aid of the various tools and tricks A.A. had taught. I re-read my books. Each morning I'd give a few minutes, whether in a flat in London or a Nissen hut at one of our bases in the country, to the 24-hour plan and A.A. principles in general. And I'd talk occasionally with my A.A.-minded friend.



"Then, inspecting old churches and cathedrals and palaces on off-duty hours in the country began to pall. Presently I realized that the pubs are among the most interesting places in England. It is true that they offer an open door to an intimate knowledge of the British, and I was anxious to get to know the people as well as possible. Even after I began going to the pubs I managed to sidestep trouble for a long time, a fact which I now make a point of remembering because it supports a vital lesson that I hope I've learned too thoroughly to forget, ever.



"D-Day came with an unforgettable air assignment followed soon by a transfer to France with a succession of hectic experiences on the ground. At least they were hectic for me and I hit emotional extremes I never had before. Yet, through it all I stayed on the beam. Although we naturally had to travel too light for me to he carrying books, I had an A.A. card in a case with my AGO identification card and I continued that brief contemplation in the morning. Liquor was available here and there. Where isn't it? Anyway, an alcoholic will find a bottle even on a Sahara if he puts his mind to it. But I had no urge.



"Trouble did not develop until I began to get lazy about my way of thinking. Sometimes I felt in too much of a hurry to re-read my poem or even go through the premeditated thoughts that had proved so useful, I begun to slip back into the old pattern. Incredible as it seems, one of the hoariest of thoughts that bedevil an A.A. seeped into my mind. Perhaps things had been going too well. Maybe I was cocky. Maybe it was the tension. There always are plenty of excuses. Presently I was toying with the idea that I had "progressed" to the point where I could handle a few. Why not try? Mild and bitters were new drinks. Perhaps they wouldn't have the same effect as liquor at home. The climate was different, too. From there, of course, it was an easy step to nibbling. The fact that I did not get drunk the first few times helped to grease the way right into the hands of Uncle Screwtape. I even told my friend, who did not know all the wiles of an A.A. on the loose, that I had found a new system for drinking. Due to restricted stocks, the 'governor' of many an English pub would lead his customers from whiskey to gin to rum and finally to bitters during an evening. This switching from one kind of potion to another enabled me to avoid getting too much of any one, I said. Amazing, isn't it?



"By blessed luck, no disaster occurred. No one noticed my drinking particularly. After all, getting mildly drunk was no sin in itself and I resorted to the old trick of going away by myself to have more after reaching that point where I knew I was on the edge. After a few hangovers with the old dreary miseries, I managed to pull up and do

some thinking. A hangover in the comparative peace of your own home is bad enough. It's infinitely worse when punctuated by the noises and smells and sights of war. I went back to morning contemplation augmented by mental pauses during the day wherever I was -- bouncing in a jeep or lying in a foxhole. At first I didn't put much meaning into what I was saying to myself. But I was frightened by the picture of what I had sense enough to know would be the inevitable result if I kept on in the old way. I knew that in a combat zone they couldn't fool with drunks.



"Back in the A.A. way of thinking, I continued on through more disturbing experiences in France, even that of the death of some men with whom I was assigned; I returned to London for a period when the buzz-bombs were at the worst, with terrifying and

sickening effects at close hand; I resumed going to the pubs for pleasant comradeship; I sat around while other men were drinking whiskey -- I shared all of those experiences safely because I was thinking right again.



"Contrasting to that fortunate outcome for me is the fact that months previous while still in New York, within easy traveling distance of 24th Street and within telephone reach of several good A.A. friends who were ready to come to my aid any time -- and

did -- I had a couple of 'slips.'



"All of this adds up in my book as proof that the crux is not in where you are or what you're doing, but how you're thinking. To be sure, an A.A. is more in danger the farther he is from other A.A.s. But separation is not necessarily disastrous, nor proximity a guarantee of safety. T.D.Y."



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Grapevine, November ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, November ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/10/2004 2:44:00 AM Grapevine, November '44



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



On this page in the July issue, we printed a letter from Sergeant Bob H., then in Hawaii. Bob has recently returned from the Islands to attend Officer's Candidate School in the United States. While he was in New York on furlough, we asked him to contribute an article on how A.A. had helped him over the rough spots in an Army

career of approximately two years. Emphasis should be placed, we think, on the fact that Bob entered the Service after only four months as an A.A. He had, however, so firm a grasp of the program that he has made an uninterrupted progress in a completely new field of endeavor.



Bob's Story: "Two years ago, about to be inducted into the Army, I was secretly scared stiff. I had been in A.A. only four months, and while I had managed to stay 'dry,' it had been touch-and-go with me on a number of occasions. When I'd had the jitters I'd always been able to stave off that fatal first drink by getting in contact with one or more members of the local group. This, combined with frequent

attendance at the various meetings, had sufficed to keep me in line so far, but what was I to do now? I knew I would have none of the physical contacts with A.A. upon which I had been relying; and I knew too that without something to fall back upon I would be a gone goose.



"The solution to which I turned in desperation was the 11th step in the A.A. program --'prayer and meditation.' I knew nothing about prayer and very little about meditation, but I reckoned it was a case of start learning or else. It was very difficult for me at first (it still isn't easy), but by attending chapel whenever I could, I finally came to believe that I was discovering some of those spiritual values which in the past I had never even known existed. Anyway it worked; and it kept me 'dry.' And certainly it paid dividends from a more materialistic viewpoint -- I got my promotions with reasonable regularity, and finally received an appointment to an Officer's Candidate School, to which I am now on my way. Without A.A. I might now be in line for some bars, but they certainly wouldn't be shoulder bars."



A BEGINNER IN THE WACS



We are indebted to the Philadelphia Group for a letter from a comparative newcomer to A.A. The author of this letter, upon learning of A.A. through her doctor, wanted help so badly that she moved to Philadelphia from her home 125 miles distant and got a job so that she might attend meetings regularly:  "The fact that I have not written before is no indication that I have forgotten you or any of the members of A.A. I think of you all quite often, remembering the few short weeks I spent in your midst. With that

in mind I purposely chose today to write you. It may be just another day to you, but it marks an anniversary for me. It was just three months ago to date that I first entered your clubhouse in Philadelphia. Three months that I have remained 'dry' and

maintained complete sobriety. How well I recall how far away that three-month period seemed then. Until that time had expired I could not feel as if I had accomplished anything, but now at least, my feet are on the first rung of the ladder. But I've learned my lesson well. My fingers are still crossed. I know I can never be sure.



"Little did I think then that I would be a member of the Woman's Army Corps today. I led such a useless, wasteful life -- and now, though I am playing only a very small part -- I am, at least, a useful citizen. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming. In the beginning I used to envy you all so much. You seemed so

light-hearted and gay, so thoroughly happy and at peace with the world. I used to ask myself, 'Will I ever be like that? Will my mind some day be free from worry and care?' I doubted it then, for I was still confused, my brain a tumult of conflicting emotions. The future loomed ahead as some hideous nightmare. I was convinced that

nothing could ever make me enjoy life again. But you were all so kind, so tolerant, so helpful, so willing to listen to my tale of woe without censure, criticism or boredom, that gradually the cobwebs began to disappear, the weight was lifting from my heart, and I was learning to smile again. And then before I quite knew what had

happened, I suddenly realized that my decision in coming to your group had not been in vain -- that I had at last found the contentment that I had been so long in searching for. Nothing that I could ever do or say could sufficiently show my gratitude. I regret very much that I was unable to do anything about the 12th Step, but this war won't last forever and the A.A.s will always be in existence, so perhaps, God willing, some time in the future I will have the opportunity to put that into effect.



May God bless you all. K."



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Grapevine, December ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, December ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/11/2004 2:28:00 AM Grapevine, December '44



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



Our mail from A.A.s in the armed forces comes from all corners of the globe and has been particularly gratifying. The Grapevine sends to all members in Service its Christmas greetings and the fervent wish that soon they may be with us again in person as they so obviously are in spirit. If we have helped one individual A.A., as

the following letter seems to indicate, we feel that our efforts have been more than justified:



"Dear Friend: And I do think of The Grapevine as a friend -- three cheers for it and the idea that brought it into being. After fourteen months in the E.T.O. and not another A.A. in sight, the old beam has not burned too brightly at times. Now with our own publication serving us as something of a link with you people back there and a

friendly little get-together on paper, it is my belief that our thought processes won't be so sluggish and we A.A.s will have a better chance of taking up where we left off without passing through little Hell again. I could appreciate with ease the experience of the officer in the October issue. His arguments and alibis for a bit of

pub crawling might have been lifted in full from recent activities of my own. As he said, a man can carry on alone and stay 'dry,' but it's not so easy as when you had your group all going in the same direction. You have to put more thought into your efforts or the first thing you know you'll be draped over a bar with only its early closing hour and shortage in spirits between you and a royal binge -- and that isn't just scuttle butt. So thanks a million for Grapevine. It will be a lift, and may hit on a date when you need it most. Maybe someday we can make it a weekly. Hugh P., SF 1/c--British Isles, October 20th"

[A weekly? Sailor, you don't know what you're asking!]



TENTING ON PELELIU ISLAND



"Received your letter a couple of days back and I'll try to give you a little dope now. Our life is improving somewhat around here; when one stops to consider that everything has to come in by ship over thousands of miles of water, these guys certainly do a good job. We even have showers now in our area but most of the men are

still living without tents. I managed to chisel a tent from a guy on about D+5 so I have been comparatively well off. The only complaint I have is the number of gents who cut themselves in as partners. Seven men sleeping and living in one tent reminds me of a 1 and ½ room apartment with about ten drunks sleeping overnight! Guess you probably get the picture. Personally, I would much rather have a shower than a tent. You nearly go crazy being so dirty for so many days with absolutely no facilities.

However, one manages, and lots of things that happen would be really very humorous if things were not quite so serious. I feel fine and missed getting the spell of malaria I rather expected. This is the hottest and wettest of the Islands, as far us I know. The only saving grace is the wonderful drainage, due to the coral formation. Under

cruise ship conditions, these Islands would be interesting to visit, but see that you miss all D Days! They 'ain't' good! Thanks for your letters. It brings me some closer to the group to hear about it and maybe someday I can get back to pick up where I stopped. Remember me to everyone.

Sincerely, John N., U.S. Army."



Some weeks later, bound for a new destination, the same correspondent wrote us further of his adventures, stating: "I have often thought how much better I am prepared for all these mixups by having a little of the A.A. doctrine. This is strictly a business where one is able to change some things but, in the main, it is just a matter of standing whatever is passed out."



SERVICE PAPER INTERESTED IN NATIONAL COMMITTEE



Italy, October 6, 1944

"Dear Marty: I have enclosed a clipping from our Service Paper (Stars & Stripes, Mediterranean edition). I hope it's the first 'clipping service' from this part of the world with regard to your newest endeavor in the field of alcoholism. I know it won't be the last.



"Your new work is something in which I absolutely believe, and of which I have thought constantly. I intend to spend as much of my time as I can possibly give, along those same lines, as soon as I am returned to civilian life. I intend to follow your 'lead' over here by contacting the Editor of the Stars Si Stripes and offering myself as a bona fide alcoholic, a three-star example of an ex-rummy, with the ultimate purpose of contacting alcoholics in this sector who may have read the article and would like to do something about it. I have some A.A. literature with me, and will be able to tell them whom to contact for added information, and where to go when they hit the

States. If, in this way, I could help one man, I would consider the effort a success.



"I wish to extend the greatest possible good luck to your new educational program. I know it will succeed and grow, and eventually prove that alcoholism and alcoholics are what we believe they are, and that therefore they should be given consideration

in any public social problem work. Sincerely, Harold M."



[A recent letter from Sergeant Hugh B., from England, also mentions that the Stars & Stripes, European edition, reported the move to organize the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism.]

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Grapevine, January 1945, Mail Call for All A.A. s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, January 1945, Mail Call for All A.A. s in the Armed Forces 1/12/2004 4:15:00 AM Grapevine, January 1945



Mail Call for All A.A. s in the Armed Forces



The first A.A. Seamen's group ever organized was formed in Manhattan, June, 1944. Six months later, in December, the Seamen took over the first A.A. clubhouse ever opened anywhere (over 4½ years ago), at 334½ W. 24th St., New York, the clubhouse having been vacated by the New York A.A. s for larger quarters.



That sounds like quick, easy going. Actually, the establishment of the A.A. Seamen's Club was preceded by many months of consistent work by A.A. and doctors along the Eastern seaboard. As hospitals became overcrowded, the War Shipping

Administration and the United Seamen's Service opened 7 Rest Centers throughout the country, near the largest seaports, where for 3 weeks men of the Merchant Marine could recuperate from their nerve-racking trips at sea. In some of the Rest Centers, the doctors have taken particular interest in steering alcoholic seamen into the A.A. way of thinking. The A.A. Seamen's Club does not confine itself to the Merchant Marine but hopes to include the Navy and Coast Guard as well -- all types of seamen.



Already the A.A. Seamen are looking toward the day when they'll have groups in San Pedro, San Francisco, Baltimore -- in all the ports of the United States and, eventually, in all the ports of the world. One of the dried up seamen among those making calls on the alcoholics in the seamen's hospitals at Staten Island and Ellis

Island is a man who, until a few weeks ago, hadn't bought himself a suit of clothes in 20 years. John W., always penniless after the binge that invariably followed his reaching shore, got his clothes from charitable institutions. The other day John, who was accustomed to getting "a Hop at the doghouse at 60 cents a week," for the first time in 20 years bought himself a new suit, new shoes, new overcoat -- and put up at a big New York hotel at $6.50 a day. And he had one swell time. Sober. While formerly Drink was the only international language known to seamen when they got off their ships, an ever increasing number are learning the constructive language of the A.A. Seamen.



Treasurer of the Club is the non-alcoholic Vice-President of the Bank of New York, James Carey. Seaman Joe F. is Secretary, and among those on the Policy Committee are Horace C., an A.A. of 6-years-dry standing, and his non-alcoholic lawyer brother, Alfred.



(The Grapevine extends best wishes for 1945 to the new Seamen's Club. )



MORE ABOUT SEABORNE A.A.s



We have noticed from the correspondence of A.A. s in Service that, without group contacts over long periods of time, these men and women frequently appear to be following the A.A. program, especially the spiritual side, more closely than many of the rest of us who live in almost daily association with our fellow members. In this connection, we quote, by courtesy of the Toledo group, several paragraphs of a letter from one of its Servicemen with an F.P.O. address:

"You may think that I am making a very broad statement when I say I feel I know all of the benefits of A.A. I feel I am qualified to say I do, after a year and one-half without contact of the group. I have been able to do the same as you that have had constant contact. This is due to a supreme effort to live up to the teachings of A.A. and the guidance of 'The Supreme Power.' I was taught how to do this while with the group. Many of you were my teachers, and convincing ones at that. It , at times, has not been an easy job but, like yourselves, I am on the twenty-four hour basis, and continue to place my problems in 'His' hands. A personal inventory has always shown me a way for improvement. Honesty is a prime factor, and key to our future progress, and if we are honest with ourselves we will be with others. ... "To those of you that I know I hope you will continue on your present path to

happiness and to those of you that I do not, I hope you will find as much happiness as I have found through A.A.  W. M. L."



(The Toledo group, numbering approximately 150, has 15 members who have served in this War and one who died in Service.)



We have always had a profound curiosity to know more about those gallant lads known as Seabees. Now, most unexpectedly, we learn that A.A. is represented, and well, in that branch of Service also. The letter quoted above was from a Seabee and we are advised from Cleveland that another Ohio A.A. is not only with them but right in the midst of things in the Pacific:

"N. R. is with The Seabees now in the Philippines and has done a bang up job staying completely well for over four years, one and one-half of which have been spent in the Pacific. An outstanding job by a real guy."



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Bernard B. Smith AA Grapevine Obituary (1970) Bernard B. Smith AA Grapevine Obituary (1970) 1/12/2004 12:41:00 PM
October 1970 AA Grapevine

 

Bernard B. Smith (1901 - 1970)

 

The AA General Service Board was still called the Alcoholic Foundation when he joined it, in June 1944. His advice influenced the decision to hold the first General Service Conference, in 1951. Chairman of the Board and the Conference from January 1951 to April 1956, he was serving as first vice-chairman of the Board at the time of his death. He was an attorney, an author, and an advocate of Anglo-American understanding; for his efforts in that cause, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him a decoration. Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in October 1957.

 

A tribute from Bill:

 

I deeply regret that my health will not permit me to attend the services for my old friend Bern Smith. His death is a great personal loss to me, for I have leaned heavily upon him for many years. His wise counsel was always mine for the asking; the warmth of his friendship, mine from the beginning. From the very beginning, Bern Smith understood the spiritual basis upon which the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous rests. Such an understanding is rare among "outsiders." But Bern never was an outsider - not really. He not only understood our Fellowship, he believed in it as well.

Just one month ago today, Bern made a remarkable and inspiring talk to some 11,000 of our members gathered in Miami Beach to celebrate our Fellowship's thirty-fifth anniversary. The subject of his talk was Unity - truly an apt subject, for no man did more than he to assure Unity within our Fellowship.

For that matter, he did much to assure our very survival, for he was one of the principal architects of our General Service Conference.

Bern Smith would not want, nor does he need, encomiums from me. What he has done for Alcoholics Anonymous speaks far louder than any words of mine could ever do. His wisdom and vision will be sorely missed by us all.

I can only add that I have lost an old and valued friend; AA, a great and devoted servant.


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Grapevine, February 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, February 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/13/2004 3:38:00 AM Grapevine, February 1945



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



"A rigid disciplinarian, a fine doctor, a good officer -- above all, a gentleman -- ordered me to sit down. 'Your offense against the Navy is a serious one. For it, you could be shot. I know you're a sick man, but the Navy cannot afford to recognize you as such.  My suggestion to you is simply this. You can't stop drinking by

yourself. When you learn that, you have started back. I would recommend A.A.; it might work.'



"I thanked him, walked back to the locked ward in a large Naval hospital, and wrote to A.A. Ten days later two men, two fine-looking, happy men, two strangers, came to see me. They cared not what my type of discharge, nor what my offense was. They were interested in whether or not I wanted to do something about my drinking. Such was my introduction to A.A.  Since then I have found a new -- a sober and happy -- way to live. I have found my answer, the solution to my problems. My yellow, undesirable discharge brought with it the first understanding of my own condition; the first freedom from fear; the first shouldering of my just responsibilities. I have been fortunate in having the opportunity granted me to work with men in this same Naval hospital. The doctors, the psychiatrists, the Chaplain, have been frequent visitors to our meetings; not merely once, out of curiosity, but as repeated visitors and friends, because they were amazed to find that A.A. worked. These men -- and for them I have the warmest respect and admiration -- can and do, and will, pass on what they've learned. In my heart I know some man will be saved from standing mast, the brig, court martial, and disgrace, because of the advice and help these officers will, and can now, give him.

Especially to you men out there -- many of us who aren't with you because we didn't make the grade are now carrying on for the things you're fighting for. 



"The Skipper stands bridge, always alert and willing and eager to heave a line, so stand to.  Here's luck and a happy voyage home. Page D."



Members of the A.A. Seamen's group are making good progress. On January 18th they extended their activities to include an open meeting within the portals of the Seamen's Church Institute, attended by more than fifty interested seamen. As a result the 24th Street group has four new members spreading the news of the A.A. program along the water front. Officials of the Institute were so pleased with the outcome that they assigned the main auditorium of the Institute for a second meeting held January 25th. It is unfortunate that frequently the seamen are only able to attend a few meetings at their Club before shipping out again on other hazardous voyages.



A.A. FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE



We have had several interesting letters recently from our most faithful A.A. correspondent in the Pacific War Zone, an Army lieutenant, who wrote after coming out of a tough landing operation:  "I am well rested now and have regained my lost weight -- all the other officers have gained too. It is a funny thing but when it was really rough, very few of us could eat and one didn't feel hungry. Sort of like getting off a bat -- you know you should eat but the stuff sticks in your throat. Well, that in one deal I got by and I consider myself a very lucky person. (Over twenty-six years ago, in the Champaign country of France, others experienced a similar reaction to food when the going was

tough -- the bats came later.)"



Our correspondent then added the following reflections about A.A.: "I am not sure in my mind whether so much publicity is good for A.A. Would like your views. I'm a liberal on all subjects except A.A."



Again, we quote from a very recent letter from the same officer: "In my case, you  should always look on the envelope in see what address I am currently working under. I have only been here a short time and immediately contacted Y. [Reference is to another good A.A. naval officer]. He (Y.) is impatiently awaiting official word to take off. He has done an excellent job and deserves a rest -- I hope he can keep out of this area when his leave is terminated.



"I just finished reading October issue of Grapevine. I enjoy everything printed therein and I do get set before me some of the things one is liable to forget over a period of time.  We don't care, do we, whether they call them D days or Zero hours -- but we know that is the time that you can really get it. If you are a part of it, you understand -- if you have never experienced it, you don't and can't understand. I have sixteen months overseas now. It hasn't all been bad and I've had lots of fun in spots. As a matter

of fact, if it weren't so serious, it would be funny. 



"A.A. seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. It is only natural. I, for one, will be everlastingly grateful for it. I have a long road to travel but, at least, I know I'm on the right road.  Write when you can. The new quarters for A.A. on 41st Street sound fine. As ever. John"





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Re: Serenity Prayer 1/2 from Grapevine Serenity Prayer 1/2 from Grapevine 1/13/2004 11:26:00 PM

Grapevine, November 1964

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

THERE'S nothing new under the sun? Well, perhaps there is in the area of
material
things. Telstar and moon probes are new. As a matter of fact, so is AA, which
celebrated a young twenty-ninth birthday this year. But in the spiritual life,
when
we make a discovery, we're usually waking up to an old truth.

When the Grapevine last reported on the origin of the Serenity Prayer (January,
1950,
issue), we had traced it to Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, who set it down in 1932 in
very
much the form given above. AA first used it on printed cards and at meetings in
1939.
Dr. Niebuhr said at the time that he thought it "might have been spooking around
for
years, even centuries...."

Now an alert AA has sent us a clipping from the Paris 'Herald Tribune' of an
article
written by its special Koblenz (West Germany) correspondent: "In the rather
dreary
hall of a converted hotel, overlooking the Rhine at Koblenz, framed by the flags
of
famous Prussian regiments rescued from the Tannenberg memorial, is a tablet
inscribed
with the following words:
'God give me the detachment to accept those things I cannot alter;
the courage to alter those things which I can alter;
and the wisdom to distinguish the ones from the others.'
These words [are] by Friedrich Otinger, an evangelical pietist of the eighteenth
century--"

We don't have the original German of the Koblenz tablet. And we have somewhere a
printed card stating that the prayer is a "soldier's prayer from the fourteenth
century." So there may be more news on the origins of it to write about in the
future. But let us not get carried away by antiquarian research; it is the
praying
that is going to help me, an alcoholic.
Anon.

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Re: Serenity Prayer 2/2 from Grapevine Serenity Prayer 2/2 from Grapevine 1/13/2004 11:27:00 PM

Grapevine, January 1950

The Serenity Prayer
...it's origin is traced...

AT long last the mystery of the Serenity Prayer has been solved!

We have learned who wrote it, when it was written and how it came to the
attention of
the early members of AA. We have learned, too, how it was originally written, a
bit
of information which should lay to rest all arguments as to which is the correct
quotation.

The timeless little prayer has been credited to almost every theologian,
philosopher
and saint known to man. The most popular opinion on its authorship favors St.
Francis
of Assisi.

It was actually written by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, of the Union Theological
Seminary,
New York City, in about 1932 as the ending to a longer prayer. In 1934 the
doctor's
friend and neighbor, Dr. Howard Robbins asked permission to use that part of the
longer prayer in a compilation he was making at the time. It was published in
that
year in Dr. Robbins' book of prayers.

Dr. Niebuhr says, "Of course, it may have been spooking around for years, even
centuries, but I don't think so. I honestly do believe that I wrote it myself."

It came to the attention of an early member of AA in 1939. He read it in an
obituary
appearing in the New York Times. He liked it so much he brought it in to the
little
office on Vesey St. for Bill W. to read. When Bill and the staff read the little
prayer, they felt that it particularly suited the needs of AA. Cards were
printed and
passed around. Thus the simple little prayer became an integral part of the AA
movement.

Today it is in the pockets of thousands of AAs; it is framed and placed on the
wall
of AA meeting rooms throughout the world; it appears monthly on the back cover
of
your magazine and every now and then someone tells us that we have quoted it
incorrectly. We have.

As it appears in The A. A. Grapevine, it reads:

God grant me the serenity
To accept things I cannot change,
Courage to change things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Many tell us that it should read:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

The way it was originally written by Dr. Niebuhr is as follows:

God give me the serenity to accept
things which cannot be changed;
Give me courage to change things
which must be changed;
And the wisdom to distinguish
one from the other.

Dr. Niebuhr doesn't seem to mind that his prayer is incorrectly quoted. . .a
comma. .
.a preposition . . .even several verbs. . .the meaning and the message remain
intact.
"In fact," says the good doctor, "in some respects, I believe your way is
better."

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Grapevine, March 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, March 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/14/2004 3:05:00 AM Grapevine, March 1945



Mail Call for All A.A. s in the Armed Forces



It is becoming increasingly apparent that A.A. is going to be called upon to perform a real job in aiding many veterans of this War during or, more particularly, some time after their re-entry into civilian life. We believe, therefore, that the following piece, written for The Grapevine by an A.A. who is himself in the process of

undergoing this readjustment, following Army experiences that included participation in the invasion of Normandy, is extremely timely.



"Becoming acclimated to a tail-less shirt assuming you can find any at all--is a small but symbolic problem that every veteran of the military forces encounters in making the transition to civilian ways of life.



"The tail-less shirt is not the only reason for feeling shorn. The veteran also feels that a number of other things besides the tail of his shirt are missing. The Army--or the Navy, or whatever his branch of the service --is no longer taking care of him. The privileges and protection that the uniform provides, along with the

responsibilities, have come to an end. Your assignment, whatever it may have been, has been finished. There's no longer somebody on hand to tell you, whether you were officer, soldier or sailor, what to do next. You can't even get cigarets when you want them. You're just another short-tailed civilian, mister!



"The dischargee not only misses the things he found enjoyable while wearing a uniform. Strangely, he also misses some of the things he disliked the most. He may yearn for the very things that used to draw his loudest and longest gripes. If he happens to be

a veteran from a combat zone, he may even miss some of the gadgets and conditions that scared him silly while he was in the middle of them. When, for instance, in New York he hears the weekly Saturday noon air raid sirens and, after an involuntary

tightening of nerves, he remembers that they're only practice, he may wish momentarily (only momentarily) that they were the real thing. It's not that he ever liked robots or enemy raiders; it's that his nerves are still attuned to the excitement and tension that a combat zone produces in generous quantities as a daily, and nightly fare. War in one phase or another has been reality to him. That has now been removed and what's left seems, at times, unreal and even empty.



"Another void becomes apparent in topics of conversation in normal circles. What the veteran has been talking about morning, noon and night for however long he has been in uniform is scarcely suitable now. People just aren't interested in what Sgt.

Doakes said to Capt. Whoozit. And you certainly can't blame them for that. Even when they are genuinely interested in hearing something of his experiences, the dischargee discovers that there's a great deal he can't express in a way that is understandable to someone who has not felt what he has. So he tends to avoid the subject--and he certainly does avoid it after one or two encounters with the occasional person who reacts to war anecdotes with a look in his eye that says, 'What a line this guy's

got!' In such cases, the dischargee learns that what may be commonplace in theaters of war may sound fantastic and unbelievable elsewhere.



"All of these factors add up to an emotional disturbance involving lonesomeness, injured vanity, loss of poise and direction, fear of the future and resentments. For many persons, of course, relief at being permitted to return to normal pursuits offsets the other factors. But reconversion from the military to the civilian world calls for considerable readjustments for anyone. For an A.A. member, the readjustment may be especially difficult--and dangerous.



"Paradoxically, an A.A. who has had no or little trouble during his enforced separation from the group may be in greater danger during this period of readjustment than the one who has had an up and down fight all the way from enlistment or induction to discharge, if he has gone through military service without any slips or near-slips he has scored a real achievement. The military life imposes severe handicaps on an A.A. It usually prevents him from practicing many of the steps on which he normally depends. It divorces him from group therapy, 12th step work and inspirational talks. It precipitates him into circumstances that are upsetting and that tend to unbalance anyone's sense of values.



"If the A.A. has survived all of that successfully, he's likely to feel pretty strong when he returns to normal life. Certainly he feels that now, once again within his home orbit, among A.A. friends and within reach of all the help he could ask, he is in much less danger, alcoholically, than he was in the service away from home. So he may very easily let down. He may drop his guard. He may become 'too tired' to attend any meetings or do any 12th step work. He may slack off in doing some of the little things that help to keep an A.A. growing along A.A. lines.



"If he begins to slide off in any of these ways, he's heading for a tailspin and a tight inside loop. Whatever hazardous tendencies he may develop will be aggravated by the emotional disturbances which his military-to-civilian readjustment is bound to create for him even if he remains squarely on the beam. The fact is, he has need to double his guard and keep his defenses on the alert during this period.



"Those are facts which this A.A. had to learn the painful way. But, in learning those, he also learned that application of the A.A. way of thinking will ease the transition for the veteran in many ways. Again I have seen how A.A. not only helps to overcome Personal Enemy No. 1, but how infinitely effective it is on many other human problems.



"Again, too, I have been reminded forcefully that in A.A. one cannot stand still for long he either goes backwards or he grows, and he grows only by using a gradually increasing amount of A.A.  T.D.Y."



IT'S FREE FOR SERVICEMEN



"India, January 27



"Dear Grapevine: Was pleasantly surprised to receive two issues of The Grapevine in the past few days, as I didn't know that our organization had such a swell publication.



"I don't know whether one of my friends in the Tucson group has paid for a subscription to The Grapevine for me or if these were sample copies, so will appreciate receiving that information from you, and will forward the subscription if such has not been paid.

Hoping that I will continue to keep in contact with all of you through The Grapevine,



"I am, gratefully yours,



"John F.M., Sgt. Air Force"



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Grapevine, April 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, April 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/15/2004 3:28:00 AM Grapevine, April 1945



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



"I have just returned to the States after 20 months overseas, during which time my only contact with the group has been The Grapevine (but what a refreshing contact that was!). And, as in most other things these days, remarkable changes have taken

place, and much progress. After a lapse of so many months, of course the first thing that strikes one is the tremendous expansion in all groups everywhere. Many have been obliged to take on new quarters, and the ones which I have seen have all been an improvement over the old. As we had all hoped, the A.A. program has been made available to thousands more people who have been struggling with the problem, and it is a fine thing to meet so many new and happy A.A.s who have embarked on the wonderful adventure afforded by the program. An outstanding feature to be noticed today is the large number of 'high-bottom members,' those who have gained an early understanding of their problem through A.A. Perhaps because of the fact that A.A. is becoming so well known nationally, they have not had to bounce all the way down the hard road, losing everything, before realizing that something must be done about it, and, what is more important, learning how to do it.



"It is evident, too, to one who has been away, that present-day conditions are putting a pressure on the civilian population which has caused day to day existence to be speeded up in a manner reminiscent of the 'terrific twenties.' As a result, there is necessarily more drinking going on generally, I should say, than before the war. During my 17 days on leave in the New York area, friends have brought me into contact with three people who have gone beyond the 'safety line' of normal drinking. So the group is needed more than ever before, in all areas of the country.



"Most satisfactory of all, however, is the fact that in spite of the great nation-wide expansion in A.A., the same warm, friendly, and happy spirit prevails everywhere--just as it always has. So, it's great to be home again, with the grandest bunch of people in the land! Y. G."







"[Attached is a very precious letter written by a young bomber pilot in Italy, this son of a Springfield A.A., who has been a member since November, 1944.  It is addressed to the. A.A.s everywhere in appreciation for what A.A. has done for him through his mother. C. W.]



"Ten years ago my mother recovered miraculously after almost losing her life in a Chicago hospital. It was God, and her love for her family, that pulled her through.  It was following this recovery that I first remember her drinking to excess. Not too much at first, but as years went on, things grew worse. I'd come home from high school in the afternoon to find her in a drunken stupor, and inside I'd be boiling mad, and sick at heart. I never said anything particularly unkind to her while she was like this, as the words would have been forgotten in the morning, and I'd only get as a reply to anything I said, that 'everything was o.k.--everything o. k.'

But I'd lie awake half the night planning what I would tactfully say in the morning.



"Morning came and mother would be her bright, very beautiful and very gracious self again, and I could never get up enough courage to say anything that might hurt her.



"So things went on. I'd be afraid to bring a friend home from school because I didn't want him to see my mother like that. I hadn't cried from pain in many years, but at night I'd lie in bed, tears rolling down my cheeks, praying to God to help. God had

answered in saving her life the only other time I asked Him to help.

"At intervals in the last two or three years my mother told my sister and me that she would give it up. She tried, I know, but never was successful.  There was one way left that I thought would do a lot of good, but it was a very hard thing for me to do. I wrote a long letter appealing to my mother's love for her family. It hurt her deeply, as I knew it would, but with her great love she fought all the pent-up emotional disturbances within her to a great degree of success. To help reduce the great strain on her mind and to insure a rapid comeback to a happy life, my sister and a member of A.A. induced her to join your organization. You don't

know how extremely happy and proud a person I am today. To be fighting 3,000 miles from home and know that your family is back on the road to complete happiness after ten years of discouraging disappointments is a wonderful thing and it's even more wonderful to be able to love every little thing about your mother with all your

heart, and with all your soul.



"I am extremely grateful to you for the way in which you have helped. A heartful of thanks and sincere good wishes from--a son of one of you. W.A.L



MEDICINE FOR SELF PITY



"I've wanted to write for a long time, but my days are long and full. We all are too much in this work to really observe it. If I were on a schedule like this back in the States I'd have blown my top regularly just like the noon whistle at the biscuit factory.



"Of course, I often think of A.A. It's one of the things we have to do. But when you see men who have been through the real hell of war, and you hear from them what it's like (you can't know unless you've been there), or you see them laugh with tears in their eyes as they tell you how their comrades were killed all around them, you wonder how you could ever have taken yourself so damned seriously.



"I'm very well in every way, and living only for the day we can all take up where we left off. Pvt. John D., BUSH Hospital, France
"



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1599 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine, May 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, May 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/16/2004 3:08:00 AM Grapevine, May 1945



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



This is a quotation from a personal letter received by the editor of the "Mail Call" page, himself an overseas veteran of World War I. It was written by a fellow A.A., a sergeant who has been, taking part in the recent activities on the unquiet Western front:



"About a year ago you sent me a letter concerning a particular attack you made in the last war, and as I was really in a tight spot recently that description among many other thoughts came to mind. I remember you wrote that with all the artillery, mortars and general hell flying you didn't know how you could survive, but did! That gave me a certain hope and fortified me in my thinking. Prayer for my other buddies was easy and some Power brought me through. Slightly wounded, I am practically well now and will be re-joining my outfit by the time you receive this. Our push looks

successful, with plenty of hard fighting ahead. "



As this issue of The Grapevine deals primarily with the feminine viewpoint on A.A., we ask indulgence for printing the description of the "particular attack" referred to in the sergeant's letter above. The letter-writer was then a young second lieutenant of Infantry and he describes for his father his initiation into the art of war. His

alcoholic problem had not developed at that time:



"Somewhere in France.

"September 17, 1918



"On the morning of the 12th, I had the greatest experience that comes to any soldier during his service in this war. I went over the top and, incidentally, it was the first time I had ever been under fire. One is, I know, supposed to think of many things during those hours in the trenches before daylight, and perhaps some may pray a bit and make good resolutions provided they come through, but my only sensation, that I can recall, was that I was colder than I had ever been in my life and that anything requiring motion would be a relief. We were in the trenches four hours before zero and during that time a terrific artillery barrage went over from our guns. You would imagine that the noise would be terrible, but it did not seem to worry me, and as Fritz did not reply we were perfectly safe at that time. Fritz, I imagine, thought all Hell was loose and God for once far from being with him. At daylight we rushed up a trench into another, parallel to Fritz's line, and over we went. I suppose it is nearly impossible to imagine the confusion of an attack--it is barely light enough to see, shells are bursting with a crash and a flash all about, and every now and then an enemy machine gun starts popping. To keep your men together and in place is nearly impossible. I got up with the company ahead before we reached the German line, but when I got there I had the platoon together and in proper place, where I kept most of the men for the remainder of the day. I had men from many another company and regiment with me during the day. In the trench, we found only a few machine gunners who had caused us to lie flat at times. We passed on through a thick woods and advanced about nine kilometers before the German artillery got our range. Then we caught a little Hell ourselves. I saw a man killed and my runner wounded not ten feet from me--where I had been lying only two seconds before. I hadn't had sense enough to be scared before that, but from then on I didn't enjoy the German artillery. We got out of that spot by advancing, but late that day, or rather all afternoon, while we were dug in at our captured objective, they shelled us with remarkable accuracy. It was unpleasant and unhealthy for more than one. As for me, I

dug with my mess kit and dug fast. An Austrian 88 would make anyone dig fast, and he would not have to be paid $5.00 per day either! I would be interrupted occasionally and flatten out till things quieted a bit.



"Next evening we were relieved; now we are well behind the lines. I understand that St. Mihiel on our left was taken and the line is straight. Our casualties and worries all came. from artillery. Men of the company say we were very lucky, as the regiment has been up against tougher propositions. Be that as it may, we did what we set out to do and I did not see a single man hesitate to do his part. As for me, another time I will know what everything is like. I am now recognized by the old hands as belonging to the company, having gone under fire with proper behavior--not hard when the rest all do. Really I believe my big Texas runner (not the one who was hit) kept me cool. He wasn't fazed by anything--delivered his messages quickly, and was at other times constantly at my side as a sort of personal bodyguard. Later when we were

all cold and hungry and worn out (I slept only three or four hours in about 84) he was always cheerful and joked about things when others grumbled. He too was having his first experience under fire, but little he cared. My sergeant, an old-timer, did his part well. I have looked on dead and wounded now, and I know what a poor devil suffers when he is hit, but I am principally impressed by the fact that with shells falling all around one has miraculous escapes. The Americans do not halt for a shelling--they go through and win.

It is all over for the present for us. We are still a bit tired and very dirty but we are happy. This is certainly a fine outfit--they know they have a good reputation as fighters and they would go anywhere to keep it. The cold has been our greatest enemy,

that is at night. I am in A1 shape but unrecognizably dirty. Soon I shall wash. Cooties are not with me as yet.  Abbot T., New York"



NAVY SYMPATHETIC TO A.A.



Capt. Forrest M. Harrison of the U. S. Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, recently reported to the press that the alcoholic in the Navy gets separate barracks, well equipped with magazines, books and special literature "such as that issued by Alcoholics Anonymous." Meetings are held, and every effort is made to get the men straightened out through education, physical rehabilitation, et cetera.

0 -1 0 0
1600 dgrant004
re: Lasker Award Lasker Award 1/16/2004 8:36:00 AM

Hi All,

Does anyone know if the Lasker Award is currently being kept at AAWS
in NYC?

Much thanks!

David

0 -1 0 0
1601 Al Welch
Re: re: Lasker Award Lasker Award 1/16/2004 5:09:00 PM

Yep, saw it last Friday in the Archives section
----- Original Message -----
From: "dgrant004" <davidg@rewritables.net>
To: <AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 8:36 AM
Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] re: Lasker Award


> Hi All,
>
> Does anyone know if the Lasker Award is currently being kept at AAWS
> in NYC?
>
> Much thanks!
>
> David
>
>
>
>
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
> To visit your group on the web, go to:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AAHistoryLovers/
>
> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
> AAHistoryLovers-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
>
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
> http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
>
>
>

0 -1 0 0
1602 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine, June 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, June 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/17/2004 3:23:00 AM Grapevine, June 1945



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



We are fortunate in having received from an A.A. participant, a sergeant of Infantry, a vivid account of the battle for Germany and his reactions:



"Somewhere, in Europe

"7th Army, April 10

"Dear Elliot: Your marvelous New Year's Day letter, and also The Soul's Sincere Desire, the book you so thoughtfully sent to me, caught up just yesterday. Both meant much more to me than if they had been received earlier in the year. At the first of the year I was called up for combat duty in the general ground forces reinforcement program after our serious losses in the December Ardennes set back.



"After a one-month 'get-rich-quick' course in Infantry I left England and subsequently joined the veteran 3rd Division and participated in the final stages of the Colmar Pocket campaign. About a month ago we went into the big campaign as a 'spearhead' unit in cracking the Siegfried Line on the 7th Army front below Saarbrucken, which with General Patton's swing from the North came to be known as the Saar-Moselle-Rhine Triangle bagging 125, 000 Krauts--salting away the Saar, as you have been reading in screaming headlines, no doubt. I am most fortunate to be alive! We fought and beat crack Waffen SS units, broke the thickest part of the Siegfried (but as you know you have to spend lots of men to do it) and so I am back here at a General Hospital

rapidly recovering from a comparatively slight wound, and enjoying the finest Springtime season of my life and the fragrance of the earth is something to be truly grateful for, to say the least.



"During a counter attack on a fortified Jerry village we had previously taken and lost the night before, I had so many close calls it went beyond any ordinary or extraordinary luck factor, and as you suggested in your letter I felt something, a factor of divine protection. I didn't expect to live through that almost overwhelming

maelstrom of utter chaos. Tanks entered the town and ran wild battering down houses and our rubble positions at fifty yards point blank range. We were cut off without artillery or armor support and were nearly up against an impossible tactical setup, i.e., trying to fight Tiger Tanks with your bare fists. An 88 shell tore the air so close to me the suction of it spun me off balance. Bullets tore my combat jacket. Shoe mines exploded nearby as we caught mine fields, shells demolished rooms I had occupied minutes before; mortars, rockets, screaming Meemies (neberwerfel rockets) pounded us night and day. Caught inside Jerry lines and enveloped, we later were subjected to our own artillery barrages and strafing and dive bombing by our Air Force, etc., etc.



"The point being I felt something soon after the big floor show started. After our jump-off we were caught and pinned down and Jerry's stuff started to fly as if he thought he was fighting his last battle. I prayed but I couldn't quite see why I should have the gall to ask for personal favors or protection. Someone was going to

get it and there were too many fine, clean, happy twenty-year olds with a fresh future ahead in my outfit. Why should God be interested in sparing my rum soaked bones? It didn't make sense and it became practically impossible, but it was easy to pray for the others and a great happiness and inner calm (as you mention) welled up within me in doing so. I know that prayer for all of us was answered! Most of my company were finally captured and are POWs today which approaches the miraculous in view of the severity of the heavy fire power thrown against us, and compared to the general casualty percentages of the overall campaign.



"I felt a nearness to understanding I can't quite explain but I know you know what I am talking about.



"You told me three years ago on a hot summer day standing at 42nd Street and Madison. Your waking in the middle of the night with a great sense of gratitude and merely saying 'Thank you, God,' is the most eloquent prayer I have ever heard.



"You see, Elliot, how much I appreciate and treasure your letter and book. The author suggested in the first chapter something I liked very much. Write up or think up some of your own psalms and prayers, don't be a slave to set forms. You can't beat the

23rd Psalm or the Lord's Prayer as great literature but maybe something you can express your own way will have more of that essence of sincerity, for you at least. Likewise I like to sing hymns and work in some barber shop harmonies with my rather dubious baritone. Why can't people really enjoy their religion? That's why I

have trouble sitting in church as they seem to want you to, with a puss this long. People are supposed to be happy and not fearful I am sure. And as you say, 'kicking against the traces.' Best regards. Hugh B."



ACCEPT THOSE THINGS WE CANNOT CHANGE



One of our A.A. correspondents who has been actively engaged in the Pacific War writes us about a subject that probably applies to servicemen especially but seems to have significance for all A.A.s:



"Waiting is one of the biggest problems in the service. And at certain times, a five-minute wait can be a real torture. Ernest Hemingway said the same in one of his books, and when I read it, I thought the concept foolish. But waiting (or rather patience) is one of the hardest traits to develop and one of the most necessary. At one of those times of stress I believe it would be extremely easy to completely lose one's outlook and perspective. And it doesn't seem to make any difference whether or not the thing for which you are waiting is dangerous. There is no question that at times the hold of A.A. over one is lessened. It can't be otherwise, but I do think that experience teaches one certain danger signals and only a fool would ignore them. For instance, when a person is rotated and goes home, he is in a very dangerous period because we know that one can be so happy that, all of a sudden one may be caught very, very drunk. I know that there must be people in A.A. who would raise their hands in horror at the idea that an A.A. doesn't have complete control at all

times. They may be right, but it hasn't been my experience. The reason may well be because I have been able to attend only one meeting in the last three years. And I do heartily approve of meeting attendance as insurance against possible slips. But for

the person who does not have the advantages that meetings give, these blind spots must be recognized, understood and controlled.



"I guess I have been trying to say that the course is not always smooth and a person new to A.A. might very well become discouraged. When a blank period arrives there is only one possible course of 'inaction'--just don't drink. Sometimes in the space of a very few minutes the upset has passed and all is serene again. John N., Lt. U. S. Army"



Copies of The Grapevine are sent free to all A.A. servicemen and women. If you know of any member of the Armed Forces who is not on the mailing list, please send his or her name to the Editors.

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1603 judicrochet
big book index big book index 1/17/2004 7:14:00 PM

i have an index for the big book copyright 1975 by Alcoholics
Anonymous World Service, Inc. it's A.A. General Service Conference
approved literature. does any one know how long this was in print
and why it was discontinued. thanks judi

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1604 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine, July 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, July 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/18/2004 1:51:00 AM Grapevine, July 1945



Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces



Some months ago we suggested on this page that perhaps A.A.s in service often worked out their not inconsiderable problems more realistically than their civilian brethren and that, almost certainly, they had to place greater dependence on the spiritual aspects of the program. The quotation below is part of a recent letter from a soldier stationed in France:



"In the old days (and it's a wonderful thing to think of them as 'old days') most of us didn't face these conflicts, but they must be faced now, and faced squarely. So for me there's only one answer and that is our 3rd Step. That is the answer to so many things if we only be mindful of it. However, like everything else, now and then we forget. I was feeling particularly low and in need of help. I got just the lift I needed from my old friend Chet through his piece on the 3rd Step in the March Grapevine.



"This has been a very personal letter. However, isn't that what this is all about--getting the right slant on the things that bother us?"



A Marine Tells Us



The following is our first letter from an A.A. who is also a member of the Marine Corps. It is from a sergeant with a Marine fighter squadron now in the Pacific, and was written to a friend in the Buffalo group. We think it bears out our comment at the beginning of this page.



"It was pretty rough most of the way over, but after leaving Honolulu most of us were pretty good sailors but our only wish was to set foot on terra firma once again. Had my fill of the deep blue sea--it really is blue and at night when there is no moon one would think that there was some sort of indirect lighting due to the phosphorus in the water glowing as the prow of the boat would churn it up.



"We were able to pitch a one-day liberty in Honolulu and I really took in the sights--saw the famous beach at Waikiki and also stopped in a quaint little church and thanked Him for keeping me 'dry' and asked Him to help all of us in our struggle with alcohol. He has been very good to me, John.



"We finally arrived on this little rock of coral and sand where the Navy and Marines left a tree or two standing when they knocked the little monkeys out of here some time back.



"Each day gets hotter and, although the nights cool off, even they are starting to get a bit warmer. We used to have our choice of either two bottles of cold brew or two cokes every other night but now they are out of cokes so I'm drinking warm water out of Lyster bags. Yes, I know just what two beers would do to me--even out here--and I don't care to experiment. I'll wait until medical science can find a remedy. This is all I'm allowed to write. It is lonesome here and I'd sure enjoy hearing from some of the boys." Dick F. M., Sgt. V. S. Marines, April 8



Our most faithful correspondent in the Pacific seems to have gotten into the thick of things again, but is still calling on his A.A. philosophy whenever the going gets tough:



"I have really been busy. Am receiving Grapevine and enjoy it so much. M is sending September Remember which I look forward to enthusiastically. Y. (a naval lieutenant) wrote from Boston. He must have been very active. He is a grand fellow and the new A.A. member should be helped by people like him. We are getting well set up now. Had my first shower in six weeks yesterday and you would be surprised how one gets used to taking a bath in a helmet. We spend considerable time in foxholes but as yet I haven't caught cold. The snakes around here have me worried--especially when I spend the night on the ground. We have killed a couple of them and they were deadly. Oh well, it's just like a lot of other things--bad, but not too bad. My spirits are well

up these days and now I'm happy with a little less. Thank God, it has ended in Europe." John N., Lt. U. S. Army



A Soldier Avoids That Fatal First Drink



"I have had several pleasant visits with a family I met in Rheims. There was, at first, a rather awkward situation created by my not taking a glass of wine at dinner. I'm sure my friends consider it very queer, but the matter is settled and they have accepted the fact of my not drinking. Later on, I should like to tell them about A.A. They are intelligent, alert people, and I might be able to convey the general idea to them." John D., U. S. Army, France, May 25



Copies of The Grapevine are sent free to all A.A. servicemen and women. If you know of any member of the Armed Forces' who is not on the mailing list, please send his or her name to the Editors.



TIME ON YOUR HANDS



"The term 'hobby' not only refers to an occupation pursued as a pastime but also means 'a slow and steady horse.' To me, the latter definition is more important to an alcoholic because it's so patently the reverse of the kind of animal he used to be. One of our most potent slogans is 'easy does it' ... and I think that philosophy should be especially followed when it comes to picking hobbies.



"The reason we're looking for hobbies is because we know that too much loose time on our hands represents the most frightening saboteur we have to face in our aim toward

continued sobriety. But for an alcoholic, too much intensity toward any objective is equally dangerous, because should circumstances deprive us of our "hobby crutch" we're ripe for a slip.



"So, in my very humble and still inexperienced opinion, we should take our hobbies where we find them and have as many as possible that fit into everyday living instead of concentrating on one or two important ones. For example, you'd hardly call your family a hobby but it can function very well as such with priority--and more satisfyingly so than any I have found. The time I spend planning and executing for my

wife and son the many ordinary pastimes and associations which they missed during my drinking days has proven to be the happiest heritage which A.A. has given me. There

is no need to expand on that statement--every alcoholic will recognize immediately what I'm trying to say.



"The only other important hobby I have (excepting of course my A.A. group) is to associate as much as possible with friends who are not alcoholics, but who are fully aware of my status as one and my desire to stay dry. It's been amazing to me how much help I can get from these friends who, although they may not fully understand why a guy can't take a drink now and then, respect and encourage my aims. I guess you'd call that being something of an "alcoholic hero" to the folks outside of A.A. who are important to me, but if that be treason, I still feel that I can make the most of it as a hobby--and you'll agree that results are what count." Jim D.

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1605 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine, August 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Grapevine, August 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces 1/19/2004 3:20:00 AM Grapevine, August 1945



Mail Call for All A.As in the Armed Forces



"As a very new A.A.--less than two months--I can find only one gripe. In the best illogical tradition of the Army it is that I didn't find A.A. soon enough, specifically, before I went overseas. I had 18 months of the Middle East and I'm firmly convinced that the toughest job for a soldier who is trying to get away from alcohol is to be stuck in a non-combat overseas post in a command the chiefest ingredient of which is boredom.



"I drew Persia and any other GI who has served there can explain to strangers that the combination of camels, loneliness and free hours with nothing to fill them leads to an almost immediate discovery of the wines of the country--vodka, zorovka (a vodka

derivative which borrows a faint brownish color from the stalk of buffalo grass stuck in every bottle) and mastique (otherwise known as arak, raki and zibib, a cousin of the absinthe family one gulp of which starts a three alarm fire in your vitals, several gulps of which puts out both the fire and you).



"The soldier-alcoholic, whether in a rear echelon, in combat or on garrison duty in the U. S., has a different set of problems than his civilian brother-in-allergy. Even a line outfit has its fill of blank hours and nothing can be blanker than spare time in uniform. Between this boredom and the occasional hard work or swift action which gives you an excuse and almost a necessity for emotional relief of some sort, the GI is usually in a mood where he wants and thinks he needs a short one.



"I found it possible, for short spells of time, to go on the wagon overseas. But it was never a satisfactory solution. It is too easy, in the Army, to find an alibi to go off. Maybe you have just come into town from a long truck convoy over days of dusty roads with no more sustenance than C-rations and lukewarm canteen water. Maybe you are on a three-day pass from combat. Maybe you have had a fight with the Old Man and, according to the rigidity of Army discipline, have no other way of getting back at him than to tie one on for your own satisfaction. At any rate, when you do hit the town, when you do get the pass, when you have that fight, you don't lack for friends to help you drown your sorrows. And you have assisting you liquorwards also a long and strong, if not entirely accurate, tradition that a good soldier is a two-fisted

drinker and that you're not an honest-to-goodness soldier until you've been busted a couple of times for drunkenness.



"These invitations to drink apply equally to the A.A. alcoholic in uniform as they do to his unenlightened brother, but I honestly believe the A.A. has a good chance of beating them while the non-A.A. doesn't have better than 100-to-one odds in his favor. Even a fledgling A.A. realizes that the organization and its philosophy give

him something to cushion the shock of not drinking, something to fill the open space left in his social life when be puts away the bottle.



"When I went on the wagon in the Army--not as an A.A.--I was acutely miserable. I haunted the Special Service clubhouse or tent because I knew I wouldn't get a drink there, but the inanities of most Army entertainments loomed as even more inane to my still alcoholically critical eyes. I was constantly aware, every waking hour, that I was engaged in doing something I didn't like. A.A. hasn't deadened my critical faculties, but today I feel sure I could get amusement (sometimes perhaps snide), if not full enjoyment, out of a service club, and I am not a little suspicious that I might find myself participating in and enjoying the goings on after a while.



"Needless to say, there should be any amount of 12th Step opportunities in the service, but I'm inclined to think that 12th Step work should be approached even more carefully than ordinarily when dealing with GIs. All of us in the Army are living in a close community full of community prejudices sharper and more quickly applied than in civilian life. The first thing to convince any alcoholic in uniform should be that by joining A.A. he is not making himself ridiculous and not abandoning his right to be one of the boys. If you can convince the boys, too, so much the better. From there

on in you should have relatively clear sailing.



"In my own overseas drinking experience I have had many amusing and diverting adventures, so amusing and diverting that I get the dry heaves recalling them. There was the time I got tramped on by the camel, and the time I passed out on the Avenue Chah Reza in Teheran and had my pants stolen, and the time I fell head first into a lime-pit and had to take off my field jacket with a mason's chip hammer, and the endless times I had to weave back to camp one alley ahead of the MPs. Diverting as hell.



"Whatsa matter with this A.A. they didn't get me sooner? That's my only kick." Sgt. A. H.



The Seed Was Planted



"I tried to follow the A.A. principles three years ago in my home town of Anderson, S.C., and it was too much for me all alone, and after a few weeks I slipped, but several months ago I was able to affiliate with the Oklahoma City Group and I see now that the Higher Power intended things to work out this way. I have met some of the finest people in the world and only hope that after I'm discharged from the Service I will be able to partly repay them by carrying the A.A. message to Anderson, S. C. Had it not been for A.A., I'm afraid I would have gotten the little yellow discharge from the Navy long ago." Jack G. C., Jr., H A I / c, U.S. Navy



Letters Look Good at Front



"I enjoyed your letter tremendously and am rather ashamed that I haven't written sooner. Ever since the day we hit this Oriental rock the time has flown--our hours are long and the nights are sleepless--we have had over one hundred alerts and a goodly number of raids in the short time I've been here. You see I left my old base in the Pacific in the latter part of April and now am right in the thick of it. I am writing this during an alert but haven't as yet heard any ack! ack! which is the signal for this ex-drunk to dive into his foxhole." Sgt. Richard J. F. M., U.S.M.C.R.



Navy Chaplain Lauds Work



"Dear Editor:



"I have never needed A.A. help myself, but have had some very fine acquaintances whom it could have assisted long ago and might have kept them from sailing their ships on the rocks of alcoholic despair and destruction.



"During the past month it has been my great privilege to watch from outside and also inside observation by attending meetings of A.A. in this city. I have seen its work and as a minister and chaplain in the Navy, I marvel at the results it seems to get

from its application to alcoholics.



"I have read all the literature at hand and hope to read more to get an insight into the very fine results and remarkable record that make for the conversion of alcoholics to most decent and reputable citizens.



"I am enclosing herewith a check for $1.50 for which you will please put me on as a yearly subscriber to The Grapevine. Would be glad to have any old copies and any other literature that you may see fit to send." H.G.G., Captain, Ch. C, U.S.N.



Copies of The Grapevine are sent free to all A.A. servicemen and women. If you know of any member of the Armed Forces who is not on the mailing list, please send his or her name to the Editors.

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1606 NMOlson@aol.com
Grapevine, September 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s at Home or Abroad Grapevine, September 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s at Home or Abroad 1/20/2004 2:25:00 AM Grapevine, September 1945



Mail Call for All A.A.s at Home or Abroad



(Editor's Note: With the cessation of hostilities, Mail Call is thrown open to all A.A.s, those still far away with the victorious armed forces, those returning to civil life, and those on the home front who face the same fight. )



From a U. S. Marine



In the July 1945 issue we published a letter from an A.A., a sergeant of Marines in the Pacific, with whom we have since had the good fortune to carry on an active correspondence. We think part of his most recent letter should appear here:



"I received your last letter and answered it immediately, but because we were moving I was unable to mail it. In the meantime, we had some terrific rainfalls with the result that your letter and others were waterlogged and had to be destroyed. Now I am

at my new base.



"The little rock I was on was called Ie Shima and was the place where Ernie Pyle was killed. Being a small rock and just off the west coast of Okinawa, it was a fairly easy target and as a result was pretty hot with air raids and alerts. I am in Okinawa now. It's much nicer here--much like our own country with hills and ravines,

mountains and valleys and plenty of foliage and pine trees. We have lots of new equipment, including a new mess hall with all its accessories, ice cream machine and all. There are still a number of enemy stragglers around which hinders me from doing the exploring I'd like to do--such as into the mountains and down the valleys and along the rocky coast line. Besides I have enough work to do to take up most of my time."



Our friend goes on to discuss some of his thoughts about A.A., the probable reasons for "slips" and the danger of uncontrolled temper. His remarks on this last subject seem very much to the point:



"Ever since I attended my first meeting I knew that I would have to curb my temper if I wanted success (sobriety) and since I want that more than anything else in the world I pray daily that God will grant me patience and help me control my temper.  I've been quite successful along this line and have, gained twofold results--first, I've removed another obstacle to a life of complete contentment and second I get along with my family, as well as my fellow men; 100% better. I believe a temper is an asset when it is well bridled. No, I'm not cocky--either over my controlled temper or over two years of sobriety--if I were, I would not be praying daily for help. I need it.



"Just recently A.A. saved my life--someday I'll tell you about it. Thanks once again to A.A. that I'm here." D. F. M., Sgt., USMCR



[This was the only letter this month from a member of the Services.]

0 -1 0 0
1607 pennington2
...officers from Plattsburg ...officers from Plattsburg 1/20/2004 12:50:00 PM

As part of an online Big Book study group, the participants are encouraged to
read
with a dictionary and encyclopedia handy . . . . . . I have also found that the
WWW is
handy! Reading the first few pages of Bill's story this week, I was intrigued
by the
statement "officers from Plattsburg" and did a search. I found this reference
on the
web that others may find of interest:

<http://www.longwood.k12.ny.us/history/upton/adler1.htm>

p2
pennington2@yahoo.com

0 -1 0 0
1608 NMOlson@aol.com
Periodical Literature, The Amarillo, October 22, 1944 Periodical Literature, The Amarillo, October 22, 1944 1/22/2004 3:35:00 AM

THE LOST WEEKEND



Charles Jackson gives us five days out of a man's life while in the flamboyant arms of alcohol; this type of a book might have been burdensome or highly sensational--instead the author has given as clear a picture of what goes on in the mind of an alcoholic as is probably possible.  William Seabrook treated the matter completely in his ASYLUM, but this is the meticulous and factual account of a good mind holding its own throughout the flattering of the ego and the anti-social aspects produced by excessive drinking.



To the layman, alcoholism is merely a state of being drunk, of intoxication; but to those who have studied psychopathic trends, alcoholism is a release of all that man has within him, it is the highest and at once the lowest.  Within the confines of the bonds of this stimulant, man achieves his loftiest ambitions in thought, experiences and aberrations to do with everything from theft to possible murder, which the true alcoholic shuns.  As the book and serious writers on the subject point out, it is only the drug addict who will kill to satisfy his appetite.  Alcoholics may beg, steal, borrow or pawn to satisfy that thirst, but murder as a general rule is foreign to such a disturbed mind.



Mr. Jackson has contributed what is possibly the finest study in print of true alcoholism from the standpoint of the afflicted; his book is a priceless primer toward understanding of that great number who find escape for such a short time down the drinkers' road.  After so much trash has been written on this and kindred subjects, concerning the 'escapist' side of man, this book should prove invaluable to mankind to understanding not only alcoholics, but his own reactions based upon whole or part intoxication.  Mr. Jackson is not the type of writer to soft-pedal his ideas, but the sex angle of this book is well into the background and hardly raises its inquiring head; of course this might be different in relation to the subject--assuredly women alcoholics react differently than the males, but in all people of this type, the sex-life plays a dominant part and this author has given full scope to the possibility if not elaborating upon it.  To those who have seen patients of this type by the dozens, confined behind institution walls, this book will find a welcome world of avid readers; to those whose lives are touched with the "fiery fumes" of this line of escape, let them read and analyze for themselves, forgetting that dreams are all necessary to escape the realities of life.  No human being should miss this book, moreover, no human being can afford to.



Source:   The Amarillo, October 22, 1944


0 -1 0 0
1610 Jim Blair
Re: re: clapboard factory explosion clapboard factory explosion 1/22/2004 3:40:00 PM
 


DAvid wrote

Does anyone know if the Wombleys clapboard factory explosion ( referenced in Tradition 4 in the 12&12 )  was an actual event, or just a figure of speech.

 

I had a discussion with Ozzie Lepper who runs the Wison House in East Dorset and he claims that the foundations of the clapboard factory can still be seen.

Jim

 

0 -1 0 0
1611 timwarner1990
Origin of Rule #62 Origin of Rule #62 1/22/2004 3:19:00 PM

Hi everybody,

First of all, please forgive me if this subject has been addressed
previously. I did use the search function in both the
AAHISTORYLOVERS and the AAHISTORYBUFFS groups, to no avail.

Could someone please point me to a description of the origin of our
beloved Rule #62? I'm almost positive that I heard Bill W. describe
the origins of this term on a speaker tape, but I can't for the life
of me remember which speech it was.

The more detail you could provide, the better. Thanks so much.

Yours,
Tim W.

0 -1 0 0
1612 Arthur Sheehan
Re: Origin of Rule #62 Origin of Rule #62 1/23/2004 12:12:00 PM


Hi Tim - Following are some published sources:

 

Not God, pg 107: This reference suggests that the 'super-promoter" sobered up in early 1940. He first wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation outlining his ideas and applying for a "super-charter." The letter on "rule #62" came later after the ideas collapsed.

 

AA Grapevine, August 1952 on Tradition Four: This reference is the initial version of the essay material later incorporated into the 12&12 and AA Comes of Age. Bill's first editorial on (the long form of) Tradition Four, in the March 1948 Grapevine, makes no mention of the rule #62 story.

 

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pgs 147-149: Published in 1953, this is the generally accepted source of the story.

 

AA Comes of Age, pgs 103-104: Published in 1957, this version of the story just mentions a "clapboard factory" and not "Wombley's Clapboard Factory" to describe the collapse of the grandiose plan. This was part of Bill W's Second Legacy talk at the historic 20th Anniversary Convention in St Louis, MO.

 

The rule #62 story is an endearing one and I believe it sometimes overshadows the central notion of Tradition Four that "every group has the right to be wrong." One other thing, is that sometimes this Tradition unfortunately gets interpreted as an all-too-convenient loophole to arbitrarily ignore the principles embedded in the Traditions.

 

Cheers

Arthur


----- Original Message -----



Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2004 2:19 PM

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Origin of Rule #62


Hi everybody,

First of all, please forgive me if this subject has been addressed
previously. I did use the search function in both the
AAHISTORYLOVERS and the AAHISTORYBUFFS groups, to no avail.

Could someone please point me to a description of the origin of our
beloved Rule #62? I'm almost positive that I heard Bill W. describe
the origins of this term on a speaker tape, but I can't for the life
of me remember which speech it was.

The more detail you could provide, the better. Thanks so much.

Yours,
Tim W.






Yahoo! Groups Links



0 -1 0 0
1613 NMOlson@aol.com
Dr. Bob''s Last Drink Dr. Bob''s Last Drink 1/24/2004 3:21:00 AM The following question was received recently from Ted C. in Australia:

 

Subject: Dr Bob's Last Drink



Can anyone ascertain the EXACT date of Dr Bob's last drink.

Assuming the medical convention that he attended in June actually started on the 10th, as reported on this forum, and given the travelling time back from Atlantic City. Add to that the blackout that he had.(pp73-74 Dr Bob & the GOT) etc., and considering that surgeons only operated on perhaps one day a week, an exact date could be ascertained.

 

TedC



I sent him this response, but I do not think it has been previously posted:



This article is written by nationally recognized historian and oft-quoted Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K.



Dr. Bob's Last Drink



Bill W. had met a kindred spirit in Dr. Bob. Both men were born in Vermont, both were intelligent and both were alcoholics. They somehow knew that fateful evening in Henrietta Seiberling's Gatehouse home both of them were going to be okay.



Dr. Bob kept his promise to Anne. That is, until he boarded the train to Atlantic City.



After a few weeks of working with each other and attempting to deliver the message of recovery to other alcoholics Bill and Dr. Bob did not appear to be discouraged. Despite their not being able to bring another rummy into the fold -- they were staying sober. Quite a feat for Dr. Bob who had been attending Oxford Group meetings even prior to getting together with Bill.



Dr. Bob was feeling so secure that he decided to attend a convention of the American Medical Association. He had not missed a convention in 20 years and did not plan on missing this one. Bob's wife, Anne was set against him attending the convention. She remembered previous ones where he had gotten drunk.



Dr. Bob assured her that he would not drink. He said that alcoholics, even those who had stopped drinking, would have to begin to learn how to live in the real world. She finally agreed and off he went.



Dr. Bob kept his promise to Anne. That is, until he boarded the train to Atlantic City. Once on the train Dr. Bob began to drink in earnest. He drank all the way to Atlantic City, purchased more bottles prior to checking in to the hotel. That was on a Sunday evening.



Dr. Bob stayed sober on Monday until after dinner. He then resumed his drinking. Upon awakening Tuesday morning his drinking continued until noon. He then realized that he was about to disgrace himself by showing up at the convention drunk.



24-Hour Blackout



He decided to check out of the hotel and return home. He purchased more alcohol on the way to the train depot. He waited for the train for a long time and continued to drink. That was all he remembered until waking up in the home of his office nurse and her husband back in Ohio.



In order to insure the steadiness of Dr. Bob's hands during the operation Bill gave him a bottle of beer.



Dr. Bob's blackout lasted over 24 hours. There was a five-day period from when Dr. Bob left for the convention to when the nurse called Anne and Bill. They took Dr. Bob home and put him to bed. The detoxification process began once again. That process usually lasted three days according to Bill. They tapered Dr. Bob off of alcohol and fed him a diet of sauerkraut, tomato juice and Karo Syrup.



Bill had remembered that in three days, Dr. Bob was scheduled to perform surgery. On the day of the surgery, Dr. Bob had recovered sufficiently to go to work. In order to insure the steadiness of Dr. Bob's hands during the operation Bill gave him a bottle of beer. That was to be Dr. Bob's last drink and the "official" Founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous.



The operation was a success and Dr. Bob did not return home right after it. Both Bill and Anne were concerned to say the least. They later found out, after Dr. Bob had returned, that he was out making amends. Not drunk as they may have surmised, but happy and sober. That date according to the AA literature was June 10, 1935.



June 10, 1935, has been considered as AA's Founding Date for many years. After all, it was the date Dr. Bob had his last drink -- or was it? Recently discovered evidence appears to differ with the "official" literature.



The "Official" Date



The Archives of the American Medical Association reportedly show that their convention in Atlantic City, in the year 1935 did not start until June 10th. How could Dr. Bob have gone to the convention, by train -- check into a hotel -- attend the convention on Monday -- check out on Tuesday -- be in a blackout for 24 hours -- go through a three-day detoxification -- perform surgery on the day of his last drink -- June 10, 1935?



It now appears that the date of Dr. Bob's last drink was probably on, or about, June 17, 1935.



Five days had passed since Dr. Bob left for the convention and returned to Akron. There was the three-day detoxification process and then there was the day of the surgery. Approximately nine days had passed from when he left and the date of his last drink.



If the records of the American Medical Association are in error as to the date of their convention it is possible that June 10, 1935, was the date of Dr. Bob's last drink. If the records are in error, the 1935 convention would have been the only one in the history of the American Medical Association that was listed with the wrong date.



It now appears that the date of Dr. Bob's last drink was probably on, or about, June 17, 1935. Maybe AA should keep the June 10th date as a symbolic Founding Date rather than claim it as the actual one? Maybe the date should be changed to reflect historical accuracy?



Either way, Dr. Bob never drank again until his death, November 16, 1950. Dr. Bob sponsored more than 5,000 AA members and left the legacy of his life as an example. Dr. Bob told those he sponsored that there were three things one had to do to keep sober:



TRUST GOD, CLEAN HOUSE, HELP OTHERS.



More will be revealed…









0 -1 0 0
1614 Arthur
RE: Dr. Bob''s Last Drink Dr. Bob''s Last Drink 1/24/2004 6:57:00 PM

Hi Ted


The date of June 17 looks pretty compelling as Dr Bob's dry date. Barefoot
Bill obtained confirmation from the AMA Archives in Chicago, IL that the 1935
Atlantic City, NJ Convention was held from Mon to Fri, June 10-14, 1935. Also,
there is a graphic of the AMA convention program circulating on the web and it
clearly indicates June 10-14. There are also good clues in the literature for a
deduction.


In AA Comes of Age (pgs 70-71) Bill writes "So he
[Dr Bob] went to the Atlantic City Medical Convention and nothing was heard of
him for several days."


In Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers (pgs 72-75) it cites (with my
editing for brevity) 


Dr Bob ... began drinking … as he boarded the train to
Atlantic City. On his arrival he bought several quarts on his way to the hotel.
That was Sunday night. He stayed sober on Monday until after dinner... On
Tuesday, Bob started drinking in the morning and … [checked out of the
hotel]… The next thing he knew … he was … in the … home
of his office nurse... The blackout was certainly more than 24 hours long
… Bill and Anne had waited for five days from the time Bob left before
they heard from the nurse... She had picked him up that morning at the Akron
railroad station...


As Bill and Sue remembered, there was a 3-day sobering up
period... Upon Dr Bob's return, they had discovered that he was due to perform
surgery 3 days later... At 4 o'clock on the morning of the operation [Bob]
… said "I am going through with this...” On the way to City
Hospital ... Bill … gave him a beer…


In the video Bill's Own Story, Bill says he gave Dr Bob a beer and a "goofball" [a
barbiturate] on the morning of the surgery. The same information is repeated in
Pass It On, pgs 147-149.


See also Not God, pgs 32-33.


Estimate
on the turn of events:


June               Dr
Bob


09 Sunday        Checked
into Atlantic City Hotel (started drinking on the train on the way in)


10 Monday       Stayed
sober until after dinner


11 Tuesday      Began
drinking in the morning - later checked out of the hotel.


12 Wednesday  Went into blackout
(likely greater than 24 hours)


13
Thursday     Blackout continues (may have arrived at Akron
train station)


14 Friday         Picked
up by nurse in the morning at the train station


                       Then
picked up by Bill at nurse’s house (5 days after leaving)


                       Day
1 of 3-day dry out period


15 Saturday      Day
2 of 3-day dry out period


16 Sunday        Day
3 of 3-day dry out period


17 Monday       Day
of surgery - Bill gives Bob a beer and a goofball (3 days after Bob’s
return)


 


Cheers


Arthur


 


 







From: NMOlson@aol.com
[mailto:NMOlson@aol.com]

Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004
7:21 AM

To:
AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Dr.
Bob's Last Drink



 


The following question was received recently from Ted C. in
Australia:

 

Subject: Dr Bob's Last Drink



Can anyone ascertain the EXACT
date of Dr Bob's last drink.

Assuming the medical convention that he attended in June actually started on
the 10th, as reported on this forum, and given the travelling time back from
Atlantic City. Add to that the blackout that he had.(pp73-74 Dr Bob & the
GOT) etc., and considering that surgeons only operated on perhaps one day a
week, an exact date could be ascertained.

 

TedC



I sent him this response, but I do not think it has been previously posted:



This article is written by nationally recognized historian and oft-quoted
Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K.



Dr. Bob's Last Drink



Bill W. had met a kindred spirit in Dr. Bob. Both men were born in Vermont,
both were intelligent and both were alcoholics. They somehow knew that fateful
evening in Henrietta Seiberling's Gatehouse home both of them were going to be
okay.



Dr. Bob kept his promise to Anne. That is, until he boarded the train to
Atlantic City.



After a few weeks of working with each other and attempting to deliver the
message of recovery to other alcoholics Bill and Dr. Bob did not appear to be
discouraged. Despite their not being able to bring another rummy into the fold
-- they were staying sober. Quite a feat for Dr. Bob who had been attending
Oxford Group meetings even prior to getting together with Bill.



Dr. Bob was feeling so secure that he decided to attend a convention of the
American Medical Association. He had not missed a convention in 20 years and
did not plan on missing this one. Bob's wife, Anne was set against him
attending the convention. She remembered previous ones where he had gotten
drunk.



Dr. Bob assured her that he would not drink. He said that alcoholics, even
those who had stopped drinking, would have to begin to learn how to live in the
real world. She finally agreed and off he went.



Dr. Bob kept his promise to Anne. That is, until he boarded the train to
Atlantic City. Once on the train Dr. Bob began to drink in earnest. He drank
all the way to Atlantic City, purchased more bottles prior to checking in to
the hotel. That was on a Sunday evening.



Dr. Bob stayed sober on Monday until after dinner. He then resumed his drinking.
Upon awakening Tuesday morning his drinking continued until noon. He then
realized that he was about to disgrace himself by showing up at the convention
drunk.



24-Hour Blackout



He decided to check out of the hotel and return home. He purchased more alcohol
on the way to the train depot. He waited for the train for a long time and
continued to drink. That was all he remembered until waking up in the home of
his office nurse and her husband back in Ohio.



In order to insure the steadiness of Dr. Bob's hands during the operation Bill
gave him a bottle of beer.



Dr. Bob's blackout lasted over 24 hours. There was a five-day period from when
Dr. Bob left for the convention to when the nurse called Anne and Bill. They
took Dr. Bob home and put him to bed. The detoxification process began once
again. That process usually lasted three days according to Bill. They tapered
Dr. Bob off of alcohol and fed him a diet of sauerkraut, tomato juice and Karo
Syrup.



Bill had remembered that in three days, Dr. Bob was scheduled to perform
surgery. On the day of the surgery, Dr. Bob had recovered sufficiently to go to
work. In order to insure the steadiness of Dr. Bob's hands during the operation
Bill gave him a bottle of beer. That was to be Dr. Bob's last drink and the "official"
Founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous.



The operation was a success and Dr. Bob did not return home right after it.
Both Bill and Anne were concerned to say the least. They later found out, after
Dr. Bob had returned, that he was out making amends. Not drunk as they may have
surmised, but happy and sober. That date according to the AA literature was
June 10, 1935.



June 10, 1935, has been considered as AA's Founding Date for many years. After
all, it was the date Dr. Bob had his last drink -- or was it? Recently
discovered evidence appears to differ with the "official" literature.



The "Official" Date



The Archives of the American Medical Association reportedly show that their
convention in Atlantic City, in the year 1935 did not start until June 10th.
How could Dr. Bob have gone to the convention, by train -- check into a hotel
-- attend the convention on Monday -- check out on Tuesday -- be in a blackout
for 24 hours -- go through a three-day detoxification -- perform surgery on the
day of his last drink -- June 10, 1935?



It now appears that the date of Dr. Bob's last drink was probably on, or about,
June 17, 1935.



Five days had passed since Dr. Bob left for the convention and returned to
Akron. There was the three-day detoxification process and then there was the
day of the surgery. Approximately nine days had passed from when he left and
the date of his last drink.



If the records of the American Medical Association are in error as to the date
of their convention it is possible that June 10, 1935, was the date of Dr.
Bob's last drink. If the records are in error, the 1935 convention would have
been the only one in the history of the American Medical Association that was
listed with the wrong date.



It now appears that the date of Dr. Bob's last drink was probably on, or about,
June 17, 1935. Maybe AA should keep the June 10th date as a symbolic Founding
Date rather than claim it as the actual one? Maybe the date should be changed
to reflect historical accuracy?



Either way, Dr. Bob never drank again until his death, November 16, 1950. Dr.
Bob sponsored more than 5,000 AA members and left the legacy of his life as an
example. Dr. Bob told those he sponsored that there were three things one had
to do to keep sober:



TRUST GOD, CLEAN HOUSE, HELP OTHERS.



More will be revealed…


















Yahoo! Groups Links






0 -1 0 0
1615 friendofbillw89
Closing statement Closing statement 1/25/2004 10:01:00 PM

IN my area we have a closing statement tha reads in part...*let
there be no gossip or criticsm of another, Instead let the love of
the fellowship grow inside you one day at a time.*

I cannot remember the whole closing statement offhand and could not
find anything in the archives.

Where did that closing originate and can I find a copy or link online?

Nisa

0 -1 0 0
1616 Judi
Re: Closing statement Closing statement 1/26/2004 8:15:00 AM
check with al-anon, thats the closing they use here. judi

friendofbillw89 <friendofbillw89@yahoo.com> wrote:
IN  my area we have a closing statement tha reads in part...*let
there be no gossip or criticsm of another, Instead let the love of
the fellowship grow inside you one day at a time.*

I cannot remember the whole closing statement offhand and could not
find anything in the archives. 

Where did that closing originate and can I find a copy or link online?

Nisa






Yahoo! Groups Links




Do you Yahoo!?

Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free web site building tool. Try it!
0 -1 0 0
1617 soomedrunk
When did the break from Oxford Groups take place When did the break from Oxford Groups take place 1/24/2004 11:50:00 PM

Hi all,

When and how did the break from the Oxford Group take place.

Was there a specific meeting that occured? How did it happen?

Does that mean there is a meeting that can be said to be the 1st
actual AA meeting? Was there a problem or a fight that caused the
break?

Please help with this.

Most respectfully,
Eric

0 -1 0 0
1618 NORMANSOBRIETY@aol.com
serenity prayer serenity prayer 1/24/2004 10:49:00 PM Dear All,



             I have just read the SERENITY PRAYER BY ELISABETH SIFTON.

Does anyone know if it was a AA member that changed the Serenity prayer as we know it today. The original Serenity Prayer is:

GOD GIVE US GRACE, TO ACCEPT WITH SERENITY THE THINGS THAT CANNOT BE CHANGED, COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS THAT SHOULD BE CHANGED, AND THE WISDOM TO DISTINGUISH THE ONE FROM THE OTHER.

Does anyone know where the second part of the serenity prayer came from as it is not mentioned in the book.



                                               Yours in the fellowship



                                                 Norrie F. Oban Sunday Scotland UK 

0 -1 0 0
1619 NMOlson@aol.com
Re: When did the break from Oxford Groups take place When did the break from Oxford Groups take place 1/26/2004 12:21:00 PM This message came from Richard K.  It had a typo in it which would have been misleading, so I have corrected the typo and forward it to the group.



Nancy



The break came in stages.  The first break came in New York, in

1937.  Bill Wilson oftentimes gave several reasons for the split, as

I've heard in countless tapes during the 1940s and 1950s.  However, his wife Lois was more to the point: " (the) Oxford Group kind of kicked us out." (Pass It On, p. 174) 



The break in Akron came in two phases.  Cleveland pioneer Clarence Snyder was vying to get his Catholic prospects into the group.  But these folks were receiving some static from their churches.  Chief among the problems was the Oxford Group practice of (open) group confession.  They were facing quite the dilemma: either leave the Akron alcoholic group and remain in their parishes, or continue with the group and face excommunication.  Clarence had a meeting with Dr. Bob on May 10, 1939, and announced that his Cleveland contingent were longer to be coming down to Akron, and that they would begin a group in Cleveland "for alcoholics and their families only."  (Mitchell K, "How It Worked: The Stroy of Clarence H. Snyder")



The date of this first meeting was May 11, 1935 [correction, 1939] at 2345 Stillman Road, Cleveland Heights.  Clarence stated that this group would be called Alcoholics Anonymous, after the title of the newly-released book.  This has been recognized in some quarters as the first "AA meeting."



Dr. Bob was intensely loyal to the Akron Oxford Groupers who had helped them in AA's formative years (T. Henry and Clarace Williams, Henrietta Seiberling, et al.).  Exactly when the final split occurred is open to debate.  Most historians point to late 1939 - January 1940.  Dr. Bob never elaborated on the actual facts pertaining to the split, and not much had been recorded.  Letters do exist that confirm 74 members meeting at Dr. Bob's home at Ardmore Avenue on the last Wednesday of 1939, and by 1940 they were gathering at the King School.



Regards,

Richard K.

Haverhill, MA













0 -1 0 0
1620 Mel Barger
Re: When did the break from Oxford Groups take place When did the break from Oxford Groups take place 1/26/2004 4:39:00 PM

Hi,
I actually discussed the Oxford Group break with Bill. He gave 1937 as
the time of the break in New York and 1939 as the time in Akron. But he
quickly said that the Akron people stayed with the Oxford Group only because
of the help they were getting from T. Henry and Clarace Williams,
nonalcoholic Oxford Groupers who had provided the use of their fine home for
Wednesday night meetings of alcoholics.
I think the New York break came because the O.G. people had become
critical of Bill, and Sam Shoemaker's assistant pastor had gone out of his
way to knock them. The Akron people began finding the Oxford Group
connection unsatisfactory, and some of this may have been due to the Oxford
Group's growing public relations problems. (Frank Buchman, the O.G.
founder, had committed a terrible P.R. blunder in a 1936 newspaper
interview.) When the Akron people finally did break, in late 1939, Dr. Bob
described it to Bill as getting out from under their yoke, which suggests
that the alcoholics had become unhappy with the arrangement. They then met
in Dr. Bob's house for a short time before going to King's School. Bob told
Bill they had 75 in his house for a meeting. If you ever visit the house in
Akron, you'll be amazed that they could squeeze 75 in there!
I explain much of this in my book "New Wine," which is published by
Hazelden (if it's permissible to say so!).
Mel Barger

~~~~~~~~
Mel Barger
melb@accesstoledo.com
----- Original Message -----
From: "soomedrunk" <SomeDrunk@pages3.com>
To: <AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004 11:50 PM
Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] When did the break from Oxford Groups take place


> Hi all,
>
> When and how did the break from the Oxford Group take place.
>
> Was there a specific meeting that occured? How did it happen?
>
> Does that mean there is a meeting that can be said to be the 1st
> actual AA meeting? Was there a problem or a fight that caused the
> break?
>
> Please help with this.
>
> Most respectfully,
> Eric
>
>
>
>
>
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
> To visit your group on the web, go to:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AAHistoryLovers/
>
> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
> AAHistoryLovers-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
>
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
> http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
>
>
>
>
>
> __________________________________________________________
> This message was scanned by GatewayDefender
> 3:06:01 PM ET - 1/26/2004
>

0 -1 0 0
1621 CBBB164@AOL.COM
Re: Closing statement Closing statement 1/26/2004 10:25:00 AM The subject phrase can be found in the suggested closing for Al-Anon meetings. 



http://home.bham.rr.com/therealmuddy/Meeting%20closing.txt



In God's love and service,



Cliff Bishop -







0 -1 0 0
1622 Arthur
RE: When did the break from Oxford Groups take place When did the break from Oxford Groups take place 1/26/2004 8:57:00 PM

Hi
Eric


The
short answer is: NY broke away in Aug 1937 and Cleveland/Akron broke away in
May/Oct 1939.


A much longer answer
follows (it turned into an essay).


I
got the impression you are looking for all the info you can get on the Oxford
Group.


Sources  (with
page number references)


AABB       Alcoholics Anonymous,
the Big Book, AAWS


AACOA    AA Comes of Age, AAWS


AGAA      The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics
Anonymous
, by Dick B (soft cover)


BW-RT    Bill W by Robert
Thompson (soft cover)


BW-FH    Bill W by Francis
Hartigan (hard cover)


BW-40     Bill W My First 40 Years,
autobiography (hard cover)


DBGO      Dr Bob and the Good Old-timers,
AAWS


EBBY       Ebby the Man Who Sponsored Bill W
by Mel B (soft cover)


GB           Getting Better Inside Alcoholics
Anonymous
by Nan Robertson (soft cover)


GTBT      Grateful to Have Been There by Nell Wing (soft cover)


LOH         The Language of the Heart,
AA Grapevine Inc.


LR           Lois Remembers, by
Lois Wilson


NG           Not God, by Ernest
Kurtz (expanded edition, soft cover)


NW          New Wine, by Mel B
(soft cover)


PIO          Pass It On, AAWS


RAA         The Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Bill Pittman, nee AA the Way It Began
(soft cover)


SI             Sister Ignatia, by
Mary C Darrah (soft cover)


www        Web
search (typically using Google search engine)


1908


Jul.,
Frank N D Buchman arrived in England to attend the Keswick Convention of
evangelicals. After hearing a sermon by a woman evangelist, Jessie Penn-Lewis,
he experienced a profound spiritual surrender and later helped another attendee
to go through the same experience. His experiences became the key to the rest
of his life’s work. Returning to the US, he started his “laboratory years”
working out the principles he would later apply on a global scale. (NG 9, NW
32-45, PIO 130)


1918


Jan.,
Frank Buchman met Sam Shoemaker in Peking (now Beijing) China. Shoemaker had a
spiritual conversion experience and became a devoted member of Buchman’s First Century Christian Fellowship. (NW
29, 47-52, RAA 117-118, AGAA 209)


1921


Frank
Buchman was invited to visit Cambridge, England. His movement The First Century Christian Fellowship
would later become the Oxford Group
and receive wide publicity during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Core principles
consisted of the “four absolutes” (of honesty, unselfishness, purity and love -
believed to be derived from scripture in the Sermon on the Mount). Additionally
the OG advocated the “five C’s” (confidence, confession, conviction, conversion
and continuance) and “five procedures” (1. Give in to God, 2. Listen to God’s
direction, 3. Check guidance, 4. Restitution and 5. Sharing - for witness and
confession). (DBGO 53-55, CH 3) (GB 45 states Buchman dated the founding and
name of the OG when he met with undergraduates from Christ Church College of
Oxford U).


1922


Frank
Buchman resigned his job at the Hartford Theological Seminary to pursue a wider
calling. Over the next few years, he worked mostly in universities (Princeton,
Oxford and Cambridge). During the economic depression, students (particularly
in Oxford) responded to his approach and were ordained ministers. Others gave
all their time to working with him. (www)


1928


Summer,
a group of Rhodes Scholars returned home to S. Africa, from Oxford U, England
to tell how their lives changed through meeting Frank Buchman. A railway
employee labeled their train compartment The
Oxford Group
. The press took it up and the name stuck (the name First Century Christian Fellowship faded).
(RAA 120, www)


1931


Rowland
H (age 50)
was treated by Dr. Carl
Gustav Jung in Zurich, Switzerland. It is believed that he was a patient for
about a year, sobered up and then returned to drinking. Treated a second time
by Jung, Rowland was told that there was no medical or psychological hope for
an alcoholic of his type; that his only hope was a vital spiritual or religious
experience - in short a genuine conversion experience. Bill W later wrote that
this was “the first in the chain of events that led to the founding of AA.” (NW
11-19, NG 8-9, EBBY 59, LOH 277)


Dec.,
Russell (Bud) Firestone (alcoholic son of Akron, OH business magnate Harvey
Firestone Sr.) was introduced to Sam Shoemaker by James Newton on a train
returning from an Episcopal conference in Denver, CO. Newton was a prominent
Oxford Group member and an executive at Firestone. Bud, who was drinking a
fifth or more of whiskey a day, spiritually surrendered with Shoemaker and was
released from his alcohol obsession. Bud joined the OG and became an active
member (but later returned to drinking). (NW 15, 65, AGAA 8-9, 32-36)


1932


Rowland
H found sobriety through the spiritual practices of the Oxford Group (it is not
clear whether this occurred in Europe or the US - and it could have occurred in
1931). Rowland was a dedicated OG member in NY, VT and upper MA and a prominent
member of the Calvary Episcopal Church in NYC. He later moved to Shaftsbury,
VT. (NW 10-19, NG 8-9, PIO 113-114, AGAA 28, 141-144, LOH 277-278, www)


1933


Jan.,
Harvey Firestone Sr. (grateful for help given his son Bud) sponsored an Oxford
Group conference weekend (DBGO says 10-day house party) headquartered at the
Mayflower Hotel in Akron, OH. Frank Buchman and 30 members (DBGO says 60) of
his team were met at the train station by the Firestones and Rev Walter Tunks
(Firestone’s minister and rector of St Paul’s Episcopal Church). The event
included 300 overseas members of the OG and received widespread news coverage.
The event attracted Henrietta Sieberling, T Henry and Clarace Williams and Anne
Smith. (NW 65-67, CH 2, DBGO 55, AGAA 9, 37-51, 71)


Early,
Anne Smith attended meetings of the Oxford Group with her friend Henrietta
Sieberling (whose marriage to J Frederick Sieberling was crumbling). Anne later
persuaded Dr Bob to attend. The meetings were held on Thursday nights at the
West Hill group. (NW 67-68, SI 32, 34, DBGO 53-60, CH 2-3, 28-29) Beer had
become legal and Dr Bob previously went through a beer-drinking phase (“the
beer experiment”). It was not long before he was drinking a case and a half a
day fortifying the beer with straight alcohol. In his Big Book story, Bob says
that this was around the time when he was introduced to the OG. He participated
in the OG for 2 ½ years before meeting Bill. (DBGO 42, AABB 177-178, NW 62)


1934


Jul.,
Ebby T was approached in Manchester, VT by his friends Cebra G (an attorney)
and F Sheppard (Shep) C (a NY stockbroker). Both were Oxford Group members who
had done considerable drinking with Ebby and were abstaining from drinking.
They informed Ebby of the OG in VT but he was not quite ready yet to stop
drinking. (EBBY 51-55, PIO 113)


Aug,
Cebra G and Shep C vacationed at Rowland H’s house in Bennington, VT. Cebra
learned that Ebby T was about to be committed to Brattleboro Asylum. Cebra,
Shep and Rowland decided to make Ebby “a project.” (NG 309)


Aug.,
Rowland H and Cebra G persuaded a VT court judge (who
happened to be Cebra's father Collins) to parole Ebby T into their custody.
Ebby had first met Rowland only shortly before. In the fall, Rowland took Ebby
to NYC where he sobered up with the help of the Oxford Group at the Calvary
Mission. (RAA 151, AACOA vii, NW 20-21, 26, EBBY 52-59, NG 9-10, PIO 115, AGAA
155-156)


Nov
(late), Ebby T, while staying at the Calvary Mission and working with the
Oxford Group, heard about Bill W’s problems with drinking. He phoned Lois who
invited him over for dinner. (EBBY 66)


Nov.
(late), Ebby visited Bill W at 182 Clinton St and shared his recovery
experience "one alcoholic talking to another.” (AACOA vii, 58-59) A few
days later, Ebby returned with Shep C. They spoke to Bill about the Oxford
Group. Bill did not think too highly of Shep. Lois recalled that Ebby visited
several times, once even staying for dinner. (AACOA vii, NG 17-18, 31`, BW-FH
57-58, NW 22-23, PIO 111-116, BW-RT 187-192)


Dec.
7, Bill W decided to investigate the Calvary Mission on 23rd St. He
showed up drunk with a drinking companion found along the way (Alec the Finn).
Bill kept interrupting the service wanting to speak. On the verge of being
ejected, Ebby came by and fed Bill a plate of beans. Bill later joined the
penitents and drunkenly “testified” at the meeting. (AACOA 59-60, BW-40
136-137, NG 18-19, BW-FH 60, NW 23, PIO 116-119, BW-RT 193-196, AGAA 156-159,
EBBY 66-69)


Dec.
11, Bill W (age 39) decided to go back to Towns Hospital and had his last drink
(four bottles of beer purchased on the way). He got financial help from his
mother, Emily, for the hospital bill. (AACOA 61-62, LOH 197, RAA 152, NG 19,
311, NW 23, PIO 119-120, GB 31).


Dec.
14, Ebby visited Bill W at Towns Hospital and told him about the Oxford Group
principles. After Ebby left, Bill fell into a deep depression (his “deflation
at depth”) and
had a profound spiritual
experience after crying out “If there be a God, will he show himself.” Dr.
Silkworth later assured Bill he was not crazy and told him to hang on to what
he had found. In a lighter vein, Bill and others would later refer to this as
his “white flash” or “hot flash” experience. (AABB 13-14, AACOA vii, 13, BW-40
141-148, NG 19-20, NW 23-24, PIO 120-124, GTBT 111, LOH 278-279)


Dec
15, Ebby brought Bill W a copy of William James' book The Varieties of Religious Experience.
Some
references indicate that it may have been Rowland H who gave Bill the book.
(AGAA 142)
Bill was deeply inspired
by the book. It revealed three key points for recovery: [1] calamity or
complete defeat in some vital area of life (hitting bottom), [2] admission of
defeat (acceptance) and [3] appeal to a higher power for help (surrender). The
book strongly influenced early AAs and is cited in the Big Book. (AACOA 62-64,
LOH 279, EBBY 70, SI 26, BW-40 150-152, NG 20-24, 312-313, NW 24-25, PIO
124-125, GTBT 111-112, AABB 28)


Dec.
18, Bill W left Towns Hospital and began working with drunks. He and Lois
attended Oxford Group meetings with Ebby T and Shep C at Calvary House. The Rev
Sam Shoemaker was the rector at the Calvary Church (the OG’s US headquarters).
The church was on 4th Ave (now Park Ave) and 21st St. Calvary
House (where OG meetings were usually held) was at 61 Gramercy Park. Calvary
Mission was located at 346 E 23rd St. (AABB 14-16, AACOA vii, LR
197, BW-40 155-160, NG 24-25, PIO 127, GB 32-33, AGAA 144)


Dec
(late), after Oxford Group meetings, Bill W and other OG alcoholics met at
Stewart’s Cafeteria near the Calvary Mission. Attendees included Rowland H and
Ebby T. (BW-RT 207, BW-40 160, AAGA 141-142, NG 314)


1935


Early,
Bill W worked with alcoholics at the Calvary Mission and Towns Hospital,
emphasizing his "hot flash" spiritual experience. Alcoholic Oxford
Group members began meeting at his home on Clinton St. Bill had no success
sobering up others. (AACOA vii, AABB, BW-FH 69, PIO 131-133)


Mar./Apr.,
Henrietta Sieberling encouraged by her friend Delphine Weber, organized a
Wednesday-night Oxford Group meeting at T Henry and Clarace Williams’ house on
676 Palisades Dr. The meeting was started specifically to help Dr Bob who later
confessed openly about his drinking problem. OG meetings continued at the
William’s house until 1954. (DBGO


Apr.,
Bill W returned to Wall St and was introduced to Howard Tompkins of the firm
Baer and Co. Tompkins was involved in a proxy fight to take over control of the
National Rubber Machinery Co. based in Akron, OH. (BW-RT 211, NG 26, BW-FH 74,
PIO 133-134, GB 33)


May,
Bill W went to Akron but the proxy fight was quickly lost. He remained behind
at the Mayflower Hotel very discouraged. (BW-RT 212, PIO 134-135)


May
11, (AGAA says May 10)
Bill W, in poor spirits,
and tempted to enter the Mayflower Hotel bar, realized he needed another
alcoholic. He telephoned members of the clergy listed on the lobby directory.
He reached the Rev. Walter Tunks who referred him to Norman Sheppard who then
referred him to Henrietta Sieberling (47 years old and an Oxford Group
adherent). Bill introduced himself as “a member of the OG and a rum hound from
NY.” Henrietta met with Bill at her gatehouse (Stan Hywet Hall) on the
Sieberling estate. She arranged a dinner meeting the next day with Dr Bob and
Anne. (AACOA 65-67, SI 21, BW-RT 212-213, DBGO 60, 63-67, NG 26-28, PIO 134-138,
GB 19) Note: some stories say that when Henrietta called Anne, Dr Bob was
passed out under the kitchen table. He was upstairs in bed.


May
12, Mother’s Day -
Bill W (age 39) met Dr Bob
(age 55) Anne and their young son Bob (age 17) at Henrietta Sieberling’s
gatehouse at 5PM. Dr Bob, too hung over to eat dinner, planned to stay only 15
minutes. Privately, in the library, Bill told Bob of his alcoholism experience
in the manner suggested by Dr Silkworth. Bob opened up and he and Bill talked
until after 11PM. (AACOA vii, 67-70, BW-RT 214-215, DBGO 66-69, NG 28-32, BW-FH
4, GB 21)


May,
Bill W wrote a letter to Lois saying that he and Dr Bob tried in vain to sober
up a “once prominent surgeon” who developed into a “terrific rake and drunk.”
Henrietta Sieberling arranged for Bill to stay at the Portage Country Club.
(DBGO 70, 77)


Jun.,
Bill W moved to Dr Bob’s house at the request of Anne Smith. Bill insisted on
keeping two bottles of liquor in the kitchen to prove that he and Bob could
live in the presence of liquor. Both worked with alcoholics and went to Oxford
Group meetings on Wednesday nights at the home of T Henry and Clarace Williams.
T Henry lost his job due to the proxy fight that brought Bill to Akron. (AACOA
141, NW 68-69, 73, DBGO 70-71, 99-102, PIO 145-147, AGAA 186, NG 317) Favored
Scripture readings at meetings were The
Sermon on the Mount, First
Corinthians
Chapter 13 and the Book of James
. (AAGA 193, 208-209, 253) (GTBT
95-96 says that meetings were held at Dr Bob’s house and moved to the Williams’
house in late 1936 or early 1937)


Aug.
26, Bill W returned to NYC. Meetings were held at his house at 182 Clinton St
on Tues. nights. His home also became a halfway house, of sorts, for drunks.
(AACOA 74, BW-RT 225, PIO 160-162, GTBT 96, GB 51, AGAA 145)


1936


Bill
W's efforts in working only with alcoholics were criticized by NY Oxford Group
members. Similarly, in Akron, T Henry and Clarace Williams were criticized as
well by OG members who were not supportive of their efforts being extended
primarily to alcoholics. (NG 44-45, NW 73, AGAA 76)


Aug.
26, Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group experienced an international public
relations disaster. A NY World Telegram
article by William H Birnie, quoted Buchman as saying, “I thank heaven for a
man like Adolph Hitler, who built a front-line of defense against the
anti-Christ of Communism.” Although the remark was taken out of context in its
reporting, it would plague Buchman’s reputation for many years. It marked the
beginning of the decline of the OG. (NW 30, 96, DBGO 155, BW-FH 96, PIO
170-171, GB 53, AGAA 161)


1937


Early,
Bill W and Lois attended a major Oxford Group house party at the Hotel Thayer
in West Point, NY. For the previous 2 ½ years they had been attending two OG
meetings a week. (NW 89)


Late
spring, leaders of the Oxford Group at the Calvary Mission ordered alcoholics
staying there not to attend meetings at Clinton St. Bill W and Lois were
criticized by OG members for having “drunks only” meetings at their home. The
Wilson’s were described as “not maximum” (an OG term for those believed to be
lagging in their devotion to OG principles). (EBBY 75, LR 103, BW-RT 231, NG
45, NW 89-91)


Aug.,
Bill and Lois stopped attending Oxford Group meetings. The NY AAs separated
from the OG. (LR 197, AACOA vii, 74-76)


1938


Nations
of the world armed for World War II and Frank Buchman called for a “moral and
spiritual re-armament” to address the root causes of the conflict. He renamed
the Oxford Group to Moral Re-Armament. (www, NW 44)


1939


May
10, Led by pioneer member Clarence S (whose Big Book story is Home Brewmeister) the Cleveland, OH group
met separately from Akron and the Oxford Group at the home of Albert (Abby) G (whose
Big Book story is He Thought He Could Drink
Like a Gentleman
). This was the first group to call itself Alcoholics Anonymous. The Clevelanders
still sent their most difficult cases to Dr Bob in Akron for treatment. (AACOA
19-21, NW 94, SI 35, DBGO 161-168, NG 78-79, PIO 224, AGAA 4, 201, 242).


Oct.
late, (AACOA viii says summer) Akron members of the “alcoholic squad” withdrew
from the Oxford Group and held meetings at Dr Bob’s house. It was a painful
separation due to the great affection the alcoholic members had toward T Henry
and Clarace Williams. (NW 93-94, SI 35, DBGO 212-219, NG 81, GTBT 123, AGAA
8-10, 188, 243)


1941


Nov.,
Dr. Sam Shoemaker left the Oxford Group (then called Moral Re-Armament) and formed a fellowship named Faith at Work. MRA was asked to completely
vacate the premises at Calvary House. Shoemaker’s dispute with Buchman was
amplified in the press. (EBBY 75-76, AAGA 161, 244)


1949


Jul.
14, in a letter to the Rev Sam Shoemaker Bill W wrote “So far as I am
concerned, and Dr Smith too, the Oxford Group seeded AA. It was our spiritual
wellspring at the beginning.” (AGAA 137)


1961


Frank
N D Buchman died. Moral Re-Armament
had declined significantly in numbers and influence and became headquartered in
Caux, Switzerland. (NW 45, 97-98) A month after Buchman’s death Bill W wrote to
a friend regretting that he did not write to Buchman acknowledging his
contributions to the AA movement. (PIO 386-387)


2002


Apr.,
MRA changed its name to Initiatives of
Change
. (www)


The
role of the Oxford Group is an interesting and significant one. I get a sense
that the underlying tension occurred because the Oxford Group was out to save
the world and Bill was primarily focused on saving drunks.


The
OG influence in Akron appeared much stronger and orthodox even though the
Calvary Church in NY was the OG US headquarters. Dick B has written books that
are very informative in providing insight on the OG’s influence on AA. One of
the books, Anne Smith’s
Journal 1933-1939
, is a particularly interesting read.


Cheers


Arthur


 







From: soomedrunk
[mailto:SomeDrunk@pages3.com]

Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004
10:51 PM

To:
AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] When
did the break from Oxford Groups take place



 


Hi all,



When and how did the break from the Oxford Group
take place.




Was there a specific meeting that occured? How did
it happen?




Does that mean there is a meeting that can be said
to be the 1st


actual AA meeting? Was there a problem or a fight
that caused the


break?



Please help with this.



Most respectfully,

Eric










Yahoo! Groups Links






0 -1 0 0
1623 ny-aa@att.net
Oxford Groups -> Initiatives of Change Oxford Groups -> Initiatives of Change 1/27/2004 11:28:00 PM

Where did our ancestor the Oxford Groups go? They became Moral
Rearmament which was also called MRA. They're still around
today trying to "remake the world." As of 2001, MRA became
Initiatives of Change. I quote:

NAME CHANGE 2001
With the approach of the new millennium, there
is world-wide recognition that the words
'moral re-armament' no longer hold the same
resonance as they did in 1938. In 2001 the
new name Initiatives of Change (IC) is
announced to the world's media by the Caux
President, Dr Cornelia Sommaruga (former
President of the international Red Cross),
and Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of
the Mahatma.

0 -1 0 0
1624 J. Lobdell
RE: serenity prayer serenity prayer 1/27/2004 8:59:00 AM

The book is inaccurate (and perhaps tendentious) in its dating the prayer 1943 as it was already in existence by 1941 and (by Dr. Niebuhr's testimony) in the 1930s.  Nor can Mrs Sifton's 1943 revision be counted as the original wording.


>From: NORMANSOBRIETY@aol.com
>Reply-To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com
>To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com
>Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] serenity prayer
>Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 03:49:49 EST
>
>Dear All,
>
>              I have just read the SERENITY PRAYER BY ELISABETH SIFTON.
>Does anyone know if it was a AA member that changed the Serenity prayer as we
>know it today. The original Serenity Prayer is:
>GOD GIVE US GRACE, TO ACCEPT WITH SERENITY THE THINGS THAT CANNOT BE CHANGED,
>COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS THAT SHOULD BE CHANGED, AND THE WISDOM TO
>DISTINGUISH THE ONE FROM THE OTHER.
>Does anyone know where the second part of the serenity prayer came from as it
>is not mentioned in the book.
>
>                                                Yours in the fellowship
>
>                                                  Norrie F. Oban Sunday
>Scotland UK


Find high-speed ‘net deals — comparison-shop your local providers here.
0 -1 0 0
1627 Lash, William (Bill)
RE: Back to Basics Back to Basics 1/29/2004 11:44:00 AM

AA's Forgotten Beginning - The Alcoholics Anonymous "Beginners' Classes"
(Facts and thoughts transcribed from a talk given by Wally P. on 11/23/96 in
Mesa, Arizona. Wally is the author of the book "Back To Basics: The Alcoholics
Anonymous Beginners' Meetings, 'Here are the steps we took...' in Four One-Hour
Sessions".)
Initial growth in Alcoholics Anonymous took place in Cleveland, Ohio. Clarence
S. and the guys went out actively pursuing drunks and brought them off bar
stools and street corners. We don't do that today, but we were doing it back
then [late 1930's and 1940's]. And it worked!
In early 1940, when there were about 1,000 members of AA, more than half were
from Cleveland. The book 'AA Comes of Age' talks about it on pages 20 and 21:
"It was soon evident that a scheme of personal sponsorship would have to be
devised for the new people. Each prospect was assigned an older AA, who visited
him at his home or in the hospital, instructed him on AA principles, and
conducted him to his first meeting." So even back in the early days the sponsor
was taking the sponsee to meetings and getting together with him, rather than
having the sponsee track the sponsor down. 'AA Comes of Age' continues by
saying, "But in the face of many hundreds of pleas for help, the supply of
elders could not possibly match the demand. Brand-new AA's, sober only a month
or even a week, had to sponsor alcoholics still drying up in hospitals." Because
of this rapid growth in Cleveland, the idea of formalized classes started. In
the book 'Dr. Bob and the Good Old-timers' it states on page 261, "Yes,
Cleveland's results were the best. Their results were in fact so good that many
a Clevelander really though AA had started there in the first place." Over half
of the fellowship was from Cleveland up and through the mid-1940s.
During the winter of 1941 the Crawford Group (founded in February 1941)
organized a separate group to help newcomers through the Steps. By the first
issue of the Cleveland Central Bulletin, October 1942, the Crawford "Beginners'
Class" was listed as a separate meeting. And in the second issue, in November
1942, there was an article entitled "Crawford Men's Training". This refers to
possibly the first "Beginners' Class". "The Crawford Men's Training System has
been highly acclaimed to many. Old AA's are asked to come to these meetings with
or without new prospects, where new prospects will be given individual attention
just as though they were in a hospital. Visiting a prospect in his home has
always been handicapped by interruptions. But the prospect not daring to
unburden himself completely for fear of being overheard by his relatives and by
the AA's reticence for the same reason. Hospitalization without question is the
ideal answer to where the message will be most effective; but the Crawford
training plan strikes us as being the next best."
In the early days they weren't sure if you could get sober if you didn't go to
treatment. That was one of the early questions - could a person get sober
without going to a three or five-day detox. Because it was during that detox
that sometimes ten and twenty AA members came to visit the new person. And each
hour the prospect was awake he would hear someone's story - over and over again.
And something gelled during these hospital stays. But they were trying to do it
outside of the hospital and this is where the first of the classes came from.
These classes continued at Euclid Avenue Meeting Hall through June 1943 and at
that time the Central Bulletin announced a second session - "The Miles Training
Meeting". The bulletin read, "The Miles Group reports they have enjoyed unusual
success with their training meetings. The newcomer is not permitted to attend a
regular AA meeting until he has been given a thorough knowledge of the work."
The newcomer couldn't go to a meeting until he completed the training session. A
lot of places didn't allow you to go to AA meetings until you had taken the four
classes. You didn't just sit there - you had already completed the steps when
you went to your first AA meeting. "From 15 to 20 participate at each training
meeting and new members are thoroughly indoctrinated."
These meetings grew and spread and visitors came from out of town and out of
state. In 1943 the Northwest Group in Detroit, Michigan standardized the classes
into four sessions. "In June 1943 a group of members proposed the idea of a
separate discussion meeting to more advantageously present the Twelve Steps of
the recovery program to the new affiliates. The decision was made to hold a
Closed Meeting for alcoholics only for this purpose. The first discussion
meeting of the Northwest Group was held on Monday night June 14, 1943 and has
been held every Monday night without exception thereafter (as of 1948). A plan
of presentation of the Twelve Steps of the recovery program was developed at
this meeting. The plan consisted of dividing the Twelve Steps into four
categories for easier study." The divisions were:
1. The Admission
2. Spiritual
3. Restitution and Inventory
4. Working and the message
"Each division came to be discussed on each succeeding Monday night in rotation.
This method was so successful that it was adopted first by other groups in
Detroit and then throughout the United States. Finally the format was published
in it's entirety by the Washington, DC Group in a pamphlet entitled 'An
Interpretation of our Twelve Steps." The first pamphlet was published in 1944
and contains the following introduction: "Meetings are held for the purpose of
aquatinting both the old and new members with the Twelve Steps on which our
Program is based. So that all Twelve Steps may be covered in a minimum of time
they are divided into four classifications. One evening each week will be
devoted to each of the four subdivisions. Thus, in one month a new man can get
the bases of our Twelve Suggested Steps." This pamphlet was reproduced many
times in Washington, DC and then throughout the country and is even still being
printed in some areas today.
In the Fall of 1944, a copy of the Washington, DC pamphlet reached Barry C. -
one of the AA pioneers in Minneapolis. He wrote a letter to the New York
headquarters requesting permission to distribute the pamphlet. We talk about
"Conference Approved Literature" today; but this is the way the Fellowship
operated back then. This is a letter from Bobby B., Bill W.'s secretary, printed
on "Alcoholic Foundation" stationary. This is what she says: "The Washington
pamphlet, like the new Cleveland one, and a host of others, are all local
projects. We do not actually approve or disapprove these local pieces. By that I
mean the Foundation feels that each group is entitled to write up their own 'can
opener' and to let it stand on it's own merits. All of them have their good
points and very few have caused any controversy. But in all things of a local
nature we keep hands off - either pro or con. Frankly, I haven't had the time to
more than glance at the Washington booklet, but I've heard some favorable
comments about it. I think there must be at least 25 local pamphlets now being
used and I've yet to see one that hasn't some good points."
And then in 1945 the AA Grapevine printed three articles on the "Beginners'
Classes". The first one was published in June and it described how the classes
were conducted in St. Louis, Missouri. This has to do with the "education plan"
and they called it the Wilson Club. "One of the four St. Louis AA groups is now
using a very satisfactory method of educating prospects and new members. It has
done much to reduce the number of 'slippers' among new members. In brief it is
somewhat as follows: Each new prospect is asked to attend four successive
Thursday night meetings. Each one of which is devoted to helping the new man
learn something about Alcoholics Anonymous, it's founding and the way it works.
The new man is told something about the book and how this particular group
functions. Wilson Club members are not considered full active members of AA
until they've attended these four educational meetings."
In the September 1945 issue of the Grapevine the Geniuses Group in Rochester, NY
explained their format for taking newcomers through the Steps. The title of the
article was "Rochester Prepares Novices for Group Participation". This is how
they perceived the recovery process to operate most efficiently: "It has been
our observation that bringing men [and woman] into the group indiscriminately
and without adequate preliminary training and information can be a source of
considerable grief and a cause of great harm to the general moral of the group
itself. We feel that unless a man, after a course of instruction and an
intelligent presentation of the case for the AA life, has accepted it without
any reservation he should not be included in group membership. When the sponsors
feel that a novice has a fair working knowledge of AA's objectives and
sufficient grasp of it's fundamentals then he is brought to his first group
meeting. Then he listens to four successive talks based on the Twelve Steps and
Four Absolutes. They are twenty-minute talks given by the older members of the
group and the Steps for convenience and brevity are divided into four sections.
The first three Steps constitute the text of the first talk; the next four the
second; the next four the third; and the last Step is considered to be entitled
a full evening's discussion by itself." This group taught the Steps in order
rather than in segments.
In December 1945, the St. Paul, Minnesota Group wrote a full-page description of
the "Beginners' Meetings". The description of their four one-hour classes was:
"New members are urged to attend all the sessions in the proper order. At every
meeting the three objectives of AA are kept before the group: to obtain and to
recover from those things which caused us to drink and to help others who want
what we have." In 1945 Barry C., of Minneapolis, received a letter from one of
the members from the Peoria, Illinois Group. In the letter, the writer, Bud,
describes the efforts of Peoria, Illinois in regarding the "Beginners' Classes".
"In my usual slow and cautious matter I proceeded to sell the Peoria Group on
the Nicollet Group. Tomorrow night we all meet to vote the adoption of our
bylaws slightly altered to fit local conditions". (No one taught the classes the
same way. They were taught based on a group conscience.) "Sunday afternoon at
4:30 our first class in the Twelve Steps begins. We're all attending the first
series of classes so we'll all be on an even footing. We anticipate on losing
some fair-weather AA hangers-on in the elimination automatically imposed by the
rule that these classes must be attended. This elimination we anticipate with a
"we" feeling of suppressed pleasure. It is much as we are all extremely fed up
with running a free drunk taxi and sobering-up service."
Then sometime prior to 1946 in Akron, Ohio the Akron Group started publishing
four pamphlets on the AA Program. They were written by Ed W. at the direction of
Dr. Bob, one of the co-founders of AA. Dr. Bob wanted some "blue-collar"
pamphlets for the Fellowship. In one of the pamphlets, "A Guide to the Twelve
Steps", it reads: "A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is
intended to be a simple, short and concise interpretation of the rules for sober
living as compiled by the earliest members of the organization. The writers and
editors are members of the Akron, Ohio Group where Alcoholics Anonymous was
founded in 1935. Most of the ideas and explanations were brought out in a series
of instruction classes conducted by veteran members of the group." So this
proves the classes were being taught in Akron, Ohio. There are a lot of places
they were being taught.
Then the classes were actually formalized into a book called "The Little Red
Book" in 1946. The inscription on the inside cover says, "The material in this
Little Red Book is an outgrowth of a series of notes originally prepared for
Twelve Step instruction to AA beginners." So we know the "Little Red Book" came
out of these four one-hour classes also. "Few books have had greater record for
humble service than the Little Red Book upon which so many members have cut
their AA teeth." A manuscript drawn up from these notes was sent to Dr. Bob at
the request of USA and Canadian members. He approved the manuscript and the book
was published in 1946. Dr. Bob approved of "The Little Red Book". So Dr. Bob not
only authorized the publication of the Akron pamphlets, he also endorsed "The
Little Red Book", both of which were products of the "Beginners' Classes".
Even our first AA group handbook, originally entitled "A Handbook for the
Secretary", published by the Alcoholic Foundation in 1950, had a section on the
"Beginners' Classes". At the time there were only three types of meetings: Open
Speaker Meetings, Closed Discussion Meetings, and Beginners' Meetings. There was
no such thing as an Open Discussion Meeting in the early days of Alcoholics
Anonymous. In the Beginners' Meetings, which are described in the Meeting
section, the handbook states: "In larger metropolitan areas a special type of
meeting for newcomers to AA is proved extremely successful. Usually staged for a
half-hour prior to an open meeting, this meeting features an interpretation of
AA usually by an older member presented in terms designed to make the program
clear to the new member. (Note: The Chicago Group held their "Beginners'
Classes" a half-hour prior to their Open Meeting. When publishing the group
handbook, the New York office only described Chicago's format.) After the
speaker's presentation the meeting is thrown open to questions." In each of the
four one-hour classes there was always a session for questions afterwards.
"Occasionally, the AA story is presented by more than one speaker. The emphasis
remains exclusively on the newcomer and his problem."
The four one-hour classes were taught all over the country. Some other cities
include Oklahoma City, Miami Florida, and Phoenix Arizona.
If these classes were so important, then what happened to them? Most of the
people who have joined AA in the last twenty-five years or so have never even
heard of them. Ruth R., an old-timer in Miami Florida, who came into AA in 1953,
gave some insight into the demise of the "Beginners' Classes". "At that time the
classes were being conducted at the Alana Club in Miami - two books were used:
"Alcoholics Anonymous" (Big Book) and the "Little Red Book". Jim and Dora H.,
Florida AA pioneers, were enthusiastic supporters and they helped organize
several of the classes and served as instructors." (Note: Dora was a Panel 7
Delegate to the General Service Office.) Ruth recalled that the classes were
discontinued in the mid-1950s as the result of the publication of the book
"Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing Inc. In
the Miami area the "Twelve and Twelve" replaced both the "Big Book" and the
"Little Red Book" and "Step Studies" replaced the "Beginners' Classes". In the
process, the period for taking the Steps was expanded and modified from 4 weeks
to somewhere in between 12 and 16 weeks. The Fourth Step inventory was modified
and became a much more laborious and detailed procedure. What was originally
conceived as a very simple program, which took a few hours to complete, evolved
into a complicated and confusing undertaking requiring several months.
Studying the Steps is not the same as taking the Steps. In the "Beginners'
Classes" you take the steps. The Big Book says, "Here are the steps we took" not
"here are the steps we read and talked about." The AA pioneers proved that
action, not knowledge, produced the spiritual awakening that resulted in
recovery from alcoholism. On page 88, the authors of the Big Book wrote, "It
works-it really does. We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline
us in the simple way we have just outlined. But this is not all. There is action
and more action. Faith without works is dead."

(This concludes the description of the "Beginners' Classes" during Wally P.'s
talk in Masa, Arizona on November 23, 1996. Wally P. is an AA Archivist from
Tucson, Arizona. For two years he researched and studied areas of the country
that held "Beginners' Classes" back in the 40's and '50's. He then started
teaching the classes under the guidance of his sponsor who took the classes in
1953 and never drank again. In March of 1996 Wally mentioned the "Beginners'
Classes" as part of his historical presentation at the Wilson House in East
Dorset, Vermont. Wally then wrote and published a book entitled "Back to Basics:
The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners' Classes - Take all 12 Steps in Four One-Hour
Sessions." Since then, there have been over 1000 "Back to Basics" meetings and
groups started all over the world. Now, almost 60 years since the classes were
first originated, newcomers are once again being taken through the Twelve Steps
in four one-hour "Beginners' Classes".
On Saturday 4/11/98, members of the "Into Action Big Book Group" of Berkeley
Heights, N.J. went to see Wally give a presentation of the "Beginners' Classes"
in Philadelphia. Members went through the Steps in the four one-hour classes,
all in one day. This group then began facilitating the classes in June 1998 in
various locations throughout New Jersey and has taken thousands of AA members
through the Steps since. They have expanded the classes to be five,
one-and-one-half hour sessions, to include more of the material for each Step in
the Big Book.
The Cherry Hill Group of Southern New Jersey has taught Beginners' Classes every
Sunday evening since May 1997.
The Woodlands Group in Texas have been conducting the "Beginners' Classes" since
April 1998. Within one year, about ten "Back to Basics" meetings resulted from
the Woodland group and approximately 1,650 alcoholics were taken through the
Steps that year! The Woodlands and subsequent groups in Texas are enjoying a
75-93% success rate like the Cleveland groups had in the 1940's.
Wally P. has a website containing much information on the AA "Beginners'
Classes" at www.aabacktobasics.com on the World Wide Web.)






-----Original Message-----
From: friendofbillw89 [mailto:friendofbillw89@yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 5:16 PM
To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Back to Basics


I have attended a few *cycles* of the Back to Basics meetings in my
area. It is where we do all 12 steps in 4 one-hour sessions. What
is the history of working the steps in this method? I was told this
was the way it was done in the early days in Akron.

Nisa

0 -1 0 0
1628 NMOlson@aol.com
Periodical literature, Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 21, 2004 Periodical literature, Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 21, 2004 1/30/2004 2:30:00 AM This was sent to me by John B., but without a proper subject line, so I have copied it and am sending it for him.



Nancy



From the Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2004, edition



How far can 12 steps go?



Thousands attest to the power of 12-step programs in breaking the hold of addiction. But might the popular programs be wrong for some?




By Jane Lampman | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor



Americans have a penchant for 12-step programs. The original beacon for a path out of addiction - Alcoholics Anonymous - has grown past 50,000 groups in the US (and twice that worldwide). And its message is being reincarnated in self-help fellowships to fight drugs, gambling, overeating, sexual addictions, smoking, and even indebtedness.



Conventional wisdom has it that the 12-step approach -- in which an individual acknowledges his or her powerlessness before the addiction, turns to a higher power, and takes specific steps to change -- is the most effective route out of addiction. Its popularity seems to support that. Some 90 percent of residential and outpatient treatment programs draw directly on its principles.



Yet there are many who question not that it helps thousands, but whether its predominance may get in the way of some people finding their freedom. There are issues, some critics say, related to its quasi-religious nature, its definition of addiction as an incurable disease, the creation of long-term dependence on the program, and the way courts and other agencies mandate addicts' participation. Are some with alcohol or drug problems being coerced to follow a path that may not be suited to their needs and beliefs?



"The problem is that people think AA is the only correct treatment," says Lance Dodes, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "That's true only for a subset of the population, and many people are harmed by it."



An AA representative declined to respond, saying it is the group's tradition to refrain from controversy and not comment on what others say about alcoholism or about AA.



Over the past 70 years, AA has helped huge numbers to find sobriety and a new lease on life. "If you look at the number of groups and 2,000,000 members worldwide, it's clearly got longevity and appeal," says Barbara McCrady, clinical director of Rutgers University's Center of Alcohol Studies. Yet AA's own surveys show that of the people who attend a meeting, 9 out of 10 drop out within the first year. Research hasn't yet been done on its siblings, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and others, she says.



For many who stay with it, the benefits can't be overestimated. A big-time drinker who turned to drugs after a family tragedy, "Alan" was in denial about his situation. Near the end of college, though, he was weary and tried unsuccessfully to quit. It was only when he tagged along with a friend to an NA meeting that his turnaround began.



"Listening to people's stories, I knew I was an addict and these were people I could relate to," he says. "Going to meetings, I'd stay clean for a while and then use. It took six months 'til I got clean for the last time." He's been free for six years but attends meetings several times a week.



"Once you stay clean for a while you realize drugs were only the tip of the iceberg," adds Alan who asked that his real name not be used. "You also need to change your compulsive behaviors and how you react to situations. There's a wealth of knowledge in that room."



Keith Humphreys at Stanford University's School of Medicine sees this kind of "instillation of hope" as a crucial factor in changing addicts' lives. "Most people feel defeated and have a frightening sense they can't control their own behavior," he says. "They go to a group and see others who've had the same problem now doing well, and that instills a lot of hope."



Twelve-step groups provide a valuable public health benefit, says Dr. Humphreys. Not only are they widely available, but one cost study showed that people going to the groups require $5,000 less per person from the healthcare system annually. "Multiply that by more than a million people getting treatment each year, and they are taking an extraordinary burden off the system," he adds.



At the same time, the very limited research done so far doesn't back up the conventional wisdom. Comparisons of professional treatment based on 12-step with other professional treatment modes show no superior outcomes. Longitudinal studies of self-help groups in treatment showed them comparable on most dimensions with any other kind of treatment except in the area of abstinence, where they had better results.



Given the limited evidence and quasi-religious nature of 12-step plans, some object to the way courts and other agencies mandate addicts' participation.



"Several aspects of AA don't work for everyone -- such as its spiritual or religious nature, or the emphasis on powerlessness, or its group approach," says Stanton Peele, a psychologist and lawyer who has written several books on addiction, including "Resisting 12-Step Coercion."



Some courts have ruled it unconstitutional to require participation because they deem the program religious, while others have ruled it is not. AA literature emphasizes that its message is spiritual but not religious -- that people decide on their own what the higher power is, and for some it is simply the group itself. The only membership requirement is the desire to stop drinking.



Other issues some find troubling relate to theories of addiction. The 12-step message is that addiction is an incurable disease, that while alcoholics can become sober, they remain alcoholics, and should stay in the program to maintain that sobriety. In each meeting, people introduce themselves: "I'm [name], and I'm an alcoholic," no matter how long they've been clean.



The disease model isn't helpful, Dr. Peele says. "If you had an 18-year-old drinking way too much on weekends, would the best approach be to take him to AA and convince him he has a lifelong disease?" he asks.



Dr. Dodes, who has treated various forms of addiction, says the disease idea takes the moralizing out of it, which is good, but discourages people from understanding the problem. "They think it's a physical problem, which it's not, or a genetic problem, which it's not, or a biological or chemical problem, which it's not," he says. In his book "The Heart of Addiction," he describes it as psychological.



"All addictions are an attempt to treat a sense of overwhelming helplessness," which is accompanied by rage over that helplessness, he says. He helps people identify the kind of helplessness that's troubling them and address it, "not by white-knuckling it but because they understand what is happening."



While AA requires you to make "a fearless moral inventory" and make amends to those you have hurt, Dodes adds, that sometimes leaves people feeling something is very wrong with them while not getting to the root of their emotional trouble.



While many talk of a genetic element to alcoholism, Dodes reviewed the genetic research and says there is no such gene, that there is at most the idea of a susceptibility gene, but it's not been discovered either. McCrady suggests addiction has psychological, genetic, and/or social components.



Others object to what they see as the creation of a dependency on the program itself. An alternative program, Woman in Sobriety, for example, aims to help people take responsibility for themselves and then move on with their lives on their own.



Yet the ongoing group support offers valuable benefits, some argue. People who leave addictions behind usually require new friends who don't drink or take drugs. "I have friends that have over 20 years of abstinence," says Alan. "They've been through all kinds of crises ... but didn't return to use. That gives you strength."



Practitioners and problem drinkers, however, say drinking problems differ greatly and it's a fallacy that one must be in lifelong recovery. "There are people with less severe problems who can benefit from a limited period of counseling and then they are just done with it," says McCrady.



In fact, a 1996 study showed that three-quarters of those who'd recovered from alcohol problems had done so on their own. For her book, "Sober for Good," Ann Fletcher interviewed some 200 people who had recovered through various means, from AA to secular self-help groups, psychological counseling, and religion.



But there are also millions who don't know where to go for help. An estimated 14 million Americans have drinking problems; only 1 in 10 receives treatment. Experts say more treatment options for addictions need to be supported.



Meanwhile, those in AA and NA point to results. "I was at a regional NA conference in Richmond last weekend with about a thousand people," Alan says. "All these people who used to be addicts, what was their drain on society? Now they're clean and working and productive. It's amazing."



The Twelve Steps



1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.



2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.



3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.



4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.



5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.



6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.



7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.



8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.



9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.



10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.



11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.



12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



Source: Alcoholics Anonymous



0 -1 0 0
1629 Mel Barger
Re: Periodical literature, Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 21, 2004 Periodical literature, Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 21, 2004 1/30/2004 11:12:00 AM
Hi Nancy,

  I appreciate your going to the effort of copying the Jane Lampman article from the Christian Science Monitor.  It is a good article, although some AA members may feel it's too critical.

  I have followed criticisms of AA ever since the first major one appeared in Harper's magazine in 1963.  This was really the first time AA had received serious criticism in an important publication, and many of us were enraged by it.  While AA World Services made no direct reply to the article, Bill W. did offer an excellent response in the April, 1963, issue of The AA Grapevine.  This can be found today in "The Language of the Heart," a collection of Bill's articles published over the years in The Grapevine. See  "Our Critics Can Be Our Benefactors," p. 345.  I consider it a masterpiece of conciliatory writing.

  Since then, we've had much more criticism of various kinds, and there are even several books which take AA to task.  While some of the critics are malicious, others are honest and sincere in pointing to problems with the way our program is presented.  Bill often acknowledged that we don't have all the answers and should never present our program as the only solution to problem drinking.

   Criticism is almost always difficult to accept, but Bill explained that we can benefit from it.  I feel very secure about our program.  As for any statistics about its success percentages, my answer is 100%.  I haven't had a drink since I fully accepted the program on April 15, 1950.

   All the best,

   Mel Barger   


~~~~~~~~
Mel Barger
melb@accesstoledo.com


----- Original Message -----



Sent: Friday, January 30, 2004 7:30 AM

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Periodical literature, Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 21, 2004


This was sent to me by John B., but without a proper subject line, so I have copied it and am sending it for him.

Nancy

From the Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2004, edition

How far can 12 steps go?

Thousands attest to the power of 12-step programs in breaking the hold of addiction. But might the popular programs be wrong for some?


By Jane Lampman | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Americans have a penchant for 12-step programs. The original beacon for a path out of addiction - Alcoholics Anonymous - has grown past 50,000 groups in the US (and twice that worldwide). And its message is being reincarnated in self-help fellowships to fight drugs, gambling, overeating, sexual addictions, smoking, and even indebtedness.

Conventional wisdom has it that the 12-step approach -- in which an individual acknowledges his or her powerlessness before the addiction, turns to a higher power, and takes specific steps to change -- is the most effective route out of addiction. Its popularity seems to support that. Some 90 percent of residential and outpatient treatment programs draw directly on its principles.

Yet there are many who question not that it helps thousands, but whether its predominance may get in the way of some people finding their freedom. There are issues, some critics say, related to its quasi-religious nature, its definition of addiction as an incurable disease, the creation of long-term dependence on the program, and the way courts and other agencies mandate addicts' participation. Are some with alcohol or drug problems being coerced to follow a path that may not be suited to their needs and beliefs?

"The problem is that people think AA is the only correct treatment," says Lance Dodes, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "That's true only for a subset of the population, and many people are harmed by it."

An AA representative declined to respond, saying it is the group's tradition to refrain from controversy and not comment on what others say about alcoholism or about AA.

Over the past 70 years, AA has helped huge numbers to find sobriety and a new lease on life. "If you look at the number of groups and 2,000,000 members worldwide, it's clearly got longevity and appeal," says Barbara McCrady, clinical director of Rutgers University's Center of Alcohol Studies. Yet AA's own surveys show that of the people who attend a meeting, 9 out of 10 drop out within the first year. Research hasn't yet been done on its siblings, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and others, she says.

For many who stay with it, the benefits can't be overestimated. A big-time drinker who turned to drugs after a family tragedy, "Alan" was in denial about his situation. Near the end of college, though, he was weary and tried unsuccessfully to quit. It was only when he tagged along with a friend to an NA meeting that his turnaround began.

"Listening to people's stories, I knew I was an addict and these were people I could relate to," he says. "Going to meetings, I'd stay clean for a while and then use. It took six months 'til I got clean for the last time." He's been free for six years but attends meetings several times a week.

"Once you stay clean for a while you realize drugs were only the tip of the iceberg," adds Alan who asked that his real name not be used. "You also need to change your compulsive behaviors and how you react to situations. There's a wealth of knowledge in that room."

Keith Humphreys at Stanford University's School of Medicine sees this kind of "instillation of hope" as a crucial factor in changing addicts' lives. "Most people feel defeated and have a frightening sense they can't control their own behavior," he says. "They go to a group and see others who've had the same problem now doing well, and that instills a lot of hope."

Twelve-step groups provide a valuable public health benefit, says Dr. Humphreys. Not only are they widely available, but one cost study showed that people going to the groups require $5,000 less per person from the healthcare system annually. "Multiply that by more than a million people getting treatment each year, and they are taking an extraordinary burden off the system," he adds.

At the same time, the very limited research done so far doesn't back up the conventional wisdom. Comparisons of professional treatment based on 12-step with other professional treatment modes show no superior outcomes. Longitudinal studies of self-help groups in treatment showed them comparable on most dimensions with any other kind of treatment except in the area of abstinence, where they had better results.

Given the limited evidence and quasi-religious nature of 12-step plans, some object to the way courts and other agencies mandate addicts' participation.

"Several aspects of AA don't work for everyone -- such as its spiritual or religious nature, or the emphasis on powerlessness, or its group approach," says Stanton Peele, a psychologist and lawyer who has written several books on addiction, including "Resisting 12-Step Coercion."

Some courts have ruled it unconstitutional to require participation because they deem the program religious, while others have ruled it is not. AA literature emphasizes that its message is spiritual but not religious -- that people decide on their own what the higher power is, and for some it is simply the group itself. The only membership requirement is the desire to stop drinking.

Other issues some find troubling relate to theories of addiction. The 12-step message is that addiction is an incurable disease, that while alcoholics can become sober, they remain alcoholics, and should stay in the program to maintain that sobriety. In each meeting, people introduce themselves: "I'm [name], and I'm an alcoholic," no matter how long they've been clean.

The disease model isn't helpful, Dr. Peele says. "If you had an 18-year-old drinking way too much on weekends, would the best approach be to take him to AA and convince him he has a lifelong disease?" he asks.

Dr. Dodes, who has treated various forms of addiction, says the disease idea takes the moralizing out of it, which is good, but discourages people from understanding the problem. "They think it's a physical problem, which it's not, or a genetic problem, which it's not, or a biological or chemical problem, which it's not," he says. In his book "The Heart of Addiction," he describes it as psychological.

"All addictions are an attempt to treat a sense of overwhelming helplessness," which is accompanied by rage over that helplessness, he says. He helps people identify the kind of helplessness that's troubling them and address it, "not by white-knuckling it but because they understand what is happening."

While AA requires you to make "a fearless moral inventory" and make amends to those you have hurt, Dodes adds, that sometimes leaves people feeling something is very wrong with them while not getting to the root of their emotional trouble.

While many talk of a genetic element to alcoholism, Dodes reviewed the genetic research and says there is no such gene, that there is at most the idea of a susceptibility gene, but it's not been discovered either. McCrady suggests addiction has psychological, genetic, and/or social components.

Others object to what they see as the creation of a dependency on the program itself. An alternative program, Woman in Sobriety, for example, aims to help people take responsibility for themselves and then move on with their lives on their own.

Yet the ongoing group support offers valuable benefits, some argue. People who leave addictions behind usually require new friends who don't drink or take drugs. "I have friends that have over 20 years of abstinence," says Alan. "They've been through all kinds of crises ... but didn't return to use. That gives you strength."

Practitioners and problem drinkers, however, say drinking problems differ greatly and it's a fallacy that one must be in lifelong recovery. "There are people with less severe problems who can benefit from a limited period of counseling and then they are just done with it," says McCrady.

In fact, a 1996 study showed that three-quarters of those who'd recovered from alcohol problems had done so on their own. For her book, "Sober for Good," Ann Fletcher interviewed some 200 people who had recovered through various means, from AA to secular self-help groups, psychological counseling, and religion.

But there are also millions who don't know where to go for help. An estimated 14 million Americans have drinking problems; only 1 in 10 receives treatment. Experts say more treatment options for addictions need to be supported.

Meanwhile, those in AA and NA point to results. "I was at a regional NA conference in Richmond last weekend with about a thousand people," Alan says. "All these people who used to be addicts, what was their drain on society? Now they're clean and working and productive. It's amazing."

The Twelve Steps

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Source: Alcoholics Anonymous





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0 -1 0 0
1630 t
Tyler Tex Morning Telegraph 2004 -57th anniv Tyler Tex Morning Telegraph 2004 -57th anniv 1/31/2004 5:34:00 PM

MEMBERS SHARE STORIES,
SUPPORT AT AA ANNIVERSARY

By: MEGAN MIDDLETON, Staff Writer January 10, 2004
Gayle S. still wells up with tears when she thinks about the day more than 20
years
ago that a pastor told her about Alcoholics Anonymous.

She said he threw an Alcoholics Anonymous book down on the table in front of
her,
letting it make a loud thud, and told her, "'These are the only people who can
help
you. There's more love in Alcoholics Anonymous than there is in my big old ...
church.'"

And that night she went to her first AA meeting.

"Those women just grabbed me and welcomed me," Gayle, a former Tyler resident,
said.
"They overwhelm you with love because they know how you feel."

And for more than 20 years Gayle has remained sober.

"This is a deadly disease, treated, in my case, only by abstinence from
alcohol," she
said.

About 700 AA members from East Texas and throughout Texas and the country
attended
Saturday's celebration of the group's 57th anniversary in Tyler, which began
Friday
and continues Sunday at Harvey Convention Center.

AA members identify themselves with only their first names and initials to
preserve
the anonymity on which the group is based.

On Saturday participants listened to several speakers from across the state and
nation tell their stories of dealing with alcohol and its effect on their lives.

They also had a barbecue dinner and a dance.

More speakers are scheduled for Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. The cost for the
weekend
is $10.

Gayle, who came from Kerrville to attend the conference, said the AA anniversary
celebrations are important because "it tells us there's continuity in Alcoholics
Anonymous."

"If Alcoholics Anonymous had not arrived here, many of us would not have found
sobriety," she said.

A Saturday afternoon speaker, Maryann W. of Corpus Christi, kept the crowd
laughing
while also bringing a message of the importance of AA.

Maryann was married and became a mother at 15 years old, she said, and to deal
with
her feelings she eventually turned to drinking.

"My solution was alcohol," she said. "It was my best friend."

She described the kind of drinker she was, comparing how different people would
react
to having a fly in their drink. She said the non-drinker would ask for a Diet
Coke, a
heavy drinker would ask for a different glass, and "I would have the fly by the
nape
of the neck saying, 'Spit it out, spit it out!'"

"It was never enough," she said to the laughing crowd.

She explained that her husband, who also drank, was her "cover" and the "reason"
she
drank.

But one day she realized that it wasn't him.

"What happened to me in 1977 was the most amazing grace," she said. "I saw
myself for
what I really was, and I remember thinking, 'It's not his fault.' I uttered,
'God
help me.'"

Some time after receiving help at a treatment center, she met with a woman from
an AA
group.

"I zeroed in on her eyes," she said. "I looked at her eyes, and they were bright
and
shining and they danced ... and they were full of life."

What hooked her on AA were the people, she said.

"I was enamored and enthralled with you," she said to the crowd. "You hooked my
soul,
and I didn't know you hooked my soul."

Despite her jokes, she said "being forced to your knees is a blessing" and
warned
about thinking of ways to avoid doing what you know you need to do.

"Alcoholism is just beneath the skin," she said. "Don't think it ever goes
away."

DEMETRIUS

Those listening to the speakers had their own stories as well.

Demetrius J., an AA district committee member, has been sober for more than nine
years. He first came to AA, he said, to save his marriage and his job.

"After being in here a couple of days, I began to stop trying to save my
marriage and
stop trying to save my job and started trying to save my life," Demetrius said.

To be sober "feels wonderful," he said. But he knows what might have been had he
not
found help.

"I believe if it wasn't for Alcoholics Anonymous, I'd been in jail or an
institution
or I'd be dead," he said. "Alcoholics Anonymous guided me back to my God."

He said he took his first drink, whiskey, at 10 years old and began drinking
"for the
confidence" he believed it gave him.

"It would make me 10-foot-tall and bulletproof," he said. "It would make me
sauve and
debonair. It would also make the life of the party. It would also make me Dr.
Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde. I drank 20 years trying to escape who I was."

He swore off drinking time and time again during those 20 years, but when he saw
that
he was hurting other people, that he might lose his children and his job, he
knew
something had to change.

"When I realized I had to drink to live and lived to drink, then and only then
did I
realize I had to do something about my drinking."

And while contemplating suicide when he was "all alone" in his house, he said,
"three
words came into my mouth, 'God help me.'"

GAYLE

For Gayle, the drinking began after the birth of her second child in 1965, and
it
became a "security blanket" for her, she said.

"I had denied being an alcoholic," she said. "I blamed my husband."

But, like Maryann, one day she realized she couldn't shift the blame anymore.

Her husband, who also drank, left on a business trip, and she got drunk by 8
p.m.
every night.

"I couldn't blame it on him anymore," she said.

The hardest part about dealing with the problem was admitting she had one, she
said.

But coming to AA helped her look at her drinking in a different way.

"It gave me an opportunity to see that I was not a bad person trying to get
good,"
she said. "I was a sick person trying to get well."

And she said AA is important because of the people there who can relate to each
other
and help each other.

"Another alcoholic can help an alcoholic when no one else in the world can,"
Gayle
said. "They can help them where professionals might not be able to."

She has remained sober since 1980.

To say that she has been sober for 24 years, "to me, it sounds wonderful," she
said.
"It's not to brag by any means. I never thought I would live to be 24 years
sober and
have a wonderful, fruitful ... life. My life is just so full now."

But she must stay on her toes, she said, and be vigilant and diligent.

"You can't be careless about your sobriety," she said. "It (alcoholism) is
always
beneath the surface."

Gayle and Demetrius advised those battling a drinking problem to find an AA
meeting
to attend.

"Look in the phone book under Alcoholics Anonymous, call and find out where a
meeting
is," Gayle said. "Take some action. You can't sit at home ... and expect to get
any
better."

For more information on AA meetings in Tyler, call the Central Service Office at
(903) 597-1796.

Megan Middleton covers Gregg and Anderson counties. She can be reached at
903.596.6287. e-mail: news@tylerpaper.com

©Tyler Morning Telegraph 2004

0 -1 0 0
1631 t
Stepping Into History -Westchester Journal News Jan04 Stepping Into History -Westchester Journal News Jan04 1/31/2004 7:42:00 PM

Stepping Into history

By ROB RYSER
THE JOURNAL NEWS of Westchester County NY
(Original publication: January 20, 2004)

BEDFORD HILLS -- It's hard to say how Alcoholics Anonymous would have ended up
if
Bill and Lois Wilson had stayed homeless in 1941.

Bill Wilson's only work then was with alcoholics, and his 1939 book about the AA
fellowship had not gotten the acclaim that the group's early members expected.

Lois was finding scattered jobs as a decorator, but her real work was keeping
the
couple off the street. The Wilsons slept at 51 places in two years.

Then 1941 brought what Bill Wilson called a godsend -- a chocolate brown cottage
in
Bedford Hills with French doors that Lois adored and a fieldstone fireplace that
reminded Bill of the East Dorset, Vt., home where he was born.

The house belonged to actress Helen Griffith, whose husband drank himself to
death
and whose alcoholic friend had been "revived" by an AA group in New Jersey. She
knew
the Wilsons were destitute and offered them what Bill Wilson later called
"unbelievably easy terms."

The impact that the Wilsons had during the next four decades in the home they
named
Stepping Stones is still being lived out today. Yet the contributions they made
to
the understanding of alcoholism, the requirement for spiritual steps in recovery
and
the need for families of alcoholics to have their own support are so substantial
that
the National Park Service is preparing to crown the contemporary couple's home
as
historic.

"The Wilsons' influence on 20th-century society is immeasurable," reads the
nominating statement, prepared by Margaret Gaertner, a preservation specialist
with
the Dobbs Ferry architectural firm Stephen Tilly. "AA enabled, and continues to
enable, millions of people around the world to achieve and sustain permanent
sobriety."

Although it may seem contradictory to call a 20th-century home historic in a
region
where historic properties often have 200-year pasts, the nominating form says
the
Wilsons are legends who make it easy to forget that as recently as 1940,
alcoholism
was considered one of society's great unsolved public health enigmas.

Bill Wilson proclaimed that alcoholism was a disease three decades before the
American Medical Association did in 1956. The 12-step solution that Wilson and
AA
co-founder Dr. Bob Smith created to treat the physical, mental and spiritual
dimensions of alcoholism has become the standard for U.S. hospitals and clinics.

Remarkably, AA was proved not in hospitals but in church basements, where
recovering
alcoholics shared their experiences, strength and hope to help others find the
inspiration and power to stop drinking.

"Wilson realized that only another alcoholic could truly understand the tangled
emotions evoked by his debilitating ordeal," reads the nominating form.

The Wilsons' cozy Dutch Colonial, with its barn-like gambrel roof and
cement-block
studio where Bill Wilson wrote, could be added to the state's Register of
Historic
Places in the spring. Stepping Stones could then join the National Register of
Historic Places by summer.

Managed by a foundation that Lois Wilson formed in 1979, eight years after
Bill's
death at 71, Stepping Stones is a sacred site for Alcoholics Anonymous and
Al-Anon,
the 12-step program co-founded by Lois Wilson for the spouses and children of
alcoholics.

Yet, Stepping Stones is not mobbed with pilgrims. A mere 1,000 visitors stop by
each
year -- and up to half of those come for the annual picnic in June.

"We could increase our visitors by 100 percent, and we could handle it," said
Eileen
Giuliani, Stepping Stones' executive director.

Of course, she means that theoretically. For one thing, Stepping Stones is
surrounded
by single-family homes and wants to keep the peace. The other matter is that not
all
recovering alcoholics and Al-Anons know that Stepping Stones is the Wilson home,
much
less that it is in Bedford Hills.

The historical designation is sure to raise awareness among AA's 2.2 million
members
in 100,000 groups worldwide, and among the 29,000 Al-Anon groups with some
387,000
members in 115 countries, according to the organizations' estimates.

Giuliani said federal recognition will advance Stepping Stones' mission to
protect
the Wilson museum and archives, and promote the tenets of the AA experience.

Neighbors -- for once in Westchester -- seem ready to yield to the prospect of
more
cars in the neighborhood.

"It's fine with me, and I've been here seven years," said Kim Cassone, a mother
of
two who lives near Stepping Stones on Oak Street. "They were out there to help
people
who had problems, and that is a good thing."

Once at Stepping Stones, visitors often feel an unmistakable presence: The air
seems
sweet, as though bread has been baking, but no one has lived here since Lois
died at
age 97 in 1988.

The house is as Lois Wilson left it -- wall lengths of books stacked five
shelves
high, scores of grandmotherly collections, a gallery's worth of photos and
framed
proclamations by dignitaries ranging from Pope Paul VI to President Eisenhower.

Susan Cheever, a Manhattan resident, will publish a biography, "My Name is Bill:
Bill
Wilson -- His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous," this month.
Cheever,
who grew up in Ossining, is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning short-story
writer
John Cheever, whose own battle with alcohol she documented in her 1984 memoir,
"Home
Before Dark."

"It is a very powerful place," Cheever said of Stepping Stones. "The ghosts are
still
there."

It is a rite for visitors to sit at the 1920s porcelain-topped kitchen table
where
Bill Wilson had a spiritual breakthrough with his childhood friend Ebby
Thatcher, one
month before Bill got sober in December 1934. Ignoble as the little white table
seems, it is venerated at Stepping Stones, sometimes drawing tears from those in
recovery.

"I was overwhelmed," said Mark W., 51, of Topeka, Kan., a businessman who has
been
sober 10 years and is obliged under AA's 12 Traditions to be anonymous when
speaking
to the media.

He has made three pilgrimages to Stepping Stones in the past three years. It was
his
second visit with his wife when he dropped his composure and cried.

"I already knew how much I lost drinking," he said. "But sitting there made me
realize how much I gained by staying sober."

Other relics nearly as special to visitors are the desk in Bill's backyard
studio and
the desk in the home's upstairs library, where in 1951 Lois Wilson organized the
first Al-Anon groups.

It was on Bill Wilson's desk, which he brought to Stepping Stones from New
Jersey,
that he wrote the important opening 11 chapters to "Alcoholics Anonymous" -- the
575-page AA textbook that has sold 20 million copies.

"I don't want to call Stepping Stones a shrine, but it is pretty close," said
Mark.
W. "If it hadn't been for those people, I wouldn't be sane."

0 -1 0 0
1633 Arthur
AA Group, Member, Growth and Recovery Statistics AA Group, Member, Growth and Recovery Statistics 2/1/2004 4:28:00 PM

Hi History Lovers


Below is a table of group
and membership data reported by GSO. The figures come from Conference reports
except where cited. The numbers must be interpreted very carefully, very
skeptically and in proper context. Group counts include only those asking GSO
to be listed (thousands do not). Groups may or may not report membership
estimates or update estimates over time. Members can be counted in multiple
group estimates and the composition of the numbers has changed at various times
from “reported” to “estimated.”


In 1994, a major revision
occurred in the GSO’s counting methods. The number of groups reported by
GSO no longer included those described as "meetings" which chose not
to be considered "groups." Such "meetings" (typically
special interest) are included in prior year’s data. The 1994 revision can
erroneously be interpreted as a steep drop from 1993 to 1994 when, in fact, it simply
reflects a procedural change in counting methods.


AA is in about 150 countries
(with 51 GSOs overseas). Each year, the NY office attempts to contact overseas
GSOs and groups requesting to be listed in their records. Where current data
are lacking, the NY GSO uses earlier year's figures. An estimate of membership
of non-reporting groups is arrived at by taking an average of reporting groups.


From the beginning, the
numbers are, at best, "fuzzy" and do need to be interpreted prudently
to avoid drawing erroneous conclusions. The table data are not an accurate
measure of a specific year’s increase or decrease. However, trends over
the decades are indicative (but not exact) of AA groups reaching more places
and more AA members achieving recovery.


Average (mean) annual growth
in groups and members is 6% and 7% respectively.
























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Reference



Groups



Members



Notes and
Sources



Yr



Base



%


Chg



Total



%


Chg



Total



1935



 



 



2



 



5



1935-41 data from AACOA 310



1936



 



 



2



 



15



TF = Hospitals



1937



 



 



2



 



40



CF = Correction facilities



1938



 



 



2



 



100



 



1939



 



 



 



 



400



AACOA 180



1940



 



 



 



 



2,000



 



1941



 



 



200



 



8,000



AACOA 192, PIO 266



1942



 



 



 



 



 



 



1943



 



 



 



 



10,000



LOH 181



1944



 



 



360



 



10,000



BW-FH 166-167, PIO 304



1945



 



 



560



 



15,000



NG 113, BW-FH 163, 180



1946



 



 



1,000



 



30,000



BW-FH 163



1947



 



 



1,650



 



48,613



GTBT 22



1948



 



 



2,000



 



60,000



BW-FH 163, DBGO 287



1949



 



 



 



 



 



 



1950



Year



 



3,500



 



 



Conference report data used



1951



Year



27%



4,436



 



0



from 1950 on



1952



Year



11%



4,925



 



118,632



 



1953



Year



20%



5,905



-1%



117,978



GSO member estimates are



1954



Year



0%



5,927



7%



126,057



often double or  triple of that



1955



Year



5%



6,249



8%



135,905



reported to them



1956



Year



8%



6,779



3%



139,798



 



1957



Year



0%



6,793



1%



141,795



Overseas members estimated



1958



Year



14%



7,765



3%



145,830



 



1959



Year



6%



8,211



4%



151,606



 



1960



4/61



5%



8,615



7%



162,037



GSO est members > 300,000



1961



4/62



8%



9,305



9%



176,474



 



1962



4/63



8%



10,070



7%



189,702



 



1963



4/64



9%



10,956



10%



209,434



GSO est members > 350,000



1964



4/65



7%



11,761



4%



217,967



 



1965



4/66



6%



12,444



6%



232,105



 



1966



4/67



7%



13,279



8%



251,615



 



1967



4/68



7%



14,154



5%



263,026



GSO est members > 400,000



1968



4/69



4%



14,747



8%



283,329



GSO est members > 425,000



1969



4/70



6%



15,624



5%



297,077



GSO est members > 450,000



1970



4/71



5%



16,459



5%



311,450



GSO est members > 500,000



1971



4/72



8%



17,776



6%



329,907



GSO est members > 575,000



1972



4/73



17%



20,829



20%



395,244



 



1973



4/74



8%



22,467



7%



421,151



GSO est members > 725,000



1974



4/75



11%



25,030



19%



502,733



GSO est members > 800,000



1975



4/76



6%



26,456



6%



533,590



GSO est members > 1,000,000



1976



4/77



11%



29,352



8%



574,318



 



1977



4/78



8%



31,587



7%



612,876



Overseas 1977 data used



1978



4/79



5%



33,241



2%



627,456



 



1979



4/80



20%



39,964



38%



868,171



Overseas figures being revised



1980



4/81



5%



42,105



5%



907,575



 



1981



4/82



14%



47,797



3%



937,705



Overseas data estimated



1982



4/83



12%



53,576



14%



1,065,299



GSO stopped est members



1983



1/84



9%



58,576



12%



1,191,916



Base changed to Jan 1



1984



1/85



7%



62,860



13%



1,351,793



 



1985



1/86



7%



67,019



7%



1,445,999



Hospital (TF) category dropped



1986



1/87



9%



73,192



8%



1,556,316



 



1987



1/88



4%



76,184



4%



1,617,296



 



1988



1/89



12%



85,270



7%



1,734,734



 



1989



1/90



3%



87,696



3%



1,793,834



 



1990



1/91



7%



93,914



14%



2,047,469



 



1991



1/92



3%



96,458



4%



2,120,130



 



1992



1/93



-8%



89,215



-3%



2,048,954



Overseas figures revised



1993



1/94



1%



90,155



1%



2,062,380



GSO records system revision



1994



1/95



-1%



89,239



-13%



1,790,528



Records revision continues



1995



1/96



7%



95,166



7%



1,922,269



Only 18 out of 40 foreign GSOs



1996



1/97



2%



96,997



2%



1,959,829



sent in updated figures



1997



1/98



1%



97,568



0%



1,967,229



 



1998



1/99



1%



98,710



1%



1,988,901



 



1999



1/00



0%



99,024



0%



1,990,054



 



2000



1/01



2%



100,766



9%



2,160,013



 



2001



1/02



-1%



100,131



3%



2,215,293



 



2002



1/03



4%



103,768



-6%



2,092,460



 



 


Arthur


 



0 -1 0 0
1634 NMOlson@aol.com
Periodical Literature, Akron Beacon Journal, IA, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004 Periodical Literature, Akron Beacon Journal, IA, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004 2/2/2004 2:46:00 AM



Thu, Jan. 08, 2004



A.A. members object to relocating history



Hospital may move world's first alcohol treatment site

By John Higgins

Beacon Journal staff writer



The first hospital in the world to acknowledge alcoholism as a disease rather than a moral failing might move its revered treatment center to a different floor.



St. Thomas Hospital would continue to provide alcoholism and drug treatment, but Ignatia Hall would lose its fifth-floor home. The hospital wants to use that space as a psychiatric unit for Alzheimer's and dementia patients; the unit would be the first of its kind in Akron.



The rearrangements probably wouldn't attract much attention at most hospitals, but to recovering alcoholics worldwide, Ignatia Hall is a sacred site. Named after Alcoholics Anonymous pioneer Sister Ignatia, it became the first alcohol treatment center in the world in 1939.



It's a history that the 75-year-old hospital, now part of Summa Health System, proudly claims. But tinkering with the past to accommodate the future is a tricky business.



Ignatia Hall, which has been on the fifth floor since the early 1980s, has become a shrine for the thousands of pilgrims who visit Akron each summer to commemorate the birthplace of A.A.



Local A.A. members have heard rumors about the proposed changes for a few months. Some have talked about trying to make Ignatia Hall an official historical landmark to ensure the hospital doesn't mess with it.



"A lot of members are upset," said Rob of the Akron Intergroup Council of Alcoholics Anonymous, which does not publicize the last names or titles of its staffers.



"Even if we banded together and started to whine, it's a business decision, and it's strictly the bottom line. (The hospital) doesn't care about the history," he said, speaking for himself as a recovering alcoholic.



The council coordinates weekly meetings for 6,000 to 8,000 A.A. members in the Akron area and oversees the annual Founders Day events. As a matter of policy, A.A. doesn't take a position.



Hospital officials say money has nothing to do with the planned change.



"The legacy will continue. There's been no question about that," said Dr. Robert A. Liebelt, the treatment center's medical director. "We're not going to get rid of Ignatia Hall."



Patients who need medically supervised detoxification, a process that typically requires three days' stay, probably would be moved to a medical surgical floor. Liebelt said they would have to be kept together, separated from other patients, to ensure confidentiality.



"It will be a designated area and have the same ambience that Ignatia Hall as it stands today has," Liebelt said. "It's just that it will be in another part of the hospital."



After those first three days, patients begin what is traditionally known as treatment, which can include talk therapy, group meetings and other counseling.



That had been done in Ignatia Hall until those patients grew too numerous and were then scattered in classrooms throughout the hospital. More recently, those services have had a permanent home on the third floor in the former medical library.



Summa spokeswoman Carrie Massucci said the changes are still tentative and the hospital has no timeline for the proposed transition.



But should plans go through, the hospital would want that space for elderly psychiatric patients because it would be near other psychiatric services.



"Summa Health System now has the only dedicated senior services program in Akron," she said. "This is just another way that we can continue to serve that population."



The hospital hasn't forgotten about its past, she said. Since Ignatia Hall's founding, "we've relocated those services at least six times," she said. "They stayed in St. Thomas Hospital, but they've moved around."



Sister Ignatia originally put the cots in the chapel's choir loft, now walled in, so the patients could participate in Mass, Liebelt said.



But for the last 20 years, visitors to Ignatia Hall have always found it on the fifth floor. So have the former patients who return to the place they say saved their lives.



At least 3,000 visitors paid homage at Ignatia Hall last summer during the Founders Day celebration, which now attracts 10,000 visitors from around the world.



"It's really sad that they would destroy their own heritage," said Mary C. Darrah, the Fairlawn author of Sister Ignatia: Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Over the years, people have become more and more interested in the founding places of A.A. It's like a family. They want to go back to their family roots."



She likens relocating the center to tearing down A.A. co-founder Dr. Bob Smith's house, another pilgrimage site, and rebuilding it somewhere else. Physical locations matter.



"This is the birthplace of the first treatment center affiliated with A.A.," Darrah said. "That's a major piece of history that belongs to the community. And the community should at least, in my opinion, have input."



Liebelt said the memorabilia will be relocated along with the patients, and the pilgrims will still have a place to visit.



The center was already on the fifth floor when Liebelt began in 1982. He stopped counting about three years ago, but he figures he's treated 15,000 patients and cares as much about the history of the place as anyone else.



"The legacy of Ignatia Hall and St. Thomas Hospital is doing well and is viable and will continue to do well and be viable," Liebelt said.

0 -1 0 0
1635 buickmackane0830
12 step prayers--a prayer for each step 12 step prayers--a prayer for each step 2/3/2004 5:03:00 AM

GOOD MORNING,

I JUST BEEN GRANTED THE PRIVLEDGE OF WORKING ON THE ARCHIVES FOR MY
LOCAL INTERGROUP.
WE HAVE A NEWS LETTER WHICH DOES A GOOD JOB OF PUTTING INFORAMTION
FOR OUR GROUPS.
WE HAVE BEEN PRINTING PRAYERS FOR EACH STEP I QUESTIONED THIS
AND WAS TOLD A.A. AT ONE TIME USED THESE PRAYERS.
I HAVE SEARCHED ON MY OWN AND COULD NOT FIND 12 STEP PRAYERS FOR EACH
STEP.CONNECTED TO AA.

DOES ANYONE KNOW OF SUCH PRAYERS CONNECTED TO AA EXCEPT(3RD,7TH SETP)
IN THE BIG BOOK AND THEN THERE IS THE 11TH STEP IN THE 12&12.

WHAT REALY BOTHERED ME WAS THE RELIOUS IMPLICATION OF THE PRAYERS
SO IF ANY ONE IS AWARE OF THESE PRAYERS CONNECTED TO AA OR KNOW WHERE
I CAN FIND THERE CONNECTION TO AA PLEASE EMAIL

NOTE:I FOUND 12 STEP PRAYERS

THANK YOU

0 -1 0 0
1636 Lash, William (Bill)
RE: Stepping Into History -Westchester Journal News Jan04 Stepping Into History -Westchester Journal News Jan04 2/3/2004 1:02:00 PM

Hello group!
My mother lives not far from Bedford Hills & she sent me the below Journal
News article. It contained extras not mentioned below so I just wanted to
include them here. Take it easy & God bless!

Just Love,
Barefoot Bill



Historic Place
Stepping Stones (picture) has been nominated for the National Register of
Historic Places because Bill and Lois Wilson (picture) are national figures
who co-founded significant social movements, not because the homestead
itself has important architecture. Yet, the nomination notes that the six
buildings on the 8-acre Stepping Stones homestead are intact and unified.
Designed in matching brown shingle siding, white casings and trim, and with
bright blue doors, the buildings retain a high level of historic integrity."

Among the highlights:
-A three-bedroom Dutch Colonial main house, built in 1920 as a summer cottage.
-A large living room dominated by a stone fireplace and wall-length French
doors.
-The kitchen includes a porcelain-topped table where Wilson first discussed
with a newly sober friend the importance of trusting the God of one's own
understanding.
-A winding stair leading to a second-floor library preserved as Lois Wilson
left when she died in 1988.
-A collection of antiques, glassware, china, photographs, printed materials
and musical instruments of the Wilsons, including Bill Wilson's cello and Lois
Wilson's piano, which visitors are encouraged to play.
-Bill Wilson's homemade backyard studio, named Wit's End, has a large picture
window and the desk where he wrote four books about the AA experience.

Information
Alcoholics Anonymous: Call 212-647-1680, visit the Web site www.aa.org, look
up local listings under Alcoholics Anonymous in either the telephone
directory's white pages or Yellow Pages, or write Alcoholics Anonymous, Grand
Central Station, P.O. Box 459, New York, N.Y. 10163.
Al-Anon Family Groups: Call Al-Anon Information Services at 914-946-1748, visit
the Web site www.al-anon.alateen.org or write to the World Service Office for
Al-Anon and Alateen, 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA
23454-5617.
Stepping Stones: Call 914-232-4822, visit the Web site www.steppingstones.org,
or write Stepping Stones Foundation, Box 452, Bedford Hills, N.Y. 10507.

Excerpts from Bill Wilson's letters
In the Spring 1941, after 23 years of marriage and a stretch of homelessness
that had lasted two years, Bill and Lois Wilson moved to their first and only
true home in Bedford Hills. Originally they called the home "Bi-Lo's Break,"
because a friend had offered it to them for one-fourth of what it cost to
build. In the next four decades, as the AA and Al-Anon movements that the
Wilsons co-founded grew, they added land and buildings to their beloved
homestead, which they renamed Stepping Stones. Here are excerpts from three
letters Bill Wilson wrote about Stepping Stones. The letters are the property
of the Stepping Stones Foundation.

From a Jan. 11, 1941 letter to his mother, Emily Wilson:
"It is a rather large house perched on a hill with a magnificent view extending
for miles....This house was a dream of Mrs. Griffith, an artist and well-known
actress. Her husband died of alcoholism so she feels quite partial to Lois and
me.
"[Griffith] spent about $25,000 on it before getting tired of the project. I
think it can be bought for five or six thousand dollars and hope the Alcoholic
Foundation will undertake to make the purchase on a small monthly payment plan
over a period of years so that my earnings, if they materialize, can go into
improvements."

From an April 23, 1941 letter to AA co-founder Dr. Bob Smith in Ohio:
"This place is going to be a godsend for Lois and me....We can't get over the
peace and quiet....
"From anyplace in this living room, you may look out over the treetops on a
swell view of rolling wooded country."

From an undated letter many years after the Wilsons moved to Stepping Stones:
"The idea of Westchester real estate seemed out of the question....
"One day we visited a new A.A. member in Chappaqua....We remembered the
Bedford Hills house Mrs. Griffith had described....Lois and I drove over with
[them] to see the house....We broke in at the back window and looked around....
"At the very next meeting Mrs. Griffith approached Lois and me....She told us
we might have the Bedford Hills place for $40 a month....It was a great year,
1941."





-----Original Message-----
From: t [mailto:tcumming@airmail.net]
Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2004 7:42 PM
To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Stepping Into History -Westchester Journal
News Jan04


Stepping Into history

By ROB RYSER
THE JOURNAL NEWS of Westchester County NY
(Original publication: January 20, 2004)

BEDFORD HILLS -- It's hard to say how Alcoholics Anonymous would have ended up
if
Bill and Lois Wilson had stayed homeless in 1941.

Bill Wilson's only work then was with alcoholics, and his 1939 book about the AA
fellowship had not gotten the acclaim that the group's early members expected.

Lois was finding scattered jobs as a decorator, but her real work was keeping
the
couple off the street. The Wilsons slept at 51 places in two years.

Then 1941 brought what Bill Wilson called a godsend -- a chocolate brown cottage
in
Bedford Hills with French doors that Lois adored and a fieldstone fireplace that
reminded Bill of the East Dorset, Vt., home where he was born.

The house belonged to actress Helen Griffith, whose husband drank himself to
death
and whose alcoholic friend had been "revived" by an AA group in New Jersey. She
knew
the Wilsons were destitute and offered them what Bill Wilson later called
"unbelievably easy terms."

The impact that the Wilsons had during the next four decades in the home they
named
Stepping Stones is still being lived out today. Yet the contributions they made
to
the understanding of alcoholism, the requirement for spiritual steps in recovery
and
the need for families of alcoholics to have their own support are so substantial
that
the National Park Service is preparing to crown the contemporary couple's home
as
historic.

"The Wilsons' influence on 20th-century society is immeasurable," reads the
nominating statement, prepared by Margaret Gaertner, a preservation specialist
with
the Dobbs Ferry architectural firm Stephen Tilly. "AA enabled, and continues to
enable, millions of people around the world to achieve and sustain permanent
sobriety."

Although it may seem contradictory to call a 20th-century home historic in a
region
where historic properties often have 200-year pasts, the nominating form says
the
Wilsons are legends who make it easy to forget that as recently as 1940,
alcoholism
was considered one of society's great unsolved public health enigmas.

Bill Wilson proclaimed that alcoholism was a disease three decades before the
American Medical Association did in 1956. The 12-step solution that Wilson and
AA
co-founder Dr. Bob Smith created to treat the physical, mental and spiritual
dimensions of alcoholism has become the standard for U.S. hospitals and clinics.

Remarkably, AA was proved not in hospitals but in church basements, where
recovering
alcoholics shared their experiences, strength and hope to help others find the
inspiration and power to stop drinking.

"Wilson realized that only another alcoholic could truly understand the tangled
emotions evoked by his debilitating ordeal," reads the nominating form.

The Wilsons' cozy Dutch Colonial, with its barn-like gambrel roof and
cement-block
studio where Bill Wilson wrote, could be added to the state's Register of
Historic
Places in the spring. Stepping Stones could then join the National Register of
Historic Places by summer.

Managed by a foundation that Lois Wilson formed in 1979, eight years after
Bill's
death at 71, Stepping Stones is a sacred site for Alcoholics Anonymous and
Al-Anon,
the 12-step program co-founded by Lois Wilson for the spouses and children of
alcoholics.

Yet, Stepping Stones is not mobbed with pilgrims. A mere 1,000 visitors stop by
each
year -- and up to half of those come for the annual picnic in June.

"We could increase our visitors by 100 percent, and we could handle it," said
Eileen
Giuliani, Stepping Stones' executive director.

Of course, she means that theoretically. For one thing, Stepping Stones is
surrounded
by single-family homes and wants to keep the peace. The other matter is that not
all
recovering alcoholics and Al-Anons know that Stepping Stones is the Wilson home,
much
less that it is in Bedford Hills.

The historical designation is sure to raise awareness among AA's 2.2 million
members
in 100,000 groups worldwide, and among the 29,000 Al-Anon groups with some
387,000
members in 115 countries, according to the organizations' estimates.

Giuliani said federal recognition will advance Stepping Stones' mission to
protect
the Wilson museum and archives, and promote the tenets of the AA experience.

Neighbors -- for once in Westchester -- seem ready to yield to the prospect of
more
cars in the neighborhood.

"It's fine with me, and I've been here seven years," said Kim Cassone, a mother
of
two who lives near Stepping Stones on Oak Street. "They were out there to help
people
who had problems, and that is a good thing."

Once at Stepping Stones, visitors often feel an unmistakable presence: The air
seems
sweet, as though bread has been baking, but no one has lived here since Lois
died at
age 97 in 1988.

The house is as Lois Wilson left it -- wall lengths of books stacked five
shelves
high, scores of grandmotherly collections, a gallery's worth of photos and
framed
proclamations by dignitaries ranging from Pope Paul VI to President Eisenhower.

Susan Cheever, a Manhattan resident, will publish a biography, "My Name is Bill:
Bill
Wilson -- His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous," this month.
Cheever,
who grew up in Ossining, is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning short-story
writer
John Cheever, whose own battle with alcohol she documented in her 1984 memoir,
"Home
Before Dark."

"It is a very powerful place," Cheever said of Stepping Stones. "The ghosts are
still
there."

It is a rite for visitors to sit at the 1920s porcelain-topped kitchen table
where
Bill Wilson had a spiritual breakthrough with his childhood friend Ebby
Thatcher, one
month before Bill got sober in December 1934. Ignoble as the little white table
seems, it is venerated at Stepping Stones, sometimes drawing tears from those in
recovery.

"I was overwhelmed," said Mark W., 51, of Topeka, Kan., a businessman who has
been
sober 10 years and is obliged under AA's 12 Traditions to be anonymous when
speaking
to the media.

He has made three pilgrimages to Stepping Stones in the past three years. It was
his
second visit with his wife when he dropped his composure and cried.

"I already knew how much I lost drinking," he said. "But sitting there made me
realize how much I gained by staying sober."

Other relics nearly as special to visitors are the desk in Bill's backyard
studio and
the desk in the home's upstairs library, where in 1951 Lois Wilson organized the
first Al-Anon groups.

It was on Bill Wilson's desk, which he brought to Stepping Stones from New
Jersey,
that he wrote the important opening 11 chapters to "Alcoholics Anonymous" -- the
575-page AA textbook that has sold 20 million copies.

"I don't want to call Stepping Stones a shrine, but it is pretty close," said
Mark.
W. "If it hadn't been for those people, I wouldn't be sane."

0 -1 0 0
1637 Lash, William (Bill)
Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 1 of 3 Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 1 of 3 2/2/2004 12:17:00 PM
Dr. Bob Memorial Edition

January 1951 AA Grapevine

(for those of you that don't know, this has now been discontinued by GSO)

Part 1 of 3

 

 

Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. - Matthew V, 23-24

For 120,000 of us...and for the thousands yet to come...we who have cause for eternal gratitude dedicate this issue of the AA Grapevine to the memory of the Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous our beloved DR. BOB.

 

 

A Tribute from Bill

Dr. Bob

 

SERENELY remarking to his attendant, "I think this is it," Dr. Bob passed out of our sight and hearing November sixteenth at noonday. So ended the consuming malady wherein he had so well shown us how high faith can rise over grievous distress. As he had lived, so he had died, supremely aware that in his Father's House are many Mansions.

In all those he knew, memory was at floodtide. But who could really say what was thought and felt by the five thousand sick ones to whom he personally ministered and freely gave a physician's care; who could possibly record the reflections of his townsmen who had seen him sink almost within the grasp of oblivion, then rise to anonymous world renown; who could express the gratitude of those tens of thousands of AA families who had so well heard of him but had never seen him face to face? What, too, were the emotions of those nearest him as they thankfully pondered the mystery of his regeneration fifteen years ago and all its vast consequence since? Not the smallest fraction of this great benefaction could be comprehended. He could only declare, "What indeed hath God wrought?"

Never would Dr. Bob have us think him saint or superman. Nor would he have us praise him or grieve his passing. He can almost be heard, saying, "Seems to me you folks are making heavy going. I'm not to be taken so seriously as all that. I was only a first link in that chain of Providential circumstance which is called AA. By Grace and great fortune my link did not break; though my faults and failures might often have brought on that unhappy result. I was just another alcoholic trying to get along - under the Grace of God. Forget me, but go you and do likewise. Securely add your own link to our chain. With God's help, forge that chain well and truly." In this manner would Dr. Bob estimate himself and counsel us.

It was a Saturday in May, 1935. An ill-starred business venture had brought me to Akron where it immediately collapsed leaving me in a precarious state of sobriety. That afternoon I paced the lobby of Akron's Mayflower Hotel. As I peered at the gathering crowd in the bar, I became desperately frightened of a slip. It was the first severe temptation since my New York friend had laid before me what were to become the basic principles of AA, in November 1934. For the next six months I had felt utterly secure in my sobriety. But now there was no security; I felt alone, helpless. In the months before I had worked hard with other alcoholics. Or, rather, I had preached at them in a somewhat cocksure fashion. In my false assurance I felt I couldn't fall. But this time it was different. Something had to be done at once.

Glancing at a Church Directory at the far end of the lobby, I selected the name of a clergyman at random. Over the phone I told him of my need to work with another alcoholic. Though I'd had no previous success with any of them I suddenly realized how such work had kept me free from desire. The clergyman gave me a list of ten names. Some of these people, he was sure, would refer me a case in need of help. Almost running to my room, I seized the phone. But my enthusiasm soon ebbed. Not a person in the first nine called could, or would, suggest anything to meet my urgency.

One uncalled name still stood at the end of my list - Henrietta S. Somehow I couldn't muster courage to lift the phone. But after one more look into the bar downstairs something said to me, "You'd better." To my astonishment a warm Southern voice floated in over the wire. Declaring herself no alcoholic, Henrietta nonetheless insisted that she understood. Would I come to her home at once?

Because she had been enabled to face and transcend other calamities, she certainly did understand mine. She was to become a vital link to those fantastic events which were presently to gather around the birth and development of our AA society. Of all names the obliging Rector had given me, she was the only one who cared enough. I would here like to record our timeless gratitude.

Straightway she pictured the plight of Dr. Bob and Anne. Suiting action to her word, she called their house. As Anne answered, Henrietta described me as a sobered alcoholic from New York who, she felt sure, could help Bob. The good doctor had seemingly exhausted all medical and spiritual remedies for his condition. Then Anne replied, "What you say, Henrietta, is terribly interesting. But I am afraid we can't do anything now. Being

Mother's Day, my dear boy has just brought in a fine potted plant. The pot is on the table but, alas, Bob is on the floor. Could we try to make it tomorrow?" Henrietta instantly issued a dinner invitation for the following day.

At five o'clock next afternoon, Anne and Dr. Bob stood at Henrietta's door. She discreetly wisked Bob and me off to the library. His words were, "Mightly glad to meet you Bill. But it happens I can't stay long; five or ten minutes at the outside." I laughed and observed, "Guess you're pretty thirsty, aren't you?" His rejoinder was, "Well, maybe you do understand this drinking business after all." So began a talk which lasted hours.

How different my attitude was this time. My fright of getting drunk had evoked a much more becoming humility. After telling Dr. Bob my story, I explained how truly I needed him. Would he allow me to help him, I might remain sober myself. The seed that was to flower as AA began to grow toward the light. But as dear Anne well guessed, that first tendril was a fragile thing. Practical steps had better be taken. She bade me come and live at their menage for awhile. There I might keep an eye on Dr. Bob. And he might on me. This was the very thing. Perhaps we could do together what we couldn't do separately. Besides I might revive my sagging business venture.

For the next three months I lived with these two wonderful people. I shall always believe they gave me more than I ever brought them. Each morning there was devotion. After the long silence Anne would read out of the Good Book. James was our favorite. Reading him from her chair in the corner, she would softly conclude "Faith without works is dead."

But Bob's travail with alcohol was not quite over. That Atlantic City Medical Convention had to be attended. He hadn't missed one in twenty years. Anxiously waiting, Anne and I heard nothing for five days. Finally his office nurse and her husband found him early one morning at the Akron railroad station in some confusion and disarray - which puts it mildly. A horrible dilemma developed. Dr. Bob had to perform a critical surgical operation just three days hence. Nor could an associate substitute for him. He simply had to do it. But how? Could we ever get him ready in time?

He and I were placed in twin beds. A typical tapering down process was inaugurated. Not much sleep for anybody, but he cooperated. At four o'clock on the morning of the operation he turned, looked at me and said, "I am going through with this." I inquired, "You mean you are going through with the operation?" He replied, "I have placed both operation and myself in God's hands. I'm going to do what it takes to get sober and stay that way." Not another word did he say. At nine o'clock he shook miserably as we helped him into his clothes. We were panic stricken. Could he ever do it? Were he too tight or too shaky, it would make little difference, his misguided scalpel might take the life of his patient. We gambled. I gave him one bottle of beer. That was the last drink he ever took. It was June 10, 1935. The patient lived.

Our first prospect appeared, a neighboring parson sent him over. Because the newcomer faced eviction, Anne took in his whole family, wife and two children. The new one was a puzzler. When drinking, he'd go clean out of his mind. One afternoon Anne sat at her kitchen table, calmly regarding him as he fingered a carving knife. Under her steady gaze, his hand dropped. But he did not sober then. His wife despairingly betook herself to her own parents and he disappeared.

But he did reappear fifteen years later for Dr. Bob's last rites. There we saw him, soundly and happily sober in AA. Back in 1935 we weren't so accustomed to miracles as we are today, we had given him up.

Then came a lull on the 12th Step front. In this time Anne and Henrietta infused much needed spirituality into Bob and me. Lois came to Akron on vacation from her grind at a New York department store, so raised our morale immensely. We began to attend Oxford Group meetings at the Akron home of T. Henry W. The devotion of this good man and his wife is a bright page in memory. Their names will be inscribed on Page One of AA's book of first and best friends.

One day Dr. Bob said to me. "Don't you think we'd better scare up some drunks to work on?" He phoned the nurse in charge of admissions at Akron City Hospital and told her how he and another drunk from New York had a cure for alcoholism. I saw the old boy blush and look disconcerted. The nurse had commented, "Well, Doctor, you'd better give that cure a good workout on yourself."

Nevertheless the admitting nurse produced a customer. A dandy, she said he was. A prominent Akron lawyer, he had lost about everything. He'd been in City Hospital six times in four months. He'd arrived at that very moment; had just knocked down a nurse he'd thought a pink elephant. "Will that one do you?" she inquired. Said Dr. Bob, "Put him in a private room. We'll be down when he's better."

Soon Dr. Bob and I saw a sight which tens of thousands of us have since beheld, the sight of the man on the bed who does not yet know he can get well. We explained to the man on the bed the nature of his malady and told him our own stories of drinking and recovery. But the sick one shook his head, "Guess you've been through the mill boys, but you never were half as bad off as I am. For me it's too late. I don't dare go out of here. I'm a man of faith, too; used to be deacon in my church. I've still faith in God but I guess he hasn't got any in me. Alcohol has me, it's no use. Come and see me again, though. I'd like to talk with you more."

As we entered his room for our second visit a woman sitting at the foot of his bed was saying, "What has happened to you, husband? You seem so different. I feel so relieved." The new man turned to us. "Here they are," he cried. "They understand. After they left yesterday I couldn't get what they told me out of my mind, I laid awake all night. Then hope came. If they could find release, so might I. I became willing to get honest with myself, to square my wrongdoing, to help other alcoholics. The minute I did this I began to feel different. I knew I was going to be well." Continued the man on the bed, "Now, good wife, please fetch me my clothes. We are going to get up and out of here." Whereupon AA number three arose from his bed, never to drink again. The seed of AA had pushed another tendril up through the new soil. Though we knew it not, it had already flowered. Three of us were gathered together. Akron's Group One was a reality.

We three worked with scores of others. Many were called but mighty few chosen; failure was our daily companion. But when I left Akron in September, 1935, two or three more sufferers had apparently linked themselves to us for good.

The next two years marked the "flying blind" period of our pioneering time. With the fine instinct of that good physician he was, Dr. Bob continued to medically treat and indoctrinate every new case, first at Akron City hospital then for the dozen years since at famed St. Thomas where thousands passed under his watchful eye and sure AA touch. Though not of his faith, the Staff and Sisters there did prodigies. Theirs is one of the most compelling examples of love and devotion we AAs have ever witnessed. Ask the thousands of AA visitors and patients who really know. Ask them what they think of Sister Ignatia, of St. Thomas. Or of Dr. Bob. But I'm getting ahead of my story.

Meanwhile a small group had taken shape in New York. The Akron meeting at T. Henry's home began to have a few Cleveland visitors. At this juncture I spent a week visiting Dr.Bob. We commenced to count noses. Out of hundreds of alcoholics, how many had stuck? How many were sober? And for how long? In that fall of 1937 Bob and I counted forty cases who had significant dry time - maybe sixty years for the whole lot of them! Our eyes glistened. Enough time had elapsed on enough cases to spell out something quite new, perhaps something great indeed. Suddenly the ceiling went up. We no longer flew blind. A beacon had been lighted. God had shown alcoholics how it might be passed from hand to hand. Never shall I forget that great and humbling hour of realization, shared with Dr. Bob.

But the new realization faced us with a great problem, a momentous decision. It had taken nearly three years to effect forty recoveries. The United States alone probably had a million alcoholics. How were we to get the story to them? Wouldn't we need paid workers, hospitals of our own, lots of money? Surely we must have some sort of a textbook. Dare we crawl at a snail's pace whilst our story got garbled and mayhap thousands would die? What a poser that was!

How we were spared from professionalism, wealth, and extensive property management; how we finally came up with the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" is a story by itself. But in this critical period it was Dr. Bob's prudent counsel which so often restrained us from rash ventures that might have retarded us for years, perhaps ruined us for good. Nor can we ever forget the devotion of Dr. Bob and Jim S. (who passed away last summer) as they gathered stories for the AA Book, three-fifths of them coming from Akron alone. Dr. Bob's special fortitude and wisdom were prime factors in that time so much characterized by doubt, and finally by grave decision.

How much we may rejoice that Anne and Dr. Bob both lived to see the lamp lit at Akron carried into every corner of the earth; that they doubtless realized millions might someday pass under the ever-widening arch whose keystone they so gallantly helped carve. Yet, being so humble as they were, I'm sure they never quite guessed what a heritage they left us, nor how beautifully their appointed task had been completed. All they needed to do was finished. It was even reserved for Dr. Bob to see AA come of age as, for the last time, he spoke to 7000 of us at Cleveland, July, 1950.

I saw Dr. Bob the Sunday before he died. A bare month previous he had aided me in framing a proposal for the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous, AA's third legacy. This bequest, in pamphlet form, was actually at the printers when he took his final departure the following Thursday. As his last act and desire respecting AA, this document will be sure to carry a great and special meaning for us all.

With no other person have I ever experienced quite the same relation: the finest thing I know how to say is that in all the strenuous time of our association, he and I never had an uncomfortable difference of opinion. His capacity for brotherhood and love was often beyond my ken.

For a last word, may I leave with you a moving example of his simplicity and humility. Curiously enough, the story is about a monument - a monument proposed for him. A year ago, when Anne passed away, the thought of an imposing shaft came uppermost in the minds of many. People were insistent that something be done. Hearing rumors of this, Dr. Bob promptly declared against AAs erecting for Anne and himself any tangible memorials or monument. These usual symbols of personal distinction he brushed aside in a single devastating sentence. Said he, "Annie and I plan to be buried just like other folks."

At the alcoholic ward in St. Thomas his friends did, however, erect this simple plaque. It reads:

IN GRATITUDE

THE FRIENDS OF DR. BOB AND ANNE SMITH

AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATE THIS MEMORIAL

TO THE SISTERS AND STAFF OF

ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL

AT AKRON, BIRTHPLACE OF ALCOHOLICS

ANONYMOUS, ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL BECAME

THE FIRST RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION EVER

TO OPEN ITS DOOR TO OUR SOCIETY.

MAY THE LOVING DEVOTION OF THOSE WHO

LABORED HERE IN OUR PIONEERING TIME

BE A BRIGHT AND WONDEROUS EXAMPLE

OF GOD'S GRACE EVERLASTINGLY SET

BEFORE US ALL.


0 -1 0 0
1638 Lash, William (Bill)
Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 2 of 3 Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 2 of 3 2/3/2004 9:53:00 AM

Dr. Bob Memorial Edition

January 1951 AA Grapevine

Part 2 of 3

 

Without heroics ... as he would wish it,

this is the story of

 

Dr. Bob

 

the physician whose 'practice' reached half across the world...

 

Dr. Bob was born August 8, 1879, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, a typical New England village of some 7000 souls. As the only son of parents prominent in civic and church activities, his early childhood was spent under strict parental guidance.

Signs of inner revolt came at an early age. In later years the doctor liked to tell his children, Sue and Robert, of how he was put to bed every evening at five o'clock. He would go quietly enough, a fact which might have led the modern child-psychology-wise parent to suspect the worst, but which seemingly went unnoticed by the young man's parents. As soon as he was reasonably sure that he was considered safely asleep, he would arise, dress and slip quietly downstairs and out the backdoor to join his village gang. So far as is known he was never apprehended while on his nocturnal expeditions.

The call of the woodland trail was far more fascinating to young Rob, as his schoolmates called him, than the stuffy schoolhouse to which he was forced to make his reluctant way each morning. His active young mind was more apt to be concentrating upon the best method to trap a bear than on the dull drone of his teacher's voice. He wanted to be free to roam. Rebellion surged within him at the thought of restraint of any sort...study and home-work were "musts"...even the keenness of his youthful mind was not enough to make up for his lack of application to his daily lessons. Serious repercussions often followed which led to accusations of "waywardness" by his parents and his teachers.

Though his scholastic neglect may have disgraced him with his elders upon occasion, his schoolmates loved him. Whether it was because his habitual and sometimes adventurous revolts against restraint gave him a glamorous aura or because of the accuracy with which children often sense traits of character obscure to adults, they made him a popular and sought-after member of their class.

Freedom from some of the "musts" came with vacations. He was released, then, to wander the hills, hunt, and trap and swim in the sea. Often Rob and his friends went into Canada on hunting trips. On one of these forays into the wilds, hunting was so poor that the boys lived on eels, blueberries and cream of tartar biscuits for three weeks. They did flush a particularly large woodchuck. They stalked him for several hours. Finally they had him within shooting range. After being shot at for sometime, the woodchuck disappeared. This episode later caused Rob's father, the Judge, to remark that the woodchuck probably went in to get out of the noise.

The incident of the woodchuck and a tale of a great bear chase cast some shadow of doubt on young Rob's prowess as a hunter and woodsman. Off to the woods one day, went the young hunter and a schoolmate. The boys sauntered along, kicking at stones ... building castles in the air...talking about the things that spirited adolescent males talk about. Suddenly they saw before them a huge bear. The bear, who was probably as astonished as the boys, took to the woods at a gallop. The young hunters were hard at his heels. The day was hot, the brambles thick, courageous daring was at its height...the bear got away. "I don't believe," Dr. Bob used to say, "that we ran as fast as we might have!"

In the summers the family often spent some weeks in a cottage by the sea. Here Rob became an expert swimmer. He and his foster sister, Nancy, spent many hours building and sailing their own sailboats. It was here that he saved a young girl from drowning. This event must have left an impression...probably of the advisability for every child to learn to swim at an early age. He taught his own children, Robert R. and Sue, to be expert swimmers at the age of five. The three of them would set out every vacation morning to swim the channel near their cottage. This feat often caused distraught neighbors to call their mother to tell her that her babies had fallen out of a boat in the middle of the channel.

While the boy, Rob, was high-spirited, considered rebellious and wayward he was industrious and labored long and hard at anything he wanted to do. He was still very young when it became apparent that he was ambitious as well as willing to work. He wanted, above all else, to become a medical doctor like his maternal grandfather.

When he was about nine years old he began to show signs of liking to work, especially out of doors. That summer he was at a neighbor's farm helping the men load hay. Perhaps he was resting, perhaps he was prowling around poking under bushes to see what he could see...he saw a jug...he pulled the cork and sniffed. It was a new odor to this son of strict New England parents. It was an odor that he liked. If the stuff in the jug smelled so good, it should taste good too. And it was good. He liked the taste. He liked the way it made him feel. A little boy; a jug of hooch; the first securely welded link in the chain.

By the time he reached his teens, Rob was spending parts of his summers working on a Vermont farm or juggling trays and lugging baggage as a bellhop in an Adirondack summer hotel. His winters were passed trying to avoid the necessity of having to attend high school in order to receive a diploma. It may have been during his high school days that young Rob learned much of what there is to know about a billiard table. Later when his son, Robert, would tease him about this accomplishment as being the product of a mis-spent youth, Dr. Bob would just smile and say nothing. He was a good student in spite of himself and graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy in 1898.

It was at a party given at the Academy that Dr. Bob first met Anne. A student at Wellesley, she was spending a holiday with a college chum. It was a small, reserved girl whom the tall, rangy Rob met that night. With an agile mind to match his own, Anne had a cheerfulness, sweetness and calm that was to remain with her through the years. It was these same qualities that were in the future to endear her to hundreds as Anne, Dr. Bob's wife.

After high school at St. Johnsbury Academy came four years of college at Dartmouth. At long last the rebellious young colt was free of his parents' restraining supervision. New experiences were to be explored and enjoyed without having to give an accounting.

His first discovery in his search for the facts of life on the campus was that joining the boys for a brew seemed to make up the greater part of after-class recreation. From Dr. Bob's point of view it was the major extra-curricular activity. It had long been evident that whatever Rob did, he did well. He became a leader in the sport. He drank for the sheer fun of it and suffered little or no ill-effects.

Fame came to him at Dartmouth - no accolades for scholarship...no letters for athletic prowess...his fame came for a capacity for drinking beer that was matched by few and topped by none...and for what the students called his "patent throat." They would stand in awe watching him consume an entire bottle of beer without any visible muscular movement of swallowing.

The prospects of getting drunk in the evening furnished Rob and his cronies with conversations which ran on all day. The pros and cons of whether to get drunk or not to get drunk would invariably drive one of their mild-mannered friends to distraction. He would rise in spluttering protest to say, "Well! If I were going to get drunk, I'd be about it!"

As often as not...they were about it. There were times, though, when a change of scenery seemed more to their liking. Like the time Rob and a friend got it into their heads that going to Montpelier, Vermont was a fine idea. Admiral Dewey had just returned from Manila and was to parade through the town. Being in the usual state of financial embarrassment, how to get there caused a fleeting problem, but being convinced that where there was a will, a way would certainly present itself, they hopped a freight. In the morning weary but mightily pleased with themselves, they descended from the boxcar in Montpelier. As they walked up the street toward the parade route they met a fellow Dartmouth student. The boys greeted him with as much dignity as their grimy faces and straw-flecked garments would allow. To their astonishment his "Hello" was most cordial. Wouldn't they like to go to the State House with him? There, from the reviewing stand, the boys viewed the parade with their Dartmouth friend, whose father was the Governor of Vermont.

Through the carefree days at college he studied just about as much as he had to, to get by. But he was a good student none-the-less. Here he made friends whom he was to know and to see from time to time through his life ...friends who did not always approve of his drinking prowess, but loved him in spite of it.

His last years at Dartmouth were spent doing exactly what he wanted to do with little thought of the wishes or feelings of others...a state of mind which became more and more predominate as the years passed. Rob graduated in 1902..."summa cum laude" in the eyes of the drinking fraternity. The dean had a somewhat lower estimate.

Now that he held a Dartmouth diploma, it seemed advisable that the willful young man settle down to making a living and a solid, secure future for himself. He wasn't ready to settle down to a job. The strong desire to become a medical doctor was still with him. His mother, who had never approved of this career for her son, hadn't altered her views. He went to work.

For the next three years his business career was varied, if not successful. The first two years he worked for a large scale company; then he went to Montreal where he labored diligently at selling railway supplies, gas engines of all sorts and many other items of heavy hardware. He left Montreal and went to Boston where he was employed at Filene's. What his duties were there, have never been recorded.

All through this three year period he was drinking as much as purse allowed, still without getting into any serious trouble. But he wasn't making any headway either. Whatever his duties at Filene's were, they certainly were not what he wanted to do. He still wanted to be a doctor. It was time he was about it. He quit his job at the store and that Fall entered the University of Michigan as a premedical student.

Again he was free of all restraint and doing just as he wanted to do. Earnestly, he got down to serious business... the serious business of drinking as much as he could and still make it to class in the morning. His famous capacity for beer followed him to the Michigan campus. He was elected to membership in the drinking fraternity. Once again he displayed the wonders of his "patent throat" before his gaping brothers.

He, who had boasted to his friends..."Never had a hangover in my life...began to have the morning after shakes. Many a morning Dr. Bob went to classes and even though fully prepared, turned away at the door and went back to the fraternity house. So bad were his jitters that he feared he would cause a scene if he should be called on.

He went from bad to worse. No longer drinking for the fun of it, his life at Michigan became one long binge after another. In the Spring of his Sophomore year, Dr. Bob made up his mind that he could not complete his course. He packed his grip and headed South.

After a month spent on a large farm owned by a friend, the fog began to clear from his brain. As he began to think more clearly he realized that it was very foolish to quit school. He decided to return and continue his work.

The faculty had other ideas on the subject. They were, they told him, completely disgusted. It would require no effort at all to get along without his presence on the Michigan campus. After a long argument they allowed him to return to take his exams. He passed them creditably. After many more painful discussions, the faculty also gave him his credits.

That Fall he entered Brush University as a Junior. Here his drinking became so much worse that his fraternity brothers felt forced to send for his father. The Judge made the long journey in a vain effort to get him straightened out.

After those long disasterous binges when Dr. Bob was forced to face his father he had a deep feeling of guilt. His father always met the situation quietly, "Well, what did this one cost you?" he would ask. Oddly enough this feeling of guilt would come, not because he felt that he had hurt him in any way, but because his father seemed, somehow, to understand. It was this quiet, hopeless understanding that pained him deep inside.

He was drinking more and more hard liquor, now, and coming up to his final exams he went on a particularly rough binge. When he went in to the examinations his hand trembled so badly he could not hold a pencil. He was, of course, called before the faculty. Their decision was that if he wished to graduate he must come back for two more quarters, remaining absolutely dry. This he was able to do. The faculty considered his work so creditable he was able to secure a much coveted internship in City Hospital in Akron, Ohio.

The first two years in Akron, as a young intern, were free of trouble. Hard work took the place of hard drinking simply because there wasn't time for both. At one time during his internship he ran the hospital pharmacy by himself. This added to other duties took him all over the hospital...running up and down the stairs because the elevators were too slow...running here, rushing there as if the devil were after him. All this frenzied activity never failed to bring about an explosive, "Now where is that cadaverous young Yankee!" from one of the older doctors who became particularly fond of him.

Though the two years as intern at City were hectic, Dr. Bob had time to learn much from the older men who were glad to share their knowledge with him. He began to perfect his own skills so that he might become a specialist, a surgeon.

When his two years of internship were over he opened an office in The Second National Bank Building, in Akron. This was in 1912. His offices were in the same building until he retired from practice in 1948.

Completely out on his own now, and again free to do as he chose - some money in his pocket and all the time in the world. It may have been that reaction set in from all the work, the irregular hours, the hectic life of an intern; it may have been real or imagined; whatever caused it, Dr. Bob developed considerable stomach trouble. The remedy for that was, of course, a couple of drinks. It didn't take him long to return to the old drinking habits.

Now he began to know the real horror, the suffering of pain that goes with alcoholism. In hope of relief, he incarcerated himself at least a dozen times in one of the local sanitariums. After three years of this torture he ended up in a local hospital where they tried to help him. But he got his friends to smuggle him in a quart. Or, if that failed, it wasn't difficult for a man who knew his way around a hospital to steal the alcohol kept in the building. He got rapidly worse.

Finally his father had to send a doctor out from St. Johnsbury to attempt to get him home. Somehow the doctor managed to get him back to the house he was born in, where he stayed in bed for two months before he could venture out. He stayed around town for about two months more, then returned to Akron to resume his practice. Dr. Bob was thoroughly scared, either by what had happened, by what the doctor had told him, or both. He went into one of his dry periods and stayed that way until the 18th Amendment was passed.

In 1915 he went back to Chicago to marry Anne. He brought her back to Akron as his bride. The first three years of their married life were free of the unhappiness that was to come later. He became established in his practice. Their son Robert was born and life began to make a sensible pattern. Then the 18th Amendment was passed.

Dr. Bob's reasoning was quite typical at this time, if not quite logical. It would make very little difference if he did take a few drinks now. The liquor that he and his friends had bought in amounts according to the size of their bank accounts, would soon be gone. He could come to no harm. He was soon to learn the facts of the Great American Experiment.

The government obligingly made it possible for doctors to obtain unlimited supplies of liquor. Often during those black years, Dr. Bob, who held his profession sacred, would go to the phone book, pick out a name at random and fill out the prescription which would get him a pint of whisky.

When all else failed there was the newly accredited member of American society, the bootlegger. A moderate beginning led to Dr. Bob's usual ending.

During the next few years, he developed two distinct phobias. One was the fear of not sleeping and the other was the fear of running out of liquor. So began the squirrel-cage existence. Staying sober to earn enough money to get drunk...getting drunk to go to sleep...using sedatives to quiet the jitters...staying sober...earning money...getting drunk...smuggling home a bottle...hiding the bottle from Anne who became an expert at detecting hiding places.

This horrible nightmare went on for seventeen years. Somehow he had the good sense to stay away from the hospital and not to receive patients if he were drinking. He stayed sober every day until four o'clock, then came home. In this way he was able to keep his drinking problem from becoming common knowledge or hospital gossip.

Through these mad years Dr. Bob was an active member of the City Hospital Staff and often he had occasion to go to St. Thomas Hospital, where in 1934, he became a member of the Courtesy Staff and in 1943, a member of the Active Staff. It was during one of these visits to St. Thomas, in 1928, that in the course of his duties, he met Sister Mary Ignatia.

The meeting seemed of no particular consequence at the time. Many Sisters came to St. Thomas, then departed for duties elsewhere. Though neither of them knew it, the meeting was to have great importance to them both in the years to come. Sister Ignatia, like the others, never knew of the inner turmoil with which this man was beset..."He just always seemed different than the rest...he brought something with him when he came into a room...I never knew what it was, I just felt it..."

So perhaps it was, then, that the Hand that moves us all was beginning to speed up the events that led to Dr. Bob's meeting with the stranger.

Anne and the children now lived in a shambles of broken promises, given in all sincerity. Unable to see her friends, she existed on the bare necessities. About all she had left was her faith that her prayers for her husband would somehow be answered.

It then happened that Dr. Bob and Anne were thrown in with a crowd of people who attracted Dr. Bob because of their poise, health and happiness. These people spoke without embarrassment, a thing he could never do. They all seemed very much at ease. Above all, they seemed happy. They were members of the Oxford Group.

Self conscious, ill at ease most of the time, his health nearing the breaking point, Dr. Bob was thoroughly miserable. He sensed that these new-found friends had something that he did not have. He felt that he could profit from them.

When he learned that what they had was something of a spiritual nature, his enthusiasm was somewhat dampened. Unfortunately his childhood background of church twice during the week and three times on Sunday had caused him to resolve that he would never appear in a church so long as he lived. He kept that resolve for 40 years except when his presence there was absolutely necessary. It helped some to find out that these people did not gather in a church but at each other's homes.

That they might have the answer to his drinking problem never entered his head but he thought it could do him no harm to study their philosophy. For the next two and one half years he attended their meetings. And got drunk regularly!

Anne became deeply interested in the group and her interest sustained Dr. Bob's. He delved into religious philosophy, he read the Scriptures, he studied spiritual interpretations, the lives of the Saints. Like a sponge he soaked up the spiritual philosophies of the ages. Anne kept her simple faith in prayer...and her courage - Dr. Bob got drunk.

Then one Saturday afternoon, Henrietta called Anne. Could they come over to meet a friend of hers who might help Bob...

At five o'clock Sunday evening they were at Henrietta's door. Dr. Bob faced Bill W. who said, "You must be awfully thirsty...this won't take us long..."

From the moment Bill spoke to him, Dr. Bob knew that here was a man who knew what he was talking about. As the hours passed, Bill told of his experiences with alcohol; he told him of the simple message that a friend had brought...

"Show me your faith and by my works I will show you mine..."

Slowly, at first, then with sudden clarity, Dr. Bob began to understand. Bill had been able to control his drinking problem by the very means that Dr. Bob, himself had been trying to use...but there was a difference. The spiritual approach was as useless as any other if you soaked it up like a sponge and kept it all to yourself. True, Bill had been preaching his message at any drunk who would listen; he had been unsuccessful 'til now, but the important thing was that by giving his knowledge away, he, himself, was sober!

There was one more short binge for Dr. Bob after that talk. On June 10, 1935, he took his last drink. It was high time now to put his house in order. With his quiet professional dignity, his ready humor, he got about it.

Bill stayed on in Akron for several months, living with Dr. Bob and Anne. It wasn't long before they realized that they needed another drunk to help, if they could. The two men went over to City Hospital. They asked the nurse on "admitting" if she had an alcoholic in the hospital. They were taken to a room where a man lay strapped to the bed, writhing in agony, "Will this one do?" the nurse asked. "This one" would do very well. That human wreck to whom they talked that day and several times after, came out of the hospital, sober. Bill D. became the third member of the little group...AA Number Three!

Dr. Bob now was a man with a purpose and the will to live. When the fog cleared out of his brain, his health had improved. He felt so good in the summer of 1935, at 56 years of age, that he took Bob and Sue out to the tennis courts one day. He played them six straight sets of tennis. The kids were done in.

Anne began to live again, too. She was happy with her husband's new-found, joyful sobriety. She was no longer friendless, alone. Her kitchen table was almost always littered with coffee cups, a fresh pot-full sat waiting on the stove. Her faith, her belief in prayer and divine guidance went far to carry the men through that first summer.

In the year 1935, there were few men alive who would accept the fact that alcoholism is a disease, which should be treated as such. Prejudice and ignorance were some of the problems facing Dr. Bob as he set about helping sick alcoholics with his professional skill and his new-found spiritual understanding. City Hospital was often filled with drunks smuggled in under trumped-up diagnosis. The oldtimers who were hospitalized during those first years were admitted as suffering from "acute gastritis."

Since he was on the courtesy staff at St. Thomas, run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Dr. Bob felt that he might enlist the help of Sister Ignatia. He knew that it had never seemed right to her that a drunk should be turned away. She couldn't understand why a drunk on the verge of DT's was turned away but a drunk with a bashed-in head was admitted. They were both sick. They both needed help.

His first approach to her on the subject was casual. He didn't tell her much nor did he make any promises. He just told her that he was trying to treat alcoholics by a new method. He and some other alcoholics, he said believed that alcoholism could be controlled by medical attention coupled with the spiritual. His remarks, though brief, made sense to her.

It wasn't long before Dr. Bob brought in an alcoholic. Sister admitted him as having acute indigestion. He was put to bed in a double room. Then Dr. Bob told her quietly, "We'd like to have him in a private room in the morning." As if it weren't bad enough to have an illegal admittance on her conscience this man was asking for a private room! Morning found the patient peacefully asleep, on a cot in the room where flowers were trimmed and arranged for patients' rooms!

 

FOR HE IS THE ROCK UPON WHICH AA IS FOUNDED

 

After that more and more "acute gastritis" cases woke up in St. Thomas Hospital. In August, 1939, Dr. Bob brought a patient to Sister for admittance. So far as is known, he was the first alcoholic ever to be admitted into a general hospital under the diagnosis: Alcoholism. Dr. Bob never could remember just what the policy of the hospital was at that time, nor did he recall ever having asked.

Since that August day there have been 4800 cases admitted into St. Thomas. Until Dr. Bob retired, he visited the ward each day to give personal attention to each patient. His cheerful, "Well, what can I do for you?" was heard in the ward for the last time, on Christmas, 1949. On that day Sister played the organ for him and showed him the beautiful new chimes ...talked of her hopes of more beds and furniture for a lounge outside the ward. The chimes tell the story of the bitter criticism of 10 years ago to the complete co-operation from everyone connected with the hospital today. But so long as Sister Ignatia goes about her duties on the admitting desk and in the AA ward, whenever a drunk is brought in a call will come, "Sister, you'd better come. One of your boys is downstairs!"

Dr. Bob and his first few red-eyed disciples continued to meet with the Oxford Group. But they were a 'special interest' bloc. The unpredictable nature of the alcoholic and his preoccupation with the earthy realities of drinking and drunkenness, led the tactful Doctor to the idea of separate meetings.

Without fuss or bother, Dr. Bob announced that there would be a meeting for the alcoholics...if any of them cared to come. When the meeting came to order, all of the little band were there. Dr. Bob put his foot on the rung of a dining room chair, identified himself as an alcoholic and began reading The Sermon on the Mount. Still not known as Alcoholics Anonymous, this was the first Akron meeting for alcoholics only.

Word of the work being done in Akron began to spread to nearby Cleveland. Men began coming over to be hospitalized in St. Thomas or City Hospital. The growth of the group speeded up. By 1939, they were meeting in Akron's Kings School. They had long since outgrown Anne's small house. Through all the growth, the hurts that come with growing pains, the gossip, the little grievances, Dr. Bob listened to them all.

Occasionally, he advised. He became the "father confessor" to the group. So sacred to him were confidences, that he would not break them for anybody or anything.

Anne used to tease him about being "so close-mouthed" that she claimed she didn't know a thing that was going on. She laughingly told him that she would divorce him unless he told her some of the things he knew...but she was quick to retract her statement because she knew, even for her, he would not break a confidence.

By 1939, there were enough men coming to Akron from Cleveland to make it seem advisable to start a Cleveland Group. The first meeting was held in May of that year. The break away from the Akron group brought with it disagreements. The only thing that kept them on an even keel, say those pioneers, was the sound wisdom of Dr. Bob. How he kept his sanity seemed a miracle. There he was, they say, in the midst of a bunch of unstable people, not yet dry behind the ears. It may have been because he would never allow one man to speak ill of another unless that man were present, that the Cleveland off-spring survived.

By the end of 1939, Cleveland had proved a big point in AA history. It had proved, first that one group could break from another. This they proved conclusively because by the end of the year there was not one Cleveland group...there were three! The two splits had been brought about by differences of opinion. It seemed that no matter what happened the group activity would go on. Cleveland proved, too, that alcoholics could be sobered up on what almost amounted to a mass production basis. By 1944, the Cleveland membership was well past 1000. Dr. Bob's wise counsel was right..."there's no use worrying about these things. As long as people have faith and believe, this will go on."

In the years that came after that meeting on Mother's Day, 1935, Dr. Bob gave freely of himself to all who came to ask for help, to seek advice...to laugh or to cry. In so helping others, he began to rebuild himself. Professionally, he became loved and respected by all who worked with him...socially he was once again the kind, dignified man who Anne and their friends knew and admired.

Dr. Bob, as Anne had known him to be, was possessed of calm professional dignity which gave courage and heart to his patients. In the years to come, this dignity, was to play a large part in the lives of the hundreds who came to his door. Never given to loose talk, Dr. Bob controlled his tongue as surely, as steadily and as potently as he did his scalpel. He used the gift of speech with the same concise economy, the sureness of purpose, that went into each deft movement of his surgeon's hands.

More often than not his observations were sprinkled with salty humor. Dr. Bob had the rare quality of being able to laugh at himself and with others. As much a part of him as his quiet professional dignity, was this keen sense of humor. He spoke with a broad New England accent and was given to dropping a remark or telling a riotous story absolutely deadpan. This sometimes proved disconcerting to those who did not know him well, especially when he referred to the poised, charming Anne, as "The Frail."

Seldom did he call his friends by their given names... it was Abercrombie to those men of whom he was particularly fond - or Sugar to close women friends...a friend in the loan business was Shylock. This tall "cadaverous looking Yankee" who held his profession sacred and walked through life with dignity would tell anyone who questioned him as to his hopes, his ambitions...that all he ever wanted in life was "to have curly hair, to tap dance, to play the piano and to own a convertible."

One of the very early Akron members says that the first impression he had of Dr. Bob was of a gruff person, a bit forbidding, with a habit of looking over his glasses. He gave the impression of looking right through to your soul. This AA says that he got the impression that Dr. Bob knew exactly what he was thinking... and found out later that he did!

When he met Dr. Bob for the first time, what was offered seemed to the new man, a perfect answer to an immediate and serious problem... it was something to tell a boss who, at the time was none too sympathetic to his drinking. Dr. Bob knew that the man wasn't being honest with him, and he knew he was kidding himself. No lectures were given, no recriminations. Dr. Bob began to make a habit of stopping by the man's house after office hours. About twice a week he stopped for coffee and the two men discussed ...honesty. Then Dr. Bob suggested that the man stop kidding himself. Their discussion moved on to faith...faith in God. The new man went to his employer and, for the first time, saw the practical power of real honesty. A problem which had looked insurmountable, vanished, just melted away.

Dr. Bob always began his day with a prayer and meditation over some familiar Bible verse, then he set about his work in "My Father's vineyard..." The work in the "vineyard" was not easy in those years. No "preaching" would have served, either to the alcoholics who came his way or to those skeptic members of his profession. He began, now to make AA a way of life.

His life began to be an example of patience and serenity for all to see and to benefit by if they so chose. It was too early in the years of education on alcoholism to be able to speak of the disease above a whisper...Dr. Bob and Sister Ignatia developed a little code...the boys on the third floor were called the Frails, while the surgical patients were spoken of in the most proper professional terms. Often while he went about the business of washing up he had to listen in silence to bitter remarks from his fellow doctors..."Too bad this hospital is so full that a fellow can't get a patient in...always room for the drunks though -."

In the years to come he was to live to hear himself introduced as the co-founder of "the greatest," "most wonderful," "must momentous movement of all times..." For these tributes he was grateful, but he laughed them off and upon one occasion was heard to remark..."The speaker certainly takes in a lot of territory and plenty of time..."

In his drinking days, Dr. Bob was two people, two personalities. After his return to sobriety he remained two personalities. As he made his rounds through the hospitals he was the medical practitioner but as he entered the door of the alcoholic ward he became, Dr. Bob, a man eager, willing and able to help his fellowman. Those who worked with him say that as he left the hospital each day they felt that two men went out the door... one a great M.D., the other a great man.

Dr. Bob and Anne lived simply and without pretense in their modest home. Here they shared the joys of parenthood, the sorrows, the companionship of their friends. He was an industrious man, willing to work for the creature comforts that he loved. He accepted with humility any material wealth that came his way. Something of a perfectionist, he loved diamonds, not for possession, but for the beauty of their brilliant perfection. He would go out of his way to look at a diamond owned by another...he would go out of his way, too, to look at a favorite view of his beloved mountains and sea.

If he had any pride in possession it was for big gleaming automobiles. He owned, through his life, many of them. He treated them with the care that their mechanical perfection deserved. The car that he probably loved the most was the last one he bought just before the end...the convertible. The car that symbolized a lifetime ambition. His friends will remember him in the summer of 1950, at 71, speeding through the streets of Akron in his new yellow Buick convertible - the long slim lines made even more rakish with the top down. No hat, his face to the sun, into the driveway he sped, pebbles flying, tires screeching, he'd swoosh to a stop! Fate, however, permitted him only 150 miles of this joyous "hot-rod" driving. It was with reluctance, that summer, that he gave in to his illness. For the forty fifth year he returned to his home in Vermont...in the staid and sedate sedan..."I won't be able to see the mountains so well...but my legs are a little long for that roadster..."

Until the last summer his days were spent in the routine of the hospital... his office and his club, for recreation. During almost all of his adult life in Akron, Dr. Bob lunched at the City Club. In his drinking days, it was often to hide away in a room until he was found by friends. But in later years it was to enjoy the companionship of his good friends, some of whom joined him in his new-found sobriety, others had no need of the help he could give them...other than the pleasure of his friendship.

Noon would almost always find him at the same table in the corner of the men's dining room. There, for more than ten years he was served by the same waitress, Nancy. Dr. Bob always greeted her with, "How's my chum today..." They were good friends. As Nancy served him his simple lunch of melon or grapefruit, soup, milk or coffee and his favorite Boston Cream Pie, they discussed her problems. Once, Nancy, who was ill at the time, became uncontrollably angry and threw a cracker basket at another waiter. Dr. Bob admonished..."Now, now Chum, don't let little things bother you..." The next day he sent her "As a Man Thinketh So Is He" and "The Runner's Bible."

Nancy always looked forward to serving Dr. Bob and his friends..."he was such a good fellow..." Often when there was much discussion, arguments and pros and cons, Nancy would ask him why he didn't say something, to which he'd answer... "Too much being said already!" To Nancy, Dr. Bob was "such a good kind man...he had such a simple faith in prayer."

After luncheon, if time permitted, Dr. Bob joined his cronies for a game of Rum or Bridge. He was expert at both; and he always played to win. The man who would give you his last dollar, though his own creditors might be hard at his heels, would take your last cent away from you, if he could, in a card game...but he never got angry. He had the habit of keeping up a steady chatter through the game, his cronies say that it could have been annoying except that it was always so funny that you had to laugh.

Dr. Bob vowed that it was silly to take the game seriously...never could see how these tournament players got so serious about this thing. Once when he and Anne were in Florida, he was airing his views to a stranger on the seriousness of some bridge players. The subject had come up because a bridge tournament was scheduled for that day. The two men sat together discussing bridge until they talked themselves into entering the tournament...since they had nothing better to do. The stranger and Dr. Bob made a good showing among the "serious" players. They won that afternoon but upset their opponents to such a degree as to cause one to remark, "If you had bid right and played right you never would have won!" Whereupon Dr. Bob said, "Quite so," as he accepted the first prize.

For some obscure reason, Dr. Bob always carried a pocket-full of silver. It may have been a hangover from the insecure squirrel-cage days of the eternal fight to keep enough money in his pocket just because he liked to hear the jingle but there were times when he had as much as ten dollars in his pocket.

He had one particular friend with whom he would match a fifty cent piece by way of greeting. No matter where the two met, each would silently reach into his pocket, draw out the silver and match. Silently the winner took the money from the other. The first time Dr. Bob underwent serious surgery, he could not have visitors. His coin-matching friend came to the hospital to call. He was met there by Emma, the woman friend and nurse who cared for Anne. Emma met the visitor in the guest lounge. She greeted him silently with a coin in her palm...silently they matched. Dr.Bob was the richer by fifty cents.

This man of two personalities would weep as he told you of his fear that his skill would not enable him to save the life of a charity patient; then again he would weep as he told of what seemed to be a miraculous recovery. He would weep, too, from laughter at some story which struck his fancy.

As his son, Bob, grew into manhood, Dr. Bob shared with him the incidents and the fun of the day. He could hardly wait, it seemed, to get home to tell young Bob some story picked up at the hospital. Young Bob tells of how he would tell a good story, or listen to one, then lean back in his chair to laugh until the tears streamed down his cheeks. Then with a familiar gesture, he took off his glasses to wipe the tears away...still chuckling. "Our home was a happy one, in those days," said young Bob, "I never heard a cross word between my mother and my father."

The war, then marriage took young Bob from home and to Texas where he now lives. Bob laughs as he tells of his father's first meeting with his bride-to-be. He looked her up and down then remarked, in his dry and disconcerting fashion; "She's all right, son.

She's built for speed and light house-keeping!"

Young Bob often remarked to his father about his seemingly endless knowledge of medicine, philosophies and general bits of information. To which Dr. Bob would reply, "Well, I should know something, I've read for at least an hour every night of my adult life - drunk or sober." Sometime during the course of all the reading, he delved into Spiritualism...he even tried the mysteries of the Ouija board. He felt that in some far distant centuries, the science of the mind would be so developed as to make possible contact between the living and the dead.

All the reading of the years had included studies on alcoholism, too. This scientific knowledge coupled with his experiences with alcoholics including himself might well have led him to a strictly scientific approach. He could, with ease, have spoken of statistics, cures and the like because he undoubtedly listened to more "case

histories" than any other man alive. He listened patiently to each man in the ward, to every person who came to his home for advice, and there were hundreds.

He remained plain Dr. Bob, alcoholic, who came to believe that the disorder was more on the psychological and spiritual side rather than the physical. The thinking of the alcoholic patient was all beclouded, his attitudes were wrong, his philosophy of life was all mixed up, he had no spiritual life...the whole man was sick. As one man said, "He came to me in the hospital, he sat quietly by my bed and talked, then he prayed to his God for me...that's what stuck...that he took the time and interest and the compassion to pray for me..."

The happy years of Dr. Bob's sobriety were marred, at last, by Anne's illness and blindness. Cataracts were completely covering her eyes, so that she could not see...even after surgery her last years were spent in shadows. Dr. Bob began, then, to be her eyes as much as he could. Still in medical practice, though, he could not be with her every hour. It was then, in his own quiet way that he found a solution.

In 1942, years before Anne's blindness had become serious, two strangers came to his office, a man and his wife, Emma. The man was seeking the help that Dr. Bob could give him. The three sat in his office and talked for almost an hour, while in the reception room waited the "paying patients." Occasionally, after that first meeting, Dr. Bob and Anne stopped by their house; they saw them each week at the AA meeting in King School.

Dr. Bob knew that Anne's blindness was fast growing worse and that she needed daily care...he knew too, that she would be unhappy to think of herself as a burden to anyone. It came vacation time, the children were gone which meant that the house must be left empty...the dog to his own devices. What better plan than the nice couple, who lived down the street should come to the house while they were on vacation...to keep it in running order and watch over the dog? Would the couple consider throwing some clothes into a bag and going over to the house? So it was for eight years Emma, a nurse, and her husband came from time to time to stay at Dr. Bob's house...until it was necessary for Emma to be with Anne at all times. In the last years of Anne's illness she kept house for them and during the day, when Dr. Bob was at his office, she watched over Anne.

Through those last years together Anne, though in ill health, stood ever ready to give words of hope and encouragement to all who came to her door. Her first thoughts were for others, never herself, no matter how badly she might feel. When Dr. Bob and Anne prepared for their last trip together, Anne said, "You know, I don't really care to go but Dad wants too, and he may never be able to make the trip again...it will make him happy. "Of the same trip, Dr. Bob said of Anne, "I don't really want to go, but Anne wants it. It will make her happy." Each took the long trip feeling that it was making the other happy. It was in June, 1949, just after their return, that Anne passed away. At the time of her passing, Dr. Bob, said, "I will miss her terribly, but she would have had it no other way. Had she survived this attack she would have been in the hospital for months...then there would have been months at home in bed...she would have hated being a burden...she could not have stood it."

In the summer of 1948, Dr. Bob found that he, too, was suffering from a serious malady. He closed his office and retired from practice, so that he and Anne could live their last days together, quietly. For a time after Anne died, there was some indecision in the house. It was understood that Emma and her husband, who had by this time been spending most of their time at the house, would leave and go to their own home. Dr. Bob was to get a housekeeper or a nurse. He did interview one woman, but his heart wasn't in it. It was then that they all felt that Anne had reached out and made their decision for them.

For the first few weeks after Anne's death, Dr. Bob and Emma dreamed of Anne almost every night. To Emma, she seemed troubled. One night Emma's dream of Anne was so real as to be almost a vision. Emma knew what she must do. Next morning she faced Dr, Bob. "Do you want us to stay with you?" His answer was quick and simple, "Yes." None of them dreamed of Anne again.

So it was that the couple who once came to Dr. Bob for help, came to spend the last year and one half with him...they gave up their apartment and lived with him until he too, passed on.

Ever the professional man, Dr. Bob watched the progress of his disease each day. When at last, he knew that the malady was malignant and hopeless, he accepted it with calm and lack of resentment. He felt no bitterness at the doctors who had failed to make an early diagnosis..."Why should I blame them? I've probably made a lot of fatal mistakes myself!"

Between the times that he was forced to stay in bed or to go to the hospital to undergo surgery, he lived his life as normally as possible and got as much enjoyment out of it as he could. After Anne's death, he and a good friend drove to the West Coast, where they renewed old acquaintances; then they went on to his home in Vermont...and to Maine. Wherever he went AAs showered him with attention and kindness. Of this he said, "Sometimes these good people do so much for me, it is embarrassing. I have done nothing to deserve it, I have only been an instrument through which God worked."

At home Dr. Bob settled down to enjoying his friends and the things he could do for them...between his serious attacks he enjoyed "Emmy's" good food. "I never saw a man who could eat so much sauerkraut...he would go without his dessert, just to have another helping!" Then came the television set.

Emma's husband went to Dr. Bob one day telling him that he was in the mood to buy a television set. "Well," said Dr. Bob, who didn't like television...would have no part of it... "I guess if you can buy the set, I can give you the chimney for the aerial." The beautiful new set arrived in due time but Dr. Bob would have none of it. He absolutely refused to look at it. Then one night, as he lay on the davenport, Emma caught him peeking around his newspaper! The "sneaking a look" went on for days until he succumbed and became a fan. After that he spent long pleasant hours watching the TV shows...especially the tap dancers..."Hmph," he'd grunt, "that's easy...nothing to it...anybody can do it!" At the time of the Louis Charles fight, he stayed in bed all day so that he would be rested enough to see the fight that evening!

As a patient, Dr. Bob behaved himself very well except for one thing. He refused to take his pills as they were scheduled. Instead he put his old "patent throat" to use. He kept a shot glass, which he filled with all the pills he was to take for the day. While Emma looked on in awe, even as the brothers of yore, he'd throw back his head and toss off the pills at one gulp..."What difference does it make? They all go to the same place anyway!"

That he knew the exact progress of his disease was evident to Emma and those close to him, although he never complained, even when in pain. After a doctor's call he would say to Emma, "Sugar, don't kid me now. This is the end isn't it?" Emma always answered with, "Now you know better. You know exactly what's going on!"

During the Spring and Summer of 1950, when he had to husband his strength and measure it out carefully, Dr. Bob expressed the wish to do three things. He wanted to attend the First International Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland. He wanted, once again, to go to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for his vacation. And he wanted to spend Christmas with his son in Texas...two of his wishes were fulfilled.

As the days passed and the date of the Conference drew nearer, he began more and more, to conserve his energy. Most of his days were spent in his room...on the davenport watching the TV tap-dancers and listening to the pianists. Those who were close to him watched him grow weaker...then rally...

While the last, mad days of preparations for the Conference were going on in Cleveland, it seemed, at times, to his close friends, that he would not gather the strength to do the thing that he so much wanted to do. Even to the last minutes before the Big Meeting, on Sunday, it was doubtful whether he would be granted the vigor he needed to appear in the Cleveland Auditorium to say the few words that he wanted to say to the thousands waiting to hear and see him.

Those gathered that hot Sunday afternoon, now know, that when at last Dr. Bob joined the others on the platform they were witnessing another milestone of the movement built on simple faith and works...At the time, this throng was perhaps too close to history to know the full meaning of what was taking place before them...Now he came forward to speak to the thousands...with quiet dignity...even as that night so long ago, when in Anne's living room, he put his foot on the rung of a dining room chair to read The Sermon on the Mount...he leaned forward against the lectern to say:

"My good friends in AA and of AA. I feel I would be very remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to welcome you here to Cleveland not only to this meeting but those that have already transpired. I hope very much that the presence of so many people and the words that you have heard will prove an inspiration to you - not only to you but may you be able to impart that inspiration to the boys and girls back home who were not fortunate enough to be able to come. In other words, we hope that your visit here has been both enjoyable and profitable.

"I get a big thrill out of looking over a vast sea of faces like this with a feeling that possibly some small thing that I did a number of years ago played an infinitely small part in making this meeting possible. I also get quite a thrill when I think that we all had the same problem. We all did the same things. We all get the same results in proportion to our zeal and enthusiasm and stick-to-itiveness. If you will pardon the injection of a personal note at this time, let me say that I have been in bed five of the last seven months and my strength hasn't returned as I would like, so my remarks of necessity will be very brief.

"But there are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis; one is the simplicity of our Program. Let's not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind but have very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service. We understand what love is and we understand what service is. So let's bear those two things in mind.

"Let us also remember to guard that erring member - the tongue, and if we must use it, let's use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance.

"And one more thing; none of us would be here today if somebody hadn't taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat on the back, to take us to a meeting or two, to have done numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get the degree of smug complacency so that we're not willing to extend or attempt to, that help which has been so beneficial to us, to our less fortunate brothers. Thank you very much."

As he returned to his seat on the platform, those who watched could easily see that the exertion of saying the brief words of counsel had left him physically weak and spent. Try as he would, he was forced to leave after a few moments. In consternation thousands of eyes followed him as he left the stage.

He was driven back to Akron, that afternoon by a friend. As Dr. Bob was helped into the automobile, he seemed physically very near complete exhaustion. As they drove the thirty odd miles from Cleveland to Akron, some inner strength seemed to revive Dr. Bob so that by the time they drove up to his home he was almost his old self. The man who seemed on the point of collapse only an hour before, said "Well, if I'm going to be ready to go to Vermont next week, I'd better be about it."

Shortly after the Conference, he did go to Vermont. Dr. Bob, his son and his daughter-in-law, drove, in the sedan, to his boyhood home, where he visited old friends for the last time...and worried all the time for fear the convertible would not be comfortable for Emma and her husband to drive on their long vacation trip..."Should've taken it myself..."

Upon his return home, he was admitted into St. Thomas hospital for a minor operation...one of so many that had come during the last years. Then home to Emma's good cooking and rest.

In November, his doctors found it advisable to perform another of the minor operations. This time, he went to City Hospital, where in 1910 he had come as an intern and where later, he and Bill had talked to "the third man." On Wednesday, November 15, a day after the operation, an old friend called and spoke to him. "Why, I'm just fine Abercrombie, just fine..."

Close to noontime on Thursday, November 16, 1950, he was resting. The nurse in attendance stood by his bed, watching...waiting for any change that might come. Dr. Bob, M.D., lifted his hand to the light...with professional calm he studied the color...with a final confirming glance, he spoke... "You had better call the family...this is it..."

--so reconciled with his brothers, he placed his gifts upon the alter and went his way...


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1639 Lash, William (Bill)
Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 3 of 3 Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 3 of 3 2/3/2004 9:53:00 AM

Dr. Bob Memorial Edition

January 1951 AA Grapevine

Part 3 of 3

 

 

From Dr. Walter F. Tunks, the man who answered the telephone...

 

EULOGY

 

TODAY we are paying our respects to the memory of a friend whose name and influence have extended around the world. A phrase of St. Paul's well describes him; "As unknown, yet well known." Affectionately we called him Doctor Bob - and thousands who never knew him are greatly in his debt. Dr. Bob would not want us to hang any haloes around him. He would ask us, rather, to carry on the work in which he had so influential a part. There is no need for me to tell you the story of his life. It is well known to any who are familiar with the work of Alcoholics Anonymous, of which he was a co-founder.

Let me merely point out how often in history God has used human weakness to demonstrate his redeeming power. Next to Jesus, no one has influenced human history more than St. Paul. Who was he? He was the chief persecutor of the Christian Church. He had stood by and watched young Stephen stoned, with never a word of protest. Then one day God caught up with him, turned him straight around in his tracks and Saul the persecutor became Paul the Apostle and chief defender of Christianity. Had you and I been living in the fourth century near the city of Carthage, we might have heard of the escapades of a fast living young man named Augustine. He was lecherous and profligate and all but broke his saintly mother's heart, though Monica's prayers for him never ceased. Then one day as he walked in the garden, he heard a voice which said to him, "Tolle, Lege" - Take, Read - and, opening the Bible at random, he came upon this passage: "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye in the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." So a man was reborn, and Augustine the dissolute, became St. Augustine, one of the most prominent leaders in the Christian Church.

You know the story of Dr. Bob's weakness. Then something happened to him that profoundly changed his life and that of thousands of others who shared the same weakness. In a desperate hour, he and Bill turned to God for help they couldn't find anywhere else, and Alcoholics Anonymous was born. By Dr. Bob's side was a brave and understanding wife whom we laid to rest last year. With wisdom and patience, she helped guide the AA group in its early days and never ceased to be a power for good. And now Bob has gone to be with the one he loved so much.

Here is the lesson of his life. God can use human weakness to demonstrate his power. No man need stay the way he is. With God's help he can throw off the chains of any enslaving habit and be free again to be what God wants him to be. His monument is not the money he left in the bank, but the gratitude in the hearts of so many men and women who own more than they can ever repay to his example.

 

 

O GOD we thank Thee for the life and service of Thy dear servant, Doctor Bob, whom we remember at Thy alter this day. Bless and prosper the work of Alcoholics Anonymous, in whose founding he played such an all important part. Prosper the work of this organization that it may reclaim the lives of many who are ashamed of their own weakness. This we ask in the name of Him who taught us that no failure ever need be final - our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

 

 

Hail and Farewell...

 

It is such a little while ago he stood before us, sick unto death and strong unto faith...

Strong still unto the task begun...

Firm still, and he spoke in a strong, sure voice

Ten minutes. How many thousand times ten minutes

Had he served ten times ten thousands of us who were halt, and sick, and steeped in fear?

And in ten minutes there again were strengths anew, and old truths reaffirmed

In the strong, sure voice...in the tired, frail body.

How far from St. Thomas house of healing in Akron

To the surging conclave of Cleveland?

In miles as far as the Marshall isles are far;

As near as the first lengthening step of one drunk taking one clear stride forward,

And as far as fifteen years are far, and as near as one new ray of hope in one new breast.

The little man who had sworn Hippocrates great oath

Had helped to heal beyond it.

This be the arch of his memorial: the towering span

Of Fellowship, held high upon the heritage

By which we grow.

And this be the echo of his founding voice:

The weakest knock of whosoever seeks

The opening

Of any AA door...


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1642 NMOlson@aol.com
Significant February dates in AA History-corrected Significant February dates in AA History-corrected 2/5/2004 2:45:00 AM Thanks to members from Philadelphia for the correction of the date Jim Burwell moved to Philadelphia.



Nancy




FEB 1:

1918 - Original date set for Bill Wilson's marriage to Lois  Burnham.  The date was moved up because of the war.



FEB. 2:

1942 - Bill Wilson paid tribute to Ruth Hock, AA's first paid secretary, who resigned to get married.   She had written approximately 15,000 letters to people asking for help 



FEB. 5:

1941 - Pittsburgh Telegram ran a story on the first AA group's Friday night meeting of a dozen "former hopeless drunks."



FEB. 8:

1940 - Bill W., Dr. Bob, and six other A.A.s asked 60 rich friends of John D. Rockefeller,Jr., for money at the Union Club, NY.  They got $2,000.

1940 - Houston Press ran first of 6 anonymous articles on A.A. by Larry J.



FEB. 9:

2002 - Sue Smith Windows, Dr. Bob's daughter died.



FEB. 10:

1922:  Harold E. Hughes was born on a farm near Ida Grove, Iowa.    After his recovery from alcoholism, he became Governor of Iowa, a United States Senator, and the leading dark horse for the Presidential Democratic nomination in 1972, until he announced he would not run. He authored the legislation which created the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and other legislation to help alcoholics and addicts.



FEB 11:

1938 - Clarence Snyder ("Home Brewmeister" in 1st, 2nd & 3rd editions) had his last drink.



Feb. 12:

1945 - World War II paper shortage forced reduction in size of the Big Book.



Feb. 13:

1937 - Oxford Groups "Alcoholic Squadron" met at the home of Hank Parkhurst ("The Unbeliever" in the 1st edition of the Big Book) in New Jersey.

1940 - With about two years of sobriety, Jim Burwell ("The Vicious Cycle") moved to the Philadelphia area and started the first Philadelphia A.A. group. 



FEB 14:

1971 - AA groups worldwide held a memorial service for Bill Wilson.

2000 - William Y., "California Bill" died in Winston Salem, NC.



Feb. 15:

1946 - AA Tribune, Des Moines, IA, reported 36 new members since Marty Mann had been there. 



Feb. 16:

1941 - Baltimore Sunday Sun reported city's first AA group begun in 1940 had grown from 3 to 40 members, with five being women.



FEB. 18:

1943 - AA's were granted the right to use cars for 12th step work in emergency cases, despite gas rationing.



FEB.19:

1967 - Father "John Doe" (Ralph Pfau), 1st Catholic Priest in AA, died.



FEB 20:

1941 - The Toledo Blade published first of three articles on AA by Seymour Rothman.



Feb. 21:

1939 - 400 copies of the Big Book manuscript were sent to doctors, judges, psychiatrists, and others for comment.  This was the "multilith" Big Book.



Feb. 22:

1842 - Abe Lincoln addressed the Washington Temperance Society in Springfield, IL.



Feb. 24:

2002 -- Hal Marley, "Dr. Attitude of Gratitude," died.  He had 37 years of sobriety.  Hal testified, anonymously, before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse on December 3, 1970.



Feb. 26:

1999 - Felicia Gizycka, author of "Stars Don't Fall," died.  Born Countess Felicia Gizycka in 1905, she was the daughter of Count Josef Gizycki and Eleanor Medill Patterson.  She married Drew Pearson in 1925 and divorced him three years later.  She married Dudley de Lavigne in 1934, but the marriage lasted less than a year.  In 1958 she married John Kennedy Magruder and divorced him in 1964.  For most of her professional career, she went by the name Felicia Gizycka.



Other February happenings for which I have no specific date:



1908 - Bill Wilson made boomerang.

1916 - Bill Wilson & sophomore class at Norwich University was suspended for hazing.

1938 - Rockefeller gave $5,000 to AA.

1939 - Dr. Harry Tiebout endorsed AA, the first psychiatrist to do so.

1940 - First organization meeting of Philadelphia AA is held at McCready Hustona's room at 2209 Delaney Street.

1940 - 1st AA clubhouse opened at 334-1/2 West 24th Street, NYC.

1943 - San Francisco Bulletin reporter Marsh Masline interviewed Ricardo, a San Quentin Prison AA group member.

1946 - Baton Rouge, La., AA's hold their first anniversary meeting.

1946 - The AA Grapevine reported the New York Seaman's Group issued a pamphlet for seamen "on one page the 12 Steps have been streamlined into 5."

1946 - Des Moines Committee for Education on Alcoholism aired its first show on KRNT.

1946 - Pueblo. Colorado, had a second group, composed of alcoholic State Hospital patients.

1951 - Fortune magazine article about AA was published in pamphlet form.

1959 - AA granted "Recording for the Blind" permission to tape the Big Book.

1963 - Harpers carried article critical of AA.

1981 - 1st issue of "Markings," AA Archives Newsletter, was published, "to give the Fellowship a sense of its own past and the opportunity to study it."



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1643 Lash, William (Bill)
Carl K. Obituary (1948) Carl K. Obituary (1948) 2/5/2004 10:37:00 AM
February 1948 AA Grapevine

 

EDITOR DIES

Carl K., editor of The Empty Jug, died of a cerebral hemorrhage, Saturday night, July 13, in Memphis, Tenn. Carl was a member of the Chattanooga Group and was well known throughout the South.

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1644 Lash, William (Bill)
Alcoholics Cannot Learn to be ''Social'' Drinkers (1995) Alcoholics Cannot Learn to be ''Social'' Drinkers (1995) 2/5/2004 4:00:00 PM
This article appeared in the July 29, 1995 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It followed shortly after an article featuring an advocate of teaching alcoholics "responsible drinking" habits.

James E. Royce, S.J., Ph.D. is professor emeritus of psychology and addiction studies at Seattle University and author of a leading textbook on alcoholism.

 

Alcoholics cannot learn to be 'social' drinkers

by James E. Royce

 

Can alcoholics be conditioned to drink socially? Under such titles as "harm reduction" and "moderation management" that old question has been resurrected. Moderate drinking is certainly a more appealing goal to many problem drinkers than total abstinence. But medical professionals and additions counselors are unanimous in their opposition. Are they just rigid prohibitionists?

As a lifetime member of the board of directors of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, I must point out that the big problem is that alcoholism is a progressive disease, often labeled as "problem drinking" in its early stages. Monday's cold is the flu on Wednesday and pneumonia on Friday. Most alcoholics are sure they can control their drinking on the next occasion. The result is killing alcoholics, who can expect a normal lifespan if they remain abstinent. For decades I have defined an alcoholic as one who says, "I can quit any time I want to." Self-deception is so typical of alcoholics that the American Society of Addiction Medicine included the term "denial" in its latest definition. Talk of harm reduction just feeds that denial.

Most research fails to adequately separate true alcoholics from alcohol abusers or problem drinkers, which makes reports of success misleading. We can't know how many of the latter may progress into true alcoholism. The most thorough research (Helzer and Associates, 1985) studied five- and seven-year outcomes on 1,289 diagnosed and treated alcoholics, and found only 1.6 percent were successful moderate drinkers. Of that fraction, most were female and none showed clear symptoms of true alcoholism. In any case, it would be unethical to suggest to any patient a goal with a failure rate of 98.4 percent.

We psychologists know that conditioning is limited in its ability to produce behavioral changes. To attempt to condition alcoholics to drink socially is asking of behavior modification more than it can do. Some have thought one value of controlled-drinking experiments could be that the patient learns for himself what he has not been able to accept from others, that he cannot drink in moderation - giving all that extra scientific help might destroy the rationalizations of the alcoholic who still thinks he can drink socially "if I really tried." Actually, most uses of conditioning in the field have been to create an aversion against drinking, to condition alcoholics to live comfortably in a drinking society and to learn how to resist pressure to drink. In that we have been reasonably successful, since this is in accord with the physiology and psychology of addiction.

The discussion about turning recovered alcoholics into social drinkers started in 1962, but no scientific research had been attempted until 1970, when Mark and Linda Sobell, two psychologist at Patton State Hospital in California with no clinical experience in treating alcoholics, attempted to modify the drinking of chronic alcoholics, not as a treatment goal but just to see whether it could be done. The research literature is largely a record of failure, indicating that the only realistic goal in treatment is total abstinence.

The prestigious British alcoholism authority Griffith Edwards (1994) concluded that research disproved rather than confirmed the Sobell position. Drs. Ruth Fox, Harry Tiebout, Marvin Block and M.M. Glatt were among the authorities who responded in a special reprint from the 1963 Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol to the effect that never in the thousands of cases they had treated was there ever a clear instance of a true alcoholic who returned to drinking in moderation. Ewing (1975) was determined to prove it could be done by using every technique known to behavior modification, but he also did careful and lengthy follow up - and at the end of four years every one of Ewing's subjects had gotten drunk and he called off the experiment. Finally, Pendery and Maltzman (AAAS Science, July 9, 1982) exposed the failure of the Sobell work, using hospital and police records and direct contact to show that 19 of the 20 subjects did not maintain sobriety in social drinking, and the other probably was not a true alcoholics to begin with.

The Research of Peter Nathan indicates that whereas others may be able to use internal cues (subjective feelings of intoxication) to estimate blood-alcohol level while drinking, alcoholics cannot; so that method of control is not available to them. To ask a recovered addict to engage in "responsible heroin shooting" or a compulsive gambler to play just for small amounts is to ignore the whole psychology and physiology of addiction. Alcoholism is not a simple learned behavior that can be unlearned, but a habitual disposition that has profoundly modified the whole person, mind and body. That explains the admitted failure of psychoanalysis to achieve any notable success in treating alcoholics, and renders vapid the notion of Claude Steiner in "Games Alcoholics Play" that the alcoholic is a naughty child rather than a sick adult. Even the Sobells' claimed successful cases are now reported to have given up controlled drinking. For them abstinence is easier - for them trying to take one drink and stop is sheer misery. The reason is that one cannot "unlearn" the instant euphoric reinforcement that alcohol gives.


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1646 burt reynolds
Alan Guiness/A Members Eye View of AA Alan Guiness/A Members Eye View of AA 2/6/2004 8:05:00 PM
Does anyone know anything about the man whose speech became the pamphlet

"A Member's Eye View of AA"?



Do you Yahoo!?

Yahoo! Finance: Get your refund fast by filing online
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1647 Lash, William (Bill)
Recollections Of AA''s Beginnings (1952) Recollections Of AA''s Beginnings (1952) 2/7/2004 5:39:00 PM
November 1952 AA Grapevine

 

Thus Do I Remember.

 

An Editorial Brings Some Recollections Of AA's Beginnings. . .

 

Dear Grapevine:

So September is the month of remembering! I am glad that you added "reading" and especially "re-dedication."

I remember...the amazing friendliness of Akron AA in 1938. We were given an address book with all names listed (few could afford telephones then) and the earnest invitation to "call at any time." And we did.

I remember...meetings. We were from Cleveland, and every Wednesday, rain or snow or shine, we made the 70-mile round trip to Akron. We made it eagerly, willingly; anxious to be with new friends. Often there would be pot-luck supper on Saturday nights. We were too poor in material possessions to entertain, but how wealthy we were in friendships!

I remember...the emphasis on "morning meditation and morning reading," and all of us equipped with the 5¢ Upper Room. That was a must.

I remember...every lesson that Anne dished out in her gentle and inimitable manner. "Dorothy, everyone has been kind to you as a newcomer. Never forget to pass that friendliness and kindness along!"

I remember...when several manuscript chapters of "The Book" came. Anne and I read them to each other till 4 a.m., and Anne said: "Pray with me that this will help others."

I remember...Anne every time I hear the Twelve Steps read, for the fifth chapter was one that we read so eagerly one night.

I remember our first AA New Year's Eve party in Akron. Anne had gotten two new dresses, her very first new clothes. When I asked her which dress she would wear, she said "I can't wear a new dress. There will be so many who have no new clothes," and she wore the dress we were so accustomed to seeing on her.

I remember...the word spreading like wild-fire: "Bill and Lois are coming!" When they arrived we would all be congregated to greet them. They would hide their weariness (as they still do) and greet us with warmth and affection.

I remember...it says in the Big Book "We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck..."

How true it was of us then!

 

D.M., La Jolla, Calif.


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1648 NMOlson@aol.com
General Service Conference - 1956 General Service Conference - 1956 2/8/2004 2:43:00 AM General Service Conference - 1956

"Petition, Appeal, Participation and Decision"

By Bill W.



God has been good to Alcoholics Anonymous. These sessions of the Sixth General Service Conference now ending have marked the time when our Society has taken the first step into the brave new world of our future. Never have we felt more confident, more assured of the years to come than we do this afternoon.

This Conference thinks, I am sure, that its main structural concepts are approximately right. I am thinking of the relation of AA groups to their Assemblies, the method of choosing Committeemen and Delegates, Directors and Headquarters Staffs; also the relation of the Trustees, essentially a body of custody, to the operating services of the Headquarters, the Grapevine, Service office and AA Publishing. These interlocking relations are something for high confidence already based on considerable experience. Nevertheless we shall remain aware that these structures can be changed if they fail to work. Our Charter can always be amended.



And of course, we shall always be much concerned with those lesser refinements that can improve the working of our main structure.



Recent Improvements:



On the first evening here, I explained some of our recent improvements of this Charter - how our newly formed Budget Committee is a fresh assurance that we can't go broke, how our new Policy Committee can avert blunders in this area and take the back breaking load of minor matters off of the Trustees, how our Nominating Committee can insure good choices of new Staff members, Directors and Trustees. In short, our Board of Trustees is now fitted with eyes, ears and a nose that can guarantee a much improved functioning. So far, so good.



But our structure of service is no empty blueprint. It is manned by people who feel and think and act. Therefore any principles or devices that can better relate them to each other in a harmonious and effective whole are worth considering.



So I now offer you four principles that might someday permeate all of AA's services, principles which express tolerance, patience and love of each other; principles which could do much to avert friction, indecision and power-driving. These are not really new principles; unconsciously we have been making use of them right along. I simply propose to name them and, if you like them, their scope and application can, over coming years, be fully defined.



Four Key Words:



Here are the words for them: petition, appeal, participation and decision. Maybe all this sounds a bit vague and abstract. So let's develop the meaning and application of these four words.



Take petition. Actually this is an ancient device to protect minorities. It is for the redress of grievances. Every AA member, inside or outside our services, should have the right to petition his fellows. Some years ago, for example, a group of my old friends on the outside became violently opposed to the Conference. They feared it would ruin AA. To put it mildly, they thought they had a grievance. So they placed their ideas on paper and petitioned the AA groups to stop the Conference. Lots of our members got sore; they said this group had no right to do this. But they really did have the right, didn't they?



Yet in our services, this right is often forgotten or unused. It is my belief that every person working in AAs services should feel free to petition for a redress of grievances or an improvement of conditions. I would like to make this personal right unlimited.



Under it, a boy wrapping books in our shipping room could petition the Board of AA Publishing, the Board of Trustees, or indeed, the whole Conference if he chose to do so -- and this without the slightest prejudice against him. Of course, he'd seldom carry this right so far. But its very existence, and everybody's knowledge of it, would go far to stop those morale breakers of undue domination and petty tyranny.



Let's look at the right of appeal. A century ago a young Frenchman, deTocqueville, came to this country to look at the new Republic. Despite the fact that his family had suffered loss of life and property in the French Revolution, this nobleman-student had begun to love democracy and to believe in its future. His writing on the subject is still a classic. But he did express one deep fear for the future: he feared the tyranny of the majority, especially that of the uninformed, the angry, or the close majority. He wanted to be sure that minority opinion could always be well heard and never trampled upon. How very right he was has already been sensed by the Conference.



Therefore, I propose that we further insure, in AA service matters, the right to appeal. Under it, the minority of any committee, corporate Board, or a minority of the Board of Trustees, or a minority of this Conference, could continue to appeal, if they wished, all the way forward to the whole AA movement, thus making the minority voice both clear and loud.



Protective Safeguard:



As a matter of practice, this right, too, would seldom be carried to extremes. But again, its very existence would make majorities careful of acting in haste or with too much cocksureness. In this connection we should note that our Charter already requires in many cases a two-thirds vote (and in some instances a three-quarter vote) for action. This is to prevent hasty or inconsiderate decision by a close majority. Once set up and defined, this right of appeal could greatly add to our protection.



Now we come to participation. The central concept here is that all Conference members are on our service team. Basically we are all partners in a common enterprise of World Service. Naturally, there has to be a division of duties and responsibilities among us. Not all of us can be elected Delegate, appointed Trustee, chosen Director, or become hired Staff member. We have to have our respective authorities, duties and responsibilities to serve; otherwise we couldn't function.



But in this quite necessary division, there is a danger -- a very great danger -- something that will always need watching. The danger is that our Conference will commence to function along strict class lines.



The elected Delegates will want all, or most all, of the Conference votes, so they can be sure to rule the Trustees. The Trustees will tend to create corporate boards composed exclusively of themselves, the better to rule and direct those working daily at the office, Grapevine and AA Publishing. And, in their turn, the volunteer Directors of the Grapevine and Publishing Company will tend to exclude from their own Board any of the paid staff members, people who so often carry the main burden of doing the work. To sum it up: the Delegates will want to rule the Trustees, the Trustees will want to rule the corporations and the corporate directors will want to rule the hired Staff members.



Headquarters Experience:



Now Headquarters experience has already proved that this state of affairs means complete ruin of morale and function. That is why Article Twelve of your Conference Charter states that "No Conference member shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over another."



In the early days, this principle was hard to learn. Over it we had battles, furious ones. For lack of a seat on the several boards and committees that ran her office, for lack of defined status and duties, and because she was "just hired help," and a woman besides, one of the most devoted Staff members we ever had completely cracked up. She had too many bosses, people who sometimes knew less and carried less actual responsibilities than she. She could not sit in the same board or committee room as a voting equal. No alcoholic can work under this brand of domination and paternalism.



This was the costly lesson that now leads us to the principle of participation.



Participation means, at the Conference level, that we are all voting equals, a Staff member's vote is guaranteed as good as anyone's. Participation also means, at the level of the Headquarters, that every corporate Board or Committee shall always contain a voting representation of the executives directly responsible for the work to be done, whether they are Trustees or not, or whether they are paid or volunteer workers. This is why, today the president of AA Publishing and the senior Staff member at the AA office are both Directors and both vote on the Board of AA Publishing. This puts them on a partnership basis with the Trustee and other members of the Publishing Board. It gives them a service standing and an authority commensurate with their actual duties and responsibilities. Nor is this just a beautiful idea of brotherhood. This is standard American corporate business practice everywhere, something that we had better follow when we can.



In this connection I am hopeful that the principal assistant to the Editor of The Grapevine, the person who has the immediate task of getting the magazine together, will presently be given a defined status and seated on the Grapevine's Board as a voting director.



So much, then, for the principle and practice of "participation."

Now, what about decision?



Our Conference and our Headquarters has to have leadership. Without it, we get nowhere. And the business of leadership is to lead.



The three principles just described -- petition, appeal and participation -- are obviously checks upon our leadership, checks to prevent our leadership running away with us. Clearly this is of immense importance.



But of equal importance is the principle that leaders must still lead. If we don't trust them enough, if we hamstring them too much, they simply can't function. They become demoralized and either quit or get nothing done.



How, then, are AA's service leaders to be authorized and protected so that they can work as executives, as committees, as boards of trustees or even as a Service Conference, without undue interference in the ordinary conduct of AAs policy and business?



The answer lies, I think, in trusting our leadership with proper powers of decision, carefully and definitely defined.



Trusted Executives:



We shall have to trust our executives to decide when they shall act on their own, and when they should consult their respective committees or boards. Likewise, our Policy, Public Information and Finance Committees should be given the right to choose (within whatever definitions of their authority are established) whether they will act on their own or whether they will consult the Board of Trustees. (Our Headquarters can, of course, have no secrets.)



Similarly, the Grapevine and AA Publishing Boards should be able to decide when to decide when to act on their own and when to consult the full Board of Trustees.



The Trustees, in their turn, must positively be trusted to decide which matters they shall act upon, and which they shall refer to the Conference as a whole. But where, of course, any independent action of importance is taken, a full report should afterward be made to the Conference.



And last, but not at all least, the Conference itself must have a defined power of decision. It cannot rush back to the grassroots with all its problems or even many of them. In my belief the Conference should never take a serious problem to the grassroots until it knows what their own opinion is, and what the "pros" and "cons" of such a problem really are. It is the function of Conference leadership to instruct the Group Conscience on the issues concerned. Otherwise, an instruction from the grassroots which doesn't really know the score can be very confusing and quite wrong.



Informed Groups:



Therefore Conference Delegates must have liberty to decide what questions shall be referred to the AA group and just how and when this is to be done.



The conscience of AA is certainly the ultimate authority. But the grassroots will have to trust the Conference to act in many matters and only the Conference can decide which they are. The Conference, however, must at all times stand ready to have their opinions reversed by its constituent groups but only after these groups have been thoroughly informed of the issues involved.



Such, I think, are the several powers of decision that our Conference and Headquarters leadership must have or else fail in their duty. Anarchy may theoretically be a beautiful form of association, but it cannot function. Dictatorship is efficient but ultimately it goes wrong and becomes demoralized. Of course AA wants neither.



Therefore, we want leadership that can lead, yet one which can be changed and restrained. Servants of our fellowship, however, our leaders must always remain trusted. We surely want leaders who are enabled to act in small matters without constant interference. We want a Conference that will remain extremely responsible to AA opinion, yet a body completely able to act alone for us when necessary -- even in some great and sudden crisis.

Such then could become the AA service principle of decision.



If we now begin to incorporate the words petition, appeal, participation and decision into our service thinking and action, I believe that many of our confusions about AA's service functions will begin to disappear. More harmony and effectiveness will gradually replace the service gears that still grind and stick among us.



Of course, I am not now announcing these as permanent principles for definite adoption. I only offer them as ideas to ponder until we meet again in 1957.



Therefore I don't see why we should delay trying the experiment I have just outlined above. If it doesn't work, we can always change.



AA has often asked me to make suggestions and sometimes to take the initiative in these structural projects. That is why I have tried to go into this very important matter so thoroughly.



Please believe that I shall not be at all affected if you happen to disagree. Above all, you must act on experience and on the facts, and never because you think I want a change. Since St. Louis, the future of AA belongs to you!



P.S. Some AAs believe that we should increase our Board from 15 to 21 members in order to get the 10 alcoholics we need. This would involve raising the non-alcoholics from 8 to 11 in number. But, might this not be cumbersome and needlessly expensive? Personally, I think so.

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1649 NMOlson@aol.com
General Service Conference - 1957 General Service Conference - 1957 2/9/2004 3:05:00 AM General Service Conference - 1957

The Need for Authority Equal to Responsibility

By Bill W.



The Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous in its present short form suggests that AA shall forever remain unorganized, that we may create special boards or committees to serve us -- never governmental in character.



The Second Tradition is the source of all of the authority which, as you know, lies in the group conscience of which this Conference is the articulate voice worldwide.



Those are the basics on which our structure of service rests, whether at the group level, the Intergroup or AA as a whole. What we want of the service is primarily to fill a need that can be met in no other way. The test of any service really is: "Is it necessary."

If it is really necessary, then provide it we must, or fail in our duty to AA and those still to come. Experience has shown that certain necessary services are absolutely indispensable at all levels. We make this distinction: The movement itself is never organized in any governmental sense. A member is a member if he says so. He cannot be coerced. He cannot be compelled. In that sense we are a source of benign anarchy.



When it comes to the matter of service, the services within themselves obviously have to be organized or they won't work. Therefore the service structure of Alcoholics Anonymous and more especially of this Conference is the blueprint in which we, as flesh and blood people, operate, relate ourselves to each other and provide these needed services. And it is the evolution of this blueprint within which we function that has been my chief concern for the last dozen and a half years.



The usefulness of AA to us in it, and more particularly to all those still to come, even the survival of AA, really depend very much on the soundness of our basic blueprint of relating ourselves together so A.A. can function. That is the primary thing. That is what we have come to call the structure.



Let's have a brief overall look at our structure again. Then see at what point it may possibly need refinement and improvement. I hope we never think that the cathedral of AA is finished. I hope that we will always be able to refine its lines and enhance its beauty and its function.



Very obviously the unit of authority in AA is the AA group itself. That's all the "law" there is. Everything that we have here in the way of authority must come from the groups.



To create the voice of AA's conscience as expressed in the groups, we meet in group assemblies. And then to obviate the usual political pressures, we choose Committeemen and Delegates by the novel methods of no personal nominations and use of a two-thirds vote.



Now arrived here, how are Delegates to be related to the Board of Trustees? It was the original parent of the groups and a hierarchy of service quite appropriate to our infancy, but one which must now become directly amenable to Delegates and those closely linked to Delegates.



That question was responsible for a great deal of thought and speculation in time past. And I think our seven years' experience has suggested that, in broad outline, we are somewhere near right.



The Board of Trustees as a hierarchy had certain great advantages, which we want to keep. For the long pull, it had immense liabilities. It was a law unto itself. Now, it must become a partner. We have the Board, which is more or less of an appointive proposition, and the staff members and directors of services, largely appointed, subject to your consent, of course. We had the problem of how the electees are going to relate to the appointees.



In the first place, in this Conference, we put all of ourselves in the same club. The Trustee, for example, becomes a Conference member with one vote, and a custodial duty. A Director of a service agency becomes a Conference member, with a service duty. At the level of this Conference, we are all equal; we are all in the club. Mid you note that the appointees have been set in a great minority to the electees to insure that Area Delegates will always have adequate powers of persuasion.



The Board of Trustees, you remember, is a legally incorporated entity. It has to be that way first of all to transact business. It has to be that way to give its several members and committees appropriate powers and titles which denote what they do. We have to have that much organization in order to function.



Theoretically, as Bernard Smith has pointed out, the Board of Trustees has been legally undisturbed by all the recent change. Nevertheless, in a Traditional and psychological sense, the Trustees' relations to the groups and to you has been profoundly altered, not because Delegates have legal power but because Trustees know that Delegates are their linkage to AA as a whole. They also very well know that if you don't like what they do, you can go home and cut off Area support.



In order to have anything functional, people have to have an authority to act. Very obviously there are all kinds of questions arising where the basic problem is "Who should act? And where should the committee or board or individual act, and when should he act?"



A Conference, a movement, can't actually run anything. A Board of Trustees really can't run anything. We operated on that mistaken idea for a while. We have to classify the kind of thing that each worker, each Board, does -- and the kind of thing the Conference does and the kind of thing that AA must do to keep this Fellowship functioning. In other words there must always be an authority equal to the responsibility involved in service work.

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1650 John Phipps
Development of Online General Service Development of Online General Service 2/9/2004 6:42:00 PM

Online General Service -- A
History for Representatives to the Online Service Conference  


 

 

Forenote:

 

The purpose of this document is to provide a basis of history as
background for Online Service Conference members.  The online AA
groups share a common history both of Alcoholics Anonymous service
structure and of AA development on the internet.  It is this unique
combination of shared histories which led to the Online Service
Conference.

 

Development of General Service.

 

The general service structure of Alcoholics Anonymous sprang from the
early success and spread of AA throughout the United States and Canada,
then across the world. The founders, particularly Bill W. and Dr. Bob,
realized that the program of recovery which they had founded in the late
1930’s had become a “movement” only a few years later.  After the
Jack Alexander article of 1941 in the Saturday Evening Post, the number
of groups rapidly quadrupled and continued to grow rapidly. As AA spread,
it began to change to adapt to new areas, then new nations.  The
need for a unifying structure soon became obvious.

 

Some means of gathering the group conscience of all the groups was
needed.  The increasing age of the founders made it clear that their
term of leadership was nearing an end.  Early attempts to answer
group questions and policy issues were handled one-at-a-time by Bill W.,
aided by Ruth Hock, using the US mails as the principal glue which held
the growing movement together.

 

The first International Convention celebrated AA’s fifteenth anniversary
in Cleveland in July 1950.  The first General Service Conference
convened in New York City in April 1951. Both the International
Conventions and the General Service Conferences have been used to express
AA’s collective group conscience over the years.  The “three
legacies” of recovery, unity and service were adopted at the
International Convention of 1955, the year of publication of the second
edition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. 

 

Development of the general service structure in the United States and
Canada is chronicled in some detail in AA Comes of Age, published in
1957, the year in which membership went over 200,000. It is recommended
reading for those interested in early AA history.  However, very
little is available concerning the development of general service
structures in nations other than the US and Canada. 

 

Bill W’s suggestions for the continuation of the Fellowship were written
as the “Traditions” of AA in 1945, published in the Grapevine in 1946,
and not at all enthusiastically received by the Fellowship.  Bill
and wife Lois traveled far and wide in an attempt to persuade the members
of new groups across North America  that the Traditions were
meaningful and useful.  Finally, they were adopted at the
International Convention of 1950 at Cleveland. In that same year, Dr. Bob
fell seriously ill, and the trustees authorized Bill W to lay out a plan
for a General Service Conference, to insure continued guidance for the
Fellowship .

 

On the heels of his difficult experience with “selling” the Traditions,
Bill struggled with the Conference structure.  He wrote, “… how on
earth were we going to cut down destructive politics, with all its usual
struggles for prestige and vainglory?” He also wrote, “Though the
Conference might be later enlarged to include the whole world, we felt
that the first delegates should come from the US and Canada only.” 


 

We know now that the expansion of the Conference to the world did not
come in Bill’s lifetime, and is yet to be realized.  There is no
“World General Service Conference” of Alcoholics Anonymous which
addresses policy issues and expresses the collective conscience of the
worldwide Fellowship.  In its place, some 52 General Service Offices
and a growing number of General Service Conferences have sprung up to
meet the needs of  Alcoholics Anonymous groups around the world.
Some of these emulate the US/Canada pattern closely; others are more
unique to the locale in which they exist.  The boundaries of the
Conferences usually follow national frontiers, but there are linguistic
Conferences which flow over the borders of nations, as did the original
General Service Conference of the United States and Canada.

 

A World Service Meeting was begun in New York City in 1969, with 27
delegates from 16 countries, and has been held biennially since; however,
the meeting is not a part of the general service structure of the
Fellowship, and does not attempt to express the group conscience of the
world’s AA’s.  It is an information-sharing meeting for attendees.


 




AA on the Internet

 

Little is known of the first AA members to contact other members using
computer-based communications.  It is likely that AA members among
the first users of email sought out others to share experience, strength
and hope.  There are fragmentary records and oral histories of AA
members using the earliest bulletin board systems (BBS) through local
telephone connections via modems which were both slow and limited in
reliability. Hardware concerns were in the forefront, and communication
among computers over distance was possible, but difficult.

 

By 1986, there were AA meetings, or at least meetings of AA friends, on
bulletin boards in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, and
probably other American cities.   A few staff members in the
New York General Service Office were aware of AA members meeting
electronically, and began keeping contact addresses in the late
1980’s.  According to the AA Grapevine’s “From Akron to the
Internet” timeline of AA communications, “Q-link,” one of the earliest
online AA groups, began in 1986,  grew to 200 members in two years,
and GSO began keeping a partial list of online AA groups by 1988.  A
meeting for online members was provided at the Seattle 1990 International
Convention, which may have been the first face to face meeting of AA
onliners from a wide area. It was well attended, but did not result in a
lasting organization for online members.

 

The internet developed rapidly into an international communications
system, and facilitated written communications at long distances. 
Local bulletin boards and small access providers added newsgroup and
email capabilities, which soon made the local net technologies
redundant.  Early internet AA groups used multiple addresses (cc:
lists) for email to reach all member mailboxes with a single post. 
When a member changed email addresses, or internet service providers, all
members had to change the address in order to keep the system up to date
and whole.  Early members remember this as a constant headache.


 

Mailing list technology was a breakthrough in providing a suitable online
home for email-based AA groups.  Listserv and Majordomo software
“reflected” a message sent to a single common address onward to a
multitude of recipients, and greatly eased maintenance of address lists,
which could now be updated centrally.  A new AA service position as
online group “listkeeper” was born, and became key to the growth of the
Fellowship in the new medium.

 

Other online technologies, including “chat rooms,” “guest book”
technology on WWW sites and newsgroups all have played roles in the
development of AA online, and continue to be used in varying ways by
online groups, but the greatest growth has been in email-based groups,
which number some 240 groups with perhaps 8000 participants as the Online
Service Conference came into being in mid-2002. (No accurate census is
available.  Numbers based on estimates). 

 

 

 

 

Online AA Comes Together

 

The first online AA groups depended upon word of mouth by their own
members to identify and enroll new members. There was no complete online
directory of groups.  Each group carried out its efforts
independently, finding its own way to sharing recovery in the new
medium.  Some groups grew very large, notably the Lamplighters
Group, perhaps the first online meeting to formally identify itself as an
AA group.  It took its name from the General Electric “Aladdin’s
lamp” logo which identified the GEnie online service provider on which
the group met. It grew swiftly in the early 1990’s to hundreds of members
and  a full spectrum of  AA committees and elected service
positions emulating the largest face to face groups.  Other meetings
and groups felt that it was important to remain small to permit good
online sharing on AA topics, and broke off to form new groups repeatedly
when group size exceeded 30 or 40 members. Some groups related to one
another on the basis of a common internet service provider. 

 

New online groups were founded for specialized membership, such as women,
men, gay or lesbian, etc.   Other groups formed around a
preference for certain meeting styles, such as Big Book study, 
weekly topic discussions, or other styles. Email groups sometimes “spun
off” chat meetings that appealed to a sector of their members.  The
groups were clearly autonomous. There was no central online body, and
little communication among the existing groups.

 

Rumors surfaced that one of the earliest groups, “Meeting of the Minds”
(MoM) had registered as a group with the General Service Board of the UK.
Some of the group’s founders had been Scots.  In the UK, a unique
district had been designated “District 11” to contain those
English-speaking AA groups not meeting in the British Isles, particularly
those meeting on the European continent. 

In the US,  Lamplighters Group attempted to follow suit by sending a
standard group registration form to the US/Canada General Service Office
in 1994.  Because the form asked for place and time of meetings, the
group identified itself as an online group and was denied registration
for that reason.

 

The GSO of the US and Canada explained that only groups which met face to
face within the boundaries of the US and Canada could be registered in
their Conference.  A group which met on the internet, (“in
cyberspace”) could not be included, and could have no voice or vote in
its Conference. No criticism based on how the AA Traditions were
followed online ever was voiced by the General Service Office nor any AA
trustee.
It was agreed that a list of online groups would be
maintained in the New York offices and provided to anyone seeking online
participation in AA.

 

The online groups were pleasantly surprised in the same year when their
request to participate was approved, and a “loving invitation” was issued
to provide workshop speakers on the topic of online AA and to host a
hospitality room for the 1995 International Convention in San Diego.
Speakers for the panel were easily located, and a “Living Cyber
Committee” was formed online to host the hospitality room and plan its
activities.

 

A member of the Living Cyber Committee worked for a San Francisco Bay
company which had just replaced its computing machinery with newer
models, and was able to borrow some idle older machines to be used in the
hospitality room as demonstrations of online AA.  Online groups
agreed to share with conventiongoers, and in some cases nonattending
members set up special lists or held “model” meetings online for
convention participants.

 

The “Cyber Suite,” as the hospitality room came to be known, was a major
success by any measure, and a watershed event for online AA.  The
“buzz” around the San Diego Convention halls led thousands of visitors to
the online demonstrations.  Another important activity of the room
was to provide a meeting place for “friends who had never met face to
face” from the participating online groups.  Every day there were
whoops of recognition as members encountered those previously known only
as usernames on their monitors.  Delegates and trustees were briefed
on the new medium as they visited, and online groups took turns in four
hour shifts as “hosts” for the room.  

 

As the convention came to a close, a few members of the Living Cyber
Committee and a few new friends from online groups vowed to continue
serving together in some manner after they returned to their home
computers.  A handful, perhaps less than a dozen, set about to form
a service structure for the online groups.  After a few weeks of
discussion, it was determined that the most flexible AA service
organization, and easiest to found, was an intergroup.  In short
order, the Online Intergroup of AA (OIAA) was formed, incorporated in New
Jersey, and brought into initial operation on the internet.

 

Efforts continued by individual members, online groups and the new online
intergroup to find a place in the general service structure of Alcoholics
Anonymous.  Requests to attend the US/Canada General Service
Conference in observer status were denied.  Requests to attend the
World Service Meeting in observer status were denied, even after
recommendation was made by a WSM committee that online organizations
participate in their meetings, as a view to the future. Few, if any, area
delegates to the US and Canada General Service Conference were online AA
participants, and many without experience viewed the growing number of
new online groups with suspicion and open derision.

 

In 1998, with no representatives of online AA groups in attendance, the
US/Canada General Service Conference determined that online groups
applying for registration would be classified as “international
correspondence meetings.”

The online intergroup, OIAA, was listed under that directory
classification also, rather than among “Central Offices, Intergroups and
Answering Services.”

 

Another “loving invitation” was issued, this time to OIAA, to participate
in the 2000 International  Convention in Minneapolis.  Rather
than a single workshop, the program included several individual
presentations by online members. A trustee with online experience chaired
a panel on “AA in Cyberspace – Now”, followed by “AA in Cyberspace –
Future,.” plus other specialized online topics.

 

A hospitality room again was hosted in Minneapolis by OIAA, and equipped
with online computers demonstrating how AA had grown on the internet;
however, its location outside the main flows of convention traffic, plus
growing public familiarity with computers and the internet, resulted in
somewhat less conventiongoer curiosity and attendance than five years
earlier in San Diego.  

 

Online members were pleased beyond measure when their medium of AA
participation was favorably mentioned in the last paragraph of the new
Foreword to the Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Fellowship’s
basic text.  They were equally shocked when the first US/Canada
General Service Conference after the Fourth Edition’s publication voted
to remove a sentence from the paragraph in future printings.  The
proscribed sentence alluded to the equivalence of online meetings and
face to face groups.  Even without the sentence, the paragraph
remains a strong endorsement of online AA, ending, “Modem to modem or
face to face, AA’s speak the language of the heart in all its power and
simplicity,” clearly marking recognition of online AA in the basic text,
if not in the general service structure.. 

 

 

Establishment of an Online Service Conference
.

 

In November 2001, OIAA members decided to start again from the beginning
and study the matter of how online AA groups might best fit into the
worldwide Fellowship, with emphasis on how online groups might
participate in a general service structure.  The chairman appointed
a study committee, headed by Ewart F. of South Africa, who invited
participation by a mixed group of online members, some of whom had long
experience with the issues.

 

It became clear early in study committee discussions that there were a
limited number of ways in which online groups might join together in
pursuit of a meaningful group conscience. The possibilities narrowed to
three patterns; (1) Online Group in Existing Area, (2) Online Area for
Online Groups, and (3) Online Conference for Online Groups.  The
following is a much-abbreviated summary of the committee’s evaluation of
each pattern of participation, with benefits and problems of each
pattern, from the records of the study group:

 

 

(1)     “Online Group in Existing Area.”  This
is the easiest and most obvious pattern of participation.  An online
AA group might participate as part of an existing face to face area,
based upon some chosen geographic location, perhaps the home address of
the group’s elected GSR.  The problems are many, including probable
nonacceptance by some areas, and probable unwillingness of some online
members to support a single distant geographic area.  Ultimately,
the problem lies in the question, “What was discussed at the area
meeting?”  There are no face to face areas which share the concerns
of online groups and vice versa.  Onliners in a group with worldwide
membership will have little interest in the plans for visits to treatment
centers in Wyoming or the convention planned for Puerto Rico. Members of
face to face groups in those areas would likely have little interest in
plans for an online hospitality room at the next International
Convention.

 

(2)     “Online Area for Online Groups.”  It
might be possible for the US and Canada General Service Conference to
create a new area equivalent to a state or provincial area, perhaps
called the “Online Area.”  It is easy to conceptualize, but the most
difficult pattern to achieve.  First, there are no  delegates
in the US/Canada General Service Conference who represent online groups,
so there is no one to advance the proposal against known opposition 
-- it is “politically impossible.”  Second, there are many online
members who are not residents of the US or Canada, and would have
problems analogous to the “distant area” difficulties outlined above. A
decision would have to be made whether to assume that all online members
are American and Canadian for group conscience purposes, or whether each
national or linguistic conference should create a separate “Online Area.”
Neither is fully satisfactory, and both are unlikely to be
attainable.

 

(3)     “Online Conference for Online Groups.” This
pattern follows the model of  most “new nations”(or linguistic
zones) as they come into the AA Fellowship.  First, a few groups are
established, then perhaps an intergroup or  central office, then a
new general service structure evolves, especially adapted to the
characteristics of the “new nation.”  An Online Service Conference
would represent no geographic nation, but would include all the AA groups
in “cyberspace,” that is, those which operate on the internet, which has
no national boundaries. This pattern would insure a Conference richly
populated with AA viewpoints from many parts of the world.  It would
be necessary to replace the missing national General Service Office with
some mechanism to act for the Conference between its meeting times, but
such a Conference could be assembled online with less difficulty than a
face to face Conference.

 

Of the three options, all study committee members agreed that the Online
Service Conference held out the only real hope for meaningful
participation by online AA members in the group conscience process. 
The potential for future participation by an Online Service Conference in
the World Service Meeting or conceptual “World Service Conference” is an
attractive, if uncertain, possibility. The question remaining was whether
or not the online groups would understand and support the concept of an
Online Service Conference of their own.

 

The OIAA study committee formulated an Online General Service Statement,
as follows:  “We, the members of Alcoholics Anonymous who share our
experience, strength and hope on the internet, now assemble to discuss
our common purpose and establish the Online Service Conference to unify
our voice in the worldwide Fellowship of AA.”   This was
offered to online groups for their endorsement.. 

 

The committee chairman reported to the OIAA chairman that the committee’s
work was finished, and that it should be dissolved to reassemble and
continue its work outside the intergroup.  This ended affiliation
between the intergroup and the new general service structure under
development.  Former committee members took on the tasks of
identifying online groups and inviting them to meet, and established
procedures to keep the confusion of a new organization to a minimum,
including a new “Steering Committee” to act in the role of a General
Service Office between Conference meetings in “cyberspace.” Six committee
members were designated to serve as “Interim Steering Committee” to guide
activities for the first meetings of the new Conference, and an agenda
was prepared for the first meeting, set for July 1, 2002.

 

The first meeting on the Online Service Conference was held July
1-31, 2002, when the Interim Steering Committee assembled approximately
49 interested members representing around 32 online groups. There was
discussion of many issues of concern to online AA groups, including how a
group conscience could be formed online, issues of internet publication
of AA copyrighted documents, online anonymity, relationships with “face
to face” AA bodies, and other concerns.

 

The first Online Service Conference representatives together passed only
two actions; the first, ratifying the Conference as beginning a general
service structure for online AA and planning to meet again in January
2003; the second, to elect six members of a Steering Committee to stand
for the Conference and prepare an agenda in the interim between
meetings. 

 

The second Online Service Conference met January1-31, 2003, with 59
members (including 33 group representatives, plus alternates and steering
committee) continuing discussion of many of the issues considered in the
first Conference.  The agenda included (1) definition of an “online
AA group,” (2) online literature publication and AAWS copyrights, (3)
using online AA to reach those who cannot be served by “face to face” AA,
(4) anonymity guidelines for the internet, (5) issues affecting world
unity of the AA Fellowship, (6) future OSC participation with other AA
organizations. New committees were organized, including one to search for
more online AA groups who might be invited to OSC, a Literature
Committee, a Translation Committee and a Web Committee. Nominations were
taken for candidates for the Steering Committee, to be voted at the third
Online Service Conference in July 2003.  No Online Advisory Actions
were voted during the second conference.

 

The third Online Service Conference met July 1-31, 2003 with 43 groups
represented, plus alternates and steering committee members, totaling 57
members.  Two actions were considered – a definition of online AA
groups, and a recommendation that online groups provide representatives
to OSC for two year periods.  Neither passed with substantial
unanimity and both were referred for further study.  Committees were
formed to study the issues which had been offered. New members were
elected to fill vacant Steering Committee positions. As in the previous
assembly, no Online Advisory Actions were voted during the third
conference.

 

The fourth Online Service Conference met January 1-31, 2004 with 48
groups represented, plus alternates and steering committee members,
totaling 73 members.  The most significant action at the assembly
was introduction of a proposed Charter for OSC presented by James C. from
the UK, as chairman of the Voting Methods Committee. The Web Committee
also presented its work on the OSC website for comment by the
assembly.  No voting actions were offered with the agenda or acted
upon during the conference assembly.    

 

 

John P., OSC Listkeeper

Rev:  Feb 8, 2004

 

 


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1651 Lash, William (Bill)
Bill W. Yale Correspondence (1954) Bill W. Yale Correspondence (1954) 2/10/2004 10:48:00 AM
The Bill W. - Yale Correspondence

 

Bill's letters declining an honorary degree, unpublished in his lifetime, set an example of personal humility for AA today and tomorrow.

 

EARLY IN 1954, after considerable soul-searching, Bill W. made a painful decision that ran counter to his own strong, self-admitted desire for personal achievement and recognition.

The AA co-founder declined, with humble gratitude, an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws offered by Yale, one of the nation's oldest, most famous, and most prestigious universities. Acceptance would have brought him - and AA - enormous amounts of favorable publicity. The university, too, would have received respectful recognition from press, public, and the academic world for presenting the degree. Yet he turned it down.

Would a yes from Bill have vastly changed AA as we know it today? Would the change have been for better, or for worse? Could Bill's acceptance of the honor have sown seeds that, in time, would have destroyed AA? These are some of the questions that figured in Bill's perplexity and in his prayers.

The Grapevine is publishing the correspondence between Bill and Reuben A. Holden, then secretary of the university. The exchange of letters followed a personal visit to Bill from Mr. Holden and Professor Selden Bacon in January of 1954. The following week, Bill received this letter:

 

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

January 21, 1954

Dear Mr. W :

I enclose a suggested draft of a citation which might be used in conferring upon you the proposed honorary degree on June 7th.

If your trustees approve this formula, I should then like to submit it to the Yale Corporation for their consideration.

The wording can be considerably improved. We shall work on that during the next few months, but in every instance we shall be sure it has your unqualified blessing.

Thanks for your hospitality on Tuesday and for your thoughtful consideration of our invitation.

Very sincerely yours,

Reuben A. Holden

 

(Naturally, Bill's full name was used in all this private exchange. In observance of the Eleventh and Twelfth Traditions, the Grapevine is maintaining his anonymity at the public level.)

This is the first draft of the text of the citation:

W.W.:

Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. For twenty years, this Fellowship has rendered a distinguished service to mankind. Victory has been gained through surrender, fame achieved through anonymity, and for many tens of thousands, the emotional, the physical, and the spiritual self has been rediscovered and reborn. This nonprofessional movement, rising from the depths of intense suffering and universal stigma, has not only shown the way to the conquest of a morbid condition of body, mind, and soul, but has invigorated the individual, social, and religious life of our times.

Yale takes pride in honoring this great anonymous assembly of men and women by conferring upon you, a worthy representative of its high purpose, this degree of Doctor of Laws, admitting you to all its rights and privileges.

 

From the office of the Alcoholic Foundation (now the AA General Service Office), Bill sent this reply:

February 2, 1954

Mr. Reuben Holden, secretary

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

Dear Mr. Holden,

This is to express my deepest thanks to the members of the Yale Corporation for considering me as one suitable for the degree of Doctor of Laws.

It is only after most careful consultation with friends, and with my conscience, that I now feel obligated to decline such a mark of distinction.

Were I to accept, the near term benefit to Alcoholics Anonymous and to legions who still suffer our malady would, no doubt, be worldwide and considerable. I am sure that such a potent endorsement would greatly hasten public approval of AA everywhere. Therefore, none but the most compelling of reasons could prompt my decision to deny Alcoholics Anonymous an opportunity of this dimension.

Now this is the reason: The tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous - our only means of self-government - entreats each member to avoid all that particular kind of personal publicity or distinction which might link his name with our Society in the general public mind. AA's Tradition Twelve reads as follows: "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."

Because we have already had much practical experience with this vital principle, it is today the view of every thoughtful AA member that if, over the years ahead, we practice this anonymity absolutely, it will guarantee our effectiveness and unity by heavily restraining those to whom public honors and distinctions are but the natural stepping-stones to dominance and personal power.

Like other men and women, we AAs look with deep apprehension upon the vast power struggle about us, a struggle in myriad forms that invades every level, tearing society apart. I think we AAs are fortunate to be acutely aware that such forces must never be ruling among us, lest we perish altogether.

The Tradition of personal anonymity and no honors at the public level is our protective shield. We dare not meet the power temptation naked.

Of course, we quite understand the high value of honors outside our Fellowship. We always find inspiration when these are deservedly bestowed and humbly received as the hallmarks of distinguished attainment or service. We say only that in our special circumstances it would be imprudent for us to accept them for AA achievement.

For example: My own life story gathered for years around an implacable pursuit of money, fame, and power, anti-climaxed by my near sinking in a sea of alcohol. Though I survived that grim misadventure, I well understand that the dread neurotic germ of the power contagion has survived in me also. It is only dormant, and it can again multiply and rend me - and AA, too. Tens of thousands of my fellow AAs are temperamentally just like me. Fortunately, they know it, and I know it. Hence our Tradition of anonymity, and hence my clear obligation to decline this signal honor with all the immediate satisfaction and benefit it could have yielded.

True, the splendid citation you propose, which describes me as "W. W.," does protect my anonymity for the time being. Nevertheless, it would surely appear on the later historical record that I had taken an LL.D. The public would then know the fact. So, while I might accept the degree within the letter of AA's Tradition as of today, I would surely be setting the stage for a violation of its spirit tomorrow. This would be, I am certain, a perilous precedent to set.

Though it might be a novel departure, I'm wondering if the Yale Corporation could consider giving AA itself the entire citation, omitting the degree to me. In such an event, I will gladly appear at any time to receive it on behalf of our Society. Should a discussion of this possibility seem desirable to you, I'll come to New Haven at once.

Gratefully yours,

William G. W

 

Six days later, Mr. Holden replied:

Dear Mr. W :

I have waited to respond to your letter, of February 2 until we had a meeting of the Committee on Honorary Degrees, which has now taken place, and I want to report to you on behalf of the committee that after hearing your magnificent letter, they all wish more than ever they could award you the degree - though it probably in our opinion isn't half good enough for you.

The entire committee begged me to tell you in as genuine a way as I can how very deeply they appreciated your considering this invitation as thoroughly and thoughtfully and unselfishly as you have. We understand completely your feelings in the matter, and we only wish there were some way we could show you our deep sense of respect for you and AA. Some day, the opportunity will surely come.

Meanwhile, I should say that it was also the feeling of the committee that honorary degrees are, like knighthoods, bestowed on individuals, and that being the tradition, it would seem logical that we look in other ways than an honorary-degree award for the type of recognition that we should like to give the organization in accordance with the suggestion you made in your last paragraph. I hope this may be possible.

I send you the warmest greetings of the president of Yale University and of the entire corporation and assure you of our sincere admiration and good wishes for the continued contribution you are making to the welfare of this country.

Cordially yours,

Reuben A. Holden

 

The series of letters ends with Bill's acknowledgment:

March 1, 1954

Dear Mr. Holden,

Your letter of February 8th, in which you record the feelings of the Yale Corporation respecting my declination of the degree of Doctor of Laws, has been read with great relief and gratitude. I shall treasure it always.

Your quick and moving insight into AA's vital need to curb its future aspirants to power, the good thought you hold of me, and your hope that the Yale Corporation might presently find the means of giving Alcoholics Anonymous a suitable public recognition, are something for the greatest satisfaction.

Please carry to the president of Yale and to every member of the board my lasting appreciation.

Devotedly yours,

Bill W

 

Recently, the Grapevine received a letter from an AA who was a trustee on the AA General Service Board at the time of this offer to Bill. The former trustee, Cliff W. of California, recalls talking to Bill at the board meeting following the ex-change of correspondence.

"I suggested that we make a pamphlet of these letters, as his refusal letter was truly magnificent. Bill grinned and replied, 'Not while I'm alive. I don't want to capitalize on humility.'" Cliff suggested to the Grapevine that it would now be proper to print the letters.

During Bill's lifetime, copies of the Yale correspondence were privately circulated within the Fellowship, with Bill's knowledge and consent. Jim A., who in 1965 was AA public information chairman for a central office in a large West Coast city, wrote to Bill, asking permission to show the letters to anonymity-breakers "...as an example that AA probably does not need their individual names to keep it going or to make it more effective."

In reply, Bill wrote, "Certainly, you may show that Yale correspondence in a limited way. But I see you agree that it would not be exactly right on my part to consent to its general publication at this time. Actually, I'm not so damn noble as you suppose. In reality, I rather wanted that degree...However, I think the principle of anonymity will be so invaluable to us, especially in future time, that one in my position should really fall over backwards in trying to demonstrate the principle. By way of example, it might help in the years to come."

Ten years before this, just one year after the Yale correspondence had ended and less than two weeks before the Twentieth Anniversary AA Convention in St. Louis in 1955, Bill replied to a Canadian AA friend who felt that publishing the letters at that time would "help consolidate AA and fortify the anonymity Tradition."

"I agree with you in part," Bill answered, "that publication now could help temporarily. But I do think that publication would imply my permission and would therefore be not a little ego manifestation on my part.

"Actually, when I declined the degree, I did it with the long future in mind. I could picture a possible time when AA might find itself in some great contention and crisis. At that time, this letter, though bearing the dead hand, might have a marked, even a deciding, effect...Anyhow, I would be disinclined to have it generally published at present - that is, published under circumstances which will surely indicate to the reader that I have given my consent."

Under present circumstances - seven years after Bill's death - there is clearly no possibility of the consent that he called an "ego manifestation." The Grapevine feels that AA members, now numbering around eight times as many as were sober in 1954, have a right to know of Bill's example of both courage and humility. This correspondence may help all of us appreciate the sacrifice Bill made for us, and for the countless alcoholics yet to come to our Fellowship for help.

 

February 1978 AA Grapevine


0 -1 0 0
1652 t
GV March 94 -- Nicollet Group, Minn GV March 94 -- Nicollet Group, Minn 2/10/2004 12:15:00 PM

Grapevine, March 1994

[from column/series What We Were Like]

Minneapolis: the Nicollet Chapter

Most AA members in these parts know the story of Pat C., the drunken
newspaperman who
borrowed the Big Book from the Minneapolis Library, read it, and wrote to the
Alcoholic Foundation [forerunner of the General Service Office] asking for help
on
August 9, 1940. The Alcoholic Foundation replied to Pat and sent his name on to
the
Chicago Group. Two members of that group came to see Pat in November of 1940.
Pat
took his last drink on November 11, 1940, and began working with others, and the
first AA meeting in Minneapolis occurred shortly afterward. That is the history
and
the founding that we hear about most in the Twin Cities, and many AA groups all
over
the state can trace their beginnings back to Pat C. and 2218 First Avenue South,
the
first (and still operating) Alano Society in this part of the country.
We had other beginnings and other pioneers, however, and this is the story of
another
Twelve-Step call, another pioneer, and another longstanding AA foundation stone
in
Minneapolis: There is a group that meets in Minneapolis, at 6301 Penn Avenue
South,
which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in October 1993. The name of the group
is
the Nicollet Chapter and it began in 1943 when Barry C. left 2218 to start a new
group, styled after the groups of his friend and AA's co-founder, Dr. Bob of
Akron, Ohio.
It was a big deal when the Nicollet Chapter left 2218. Until that time, 2218
was the
hub of all of the AA activity in this area. 2218 was mother and mentor to many
AA
groups, and most early groups asked for and got a lot of help in starting. But
the
Nicollet Chapter started, autonomous from 2218 and clearly wanted to stay that
way,
and it shook a lot of AA members up. Was this a fight? Was there a problem? Was
somebody going to get drunk? Barry and Pat both said no, but a rift was created
between 2218 and the Nicollet Chapter that never quite healed.
Barry C. had quietly gotten sober in April of 1940, a few months before Pat,
after a
visit from a sober Chicago friend, Chan F. (who was also one of the two AAs who
visited Pat in November). But Barry was chronically ill most of his life, and
spent
much of the first months of his sobriety incapacitated. Barry was in the
hospital
when Pat got sober and began working with others. He always had a much "lower
profile" than Pat, and did not contend Pat's status as the founder of AA in
Minnesota. Pat, however, made certain that Barry's part in our history was
known, as
witnessed in this 1941 letter to his fellow Minneapolis AAs: "Many of you,
perhaps,
don't know it but Barry C. was the first practicing AA in Minneapolis . . . Only
the
fact that he was hopelessly invalided for a long time prevented Barry from
getting
out and organizing. You all know what he has accomplished since he has been able
to
get around. That guy has more ideas in five minutes than I have in five weeks,
and we
all owe him a note of thanks ..."
Barry C. corresponded with Bob and others in Akron, Cleveland and Chicago, and
the
Nicollet Chapter resembled in many ways the early meetings in Akron. Barry
believed
that all of the alcoholics' solutions were in the Big Book. He believed that
alcoholism was a family problem and that recovery must include the entire family
-
the attendance of wives was strongly suggested. The Nicollet Group's most
unusual
characteristic was its intolerance of "slippers." Prospective members were asked
if
they were ready, willing, and able to practice the Twelve Steps. If not, they
were
asked to do their drinking outside of AA. Faith in the program was considered
paramount, and once a member lost their faith, it was felt that it could not be
easily regained.
These were the principles that the Nicollet Chapter started with, and stayed
with.
They hung with each other, did Twelfth Step work, helped start AA in Sioux
Falls,
South Dakota, and Winnipeg and Manitoba, Canada, which still have groups modeled
on
the Nicollet Group. Those groups still correspond today, and still believe that
their
way of practicing the teachings of the Big Book are the best way. In their
ideology,
the Nicollet Group members stayed to themselves. The growth of AA in Minnesota
and
nationwide did not change them. The adoption of the Traditions did not change
their
meetings, and the General Service structure did not concern them.
And, fifty years later, the Nicollet Groups' 100 or so members still stick to
the
original. Stepping into the meeting is sort of like stepping back in time. There
is
coffee, yes, and more food than usual at a meeting place. Folks know each other,
and
have no trouble spotting outsiders and greeting them. The Twelve Steps and the
Serenity Prayer are prominently displayed everywhere, but the Traditions are
not.
Don't look for notices of upcoming conventions or roundups - you won't find
Nicollet
Group members at these events. They have their own social gatherings. There also
won't be notices of upcoming general service assemblies or district meetings, or
notices of intergroup happenings. They do not participate in these events.
When I was newly sober, I asked an older AA member about our cofounders, Dr.
Bob and
Bill W. She told me about Dr. Bob wishing to keep AA simple, and about Bill the
super
AA promoter. She told me an old AA joke: that if Dr. Bob had his way, AA would
never
have made it out of the midwest, and if Bill had his way, it would be set up as
an
international franchise. She said that between the two of them, they created the
balance between simple service and service organization that we needed to
function
and carry out our primary purpose.
I don't know if this is what Dr. Bob had in mind, but I thought of this when I
visited
the Nicollet Group. There was love there, and Twelfth Step work, and newcomers,
and
talk of the Steps, and families, and sharing, and picnics, and announcements to
visit
members in the hospital. I met a man and his wife, in their late twenties, who
were
celebrating their one year membership in the group. I met couples who were 20 or
25
year members. I saw (and was given to pass on to our area archives) a wealth of
historical materials - correspondence, articles, photographs - all telling of
the
miracles and the timelessness of alcoholics working together.
As a group, Nicollet is recognizing that in order to survive AA groups need to
work
together. For the first time in many years, the Nicollet Group is listed in our
local
intergroup directory. They know they need to work with others, as do we all.
Autonomy
is a valued possession, and we cannot deny the Nicollet Group theirs. There is a
lesson in autonomy here for me as an AA member. I see our autonomy must end when
others are affected, as it states in the Fourth Tradition. The Nicollet Group
will be
richer for interaction with the rest of us, and we will be richer for our
interaction
with them.
The Nicollet Group deserves recognition for their fifty years of meeting
together,
growing together, and staying sober together. They have contributed much to the
fabric of AA.
Anonymous, Minneapolis, Minn.

0 -1 0 0
1653 NMOlson@aol.com
10th General Service Conference - 1960 (Part One of Two) 10th General Service Conference - 1960 (Part One of Two) 2/11/2004 3:19:00 AM Proposal by Bill W.

For

Twelve Concepts For World Service

10th General Service Conference - 1960



This proposal, delivered by Bill W. at the closing of the 10th General Service Conference, is of great historical significance as it was the first time that Bill had spoken to the Fellowship on the subject of the Twelve Concepts.



The transcript has been verified against the original voice recording.

_________



The last of the sand in the hourglass of our time together is about to run its course. And you have asked me, as of old, to conclude this conference, our tenth.



I always approach this hour with mixed feelings. As time has passed, each year succeeding itself, I have found increasing gratitude beyond measure, because of the increasing sureness that AA is safe at last for God, so long as he may wish this society to endure. So I stand here among you and feel as you do a sense of security and gratitude such as we have never known before. There is not a little regret, too, that the other side of the coin -- that we cannot turn back the clock and renew these hours. Soon they will become a part of our history.



The three legacies of AA - recovery, unity and service -- in a sense represent three utter impossibilities, impossibilities that we know became possible, and possibilities that now have borne this unbelievable fruit. Old Fitz Mayo, one of the early AAs and I visited the Surgeon General of the United States in the third year of this society, told him of our beginnings. He was a gentle man, Dr. Lawrence Kolb, since become a great friend of AA, and he said: "I wish you well. Even the sobriety of such a few is almost a miracle. The government knows that this is one of the greatest health problems we have, one of the greatest moral problems, one of the greatest spiritual problems. But we here have considered recovery of alcoholics so impossible that we have given up and have instead concluded that rehabilitation of narcotic addicts would be the easier job to tackle."



Such was the devastating impossibility of our situation.



Now, what had been brought to bear upon this impossibility that it has become possible? First, the Grace of Him who presides over all of us. Next, the cruel lash of John Barleycorn who said, "This you must do, or die." Next, the intervention of God through friends, at first a few, and now legion, who opened to us, who in the early days were uncommitted, the whole field of human ideas, morality and religion, from which we could choose.



These have been the wellsprings of the forces and ideas and emotions and spirit which were first fused into our Twelve Steps for recovery. And some of us got well. But no sooner had a few got sober then the old forces began to come into play. In us rather frail people, they were fearsome: the old forces, the drives, money, acclaim, prestige.



Would these tear us apart? Besides, we came from every walk of life. Early, we had begun to be a cross section of all men and women, all differently conditioned, all so different and yet happily so alike in our kinship of suffering. Could we hold in unity? To those few who remain who lived in those earlier times when the Traditions were being forged in the school of hard experience on its thousands of anvils, we had our very, very dark moments.



It was sure recovery was in sight, but how could there be recovery for many? Or how could recovery endure if we were to fall into controversy and so into dissolution and decay? Well, the spirit of the Twelve Steps, which has brought us release, from one of the grimmest obsessions known -- obviously, this spirit and these principles of retaining Grace had to be the fundamentals of our unity. But in order to become fundamental to our unity, these principles had to be spelled out as they applied to the most prominent and the most grievous of our problems.



So, out of experience, the need to apply the spirit of our steps to our lives of working and living together, these were the forces that generated the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.



But, we had to have more than cohesion. Even for survival, we had to carry this message. We had to function. In fact, that had become evident in the Twelve Steps themselves for the last one enjoins us to carry the message. But just how would we carry this message? How would we communicate, we few, with those myriad's who still didn't know? And how would this communication be handled? And how could we do these things, how could we authorize these things in such a way that in this new hot focus of effort and ego we were not again to be shattered by the forces that had once ruined our lives?



This was the problem of the Third Legacy. From the vital Twelfth Step call right up through our society to its culmination today. And, again, many of us said: This can't be done. It's all very well for Bill and Bob and a few friends to set up a Board of Trustees and to provide us with some literature, and look after our public relations, and do all of those chores for us we can't do for ourselves. This is fine, but we can't go any further than that. This is a job for our elders. This is a job for our parents. In this direction only can there be simplicity and security.



And then we came to the day when it was seen that the parents were both fallible and perishable (although this seems to be a token they are not). And Dr. Bob's hour struck. And we suddenly realized that this ganglion, this vital nerve center of World Service, would lose its sensation the day the communication between an increasingly unknown Board of Trustees and you was broken.



Fresh links would have to be forged. And at that time many of us said: This is impossible. This is too hard. Even in transacting the simplest business, providing the simplest of services, raising the minimum amounts of money, these excitements to us, in this society so bent on survival have been almost too much locally. Look at our club brawls. My God, if we have elections countrywide, and Delegates come down here, and look at the complexity -- thousands of group representatives, hundreds of committeemen, scores of Delegates - My God, when these descend on our parents, the Trustees, what is going to happen then? It won't be simplicity; it can't be. Our experience has spelled it out.



But there was the imperative, the must. And why was there an imperative? Because we had better have some confusion, we had better have some politicking, than to have an utter collapse of this center. That was the alternative. And that was the uncertain and tenuous ground on which this Conference was called into being.



I venture, in the minds of many, sometimes in mine, the Conference could be symbolized by a great prayer and a faint hope. This was the state of affairs in 1945 to 1950. And then came the day that some of us went up to Boston to watch an Assembly elect by two-thirds vote or lot a Delegate. And prior to the Assembly, I consulted all the local politicos and those very wise Irishmen in Boston said, we're gonna make your prediction Bill, you know us temperamentally, but we're going to say that this thing is going to work. And it was the biggest piece of news and one of the mightiest assurances that I had up to this time that there could be any survival for these services.



Well, work it has, and we have survived another impossibility. Not only have we survived the impossibility, we have so far transcended it that I think that there can be no return in future years to the old uncertainties, come what perils there may.



Now, as we have seen in this quick review, the spirit of the Twelve Steps was applied in specific terms to our problems, to living, to working together. This developed the Traditions. In turn, the Traditions were applied to this problem of functioning at world levels in harmony and in unity.



And something which had seemed to grow like Topsy took on an increasing coherence. And through the process of trial and error, refinements began to be made until the day of the great radical change. Our question here in the old days was: Is the group conscience for Trustees and for founders? Or are they to be the parents of Alcoholics Anonymous forever? There is something a little repugnant -- you know, They got it through us, why can't we go on telling them?



So the great problem, could the group conscience function at world levels? Well, it can and it does. Today we are still in this process of definition and of refinement in this matter of functioning. Unlike the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions which no doubt will be undisturbed from here out, there will always be room in the functional area for refinements, improvements, adaptations. For God's sake, let us never freeze these things. On the other hand, let us look at yesterday and today, at our experience. Now, just as it was vital to codify in Twelve Steps the spiritual side of our program, to codify in twelve traditional principles the forces and ideas that would make for unity, and discourage disunity, so may it now be necessary to codify, those principles and relationships upon which our world service function rests, from the group right up through.



This is what I like to call structuring. People often say, What do you mean by structuring? What use is it? Why don't we just get together and do these things? Well, structure at this level means just what structure means in the Twelve Steps and in the Twelve Traditions. It is a stated set of principles and relationships by which we may understand each other, the tasks to be done and what the principles are for doing them. Therefore, why shouldn't we take the broad expanse of the Traditions and use their principles to spell out our special needs in relationships in this area of function for world service, indeed, at long last, I trust for all services whatever character?



Well, we've been in the process of doing this and two or three years ago it occurred to me that I should perhaps take another stab -- not at another batch of twelve principles or points, God forbid, but at trying to organize the ideas and relationships that already exist so as to present them in an easily understood manner.



(continued in Part Two)

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1654 NMOlson@aol.com
10th General Service Conference - 1960 (Part Two of Two) 10th General Service Conference - 1960 (Part Two of Two) 2/11/2004 3:25:00 AM As you know the Third Legacy Manual is a manual that largely tells us how; it is mostly a thing of mere description and of procedure. So I have cooked up in a very tentative way something which we might call Twelve Concepts for World Service. This has been a three-year job. I found the material, because of its ramifications, exceedingly hard to organize. But I have made a stab at it and the Concepts, which are really bundles of related principles, are on paper and underneath each is a descriptive article. And I have eleven of the articles and perhaps will soon wind up the Twelfth.



Now, to give you an idea of what's cooking, what I've been driving at, I'll venture to bore you with two or three paragraphs of the introduction to this thing.



"The Concepts to be discussed in the following pages are primarily an interpretation of AA's world service structure. They spell out the traditional practices and the Conference charter principles that relate the component parts of our world structure into a working whole. Our Third Legacy manual is largely a document of procedure. Up to now the Manual tells us how to operate our service structure. But there is considerable lack of detailed information which would tell us why the structure has developed as it has and why its working parts are related together in the fashion that our Conference and General Service Board charters provide.



"These Twelve Concepts therefore represent an attempt to put on paper the why of our service structure in such a fashion that the highly valuable experience of the past and the conclusions that we have drawn from it cannot be lost.



"These Concepts are no attempt to freeze our operation against needed change. They only describe the present situation, the forces and principles that have molded it. It is to be remembered that in most respects the Conference charter can be readily amended. This interpretation of the past and present can, however, have a high value for the future. Every oncoming generation of service workers will be eager to change and improve our structure and operations. This is good. No doubt change will be needed. Perhaps unforeseen flaws will emerge. These will have to be remedied.



"But along with this very constructive outlook, there will be bound to be still another, a destructive one. We shall always be tempted to throw out the baby with the bath water. We shall suffer the illusion that change, any plausible change, will necessarily represent progress. When so animated, we may carelessly cast aside the hard won lessons of early experience and so fall back into many of the great errors of the past.



"Hence, a prime purpose of these Twelve Concepts is to hold the experience and lessons of the early days constantly before us. This should reduce the chance of hasty and unnecessary change. And if alterations are made that happen to work out badly, then it is hoped that these Twelve Concepts will make a point of safe return."



Now, quickly, what are they?



Well, the first two deal with: ultimate responsibility and authority for world services belongs to the AA group. That is to say, that's the AA conscience.



The next one deals with the necessity for delegates' authority. And perhaps you haven't thought of it, but when you re-read Tradition Two, you will see that the group conscience represents a final and ultimate authority and that the trusted servant is the delegated authority from the groups in which the servant is trusted to do the kinds of things for the groups they can't do for themselves. So, how that got that way, respecting world services: ultimate authority, delegated authority is here spelled out.



Then there comes in the next essay this all questioned importance of leadership, this all important question of what anyway is a trusted servant. Is this gent or gal a messenger, a housemaid - or is he to be really trusted? And if so, how is he going to know how much he can be trusted? And what is going to be your understanding of it when you hand him the job? Now, these problems are legion. The extent to which this trust is to be spelled out and applied to each particular condition has to have some means of interpretation, doesn't it? So I have suggested here that, throughout our services, we create what might be called the principle of decision - and the root of this principle is trust. The principle of decision, which says that any executive, committee, board, the Conference itself, within the state or customary scope of their several duties, should be able to say what questions they will dispose of themselves - and which they will pass on to the next higher authority for guidance, direction, consultation and whatnot.



This spells out and defines, and makes an automatic means of defining throughout our structure at all times, what the trust is that any servant could expect. You say this is dangerous? I don't think so. It simply means that you are not, out of your ultimate authority as groups, to be constantly giving a guy directions who you've already trusted to think for himself. Now, if he thinks badly, you can sack him. But trust him first. That is the big thing.



Now, then, there is another traditional principle, the source of another essay here called the principle of participation. Our whole lives have been wrecked, often from childhood, because we have not been participants. There had been too much of the parental thing, too much of the wrong kind of the parental thing. We always wanted to belong, we always wanted to participate; and there is going to be a constant tendency, which we must always defend against, and that is to place in our service structure any group, AA as a whole, the Conference, the Board of Trustees, committees, executives - to place any of these people in absolutely unqualified authority, one over the other. This is an institutional, a military, set-up - and God knows we drunks have rejected institutions and this kind of authority, for our purpose, haven't we?



So, therefore, how, as a practical matter, are we going to express this participation. Right here in this conference it's burned in; in Article XII you'll see this statement in the Conference Charter: nobody is to be set in utter authority over anybody else. How do we prevent this?



The Trustees here, and the headquarters people here, are in a great minority over you people. You have the ultimate authority over us. And you say, well these folks are nicely incorporated, and we ain't; and they have the dough legally, so have we got it? Sure, you got it. You can go home and shut the dough off, can't you? You've got the ultimate authority but - we've got some delegated authority. Now when you get in this Conference, you find that the Trustees, and the Directors and the staffs have votes.



And many of you say, why is it; we represent the groups; why the hell shouldn't we tell these people? Why should they utter one yip while we're doing it? Oh, we'll let 'em yip, but not vote. Well, you see, right there we get from the institutional idea to the corporate idea. And in the corporate business world, there is participation in these levels. Can you imagine how much stock would you buy in General Motors if you knew the president and half the board of directors couldn't get into a meeting because they were on the payroll? Or could just come in and listen to the out-of-town directors? You'd want these people's opinions registered. And they can't really belong unless they vote. This we have found out by the hardest kind of experience. So therefore, the essay here on participation deals with the principle that any AA servant in any top echelon of service, regardless of whether they're paid, unpaid, volunteer or what, shall be entitled to reasonable voting privileges in accordance with their responsibility.



And you good politicos are going to say, but these people here hold a balance of power. Well, we qualified that in one way. We'll take the balance of power away from them when it comes to qualifications for their own jobs or voting in approval of their own actions. But the bulk of the work of this Conference has to do with plans and policy for the future. So supposing that among you Delegates there is a split. And supposing these people come in and vote, which, by the way, they seldom do as a bloc, and they swing it one way or the other on matters of future policy and planning; well, after all, why shouldn't they? Are they any less competent than the rest of us? Of course not. Besides these technical considerations, there is this deep need in us to belong, to participate. And you can only participate on the basis of equality - and one token of this is voting equality. At first blush, you won't like the idea. But you'll have a chance to think about it.

One more idea: There came to this country some hundred years ago a French Baron whose family and himself had been wracked by the French revolution, de Tocqueville. And he was a worshipful admirer of democracy. And in those days democracy seemed to be mostly expressed in people's minds by votes of simple majorities. And he was a worshipful admirer of the spirit of democracy as expressed by the power of a majority to govern. But, said de Tocqueville, a majority can be ignorant, it can be brutal, it can be tyrannous - and we have seen it. Therefore, unless you most carefully protect a minority, large or small, make sure that minority opinions are voiced, make sure that minorities have unusual rights, you're democracy is never going to work and its spirit will die. This was de Toqueville's prediction and, considering today's times, is it strange that he is not widely read now?



That is why in this Conference we try to get a unanimous consent while we can; this is why we say the Conference can mandate the Board of Trustees on a two-thirds vote. But we have said more here. We have said that any Delegate, any Trustee, any staff member, any service director, - any board, committee or whatever -- that wherever there is a minority, it shall always be the right of this minority to file a minority report so that their views are held up clearly. And if in the opinion of any such minority, even a minority of one, if the majority is about to hastily or angrily do something which could be to the detriment of Alcoholics Anonymous, the serious detriment, it is not only their right to file a minority appeal, it is their duty.



So, like de Tocqueville, neither you nor I want either the tyranny or the majority, nor the tyranny of the small minority. And steps have been taken here to balance up these relations.



Now, some of the other things cover topics like this, I touched on this: The Conference acknowledges the primary administrative responsibility of the Trustees. We have talked about electing trustees and yet primarily they are a body of administrators. In a sense, it's an executive body, isn't it? Look at any form of government. (Understand we're not a form of government, but you have to pay attention to these forms). The President of the United States is the only elected executive; all the rest are appointive, aren't they, subject to confirmation by the Senate, which is the system we got here - and this goes into that.



And then there is this question taken up in another essay. How can these legal rights of the Trustees, which haven't been changed one jot or tittle by the appearance of this Conference, if they've got the legal right to hang on to your money and do as they dammed please, what's going to stop them? Well, the answer is: Nobody has a vested interest. They have to be volunteers always. They are amenable to the spirit of this Conference and its power and its prestige -- and if they are not, there is a provision here by which they can be reorganized; there is a provision in here by which they can be censored - and you can always go home and shut off the money spigot.



So, the traditional power of this Conference and the groups is actually superior to the legal power of the Trustees. That is the balance. But the trustees as a minority some day, should this Conference get very angry and unreasonable, say: Boys, we're going to veto you for the time being, we ain't gonna do this - even as the President of the United States has the veto, so will these fellows. You go home and think this over. We won't go along. And if you give them a vote of no confidence, they can appeal to the groups. These are the balances, see; this is interpretive, this has all been implicit in our structure but we're trying to spell it out.

Well, there are others - There's a whole section on leadership, service leadership from top to bottom, what it's composed of. In AA we wash between great extremes. On the one side, we've got the infallible leader who never makes any mistakes - and let us do just as he says. On the other side we have a concept of leadership which goes and says: What shall I do? What shall I do? Tell me, what time do it - I'm just a humble servant, not a trusted one, just a humble one. The hell with either. Leadership in practice works in between - and we spell that out. And so on.

This will give you an idea of what's cooking in the Twelve Concepts for World Service. The last one which I haven't done deals with the Conference - Article XII of the Conference charter. And you who recall it know that this is several things. First of all, it's the substance of the contract the groups made with the Board of Trustees at the time of St. Louis. And this contract decrees that this body shall never be a government.



It decrees that we shall be prudent financially. It decrees that we shall be keepers of the AA Tradition - and so on - so that it is in part a spiritual document and in part a contract. And, God willing, because it is both spiritual and contract, let it be for all time of our existence a sanctified contract.



My own days of active service, like the sands in our last hourglass, are running out. And this is good. We know that all families have to have parents and we know that the great unwisdom of all parenthood is to try to remain the parents of infants in adolescence and keep people in this state forever. We know that when the parents have done their bit, and said their pieces, and have nursed the family along, that there comes the point that the parents must say: Now, you go out and try your wings. You haven't grown up and we haven't grown up, but you have come to the age of responsibility where, with the tools we are leaving you, you must try to grow up, to grow in God's image and likeness.



So my feeling is not that I'm withdrawing because I'm tired. My feeling is that I would like to be another kind of parent, a fellow on the sidelines. If there is some breach in these walls which we have erected, some unseen flaw or defect, of course all of us oldsters are going to pitch in for the repairs. But this business of functioning in the here and now, that is for the new generation.



May God bless Alcoholics Anonymous forever. And I offer a prayer that the destiny of this society will ever be safe in the hearts of its membership and in the conscience of its trusted servants. You are the heirs. As I said at the opening the future belongs to you.

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1655 Lash, William (Bill)
Grace Cultice Obituary (1948) Grace Cultice Obituary (1948) 2/12/2004 2:15:00 PM
CHICAGO SECRETARY DIES SUDDENLY

From Chicago

She knew all about us and loved us anyway.

Grace Cultice, 57, was a blessed paradox-a non-alcoholic who spoke the language of the alkies, an "outside" believer in Alcoholics Anonymous who backed her faith with good works.

When two alcoholics got together eight years ago to form the first A.A. group in Chicago, Grace was on hand to help. She's been helping ever since.

She gave those eight years willingly, eagerly, unselfishly. Indeed, she literally gave her life.

Grace died in her Chicago apartment January 8 of a heart attack. She had endured a long illness, but was thought to be recovering. Against medical advice she had persisted in many of her duties as secretary and office manager of the Greater Chicago group. She'd tried to slow down, but it was next to impossible to keep her under wraps.

For two days her flower-banked casket lay in a Chicago mortuary. Thousands came to mourn. Then the body was taken to her native Xenia, Ohio, for burial by relatives.

Miss Cultice was a familiar figure in Chicago advertising circles when she became interested in A.A. through friendship with the local group founders. Often she acted as hostess at early meetings of three, four or a half dozen members. She grew up with the Chicago group. Along the route to its present 5,000-plus membership, the need became pressing for a full-time secretary. Grace took the job, ignoring the financial sacrifice.

Because she knew how alkies talk and think and act, she shepherded hundreds into the ways of recovery. She was a genial "greeter" for A.A.s visiting Chicago. On her last Christmas, cards came from A.A.s the world over.

Alcoholics have an inherent distaste for mawkishness. But none feels shame for his tears for Grace, nor for his devastating sense of personal loss.-E.B.

 

February 1948 AA Grapevine


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1656 Lash, William (Bill)
Dr. Bob "In Memoriam" (1952) Dr. Bob "In Memoriam" (1952) 2/15/2004 2:22:00 PM
November 1952 AA Grapevine

 

IN MEMORIAM

 

And In Thanks

 

Two years ago, on November 16th, 1950, R. H. S., died in Akron, Ohio. It was Thursday, close to noontime, one week before what would have been his 71st Thanksgiving Day.

It was fifteen years and five months after his own last drink...and it was fifteen years and five months in which he had personally ministered as friend and teacher and physician to 5,000 alcoholics.

To each of them he was simply "Doctor Bob." And to history he will be "Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous." And to Bill he is "The Prince of Twelfth Steppers"...and "The Rock Upon Which AA Is Founded"...and simply "Smitty."

He met death serenely, for he had to the fullest given himself to life. He left the rich gifts of simplicity and love and service.

We who have followed him in The Way Out give him thanks anew for the message he so tirelessly carried. And we think this man who learned true humility would most like the memorial that is still to come...those thousands now sick and despairing who will yet find our way out of dilemma into recovery…strengthened by the invisible hand of Doctor Bob...

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1657 Lash, William (Bill)
Dr. Bob Announcement Of His Passing (1950) Dr. Bob Announcement Of His Passing (1950) 2/15/2004 2:22:00 PM
December 1950 AA Grapevine

 

Dr. Bob

 

The tragic news of Dr. Bob's death came after this issue of the Grapevine had gone to press. No hastily written words can possibly describe the feelings of the thousands of AAs who knew him personally. And only the loving God who has been so merciful to us all can truly measure the greatness of his contribution not only to AA but to all mankind. We shall make here no mere listing of his devotions to AA. How in-adequate for a man who is a co-founder of something that has meant so much to so many. But even 'Co-Founder' does not serve. For Dr. Bob was the rock on which AA is founded. None who saw and heard him last summer at Cleveland will ever forget his characteristic statement — the last he made in public — " — love and service are the cornerstones of Alcoholics Anonymous!"

In loving tribute, the January issue of the Grapevine will be dedicated as a Memorial to our beloved Dr. Bob.

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1659 Lash, William (Bill)
Dr. Bob Quote Dr. Bob Quote 2/16/2004 5:23:00 PM
I have always heard this quote as being attributed to Dr. Bob:

 

"Carry the message.  And if you must, use words."

 


Can anyone tell me where this Dr. Bob quote can be found?  Thanks!

 

I found this other quote on a website attributed to St. Francis:

 

"Preach always. When necessary use words". We recognize the importance of paying

attention to the substance of our message, but that is not enough. The manner in which

we make that message known is as important as the message itself.

 

                                                                            Just Love,

                                                                            Barefoot Bill

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1660 NMOlson@aol.com
Back to Basics - Compilation of excerpts from Previous Posts Back to Basics - Compilation of excerpts from Previous Posts 2/17/2004 7:16:00 AM Friends,



The AA History Lovers list is getting so long that it is difficult if not impossible to search the entire list.  For example, when a question was asked recently about Back to Basics I had forgotten that the subject was already thoroughly covered on the list.



In an effort to clean up the list I am starting to combine posts on the same subject.  The post numbers will stay but the message will be deleted after being combined in one message. 



I am starting with Back to Basics.  Some feel that this is not an appropriate topic for the list, but I still think it is of interest to AA historians.



In order to avoid repetition the following are excerpts from the posts re Back to Basics, usually not the entire message.  I cannot verify the accuracy of all the posts.



Nancy



On September 29, 2002,
Katherine E wrote:



I was wondering if anyone had any information on the the development of the movement Back to Basic and their connection to AA History.  I was recently at a conference where I met some Back to Basic advocates who where making some questionable statements about how things were done in the early days.  I was wondering how valid this back to Basic movement is in regards to actual AA program and it's history. 



Ernest Kurtz responded:



From what I have seen and heard in well over two decades of study, the so-called "Back to Basics" movement is an attempt to re-create the Oxford Group as it existed in the mid-1930s. AA as we know it grew out of that, partially by rejecting aspects of those teachings. Some, from

Henrietta Seiberling and James Houck on, have effectively tried to deny that separation and to bring "A.A." back under those auspices.



The "Back to Basics" movement has many strengths and apparently helps many people. But its relationship to Alcoholics Anonymous is similar to the relationship of Judaism to Christianity.



Mary in Michigan wrote: 



Here in Michigan we are using a book Call Back to Basic, by Wally P.  This Book has information about the development of the movement.  In Michigan Meetings are starting to use the back to basic back as a class for taking the 12 steps. ... Here is a web site to check it http://www.aabacktobasics.com/index.html 

 

Jim McG wrote:



That we use the AA Big Book to teach the steps, makes the claim that we are attempting to re-create the Oxford Group movement seem odd. We DO feature an Oxford Group staple, a pamphlet called "How to Listen to God" in our practicing the 11th step. This we use as a guide to practice "quiet time and guidance."  ,,, We also feature a simplfied "assets/liability" 4th step inventory that is described on the page next to the resentments/fears/sex thing in the Big Book.



Cliff B. in Texas wrote:



One of the things I have appreciated and enjoyed about this Group has been the lack of controversy.  But in the past few weeks, we have seen it begin and this topic is one that really has no place in this Group.



Any student of the Big Book readily recognizes that there is a lot of stuff that has been written in the "Back to Basics" manual that is not Alcoholics Anonymous.  With 63 years of time tested, experience proven success, no one has approached the success that is realized when an alcoholic PRECISELY
follows the clear-cut directions that are outlined in the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous which are obviously divinely inspired.  ... I have been around long enough to see our Fellowship slip from: "Rarely have we seen a person fail....." to seldom do we see a person recover.  Let's get back to the real Basics; the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous which is titled, "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS."



______



When questions appeared again recently I combined some of the responses as follows:



From: goldentextpro@aol.com



NO!  "Back to Basics" is not the original AA program, and it had nothing to do with Akron.  And I have to be emphatic about this.

 

First, read Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, on the Frank Amos report of AA in 1938, pp. 130-136.  You will find a good description of the real first program as employed by Dr. Bob Smith. There were no Steps.  There was no classroom.  There was the Bible, a morning Quiet Time, religious devotionals, prayer, no drunkalogs, church affiliation, and frequent hospital visits to new prospects.

 

The "Back to Basics" approach, kicked up by Wally P., is an off-shoot of what Clarence Snyder was doing in Cleveland post-1939.  Clarence said that his only two source books were the Big Book and the Good Book.  Following the Cleveland Plain Dealer's outstanding articles on AA, membership exploded in Cleveland, and to keep up with it, and so that the program wouldn't get garbled, Clarence decided to start group classroom-type education classes.  He would take the folks through the first nine steps.  The last three, of course, was the daily program.  Prayer, Quiet Time, a daily inventory utilizing the Four Absolutes (honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love) as yardsticks, and helping others.

 

From: "Robert Stonebraker" <rstonebraker212@insightbb.com>



A view of how Dr. Bob sponsored Earl Treat through Six-Step process, as it was at that time (1937), can be found on page 292 of the Third Edition (263, Fourth Edition) of the Big Book. ...



I have in possession a rather thick binder from an existing Akron Group called: "Back To the 40's." The cover of which states: "Taking the 12 Steps in 5 one hour classes." Briefly, the meeting is chaired by a reader and a commentator as they "teach" the Twelve Step process in five classes by going through the Big Book.  The person who gave me this is very involved in Akron AA history.



From: "Arthur" <ArtSheehan@msn.com>



BtB advocates that so-called original' AA (as practiced in Akron) had a remarkably high recovery rate no longer achieved today. They further claim that 90-180 days of their meetings "takes us back to the 'original' program that produced a 50-75% recovery rate." Somehow, someway, someone has concluded that BtB is getting a 50-75% recovery rate and the rest of AA has only a 5-10% recovery rate, depending on which study you read. According to BtB, contemporary AA is supposed to be errant due to its lack of orthodoxy relative to 'original' Oxford Group methodology and principles. Please don't take my word on it. Visit their web site and draw your own conclusion based on its content. ...



A possible source of BtB's assertion of an "early AA 75% recovery rate" may derive from Dr Harry Tiebout's paper "Therapeutic Mechanism of Alcoholics Anonymous." It was originally published in 1944 and later reprinted [in 1957] in "AA Comes of Age." On pg 310, it states "Alcoholics Anonymous claims a recovery rate of 75 percent of those who really try their methods." I'd suggest that the key words are "really try" not "75 percent." ... Later in commenting about Bill W's spiritual experience (Bill is called Mr. "X") Tiebout states "According to Alcoholics Anonymous experience the speed with which the spiritual awakening takes place is no criterion of either depth or permanence of cure. The religious leavening, however little at first, starts the process; the program helps to bring it to a successful conclusion."  The 1944 paper, I presume, would serve as a reputable description of AA's program of Recovery in its "early days." Tiebout goes on to list a series of numbers for the initial 7 years of AA: 5 recovered at the end of the 1st year [1935];15 recovered at the end of the 2nd year [1936]; 40 recovered at the end of the 3rd year [1937];100 recovered at the end of the 4th year [1938]; 400 recovered at the end of the 5th year [1939]; 2000 recovered at the end of the 6th year [1940]; 8000 recovered at the end of the 7th year [1941]. Jack Alexander's article in Sat. Eve. Post.  It should be fairly obvious that the figures cited as "recovered" are membership estimates. While certain locales may have made claims of this or that success rate, there is no way anyone can verify those claims with reasonable confidence. The data to do so just doesn't exist. What appears to get used most in these scenarios are statements of articles of faith based on anecdotal assertion and sincerity. From a membership of 5 in 1935 to an international membership in excess of 2,100,000 today, perceived issues in success rates seem far more premised on imagination than information.



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1661 NMOlson@aol.com
Letter from Ruth Hock to Bill Wilson dated November 10, 1955 Letter from Ruth Hock to Bill Wilson dated November 10, 1955 2/17/2004 10:47:00 AM A photocopy of this letter was give to me by Rich B. in Minneapolis during the 2000 international convention.  Across the top in Bill's handwriting it says "Ruth Hocks recollections."



I originally posted it in several parts hoping to keep it as close to the original as possible.  To clean up the list I am posting it here as one document. I have made no effort to correct punctuation or grammatical errors, so you language purists will just have to exercise tolerance.



Nancy



Nov. 10, 1955



Dear Bill:



     As I wrote to you last week it is difficult for me to get a long period of uninterrupted time together to put down my recollections of those old A.A. days - but I have about two hours - so here goes.



     Let me say first that I do not guarantee the accuracy of any dates I may use until I have the opportunity to check one thing against the other which I am willing to do if it ever proves necessary - neither do I insist that my memory is absolutely accurate - it will be easier if I can just sort of meander along for present purposes.



     As I remember it you had been sober just a little over a year when I first met you. I think I went to work for Honor Dealers in about January of 1936. The job I applied for was as Secretary to sort of a distributorship for a group of service stations - naturally I had no idea what a surprise fate had in store for me and what a change it would make in my personal life, in my relations to and my opinions of my fellow man.



     I walked into the Honor Dealers office in Newark, N.J. on Williams Street one Monday morning - was interviewed by Hank - and started to work immediately that morning. My immediate impression of Hank was that he had a vibrant personality - that he was capable of strong likes and dislikes - that he seemed to be possessed of inexhaustible energy - and that he liked to make

quick decisions.



     You arrived shortly thereafter Bill bringing with you an aura of quiet warm friendliness - of slow deliberate decisions - and at least I thought at the time, not much interest really in the Service Station business.



     By the end of that very first day I was a very confused female for, if I remember correctly, that first afternoon you had a visitor in your office and I think it was Paul Kellogg. Anyway, the connecting door was left wide open and instead of business phrases what I heard was fragments of a discussion about drunken misery, a miserable wife, and what I thought was a very queer conclusion indeed - that being a drunk was a disease. I remember distinctly

feeling that you were all rather hard hearted because at some points there was roaring laughter about various drunken incidents. Fortunately I liked you both immediately - I am not too easily frightened - and you were paying $3.00 more per week than I had been getting - so I was willing to give it a try.



     You will remember with me, I know, that in those days and for several years to come, we talked about "drunks" and not  "alcoholics" and therefore I use those terms here.



     The activity of Honor Dealers, as I remember it, was never of paramount importance it seemed to me after I began to know most of you original men, that it was only a means to an end - that end being to help a bunch of nameless drunks. Having come from a thrifty German family I know what I thought if you two would spend as much energy and thought and enthusiasm on Honor Dealers as you did on drunks you might get somewhere. That would be hard to prove either way and actually I've never known whether the original premise of Honor Dealers was sound.



     Anyway I soon stopped caring whether Honor Dealers was successful or not and became more and more interested in each new face that came along with the alcoholic problem and caring very much whether they made the grade or not. All of you made me feel as though I were a very worthwhile person in my own right and very important to you which in turn made me want

to always give my best to all of you. To me that is part of the secret of the success of A.A. - the generous giving of oneself to the needs of the other.



     Well - the activities of Honor Dealers slowly but surely declined and there was more and more correspondence with drunks and more of them showing up in the office. In those days it was part of the procedure, if the prospect was willing to go along, to kneel and pray together - all of you who happened to be there. To me, drunkenness and prayer were both very private activities and I sure did consider all of you a very revolutionary lot - but such likable and interesting revolutionaries!



     Hank put a good bit of thought and effort into Honor Dealers but whether his ideas had real merit or whether there was not enough prolonged effort or whether it was just a poor time for that kind of an idea I was not capable of judging then nor am I now. I only know that within about a year finances were precarious enough to move us into a tiny office in the same building and even then I was front man to explain to the superintendent why the rent wasn't paid on time and the telephone bill, etc. Payday was an indefinite affair indeed.



     I am somewhat confused about the timing of the move into the small Newark office because now that I think about it I remember that the book work was done in the large office.



     Anyway, early in my association with you, Bill, you began to dictate letters to Doc Smith. You never liked to dictate to a shorthand note book - you always dictated directly as I typed. In the amazing way these things often happen, since word of what you fellows were doing in New York and by that time Doc Smith in Akron was simply spread vocally from mouth to mouth, inquiries began to float in from amazing distances and some of these you

asked me to answer in my own fashion. That is, to refer them to the closest "educated drunk." "Educated" of course in the sense that they knew something of this new possibility of an answer to alcoholism.



     Somewhere during those first months I also first met Doc Smith who gave everyone a feeling of great serenity - peace with himself and God - and an abounding wish to share what he had found with others. Somewhere along in there John Henry Fitzhugh Mayo also appeared (Offhand I have no idea of the dates) with his warm sense of humor and the all abiding wish to give to other

drunks what he too had found. This you all had in common to an exciting and unbelievable degree.



     During that first year at least I don't think I ever attended a meeting, but through your dictation, Bill, through all I heard at the office and through the letters I was answering myself in your behalf I began to absorb an understanding of what it was all about and what you were trying to do and I became aware that the possibilities of writing a book were being discussed.  Many of you thought it was an absolute necessity because even then the original idea was often distorted in the hundreds of word of mouth discussions. Its original basic simplicity was often completely confused beyond comprehension and besides it was becoming more and more impossible to fully expound the idea satisfactorily in letter after letter to various inquirers. Also, especially to the advertising type of man, the spread of the idea was going much too slowly and would become a sensation overnight if only put out in book form!!



     So far as I know there was never any doubt that you were the one to write it, Bill, and I know that you spent endless hours discussing its general form with everyone who would listen or offer an idea - especially with Doc Smith, Fitz and Hank. As soon as you began to feel you had at least a majority agreement you began to arrive at the office with those yellow scratch pads sheets I came to know so well. All you generally had on those

yellow sheets were a few notes to guide you on a whole chapter! My understanding was that those notes were the result of long thought on your part after hours of discussion pro and con with everyone who might be interested. That is the way I remember first seeing an outline of the twelve steps.



     As I look at it today the basic idea of each chapter of the book and the twelve steps is still essentially today what you scribbled on the original yellow sheets. Of course there were thousands of small changes and rewrites - constant cutting or adding or editing but there are only two major changes made that I remember, both fought out in the office when you and Hank and Fitz and I were present.



     The first had to do with how much God was going to be included in the book itself and the 12 steps. Fitz was for going all the way with God, you were in the middle, Hank was for very little and I - trying to reflect the reaction of the non-alcoholic was for very little too. The result of this was the phrase "God as you understand Him," which I don't think ever had much of a negative reaction anywhere. We were unanimous that day and you got a greenlight everywhere you showed that typewritten copy including Doc Smith and the Akron contingent where a copy of everything was sent for O.K. or criticism.



     The only other major change I remember during the actual writing of the book was that originally it was directly written to the prospective alcoholic, that is -- "You were wrong" -- "You must" -- "You should" and after a big hassle, this was changed to read -- "We were wrong" -- "We must" -- "We should" -- etc." This was quite a job because by the time this major revision was decided on most of the book had been finished in its first draft at least and each chapter as well as the 12 steps had been slanted toward

"you" instead of "We" to begin with.



     At this time I had still attended very few meetings but I know that the office confabs and final decisions were only made after the aforementioned hours of discussion with all who cared to take part in them with you so that the majority opinion of all who attended meetings at that time was reflected in the final decisions.



     During all this time, of course, there was plenty of discussion about a name for the book and there were probably hundreds of suggestions. However, I remember very few --"One Hundred Men" - "The Empty Glass" - "The Dry Way" - "The Dry Life" - "Dry Frontiers" - "The Way Out" - This last was by far the most popular. Alcoholics Anonymous had been suggested and was used a lot among ourselves as a very amusing description of the group itself but I don't believe it was seriously considered as a name for the book. More later on this.



     By the time the book was mimeographed mostly for distribution in an effort to raise money to carry on and get the book published. There was constant discussion about detail changes with seemingly little hope for unanimous agreement so it was finally decided to offer the book to Tom Uzzell for final editing. It had been agreed, for one thing, that the book, as written, was too long but nobody could agree on where and how to cut it. At that point it was still nameless because Fitz had reported that the selected name of "The Way Out" was over patented. I remember that during an appointment with Tom Uzzell, we discussed the various name possibilities and he [handwritten insert: Tom Uzzell] immediately - very firmly and very enthusiastically - stated that "Alcoholics Anonymous" was a dead wringer both from the sales point of view because it was "catchy" and because it really did describe the group to perfection. The more this name was studied from this point of view the more everybody agreed and so it was decided. Uzzell cut the book by at least a third as I remember it and in my opinion did a wonderful job on sharpening up the context without losing anything at all of what you were trying to say, Bill, and the way you said it. I really cannot remember who originally thought up the name "Alcoholics Anonymous". [Handwritten insert which appears to read "Joe Worden" and a reference to a handwritten footnote which appears to read "Joe Worden ...  an AA member who just couldn't stay sober." It does not look like Bill's handwriting.]



     The financing of the book is quite difficult for me to remember, that is, what happened when. Originally, of course, the work was done on Honor Dealer time. In other words what salaries were paid came from Honor Dealer transactions, and the paper, the pencils, the office, the typewriter, the phone, etc. belonged to Honor Dealers. Let me make it clear that the members of Honor Dealers were never cheated in any way they were always promptly served - it's only that what might have been a worthwhile idea for a group of service stations just didn't pan out.



     When the income from Honor Dealers finally dwindled away completely - finances were a real problem. At this point there was universal agreement (except in Cleveland) that the book was a necessity and that what you had done on it up to that time was extremely satisfactory both in concept and execution. So the only problem was how to get enough money to finish it and get it published. You went to one of the large book publishers about an

advance - and as I remember it you were offered One Thousand Dollars with a rather minute royalty on each book published. Hank, (I think) then came up with the idea of selling stock to finance the writing of the book and to publish it. Thus - Works Publishing Co. was born - and the book stock idea set up and forms printed. There was great optimism about the ease with which this stock could be sold by you and Hank and Wally von Arx who was active in this phase of the situation. That dream was not to be fulfilled because for the most part selling a share of Works Publishing Co. stock for $25.00 was like pulling teeth. Enough stock was sold in the original enthusiastic reaction of a few to keep us going on an extremely minimum basis for a while and then sales came to a complete halt and there we were back where we started.



     The paradox of this is the fact that if enough stock had been sold and the book carried through to a conclusion on this basis, the stockholders would have had a fine return indeed for their original investment. However all things happen for the best and this kind of private profit would probably have been a perpetual thorn in the A.A. side.



     You then decided to approach Mr. Rockefeller and were able to do so through various contacts you had built up through the years. This resulted in the Rockefeller dinner which in turn resulted in a minimum pledge which finally resulted in the book being carried to a conclusion and finally published by the Cornwall Press.



     Unfortunately I am not very good at getting across the spirit of fun, the real enjoyment of life, the cheerful acceptance of temporary defeat, the will to keep trying, the eternal effort to keep everybody satisfied, which made these years so very worth while and so soul satisfying. In this paragraph I am describing particularly my own reactions, but I know that you will agree and so would everyone else who had any share in it. Even the

altercations and disagreements of which there were many were carried on with a basic will to reach a compromise at least - therefore a compromise was always possible and always reached amicably.



     Naturally, when the book was finally rolling off the press the feeling was that our troubles were over which turned out to be far from the case. It was agreed that the book needed to be advertised and a date was finagled for a member of A.A. on "We The People". Morgan Ryan agreed to appear anonymously and did a good job with his three minutes while we all listened

breathlessly on the radio. As I remember it his talk was slanted at Doctors and to back him up we had mailed out thousands of postal cards to a selected list of Doctors to reach them in time to get them to listen to the broadcast and to tell them how to get a copy of the book. We had an assembly line all ready to pack and mail the books when the orders came rolling in - and then we waited. I don't think more than four cards were returned at all and the only one that made an impression on me was the first one that came in - an order for six books - C.O.D. There was great jubilation that morning - naturally we though we were in. We simmered down to as close to gloom as I ever remember we got in the next few days over the few replies and were really practically squashed flat when the package of six books was returned marked "no such address". I'm afraid none of us appreciated for a while the humor of whoever that joker was.



     By this time we were at the Vesey Street office and that address was a compromise too. Since I lived in New Jersey I didn't want to work in New York at all - on the other hand you had always wanted to have the office near Grand Central Station - so we settled on Vesey St. For quite a while, about a year at least, there were just the two of us handling correspondence, packing books, and whatever there was to be done and all the while the

financial struggle to keep the thing going at all continued. The Liberty magazine article was published and for the first time we began to find a stirred up interest in the form of [letters]. Each letter was answered individually and although the book was mentioned we tried to get across the fact that it was not necessary to purchase the book and in each case the individual was referred to whatever group or individual A.A. closest to him

or her. Since at that time I imagine there were no more than 500 A.A. members, if that, scattered from coast to coast and the great majority of those in the middle west and East it was often difficult to get any closer to the individual than several hundred miles. However, we did the best we could and we soon fortunately began to be able to count several traveling salesmen

among our A.A. members. Outstanding among these was "Greenberg" who often made side trips of several hundred miles to try to contact people who had written to our New York A.A. office for help.



     When the Saturday Evening Post article hit the stands we really began to be flooded with mail and meanwhile the book sales had been steadily increasing from two or three a week until I think they hit an average of about 25 a week and we began to be able to meet office expenses. We then had to hire an assistant who turned out to be Lorraine [?] who was promptly christened "Sweety Pie" by you Bill and I don't think was ever called

anything else by anyone connected with A.A. I would like to say that "Sweety Pie" was always cheerful and loyal and understanding beyond her years and was a real asset to those early days of the A.A. office at Vesey St.



     To me some of the things that stand out most were letters from individuals who were too far distant to contact any A.A. group or member but who kept writing back to us and with the help of the book were able to reach sobriety by themselves, and even to start their own groups.



     To keep us humble and laughing were developments like the Southern group started via mail through (was his last name Henry?) Anyway, he wrote us flowing reports about his group and its amazing recoveries of members of his group. One of our traveling members stopped in for a visit and his letter to us was an eye opener indeed. It seems that this particular group was based on the theory that all alcoholic beverages were very bad for

the alcoholic - except beer. This idea was carried out so thoroughly that beer was served at their A.A. meetings with copious readings of the A.A. book. Oh well - the beer itself soon cured that misconception.



     One of the biggest things you ever did for the solid growth of A.A. in my opinion Bill was to set up a policy of non-interference in the development of individual groups. You set up a policy of suggestion not direction with which I agreed all the way and which I always followed. An individual or a group can resent and argue an order or direction but how much can you resent a suggestion which carries the intimation that possibly they might come up

with a better answer if they work it out for themselves. In other words if a group wrote us a description of a problem in their midst and asked for an answer, we would usually describe what another group had done under similar circumstances or suggest possibilities and put the problem squarely back in their laps. In other words as each individual is responsible for his own

sobriety - so is each group.



     We learned early too not to make predictions about who would or would not stay sober. The most impossible looking cases so often made the grade to confound us with the miracle while our most promising so often fell by the wayside. Do you remember the two young hopefuls we practically made bets on? I think they were Mac and Shepherd. They contacted us about the same time

and [we] were specially interested because they were younger than most at that time. As I remember it Shepherd was a high betting favorite while "poor Mac was hopeless". To our surpass Sheperd at that time had trouble almost immediately while Mac seemed to make steady progress in sobriety. Of course

the whole situation blew up in our faces when one day Mr. Chipman promised to visit us at Vesey Street so that you could show him what wonderful progress A.A. was making in every way and to top off the performance you invited Mac to appear to prove that even very young men could achieve sobriety. The stage was all set and you met Mr. Chipman for lunch. Meanwhile Mac appeared at the office completely polluted for the first time in about six months.  Unfortunately he was so far gone that he collapsed in a coma in the big chair in your private office. I couldn't budge him so all I could think of to do was shut the door and try to head you off. When you appeared with Mr. Chipman though you were talking a blue streak complete with gestures and I couldn't get a word in edgewise as you swept open the door to your office to reveal Mac in all his drunken glory. After the proverbial moment of stunned silence you broke into roars of laughter, and a minute later, bless his heart, Mr. Chipman joined you. Then I relaxed too and all three of us laughed until we literally wept. When Mac snapped out of this particular binge some days later he enjoyed it too.



     This ability to laugh at yourselves and to accept the puncturing of your own self importance is one of the basic steps in A.A. I believe - of course it makes every individual more likable and lovable whether alcoholic or not.  What little I have been able to absorb has made life much simpler for me I know.



     I'm going to quit right here Bill - if it isn't the kind of thing you

want - tear it up. If there is anything I can or should add or subtract, let me know.



     Always the best to you Bill -- Devotedly - Ruth





















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1662 NMOlson@aol.com
Books About Bill Wilson Books About Bill Wilson 2/18/2004 2:28:00 AM Friends,



Recent books about Bill Wilson have come to my attention.



The first is written for children at a reading level of 6 to 12 years.  However, I find it a fine summary of Bill's life which should be of interest to persons of all ages.  



Amazon.com: Books: Bill W.: A Different Kind of Hero: The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous



The second is a recent book by Susan Cheever called "My Name is Bill."  I have only scanned it, but it looks quite interesting.



Amazon.com: Books: My Name Is Bill : Bill Wilson--His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous



While searching Amazon.com for the Cheever book I came upon a book entitled "Bill W., A Strange Salvation."  I hasten to add that this book is not written as history but as "a Biographical Novel Based on Key Moments in the Life of Bill Wilson, the Alcoholics Anonymous Founder, and a Probing of His Mysterious 22-Year Depression."  I am finding it interesting, but frustrating in that I do not know the historicity of some of the events he discussed (such as Bill's trip to Canada to visit his father while still in his teens).



Amazon.com: Books: Bill W., A Strange Salvation: A Biographical Novel




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1663 fredrik hogberg
Second Annual Stockholm Speakers´Convention 2004. Second Annual Stockholm Speakers´Convention 2004. 2/18/2004 8:02:00 AM

 


SECOND ANNUAL STOCKHOLM SPEAKERS’ CONVENTION


 


 


 


 


The Serenity Group of Stockholm, Sweden, is organizing its 2nd annual Speakers’ Convention. The convention will be held on the 28th and 29th of May, 2004.The venue will be "Östra Real´s Auditorium" - a grand old school in the heart of Stockholm. Our main speaker will be Johnnie H., from the Pacific Group, Los Angeles. He is a highly sought-after speaker in Southern California, and well known for his strong pitch. The topics of this convention will be "The Promises" and "Service". We can promise you a very interesting "Life story" together with a program brimming with good fellowship!


 


The Serenity Group AA – Speakers’ Committee of Stockholm would love to welcome visitors from other countries as well. We promise to take GOOD care of our guests and also let them know something - That Swedish hospitality entails more than meatballs....


 


In conjunction with the convention we will also organize dinners both evenings, for our speaker as well as all the international guests coming to visit us. We can assure you all that there will be a lot of sober fun!  Last year was a real smash, with Clancy I., as our main speaker, followed by dinner and dancing at a famous downtown restaurant and
nightclub.


 


I wish to welcome all of you to this springtime convention in Sweden; at a time when Stockholm will be displaying her very prettiest face!


 


For information and registration, please feel free to contact us at:  talarkonvent2004@yahoo.com


 


 


In Love and Service,


 


Fredrik H.


Committee Chairperson of Stockholm AA – Speakers’ Convention 2004



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1664 NMOlson@aol.com
Belladonna - Compiled from old posts Belladonna - Compiled from old posts 2/19/2004 2:35:00 AM On Sep. 26, 2003, Norrie F. from Scotland asked for information about Belladonna.  The following are excerpts from the replies.  The original posts have been deleted.



Nancy



David G. replied:



Belladonna is the name of a sedative, antispasmodic drug that is extracted from the Bella Donna plant. Used for relief of muscle spasms, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract due to nausea and diarrhea. Developed in NY by Physician Sam Lambert.  Used in alcohol treatment to ease withdrawal.



Art S. replied:



The book Bill W., by Francis Hartigan (pg 50) has a very brief description:



“Bill’s treatment took place under the supervision of the hospital’s medical director, Dr. William D. Silkworth, who would become a legendary figure in AA circles. Silkworth had little more to offer of a medical nature than the “belladonna cure”. This involved a 'purging and puking' aided by, among other things, castor oil. Belladonna, a hallucinogen, was also administered to ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.”




Mark E. replied



I found the following using Google as my search engine for the term Belladonna treatment when I was taking a few of my sponsees through the Big Book. The website address is as follows:



 http://www.aabacktobasics.com/archives/archive6.html



"Upon Wilson's arrival at Towns Hospital, he was placed in a bed and the Towns-Lambert Treatment was begun. Dr. Lambert described the belladonna treatment as follows: Briefly stated, it consists in the hourly dosage of a mixture of belladonna, hyoscyamus and xanthoxylum. The mixture is given every hour, day and night, for about fifty hours. There is also given about every twelve hours a vigorous catharsis of C.C. pills and blue mass. At the end of the treatment, when it is evident that there are abundant bilious stools, castor oil is given to clean out thoroughly the intestinal tract. If you leave any of the ingredients out, the reaction of the cessation of desire is not as clear cut as when the three are mixed together. The amount necessary to give is judged by the physiologic action of the belladonna it contains. When the face becomes flushed, the throat dry, and the pupils of the eyes dilated, you must cut down your mixture or cease giving it altogether until these symptoms pass. You must, however, push this mixture until these symptoms appear, or you will not obtain a clear cut cessation of the desire for the narcotic..." (Bill Pittman's book: AA The Way It Began 17, p. 2126; 209, p. 186)







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1665 NMOlson@aol.com
How AA Got Started in Scotland - Compilation of Posts How AA Got Started in Scotland - Compilation of Posts 2/19/2004 2:37:00 AM Friends,



The following are excerpts from three posts I previously made to AA History Buffs, and transferred to AA History Lovers.  The original three posts have been deleted.



Nancy



The following flyer concerning the book "Sir Philip Dundas" by Jenny Wren was received from an archivist in England named "Barbara":



Sir Philip Dundas (1899-1952) was the grandson of Sir Robert, 1st Baronet of Arniston, and thus a member of a well-known family of Lowland Scots. He was the eldest of a family of six boys and one girl, and inherited the baronetcy on the death of his father in 1930. However, he never lived at the family home of Arniston House.



He served for many years in the Black Watch, including a tour of duty in Silesia after the First World War, where his regiment was stationed to keep the peace until plebiscites were arranged to settle the new borders between Germany and Poland. On retirement from the army, he farmed on the Mull of Kintyre, near Campbeltown.



His greatest achievement is unconnected with either the army or farming, but arises from a personal battle with alcoholism. Realising the need for assistance with his affliction, he found help in a recently created self-help organisation in America. He was so grateful for his own liberation from alcoholism that he determined to introduce this new approach to his own country, and thus became the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in Scotland. There are still some today who remember meeting him, and are

grateful for his influence and example. There are many more who are profoundly thankful for his work, and he is held in high esteem by the Scottish Alcoholics Anonymous.



Many of his more illustrious forebears have been the subject of biographical and historical studies, but this is the first book about Sir Philip and his family. As well as Sir Philip, it tells the story of each of his five brothers, whose careers ranged from banking to the Fleet Air Arm.  Overlooked in most existing histories of the Dundas family, they are 'the forgotten generation of Arniston.' In this personal biography, Sir Philip's daughter puts him and his brothers on the record.

_______



Barbara sent me some additional information on how AA got started in Scotland. She says:



"ONE DAY AT A TIME INTO THE 1950s -- the Loners make contact...



"Alcoholics Anonymous came to Scotland about the same time that it arrived in England, though reports on the earliest meetings sometimes conflict. The man who played the biggest part in getting meetings established was Philip D, [Sir Philip Dundas] whom New York registered as a loner in Campbeltown in 1948.



"In February that year, New York wrote to the London members about him, describing 'an alcoholic who stopped drinking some four years ago on spiritual principles, but on his own and before he heard of AA.' Philip, a titled Scottish gentleman farmer, had gone to a World Christian Association conference in the USA, where a group of businessmen were trying to bring God into industry by setting up breakfast clubs for prayer. Philip thought that maybe doing good work like that would help him stay off drink.  At the very first session he met an old time Philadelphia AA, George R, 'who gave him AA right off the spiritual main line.' wrote Bill W in AA Comes of Age. The head of one of Scotland's most ancient clans sobered up on the spot. 'In March, Philip visited London and contacted general secretary, Lottie.'



"A month later, she was referring enquiries to him, and Philip began what was to be a series of 12-step visits to hospitals and prisons criss-crossing Scotland. 'My difficulties are several,' he wrote to her that same month. 'I am actively engaged in farming and what with lambing and seeding I have been up to the eyes.



"'My next problem is that I live in the most out of the way spot imaginable ... a very small size fishing town and the fishermen are a comparatively sober lot so not much scope locally. It is obvious to get AA going in Scotland I shall have to collect one or two in either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Possibly out of the letters you say you have which please send on, I may be able to make a start.'



"Philip paid Forbes C. to go round Scotland telling interested parties about AA. It wasn't easy. 'You know as well as I do that the Scottish alcoholics are pretty tough cases,' wrote Lottie in September 1948.



"According to this letter, Forbes 'was asked by Marty M[ann] (the visiting alcoholism expert from the USA who was also an AA member) and Philip to go off ... to see if a real group could not be started. Forbes succeeded and there is one group in Perth and another one will be in Edinburgh and Glasgow.' The first Edinburgh meeting was held in Mackie's Restaurant, Princes Street.



"Philip had made contact with Jack McK of Glasgow, who had been a patient at Gilgal Hospital in Perth. And in the spring of 1949, other patients in the same hospital became interested. In February that year a meeting was held in the Waverley Hotel, Perth. Five people attended.



"Meanwhile in Glasgow, Philip and Jack McK had contacted Jimmy R, a patient of Crichton Royal, Dumfries, and an alcoholic named Charlie B. In March 1949, there was a public meeting held in the St. Enoch's Hotel, Glasgow, with 54 people present. Fourteen expressed some interest but only four showed up

at the second meeting - Philip, Jimmy R, Jack McK and John R. Philip paid the expenses for the first three or four sessions and they decided to hold regular meetings every Tuesday evening.



"Attendance was not encouraging. But a visit from Gordon M, an American, persuaded them to register as a group with the New York office. Thus in May 1949 both Edinburgh First and Glasgow Central became part of the official record.



"By November 1949 a letter from Jimmy F reported that the Edinburgh group was flourishing. There was 'a stable nucleus' by the end of the year and a Dr. Clark in charge of a ward in Edinburgh Hospital was referring patients to the Fellowship.



"The Glasgow members were also active in contacting doctors. Consultant Psychiatrist A. Balfour Sclare recalled: 'To the best of my recollection Alcoholics Anonymous first made its impact upon psychiatrists ... in the Glasgow area when a member of this Fellowship gave an address on its modus operandi at the Lansdowne Clinic in 1949.'



"Philip continued to do his best from his Scottish farm. One of the prospects he interested was a John MD, an inmate of Greenock Prison. He sent Forbes to talk to the governor and later wrote himself in August 1949: 'If you feel it would be any use either I or one of the Glasgow members would be only too willing to come to Greenock and have a few talks with him about the movement

... I am perfectly willing to have a try with him provided he, himself, will honestly make up his mind to chuck alcohol for good, otherwise it is just a waste of time talking to him.'"

_______



More On Sir Philip Dundas and How AA Got Started in Scotland



I have finished reading the book "Sir Philip Dundas," by Jenny Wren. It was Philip Dundas who started AA in Scotland. "Jenny Wren" is really Myfanwy [yes, I spelled it correctly] Baldwin. At first her siblings called her "Myffie" but then changed it to "Vannie" which she has been called by her family ever since.



But Sir Philip, called her his "little Jenny Wren." (Jenny Wren is the  name of a character in a Charles Dickens novel, and also the name of a rose.)



I asked Mrs. Baldwin, with whom I have been in touch by e-mail, if she knew whether he had called her Jenny Wren because of the character Dickens or because of the rose. She believes he called her that because he thought the wrinkled little baby looked like a little brown bird, a wren.



Mrs. Baldwin writes in the book: "My mother described my father as somewhat tipsy but in a very good mood on his first visit to see me. He presented my mother with a brooch and asked her if it went with the new baby. Then he picked me up in his arms and walked up and down the room with me calling me his little Jenny Wren. So apart from half his genetic make-up my first gift from my father was my nom de plume for the purposes of his story."



Sir Philip was born in 1899, and inherited his father's title in 1930, becoming the fourth Baronet of Arniston.



He had been educated in the finest schools, including the prestigious Harrow, where his father had also been educated.



In July of 1918, Philip was given a commission in the Black Watch (42nd Foot, Royal Highlanders). In 1920, when Europe was still dealing with the aftermath of the war, Philip was sent to Silesia to serve with the 2nd Battalion in the disputed zone on the borders of Germany and Poland.



The 1920s brought tragedy to the family.



In 1922, Philip's brother David, 19, who was serving in the Navy, was killed when his boat -- a mine sweeper -- disappeared at sea. Only three of the crew was found, but not David. Philip could not be with his family during this tragic time, as he was serving in Silesia.



In 1928 Philip was serving in India when he brother Henry, who was in the Malay states, contracted blackwater fever and died at age 27. None of the family was able to get there for the funeral.



And then, in the winter of 1930, his father -- while sailing from Southampton on his way to Capetown, South Africa -- died suddenly of a heart attack, and was buried at sea.



So at age 31, following several family tragedies, Philip found himself head of the family, with all the responsibilities of his title. His daughter says that "Psychologically he may have felt somewhat battered at this time following three close family deaths."



Just when Philip began drinking, she doesn't say, but by the time he assumed his title he was showing signs of strain. "He began to drink quite heavily and at times seemed unable to control the amount he drank. A photograph of him ... in April 1932 shows that he had put on weight and his face looked troubled."



By 1932, his drinking was often out of control, and his mother was growing extremely concerned about him.



She turned to her friend and neighbor, Violet Hood, for advice. Violet's daughter, Jean, was a very religious girl. She had joined the Oxford Group, with whom she had traveled to America where she attended meetings. They thought that perhaps the Oxford Group could help Philip. So Jean was called to talk to him.



But much to her mother's dismay, Jean and Philip fell in love. (Violet had taken quite a fancy to Philip's brother Tom and had been heard to tell his mother how proud she would be to have a son like Tom. But Philip was quite another story.) Jean's parents were concerned at the situation she might be getting into, and they decided to consult the Oxford Group about the problem.



Philip's mother, on the other hand was delighted, probably thinking that Jean would be a good influence on her son. Jean, however, thought that the Dundases probably felt she was not quite "out of the top drawer."



The Oxford group seemed unable to help. It seemed to Jean that they were against the idea of her marrying Philip and wanted her to give him up. But Jean would not, and they were married.



Their daughter says that Jean had not known Philip well during their childhood as he was more than ten years her senior, but she never could resist a "lame duck."



"Now she became determined that God could heal this young man, and put all her energies into helping wherever she could."



Philip and Jean produced a son, Henry, in 1937, and a daughter, Althea, in 1939.



By the 1940s Philip's drinking was making Philip's behavior towards his wife impossible and she left him and planned to divorce him. But Philip soon persuaded her to return and try again, "and promised to do something about the drinking problem."



His Jenny Wren was born after the reconciliation, in 1946. Another daughter, Joanne, was born in 1949.



Philip had been trying for some time to find a solution to his drinking problem and by 1947 "as a member of MRA, had with their help achieved a measure of control." [I believe "MRA" may refer to "moral rearmament," the new name for the Oxford Group.]



Mrs. Baldwin reports that "In 1948 he and Jean visited the United States apparently at the invitation of the Oxford Group." During his visit to America he attended a dinner at which he met "George R. who told him of an organisation, formed some fifteen years earlier, which could help people with his problem. George thus introduced my father to Alcoholics Anonymous, and that first meeting was said to have changed his life. It was also said that from that time forward he did not touch alcohol again."



Bill Wilson, described it like this: "He [Philip] came over to have a look at the International Christian Leadership Movement, where he met with a group of businessmen who were interested in bringing God into industry through the medium of breakfast clubs for prayer and planning. Philip thought that maybe he could introduce the breakfast club idea to Scotland, and he hoped that such a good work would loosen his fatal attachment to the bottle. At the

very first session he met an old-time Philadelphia A.A., George R., who gave him A.A. right off the spiritual mainline. The head of one of Scotland's most ancient clans sobered up on the spot. He took A.A. back to his native heath, and soon alcoholic Scots were drying up all the way from Glasgow ship chandlers to society folks in Edinburgh."



His daughter reports that he "returned to Britain fired up with all he had learned in the States and, despite the initial suffering without an alcoholic drop, had stuck to his resolved and began to feel well and happy again."



His relationship with his wife improved and he was determined to use his gifts and talents in helping other people who suffered from alcoholism. He was now determined to bring AA to Scotland. "His years as an officer in the army and his family background gave him the confidence of how to go about this."



His first efforts were not too successful. He then "contacted the Governor of Gilgal prison and other institutions where men and women with a drinking problem might be found and asked if he might be allowed to come and talk to the sufferers. Together with a man called Forbes, who was unemployed at the time, he attempted to raise an interest in the past successes of this organization. At first it was slow to take off, as often the people approached were not interested, but eventually a group of four got together and gradually interest began to grow."



Some of his letters from this time survive and his daughter says that they reveal some of his feelings and thoughts about himself.



"As he worked through the agonies of withdrawing from alcohol he gradually began to feel better both mentally and physically. Washing up pots and pans, a job he had always loathed, now struck him as something he quite enjoyed and he would scrub them as hard as he could to see how bright and shiny he could make them. He began to get to know his own strengths and weaknesses much better, and was aware that sometimes he was too soft and trusting with people. He realised that it was easier to see the good in people than to face up to their faults. He sometimes acknowledged he might not be the best person to

deal with certain alcoholic cases as people found it easy to deceive him. He cursed the fact that he had what he called 'a handle' to his name, because he felt that people believed he might be a soft touch for money."



He was very eager to get AA established in Scotland as quickly as possible. "He feared complacency as he felt the development might grind to a halt. He also feared his fellow founders might feel he was being dictatorial and trying to grab power."



But his daughter says that it was his desire to get as many branches as possible formed with plenty of capable people to run them. "The Irish set-up was a case where he felt there was too much dependence on the founder. Rather ironically he suggested what a disaster this would be should the founder suddenly die."

As time went by his spent a lot of his time traveling about trying to set up new branches of AA in Scotland.



Mrs. Baldwin writes that "In April 1950, my father received a personal letter from Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, stating that he proposed to visit the British Isles in June and July. This letter also mentioned that Bill hoped for a short period of rest and sightseeing while in Scotland. My parents had him and his wife to stay at Fairnington Craigs, and then went with them on their visit further north."



(There is a wonderful picture in the book of Bill with Sir Philip and an unidentified man and woman at Dunkeld. Bill is looking very handsome in a three piece suit as he towers over Sir Philip by at least a head.)



Sir Philip died in 1952. During his final illness his little Jenny Wren read to him from a pile of Beatrix Potter books, as her mother had read to her when she was ill. "Those words I couldn't read I made up, and he went along with it like the good sport he was," she reports.



He was buried at Holy Trinity Church in Melrose. His wife chose words from St. John's Gospel to go on his gravestone: "For as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me."



"It was a reminder of his work in bringing Alcoholics Anonymous to Scotland," writes his daughter.



His eldest child and only son, Henry, became the fifth Baronet upon the death of Philip in 1952. He was only 14 when he inherited the title. Sadly, Harry died unexpectedly at the age of twenty-six. He was buried at Melrose beside his father. His mother's choice of biblical text for him was "You are not alone because the father is with you."



Sir Philip's brother Jim then inherited the title.



His little Jenny Wren, who obviously adored her father, ends her book by saying:



"During the last few years of his life, he gave so much of himself to setting up further branches of AA in Scotland, and by his death there were branches in Perth, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Ayr, Dumfries and Inverness. Today I'm told there are over 900

groups in Scotland. How many people, I wonder, does that mean have been touched by his courage and conviction? How many families have been enabled to live normal and happy lives with the help of AA? A few weeks ago it was the centenary of my father's

birth, and we are now about to start on a new and significant century. I hope he would be proud of the little acorns that he sowed in Scotland. From these, people have carried on his work and reached out to those who suffer in this particular way.



"Most little girls, I'm told, want a dad to be proud of. It has been a privilege through writing this book to share some of his joys and sorrows, to discover how courageous he was, and to possess that pride in his memory."



Myfanwy Baldwin (nee Dundas),

Cleobury Mortimer, December 1999.

_______



Sources;



Sir Philip Dundas, by Jenny Wren, M & M Baldwin Press.

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age.







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AA in Russia - Letters from Marina K and Irina K AA in Russia - Letters from Marina K and Irina K 2/20/2004 3:46:00 AM Friends,



In June of 2000 I posted to AA History Buffs (and later transferred to AA History Lovers) some correspondence from an AA in Russia named Marina K. which had been forwarded from Barbara in the UK.  This resulted in my receiving copies of some letters from Irina K. in Russia.  This post combines those letters. The originals have been deleted.



Nancy



Letters from Marina to Barbara in the UK:



Good day, Barbara!



I can't answer you letter in moment. It takes some more time for me to read and write in English, when in Russian.



But it is one more reason for delay. I took part in very interesting thing in our AA. We name it "avtoprobeg" - it means, that on 30th of April 7 cars start from one Russian town (Tolyatty). They pass over 3000 kilometers - Ural (this is a Russian region on the border of Europe and Asia). Every day - new town, meetings this members of AA of this towns. During the way from one town to another (it took nearle 4-5 hours) - groups in the cars. It was

wonderful. I was waiting this trip the whole year. I was vry afraid, that something may happen and I could not take part in this journey. But High Power gave me such happy opportunity.



It is very difficult for me to tell in English about this trip. It is

difficult yet in Russian - I haven't words. I met my friends (some members of AA from this towns I had meet in Moscow during last years). I saw problems of AA in deep Russian regions. I saw, how AA grow there. We visited 7 towns of Ural. And 2 and 3 years ago I was in 2 of this towns. Were was the all-Russian Convention in this towns (in 1997 - Magnitogorsk, and in 1998

- Glazov). It was difficult decision for Russian AA - to organize such all-Russian conventions not in Moscow, there we can gather more people, then in such small towns. But we think: this Convention will help AA in this regions to grow.



Today, then I visit this towns second time - I saw: it was write decision. I saw results of our work 2 or 3 years ago.



So, I returned home very weary (we sleep nearly for 3-4 hours at night during this journey), but very happy.



Now I'll try to write for your letter. [Barbara's newsletter.]



About history of Russian AA and archive documents. We are nearly 13 years old - but we have problems this our history. The first problem - we don't exactly know data of beginning. In particular - beginning of Moscow AA. There was many debates about this 3 years ago - and for today we don't decide, then Moscow AA began - in 1987 or in 1998. Different people have

different opinions. Today we say, that Russian AA is 13, because it is the age of St. Peterburg group AA "Almaz" (December 1996). I don't know for today the eldest group.



Many documents is keeping at homes of some members of AA. Only year ago we began to take such archives to office. But we have problems - how to keep them. But the main problem - I don't know a men (or woman) for today, who want to work this archives. For today we only put this documents in boxes - but I understand - it needs more serious work.



I know one man - he try to fix events in Russian AA. But he live not in Moscow. Month ago I get from him document, it name "Chronicle of events of Russian AA" (4 pages). And this is nearly all, that we have for today about our history. No, we have some more documents - registration sheets of Russian groups (since 1995), documents of Conferences from 9 to 12 (12 was in

this year). We have no documents from Conferences 1st, 2nd, 3rd. We have only decisions from Conferences from 4th to 8th.



But I think - such problems are not only in Russian AA. It is reality.

Perhaps, we began to think about our history not too late.



About Russian office of AA. It is in Moscow, not in the center - on the fringe of Moscow. It consist of two small rooms. We have xerox, two computers, and some more equipment. What we do there? Prepare AA books (3 main books) to printing. (But print them not in office). Prepare booklets and make copies on Xerox. Unswerving service (telephone), e-mail contacts. 3 time during year we send to all Russian groups (nearly 210 for today)

letters this some information about "AA life" (the analog of BOX), materials on Service.



Purpose: group consciousness must be informed.



I may tell many detail about work in office, but it is detail. It is every day work to help people find AA, to help them understand not only one word (recovery) but 3 important words (Unity - Service - Recovery). This is my way too - I understand, that I need service to stay sober. For last 2 years, before I had need to go to another town (this is family situation) - I worked in office as volunteer - two or three evenings and all Saturday. But today I

think - it was the happiest time for last 20 years of my life.



We have 2 workers in office, who get money for theirs work: secretary and accountant. We can't pay them enough money - Russian AA doesn't have mush money for today. But they do work - and this is not a work of volunteer.



The main problem for today in Russian AA - we have not state registration.



This gives many juridical and organization problems. And for today this question is open. It is a great problem.



About your another questions. I have never been in England. I have never been in any foreign country. Last year I was elected a delegate to European Service Meeting (it was in October). All was good, I get documents, but+ In August I was informed, that my mother have cancer. She has died. It is a reason, that I go from Moscow to a small town (I have need to live with my

father for today). But I can't get to Service Meeting in October.



How I learn English? A specialized school in childhood. Then I forgot many. But then I came to AA - I began to work this materials in English - made translation, correct translations of another people. Then I began to work this e-mail. And I have to answer for letters from another countries - this help me to "remember" English. I don't think my English is very good, but I

think - it become more better since I came to AA.



About AA journals. During last year I got numbers of "Grapevine" - it was a gift from members of AA in America. It was very useful for me - I find many interesting articles, some of them we translated to Russian and one or two was publish in Russian AA journal "Rodnic". I want to translate some more articles from numbers of "Grapevine", which I have.



But - my main problem - I have a little time and I wish to do so many things in AA. And this translation - not the first things for me. I have some deals, that I think more important. And translations can be done by another people. But I can say - it was very interesting to read "Grapevine", it help me in my sobriety (and in my English too).



So, I must stop this letter - tomorrow I'll send it (I have Internet only on my work - and I can send letters only 1 or 2 times a week).

Thank you for your story.

This love in AA

Marina



Dear Barbara.



Certainly, you may send my letter to Nancy and use it and next in your Newsletter.



I understand, that my letters need a corrections (my English is not good enough+) - you may do it.



I get a letter from Nancy with suggestion to join Internet group AA History Buffs. As I understand from her letter - it is very interesting group for me. I am very grateful for this suggestion. But I have some problems to join this group -



Today I live in a small town on the North of Russia. And our telephone lines are not good enough. So, I have my own name in Internet, but I have technical problems to connect with my internet provider from my home computer. And I connect from my place of

work (where I get money). It is not comfortable. I have a permission to use telephone line from work, but+ Usually, I have only 10-15 minutes to send my and get e-mail letters, convert them to Word file and put them on the mini-diskette. And I read this letters at home in the evening.



So, in Russian-speaking e-mail group I ask my friends to send me letters in special ZIP-archives - it take less time to get such e-mail. So, I afraid, that in this group (AA History Buffs) I may get many letters, and I shall not be able "to process" them.



The second problem - in summer I'll be on my work rarely (once a week or once in 10 days) - so, you may understand, that I can't answer letters very quick.



I have a hope - to do some manipulations with my computer during summer and to get connection from my home. If it will be so - I'll join AA History Buffs. But for today I must wait. But I am ready to contact with you and with Nancy (if she want this), to have individual correspondence.



I'll try to translate to English the document "hronika" - it is a history of Russian AA (it was written by one member of Russian AA). But I think it will take time (perhaps month or more) - I have many duties (in AA and in my usual life) today. If I will do this - I'll send it to you.



I'll be very grateful, if you can send me the most interesting materials. If it will be 2-4 letters in a week - it is normal, but more then 10 - it is a problem for me (and if this files will be not very "big' in kilobytes). But if it is difficult to do this - I'll understand. I know, that it take time to do individual selection. You may not do it for me. In any case - I'll be very glad to get letters from you.



Please, send a copy of this letter to Nancy. I find e-mail address in her letter, but as I understand - this is address of a group. And as I said - today I may have only individual contacts.



Marina K.



(Marina gave permission for me to correct her English, but I wanted to keep the flavor of her own words.)



_________



Letters from Irina to Margaret S.:



Hi Margaret.  It's a small world!  Marina mentioned about "autoprobeg"-motor race through Urals.  I would like to say I came to Yekaterinburg (central city of Urals region) 2 May two years ago on this gathering after some cars of this race arrived there! Maybe I saw Marina but I don't remember. Guys did a great job. It was inspirational experience for local AAs!



I'm not so advanced in history of AA of Russia. The first group in Yekaterinburg appeared just 8 years ago. There are some groups one among them in prison. I had been there twice (in prison's group Svecha-Candle). Also there are some groups in towns of Middle Urals (AA ,Al-Anon, NA). I'm the only Loner by correspondence. We have't meetimg-by-mail for Loners, Homers etc. in Russia. In my first year I asked myself, my friends in groups of Yekaterinburg- What should I do with my sobriety in my small settlement without group? I would like to mention that then my husband still drunk.  I attended speaker meeting for the first time in December 98 in Yekaterinburg. Speaker was Tom from US. I was impressed. I remember I wrote down all that he said in my notebook! It was turning point for me. After meeting one sheet fell into my hands-it was information from Moscow AA Office about LIM. One brother Felix (he died in last year) told how he tries to set up something like LIM in Russia. I wrote to him immidiately. I thought just about corresponding in Russia & not presumed about Inernational corresponding-I knew nothing! He mentioned if I understand English I can write to GSO. I thought I knew! Now I know it was just a beginning. He did a great job.



I wrote to GSO. After they published my letter in LIM bulletin I got a lot of letters from different countries! I'm grateful to my Higher Power for this gift! Still I have many pen pals but now prefere using e-mail because postage on "snail-mail" still rising.



By the way you can read about typical state of AA of Russia in typical towns in the AA Grapevine, Millenium Editon, January 2000, page 22 "A Hard Spiritual Labor". I was so impressed that immidiately found in Russian AA Directory & wrote a letter to Krasnodar to Valery M. You can picture his shock! -He could't imagine that someone could read Grapevine somewhere in such nook as my settlement! Now he is my close AA friend & the first person with whom I corresponding in Russian! Misterious way!

I found pen pal in my own country via English-speaking Grapevine!

I live just near geografical border Europe/Asia about 15 km from the point. Through my sister in Australia I got last AOSM newsletter. Russia among many countries of this zone was included in AOSM. Our candidate was present on last AOSM in Seoul in Oct. 2001. I got Final Report too.



As to literature-I have some pamphlets & books (AA) both in Russian & English. Mainly in English. I'm really blessed I can translate & read. But I take responsibility for not violating copyrights of AA. Yes, I have an opportunity to translate, to print, to copy. But it 's tremendous responsibility as AA member. I saw illegal BB made in Germany there a couple of years ago (free of cause).



I get AA materials from Moscow AA Service regularly information about events, gathering etc. Recently I got a couple of addresses of new loners in Russia! Now I have a couple of pen pals in my country at last!



Thank you for listening!



Margaret, you can send my letter on the group if you wish.

If someone have questions I  will be glad to answer.

Irina



Margaret then forwarded this letter:



When I read story about visit to Soviet Union [see next post] I recalled those times during Communism. If Communism wouldn't fall it would be impossible my sobriety & my participation in AAs! I remember well this time - from 1970 to 1990. It was the country of militant atheism. The only "cure" for alcoholics were labor camps. If police had stopped drunks on streets of town they were dispatched into special sobering-up stations. "Alcoholic" is still like stigma in community. I tried to prove I'm not alcoholic. My folks had said "where is your will power?"



Still for example in a lobby of our mashine works names of those who drunk "too much" posting up on special board-administration of plant think that these poor workers must be ashamed! These boards were used in former Soviet Union at every plant.



In province where I live (this is typical Russian out-of-the-way place) community yet not open to "open" talk. I could make sure in it. It's legacy of Communism that touched mind & spirit of people.

I believe that through new market economics & freedom, reforms, cooperation something will change. People will be more free & open. Russian society is not the same as 10 or 20 years ago - I can compare those years as I was born in 1964 in Yekaterinburg (former Sverdlovsk). By the way as it turned out I was born in this city twice-in 1964 & in 1998. It's not a coinscidence!



Irina



(As with Marina, I did not attempt to correct Irina's English.

My profound thanks to Barbara and Margaret for sending the list these letters.)

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AA in Russia -- Some posts from those who have visited Russia AA in Russia -- Some posts from those who have visited Russia 2/20/2004 4:04:00 AM These were compiled from earlier posts which have been deleted.



Mike B. wrote:



I was privileged to be on two of the trips sponsored by CASW to the then-Soviet Union. My first was in April 1987 and then again the following April - 1988. To my knowledge, trip #1 in April 1986 marked the first public AA meeting in Moscow and that is considered by most as the beginning of AA in Russia.



On both of my trips (CASW # 3 and # 6), our group met in Helsinki and the Finnish AAs, then went into the Soviet Union. On the '87 trip, we went first to Estonia, and held the first AA meeting in Tallin. We also met with the Anti-Bacchus Society, a sobriety club in Tartu.



Most of our contacts in both St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and Moscow were initially through the Department of Health and the hospitals. In Leningrad, it was the Bechterov Institute and in Moscow, Hospital # 13.



During these trips, I met several Russian alcoholics, some in the hospitals and some in their homes. On the second trip, we held workshops on how to take an inventory and how to make a twelve-step call; it was fascinating stuff. I remember one woman named Marina being in our meetings, but this is a very common name in Russia.

___________



Bobby D. writes:



I had a most blessed trip to Russia for 10 days before I went to

Minneapolis, it was an incredible experience. The highlight, of course, was to sit in a meeting in Niznhy Novgorod and hear the beautiful language of the heart spoken by 60 or 70 wonderful Russian people.



I have to tell you a funny thing. There were no meetings listed for that city in the International Directory, so I took it upon myself to go looking for some drunks to work with!



I contacted a pastor who contacted several others, but what I got was a group of pastors, doctors, psychiatrists, etc.



They were all very eager to help alcoholics, and it was wonderful. By the second night, there were 100 of them, and there were also some real alcoholics in the bunch! I was thrilled. I spoke to them and told them my story on the first night, and what the Big Book tells us about each of the 12 steps during the second night.



Then an amazing thing happened. Several of them had questions, and soon it became apparent that they knew things about AA that the average person would not know. So after the second night I asked them if they had attended AA somewhere. They said, "Oh yes. We belong to one of the two groups here in town!" I was thrilled, and they invited me to speak at their meeting.



I went and was met by 60 or 70 beautiful alcoholics!



They all understood why I cried, I think. I was moved to tears with

gratitude. Never in my life did I imagine that I would be sitting in an AA meeting half way around the world. What a beautiful experience.



I must admit that I was amazed by all the people who had turned out to hear me 4 nights in a row (including the AA meeting). Then one sweet Al-Anon lady spilled the beans.



She had come to the meeting, she said, and was afraid they might not let her in, since it was a closed meeting. When she arrived,

though, she found out that it was an open meeting that night. "I don't think you could have kept me out," she said, "because I figured I'd never again have the chance to meet Dr. Bob of AA fame..."



My mouth dropped open! These people had actually been telling everyone in town that Dr. Bob was visiting them! Can you BELIEVE IT?????



I began to chuckle, and then finally told them that I hated to disappoint them. I said, "This is a case of mistaken identity.... My name is Bobby Davis. But I'm not a doctor, and certainly not Dr. Bob! He's been dead for about 50 years..."



There was a hush in the room, and then a sudden mass-recognition of the mistake they had made. There was much laughter, and afterwards, I was hugged, kissed and fawned over like I have never been before in my entire life!



They are wonderful people. And they ALL BELIEVE IN GOD! WOW.



Not bad from a country full of atheists!



Of course, who can be an atheist for very long in an AA meeting! LOL



Bobby

__________



Larry D. wrote:



I WAS PRIVILEGED TO SET UP A MEETING WITH THREE SPEAKERS FROM THE FIRST AA GROUP FORMED IN MOSCOW.   THEIR INTERPRETER WAS  ALSO WITH THEM, AN AMERICAN, WHO WAS NOT AN AA MEMBER, BUT GAVE HIS HEART AND SOUL TO THE PROGRAM OF AA IN RUSSIA.  HE WAS EDUCATED AT WHEATON COLLEGE AND BECAME A MINISTER WITH MISSIONARY ZEAL.  BILLY GRAHAM WAS EDUCATED AT THE SAME SCHOOL.



THE MINISTER, WHO ALSO HAD HIS HOME IN WHEATON, IL  BUT SPENDS MOST OF HIS TIME IN RUSSIA, WAS INTERPRETER FOR THE THREE SPEAKERS FROM RUSSIA.  IT WAS FELT BY EVERYONE THERE THAT NO INTERPRETER WAS NEEDED.  THIS WAS THOUGHT BY MOST OF THE ATTENDEES, ABOUT THREE HUNDRED. 



THEY SPOKE FROM THEIR HEARTS.  THEIR EMOTIONS WERE AS EVIDENT AS THE TEARS CAME INTO THEIR EYES, SHAKING VOICES, AND THANKFULNESS TO AA.  WE WERE MOST STRUCK BY THEIR BY THEIR LOVING HIGHER POWER WHICH THEY DECIDED TO CALL GOD.



THEY KNEW THAT THEIR SURRENDER TO GOD WAS ONLY AS GOOD AS THEY PRAYED EACH DAY.



AS I LEFT THE MEETING WITH MY NEW AA FRIENDS FROM RUSSIA, I WAS ALL BUT OVERCOME BY THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT THEY LEFT WITH US.   IT WAS A MIRACLE MEETING THAT SATURDAY NIGHT.



LOVE YOU ALL,

LARRY D.

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More on AA in Russia compiled from earlier posts. More on AA in Russia compiled from earlier posts. 2/20/2004 5:12:00 AM I came upon this interesting article in The Alcoholism Report of July 11, 1975:



"Dr. John L. Norris, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous, urged the development of cooperative efforts between the U.S. and Russia in the area of alcoholism.  He offered to go to the Soviet Union to share the AA program with the Russian people.



"In comments made on his arrival in Denver for the 40th Anniversary International Convention of AA in Denver July 4-6, Norris said:  'My hope is that AA may soon find its way to every nation on earth -- including the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain countries.  We are told that alcoholism is a major health problem in these regions.  AA could alleviate it.  We are apolitical -- so there should be no conflict  on that score.



"'Further, a believe in God or membership in any formal religion are not requirements for AA membership.  Therefore, our program would work in Moscow just as it works in Denver or London or Sydney or Paris.  It is refreshing to observe that some of the barriers between the U.S. and the USSR seem to be softening.  I urge the development of cooperative efforts in the area of alcoholism.



"'We would be willing to travel to the Soviet Union to confer with the leaders in that country who are concerned about the problems of addictions.  We would be pleased to share our program with the Russian people.  Alcoholism transcends all barriers.  The alcoholic in Russia suffers the same pain experienced by an alcoholic anywhere.  He or she deserves the same relief from pain.'"

________





AA Grapevine, July 1989



A VISIT TO THE SOVIET UNION



The message of Alcoholics Anonymous knows no language barrier, nor do custom or cultural heritage have any meaning when it comes to our recovery process.



There were sixteen of us at the Moscow Beginners Group. We were there celebrating their first anniversary as an AA group. The meeting opened in Russian with the Preamble, then a reading of the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. The chairperson said, "This is a Second Step meeting," and they began to share.



One member spoke up. He was an enthusiastic Moscow businessman who was five months sober and beginning to work the Steps. When he spoke, I heard my own alcoholism, I heard my own history of destruction and pain.



"I have no history of God in my life," he said. "But I began to do what they said to do here. And I have found a spiritual power within me. I think that might be God."



This man is now working with three other alcoholics in the group who also had no history of God in their lives, but who together have found a spiritual power they can rely on.



Inasmuch as AA can be official in any way, this was an "official" visit from the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous in the United States and Canada to some very specific people in the Soviet Union. Over the previous year or so, there had been a number of communications back and forth between the Soviet and American governments concerning alcoholism; and AA, while not

affiliated with these efforts in any way, had cooperated in full.



In September 1987, the general manager of the General Service Office in New York traveled by invitation to the Soviet Union with sixteen other individuals related to the field of alcoholism, as part of an exchange program between the two governments on the topic of alcoholism and drug abuse. Then, in May of 1988, a return visit was made by a group of Soviets.



Through the course of these exchanges, it became clear that there were quite a few people inside the Soviet Union who had a growing interest in Alcoholics Anonymous. We began corresponding with some of these people - Ministry of

Health people, Temperance Promotion Society (TPS) people, psychologists, psychiatrists, narcologists, sobriety clubs - and in the course of this ongoing dialogue, another visit was set up which was to be independent of the previous trips.



The AA members picked for the trip were the two trustees-at-large - myself from the United States and Webb J. from Canada - along with Sarah P., the GSO staff member assigned to the trustees' International Committee. In addition, since we'd be talking primarily with Soviet professionals and doctors, it

seemed appropriate to have a doctor along with us. So Dr. John Hartley Smith, a nonalcoholic trustee from Canada, was added to the team. Of course it wouldn't have done much good to send us off without a voice, so we also added a nonalcoholic fellow who is a simultaneous translator.



Our first stop was Helsinki, Finland. We went there first for two reasons: first, we wanted to take care of jet lag and be fully adjusted to the time change; and second, the Finns have been carrying the AA message into Russia for some time and we wanted to coordinate our efforts so that each of us might be as effective as possible.



Now, I've been around drunks most of my life, but I've never seen quality drunkenness until I saw the Finns. They were big, they were like redwood trees, they were stoned, and they were moving. Finnish AA members are incredible, too. They give the same depth of love to AA that they gave to the bottle - and then some. One of the ways in which the Finns practice anonymity

is by taking on a nickname. And so, in Helsinki, we met "Columbus," the fellow who first brought AA to Finland.



On November 13, we took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn was one of the most beautiful cities I'd ever seen. There were buildings there which had been built in the 1400s and were still in use. Estonia was in the Soviet Republic, but it is a separate culture.



We'd carried with us a good-sized box of Russian-language AA literature, and though I knew we'd be stopped, I had no idea how this literature would be received. I've been through plenty of tough customs checks before - and after one of them, I ended up in prison - and I was getting a little nervous. I'd brought along a pocket knife to open up the box with, but I couldn't find it anywhere and ended up having to open up the box with a plastic pocket comb.



The customs lady took out a piece of literature, looked at it, and walked off to show it to a fellow in a suit standing back in a corner. Our interpreter leaned over and whispered to me, "It's an ideology check."



In a short while, the customs lady returned with a smile on her face. She called over a uniformed guard. I thought, "There goes the box." As they talked together, the interpreter leaned over. "They like it," he said.



With another burst of conversation and a nod of the head, she waved me, the box, and the interpreter on through. On the other side of the check point, the interpreter translated her last comments to the uniformed guard for me.



"Look," she had said, "they are here to help us in our struggle with

alcoholism." This seemed to set the tone for the entire trip, and we started handing out literature wherever we went.



Each one of us on this trip had a sense of the immensity of our task, and each one of us had a real desire not to promote anything but rather to share our experience, strength, and hope with the professionals we came in contact with so that they might better understand AA and perhaps allow AA to happen in the Soviet Union. At one of our meetings with the Sobriety Society of

Estonia, the people involved in helping alcoholics there tended to dominate and tell us of their program and to slant the conversation politically, but eventually we got across to them that helping alcoholics was our only interest.



During one of our conversations, a girl spoke up in English and said, "I have read your book [the Big Book]. How am I going to work with these AA principles if I don't believe in God?"



"Well," I said, "that's no big deal. I didn't believe in God either when I came to AA. It's not a requirement, you know." With this, the girl visibly relaxed and I heard a sigh of relief.



We also met with a doctor there, a former government official, and he kept saying how the program would have to be changed to fit the Russian people, a people with no historical cultural background of God. "It won't work here" was something we heard a lot. I must admit that I did get a bit of a chuckle out of this. Quite a few times I heard people say, "We don't have any

historical background of God," and then in the next breath would ask, "Would you like to see the cathedral?"



At first, many of the people we talked to were reserved. But because we talked so openly about alcoholism and about ourselves, they too began to share openly. We discovered that whatever else they might be doing in terms of treatment, they were already using some of the basic principles of Alcoholics Anonymous: admission of powerlessness, an honest belief that some sort of recovery is possible, and the importance of taking a personal inventory. It was rigorous, but they were doing it. They had a thirty-question inventory that had to be renewed every six months with a doctor and a peer group. Treatment was a three-year process, and if you slipped, you went to a labor camp for two years. The official position was that after six or eight weeks of effective treatment, the patient was no longer an alcoholic. There was a cure, they believed, and it took about six to eight weeks. The only catch was that they had to keep renewing this cure or they became alcoholics again. However, the drunks we talked to said, "We know it's important to understand that we're alcoholics forevermore." And they completely understood the need to pass this information on to the next person. This, then, was the foundation of whatever was going on in the Soviet Union, and it seemed like fertile ground for AA principles to flourish in.



I was looking forward to the trip from Estonia up to Leningrad because we were going to be traveling by train and I hoped it was going to be like the Orient Express. But it turned out to be more like the milk train instead.



They put the four of us into one compartment with all our luggage, one bunk apiece, and gave us a cup of black Russian tea. It was an experience that I wouldn't have missed for the world, but I certainly wouldn't want to do it again.



In Leningrad, we met with a doctor who had alcoholic patients who were trying to use the AA method, but he didn't believe it would work because of the emphasis on God. Eventually this man brought some of his patients to see us and it is our hope that the sharing that went on will one day be of some use to them. One of the exercises this doctor has his group doing for therapy

purposes is to translate the Big Book. "It's not a very good translation," he said, but they don't seem to mind.



The group that this doctor worked with has been using AA for about three years, and one of the group had three years sobriety, another had one year, and another had seven months. These people were allowed to come and visit with us in our hotel rooms, something unheard of just a few years back. On our end, we were not restricted in any way in our travels. We were allowed to

just wander wherever we wanted.



The people of Leningrad had a pride and a spirit like I'd never seen. At one point during our stay in Leningrad, just prior to our scheduled meeting with the Temperance Promotion Society, an American movie was shown on Soviet TV - a movie about one woman's struggle with alcoholism and her eventual sobriety

in Alcoholics Anonymous. The movie created quite a response from its Soviet viewers, and the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda printed a piece with some of the hundreds of requests it received asking for more information on AA. We had the article translated and were moved by the overriding tone of the

responses. Here, translated from the Russian, is just one of the many responses:



"I have acquaintances but no friends. I have spent these last ten days at home. I have not gone anywhere and will invariably get drunk. And once I go on a binge, it lasts a long time.



"I don't work anywhere. I would love to go to heaven, but my sins won't let me. I'm twenty-four. My employment record is like an index of available jobs. Besides which, last summer I was released from incarceration.



"What should I do? I don't visit my neighborhood duty officer because I know his crowning remark: 'If you don't have a job in ten days, I'll send you to the Labor-Rehabilitation Camp.' Who wants to go there? So I hide. It was better in jail. I don't know how AA can help me, but I am writing nevertheless."



The newspaper article also carried the comments of the first deputy chairman of the Temperance Promotion Society (TPS), which had recently come under fire for what appeared to be a lack of effectiveness in supplying adequate answers to the huge problem of alcoholism facing the Soviet Union. Of AA, the first

deputy had this to say: "We will not forge an alliance with them. Their method is interesting, but is only partially useful for us. And we will reject it primarily because certain interested parties from across the ocean are very clearly using it to promote the American way of life. The pretext is a good one; there is nothing to be said against it. But still I will block it."



With a note of uncertainty, then - and these conflicting messages in our minds - we went off to our scheduled meeting with the TPS. Of course, we got lost along the way, literally, and as things hlostave a way of going in AA, it turned out to be one of the greatest days I've ever had.



Finally, after wandering around the city's back streets, we found our way.



Unlike our dire predictions based on the newspaper article, the TPS people were very cordial, very kind, very open, very pro-AA. While we were there talking, a television producer showed up with her camera crew asking for permission to do some filming for a ten-minute documentary on Alcoholics Anonymous for Soviet television. We started to explain our Traditions, of course, and she cut us off; she understood them quite well, she assured us, and promised to maintain our anonymity. So, as we began to talk with the TPS people, the cameraman went to work. Rather than showing any faces, he focussed in on our hands as we were talking.



At the end of the meeting, the producer commented that she didn't think ten minutes was going to be nearly enough to give a sense of Alcoholics Anonymous to the Soviet public. So what they intended to do, at their own expense, was to travel to the United States in order to prepare a more in depth documentary on AA. We made plans to send them copies of some of the films and

video material that AA has already produced, such as "Young People and AA," "It Sure Beats Sitting in a Cell," and "AA - An Inside View," hoping that this material would add to their understanding of AA principles and practices.



Eventually, we headed up to Moscow, and on our first day there we met with the Moscow Beginners Group. There will be debates forevermore about which was the first AA group in Russia, but this group had as good a claim as the next. It was started by an Episcopal minister who was living and working in Moscow,

and it now had a number of regular attendees. It was the first Soviet AA group registered with the General Service Office in New York.



Also in Moscow we had an appointment to meet with a doctor who had written a book about alcoholism and recovery, and a good part of it was about AA and its principles. The book, it seems, was a huge popular success and had already sold out. They were going to have a public debate about this book, and a big hall had been opened up at one of the cultural palaces where

everyone - police, antagonists, proponents, everybody - showed up to debate the ideas in this book. We were invited to come. It turned into quite an afternoon - one we never could have planned.



The author of the book and several other narcologists fielded most of the questions about AA and were quite right in their understanding of anonymity and the purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous. These people proved to be great advocates of AA. And by the time the debate was over, a spokesman for TPS

announced in public that they would now actively support Alcoholics Anonymous.



A woman stood up in the crowd and shouted out, "How do you think Alcoholics Anonymous will work in the Soviet Union?" My compatriots looked at me.



All I could really tell her was that it would be presumptuous of me to pretend to be an expert. I had been in her country only thirteen days. How could I possibly base anything on that? But I did say that we have the experience of 114 other cultures who have used AA quite effectively, and that the only purpose of our visit to her country was to share our experience with them if it could be of any help.



Finally, we were to have a meeting with the head of TPS, the man who had made the statement in Komsomolskaya Pravda. This fellow was a very short man with white hair - very charming, very cordial, and tough as nails. There was no question about who he was. The first thing he did was give us a cup of tea and say, "Now, here are the rules for this get together." He laid out how the

meeting was to be conducted and said, "Since you have requested this meeting, I have asked a number of people also to be here. They are alcoholics with another way of doing things." This was all done very graciously, however, and it was clear that he wasn't opposing us in any way.



So, off we went into another room, and sure enough there was this other bunch of people there. These were alcoholics from a sobriety club formed in 1978, and the founder of the club was there. He was now twelve years sober. The club was formed to give alcoholics something to do in their spare time. They were responsible for forming their own activities - staging plays, etc. Their charter stated that members couldn't drink until death, and they told us that only two people in the last nine years had slipped. They wanted to demonstrate the sober life. The trade union bosses had helped to organize this club. It was all done through the workplace. If you were an alcoholic, your name was on the wall at work. They knew who you were and lots of peer

pressure was brought to bear. Their idea was to break the cycle of alcoholism. They wanted to have a whole generation of people who were living good, healthy lives without drinking alcohol.



One of the interesting things to come out of this meeting was our awareness of how little they really understood of the concept of anonymity. "How can you get well when you don't even know each other?" was the basic question the head of TPS asked us. He said that in these sobriety clubs, people weren't anonymous to each other - they got together frequently and were much like a

family.



Our last really official meeting was with the chief deputy and chief

narcologist of the Ministry of Health, the governmental agency that oversees all alcoholism treatment in the Soviet Union. This guy was tough - not in any antagonistic way, but he wanted "the facts, please." He wanted to know organizational things: how AA was set up, and how his agency could use AA. He voiced his biggest concern, however, by calling AA an "uncontrolled movement."



After we'd been talking with this man for an hour or so, he asked us pointblank, "What can we do to get this thing started here?" Our response was very simple: "Give them space. Give them rooms to meet in and a little bit of space to grow in." We told him we'd send him a lot of AA information, especially the organizational stuff he was interested in.



I believe that the purpose of our visit was accomplished. More and more professionals in the Soviet Union now know about and trust the process of Alcoholics Anonymous, and we've seen indications that they're willing to give it a try. We've also found that there are some necessities that the General Service Office can provide to these people, the greatest of which would be to provide portions of the pamphlet "The AA Group" in Russian so that some of the how-to questions might begin to be resolved. They also need the pamphlet on sponsorship, and of course the Big Book.



Like the businessman from the Moscow Beginners Group, I am a fellow who had no history of God in his life. I am a common, garden-variety drunk with all kinds of other problems, whose very best thinking got him into a penitentiary; a man completely without moral standards, a man you could not trust, a man for whom the ends always justified the means, a self centered and domineering man. And yet, because of Alcoholics Anonymous and the grace

of God I was able to participate in this trip because I was sober. It could happen to anybody reading this.



There are no Russian alcoholics, no Estonian or Siberian or American alcoholics. There are only alcoholics. Of this I am now certain.



Don P., Aurora, Colorado

0 -1 0 0
1670 Rob White
AA History FYI AA History FYI 2/20/2004 10:29:00 AM

Dear Friend,

You are getting this email because you have an interest in Recovery
Issues.

Nancy Olson (former staff to Senator Hughes and expert historian on AA
history) will be speaking at a conference on 4/15/04 in Baltimore.

Her two presentations will include:

Morning Plenary : Nancy Olson - The Politics of Alcoholism
(Book Signing to Follow)

Afternoon Workshop : Authors of the AA Big Book: Who were they and
what do we know about them

The conference information is below.

Hope to see you there!
Please pass it on.

Rob White
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------\
----

NCADD - Maryland Tuerk Conference

"Double Jeopardy: Addiction and Depression"

Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Keynote Speaker: Claudia Black, PhD

Cost: $80.00 (includes 6 CEus/CMEs & Lunch)

Average Attendance: 1,000

This year's conference, sponsored by the National Council on
Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - Maryland Chapter, (Co-sponsored by UMMS
and Med Chi) will feature Claudia Black, PhD as the Keynote Speaker.
Dr. Black is a renowned lecturer, author and trainer internationally
recognized for her work with family systems and addictive disorders.
Since the mid 1970's, Dr. Black's work has encompassed the impact of
addiction on young and adult children. She has offered models of
intervention and treatment related to family violence, multi-addictions,
relapse, anger, depression and women's issues. She authors books,
interactive journals, and creates and produces educational videos for
use with both the addicted client and families affected by addiction.
Since 1998, she has been the primary Clinical Consultant of Addictive
Disorders for the Meadows Institute and Treatment Center in Wickenburg,
Arizona. Workshop Titles Include: Depression and Addiction; History of
Alcoholism; Relapse Issues; Adult Children of Alcoholics; Psychotropic
Medications; Advocacy; Women, Work and Recovery; Substance Abuse
Management; Gay and Lesbian Addiction Treatment; Anxiety and Addiction;
Treating Borderline Patients; and Chronic Mental Illness and Addiction.


Full-Day Cost

Early Registration: Postmarked by
March 5, 2004 $80.00 General
Registration: Postmarked March 6 - April
2, 2004 $90.00 Early
Student Registration: Postmarked by March 5,
2004 $40.00 General Student
Registration: Postmarked March 6 - April 2, 2004
$50.00


(Proof of full-time student status must accompany
registration.)

On-Site Registration:

After April 2nd, only walk-in registrations will be accepted at the
cost of $120.00.

Please note that lunch cannot be guaranteed for these registrations.

The registration fee includes the NCADD-MD Awards Luncheon, handouts,
and continuing education credits. Please note that parking is not
included.

For More Information or to Register:

Please contact NCADD - Maryland at 410-625-6482.

Additional information, including on-line registration, is available at
our website

www.NCADDMaryland.org

0 -1 0 0
1671 jsrmeat@aol.com
Re: 12 step prayers--a prayer for each step 12 step prayers--a prayer for each step 2/21/2004 4:44:00 AM I have found prayers in the fifth chapter of Big Book.Pages 76 line 7,God save me from being angry, thy will be done.-Page 68:3 We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be.-Page 69:2 Weasked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them.-Page 69:3 We ask God what we should do about each specific matter.Page 70:2 We earnestly pray for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity,and for the strength to do the right thing.

I have the belief when I am directly asking or petioning God I am praying and have been directed to do so by our book.

Also in the fifth step-page 75:3 We thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know him better.also the ninth step-page79:1 we askthat we be given strength and direction to do the the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. THere probably are more but I have to sign out for now.

                                                                                  Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do for the man who is still sick.

0 -1 0 0
1672 NMOlson@aol.com
Rollie Hemsley Rollie Hemsley 2/22/2004 2:52:00 AM A question was asked: 



In the late fifties I signed a Professional Baseball contract with the

Washington Senators.  Was assigned to Ferndina Beach with the Charlotte Hornets. The club manager was Rollie Hemsley.  His career as a player was with the Cleveland Indians as a catcher.  He caught three of Bob Fellers no hitters.  Could this be the same player mentioned in "AA COMES OF AGE," bottom paragraph P-24?



The following are excerpts from the replies:



That is the same Rollie, referred to as "Rollicking Rollie" in Bob Feller's autobiography. Before the anonymity tradition, sports pages gave much attention to AA's role in sobering up Rolllie.

_________



I know that this has little to do with AA, but as a practicing baseball history lover/buff, I felt I should correct the facts here. Rollie caught only the first of Feller's 3 no-hitters. It was the most

famous one though, the one on Opening Day, 4/16/40.



Feller threw his other 2 no-hitters on 4/30/46 and 7/1/51. Hemsley was a Phillie in '46, and was not an active major leaguer in '51.



His complete MLB Stats

http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/hemslro01.shtml



A brief AA related bio http://silkworth.net/aahistory_names/namesr.html



0 -1 0 0
1673 Chrisjon10@earthlink.net
The Little Big Book The Little Big Book 2/22/2004 9:41:00 AM
What is the history surrounding publication of the pocket-size version of the Big Book? Thanks.

 

John P.

Richmond, VA



0 -1 0 0
1674 jlobdell54
History & Archives Gathering 2004 History & Archives Gathering 2004 2/22/2004 6:10:00 PM

Those HistoryLovers who are AA members (and other AAs also) may be
interested in the 2004 Multi-District Central Pennsylvania History &
Archives Gathering, now scheduled for June 5, 2004, near Harrisburg
PA. We are awaiting word from several of last year's speakers/
participants, and a couple of those who couldn't come last year,
when it was held April 5th (2003) at Central Pennsylvania College.
It will have a different venue this year, but it will still be
focussed on the Mid-Atlantic region, especially Eastern (and
Central) PA, with archives exhibits -- we hope -- at least from PA,
MD, and NJ. The feature old-timer last year, Trainor H. (sober 56
years), died three months after the Gathering, but we hope other old-
timers will be back, for our mixture of historians of AA,
archivists, history lovers, AAs in service, and oldtimers. My email
address is jaredlobdell@comcast.net, or jlobdell54@hotmail.com, or
jaredlobdell@aol.com. Will let you know more details as soon as I
have them. -- Jared Lobdell

0 -1 0 0
1675 Mel Barger
Humphry Osmond Passing Humphry Osmond Passing 2/23/2004 10:37:00 AM
The  Toledo Blade recently carried a notice of the Febr. 6th passing of Dr. Humphry Osmond, 86,  the British-born psychiatrist who introduced the word "psychedelic" to describe the effects of hallucinatory drugs.  
   You can read about Dr. Osmond and his colleague, Dr. Abram Hoffer, in Chapter 23 of "Pass It On."  Bill Wilson met them through Aldous Huxley, the celebrated author of "Brave New World" and one of the pioneers of the New Age movement.  In the 1950s, Osmond and Hoffer experimented with LSD as a possible treatment for schizophrenia.  Bill saw this as a chemical means of achieving what he had found in his 1934 spiritual experience and became their advocate and ally in the experiments.  He later withdrew from the LSD experiments but continued to proclaim the benefits of massive doses of Vitamin B-3.

   I first learned about Bill's LSD involvement from Ernie Kurtz's "Not God."  I feel that any use of LSD by a recovering person is a dangerous flirtation with disaster, but Bill apparently surivived without any trouble and continued to say that LSD was not addictive.  I was skeptical about the supposed benefits of LSD, although I did read that it helped actor Cary Grant recover his potency!     

  Mel Barger 


~~~~~~~~
Mel Barger
melb@accesstoledo.com

0 -1 0 0
1676 Mark Stephen Kornbluth
Humphry Osmond dies Humphry Osmond dies 2/23/2004 2:45:00 PM





February 22, 2004


Humphry Osmond, 86, Who Sought Medicinal Value in Psychedelic Drugs,
Dies

By DOUGLAS MARTIN




Humphry Osmond, the psychiatrist who coined the word "psychedelic" for
the drugs to which he introduced the writer and essayist Aldous Huxley,
died on Feb. 6 at his home in Appleton, Wis. He was 86.
The cause was cardiac arrhythmia, said his daughter Euphemia Blackburn
of Appleton, where Dr. Osmond moved to four years ago.
Dr. Osmond entered the history of the counterculture by supplying
hallucinogenic drugs to Huxley, who ascribed mystical significance to
them in his playfully thoughtful, widely read book "The Doors of
Perception," from which the rock group the Doors took its name.
But in his own view and in that of some other scientists, Dr. Osmond was
most important for inspiring researchers who saw drugs like L.S.D. and
mescaline as potential treatments for psychological ailments. By the
mid-1960's, medical journals had published more than 1,000 papers on the
subject, and Dr. Osmond's work using L.S.D. to treat alcoholics drew
particular interest.
"Osmond was a pioneer," Dr. Charles Grob, a professor of psychiatry at
the University of California School of Medicine, said in an interview.
"He published some fascinating data."
In one study, in the late 1950's, when Dr. Osmond gave L.S.D. to
alcoholics in Alcoholics Anonymous who had failed to quit drinking,
about half had not had a drink after a year.
"No one has ever duplicated the success rate of that study," said Dr.
John H. Halpern, associate director of substance abuse research at the
McLean Hospital Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center in Belmont,
Mass., and an instructor at Harvard.
Dr. Halpern added that no one really tried. Other studies used different
methodology, and the combination of flagrant youthful abuse of
hallucinogens; the propagation of a flashy, otherworldly drug culture by
Timothy Leary; and reports of health dangers from hallucinogens (some of
which Dr. Halpern said were wrong or overstated) eventually doomed
almost all research into psychedelic drugs.
Research on hallucinogens as a treatment for mental ills has re-emerged
in recent years, in small projects at places like the University of
Arizona, the University of South Carolina, the University of California,
Los Angeles, and Harvard. Though such research was always legal,
regulatory, financial and other obstacles had largely ended it.
Huxley's reading about Dr. Osmond's research into similarities between
schizophrenia and mescaline intoxication led him to volunteer to try the
drug. Dr. Osmond agreed, but later wrote that he "did not relish the
possibility, however remote, of being the man who drove Aldous Huxley
mad."
So in 1953, a day Dr. Osmond described 12 years later as "delicious May
morning," he dropped a pinch of silvery white mescaline crystals in a
glass of water and handed it to Huxley, the author of "Brave New World,"
which described a totalitarian society in which people are controlled by
drugs.
"Within two and a half hours I could see that it was acting, and after
three I could see that all would go well," Dr. Osmond wrote. He said he
felt "much relieved."
Dr. Osmond first offered his new term, psychedelic, at a meeting of the
New York Academy of Sciences in 1957. He said the word meant "mind
manifesting" and called it "clear, euphonious and uncontaminated by
other associations."
Huxley had sent Dr. Osmond a rhyme with his own word choice: "To make
this trivial world sublime, take half a gram of phanerothyme." (Thymos
means soul in Greek.)
Rejecting that, Dr. Osmond replied: "To fathom Hell or soar angelic,
just take a pinch of psychedelic."
Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar in their 1979 book "Psychedelic
Drugs Reconsidered" pointed out that by the rules for combining Greek
roots, the word should have been psychodelic. They also said that even
in the late 70's, psychedelic had mostly been replaced by
hallucinogenic, a vocabulary shift they said Dr. Osmond himself made.
In addition to his daughter Euphemia, Dr. Osmond is survived by his
wife, Jane; a second daughter, Helen Swanson of Surrey, England; a son,
Julian, of New Orleans; a sister, Dorothy Gale of Devon, England; and
five grandchildren.
Humphry Fortescue Osmond was born on July 1, 1917, in Surrey. He
intended to be a banker, but attended Guy's Hospital Medical School of
the University of London. In World War II, he was a surgeon-lieutenant
in the Navy, where he trained to become a ship's psychiatrist.
At St. George's Hospital in London, he and a colleague, John R.
Smythies, developed the hypothesis that schizophrenia was a form of
self-intoxication caused by the body's mistakenly producing its own
L.S.D.-like compounds.
When their theory was not embraced by the British mental health
establishment, the two doctors moved to Canada to continue their
research at Saskatchewan Hospital in Weyburn. There, they developed the
idea, not widely accepted, that no one should treat schizophrenics who
had not personally experienced schizophrenia.
"This it is possible to do quite easily by taking mescaline," they
wrote.
Huxley read about this work and volunteered to be studied. The research
also directly inspired other scientists, Dr. Halpern said.
"There was a certain point where almost every major psychiatrist wanted
to do hallucinogen research," Dr. Halpern said, adding that in the early
1960's, it was recommended that psychiatric residents take a dose to
understand psychosis better.
Perhaps the most famous psychedelic researcher was Dr. Oscar Janiger, a
Beverly Hills psychiatrist, who gave L.S.D. to Cary Grant, Jack
Nicholson and, again, Huxley.
Dr. Halpern said that today's understanding of serotonin, a
neurotransmitter important in causing and alleviating depression, grew
out of research into the effect of L.S.D. on the brain. L.S.D. and
serotonin are chemically similar.
Dr. Osmond's most important work involved alcoholism research, done with
Abram Hoffer, a colleague at Weyburn. Originally, they thought L.S.D.
would terrify alcoholics by causing symptoms akin to delirium tremens.
Instead, they found it opened them to radical personal transformation.
"One conception of psychedelic theory for alcoholics is that L.S.D. can
truly accomplish the transcendence that is repeatedly and unsuccessfully
sought in drunkenness," "Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered" suggested in
1979.
Bill Wilson, a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, met Dr. Osmond and
took L.S.D. himself, strongly agreeing that it could help many
alcoholics.
As psychedelic research became increasingly difficult, Dr. Osmond left
Canada to become director of the Bureau of Research in Neurology and
Psychiatry at the New Jersey Psychiatric Institute in Princeton, and
then a professor of psychology at the University of Alabama in
Birmingham. He mainly studied schizophrenia but was disappointed he
could not pursue his research into hallucinogens, Mrs. Blackburn, his
daughter, said.
"I'm sure he was very saddened by it," she said. "It could have helped
millions of people."

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0 -1 0 0
1678 Jim Burns
Re: Humphry Osmond Passing Humphry Osmond Passing 2/24/2004 1:05:00 PM
Hello Group,

Under what circumstances did Bill Wilson withdraw from the LSD experiments? Was it widely known in The Fellowship that Bill and Lois were participating in these experiments?

 

I became curious based on Mel B.'s post that he had found out about Bill's involvement through Ernest Kurtz's book.

 

Thank-you

 

Jim Burns

Orange County, California

 



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0 -1 0 0
1679 Arthur
RE: Humphry Osmond Passing Humphry Osmond Passing 2/25/2004 12:01:00 PM

There are a few
other books that go in to the LSD experiments in more detail than Not God. Mel, by the way, is the modest
and primary author of Pass It On
which covers the matter in some detail.  Francis Hartigan’s book Bill W and Nell Wings book Glad to Have Been There offer information
as well. The info below is a composite extract:


British radio
commentator Gerald Heard introduced Bill W to Aldous Huxley and to the British
psychiatrists Humphry Osmond and Abraham Hoffer (the founders of orthomolecular
psychiatry). Humphrey and Osmond were working with schizophrenic and alcoholic
patients at a Canadian hospital.


Bill W joined with Heard
and Huxley and first took LSD in California on Aug 29, 1956. It was medically supervised
by psychiatrist Sidney Cohen of the Los Angeles VA hospital. The LSD experiments
occurred well prior to the “hippie era.” At the time, LSD was
thought to have psychotherapeutic potential (research was also being funded by
the National Institutes of Health and National Academy of Sciences).


The intent of
Osmond and Hoffer was to induce an experience akin to delirium tremens (DTs) in
hopes that it might shock alcoholics from alcohol.


Among those invited
to experiment with LSD (and who accepted) were Nell Wing, Father Ed Dowling, (possibly)
Sam Shoemaker and Lois Wilson. Marty M and Helen W (Bill’s mistress) and
other AA members participated in NY (under medical supervision by a
psychiatrist from Roosevelt Hospital).


Bill had several
experiments with LSD up to 1959 (perhaps into the 1960’s). Pass It On reports that there were
repercussions within AA over these activities. Lois was a reluctant participant
and claimed to have had no response to the chemical.


Hoffer and Osmond did
research that later influenced Bill, in Dec 1966, to enthusiastically embrace a
campaign to promote vitamin B3 (niacin - nicotinic acid) therapy. It created
Traditions issues within the Fellowship and caused a bit of an uproar.


The General Service
Board report accepted by the 1967 Conference recommended that “to insure
separation of AA from non-AA matters by establishing a procedure whereby all
inquiries pertaining to B-3 and niacin are referred directly to an office in
Pleasantville, NY in order that Bill’s personal interest in these items
not involve the Fellowship.”


Please reference
the following for more details:


Pass It On - pgs 368-376, 388-391


Not God - pgs 136-138


Bill W by Francis Hartigan - pgs 9,
177-179


Glad To Have Been There
- pgs 81-82


Arthur S







From: Jim Burns
[mailto:buddhabilly1964@yahoo.com]

Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004
12:06 PM

To:
AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: [AAHistoryLovers]
Humphry Osmond Passing



 



Hello Group,




Under what circumstances did Bill Wilson withdraw from the LSD
experiments? Was it widely known in The Fellowship that Bill and Lois were
participating in these experiments?




 




I became curious based on Mel B.'s post that he had found out about
Bill's involvement through Ernest Kurtz's book.




 




Thank-you




 




Jim Burns




Orange County, California




 










Do you Yahoo!?

Yahoo!
Mail SpamGuard
- Read only the mail you want.




0 -1 0 0
1680 Lash, William (Bill)
Harper''s 12 & 12 (1953) Harper''s 12 & 12 (1953) 2/26/2004 2:35:00 PM
May 1953 AA Grapevine

 

(Editor's Note: As promised last month, we are pleased to bring you a special advance notice from General Service Headquarters announcing publication 'Bill's new book, "The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions." The Traditions appeared serially in The Grapevine in the past twelve issues.)

After nearly eighteen months of writing, editing, and pre-publication detail, 'The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions" is about to be released. In this new volume, regarded by those familiar with the project as the most important AA publication since the "Big Book" first appeared in 1939, Bill draws upon his long experience, and upon that of other early members, to set forth his profound yet spirited interpretation of the fundamental principles of AA.

Step by Step, Tradition by Tradition - in nearly 200 deeply stirring pages-Bill offers his unique insight into the full meaning of each of AA's tested guideposts…the Twelve Steps through which individuals have achieved sobriety and the Twelve Traditions through which our group structure has been maintained and strengthened.

Advance interest has been so great that arrangements have been made to issue the book in two editions - one for distribution by AA groups, and another for bookstore distribution to the general public by Harper and Brothers. AA retains full control and copyright ownership of both editions through Works Publishing, Inc.

When the book is released for sale in late May or early June, the bookstore price will be $2.75, and our agreement with Harper's is that no books will be retailed for less than that price.

To AA groups only, the book will be sold for $2.25, enabling the groups to realize fifty cents on each copy re-sold to individuals. (Although two-thirds of General Service Conference delegates in a recent poll felt that this book ought to be sold without profit to the groups, to help build an adequate Foundation reserve, neither Bill nor those at Headquarters felt this to be sufficient consent on a matter of such importance; hence the above discount.)

Orders are now being accepted, by mail only, and all shipments will be made as soon after May 10 as possible.

0 -1 0 0
1681 Lash, William (Bill)
Bill D. - AA #3 (1954) Bill D. - AA #3 (1954) 2/27/2004 4:27:00 PM
November 1954 AA Grapevine

 

HE KEPT THE FAITH

IN MEMORIAM

By Bill W.

 

BILL D., AA Number Three, died in Akron Friday night, September 17th, 1954. That is, people say he died, but he really didn't. His spirit and works are today alive in the hearts of uncounted AAs and who can doubt that Bill already dwells in one of those many Mansions in the Great Beyond.

Nineteen years ago last summer, Dr. Bob and I saw him for the first time. Bill lay on his hospital bed and looked at us in wonder.

Two days before this, Dr. Bob had said to me, "If you and I are going to stay sober, we had better get busy." Straightway Bob called Akron's City Hospital and asked for the nurse on the receiving ward. He explained that he and a man from New York had a cure for alcoholism. Did she have an alcoholic customer on whom it could be tried? Knowing Bob of old, she jokingly replied, "Well, Doctor, I suppose you've already tried it yourself?"

Yes, she did have a customer - a dandy. He just arrived in D.T.s. Had blacked the eyes of two nurses, and now they had him strapped down tight. Would this one do? After prescribing medicines, Dr. Bob ordered, "Put him in a private room. We'll be down as soon as he clears up."

We found we had a tough customer in Bill. According to the nurse, he had been a well-known attorney in Akron and a City Councilman. But he had landed in the Akron City Hospital four times in the last six months. Following each release, he got drunk even before he could get home.

So here we were, talking to Bill, the first "man on the bed." We told him about our drinking. We hammered it into him that alcoholism was an obsession of the mind, coupled to an allergy of the body. The obsession, we explained, condemned the alcoholic to drink against his will and the allergy, if he went on drinking, could positively guarantee his insanity or death. How to unhook that fatal compulsion, how to restore the alcoholic to sanity, was, of course, the problem.

Hearing this bad news, Bill's swollen eyes opened wide. Then we took the hopeful tack, we told what we had done: how we got honest with ourselves as never before, how we had talked our problems out with each other in confidence, how we tried to make amends for harm done others, how we had then been miraculously released from the desire to drink as soon as we had humbly asked God, as we understood him, for guidance and protection.

Bill didn't seem too impressed. Looking sadder than ever, he wearily ventured, "Well, this is wonderful for you fellows, but can't be for me. My case is so terrible that I'm scared to go out of this hospital at all. You don't have to sell me religion, either. I was one time a deacon in the church and I still believe in God. But I guess He doesn't believe much in me."

Then Dr. Bob said, "Well. Bill, maybe you'll feel better tomorrow. Wouldn't you like to see us again?"

"Sure I would," replied Bill, "Maybe it won't do any good. But I'd like to see you both, anyhow. You certainly know what you are talking about."

Looking in next day, we found Bill with his wife, Henrietta. Eagerly he pointed to us saying, "These are the fellows I told you about, they are the ones who understand."

Bill then related how he had lain awake nearly all night. Down in the pit of his depression, new hope had somehow been born. The thought flashed thorough his mind, "If they can do it, I can do it." Over and over he said this to himself. Finally, out of his hope, there burst conviction. Now he was sure. Then came a great joy. At length peace stole over him and he slept.

Before our visit was over Bill suddenly turned to his wife and said, "Go fetch my clothes, dear. We're going to get up and get out of here." Bill D. walked out of that hospital a free man, never to drink again. AA's Number One Group dates from that very day.

The force of the great example that Bill set in our pioneering time will last as long as AA itself.

Bill kept the faith - what more could we say?

0 -1 0 0
1682 NMOlson@aol.com
Review of "My Name is Bill" Review of "My Name is Bill" 2/28/2004 2:26:00 AM A friend sent me this review of Susan Cheever's book "My Name is Bill."  The review is written by Carolyn See.  See was a stepdaughter of Wynn Laws, the author of "Freedom From Bondage."  See my short bio of Wynn at this post:



Yahoo! Groups : AAHistoryLovers Messages : Message 135 of 1680



Nancy



Teetotal Devotion



By Carolyn See,



who can be reached at www.carolynsee.com



Friday, February 27, 2004; Page C02



MY NAME IS BILL



Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous



By Susan Cheever



Simon & Schuster. 306 pp. $24



When a wonderful writer with a unique voice undertakes to record the official life of an institutional icon, something interesting is bound to happen. Susan Cheever is exquisitely smart, amazingly curious and a master of the telling image. She can paint a picture of six or eight young married people dining on chicken baked in cream, and in that half a page recall -- and perfectly delineate -- a particular decade in American life. Her father was John Cheever, that literary expert on Northeastern class distinctions, and she has beautifully carried on his legacy.



The elder Cheever was also a hard drinker, until he quit, and his daughter carried on that legacy, too. In her memoirs she often makes the distinction between the rapscallion she was and the sober citizen she became, but again, her work comes to far more than that. She is a perfect, natural storyteller, and that narrative gift is enlivened by an extremely keen mind.



On the other hand, Bill Wilson, "Bill W.," co-founder of Alcoholics

Anonymous, is an iconic figure. His life has traditionally been described in terms befitting a saint. His organization has been concerned with "anonymity" -- which can turn, with a single shift of light, into secrecy.



The devotion of Bill's followers is legendary. This biography, then, is both "life" and an act of devotion. (Even as I write these words I feel my shoulders hunching, because there's probably no group of people more irate on general principle than AA members, who are keen to any sense that their group has been slighted in even the most glancing way.)



Full disclosure: I grew up with a stepmom, Wynn, who had been fully prepared to marry Bill. He disengaged himself but put her "story" in the second edition of "Alcoholics Anonymous," in which the accounts of recovering alcoholics were included for the first time. She married my dad, her fifth husband, as a sort of consolation prize. Wynn was a wonderful woman, but I saw AA then from the point of view of a prissy, still-sober teenager, watching members bicker about whether taking an aspirin for a headache constituted a "slip," listening to stories of their friendships with a Personal God -- "I told God to have you call me today," my stepmother would say after I moved out of the house. (And what could I possibly say? Maybe she had, and maybe He did.) But they didn't worry much about sex.



The first two parts, "A Rural Childhood" and "Drinking," seem to me to be absolutely brilliant. Bill Wilson was born in a Vermont town, to a family not quite yet up in the middle class. Cheever knows this material inside and out; she, again, is a scholar of the exquisite, merciless permutations of class. Bill suffered greatly.



Cheever perfectly captures the undereducated, inferior-feeling young World War I recruit discovering pretty girls and iridescent cocktails; becoming, in his mind at least, a sophisticated man of the world -- as long as he has a drink in his hand. Then the drinking gets out of hand, and the Great Depression hits (together with his own personal depression). Bill's wife hangs on for dear life. It's such an American story. Cheever tells it brilliantly.



Part 3, "Alcoholics Anonymous," is an entirely different story, told by another sort of writer. It's a tale like "The Boston Tea Party," or "How Jazz Came Up the River from New Orleans." It's good -- and good for us. AA is not a religion, the author assures the reader repeatedly, even though Bill and AA's other co-founder, "Dr. Bob" Smith, spent a lot of time on their knees. Men sometimes got disillusioned with Bill and went their own separate ways, the author tells us as well. But what really happened? What

were their complaints? Did it have something to do with sex?



Though he was married for more than 50 years, Bill W. was reputed to have had many girlfriends. But "some people believe," Cheever writes, "that none of it is true." She devotes less time to his womanizing than to his chain-smoking, and mentions only two women at any length. (One safely a lesbian; another one, coincidentally, named Wynn.) She then includes a shamefaced page or two on sexual possibilities. But there's no "evidence."



Again, what an American story! What a Clintonian, "Death of a Salesman" story.



So I want to say for the record (and you won't find it on "Grapevine," or any other AA publication) that early AA, at least on the West Coast, was full of raucous men and women bursting with the physical energy that drying out brings. I speak now for Wynn (the Wynn I knew), who wrote "Freedom From Bondage" in the Book, and who, though she had five husbands, considered the

high point of her life her amorous connection to Bill.



Wynn stood on our front steps one bright Christmas morning enthusiastically kissing a different handsome AA swain as others crowded past them, pushing inside to a party, where they would drink tomato juice and laugh like banshees, delirious with joy. They had found God (as they understood Him), and as long as they stayed away from booze and aspirin, they were okay; they

were in the clear. They weren't ashamed of sex; they gloried in it.



I know. Even the very brilliant and accomplished Susan Cheever couldn't take on this material, which is in no way "conference-approved literature." The second half of this very fine book is burdened by the "official story."



© 2004 The Washington Post Company



0 -1 0 0
1685 Lash, William (Bill)
AA Grapevine Announcement AA Grapevine Announcement 3/1/2004 11:30:00 AM
Dear Grapevine Web Friend:

The entire AA Grapevine Digital Archive continues to be built on our website and is

scheduled to launch June 2004, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the

magazine. As the search function is being developed and the articles (over 12,000

of them) are being proofread, many little gems land on my desk.

From February, 1963: