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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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1588 NMOlson@aol.com
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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1589 NMOlson@aol.com
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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1592 NMOlson@aol.com
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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1593 Lash, William (Bill)
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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1594 NMOlson@aol.com
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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1595 t
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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1596 t
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."


0 -1 0 0
1597 NMOlson@aol.com
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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1598 NMOlson@aol.com
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.


0 -1 0 0
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 -----


From: timwarner1990 twarner@transcender.com


To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


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 -----


From: NMOlson@aol.com


To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


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







Yahoo! Groups Links














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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%


(Message over 64 KB, truncated)

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


 




Do you Yahoo!?


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!?










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





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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:


"When rivalry threatens to cause an open fight between two Eskimo men, they use


song instead of spears. They revile each other extemporaneously and the


wittiest is declared the winner and a fight is averted. Psychologist Dr. Glenn


says we can change the direction of an action started in the mind. If, for


instance, you are all set to stage a fancy tantrum, you can sidetrack that


action by song. A married couple developed a tendency to indulge in spats. They


were made to promise, at the first sign of rising temperature, to sing the round


"Row Your Boat" picking up speed as they went along, until out of breath. The


most violent rage can be sidetracked by a hearty song."


 


Maybe we AAs aren't as likely to break into song as we are apt to commence


recital of the Serenity Prayer. From July 1957, someone had these thoughts:


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change . . .


"To be aware that the irritations and disappointments of each day are not a


perverse plot aimed at me by the world. To understand that this world is not


operated for my benefit; that my importance and its debt to me exist in direct


ratio to my contributions and my adjustment to it."


Courage to change the things I can . . .


"To eliminate from my environment and its associations things I know to be


harmful, attitudes I know to be insupportable and, no matter how well I thought


I argued them, reasons which had no logic."


And the wisdom to know the difference . . ..


"To understand, with neither prejudice, self-justification nor pity, why changes


are necessary - and which changes will give my life meaning - without alcohol."


J.K., Los Angeles, Calif.


Check out the latest cartoon for your one-liner contribution to Grapevine


history:


http://www.aagrapevine.org/Rule.html


Also, exciting news: In early March, the website will have a new look. Not only


will you get the Rule #62 cartoon, but a joke from each issue, and if he is


available, our very own Victor E. So be sure to come back and visit.


That's all for now.


 


Best Regards,


The Grapevine Web Manager


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1686 Lash, William (Bill)
Herbert Spencer Biography Herbert Spencer Biography 3/1/2004 12:18:00 PM

On Page 568 of the Fourth Edition Big Book it says the following: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." - Herbert Spencer


 


 


 


Herbert Spencer Biography





          British philosopher and sociologist, Herbert Spencer was a major figure in the intellectual life of the Victorian era. He was one of the principal proponents of evolutionary theory in the mid nineteenth century, and his reputation at the time rivaled that of Charles Darwin. Spencer was initially best known for developing and applying evolutionary theory to philosophy, psychology and the study of society -- what he called his "synthetic philosophy" (see his A System of Synthetic Philosophy, 1862-93). Today, however, he is usually remembered in philosophical circles for his political thought, primarily for his defense of natural rights and for criticisms of utilitarian positivism, and his views have been invoked by 'libertarian' thinkers such as Robert Nozick.



Table of Contents
Life
Method
Human Nature
Religion
Moral Philosophy
Political Philosophy
Assessment 
Bibliography


 



Life


 


          Spencer was born in Derby, England on 27 April 1820, the eldest of nine children, but the only one to survive infancy. He was the product of an undisciplined, largely informal education. His father, George, was a school teacher, but an unconventional man, and Spencer's family were Methodist 'Dissenters,' with Quaker sympathies. From an early age, Herbert was strongly influenced by the individualism and the anti-establishment and anti-clerical views of his father, and the Benthamite radical views of his uncle Thomas. Indeed, Spencer's early years showed a good deal of resistance to authority and independence. 


A person of eclectic interests, Spencer eventually trained as a civil engineer for railways but, in his early 20s, turned to journalism and political writing. He was initially an advocate of many of the causes of philosophic radicalism and some of his ideas (e.g., the definition of 'good' and 'bad' in terms of their pleasurable or painful consequences, and his adoption of a version of the 'greatest happiness principle') show similarities to utilitarianism. 


From 1848 to 1853, Spencer worked as a writer and subeditor for The Economist financial weekly and, as a result, came into contact with a number of political controversialists such as George Henry Lewes, Thomas Carlyle, Lewes' future lover George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans [1819-1880])--with whom Spencer had himself had a lengthy (though purely intellectual) association--and T.H. Huxley (1825-1895). Despite the diversity of opinions to which he was exposed, Spencer's unquestioning confidence in his own views was coupled with a stubbornness and a refusal to read authors with whom he disagreed. 


In his early writings, Spencer defended a number of radical causes-- particularly on land nationalization, the extent to which economics should reflect a policy of laissez-faire, and the place and role of women in society--though he came to abandon most of these causes later in his life. 


In 1851 Spencer's first book, Social Statics, or the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness appeared. ('Social statics'--the term was borrowed from Auguste Comte--deals with the conditions of social order, and was preliminary to a study of human progress and evolution--i.e., 'social dynamics.') In this work, Spencer presents an account of the development of human freedom and a defense of individual liberties, based on a (Lamarckian-style) evolutionary theory. 


Upon the death of his uncle Thomas, in 1853, Spencer received a small inheritance which allowed him to devote himself to writing without depending on regular employment. 


In 1855, Spencer published his second book, The Principles of Psychology. As in Social Statics, Spencer saw Bentham and Mill as major targets, though in the present work he focussed on criticisms of the latter's associationism. (Spencer later revised this work, and Mill came to respect some of Spencer's arguments.) The Principles of Psychology was much less successful than Social Statics, however, and about this time Spencer began to experience serious (predominantly mental) health problems that affected him for the rest of his life. This led him to seek privacy, and he increasingly avoided appearing in public. Although he found that, because of his ill health, he could write for only a few hours each day, he embarked upon a lengthy project--the nine-volume A System of Synthetic Philosophy (1862- 93)--which provided a systematic account of his views in biology, sociology, ethics and politics. This 'synthetic philosophy' brought together a wide range of data from the various natural and social sciences and organized it according to the basic principles of his evolutionary theory. 


Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy was initially available only through private subscription, but he was also a contributor to the leading intellectual magazines and newspapers of his day. His fame grew with his publications, and he counted among his admirers both radical thinkers and prominent scientists, including John Stuart Mill and the physicist, John Tyndall. In the 1860s and 1870s, for example, the influence of Spencer's evolutionary theory was on a par with that of Charles Darwin. 


In 1883 Spencer was elected a corresponding member of philosophical section of the French academy of moral and political sciences. His work was also particularly influential in the United States, where his book, The Study of Sociology, was at the center of a controversy (1879-80) at Yale University between a professor, William Graham Sumner, and the University's president, Noah Porter. Spencer's influence extended into the upper echelons of American society and it has been claimed that, in 1896, "three justices of the Supreme Court were avowed 'Spencerians'." His reputation was at its peak in the 1870s and early 1880s, and he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1902. Spencer, however, declined most of the honors he was given. 


Spencer's health significantly deteriorated in the last two decades of his life, and he died in relative seclusion, following a long illness, on December 8, 1903. 


Within his lifetime, some one million copies of his books had been sold, his work had been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian, and his ideas were popular in a number of other countries such as Poland (e.g., through the work of the positivist, Wladyslaw Kozlowski). Nevertheless, by the end of his life, his political views were no longer as popular as they had once been, and the dominant currents in liberalism allowed for a more interventionist state. 
 
Method
 


Spencer's method is, broadly speaking, scientific and empirical, and it was influenced significantly by the positivism of Auguste Comte. Because of the empirical character of scientific knowledge and because of his conviction that that which is known--biological life--is in a process of evolution, Spencer held that knowledge is subject to change. Thus, Spencer writes, "In science the important thing is to modify and change one's ideas as science advances." As scientific knowledge was primarily empirical, however, that which was not 'perceivable' and could not be empirically tested could not be known. (This emphasis on the knowable as perceivable led critics to charge that Spencer fails to distinguish perceiving and conceiving.) Nevertheless, Spencer was not a skeptic. 


Spencer's method was also synthetic. The purpose of each science or field of investigation was to accumulate data and to derive from these phenomena the basic principles or laws or 'forces' which gave rise to them. To the extent that such principles conformed to the results of inquiries or experiments in the other sciences, one could have explanations that were of a high degree of certainty. Thus, Spencer was at pains to show how the evidence and conclusions of each of the sciences is relevant to, and materially affected by, the conclusions of the others. 
 
Human Nature
 


In the first volume of A System of Synthetic Philosophy, entitled First Principles (1862), Spencer argued that all phenomena could be explained in terms of a lengthy process of evolution in things. This 'principle of continuity' was that homogeneous organisms are unstable, that organisms develop from simple to more complex and heterogeneous forms, and that such evolution constituted a norm of progress. This account of evolution provided a complete and 'predetermined' structure for the kind of variation noted by Darwin--and Darwin's respect for Spencer was significant. 


But while Spencer held that progress was a necessity, it was 'necessary' only overall, and there is no teleological element in his account of this process. In fact, it was Spencer, and not Darwin, who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest," though Darwin came to employ the expression in later editions of the Origin of Species. (That this view was both ambiguous --for it was not clear whether one had in mind the 'fittest' individual or species--and far from universal was something that both figures, however, failed to address.) 


Spencer's understanding of evolution included the Lamarckian theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics and emphasized the direct influence of external agencies on the organism's development. He denied (as Darwin had argued) that evolution was based on the characteristics and development of the organism itself and on a simple principle of natural selection. 


Spencer held that he had evidence for this evolutionary account from the study of biology (see Principles of Biology, 2 vols. [1864-7]). He argued that there is a gradual specialization in things--beginning with biological organisms--towards self-sufficiency and individuation. Because human nature can be said to improve and change, then, scientific--including moral and political-- views that rested on the assumption of a stable human nature (such as that presupposed by many utilitarians) had to be rejected. 'Human nature' was simply "the aggregate of men's instincts and sentiments" which, over time, would become adapted to social existence. Spencer still recognized the importance of understanding individuals in terms of the 'whole' of which they were 'parts,' but these parts were mutually dependent, not subordinate to the organism as a whole. They had an identity and value on which the whole depended--unlike, Spencer thought, that portrayed by Hobbes. 


For Spencer, then, human life was not only on a continuum with, but was also the culmination of, a lengthy process of evolution. Even though he allowed that there was a parallel development of mind and body, without reducing the former to the latter, he was opposed to dualism and his account of mind and of the functioning of the central nervous system and the brain was mechanistic. 


Although what characterized the development of organisms was the 'tendency to individuation' (Social Statics [1851], p. 436), this was coupled with a natural inclination in beings to pursue whatever would preserve their lives. When one examines human beings, this natural inclination was reflected in the characteristic of rational self-interest. Indeed, this tendency to pursue one's individual interests is such that, in primitive societies, at least, Spencer believed that a prime motivating factor in human beings coming together was the threat of violence and war. 


Paradoxically, perhaps, Spencer held an 'organic' view of society. Starting with the characteristics of individual entities, one could deduce, using laws of nature, what would promote or provide life and human happiness. He believed that social life was an extension of the life of a natural body, and that social 'organisms' reflected the same (Lamarckian) evolutionary principles or laws as biological entities did. The existence of such 'laws,' then, provides a basis for moral science and for determining how individuals ought to act and what would constitute human happiness. 
 


Religion
 


As a result of his view that knowledge about phenomena required empirical demonstration, Spencer held that we cannot know the nature of reality in itself and that there was, therefore, something that was fundamentally "unknowable." (This included the complete knowledge of the nature of space, time, force, motion, and substance.) 


Since, Spencer claimed, we cannot know anything non-empirical, we cannot know whether there is a God or what its character might be. Though Spencer was a severe critic of religion and religious doctrine and practice--these being the appropriate objects of empirical investigation and assessment--his general position on religion was agnostic. Theism, he argued, cannot be adopted because there is no means to acquire knowledge of the divine, and there would be no way of testing it. But while we cannot know whether religious beliefs are true, neither can we know that (fundamental) religious beliefs are false. 
 


Moral Philosophy
 


Spencer saw human life on a continuum with, but also as the culmination of, a lengthy process of evolution, and he held that human society reflects the same evolutionary principles as biological organisms do in their development. Society--and social institutions such as the economy--can, he believed, function without external control, just as the digestive system or a lower organism does (though, in arguing this, Spencer failed to see the fundamental differences between 'higher' and 'lower' levels of social organization). For Spencer, all natural and social development reflected 'the universality of law'. Beginning with the 'laws of life', the conditions of social existence, and the recognition of life as a fundamental value, moral science can deduce what kinds of laws promote life and produce happiness. Spencer's ethics and political philosophy, then, depends on a theory of 'natural law,' and it is because of this that, he maintained, evolutionary theory could provide a basis for a comprehensive political and even philosophical theory. 


Given the variations in temperament and character among individuals, Spencer recognized that there were differences in what happiness specifically consists in (Social Statics [1851], p. 5). In general, however, 'happiness' is the surplus of pleasure over pain, and 'the good' is what contributes to the life and development of the organism, or--what is much the same--what provides this surplus of pleasure over pain. Happiness, therefore, reflects the complete adaptation of an individual organism to its environment--or, in other words, 'happiness' is that which an individual human being naturally seeks. 


For human beings to flourish and develop, Spencer held that there must be as few artificial restrictions as possible, and it is primarily freedom that he, contra Bentham, saw as promoting human happiness. While progress was an inevitable characteristic of evolution, it was something to be achieved only through the free exercise of human faculties (see Social Statics). 


Society, however, is (by definition, for Spencer) an aggregate of individuals, and change in society could take place only once the individual members of that society had changed and developed (The Study of Sociology, pp. 366-367). Individuals are, therefore, 'primary,' individual development was 'egoistic,' and associations with others largely instrumental and contractual. 


Still, Spencer thought that human beings exhibited a natural sympathy and concern for one another; there is a common character and there are common interests among human beings that they eventually come to recognize as necessary not only for general, but for individual development. (This reflects, to an extent, Spencer's organicism.) Nevertheless, Spencer held that 'altruism' and compassion beyond the family unit were sentiments that came to exist only recently in human beings. 


Spencer maintained that there was a natural mechanism--an 'innate moral sense'--in human beings by which they come to arrive at certain moral intuitions and from which laws of conduct might be deduced (The Principles of Ethics, I [1892], p. 26). Thus one might say that Spencer held a kind of 'moral sense theory' (Social Statics, pp. 23, 19).  (Later in his life, Spencer described these 'principles' of moral sense and of sympathy as the 'accumulated effects of instinctual or inherited experiences.') Such a mechanism of moral feeling was, Spencer believed, a manifestation of his general idea of the 'persistence of force.' As this persistence of force was a principle of nature, and could not be created artificially, Spencer held that no state or government could promote moral feeling any more than it could promote the existence of physical force. But while Spencer insisted that freedom was the power to do what one desired, he also held that what one desired and willed was wholly determined by "an infinitude of previous experiences" (The Principles of Psychology, pp. 500-502.) Spencer saw this analysis of ethics as culminating in an 'Absolute Ethics,' the standard for which was the production of pure pleasure--and he held that the application of this standard would produce, so far as possible, the greatest amount of pleasure over pain in the long run. 


Spencer's views here were rejected by Mill and Hartley. Their principal objection was that Spencer's account of natural 'desires' was inadequate because it failed to provide any reason why one ought to have the feelings or preferences one did. 


There is, however, more to Spencer's ethics than this. As individuals become increasingly aware of their individuality, they also become aware of the individuality of others and, thereby, of the law of equal freedom. This 'first principle' is that 'Every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man' (Social Statics, p. 103). One's 'moral sense,' then, led to the recognition of the existence of individual rights, and one can identify strains of a rights-based ethic in Spencer's writings. 


Spencer's views clearly reflect a fundamentally 'egoist' ethic, but he held that rational egoists would, in the pursuit of their own self interest, not conflict with one another. Still, to care for someone who has no direct relation to oneself--such as supporting the un- and under employed--is, therefore, not only not in one's self interest, but encourages laziness and works against evolution. In this sense, at least, social inequity was explained, if not justified, by evolutionary principles. 
 
Political Philosophy
 


Despite his egoism and individualism, Spencer held that life in community was important. Because the relation of parts to one another was one of mutual dependency, and because of the priority of the individual 'part' to the collective, society could not do or be anything other than the sum of its units. This view is evident, not only in his first significant major contribution to political philosophy, Social Statics, but in his later essays--some of which appear in later editions of The Man versus the State. 


As noted earlier, Spencer held an 'organic' view of society, Nevertheless, as also noted above, he argued that the natural growth of an organism required 'liberty'--which enabled him (philosophically) to justify individualism and to defend the existence of individual human rights. Because of his commitment to the 'law of equal freedom' and his view that law and the state would of necessity interfere with it, he insisted on an extensive policy of laissez faire. For Spencer, 'liberty' "is to be measured, not by the nature of the government machinery he lives under [...] but by the relative paucity of the restraints it imposes on him" (The Man versus the State [1940], p. 19); the genuine liberal seeks to repeal those laws that coerce and restrict individuals from doing as they see fit. Spencer followed earlier liberalism, then, in maintaining that law is a restriction of liberty and that the restriction of liberty, in itself, is evil and justified only where it is necessary to the preservation of liberty. The only function of government was to be the policing and protection of individual rights. Spencer maintained that education, religion, the economy, and care for the sick or indigent were not to be undertaken by the state. 


Law and public authority have as their general purpose, therefore, the administration of justice (equated with freedom and the protection of rights).  These issues became the focus of Spencer's later work in political philosophy and, particularly, in The Man versus the State. Here, Spencer contrasts early, classical liberalism with the liberalism of the 19th century, arguing that it was the latter, and not the former, that was a "new Toryism"--the enemy of individual progress and liberty.  It is here as well that Spencer develops an argument for the claim that individuals have rights, based on a 'law of life'. (Interestingly, Spencer acknowledges that rights are not inherently moral, but become so only by one's recognition that for them to be binding on others the rights of others must be binding on oneself--this is, in other words, a consequence of the 'law of equal freedom.') He concluded that everyone had basic rights to liberty 'in virtue of their constitutions' as human beings (Social Statics, p. 77), and that such rights were essential to social progress. (These rights included rights to life, liberty, property, free speech, equal rights of women, universal suffrage, and the right 'to ignore the state'--though Spencer reversed himself on some of these rights in his later writings.) Thus, the industrious--those of character, but with no commitment to existing structures except those which promoted such industry (and, therefore, not religion or patriotic institutions)--would thrive. Nevertheless, all industrious individuals, Spencer believed, would end up being in fundamental agreement. 


Not surprisingly, then, Spencer maintained that the arguments of the early utilitarians on the justification of law and authority and on the origin of rights were fallacious. He also rejected utilitarianism and its model of distributive justice because he held that it rested on an egalitarianism that ignored desert and, more fundamentally, biological need and efficiency. Spencer further maintained that the utilitarian account of the law and the state was also inconsistent---that it tacitly assumed the existence of claims or rights that have both moral and legal weight independently of the positive law. And, finally, Spencer argues as well against parliamentary, representative government, seeing it as exhibiting a virtual "divine right"---i.e., claiming that "the majority in an assembly has power that has no bounds." Spencer maintained that government action requires not only individual consent, but that the model for political association should be that of a "joint stock company", where the 'directors' can never act for a certain good except on the explicit wishes of its 'shareholders'. When parliaments attempt to do more than protect the rights of their citizens by, for example, 'imposing' a conception of the good--be it only on a minority--Spencer suggested that they are no different from tyrannies. 
 
Assessment
 


Spencer has been frequently accused of inconsistency; one finds variations in his conclusions concerning land nationalization and reform, the rights of children and the extension of suffrage to women, and the role of government. Moreover, in recent studies of Spencer's theory of social justice, there is some debate whether justice is based primarily on desert or on entitlement, whether the 'law of equal freedom' is a moral imperative or a descriptive natural law, and whether the law of equal freedom is grounded on rights, utility, or, ultimately, on 'moral sense'. Nevertheless, Spencer's work has frequently been seen as a model for later 'libertarian' thinkers, such as Robert Nozick, and he continues to be read--and is often invoked--by 'libertarians' on issues concerning the function of government and the fundamental character of individual rights. 
 
Bibliography
Primary Sources:


The Proper Sphere of Government. London: W. Brittain, 1843. 
Social Statics. London: Chapman, 1851. 
The Principles of Psychology. London: Longmans, 1855; 2nd edn., 2 vols. London: Williams and Norgate, 1870-2; 3rd edn., 2 vols. (1890). [A System of Synthetic Philosophy ; v. 4-5] 
First Principles. London: Williams and Norgate, 1862; 6th edn., revised, 1904. [A system of Synthetic Philosophy ; v. 1] 
Principles of Biology, 2 vols. London: Williams and Norgate, 1864, 1867; 2nd edn., 1898-99).[A System of Synthetic Philosophy ; v. 2-3] 
The Study of Sociology. New York: D. Appleton, 1874, [c1873] 
The Principles of Sociology. 3 vols.  London : Williams and Norgate, 1882-1898. [A System of Synthetic Philosophy, v. 6-8] CONTENTS: Vol. 1: pt. 1. The data of sociology. pt. 2. The inductions of sociology. pt. 3. The domestic relations; Vol. 2: pt. 4. Ceremonial institutions. pt. 5. Political institutions; v. 3: pt. 6. Ecclesiastical institutions. pt. 7. Professional institutions. pt. 8. Industrial institutions.] 
The Man versus the State: containing "The new Toryism," "The coming slavery," "The sins of legislators," and "The great political superstition," London : Williams & Norgate, 1884; with additional essays and an introduction by Albert Jay Nock. [adds "From freedom to bondage," and "Over- legislation"] Intro. A.J. Nock.  Caldwell, ID: Caxton, 1940. 
Spencer, Herbert. The Factors of Organic Evolution. London: Williams and Norgate, 1887. 
Spencer, Herbert. The Principles of Ethics. 2 vols. London: Williams and Northgate, 1892. [A system of synthetic philosophy ; v. 9-10] 
An Autobiography. 2 v. London: Williams and Norgate, 1904. 
Secondary Sources:


Andreski, S. Herbert Spencer: Structure, Function and Evolution. London, 1972. 
Duncan, David. (ed.) The Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer. London: Methuen, 1908. 
Gray, T.S. The Political Philosophy of Herbert Spencer, Aldershot: Avebury, 1996. 
Jones, G. Social Darwinism and English Thought: The Interaction between Biological and Social Theory. Brighton, 1980. 
Kennedy, James G. Herbert Spencer. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1978. 
Miller, David. Social Justice. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976. Ch. 6 
Paxton, N.L. George Eliot and Herbert Spencer: Feminism, Evolutionism, and the Reconstruction of Gender. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991. 
Peel, J.D.Y. Herbert Spencer: The Evolution of a Sociologist. London, 1971. 
Ritchie, David G. The Principles of State Interference: Four Essays on the Political Philosophy of Mr Herbert Spencer, J.S. Mill and T.H. Green. London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1891. 
Taylor, M.W. Men versus the State: Herbert Spencer and late Victorian Liberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. 
Wiltshire, David. The Social and Political Thought of Herbert Spencer. New York: Oxford, 1978.




0 -1 0 0
1687 Joanna Whitney
Living Sober Living Sober 3/3/2004 9:30:00 AM


Hi Group --



I am newly returning after a long stay away and glad to see you are all still

here. I am

really curious about the origins of the publication Living Sober and what

conference

approved it.



Anybody?



Thanks,



Joanna


0 -1 0 0
1688 victoria callaway
AA Literature at Unity retreats AA Literature at Unity retreats 3/3/2004 9:20:00 AM


Can anyone clarify if some piece of AA literature was written at a

Nity Village retreat and what piece that is. this remark was made at

a meeting my sponsor was at and she wanted me to find out. Thanks


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Thanks to the two eagle-eyed members who spotted errors in the original list posted March 1.  One of these days I'll get it right the first time.
 
Nancy
 
March 1:
1939 - Readers Digest failed to write promised article on AA.
1941 - Saturday Evening Post article by Jack Alexander created national sensation. AA membership quadrupled in one year from 2000 to 8000.
 
March 3:
1947 - Nell Wing, Bill's secretary and first archivist of AA, began her career at Alcoholic Foundation Office. 
March 4:
1891 - Lois Wilson was born. 

March 5:
1945 - Time Magazine reported Detroit radio broadcasts of AA members.
 
March 9:
1941 - Wichita Beacon reported AA member from NY who wanted to form a group in Wichita, Kansas.
 
March 11:
1947 - A Priest in St. Paul, Minnesota, founded Calix International. Alcoholics in his parish met after Saturday morning Mass to discuss the readings for the upcoming Sunday and how their faith melded with the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

March 12:
1940 - Ebby Thatcher, Bill Wilson's boyhood friend and sponsor, was reported sober again.
 
March 14:
1941 - South Orange, NJ, AA held an anniversary dinner at the Hotel Suburban with Bill Wilson as the guest speaker.
 
March 15:
1941 - 1st AA group was formed in New Haven, Connecticut.

March 16:
1940: Bill moved the Alcoholic Foundation office to 30 Vesey St., NY. (30 Vesey St., NY, was almost destroyed on September 11, 2001.)

March 18:
1951 - Cliff W. was elected 1st delegate from Southern California.

March 21:
1881 - Anne Ripley, Dr. Bob's wife, was born.
1966 - Ebby Thatcher, Bill Wilson's sponsor, died sober.

March 22:
1951 - Dr. William Duncan Silkworth died at Towns Hospital.
1984 - Clarence Snyder, founder of Cleveland AA and author of "Home Brewmeister," died at 81, 46 years sober.
 
March 23:
1936 - Bill & Lois Wilson visited Fitz Mayo, "Our Southern Friend," in Maryland. 
1941 - Sybil C.'s sobriety date.  She was the first woman to enter AA west of the Mississippi.
 
March 25:
1965 - Richmond Walker, author of "Twenty-Four Hours a Day" book, died at age 72, almost 23 years sober.
 
March 29:
1943 - The Charleston Mail, WV, reported that Bill Wilson had given a talk at St. John's Parish House.
 
March 31:
1947 - 1st AA group was formed in London, England. 
 
Other events in March, for which I have no exact date:
 
1942 - 1st Prison AA Group formed at San Quentin.
1945 - March of Time film was produced and supervised by E.M. Jellinek. 
1946 - The Jefferson Barracks AA Group in Missouri was formed.  It is thought to be the first ever in a military installation.

NMOlson@aol.com
Significant March dates in AA History - Revised Significant March dates in AA History - Revised 3/3/2004 6:51:00 AM 0 -1 0 0
1690 Mel Barger
Re: Living Sober Living Sober 3/3/2004 2:16:00 PM


Hi Joanna,

I don't know what conference approved of Living Sober but I do know that

it was written by Barry Leach, now deceased. Barry was very devoted to Lois

Wilson---somewhat like a surrogate son---and even accompanied her on trips

when she was very elderly. I took a picture of Barry and Lois greeting Jack

Bailey (the famous Queen for a Day man) when he spoke in Akron in 1978. I

wish I could find a portrait of Barry for use in my Power Point

presentations.

Mel Barger

~~~~~~~~

Mel Barger

melb@accesstoledo.com

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

From: "Joanna Whitney" <joannagw@earthlink.net>

To: <AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com>

Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004 9:30 AM

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Living Sober





> Hi Group --

>

> I am newly returning after a long stay away and glad to see you are all

still here. I am

> really curious about the origins of the publication Living Sober and what

conference

> approved it.

>

> Anybody?

>

> Thanks,

>

> Joanna

>

>

>

>

>

>

> Yahoo! Groups Links

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> __________________________________________________________

> This message was scanned by GatewayDefender

> 11:43:10 AM ET - 3/3/2004

>


0 -1 0 0
1691 Jim Blair
Re: Living Sober Living Sober 3/4/2004 12:12:00 AM


Mel wrote

> I don't know what conference approved of Living Sober but I do know that

it was written by Barry Leach, now deceased.



This is from the unpublished history manuscript by Bob P.



"Living Sober," the other booklet, published in 1975, had a more tortuous

history. Around 1968, there were discussions by the Board of the need for a

pamphlet for sober old-timers, and the need to point out "traps" or "danger

signals." Members of the Literature Committee and others were asked to

submit their ideas. Out of this grew a specific proposal for a piece of

literature to be developed around the topic, "How We Stay Sober." It was in

outline form by October 1969, and was assigned to a professional writer on

the staff of a prestigious national magazine. After nearly two years of

work, he submitted a complete draft.. Which everyone agreed would not do at

all. They felt it needed such drastic revision that it should be started

again from scratch by a new author. Barry L., a seasoned, skillful freelance

writer/consultant for G.S.O. was given the task. With Bob H., general

manager of G.S.O., he negotiated a flat fee for the project. After four and

a half years of organizing material and writing . and probably some

procrastinating, as well, Barry came up with a simple, intensely practical,

charmingly written manual on how to enjoy a happy, productive life without

drinking. It was not spiritual and contained nothing about getting sober;

but it was chock-full of the kind of advice and suggestions a newcomer might

get from a super-sponsor. ("A.A.'s First Aid Kit" was Bayard's name for it.)

And it was written in a style unlike any other A.A. literature: breezy,

impertinent, colloquial and informal. "Living Sober" proved to be hugely

popular, and after it had sold nearly a million copies, Barry L. felt he

should have been compensated more generously and should receive some sort of

royalty. He sent a letter to all past Trustees and G.S.O. staff members with

whom he was acquainted, to advance his claim. The AAWS Board and the General

Service Board considered his case, but declined to take action. He then

threatened legal recourse, but perhaps realizing the weakness of his case,

never followed through.


0 -1 0 0
1695 NMOlson@aol.com
Marty Mann and Bill Wilson, 1956, Compiled from Previous Posts Marty Mann and Bill Wilson, 1956, Compiled from Previous Posts 3/8/2004 7:54:00 AM

 







In 1956, Marty Mann had the pleasure of introducing Bill Wilson at the annual meeting of the National Committee on Alcoholism. This Committee was later to become the National Council on Alcoholism (now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence).

Bill's talk, while it included his usual "bedtime story," was also a call to cooperation and understanding and support of all those who are trying to help the still suffering alcoholic.

Nancy

National Committee on Alcoholism
Annual Meeting
Hotel Statler, New York City, N.Y.
March 30, 1956

Introduction by the National Director of the National Committee on Alcoholism, Mrs. Marty Mann.

Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I had to have that formal beginning to find out if I had a voice. This moment is of such import to me that I have been fearful for a week that I would not be able to speak.


It's a moment I've been waiting for a long time. The National Committee on Alcoholism was founded on a proof. Unless there had been proof that alcoholics could recover there could have been no National Committee on Alcoholism. That proof was available by 1944, the year of the founding of
the Committee because of what Alcoholics Anonymous had been doing for nine years. And the work that Alcoholics Anonymous had been doing for nine years is very largely due to a recovery of an individual. Everything has to start somewhere.

We no longer look upon it as a divine plan, I think we should as divine plans require instruments, instruments that we can see and touch and hear, that can reach us. Such an instrument was found in a man who had suffered deeply and terribly from alcoholism and he was able to recover and he discovered that in order to keep his recovery he had to share it, he had to pass it on. I like to describe this as the discovery of a constructive chain reaction.

Something was set in motion back in November 1934, that was to become one of the great sources for good in our time. I was very fortunate in coming in contact with this force when I most desperately needed it. It was not easy for me to change the pattern of my living from a negative one to a constructive one and I had a little trouble from time to time in the beginning in attempting my new life.

The most seriously difficulty I had was met by this same man who sought me out and dug me out and whom I couldn't refuse to see and when he spoke to me he said something that I'll never forget. Something that is having is
culmination here today. He asked me if I wanted to stop drinking. I said, "Yes." He put his arm around me and he said, "I'm glad because we have a long way to go together."

Neither of us knew back in 1939 how far that road led or where it was going to lead but we are still traveling that road together and it's lead up all the way, up and on.

I believe that the contribution that was made by this instrument, if you like, is a contribution past description, past telling. I believe that it was largely through that contribution which produced living proof that we have been able to arrive at a meeting such as today where we have been able to bring together representatives of all the professional disciplines who are happily and gladly working in this field as this wasn't always true fifteen years ago. But we were able to get great names in medicine and psychiatry and social work and psychology and in public health to be present at a meeting like this, to take part in what we are doing, to join hands with that little band of recovered alcoholics to help lick this problem.

Alcoholics Anonymous couldn't do it alone. We couldn't expect any other victims of a particular affliction to carry the whole burden of doing something about that particular disease and we shouldn't expect it in this field. To lick a problem as complex, as vast and as devastating as alcoholism requires the cooperation of every one of us, of every area of our life. To have that cooperation we had to have evidence that it could produce them. That evidence exists in the growing ranks of Alcoholics Anonymous and that truth exists because back in 1934, one man got sober and allowed himself to be used as the great instrument in spreading this word of hope. In my book he is one of the greatest men of our times. I give you my friend, my sponsor, the reason why I am here, Bill.

Address by Bill W.


Well, folks, our world is certainly a world of contrast, it was only a few year ago that Westbrook Pegler wrote a piece in which he described Dr. Bob and me as "the wet brain founders of Alcoholics Anonymous." But very seriously and very happily, too, I think that the A.A.'s present in and out of this Committee and everywhere join in with Lois and me and are able to say that this is one of the finest hours that has yet to come to us.



Some people say that destiny is a series of events held together by a thin thread of change or circumstance. Other people say that destiny is composed of a series of events strung on a cord of cause and effect and still others say that the destiny of good work is often the issue of the will of God and that he forges the links and brings the events to pass. I've been asked to come here to tell the story of A.A. and in that story, everyone here I am sure can find justification for either of those points of view.

But, I want to tell more than the story of A.A., this time. I was beset, I must confess, by a certain reluctance and the reluctance issues out of this fact, of course everybody is fairly familiar with the fact that I once suffered from alcoholism, but people are not so wise to the fact that I
suffer also from schizophrenia, split personality. I have a personality say as a patriarch of A.A.,founding father, if you like, and I also have a personality as an A.A. member and between these personalities is a terrific gulf.

You see, a founding father of A.A. has to stand up to the A.A. Tradition which says that you must not endorse anything or anybody or even say good things about your friends on the outside or even of Beemans chewing gum lest it be an endorsement. So as the father of A.A. I am very strictly bound to do nothing but tell the story of our society.


 


But as an A.A. member like all the rest, I am an anarchist who revels in litter so I'm really going to say what I damn please. So, if only you will receive me as Mr. Anonymous, one of the poor old drunks still trying to get honest!

Now to our narrative and to the first links in the chain of events that has led us to this magnificent hour. I was by no means the first link in this chain and only one of very many. I think the founder business ought to be well deflated and I'm just going to take a minute or two to do it.

As a fact, the first link in the chain was probably forged about twenty-five years ago in the office of a great psychiatrist, Carl Jung. At that time he had as a patient a certain very prominent American businessman. They worked together for a year. My business friend Rowland was a very grim case of alcoholism and yet under the doctor's guidance he thought he was going to find release. He left the doctor in great confidence but shortly, he was back drunk. Said he to Dr. Jung, "What now, You*re my court of last resort."
The doctor looked at him and said, "I thought that you might be one of those rare cases that could be touched with my art, but you aren't. I have never seen," continued doctor Jung, "one single case of alcoholism recover, so grave as yours under my tutelage."

Well, to my friend Rowland this was tantamount to a sentence of death. "But doctor," said he, "is there no other course, nothing else."


 


"Yes," said Dr. Jung, "there is something. There is such a thing as a transforming spiritual experience."


 


"Well," Rowland beamed, "after all I've been a vestryman in the Episcopal Church, I'm a man of faith."


 


"Oh," Dr. Jung said, "that's fine so far as it goes but it has to go a lot deeper. I'm speaking of transforming spiritual experiences."


 


"Where would I find such a thing," asked Rowland.



Dr. Jung said, "I don't know, lighting strikes here or there, it strikes any other place. We don't know why or how. You will just have to expose yourself in the religion of your own choice or a spiritual influence as best you can and just try and ask and maybe it will be open to you."

So my friend Rowland joined up with the Oxford Groups, the sometime Buchmanites of that day, first in London and then came to New York and lo and behold the lighting did strike and he found himself unaccountably released of his obsession to drink.

After a time he heard of a friend of mine, a chap we call Ebby, who sojourned every summer in Vermont, an awful grim case, he had driven his father's bright, shiny new Packard into the side of someone's house. He had bashed into the kitchen, pushing aside the stove and had said to the startled lady there, "How about a cup of coffee." The neighbors thought that this was enough and that he needed to be locked up.


 


He was taken before Judge Graves in Bennington, Vermont, a place not too far from my home, by the way, and there our friend Rowland heard of it and gathering a couple of Oxford Groupers together, one of them an alcoholic the other just a two fisted drinker, they took Ebby in tow and they inoculated him with very simple ideas: that he, Ebby, could not do this job on his own resources, that he had to have help; that he might try the idea of getting honest with himself as he never had before; he might try the idea of making a confession of his defects to someone; he might try the idea of making restitution or harms done; he might try the idea of giving of himself to others with no price tag on it; agnostic he was, he might try the idea of praying to whatever God there was.



That was the essence of what my friend Ebby abstracted from the Oxford Groups of that day. True, we later rejected very much of the other things they had to teach us. It is true that these principles might have been found somewhere else but as it happens they were found there.

Ebby for a time got the same phenomenon of release and then he remembered me. He was brought to New York and lodged at Calvary Mission and soon called me up while I lay home drinking in Brooklyn.


 


I will never forget that day as suddenly he stood in the areaway, I hadn't seen him for a long time. By this time I knew something of the gravity of my plight. I couldn't put my finger on it but he seemed strangely changed, besides he was sober. He came in and began to talk. I offered him some grog. I remember I had a big jug of gin and pineapple juice there, the pineapple juice was there to convince Lois that I wasn't drinking straight gin. No, he didn't care for a drink. No, he wasn't drinking.


 


"What's got into you," I asked.


 


"Well," he said, "I've got religion."


 


Well, that was rough on me. He's got religion! He had substituted religious insanity for alcoholic insanity. Well, I had to be polite so I asked, "What brand is it."


 


And, he said, "I wouldn't exactly call it a brand. I've come across a group of people who have sold me on getting honest with myself; who sold me on the idea that I am powerless over my problems and have taught me to help others so I'm trying to bring something to you, if you want it. That's it."


 


So, in his turn, he transmitted to me these simple ideas across the kitchen table.

Meanwhile, another chain of events had been taking place. In fact, the earliest link in that chain runs back to William James who is sometimes called the father of modern psychology. Another link in the chain was my own Doctor William Duncan Silkworth, who I think will someday be counted as a medical saint.

I had the usual struggle with this problem and had met Dr. Silkworth at Towns Hospital. He had explained in very simple terms what my problem was: an obsession that condemned me to drink against my will and increasing physical sensitivity which guaranteed that I would go mad unless I could somehow find release, perhaps through re-education. He taught me the nature of the malady.

But here I was, again drinking. But here was my friend talking to me over the kitchen table. Already, you see, the elements which lie today in the foundation of A.A. were already present. The God of science in the persons of Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Jung had said "No" on the matters of psychiatry, psychology and medicine. They can't do it alone. Your will power can't do it alone. So, the rug had been pulled out from under Rowland Hazzard; and Hazzard, an alcoholic, had pulled the rug out from under Ebby; and now he was pulling it out from under me while quoting Dr. Jung and substantiating what Dr. Silkworth had let leak back to me through Lois.

So, the stage was really set and it had been some years in the setting before it ever caught up with me. Of course, I had balked at this idea of a power greater than myself, although the rest of the program seemed sensible enough. I was desperate, willing to try anything, but I still did gag on the God business. But at length, I said to myself as has every A.A. member since, "Who am I to say there is no God? Who am I to say how I am going to get well?"


 


Like a cancer patient, I am now ready to do anything, to be dependent upon any kind of a physician and if there is a great physician, I had better seek him out.


So, pretty drunk, I went back to Towns Hospital, was put to bed and three days later my friend appears again. One alcoholic talking to another across that strange powerful bond that we can effect with each other. In his one hand and in the hands of the doctor was hopelessness and on the other side was hope. He went through his little list of principles; getting honest, making restitution, working with other people, praying to whatever God there was, then he left. When he had gone, I sunk into a terrific depression, the like of which I had never known and I suppose for a moment the last vestiges of my prideful obstinacy were crushed out at great depth and I cried out like a child, "Now I'll do anything, anything to get well," and with no faith and almost no hope I again cried out, "If there is a God, will he show himself."


Immediately the place lit up in a great light. It seemed to me that I was on a mountain top, there was a sudden realization that I was free, utterly free of this thing and as the ecstasy subsided I am again on the bed and now I'm surrounded by a sense of presence and a mighty assurance and a feeling that no matter how wrong things were, ultimately all would be well. I thought to myself, so this is the God of the preachers.

From that day to this, I have scarcely been tempted to drink, so instantaneous and terrific was the release from the obsession. At about the time of my release from the hospital, somebody handed me a copy of William James' book Varieties of Religious Experience. Many of us disagree with James' pragmatic philosophy but I think that nearly all will agree that this is a great text in which he examines these mechanisms. And in that book of his, great numbers, the great majority of these experiences took off from a base of utter hopelessness. In some controlling area of the individual's life he had struck a wall and couldn't get under, around or over. That kind of hopelessness was the forerunner of the transforming experience and as I began to read those common denominators stuck out of the cases cited by James.

I began to wonder. Yes, I fitted into that pattern but why hadn't more alcoholics fitted into it before now? In other words, what we needed was more deflation at depth to lay hold of this transforming experience.

Then comes Dr. Silkworth with the answer, those two little words: the obsession and the allergy. Not such little words, big words, the twin ogres of madness and death, of science pronouncing its verdict of hopelessness so far as our own resources were concerned. Yes, I had had that dose. That had perhaps laid the ground. One alcoholic talking to another had convinced me where no others had brought me any conviction.



I began to race around madly trying to help alcoholics and in gratitude I briefly joined the Oxford Group but they were more interested in saving the world than other alcoholics. That didn't last too long and I began to tell people of this sudden mystic experience and I fear that I was preaching a
great deal and not one single drunk sobered up for a period of six months.

Again, comes the man of medicine, Dr. Silkworth and he said, "Bill, you've got the cart before the horse. Why don't you stop talking about this queer experience of yours and of all this morality? Why don't you pour into these people how medically sick they are and then, maybe coming from you or with the identification you can get with these other fellows, then maybe you'll soften them up so they'll buy this moral psychology."

About that time I had been urged to get back into business and quit being a missionary and I hooked onto a business deal which took me to Akron, Ohio.



The deal fell through and for the first time I felt tempted to drink. I was in the hotel with about ten dollars in my pocket and my new found friends had disappeared. I thought to myself, gee, you'd better look for another alcoholic to work with.

Then I realized as never before how working with other alcoholics had played such a great part in sustaining my original experience.

Well, again friends came to the rescue. I went down to the lobby and looked at the Church Directory and absentmindedly drew my finger down the list of
names and there appeared a rather odd one, the Reverend Tunks. I said, "Well, I'll call up Tunks" and he turned out to be a wonderful Episcopal clergyman. I said that I was a drunk looking for another drunk to work on and tried to explain why. The good man showed some alarm as it wasn't everyday someone called up with my request but the good man gave me a list of about ten names, some of them Oxford Groupers. I called all of these people up. Well, Sunday was coming and maybe they would see me in Church, some were going out of town.

I exhausted that list, all but one. None had time nor cared very much. Something not very strange under the circumstances so I went down and took another look in the bar and something said to me "You had better call her
up."


 


Her name was Henrietta Seiberling and I took her to be the wife of a tire tycoon out there who I had once met and I thought that this lady certainly isn't going to want to see me on a Saturday afternoon. But I called and she said, "Come right out, I'm not an alcoholic but I think I understand."

This led to the meeting with Dr. Bob, one of my many co-partners in this enterprise, and as Dr. Silkworth had suggested I poured into him how sick we were and that produced his immediate recovery.

I went to live in the Smith's house and presently Bob said, "Hadn't we better start working with alcoholics?"


 


I said, "Sure, I think we had."

We found an opportunity at City Hospital in Akron, who was being brought in with D.T.'s on a stretcher. He'd been hospitalized six times in four months and couldn't even get home without getting stewed. That was to be A.A. number three, the first man on the bed.

Dr. Bob and I went to see him and he said, "I'm too far gone and besides, I'm a man of faith."


 


Nevertheless, we poured it into him, the medical hopelessness of this thing so far as one's own resources are concerned. We explained what had happened to us, we made clear to him his future. And the next morning we came back and he was saying to his wife, "Give me my clothes, were going to get up and get out of here. These are the men, they are the ones who understand."

Right then and there was formed the first A.A. group in the summer of 1935.



The synthesis in it's main outline was complete.

But Lord, we hadn't even started. The struggles of those next few years. A wonderful thing to think about. Terribly slow was our growth. We got way into 1939 before we had produced even a hundred recoveries in Akron and in New York, a few in Cleveland, Ohio.

Then, in that year, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran pieces about us of such strength that the few A.A.'s in Cleveland were flooded with hundreds of cases and that added one more needed ingredient.

Up to this time it had been deadly slow. Could this thing spread? Could we get into mass production?

Well, in a matter of months, twenty Clevelanders had sobered up several hundred newcomers. But that required hospitalization and we were not liked in the hospitals.

Now, I come to the subject of this Committee, it's relation with A.A., and the linkage between us. Meanwhile, great events were going on down here (New York), there had been in preparation a book to be called Alcoholics Anonymous.

As a precaution we had made mimeograph copies to be passed around and one of these copies was sent to a man who I consider to be one of the greatest friends that this society can ever have, Dr. Harry Tiebout, the onetime Chairman of this Committee. Harry Tiebout was the man who got me before the medical societies and that took great courage. Well, I'm getting ahead of my story.

So Harry got one of the mimeographed copies of the A.A. book and he hands it to a certain patient at the Blythewood Sanitarium in Greenwich, Connecticut. The patient was a lady. She read the book and it made her very mad so she threw it out the window and got drunk. That was the first impact of Alcoholics Anonymous. Harry got her sobered up and handed her the book again and a phrase caught her eye, it was a trigger. "We cannot live with resentments," the book said. This time she didn't throw it out the window.

Presently she came to our little meeting and you must remember that we were still less than a hundred strong in the early part of 1939 at our little Brooklyn house at 182 Clinton Street. And she came back from that meeting to Greenwich and made a remark that today is a classic in A.A. She said to a fellow patient and sufferer and friend in the sanitarium, "Grennie, we're not alone anymore, this is it."

Well, that was the beginning for Marty. Much help by Harry and Mrs. Willey, the proprietor of the place. Marty started the first group on the grounds of the sanitarium. She began to frantically work with alcoholics and became the dean of our women alcoholics. So our society had made two terrific friends in Dr. Harry and Marty.

Now, in the intervening years up to 1944, A.A. itself was in a bad turmoil.


 


The Saturday Evening Post piece had been published which caused 6,000 frantic inquiries to hit our post office box here in New York, from all over the country, indeed, all over the world. So then the great question was posed. Could A.A. spread? Could it function? Could it hang together with it's enormous neurotic content that we have.

We just did not know. But again, it was do or die. In old Ben Franklin's words, "We would either hang together or hang separately."

Out of this group experience there began to evolve Traditions. Traditions which had to do with A.A.'s unity and function and relation with the world outside and our relations to such things as money, property, prestige, all that sort of thing.

The Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous you folks, for the most part, are familiar with. Those principles began to take shape, began to gather for us and little by little, order began to come out of this seething mass of drunks in their quest for sobriety.

By now, the membership of the movement had run up into the many thousands and as Marty observed, there was now proof that it can be done. But we were still a long way from today. A.A. still needed friends. Friends of medicine, friends of religion, friends of the press. We had a handful but we needed a lot of friends.

The public needed to know what sort of malady this was and that something could be done about it. This Committee, much like Alcoholics Anonymous is notable not only for what it has done in its own sphere but for what it has set in motion.



I remember very well when this Committee started. It brought me in contact with our great friends at Yale, the courageous Dr. Haggard, the incredible Dr.Jellinek or "Bunky" as we affectionately know him, and Seldon [Bacon] and all those dedicated people.



The question arose, could an A.A. member get into education or research or what not? Then ensued a fresh and great controversy in A.A. which was not surprising because you must remember that in that period we were like the people on Rickenbacker's raft. Who would dare to rock us ever so little and precipitate us back into the alcohol sea.

So, frankly, we were afraid and as usual we had the radicals and we had the conservatives and we had moderates on this question of whether A.A. members could go into other enterprises in this field.


 


The conservatives said, "No, let's keep it simple, let's mind our own business." The radicals said, "Let's endorse anything that looks like it will do any good, let the A.A. name be used to raise money and to do whatever it can do for the whole field," and the growing body of moderates took the position, "Let any A.A. member who feels the call go into these related fields, for if we are to do less it would be a very antisocial outlook."


 


So that is where the Tradition finally sat and many were called and many were chosen since that day to go into these related fields which has now got to be so large in their promise that we of Alcoholics Anonymous are getting down to our right size and we are only now realizing that we are only a small part of a great big picture.

We are realizing again, afresh, that without our friends, not only could we not have existed in the first place but we could not have grown. We are getting a fresh concept in A.A. of what our relations with the world and all of these related enterprises should be. In other words, we are growing up.

In fact last year at St. Louis we were bold enough to say we had come of age and that within Alcoholics Anonymous the main outlines of the basis for recovery, of the basis for unity and of the basis for service or function were already evident.


At St. Louis I made talks upon each of those subjects which largely concerned themselves about what A.A. had done about these things but here we are in a much wider field and I think that the sky is the limit. I think that I can say without any reservation that what this Committee has done with the aid of it's great friends who are now legion as anyone here can see. I think that this Committee has been responsible for making more friends for Alcoholics Anonymous and of doing a wider service in educating the world on the gravity of this malady and what can be done about it than any other single agency.

I'm awfully partial and maybe I'm a little biased because here sits the dean of all our ladies, my close, dear and beloved friend. So speaking out of turn as a founder, I want to convey to her in the presence of all of you the best I can say of my great love and affection is thanks.

At the close of things in St. Louis, I remember that I likened A.A. to a cathedral style edifice whose corners now rested across the earth. I remember saying that we can see on its great floor the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and there assembled maybe 150,000 sufferers and their
families. We have seen side walls go up, buttressed with the A.A. Tradition and at St. Louis, when the elected Conference took over from our Board of Trustees, the spire of service was put into effect and its beacon light, the beacon light of A.A. shone there beckoning to all the world.

I realized as I sat here today that that was not a big enough concept, for on the floor of the cathedral of the spirit there should always be written the formula from whatever source for release from alcoholism, whether it be a drug, whether it be the psychiatric art, whether it be the ministrations of this Committee.

In other words, we who deal with this problem are all in the same boat, all standing upon the same floor. So let's bring to this floor the total resources that can be brought to bear upon this problem and let us not think of unity just in terms of the A.A.Tradition. Let us think of unity among all those who work in the field as the kind of unity that befits brotherhood and sisterhood and a kinship in the common suffering. Let us stand together in the spirit of service. If we do these things, only then can we declare ourselves really come of age. And only then, and I think this is a time not far off, I think we can say that the future, our future, the future of this Committee, of A.A. and of the things that people of good will are trying to do in this field will be completely assured.

Thank you.





_________


 


An excerpt from "On The Alcoholism Front," written by Bill Wilson for The Grapevine, March 1958:

"Then along came Marty. As an early AA she knew public attitudes had to be changed, that people had to know that alcoholism was a disease and alcoholics could be helped. She developed a plan for an organization to conduct a
vigorous program of public education and to organize citizens' committees all over the country. She bought her plan to me. I was enthusiastic but felt scientific backing was essential, so the plan was sent to Bunky [Dr. E.M. Jellinek], and he came down to meet with us. He said the plan was sound, the time was ripe, and he agreed with me that Marty was the one to do the job.

"Originally financed by the tireless Dr. Haggard and his friends, Marty started her big task. I cannot detail in this space the great accomplishments of Marty and her associates in the present-day National Council on Alcoholism. But I can speak my conviction that no other single agency has done more to educate the public, to open up hospitalization, and to set in motion all manner of constructive projects than this one. Growing pains there have been aplenty, but today the NCA results speak for
themselves. ..."

[


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1696 NMOlson@aol.com
More on Marty Mann - Compiled from Previious Posts More on Marty Mann - Compiled from Previious Posts 3/8/2004 10:25:00 AM

From an article by Bill Wilson in


 


THE GRAPEVINE, October 1944

We are again citizens of the world.... As individuals, we have a responsibility, maybe a double responsibility. It may be that we have a date with destiny.

An example: Not long ago Dr. E. M. Jellinek, of Yale University, came to us. He said, "Yale, as you know, is sponsoring a program of public education on alcoholism, entirely noncontroversial in character.

So, when the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism [now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence] was formed, an AA member was made its executive director: Marty M., one of our oldest and finest. As a member of AA, she is just as much interested in us as before - AA is still her avocation. But as an officer of the Yale-sponsored National Committee, she is also interested in educating the general public on alcoholism. Her AA training has wonderfully fitted her for this post in a different field.



Public education on alcoholism is to be her vocation.

Could an AA do such a job? At first, Marty herself wondered. She asked her AA friends, "Will I be regarded as a professional?" Her friends replied:



"Had you come to us, Marty, proposing to be a therapist, to sell straight AA to alcoholics at so much a customer, we should certainly have branded that as professionalism. So would everybody else.

"But the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism is quite another matter. You will be taking your natural abilities and AA experience into a very different field. We don't see how that can affect your amateur status with us. Suppose you were to become a social worker, a personnel officer,
the manager of a state farm for alcoholics, or even a minister of the gospel? Who could possibly say those activities would make you a professional AA? No one, of course."

They went on: "Yet we do hope that AA as a whole will never deviate from its sole purpose of helping other alcoholics. As an organization, we should express no opinions save on the recovery of problem drinkers. That very sound national policy has kept us out of much useless trouble already, and will surely forestall untold complications in the future.

"Though AA as a whole," they continued, "should have one objective, we believe just as strongly that for the individual there should be no limitations whatever, except his own conscience. He should have the complete right to choose his own opinions and outside activities. If these are good, AAs everywhere will approve. Just so, Marty, do we think it will be in your case. While Yale is your actual sponsor, we feel sure that you are going to have the warm personal support of thousands of AAs wherever you go. We shall all be thinking how much better a break this new generation of potential alcoholic kids will have because of your work, how much it might have meant to us had our own mothers and fathers really understood alcoholism."

Personally, I feel that Marty's friends have advised her wisely; that they have clearly distinguished between the limited scope of AA as a whole and the broad horizon. 
__________


 


Excerpt from Marty Mann's New Primer on Alcoholism, 1981 (First Owl Book Edition), pp. 83-86.

The Test


There is a simple test which has been used hundreds of times for this purpose. Even an extremely heavy drinker should have no trouble in passing it, whereas an alcoholic, if able to complete it at all, could do so only under such heavy pressure that his life would be more miserable than he thinks it would be if he stopped drinking altogether. The chances are a hundred to one, how ever, against a true alcoholic's being either willing or able to undertake the test.

The Test: Select any time at all for instituting it. Now is the best time. For the next six months at least decide that you will stick to a certain number of drinks a day, that number to be not less than one and not more than three. If you are not a daily drinker, then the test should be the stated number of drinks from one to three, on those days when you do drink. Some heavy drinkers confine their drinking to weekends, but still worry about the amount they consume then. Whatever number you choose must not be exceeded under any circumstances whatever, and this includes weddings, births, funerals, occasions of sudden death and disaster, unexpected or long-awaited inheritance, promotion, or other happy events, reunions or meetings with old friends or good customers, or just sheer boredom. There must also be no special occasions on which you feel justified in adding to your quota of the stated number of drinks, such as a severe emotional upset, or the appointment to close the biggest deal of your career, or the audition you've been waiting for all your life, or the meeting with someone who is crucial to your future and of whom you are terrified. Absolutely no exceptions, or the test has been failed.

This is not an easy test, but it has been passed handily by any number of drinkers who wished to show themselves, or their families and friends, that they were not compulsive drinkers. If by any chance they failed the test, showing that they were alcoholics, they showed themselves, too, that they were, whether they were then ready to admit it openly or not. At least it prepared them for such an admission, and for the constructive action which normally follows that admission.


It is important to add that observers of such tests should not use them to try to force a flunkee to premature action. This may well backfire and produce a stubborn determination on the part of the one who has been unable to pass the test, to prove that it is not alcoholism that caused the failure. He can and does do this in several ways: by stopping drinking altogether for a self-specified time (when this is over he usually breaks out in even worse form than before, and with an added resentment toward those who "drove" him to it); by instituting a rigid control over his own drinking, which produces a constant irritability that makes him impossible to be with, coupled with periodic outbreaks of devastating nature; or by giving himself a very large quota and insisting that he has remained within it, even when he has obviously been too drunk to remember how many drinks he had. In extreme cases, he may even give himself a quota of so many drinks, and take them straight from the bottle, calling each bottle "the" drink. The backfiring from too great outside pressure may also cause a complete collapse: knowing and admitting that he cannot pass the test and is therefore an alcoholic, he will resist efforts to force him to take action by saying in effect, "So I'm an alcoholic, so I can't control my drinking, so I'll drink as I must," and go all out for perdition.


 


This last, despite the expressed concern of some people (who believe that admitting alcoholism to be a disease, and alcoholic drinking to be uncontrollable drinking, is simply to give alcoholics a good excuse to continue), very rarely happens. Nevertheless the possibility must be taken into account by those who are trying to help an alcoholic to recognize his trouble and take constructive action on it. If he is left alone after failing such a self-taken test, the failure will begin to work on him-it has planted a seed of knowledge which may well grow into action.

The "occasional drunk" usually comes from the ranks of heavy drinkers, sometimes social drinkers. Rarely is he an abstainer between his bouts, as is generally the case with periodic alcoholics. Sometimes called "spree drinkers," these are the ones who every now and then deliberately indulge in short periods of drinking to drunkenness, usually at sporadic intervals. They talk of the "good" it does them to have a "purge" once in a while, or to "let down their hair" or to "kick over the traces" and have "all-out fun." Unfortunately for them they sometimes get into trouble during these sprees, and their drinking habits are thus brought to public attention. But they can and do stop such indulgences if they find it is costing them too much, for their sprees are their idea of fun, and not a necessity. "Occasional drunks" are most often found among youthful drinkers, whose ideas of "fun," for one reason or another, have come to center around drinking and the uninhibited behavior which excessive drinking allows.
__________


 


The following was excerpted from a biography-in-progress of Marty Mann, by Sally and David Brown. It has since been published by Hazelden:

Marty Mann is scarcely a household word today, yet she is arguably one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Marty's life was like a blazing fire, but was nearly extinguished by personal tragedy and degradation. She rose to a triumphant recovery that powered a historic, unparalleled change in our society. Through her vision and leadership, the attitude of America toward alcoholism was changed from a moral issue to one of public health. This was a tremendous shift, especially considering America's long temperance history which culminated in the Prohibition Amendment of 1920.

Marty was able to accomplish these things despite numerous, very difficult setbacks along the way, any one of which might have overcome a lesser person. She would be the first to claim that her sobriety, found through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in its very earliest days, was the most important factor in her success. ...

Marty was born into a life of wealth and privilege in Chicago in the early 1900s. Her family sent her to the best private schools. She was blessed with beauty, brains, a powerful will and drive, phenomenal energy and stunning charisma. She traveled extensively. She debuted, then married into a wealthy New Orleans family. Her future seemed ordained to continue on the same patrician track except for one serious setback on the way. When Marty was 14, she was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB). In those days, drugs for treatment were not yet available. However, her family could afford to send her to an expensive private sanitarium in California for a year, and then provide her with a private-duty nurse at home for another year or two. She had one recurrence of the disease several years later, and for the rest of her long life she knew that she was always in remission from this ancient scourge.

Marty was no sooner past this hurdle when another disease began to assert itself. When Marty was 17 she could drink as an adult. Moving at a fast pace in an elite social group, she had a "hollow leg." A party girl from the onset, she could outdrink anyone and be the only person left standing to get everybody else home. Later, she was to learn that her unusual capacity was an important early sign of alcoholism.

Suddenly her father lost all his wealth, and she had to go to work. Untrained for any specific career, she was nevertheless favored with important moneyed and social connections in this country and abroad. Her natural talents led her into the world of public relations.

Marty's drinking was an occupational hazard in her line of work. Within 10 years she went from a bright, assured future to a hideous existence of round-the-clock drinking. She lost one job after another. She became destitute, living off the goodwill of friends, convinced that she was hopelessly insane. Two suicide attempts nearly killed her, and desperate drinking threatened to finish the job.

At this point, friends intervened. She was accepted as a charity patient at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, then transferred to Blythewood, an exclusive private psychiatric inpatient center in Connecticut as a charity patient. There were a few patients who were alcoholics, like Marty, whose behavior had become bizarre or unmanageable.

It is difficult these days to imagine a world where the term "alcoholism" was virtually unknown and there was no treatment except "drying out." Alcoholics Anonymous didn't exist. The medical profession was as much in the dark as the alcoholics and their baffled families. The concept of alcoholism as a disease -- and a major, treatable one at that -- was scarcely known.

Then in 1935, two alcoholics, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, happened to come together to help each other stay sober. Alcoholics Anonymous, probably the most famous grassroots, self-help health movement of all time, was launched on its shaky way.

Within four years, Bill and Dr. Bob and a handful of other pioneers had attracted two small groups of men who managed to achieve sobriety; one in Akron, Ohio (Dr. Bob's home), and the other in New York City (Bill W's home). They decided to write down their experiences in the belief and hope that they could thereby broaden their outreach to other suffering alcoholics. The book "Alcoholics Anonymous" was born, and at the heart of it was the famous "12 Steps," which have been adopted and adapted by literally hundreds of other kinds of self-help groups. The year was 1939.

The year of 1939 was also a fateful year for Marty. She had been a patient at Blythewood for months, still unable to remain completely sober. Her enlightened psychiatrist, Dr. Harry Tiebout, gave her a manuscript of "Alcoholics Anonymous" to read, convinced that it would help her in a way he could not. This opened the door to her recovery.

Eventually she was persuaded by Dr. Tiebout to attend her first AA meeting, held in the home of Bill Wilson and his wife, Lois. This was still during the time that there were only two AA meetings in the whole country. Each little group met just once a week. Many members literally drove over a hundred miles each way to attend the fellowship. Contrast that scene with the thousands and thousands of AA meetings available across America today, the majority a short distance from home.

Furthermore, all of the AA members were men. A few women had drifted in and out, but the stigma against women alcoholics was as strong as ever. Women rarely had the courage to seek help, even if they acknowledged they might have a problem.

Marty loved and appreciated AA from the beginning. She was immensely relieved to learn she was not incurably insane, but instead had a disease which manifested itself as "an allergy of the body coupled with an obsession of the mind." Scientific research describes this condition as a biochemical abnormality affecting the body and the brain in ways which increasingly limit the predisposed person's ability to function or to stop, despite dire consequences.

Marty had three relapses during her first 18 months in AA. Slips, or relapses, while distressing and sometimes tragically fatal, are not uncommon with many of those who come into AA. Later, Marty settled down, and the real healing began as she started to apply the 12 Steps to her life.

Five years after she found AA, Marty had a dream. Her vision was to educate the whole country about alcoholism. She was obsessed with eliminating the historic stigma attached to chronic inebriation. She joined forces with the Yale School of Alcohol Studies (now at Rutgers), where early significant scientific research into alcoholism was underway. Eventually her nationwide educational efforts led to the creation of a separate organization, the National Council on Alcoholism (now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence or NCADD). NCADD has been this country's most important educational, referral resource for alcoholics, their families and communities all across the country.

Marty was the right person at the right place and time. She was extremely fortunate to find a wealthy donor, Brinkley Smithers, who was committed to her goals and generously supported her organization. Marty was intensely focused on her mission. More than one person said she was like a train coming down the track -- jump on or get out of the way. Her elegant appearance, captivating charm, intellect and breathtaking charisma swept people off their feet.

By all accounts, she was one of the most spellbinding speakers this land has ever seen. Even audiences initially skeptical of her message, that an alcoholic is a sick person who can be helped, ended up enthusiastically supporting her. For most of her 24 years as director of NCA, she maintained a speaking schedule of over 200 talks annually. The purpose of Marty's talks was to establish local volunteer groups in every major city. These affiliates of NCA would carry out NCA's mission to provide education, information and referral for their respective communities. Government financial support was minimal to nonexistent. Most of the funding for the affiliates came from local, private donations.

By now, one would think Marty had it all. Restored health, sobriety, the realization of her dream. Then, once more, she was felled by a disease beyond her control -- this time it was cancer. Several surgeries were required, and eventually she recovered from the cancer. Doctors were amazed by her medical history: recovery from three major diseases, recurrences of severe chronic depression, plus the physical consequences of her early suicide attempts.

When she was 65, Marty retired with some reluctance from active management of NCA. It was not easy for her to relinquish control of her creation and the central focus of her passion for over two decades. As NCA's promoter without peer, she continued a punishing speaking schedule on the organization's behalf for many years, but gave up her personal involvement in day-to-day affairs.

In the early 1950s, Edward R. Murrow, distinguished journalist, selected Marty as one of the 10 greatest living Americans. During her lifetime, Marty was extremely well-known in the local, regional and national press. Her
appearances before state legislatures and Congress were unforgettable for those present and produced results. She was made an honorary member of prestigious professional groups here and abroad.



Marty's last talk was before AA's international convention in New Orleans in 1980. Two weeks later she suffered a stroke at home and died very shortly thereafter. She was 75.

The organization and history of NCA after Marty has been mixed. There were some rocky periods, which are to be expected following the retirement and demise of a long-term, extremely dynamic and charismatic leader. The
affiliates across the country also experienced some ups and downs. However, the organization persisted, stabilized and continues to be an effective public voice on behalf of alcoholics.

Marty's legacy is sparingly reported in the histories of Alcoholics Anonymous, probably because NCA was not an arm of AA. However, AA grew enormously in the decades that Marty was active. Wherever she spoke, she generated extensive publicity, and new AA members appeared in droves. Her appearances were especially important in attracting women alcoholics. They figured that if a person as impressive and inspiring as Marty could admit that she was an alcoholic, they could too. Women like Betty Ford are direct inheritors of Marty's example.


_____________


 


The following is from the 1980 Nov-Dec. Issue of ALCOHOLISM, "Pioneer, Persuader, Inexhaustible Advocate, Marty Mann."

Included in the article is a tribute by Susan B. Anthony:


 


(Dr. Susan B. Anthony, author, lecturer, theologian, and counselor, is another long-time friend and colleague of Marty's. The great niece and namesake of the famous suffrage leader, she is currently lecturing on women and alcoholism, and has authored seven books and many articles.)

Putting on paper my tributes to Marty helps alleviate the frustration I felt when I could not get up north for her Memorial Services to share with old friends of hers and mine.

What I did do when NCA called me to let me know of her death was to put my emotion into prayer, for her and for us. Prayer was a gift that came some years after sobering up in Marty's office on August 22, 1946.

I last spoke with Marty just a few weeks before her death, on July 3 when I was visiting my sister. When I called her, she said in her rich, resonant voice, "You just caught me. I am going out the door for the New Orleans AA convention!"
She sounded buoyant and happy, her voice as young as the day I first met her 34 years ago. When I told her I had been one of the 500 nominated as public members for the National Commission on Alcoholism and other Alcohol Related Problems, she laughed "It's not 500, my dear, it's 700 or 800 nominees."

In July it seemed so natural that she was taking off for a talk. Just three weeks before her death (even as my own great-aunt Susan B.) she was setting forth for one last stint on the road. As her obituary in THE NEW YORK TIMES said on July 24, Marty had averaged 200 lectures, all out of town, of course.

I was part of one of those flights, in 1977, en route to Des Moines, Iowa, to keynote a conference commemorating the Council she and local friends had started there. I had just spoken at another NCA conference celebrating her birthday in Pennsylvania, flown home to Florida and was now flying to Des Moines, getting off to be greeted by the program chairman when I saw Marty ahead of me.

"Were you on that plane?" she asked. "I was in first class," she said apologetically. "I sometimes splurge on that -- I get so tired."

She looked frail and I recalled the millions of miles she had journeyed for alcoholism education, for alcoholics, miles that were marked by broken hips, and illnesses. And that she felt she must apologize for the greater comfort of first class, though she had passed three score years and ten!

When I couldn't get to her Memorial Service I wrote her family:



"My gratitude to Marty since sobering up in her office in 1946 surpasses even my sympathy for you since we and the world know her work for alcoholics is deathless."

I often wonder whether I would be alive and sober today if Marty had not provided a quiet, private office uptown (at the old Academy of Medicine Building, New York City) where a prima donna radio commentator, a woman at that, could seek help for alcoholism. I was not ready at that point for the old clubhouse downtown. Though Marty was not in the office that day of August 22, 1947, her aura dominated the pleasant serene office, and her volunteer AA secretary carried the message to me, as Marty later did by her being as well as by her sharing.

Marty provided not only a place in which I could sober up that day, but equally important and seldom mentioned today when even wives of ex-presidents come out of the closet as alcoholics, Marty provided a witness. She was the first and a continual sign, a witness, that an upper middle class lady can also become a low class drunk, and then climb back up from that bottom to new heights.

I grew up thinking of my suffragist great aunt Susan B. as "The Mother of Us All," the title Gertrude Stein gave to her opera about Aunt Susan. She was a "mother" to us in the sense of her concern for our rights and our work. Marty, I believe is "The mother of the woman alcoholic" not only the first to stay sober in AA, but the first to carry the message to the outside, non-alcoholic world, women and men, the message that alcoholism is a disease and that it is treatable.

As Bill Wilson's (co-founder of AA) biographer, Robert Thomsen says: "Marty was to become one of the pioneers in the field of alcoholism education, but at this point she was primarily one of AA's spectacular recoveries." That was when Marty, an "Attractive intelligent young woman with tremendous charm" attended an early A meeting at Brooklyn. She instantly caught the message and returned to Blythwood Sanitarium in Connecticut to spread the message among other alcoholic patients of Dr. Harry Tiebout, one of the first medical champions of AA.

Marty will go down in history as the founder and director in 1944 of the first public health organization on alcoholism in history, the National Council on Alcoholism. Her work finally lifted the nation's consciousness about alcoholism so that the American Medical Association accepted that it is a disease and that it is treatable. She went on to mold public opinion, laying the ground work for the passage of the Hughes Act of 1970, the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, treatment and Rehabilitation Act under which the vast expansion of facilities for treatment has taken place, providing networks of out-and inpatient clinics, detoxification and rehabilitation programs.

A years before she died, Marty's 75th birthday was celebrated in advance by our great friend and colleague, Felicia M. who put on a memorable party. It was also her birthday, plus my 33rd anniversary sober. Among the three we totaled 104 years of sobriety!

I spent much of my time with Marty that night trying to persuade her to dictate her own autobiography now that she was less on the road. She dodged and demurred. I realized that she had reached that stage I have observed
over the years of interviewing some leading men and women. Self as subject bored her. She had become increasingly "unsettled" in her later years. She didn't want to spend the time that was left writing about herself, so that
task remains for someone else to do, someone who knew her, or even some younger woman.

Marty is a model for the young women of today, not only the model of an "unselfed" sober woman. She is what I hoped to be when I was young, a liberated woman. She became a crusader, reformer, educator, organizer, agitator, lobbyist, a truly great speaker, a lucid writer, a great 12th
stepper. She addressed U.S. Congressional committees and joint sessions of state legislatures. She received honorary degrees. She was liberated not only from the disease of alcoholism but liberated from restrictions upon her as a woman back in the 1940s when I was broadcasting on New York radio against those restrictions. Marty transcended the double stigma of being a woman and an alcoholic.

In so doing she incurred snubs, distastes and dislike, and controversy. Even her best friends, her A.A. buddies, were critical of her. When I worked for NCA back in Boston in 1949, doing the first radio program that ever broadcast interviews with live alcoholics, I sensed that hostility of local AA's toward Marty's program of educating the public on the disease of alcoholism. NCA was only five years old then, my sobriety was only three years old. Even these friends thought NCA was competitive with AA, that when Marty crusaded for public education and prevention she somehow was detracting from AA. She didn't need enemies among her own, but in those early days she had them. Happily she outlived those misunderstandings.


 


When the history of alcoholism is written, this century will carry three names ahead of the others, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, co-founders of A.A. and Marty Mann, pioneer woman AA member and pioneer alcoholism educator.

Marty lived to see her concern for women alcoholics begin to show results in 1976 when Jan du Plain launched NCA's office on women. In rapid succession occurred the first national Congress of Task Forces on women and alcoholism, then came a gathering of the alcohol establishment hosted by NCA and the U.S. Senate subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, a reception in the Senate Caucus room honoring my 30th anniversary sober. Growing out of this the next month, September 1978, the first ever Congressional hearing on Women and alcoholism was held.

At lunch a few weeks later, Marty rejoiced at all this headway and said, "Do you realize, Susan, that a the age of sixty you have begun an entirely new career?"

I asked what she meant. She said the lecture tour that was launched by massive coverage of the Senate activities. It would in the next four years carry me 35,000 miles in 75 cities, 46 states and to Africa and Alaska speaking on women and alcoholism.

Some of those talks were before the great main line women's organizations, ranging from the National Federation of Business and Professional Women to
the Junior League. Marty herself had dreamed when first forming NCA that these women's groups would grasp the importance of educating on the disease concept of alcoholism, especially for girls and women. But in the 1940s they were uninterested. Perhaps had they begun their efforts then, they might have helped avert the epidemic of alcoholism among girls and women in the 1980s, what I call the "age of anesthesia" that blankets us.

With their women's focus they might have seen as we do today that alcoholism among women is different and distinct, and requires differences in prevention and treatment. Women have problems that men do not have such as stigma, discrimination, child care problems that bar women from residential treatment, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

In November 1979, I added another career, private practice in alcoholism counseling here in South Florida. Marty wrote me in her own hand her encouragement and recommendation for my certification. It is a letter I shall literally have framed. She wrote:

"Susan dear --

"Your activities exhaust me, just reading about them! and yet they too -- like Jan's -- are a replica of my own pattern, so I understand and applaud you --"Alcoholism needs people like us: 'dedicated idiots' Selden Bacon
once call Yev (Gardner) and me and we lifted it as our banner and proclaimed it good, which wasn't what he had meant!



"Anyway - again you are in the pattern by turning to counseling, which is what I do, plus a once weekly lecture at Silver Hill and Yev also, at Freeport Hospital. So we've all come full circle, back to AA's one-on-one. It's good and I love it. So will you."



I pray I will continue to be a "dedicated idiot" and as she said "a replica" of her pattern, carrying the message as she did, until the day I die."



 


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1697 NMOlson@aol.com
Texas Oldtimer, Clinton Ferrell, Dead at 93 Texas Oldtimer, Clinton Ferrell, Dead at 93 3/10/2004 6:55:00 AM

A friend forwarded this to me.  I don't know what paper it appeared in.


 


Nancy


 


Clinton Ferrell

KERMIT — Clinton Ferrell, a longtime resident of Kermit, Texas, passed away Saturday, March 6, 2004, at the age of 93. He was born on August 3, 1910, in Oklahoma. He married Sally Jones from Como, Texas, on June 17, 1938, in Pecos. They moved to Kermit in 1938 and lived there continuously until Sally’s death on Sept. 25, 1991. Clinton continued to live in Kermit and would consider no other place as home.


Clinton is survived by his two sons, Freddie of Tucumcari, N.M., and Robert 'Buddy' of Austin, Texas.


Clinton touched the lives of many, many people throughout the years with his kindness and generosity. He was well known for his fast cars, gun collections and desire to live life to the fullest, but always with consideration for his fellow man. One of Clinton’s greatest accomplishments was to recognize that he was an alcoholic and to join AA on June 30, 1947, and to be a member for the next 56 years. He would regularly attend the meeting of AA in Kermit three times a week plus several other meeting each week in Monahans, Andrews, Odessa, Midland and other places in the Permian Basin. Clinton had the second-longest number of years of sobriety of anyone living in Texas, and he was rightfully proud of that fact.


Clinton worked in the oil fields with his father in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, he worked in the car business, and in the ‘80s he served as constable of Winkler County until he retired (but didn’t slow down). He had many friends in law enforcement and in particular the Texas Rangers. To acknowledge all of the hundreds of friends of Clinton would take the pages of an entire book, but special mention must go to Don and Debbie Turner and their two kids, Derrick and Dessie Lou.


 


In lieu of recounting all the wonderful things Clinton did and the principles for which he stood, it is hoped that everyone that knew him will take a moment to reflect upon some experience they had with him and feel so very fortunate to have known such a great man.


Funeral services will be held in Kermit at Cooper Funeral Chapel, Wednesday, March 10, 2004, at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your local AA group, for that is the way Clinton would have wanted it to be.
Services entrusted to Cooper Funeral Chapel.






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1698 NMOlson@aol.com
Bert Taylor - Compiled From Old Posts Bert Taylor - Compiled From Old Posts 3/11/2004 3:05:00 AM





I am continuing to combine old posts, which are then deleted, in order to make it easier for researchers to search the archives.


 


The following is excerpted from old posts by Charles K. and Rick T.


 


Charles wrote that Bert Taylor was an early AA member who borrowed $1,000.00 from a Mr. Cockran one of his customers and a prohibitionist. "The loan was to help buy some time from the printer until the Liberty Magazine article came out. Once that article came out we sold some books were able to settle with the printer and get the remaining Big Books out of hock, so to speak. He also allowed meetings to be held in the loft in his shop.


 


"Now whether the debt was not repaid on time or Bert just fell on hard times is uncertain, but he did loose ownership of the shop, but was able to keep his business and he died sober. He also was one of the first Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation."
 
Rick responded to Charles' message:



"Much of this additional history was gleaned in on-site research through minutes and correspondence at the GSO Archives....

"His $1,000 would have brought him 400 shares in Works Publishing, and I'm sure he was able to cash in the shares, when and if any of the loan was needed to be paid.  There are scant records on file of whose and how many shares were eventually traded in to the
Alcoholic Foundation. The AF Trustees' ledgers remained pretty thin for many years into the mid-1940s, and only a few shares were probably ever recorded as 'bought back' by the Board of Trustees. Bill wrote in 'AA Comes of Age'
about a few buy-backs, which turned out to be traded only at face value."



Rick said he did not think Bert was a Trustee, but Charles responded:

"I still believe Bert was a member of the Alcoholic Foundation, only from what I have read.




"In the August 1947 Grapevine article 'Last Seven Years Have Made AA self-supporting' Bill writes:

"'Two of the alcoholic members of our Foundation traveled out among the AA groups to explain the need. They presented their listeners with these ideas: that support of our Central Office was a definite responsibility of the AA groups; that answering written inquiries was a necessary assistance to our Twelfth Step work; that we AAs ought to pay these office expenses ourselves and rely no further upon outside charity or insufficient book sales. The two trustees also suggested that the Alcoholic Foundation be made a regular depository for group funds;  that the Foundation would earmark all group monies for Central Office expenses only; that each month the Central Office would bill the Foundation for the straight AA expenses of the place; that all group contributions ought to be entirely voluntary; that every AA group would receive equal service from the New York office, whether it contributed or not. It was estimated that if each group sent the Foundation a sum equal to $1 per member per year, this might eventually carry our office, without other assistance. Under this arrangement the office would ask the groups twice yearly for funds and render, at the same time, a statement of its expenses for the previous period.
     '"Our two trustees, Horace C. and Bert T., did not come back empty handed. Now clearly understanding the situation, most groups began contributing to the Alcoholic Foundation for Central Office expenses, and have continued to do so ever since. In this practice the AA Tradition of self-support had a firm beginning. Thus we handled the Saturday Evening Post article for which thousands of AAs are today so grateful.' (Reprint of this article can be found in 'Language of The Heart' see pages 64-65)

"Also from 'AA Comes Of Age'

"Page 186.........

 "'At about this time our trusteeship began to be enlarged. Mr. Robert Shaw, a lawyer and friend of Uncle Dick's, was elected to the Board. Two New Yorkers, my friends Howard and Bert, were also named. As time passed, these were joined by Tom B. and Dick S. Dick had been one of the original Akronites and was now living in New York. There was also Tom K., a hard-working and conservative Jerseyman. Somewhat later more nonalcoholic, notably Bernard Smith and Leonard Harrison, took up their long season of service with us.'



"(FYI:  This was around the time of the Rockefeller Dinner Feb. 1940, this also shows the alcoholic members of the Foundation made up of more than just Bill & Dr. Bob. I have a copy of the minutes of the Alcoholic Foundation in July 25, 1949.  Dick S., Tom B, and Bernard Smith were already trustees of the Foundation in 1949.)  



"Page 192:



 "'We also realized that these increased demands upon the office could not be met out of book income. So for the first time we asked the A.A. groups to help. Following the Post piece. Trustees Howard and Bert went on the road, one to Philadelphia and Washington, the other to Akron and Cleveland. They asked that all A.A. groups contribute to a special fund in the Foundation which would be earmarked 'for AA. office expenses only.' The contributions would be entirely voluntary. As a measuring stick, it was suggested that each group send in one dollar per member per year.' 



"Please let me repeat myself, I am not sure if this is the same Bert T.  that owned the Tailor Shop in New York, but sure sounds like it to me. Rick, maybe on your next trip to the Archives in New York you might look for the name Herbert F. Taylor.  Again I am not sure if this is the same person either, but his name and signature appears on Works Publishing Company stock certificates date September 26th 1940 (see 'AA Everywhere-Anywhere' the souvenir book from the 1995 International Convention page 23) and Bert is short for Herbert.  I also have a photocopy of the same stock certificate dated June 20th 1940 and his name is on that one too, as president I might add . May have no connection at all, but worth looking into.



"Well, I hope this sheds some light on the source for my assumption that Bert the Tailor might have been a Trustee of the Alcoholic Foundation.  This has open a whole other question about the early make up of the Alcoholic Foundation and I think I might explore this to find out what I can."

The following is from Jim Burwell's memoirs:  



"It was also in June of this year that we made our first contact with the Rockerfeller Foundation.  This was arranged by Bert Taylor, one of the older members, who had known the family for years in a business way.  Dr. Richardson, who had long been spiritual advisor for the Rockerfeller family, became very interested and friendly, and Bill and Hank made frequent visits to him, with Hank on one side asking for financial help and Bill on the other insisting on moral support only."



0 -1 0 0
1699 NMOlson@aol.com
International Conventions -- Part One International Conventions -- Part One 3/11/2004 1:09:00 PM



A.A. International Convention, Cleveland, 1950:





The first A.A. International Convention was held in Cleveland July 28-30, 1950.



Prior to the first International Convention, the Cleveland fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous hosted a big meeting in June 1945 to celebrate A.A.’s tenth anniversary. The speakers were Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Twenty-five hundred people were in attendance, from 36 states and two Canadian provinces, and one from Mexico.  Obviously, Cleveland wanted to host the first International Convention. 



A.A. membership was approaching a hundred thousand and there were thirty-five hundred groups worldwide. The decision to hold this first International Convention was a fine example of how Bill Wilson was always able to stay on top of trends that threatened to divide A.A. His enormous personal popularity was the cement that bound A.A. together, but it was also something other members of A.A. thought they would enjoy if they became A.A.'s head man.

By 1946 there were more than two thousand AA members in Cleveland, far more than in New York. Chicago had more than twice as many members as New York, and Detroit about as many as New York. Many people in these locations didn't see why A.A. had to be run by Bill Wilson from New York.

Many state and regional A.A. conventions were being held, and Texas, among others, was planning to hold its own international convention, independent of New York and the Alcoholic Foundation.

Bill Wilson, with "Disraeli-like diplomacy," according to Francis Hartigan, told the Texas AA members he thought it would be all right if they invited whomever they wanted to their planned 1952 convention, but he suggested they not call it an "international" convention because this could inspire other states to do the same.




Bill then quickly began to organize an international convention of his own, to be held before the planned Texas convention.

Three thousand people attended the first international convention in Cleveland at the end of July 1950. This was the only International Convention attended by Dr. Bob. His wife, Anne, had died the year before, and Bob was very ill with cancer.

Bill chose Cleveland for several reasons:

(1)  It would be possible for Dr. Bob to attend, since it was not far from Akron.

(2) It had one of the largest and earliest concentrations of sober alcoholics.

(3) It was the home turf of Clarence Snyder (the "Home Brewmeister) who had begun claiming that he was the founder of AA. He based this claim on the fact that when the Cleveland members broke away from the Akron group because priests were refusing to allow Catholics to attend Oxford Group meetings, the Cleveland group was the first group that used the name Alcoholics Anonymous.

(4) Convention planning required a lot of cooperation between Cleveland, Akron, and New York, which would help to ameliorate friction between the three groups.

To demonstrate the significance of the greater whole to which each group was joined, Bill opened the convention wearing a lei over his right shoulder. He explained that it was a gift to all A.A.s from a group whose members would never attend any A.A. gathering but their own, the A.A. group at the leper colony in Hawaii.

Dr. Bob, whose cancer was painfully advanced, spoke only briefly. The experience exhausted him. He left the convention early and was driven home to Akron. He died within six months, November 16, 1950.

But during his brief talk he told the assembled members: "My good friends in A.A. and of A.A., 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 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.

"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 A.A. work. Our Twelve Steps, when immersed 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 do numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get such a degree of smug complacency that we're not willing to extend, or attempt to extend, to our less fortunate brothers that help which has been so beneficial to us. Thank you very much."

Bill used his time on the platform to urge that AA unity be emphasized above all else. It was here that he asked AA to approve the AA traditions, and to agree to put into place the AA system of representation known as the AA Conference. The longer form of the traditions had been shortened at the suggestion and with the help of Earl Treat ("He Sold Himself Short) who started AA in Chicago.

Among those who were opposing the conference idea was Henrietta Seiberling, the Oxford Group non-alcoholic woman who had introduced Bill and Dr. Bob.



Despite Dr. Bob's support for the conference idea, the best that Bill could obtain during the Cleveland convention was approval to try the conference idea on an experimental basis.

Nonetheless, the Cleveland Convention was a memorable event. It not only approved the Traditions, but it set precedent for International Conventions to come. Since then, they have been held every five years.

Tex Brown was present at this convention, and described it to me at the 2000 International Convention in Minneapolis. I asked him to write it for posting. This is part of what he wrote:

"In 1950 I attended the First International A. A. Convention in Cleveland. This was a wonderful thing and a wonderful time. Everyone was excited about everything. Especially getting to see and hear Bill and Dr. Bob. I think that this was where we knew that A.A. was really working and that we were here to stay.

"One special memory that I have was seeing an Amish family (my first) all dressed up in their Sunday Meeting clothes, in a horsedrawn buggy on the highway just outside of Cleveland. The next day on the floor of the big meeting at the Convention, there they were. The driver of the buggy (Miles ?), big hat and all, was running up and down the aisles shaking hands. He seemed to know everybody. He was one of our early members.

"On Sunday morning the 'Spiritual Meeting' was held. I went much excited by the prospect that I was going to rub elbows with the real heavy hitters in the 'God' department. I do not remember the name of the main speaker, but his topic dealt with the idea that the alcoholic was to be the instrument that God would use to regenerate and save the world. He expounded the idea that alcoholics were God's Chosen People and he was starting to talk about 'The Third Covenant,' (there are two previous covenants with the Jewish people described in the Old Testament and the Christians, described in the New Testament), when he was interrupted by shouted objections from the back of the room. The objector, who turned out to be a small Catholic priest, would not be hushed up.




"There was chaos and embarrassment as the meeting was quickly adjourned. I was upset and in full sympathy with the poor speaker. I did not realize it at the time, but I had seen Father Pfau (Fr. Ralph Pfau of Indianapolis) in action and Father Pfau was right. I had heard the group conscience and I rejected it."

But this is how Bill Wilson described the 1950 International Convention in a talk he gave later:

"On A.A.'s 15th Anniversary everybody knew that we had grown up. There couldn't be any doubt about it. Members, families and friends -- seven thousand of them -- spent three inspiring, almost awesome days with our good hosts at Cleveland.

"The theme song of our Conference was gratitude; its keynote was the sure realization that we are now welded as one, the world over. As never before, we dedicated ourselves to the single purpose of carrying good news of A.A. to those millions who still don't know.

"As we affirmed the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, we asked that we might remain in perfect unity under the Grace of God for so long as He may need us.

"Just what did we do? Well, we had meetings, lots of them. The medical meeting, for instance. Our first and greatest friend Dr. Silkworth couldn't get there. But his associate at Knickerbocker Hospital, New York, Dr. Meyer Texon, most ably filled the gap, telling how best the general hospital could relate itself to us. He clinched his points by a careful description how, during the past four years at Knickerbocker, 5000 drunks had been sponsored, processed and turned loose in A.A.; and this to the great satisfaction of everybody concerned, including the hospital, whose Board was delighted with the results and specially liked the fact that its modest charges were invariably paid, money on the line. Who had ever heard of 5000 drunks who really paid their bills? Then Dr. Texon brought us up to the minute on the malady of alcoholism as they see it at Knickerbocker; he said it was a definite personality disorder hooked to a physical craving. That certainly made sense to most of us. Dr. Texon threw a heavy scare into prospective 'slippees.' It was that little matter of one's liver. This patient organ, he said, would surely develop hob nails or maybe galloping cirrhosis, if more guzzling went on. He had a brand new one too, about salt water, claiming that every alcoholic on the loose had a big salt deficiency. Fill the victim with salt water, he said, and you'd quiet him right down. Of course we thought, 'Why not put all drunks on salt water instead of gin? Then the world alcohol problem might be solved overnight.' But that was our idea, not Dr. Texon's. To him, many thanks.

"About the industrial meeting: Jake H., U.S. Steel, and Dave M., Dupont, both A.A.s, led it. Mr. Louis Selser, Editor of the Cleveland Press, rounded out the session and brought down the house. Jake, as an officer of Steel, told what the company really thought about A.A. - and it was all good. Jake noted A.A.'s huge collective earning power - somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 billion of dollars annually. Instead of being a nerve-wracking drag on society's collective pocket book, we were now, for the most part, top grade employables who could contribute a yearly average of $4,000 apiece to our country's well being. Dave M., personnel man at Dupont who has a special eye to the company's alcohol problem, related what the 'New Look' on serious drinking had meant to Dupont and its workers of all grades. According to Dave, his company believes mightily in A.A.

"By all odds the most stirring testimony at the industrial seminar was given by Editor Louis Selser. Mr. Selser spoke to us from the viewpoint of an employer, citizen and veteran newspaper man. It was about the most moving expression of utter confidence in Alcoholics Anonymous we had ever heard. It was almost too good; its implications brought us a little dismay. How could we fallible A.A.'s ever measure up to Mr. Selser's high hope for our future? We began to wonder if the A.A. reputation wasn't getting far better than its actual character.

"Next came that wonderful session on prisons. Our great friend, Warden Duffy told the startling story of our original group at San Quentin. His account of A.A.'s 5-year history there had a moving prelude. We heard a recording, soon for radio release, that thrillingly dramatized an actual incident of A.A. life within the walls. An alcoholic prisoner reacts bitterly to his confinement and develops amazing ingenuity in finding and drinking alcohol. Soon he becomes too ingenious. In the prison paint shop he discovers a promising fluid which he shares with his fellow alcoholics. It was deadly poison. Harrowing hours followed, during which several of them died. The whole prison was tense as the fatalities continued to mount. Nothing but quick blood transfusions could save those still living. The San Quentin A.A. Group volunteered instantly and spent the rest of that long night giving of themselves as they had never given before. A.A. hadn't been any too popular, but now prison morale hit an all time high and stayed there. Many of the survivors joined up. The first Prison Group had made its mark; A.A. had come to San Quentin to stay.

"Warden Duffy then spoke. Apparently we folks on the outside know nothing of prison sales resistance. The skepticism of San Quentin prisoners and keepers alike had been tremendous. They thought A.A. must be a racket. Or maybe a crackpot religion. Then, objected the prison board, why tempt providence by freely mixing prisoners with outsiders, alcoholic women especially. Bedlam would be unloosed. But our friend the Warden, somehow deeply convinced, insisted on A.A. To this day, he said, not a single prison rule has ever been broken at an A.A. meeting though hundreds of gatherings have been attended by hundreds of prisoners with almost no watching at all. Hardly needed is that solitary, sympathetic guard who sits in the back row.

"The Warden added that most prison authorities throughout the United States and Canada today share his views of Alcoholics Anonymous. Hitherto 8O% of paroled alcoholic prisoners had to be scooped up and taken back to jail. Many institutions now report that this percentage has dropped to one-half, even one-third of what it used to be.



Warden Duffy had traveled 2000 miles to be with us at Cleveland. We soon saw why. He came because he is a great human being. Once again, we A.A.'s sat and wondered how far our reputation had got ahead of our character.

"Naturally we men folk couldn't go to the meeting of the alcoholic ladies. But we have no doubt they devised ways to combat the crushing stigma that still rests on those poor gals who hit the bottle. Perhaps, too, our ladies had debated how to keep the big bad wolf at a respectful distance. But no, the A.A. sister transcribing this piece crisply assures me nothing of the sort was discussed. A wonderfully constructive meeting, she says it was. And about 500 girls attended. Just think of it, A.A. was four years old before we could sober up even one. Life for the alcoholic woman is no sinecure.

"Nor were other special sufferers overlooked, such as paid Intergroup secretaries, plain everyday secretaries, our newspaper editors and the wives and husbands of alcoholics, sometimes known as our 'forgotten people.' I'm sure the secretaries concluded that though sometimes unappreciated, they still love every moment of their work.

"What the editors decided, I haven't learned. Judging from their telling efforts over the years, it is altogether possible they came up with many an ingenious idea.

"Everybody agreed that the wives (and husbands) meeting was an eye opener. Some recalled how Anne S. in the Akron early days, had been boon companion and advisor to distraught wives. She clearly saw alcoholism as a family problem.

"Meanwhile we A.A.'s went all out on the work of sobering up incoming alkies by the thousands. Our good wives seemed entirely lost in that prodigious shuffle. Lots of the newer localities held closed meetings only, it looked like A.A. was going exclusive. But of late this trend has whipped about. More and more our partners have been taking the Twelve Steps into their own lives. As proof of this, witness the 12th step work they are doing with the wives and husbands of newcomers, and note well those wives' meetings now springing up everywhere.

"At their Cleveland gathering they invited us alcoholics to listen. Many an A.A. skeptic left that session convinced that our 'forgotten ones' really had something. As one alkie put it - 'The deep understanding and spirituality I felt in that wives' meeting was something out of the world.'

"Far from it, the Cleveland Conference wasn't all meetings. Take that banquet, for example. Or should I say banquets? The original blueprint called for enough diners to fill the Rainbow Room of Hotel Carter. But the diners did much better. Gay banqueters quickly overflowed the Ballroom. Finally the Carter Coffee Shop and Petit Cafe had to be cleared for the surging celebrants. Two orchestras were drafted and our fine entertainers found they had to play their acts twice, both upstairs and down.

"Though nobody turned up tight, you should have heard those A.A.'s sing. Slap-happy, they were. And why not? Yet a serious undertone crept in as we toasted the absent ones. We were first reminded of the absent by that A.A. from the Marshall Islands who, though all alone out there, still claimed his group had three members, to wit: 'God, the book Alcoholics Anonymous and me.' The first leg of his 7,000 mile journey to Cleveland had finished at Hawaii whence with great care and refrigeration he had brought in a cluster of floral tributes, those leis for which the Islands are famous. One of these was sent by the A.A. lepers at Molokai - those isolated A.A.'s who will always be of us, yet never with us. We swallowed hard, too, when we thought of Dr. Bob, alone at home, gravely ill.

"Another toast of the evening was to that A.A. who, more than anything, wanted to be at Cleveland when we came of age. Unhappily he never got to the Tradition meeting, he had been carried off by a heart attack. His widow came in his place and she cheerfully sat out that great event with us. How well her quiet courage will be remembered. But at length gaiety took over; we danced till midnight. We knew the absent ones would want it that way.

"Several thousand of us crowded into the Cleveland Music Hall for the Tradition meeting, which was thought by most A.A.'s to be the high point of our Conference. Six old time stalwarts, coming from places as far flung as Boston and San Diego, beautifully reviewed the years of A.A. experience which had led to the writing of our Traditions. Then I was asked to sum up, which I did, saying: 'That, touching all matters affecting A.A. unity, our common welfare should come first; that A.A. has no human authority - only God as He may speak in our Group Conscience; that our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern; that any alcoholic may become an A.A. member if he says so -- we exclude no one; that every A.A. Group may manage its own affairs as it likes, provided surrounding groups are not harmed thereby; that we A.A.'s have but a single aim -- the carrying of our message to the alcoholic who still suffers; that in consequence we cannot finance, endorse or otherwise lend the name 'Alcoholics Anonymous' to any other enterprise, however worthy; that A.A., as such, ought to remain poor, lest problems of property, management and money divert us from our sole aim; that we ought to be self-supporting, gladly paying our small expenses ourselves; that A.A. should forever remain non-professional, ordinary 12th step work never to be paid for; that, as a Fellowship, we should never be organized but may nevertheless create responsible Service Boards or Committees to insure us better propagation and sponsorship and that these agencies may engage full time workers for special tasks; that our public relations ought to proceed upon the principle of attraction rather than promotion, it being better to let our friends recommend us; that personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and pictures ought to be strictly maintained as our best protection against the temptations of power or personal ambition; and finally, that anonymity before the general public is the spiritual key to all our traditions, ever reminding us we are always to place principles before personalities, that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.

"So summing up, I then inquired if those present had any objections to the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous as they stood. Hearing none, I offered our Traditions for adoption. Impressively unanimous, the crowd stood up. So ended that fine hour in which we of Alcoholics Anonymous took our destiny by the hand.

"On Sunday morning we listened to a panel of four A.A.'s who portrayed the spiritual side of Alcoholics Anonymous -- as they understood it. What with churchgoers and late-rising banqueters, the Conference Committee had never guessed this would be a heavy duty session. But churchgoers had already returned from their devotions and hardly a soul stayed abed. Hotel Cleveland's ballroom was filled an hour before hand. People who have fear that A.A. is losing interest in things of the spirit should have been there.

"A hush fell upon the crowd as we paused for a moment of silence. Then came the speakers, earnest and carefully prepared, all of them. I cannot recall an A.A. gathering where the attention was more complete, or the devotion deeper.

"Yet some thought that those truly excellent speakers had, in their enthusiasm, unintentionally created a bit of a problem. It was felt the meeting had gone over far in the direction of religious comparison, philosophy and interpretation, when by firm long standing tradition we A.A.'s had always left such questions strictly to the chosen faith of each individual.

"One member [Fr. Ralph Pfau] rose with a word of caution. As I heard him, I thought, 'What a fortunate occurrence. How well we shall always remember that A.A. is never to be thought of as a religion. How firmly we shall insist that A.A. membership cannot depend upon any particular belief whatever; that our twelve steps contain no article of religious faith except faith in God -- as each of us understands Him. How carefully we shall henceforth avoid any situation which could possibly lead us to debate matters of personal religious belief. It was, we felt, a great Sunday morning.

"That afternoon we filed into the Cleveland Auditorium. The big event was the appearance of Dr. Bob. Earlier we thought he'd never make it, his illness had continued so severe. Seeing him once again was an experience we seven thousand shall always treasure. He spoke in a strong, sure voice for ten minutes, and he left us a great heritage, a heritage by which we A.A.'s can surely grow. It was the legacy of one who had been sober since June 10, 1935, who saw our first Group to success, and one who, in the fifteen years since, had given both medical help and vital A.A. to 4,000 of our afflicted ones at good St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous. Simplicity, devotion, steadfastness and loyalty; these, we remembered, were the hallmarks of that character which Dr. Bob had well implanted in so many of us. I, too, could gratefully recall that in all the years of our association there had never been an angry word between us. Such were our thoughts as we looked at Dr. Bob.

"Then for an hour I tried to sum up. Yet how could one add much to what we had all seen, heard and felt in those three wonderful days? With relief and certainty we had seen that A.A. could never become exhibitionistic or big business; that its early humility and simplicity is very much with us, that we are still mindful our beloved Fellowship is really God's success - not ours. As evidence I shared a vision of A.A. as Lois and I saw it unfold on a distant beach head in far Norway. The vision began with one A.A. who listened to a voice in his conscience, and then said all he had.

"George, a Norwegian-American, came to us at Greenwich, Connecticut, five years ago. His parents back home hadn't heard from him in twenty years. He began to send letters telling them of his new freedom. Back came very disquieting news. The family reported his only brother in desperate condition, about to lose all through alcohol. What could be done? The A.A. from Greenwich had a long talk with his wife. Together they took a decision to sell their little restaurant, all they had. They would go to Norway to help the brother. A few weeks later an airliner landed them at Oslo. They hastened from field to town and thence 25 mile down the fjord where the ailing brother lived. He was in a bad state all right. Unfortunately, though, everybody saw it but him. He'd have no A.A., no American nonsense. He an alcoholic? Why certainly not! Of course the man from Greenwich had heard such objections before. But now this familiar argument was hard to take. Maybe he had sold all he had for no profit to anybody. George persisted every bit he dared, but finally surmised it was no use. Determined to start an A.A. Group in Norway, anyhow, he began a round of Oslo's clergy and physicians. Nothing happened, not one of them offered him a single prospect. Greatly cast down, he and his wife thought it high time they got back to Connecticut.

"But Providence took a hand. The rebellious Norwegian obligingly tore off on one of his fantastic periodics. In the final anguish of his hangover he cried out to the man from Greenwich, 'Tell me again of the Alcoholics Anonymous, what, oh my brother, shall I do?' With perfect simplicity George retold the A.A. story. When he had done, he wrote out, in his all but forgotten Norwegian, a longhand translation of a little pamphlet published by the White Plains, N.Y. Group. It contained, of course, our Twelve Steps of recovery. The family from Connecticut then flew away home. The Norwegian brother, himself a typesetter, commenced to place tiny ads in the Oslo newspapers. He explained he was a recovered alcoholic who wished to help others. At last a prospect appeared. When the newcomer was told the story and shown the White Plains pamphlet, he, too, sobered instantly. The founders to be then placed more ads.

"Three years after, Lois and I alighted upon that same airfield. We then learned that Norway has hundreds of A.A.'s. And good ones. The men of Oslo had already carried the life -- giving news to other Norwegian cities and these beacons burned brightly. It had all been just as simple, but just as mysterious as that.

"In the final moments of our historic Conference it seemed fitting to read from the last chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. These were the words we took home with us: 'Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find, and join us. We shall be with you, in the Fellowship of The Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you -- until then.'"

Sources:



Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age
Pass It On
Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers
Bill W., by Francis Hartigan
Getting Better, Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, by Nan Robertson
Communications from Tex Brown.
An undated talk by Bill Wilson.



Sarah P – GAO staff
__________



A.A. International Convention, St. Louis, 1955.





The second International Convention was held in St. Louis in 1955, and perhaps the most important one ever held. It was the convention at which Bill announced that A.A. had now "come of age." The five-year trial period for the General Service Conference plan was over, and this time Bill received no opposition to his plan.

There were five thousand members with their families and friends in the audience. For three days they met to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. St. Louis was another centrally located city, and for Bill personally had the advantage that it was the hometown of Fr. Ed Dowling, his spiritual sponsor.



In addition to Fr. Dowling, many other persons important to AA history were there: Rev. Sam Shoemaker; Dr. W.W. Bauer of the American Medical Association; Bernard Smith, then chairman of the General Service Board; penologist Austin MacCormick (between his two terms as trustee); Henry Mielcarek, corporate personnel expert, Dr. Jack Norris; and Dr. Harry Tiebout. Many of them addressed the convention and their talks are included in "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age."

Dr. Leonard Strong, Bill's brother-in-law, couldn't make it to St. Louis, which disappointed Bill. Bernard Smith chaired the convention. Nell Wing wrote:

"When Bill was trying to push through the idea of the conference, Bern Smith was the only trustee -- or, anybody -- supporting him, and it was he who finally brought a majority of the other trustees around to accept the conference on a trial basis. He also helped Bill put together the proposed General Service Conference structure; Bill called him 'the architect of the conference.' Stocky in build, quick of wit and mind, perceptive, he also relished a few drinks. He sometimes referred to himself as a 'so-called nonalcoholic.' He was devoted to Bill and to A.A. until his untimely death a month after substituting for Bill at the 35th Anniversary Convention in Miami."

Ebby Thatcher, whom Bill always called his sponsor, was there as Bill's special guest, brought up from Texas, where he had moved the year before.

Another special guest in St. Louis was Bill's mother, Dr. Emily Strobell. She had divorced his father and left Bill with her parents when he was eleven years old, and, according to Nell, "Bill seemed desperate to seek his mother's approval all his life. ... He particularly wanted to have her with him at this special convention to hear him speak and see how the members and friends reacted to his contributions. Bill said it was 'the icing on the cake' for him."

Nell added: "At the convention, I didn't see how Dr. Emily could have helped but be impressed with her son, but she didn't show too much reaction one way or the other."

Lois, of course, was also there contributing her ideas, enthusiasm and energy, primarily concentrating on her Al-Anon Family Groups. On the Sunday afternoon of the closing "coming of age" part of the program, she was the first speaker in Kiel Auditorium after the vote to turn over leadership to the Fellowship had been taken.

The second edition of the Big Book was published just in time for the St. Louis convention, and was designed to show the broader range of the membership. The original text of the first 11 chapters was essentially unchanged, but Bill had worked hard to get new stories, often going to a group with the express purpose of taping the stories of various oldtimers. In addition to Bill's story and that of Dr. Bob, six others were carried over from the first edition; 30 new stories were included; and the present division of the story section into three parts was instituted.

Bill gave three major talks. On the first night Bill talked of what he called the first of the three legacies: "How We Learned to Recover." His second talk dealt with the second legacy "How We Learned to Stay Together." His third talk was on the third legacy: "How We Learned to Serve."

Four o'clock Sunday afternoon was reserved for the final meeting of the 1955 General Service Conference. This was the occasion on which Bill formally turned over the stewardship of A.A. to the General Service Conference, giving up his own official leadership and acknowledging that AA was responsible for its own affairs. He would later say: "Clearly my job henceforth was to let go and let God. Alcoholics Anonymous was at last safe -- even from me."

Robert Thomsen wrote: "No one in Kiel Auditorium on the last afternoon of the '55 convention would ever forget the sense of expectancy when Bill again stood before them and they waited for him to speak. He seemed to have grown, to be somehow a little larger than life, a man who just naturally created memories. If Bill W. had engaged a Madison Avenue, PR firm, one old-timer recalled, and if this firm had worked around the clock on his account, they could never have done for him what he without even trying did for himself that afternoon. There had always been a powerful affinity between Bill and the imagination of alcoholics, and now this could be felt in the farthest corners of Kiel Auditorium. Even at a distance one got the impression of a tall, thin, completely relaxed man, yet with a tremendous inner energy; a personality that carried over big spaces -- that indeed seemed to expand when confronted with bigness. A warm light played over his face as he squared his shoulders and then leaned slightly forward across the lectern like some old backwoods statesman who'd stopped by for a chat. He was imposing, yet friendly, radiant but homespun."

Bill wrote his history of this convention because he wanted to make sure that nobody misunderstood what had happened at St. Louis. "Pass It On," p. 359 says: "In many ways, 'Alcoholic Anonymous Comes of Age' is a masterpiece. Deceptively simple in its guise as a log of the three-day proceedings, it is actually an entire history of the Fellowship and its place in society, with whole sections given over to the vision of A.A. as held by those in society at large -- men of industry, doctors, minister, and trustees -- who lived in close relationship to the Fellowship. Published in 1957, it is Bill's penultimate book."

While Bill had stepped down at St. Louis, Dennis Manders, longtime controller at the General Service Office said "Bill would spend the next 15 years stepping down." Everybody -- including Bill -- was having difficulty letting go.

Bill continued to write, multitudinous letters, plus "AA's Twelve Concepts of Service" and the "AA General Service Manual," which together form a kind of constitution and a governmental structure of A.A.

The AA Concepts don't have the elegance of AA's Twelve Steps or its Twelve Traditions, nor are they well known to many AA members. The Twelve Concepts represent a unique and fascinating set of principles that describe the right of AA's leaders to speak and act for the fellowship while establishing written guaranties for individual freedom and minority rights. The Concepts were conceived to protect the fellowship from becoming a top-down rather than a bottom-up organization.

In June of 1958 Bill wrote to Sam Shoemaker: "St. Louis was a major step toward my own withdrawal [but] I understand that the father symbol will always be hitched to me. Therefore, the problem is not how to get rid of parenthood, it is how to discharge mature parenthood properly. A dictatorship always refuses to do this, and so do the hierarchical churches. They sincerely feel that their several families can never be enough educated (or spiritualized) to properly rid their own destinies. Therefore, people who have to live within the structure of dictatorships and hierarchies must lose, to a greater or lesser degree, the opportunity of really growing up. I think A.A. can avoid this temptation to concentrate its power, and I truly believe that it is going to be intelligent enough and spiritualized enough to rely on our group conscience. I feel a complete withdrawal on my part should be tried. Were any major structural flaws to develop later that I might help to repair, of course I would return. Otherwise, I think I should resolutely stay away. There are few, if any, historical precedents to go by; one can only see what happens.

"This is going to leave me in a state of considerable isolation. Experience already tells me that if I'm within range of A.A. requests or demands, there are almost impossible to refuse. Could I achieve enough personal freedom, my main interest would almost surely become these:

"(1) To bring into the field of the general neurosis which today afflicts nearly everybody, such experience as A.A. has had. This could be of value to many groups working in this field.

"(2) Throughout A.A., we find a large amount of psychic phenomena, nearly all of it spontaneous. Alcoholic after alcoholic tells me of such experiences and ask if these denote lunacy -- or do they have real meaning? These psychic experiences have run nearly the full gamut of everything we see in the books. In addition to my original mystic experience, I've had a lot of such phenomenalism myself."

The letter goes on to discuss this second item in great detail. The complete letter can be found on pages 373-376 of "Pass It On."

Bill and Dr. Jack Norris had some correspondence on the subject of Bill's responsibility as a living founder. Dr. Jack wrote: "You cannot escape being 'Bill W.' -- nor would you, really, even though at times you will rebel. The best bets are made with all possible information in hand and considered. I am reminded of a poem written by the mother of a small child, in which she says, 'I am tied down' and goes on to list the ways she is captive, ending with the phrase 'Thank God I am tied down.' To few men has it ever been given to be the 'father image' in so constructive a way to so many; fewer have kept their stability and humility, and for this you are greatly honored. But you are human, and you still carry the scars of alcoholism and need, as I do, to live A.A. The greatest danger that I sense to the Fellowship is that you might lose A.A. as it applies to you."



Sources:

Pass It On
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age
Grateful To Have Been There, by Nell Wing
Bill W., by Francis Hartigan
__________



A.A. International Convention, Long Beach, 1960.





The third A.A. International Convention was held in Long Beach, California, in 1960.

There were twice as many people at Long Beach as at St. Louis, but the convention seemed to be fraught with problems from the beginning. Hank G., who was then manager of the General Service Office, was handling the preparation for this convention, but while visiting Las Vegas with his wife on his way to California he was stricken with appendicitis and ended up in a hospital.

Then Herb M., the chairman of the trustees' General Services Committee, who was probably the next best person for the job, took over, but he was suddenly
stricken with a heart attack in upstate New York.

So at the very last moment another trustee, Allen B., stepped in to handle the planning. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary, said that Allen was "a good administrator, extremely capable and well-liked." He was assisted by an Al S. Bill, accompanied by Allen, someone named Dennis Manders (whom I haven't identified), and a staff secretary named Hazel R., went out to California several days early to help prepare.

Lois and Nell Wing followed on the flight on which Bill had originally been scheduled. When they landed, they were met by members of the hospitality committee. After greeting Lois the committee members continued to wait around until Lois asked if they were ready to leave. They replied, "We're waiting for Bill's Chinese secretary." Lois laughed and said, "This is Nell Wing right here," pointing to the obviously Caucasian Nell.

Nell said that "Bill planned to make a major talk on Saturday night. He wanted it to be the definitive story of the how and why of the Twelve Traditions. But because of the many distractions resulting from Hank's illness, Bill hadn't had the time to prepare for this important talk. Nell spent the whole day Saturday with him going over and over the outline and notes for the speech. "I typed and retyped them as he changed and added," she wrote. "Finally, we left for the open-air stadium on the ocean where the huge crowd had gathered."

A record cold spell hit Long Beach, which is extremely rare for July in that part of the world. Nobody had brought any warm clothes, so in contrast to St. Louis where Nell says they "almost melted," they almost froze.

Bill was very long winded that night. (It's always easier to give a shorter talk if you have adequate time to prepare.) He went on and on for more than two hours. Nell said it was the longest talk he ever made. To make matters worse, the public address system did not work well and Lois and the trustees, who were seated on the stage behind the podium, couldn't hear a word for the entire two hours.

Bill later was often teased about his "Deepfreeze Talk" -- as he himself described it. Amazingly, according to Nell, almost everyone stayed until the end, shivering and shaking.

On Sunday, in the same stadium, the people who attended the conference were treated to a spectacular show featuring a popular orchestra and some of Hollywood's brightest stars including Buster Keaton, Jane Mansfield, Dennis Day, and Peggy Lee -- all of whom donated their talent without charge.

Bill B., an entertainer who was the Master of Ceremonies, kidded Bill lovingly about the length of the talk. Nell said that Bill laughed, too, and took it all in good humor.

I'm sure everyone fortunate enough to be able to attend this convention came away greatly edified. Nonetheless, there were problems. At least one oldtimer felt hurt that he wasn't given recognition. Jim Burwell, an early New York member (then living in California), whose story "The Vicious Cycle" appears in the Big Book, apparently had written Bill asking for some role at the convention. I assume this from a letter Bill wrote Jim on July 1, 1958. It said in part: "I note that what you say about the upcoming 1960 Conference and will suggest your name to the committee. They tell me there is still some question whether Long Beach will be big enough to accommodate the crowd. Judging, however, by the action of the Conference, I think we shall make the best of what is there. It is certainly the largest center of population and this would guarantee the gate at once."

Jim must have written again asking for recognition of "oldtimers" because Bill wrote him on May 24, 1960: "I wish we had thought of an oldtimers meeting earlier. I'm taking this up with the office, but I imagine the schedule is pretty tight, as matters now stand. I don't know how we would go about getting such a crowd together - where and how we would find them and so forth. But I'll inquire."

Jim must have complained bitterly again to Bill about the convention because Bill wrote a very tactful letter to him on August 8, 1960, just a short time after the convention ended. In it he said in part:

"Very sincerely I feel not a little badly that the convention gave you and perhaps other very old timers, an unhappy experience because of the lack of recognition. When you wrote me, not too long before the Convention, about the possibility of an old timers meeting, I did check this up. The schedule was then in pretty air-tight shape, so far as the official sessions went. Perhaps I should have followed this thing through more fully, trying to get some sort of informal meeting together.

"As you know, Hank got awfully sick just prior to the Convention. This threw added burdens on me. I must confess to neglect and forgetfulness -- at least to some extent. As a matter of fact, the Convention ran a little bit behind several thousands, we don't know just how much yet. There was always a question of how many people we could bring long distances pre-paid, and on what ground we could fetch them. In this connection, I did [not] give you and Rosa much thought because you [live] near by. But I did think a good deal about Henrietta Seiberling and Bob Oviatt in Akron, both of whom preceded you, I think, A.A.-wise.

"Admittedly, I did not think of Clarence. Probably this is because he has always disapproved of conventions and all of the doings of the New York headquarters -- off and on he has had us under bitter attack for years. I didn't mean to let that affect me, but subconsciously maybe it did. In any case, you will surely remember that I tried to give all possible credit in 'A.A. Comes of Age' to you, Bert, Dorothy, Clarence, and a great many others.

"Considering the time at my disposal, I did not see how you people could have been introduced in either of my talks. In the first one I could only show the bare beginnings of A.A. In the second one - which was altogether too long - I had to dwell on the development of the Traditions. I really don't see where you folks would have fitted in - at least to the satisfaction of the audience - in that respect. Naturally I had to bring in Ebby because, despite his lack of sobriety since, he was at the very beginning. Sister Ignatia was certainly due for a bow after all these years. After all, she and Smith ministered to 5,000 drunks - a number far greater than you and I ever thought of touching ourselves.

"In this connection I also felt not a little sorry that Henrietta wasn't invited. There was not only the question of cost. Though she has been extremely friendly during the last two or three years, it must be remembered that she has never cared for the convention idea and indeed, was against the whole New York headquarters operation for many years. For several reasons she wasn't invited.

"Maybe that was a mistake. I know that, for one, I was damn sorry she wasn't there. However, I wasn't the entire boss of this whole undertaking, by any means.

"I don't know whether you and Dorothy got to say anything at those Alkathon meetings. Some of them were very outstanding indeed, and apparently rated much higher in many A.A. minds than any of my efforts. If you were not invited, this [is] surprising indeed, considering how prominent you, especially, have been out on the Coast, well known to everybody. If this was an omission, it certainly gives me cause for wonder, as doubtless it does you. However, those arrangements were all made by the Coast people.

"Nevertheless I suppose if I had been thoughtful enough about it - which I wasn't - I might have taken particular pains.

"I guess the upshot of it is that life never gives quite the deal we would like. On one hand, you say that you suffer from lack of recognition, and I say with certain equal fervor that I greatly suffer from far too much."

One can feel some pain for Bill in his efforts to keep so very many alcoholics -- most of us with oversized egos -- happy and working together.

Sources:
Grateful To Have Been There, by Nell Wing
Bill W. correspondence.
__________



A.A. International Convention,  Toronto, 1965.





The fourth International Convention was held in Toronto, Canada, in July 1965.

Bill and Lois were, of course, prominent on the program, and at that time many of the old-timers were still active and at the convention.

Nell Wing, Bill's secretary, particularly remembered Clarence Snyder, who started A.A. in Cleveland. She said that Bill spent "a couple of hours" in Clarence's hotel suite reminiscing about the early days.

This surprised Nell, who pointed out: "He started a group in Cleveland in May 1939, the first group, as far as we know, to use the A.A. initials. (Bill had been using the full name since 1938 in letters and a pamphlet.) On this slender basis, Clarence forever claimed to have founded A.A."

"As long as Bill was alive," Nell notes, "Clarence was antagonistic and hostile toward him. He was a leader of a small group of dissidents, who were anti-Conference and anti-G.S.O., and who bad-mouthed Bill for many years. And here was Bill in Toronto, chatting and chuckling with his bête noire and enjoying it all. I believe that was the last time they met together." Nell adds that a "feisty priest who had threatened to disrupt the 'Coming of Age' ceremony in St. Louis, was at this convention also, but now he was loving and kind to Bill and Lois and everyone else. He had just returned from an audience with the Pope in Rome, bearing a citation for Bill. It hangs now on the wall at Stepping Stones." [Was this Ralph Pfau?]

The film "Bill's Own Story," which Nell had watched being made at Stepping Stones, was shown for the first time in Toronto. It was well received and has been reproduced in several languages since then.

One person who made Toronto such a significant convention: Al S.. Al, an advertising and film man in New York, had joined the fellowship in March 1944. "Within a month," Nell Wing reports, "he was 'into action,' as the Big Book says. Among his many contributions to A.A., he helped re-form the Manhattan group, and also helped organize another club for A.A.s on Forty-first Street. He helped structure the New York Intergroup, for which he served as secretary and director. While there, he and another member, George B., were instrumental in persuading Knickerbocker Hospital to set aside a ward just for alcoholics under the sponsorship of A.A. -- the first such general hospital in New York to do so."

Nell notes that by late 1948, Al had become editor of the Grapevine. During the time he worked on the Grapevine, he also served as a director of A.A. Publishing, Inc. (an earlier name of AA World Services, Inc. From 1958 to 1961, he was a director of the A.A. Grapevine, Inc., and a trustee on the General Service Board.

He attended, until his death, every International Convention and contributed to the success of them all. He was a valued friend of Bill's, according to Nell, and Bill solicited Al's views and comments on all his books and other writings. Nell adds: "Lois put it succinctly: 'Bill and Al were buddies.'"

It was also Al S. who composed the "I am Responsible" pledge for the convention in Toronto.

Nell writes:

"I will never forget -- nor will anyone who was there -- the moving ceremony of rededication on Saturday evening in the Maple Leaf Gardens auditorium. The crowd of more than 10,000 rose and joined the conference delegates, trustees, and A.A. representatives from 21 countries up on the stage in repeating the declaration. They clasped hands and loudly pronounced in one tremendous, strong voice: 'I am responsible when anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.'

"There was a special spirit about the Toronto Convention. Many people say it was the best ever."

Source:

Grateful To Have Been There, by Nell Wing
__________




A.A. International Convention, Miami, 1970.





The fifth AA International Convention was held in Miami in 1970. It was the first one that I attended.

Nell Wing, Bill's secretary, wrote: "More than 13,000 members and their families came from all over the world to see the cofounder and hear him speak, as he had at all previous conventions, and to participate in the wide-ranging program."

Arriving at the Fountainbleu Hotel, where the convention was held, I was thrilled to meet members from many countries. Nell said there were many from Latin America.

I also was delighted -- typical A.A. member that I am -- to see that free coffee was being offered in the lobby. But when I looked for some later it was all gone. Nell explained that the host committee in Miami, chaired by Wes P., "one of the more colorful members," had raised about $10,000 from local groups to provide complimentary coffee. But $10,000 worth of coffee doesn't last long, especially at hotel prices, with that many A.A. members hanging around.

It may have been Wes P. who drove me around Miami one day. When I noticed people on the street pointing at the car and smiling, he explained that the license plate on the front of the car read "Alcoholism is a Treatable Disease." He gave me one of these license plates to take back to Washington as a gift for Senator Harold Hughes, an AA member.

On another occasion, a taxi driver taking me to the Fountainbleu, asked if I were there for the AA convention. I told him I was. He admitted his worry about his own drinking, and I wound up spending considerable time doing 12th step work.

Other memories of the convention include the wonderful entertainment. An A.A. member who was a professional comedian did an act in which he pretended to be drunk. He pretended he was doing live commercial breaks during a movie being shown on TV. During each pretended commercial break he would take a drink of the alcoholic product, talking about it's fine bouquet, excellent flavor, etc. Each time he did the live commercial, of course, he was a little more drunk. He said at the end "I can't tell you how many thousands of dollars it cost me to learn that routine."

A Florida A.A. member told me a few years ago that she thinks it was Foster Brooks, "who always did a drunken skit, even though he was a very sober member of AA at the time." He often appeared on the Dean Martin show, and was also appeared with Rowan and Martin. He, like Bill Wilson, died as a result of his addiction to cigarettes.

I also remember the "Alkathons," AA meetings going on constantly 24 hours a day. I had been invited by GSO to speak at one of them. (Senator Hughes had been invited to speak at one of the big meetings, but declined because of the legislative schedule at the time. Well, that was his excuse anyway. I think he really declined because he knew he had been invited because of the celebrity he was then receiving as the leading "dark horse" for the Presidential Democratic nomination. He hated being invited to speak at A.A. functions because he was a "big name."

At the opening session, we were disappointed not to see Bill. As Nell wrote: "His life long cigarette habit had caught up with him in the form of emphysema, even though he had given up smoking the year before."

He had suffered a fall in the spring of 1969, from which according to Nell, he had never fully recovered. (However, when he came to Washington to testify before Senator Hughes' Subcommittee in July of 1969, he seemed in good health. I don't remember whether he was smoking, but if he had already given it up because of his emphysema, it must have grieved him to see Senator Hughes -- who also died of emphysema -- chain smoking the entire time.) But a year later, at the time of this convention, Bill's health had deteriorated greatly. That April he was unable to complete his opening talk at the annual General Service Conference.

Despite his ill health, he had flown to Miami with Lois and Nell a few days before the convention. But it became clear that he was not going to be able to keep his scheduled appearances. Once or twice a day he was taken back and forth to the Miami Health Clinic. Nell reported that: "Lois, Bob H., general manager of A.A.'s General Service Office, and Dr. Jack were spread pretty thin trying to cope, trying to keep the huge convention going and easing anxiety caused by Bill's failure to appear. I was caring for Bill in their suite upstairs at the hotel. It was during that week that he began hallucinating, imagining he had made a long-distance call. It was terribly distressing for Lois."

She remembers Lois's courage and determination to carry on with the Al-Anon programs. Nell thinks that Al-Anon more than ever "came of age" at this convention, with its own program of events and big crowds in its own headquarters hotel, the Eden Roc, next to the Fountainbleu.

When the press conference was held the Wednesday afternoon before the convention began, Marty Mann and Dr. Jack Norris substituted for Bill. Bernard Smith, a past chairman of the GSO Board, substituted for Bill at the opening session. Nell said that Bernie Smith was a "little disgruntled" to be called down from New York on short notice, and asked her to help him adapt a talk from a previous conference. They finished the talk by one or two o'clock, after which he got in some golf. On Sunday, he apologized to Nell for his irritability the day before.

Poor Nell was so exhausted that she slept in Sunday morning and missed the program. But I was there, with the thousands of others. And I was not disappointed. Late in the morning, a wheelchair appeared from the back of the stage, and there was Bill. He was hooked up with tubes to an oxygen tank, and had insisted on wearing one of the orange-colored blazers that identified the Miami host committee.

When we realized it was Bill, we rose as one and exploded with applause and cheers. Bill was wheeled to the front of the stage and pulled himself up to his full height at the rostrum. He spoke for only a few minutes, but his voice was strong and clear. He seemed almost like the old Bill so many of us remembered.

He talked of how happy he was about the large attendance, especially the members from other countries, and about how much it meant to him to see A.A.'s enormous growth and to have been a part of it. And then he ended by saying: "As I look out this morning on this vast crowd, I know in my heart that Alcoholics Anonymous will surely last a thousand years -- if it is God's will!"

When he lowered himself into his wheelchair we all jumped to our feet in thunderous applause. Nell says "Many times since I've thought about the coincidence, the similarity of the final exit of the two cofounders twenty years apart."

Later that day, Bill returned to the hospital. He and Lois remained in Miami until August, when they returned home to Stepping Stones. Bill's health steadily declined. He required oxygen constantly and his hallucinations were much worse. Soon he needed nurses around the clock. Bill was returned to a Miami hospital for treatment, and died in Miami less than six months after this convention.

One of my many regrets is that I did not save a copy of the last message he wrote Senator Hughes. It was a post card which he and another AA member at the hospital both signed. They wrote: "We only hope we live long enough to see you become President."

Sources:

"Grateful to Have Been There," by Nell Wing
Unpublished diary of Nancy Olson.



 



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A.A. International Conventions -- Part Two A.A. International Conventions -- Part Two 3/11/2004 3:19:00 PM

A.A. International Convention, Denver, 1975.





The sixth AA International Convention was held in Denver in 1975. It was the first at which neither Dr. Bob nor Bill was present. But to remind everyone that they were still there in spirit, the platform of Currigan Hall was decorated with portraits of them, with a 30-foot replica of the Big Book between them.

Lois, of course, was there, and as active as ever. Al S., Bill's good friend of whom I wrote in my post on the 1965 convention in Toronto, led the huge "spiritual meeting" and Lois gave a very moving talk.

Nell Wing, Bill's secretary, said that her predominant impression of the Denver convention was "crowds, crowds, crowds." GSO had planned for 12,000 and about 20,000 showed up. The workshops and panel meeting rooms were "hopelessly jammed," and at the big meetings the crowds overflowed Currigan Hall into a sports arena across the street where the talks were carried on a closed-circuit TV screen. Nell remembers that the fire department was a bit alarmed at the overcrowding of the halls.

Nell attended this time, not as Bill's assistant, but as the A.A. archivist, working with George G., chairman of the Trustees' Archives Committee. As of 1992, when Nell's book was published, George was still serving as a consultant to the Trustees' Archives Committee. Nell was grateful for his "contributions to the organizing and supervision in the earliest days of the archives," and for his friendship. Nell and George spent most of their time in Denver seeking out the early members and interviewing them on tape. Nell said it was a heart-warming experience, and she kept up with these old-timers by mail.

Anticipating the great demand for coffee, an "entrepreneur" rigged the world's largest coffee maker with servers on both sides of the balcony at the convention hall. Nell reports that "It had a capacity of 50,000 cups a day. The coffee was brewed in huge tanks or vats and piped to a bank of dozens of spigots where we helped ourselves after paying a quarter a cup. It worked fine and was the talk of the convention, but the coffee itself -- well, I've tasted better!"

The opening session on Friday night began with a flag ceremony. As the name of each country was called over the public address system, spotlights shown on the flag, and, with music from the country (perhaps its national anthem) being played, its flag was carried down the aisle and onto the stage. A.A.s from 29 countries paraded their flags. When they arrived on the stage, each flag bearer stepped up to the microphone and repeated the conference theme, "Let It Begin With Me," in his or her native language.

Alkathon meetings ran each day. One such meeting, the "drum and dance meeting" was presented by Indian A.A. groups. Ernest Kurtz reports that between each talk, "the huge drum spoke in tribute to the Higher Power that the leader chose to call the Great Spirit, and A.A.s in the regalia of many tribes went on to the Arena floor to dance -- but not alone. They reached out their hands, and soon white A.A.s and black A.A.s were on the floor with them."

Source:

Grateful To Have Been There, by Nell Wing.
Not God, by Ernest Kurtz
__________



A.A. International Convention, New Orleans, 1980.





The seventh AA International Convention was held in New Orleans, LA, in 1980.



The big meetings were held in the immense, air-conditioned Superdome. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary and now A.A. archivist, said that the Superdome was comfortably chilled and acoustically perfect.

A mock Mardi Gras parade was held on Thursday night, and "famed Bourbon Street turned into ice-cream and coffee street," according to Nell, with mobs of A.A.s taking over. There were signs in the windows of the jazz establishments welcoming A.A.s.

On Friday night, at the opening session, there was a 30 foot-high world map outlined on a blue background behind the stage. The theme of this conference was "Joy of Living," and during the flag ceremony, as each flag bearer spoke these words in his or her native tongue, the country represented was lit up on the map.

An archives workshop -- the first at an international convention -- was held and a large, enthusiastic crowd attended. The films "Bill's Own Story" and "Bill Discusses the Traditions" were shown continuously throughout the convention. Also shown continuously was a recently completed film strip of the archives called "Markings on a Journey." This was the idea of Mike R., a pioneer member from Oklahoma who was also chairman of the Trustees' Archives Committee.

He noted the fact that some 2,000 members visited the archives in New York every year to gain an awareness of how it all began. "But Mike felt that since it was impossible to bring all the fellowship in to see the archives, we should in some way take the archives to the fellowship," Nell wrote. "Markings on a Journey" was their attempt to accomplish that.



There were also meetings of archivists after the workshop to discuss the value of circulating a newsletter among the archivists.

Presentations were made by non-A.A. members, including judges, physicians, psychiatrists, clergymen, educators, prison officials, media specialists, government officials, a labor leader, an industrialist and alcoholism agency officials.
Special workshops were scheduled for gay members and for young people as well as for doctors, lawyers, and women.

This convention also was the first to have a marathon meeting running continuously, day and night, from Thursday midnight to Sunday morning. According to Nell, "A man who had sobered up just two days before in the marathon meeting was introduced before the crowd of 23,000."

On Sunday morning Lois gave a brief talk and was presented with the first Big Book in Italian, by Roberto C., who had done the translation. He told how A.A. was growing in Italy.

Then a surprise guest came to the microphone and introduced himself as Bob S., a member of Al-Anon. He explained that he was probably the only person there who had been present when Bill W. met Dr. Bob first met. He was the only son of Dr. Bob Smith. Bob Smith, "Smitty," shared some of his early memories of Bill's living in their Akron home that summer in 1935.

The 1980 convention was the first to feature women, and Marty Mann, of course, was the keynote speaker. She, like Dr. Bob and Bill before her, was very ill when she gave this last major talk to A.A. Like Bill in 1970, she arrived in a wheelchair. But when she was introduced she rose from the wheelchair and walked slowly to the podium as a prolonged ovation shook the rafters. She stood tall and the old gleam came back in her eye.

When the ovation finally ended, Marty looked out over the thousands of women (and many men, as well) and said: "Talk about tears -- I can't tell you what it feels like to be a great-great-great-great grandmother to so many women. Because that's what you are, all of you. You're my children, and I'm so, so proud of you."

The hall erupted with a roar and gave her a long ovation.

Marty Mann was not only the first woman to achieve long-term sobriety in A.A. (see her story: "Women Suffer Too" in the Big Book), she was the person most responsible for removing the stigma from the disease of alcoholism by educating the public.

She told a U.S. Senate subcommittee in 1969: "I had discovered the strength of the stigma that lay on alcoholism. I had discovered the conspiracy of silence that existed about it. I had discovered that families were inclined to protect their alcoholic and that they were totally unaware of the fact that this protection was actually preventing their alcoholic from getting help."

Marty had gained the support and backing of two eminent scientists at Yale University, Dr. Howard W. Haggard and Dr. E. M. Jellinek, who had been working on this problem for some years. And they gave her the support and
encouragement - as did Bill Wilson - to start an organization originally called the "National Committee for Education on Alcoholism," which later became the National Council on Alcoholism (now NCADD).

Marty Mann died just two weeks after she returned from New Orleans, July 22, 1980, having survived three of the most-often stigmatized health problems of the 20th century: alcoholism, tuberculosis, and cancer. She died suddenly from a massive cerebral hemorrhage.

Sources:

Slaying the Dragon, the History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, by William White.
Grateful to Have Been There, by Nell Wing.
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A.A. International Convention, Montreal, 1985.





The eighth AA International Convention was held in Montreal in 1985. The was the second to be held outside the United States, both in Canada. It drew more than 44,000, representing fifty-four countries, and began again, with a flag ceremony.

Nell Wing wrote that "Because the emphasis of the whole event was Alcoholics Anonymous history, but mostly, I think, because I was accompanying Lois, I was on the platform in the middle of the vast Olympic Stadium Friday night for the opening ceremonies."

"Lois Wilson, a tiny, stooped figure now at age 94, was assisted by her secretary, Francis H., to the microphone, where she delivered a short but touching speech in a strong voice with her sense of humor evident," according to Nell.

Ruth Hock, Bill's first secretary who typed the original manuscript of the Big Book in 1938, was there and was presented with the five-millionth copy of the Big Book. 

Nell wrote that Ruth "was much more than a gifted secretary, she was a major factor in the stability and functioning of that early office. In fact, she was a balancing factor in the debate between Jim B[urwell] the former atheist, and Fritz M[ayo], who was strongly religious, that resulted in the use of the phrase 'God as we understood Him' in the Steps -- certainly one of the most significant decisions ever made in A.A."

Nell adds "What would later be called the 'Serenity Prayer' was brought to her attention in June 1941. She sent it to an A.A. member (who was a printer) in Washington, D.C., and he printed it on small cards for distribution from G.S.O. to interested members." Ruth died in the spring of 1986.

Dave B. ("Gratitude in Action" in the 4th edition of the Big Book), the founder of A.A. in Montreal, was to have been honored at the convention, but he died only a few weeks before and was represented by nonalcoholic past trustee Dr. Travis Dancey, who had first tried to bring the A.A. message to Dave.

Dr. Jack Norris, Dr. Milton Maxwell, and Dr. Bob's son and daughter and Bob's wife Betty were at this convention. And among the attendees was 89-year-old Ken S., a "long-timer" from Kansas, and Sybil C., the first woman member in Los Angeles.

Workshops were held on archives, and there were "old-timers' meetings and pioneers' meetings. The closing talk Sunday morning was by Joe McQ., the first black member in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1962. Joe McQ has joined with Charlie P. to participate in Big Book seminars in the USA, Canada, and overseas. "His was a stirring and moving story," says Nell.

Several hundreds of A.A. members and their families could not find rooms. Every hotel room within eighty miles of Montreal was booked, and some were housed as far away as Burlington, Vermont. Many who found themselves without a room left early or slept on the floors of rooms of friends. One reporter noted that few chose to sleep in parks or other public places, which seemed to surprise the reporter.

On Friday night historic figures were introduced, including Lois Wilson and Ruth Hock Crecelius, who was presented with the five-millionth copy of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. As secretary to Bill Wilson and Hank Parkhurst ("The Unbeliever" in the 1st edition), Ruth had typed the original manuscript."

Many laughed that the House of Seagram paid tribute to Alcoholics Anonymous by lowering the three flags adorning its Montreal headquarters to half-staff for the duration of the convention.

Ernest Kurtz wrote: "Overall, the centrality of A.A.'s own story suffused the whole convention and became permanently enshrined in the 'Family Album and Souvenir,' Fifty Years With Gratitude, which in its reproduction of over a hundred newspaper clippings and old photographs recalled their history to A.A.s and A.A.s to their history."

Sources:
"Not God," by Ernest Kurtz
"Grateful to Have Been There," by Nell Wing.



Shortly after I originally posted this I  received this message from Ruth Hock's daughter:



"Just read the posting - what a wonderful memory of that convention!! It was my first, and I went with my mother, Ruth Hock Crecelius. She could hardly believe how large our fellowship had grown, and had just begun to "accept"
what her role in it's survival meant to us all. I had about 9 years in the fellowship then.

Thought I'd add a couple of cute things about that convention that you all probably didn't know:

I asked her that night what went through her mind as she accepted the book and watched those thousands of people give her a standing ovation, Her reply was: "I looked up and asked 'What do you think of this Willie?'"

Also, the 5 millionth copy of the Big Book was NOT given to her that night. Everyone was up on the stage and suddenly someone remembered that the book had not been returned from the binders (special leather cover). A representative "snuck" (almost literally) from the stage to find a book.
Someone in the crowd (of course) had a Big Book with them, which was promptly borrowed for the presentation!! Mom thought it was quite funny and typical of the resources we alcoholics have! That book was signed by Mom and
returned to its owner. She got the leather bound volume soon after returning to Ohio. It is currently in my home - a wonderful memory of her legacy to me and all alcoholics!

Sybil C. was the speaker that night - I have wonderful memories of her family and Bob Smith's during the meeting - each of us crying as his/her family member was introduced and gave a talk. As Bob Corwin so profoundly put it in
a letter to me later: "we proudly sat in humility row basking in reflected glory"! What a wonderful time in my recovering life in AA.

Thanks for all you do in helping keep our history alive!

Laurie L.
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A.A. International Convention, Seattle, 1990.





The ninth AA International Convention was held in Seattle, in 1990. This convention drew 48,000 people from 75 countries. Dr. Bob's son and daughter, Bob Smith and Sue Windows, and Bob's wife Betty were all in attendance.

It began, as had become the custom, with the Friday night flag ceremony. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary and later AA archivist, wrote that: "The hall really let go when the Soviet, Bulgarian, and Romanian flags were carried to the front of the platform."

Nell told an interest anecdote about herself: "It was also a homecoming of sorts for me. I had spent 1944-46 in Seattle (the 13th naval district) as a member of SPARS, the Women's Coast Guard Reserve, In the basement of the Olympic Hotel (now affiliated with the Four Seasons chain) there was a large bar and dining room which we called the "snake pit" and where many of us, along with the Coast Guard and Navy guys, did a bit of off-duty drinking. One night I got involved in an all-night drinking spree and next morning, up before my executive officer, was 'awarded' a captain's mast and sentenced to a brief confinement in my quarters (the 'brig' was full). I was allowed out once a day, accompanied by a shore patrol.

"Now, 44 years later, here I was in Seattle again and the recipient of the 10 millionth copy of the Big Book. No words can adequately express my deep gratitude to this beloved Fellowship and my cherished friends therein."

So now we have some insight into why Nell Wing, who was not an alcoholic, could be so comfortable with and dedicated to the many members of AA.

Source;
"Grateful to Have Been There" by Nell Wing.
__________ 



 



A.A. International Convention, San Diego, 1995.



The 10th A.A. International Convention was held in San Diego in 1995.  I could find little written about it, but got this, if my memory serves me, from Tex Brown whom I met at the International Convention in Minneapolis in 2000. 

The Oldtimers Meeting At San Diego

The crowd was chanting, "Ruth... Ruth... Ruth..."  This chant will probably become the way the International Convention in San Diego will be remembered. Forty-three years sober, Ruth O 'N., from New York City was the first of fifteen speakers chosen at random (to place principles before personalities) from the one hundred and twenty-two Oldtimers with forty years or more sobriety (a total of 5318 years) who were present at the Saturday night Oldtimers Meeting at Jack Murphy Stadium.



Ruth was delightful, and had completely won the hearts of the crowd of 42,000 by the time her allotted five minutes were up. They wanted her to finish even if it took all night.  [She kept on talking for a very long time.]

It became the background chant between each of the fourteen remaining speakers (and in one case, during). The chant "Ruth, Ruth...." caught on and it was being heard Sunday morning and later in the week at meetings in San Diego as a celebration of A. A. itself.

The loving acceptance of the oldtimers by a much younger crowd, while lauding their individual sobriety, was at a deeper level a celebration of the force and power of the A.A. program that had kept them sober for as much as fifty-five years. The Steps, written in December 1938 when there were less than one hundred men (and no women, yet) who were sober, proved to be exactly what was needed by all of us to get sober, and most importantly to stay sober. In the next fifty-seven years many people have attempted to make changes in them. There were proposals to add things to and proposals to take things out of the Steps, but none of them worked. The oldtimers assembled in front of the podium were the living proof that the 12 Steps to the A.A. way of life was exactly what they (and we) needed.

How does this way of life work in the long run? I would like to tell you one oldtimer's story. Shep became a member of the Glenbard Group about 1950. The old Glenbard Group covered all of what is now District 40 and part of District 61. Starting out as an atheist, Shep was sober from the very start and gradually became a pillar of the group. After about 20 years of good sobriety, Shep fell victim to a severe form of Alzheimer's disease. He became helpless and was
placed in a nursing home. It was the custom of this facility to have a gathering of the patients in the common room every Saturday evening. The residents were then rewarded for their good behavior with a glass of wine. It was the high point of the week.

Shep would not drink the wine. He didn't know where he was or what he was doing there. He didn't even know his own name. He did not know why, but he did know that he did not drink. Everything else was gone, but Shep still knew how to stay sober. Can you imagine a deeper and more fundamental change in the personality than this?

Many thought the Oldtimer's Meeting the high point of the Convention, a demonstration that all of us can successfully live our entire lives as sober, happy and fulfilled members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

P.S.

SAN DIEGO SHORTAGE!

Past experience with A. A.'s amazing ability to consume vast quantities of coffee was duly noted by the planners of this International Convention. They did not run out of coffee, but the San Diego ATM's ran out of money!

(From the Fall, 1995 issue of N. I. A. Concepts, Area 20 Service Letter)
__________

A.A. International Convention, Minneapolis, 2000.











The theme of the International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous was Pass It On into the 21st Century.


 


According to Valerie, the Convention coordinator at GSO, 48,000 people attended the convention held in Minneapolis, Minnesota between June 29-July 2, 2000.

The Minneapolis Convention Center housed registration, hospitality, Archives displays, and meeting rooms.  Big Meetings of all those who attended where held in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome under 10 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass held up only by air like a giant balloon. These meetings included the kick-off ceremony on Friday night, the Old Timers Meeting on Saturday night, and the closing (Spiritual Meeting) on Sunday.

Minneapolis has air conditioned SKYWAYS, a unique 5 mile system of elevated walkways going from building to building that connects most of the downtown area and downtown convention hotels. But most convention members Walked the Walk to the Metrodome each day. A special Big Book Blue Line was painted onto the sidewalks of Minneapolis from the Convention Center to Metrodome stadium.  Like most things in A.A., none of us had to walk-the-walk alone. Volunteers from the Host Committee were strung along the entire route to guide us along and cheer us on. After the Big Meetings in the Metrodome, we were able to Dance-the-Dance in the Dome on Friday and Saturday nights.
  
I flew to Minneapolis on Thursday, June 29.  My plane left from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport in Pennsylvania. When I went to catch my connecting flight in Pittsburgh, the long line of people waiting to board looked, somehow, like A.A. members.  Why did I think so?  Because they all looked happy and cheerful and excited, not a bit bored or irritable like many travelers.

When I walked up to the end of the line I said "This looks like a bunch of drunks."  The howls of laughter which greeted my remark made me feel that I was immediately in the right place.  I got smiles, and hand shakes, and yes even hugs.  I was immediately at home with a group of people I had never laid eyes on before. And that is the way it was for the next four days. I met no strangers, only good friends I had not previously met.

After checking into the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, I went immediately to the Convention Center to register, traveling there on one of the shuffle buses which had been arranged to take us back and forth during the convention.

Getting into the convention center to register took a bit of time. One could not get through the door without shaking hands with the official greeters.  Their enthusiasm never died.  They were shaking hands after the closing meeting as if it was the first day of the convention. 

Friday morning meetings were held on: Young, Sober and Responsible; Pioneers in A.A.; Peace and Serenity; Progress Through Pain; AA and Treatment Facilities; Let's be Friendly with Our Friends;  Is AA Reaching Minorities?;  Tolerance and Trust; Let It Begin With Me; First things First; Courage to Change; Letting Go of Old Ideas; Fear
as a Stepping Stone; AA Meeting in Japanese; Ego Deflation in Depth; The Joy of Living; A.A. and the Clergy; AA/All-Anon/Alateen Meetings; Doctors in AA; Carrying the Message into Correctional Facilities; General Service: AA  Politics?; Faith in Action; Pacific U.S. Regional - Meet Your AA Neighbors; Feliz, Alegre y Sobrio; AA Around the World Call Up - I; Partners in A.A.; At the Turning Point; Le Language du Coeur; Sobriety is Progressive Too; Victory in Defeat; One Day at a Time; A New Freedom; How It Works; Easy Does It - But Do It; Freedom Through acceptance; Emotional Sobriety; Let Go and Let God; AA Meeting in Japanese; Gratitudine in Azione; Freunde in Aller Welt; There is a Solution; Sober Awhile - Now What; Carrying the Message Through Public Information; AA Grapevine: Our Meeting in Print; Southeast U.S. regional - Meet Your AA Neighbors; Working With Others; Time to Start Living; una Neuva Libertad; Reaching the Alcoholic with Special Needs.

Because of my interest in AA history I chose "Pioneers in AA."  Bob P. chaired the meeting. He was at one time the head of GSO. His story is the last one in the Big Book: "AA Taught Him to Handle Sobriety."

Bob told us he had an extremely serious operation 18 months ago. He was not expected to live. The doctors told his wife that his survival was a miracle and that it was because of his great attitude. The doctors asked his wife where he got that great attitude.  We know the answer to that.

He told us that at the 1985 convention in Montreal, he was supposed to present Ruth Hock (Bill's first secretary who typed the Big Book) with the five-millionth copy of the book. He discovered he did not have it with him.  So they looked all over for a Big Book to borrow. They finally found one and he presented it to her with the assurance she would get the real one later. Bob said Ruth loved that. She said "Oh that's soooo alcoholic."

The speakers were: Ruth O. of New Jersey, Jules P. of California, and Bob S. of Texas, a member of Al-Anon. 

Bob S. spoke first.  He said he was the only person still alive who was present when Doctor Bob and Bill Wilson first met.  It was Dr. Bob's son, Smitty.  He was 17 at the time.  He went with his parents to Henrietta Sieberling's house for his father's first meeting with Bill.  In the car his father said "I'm giving this bird 15 minutes."  His mother did not say to Bill, "will you come to dinner next Tuesday?"  She
said "why don't you come live with us?"  Bill said without hesitation "OK!"  Smitty said that there were never two people as different as Bill and his father. If it had been up to Dr. Bob AA would never have got beyond Akron.  If it were up to Bill they would have sold franchises.

But they had two important things in common. They were both open minded about spirituality, and they both had a desire to be of service to others.

Smitty talked about how his parents brought alcoholics to live in their home.  Dr. Bob would take them up to the bedroom and then give them some medicine.  It was paraldehyde.  "When my teenage sister and I opened the front door and smelled paraldehyde we would say 'Oh, oh, we've lost our beds again.'"

He told about the first man they tried to sober up.  His name was Eddie Riley and he moved in, I think he said with his wife and kids. One day he chased Anne Smith around with a knife.  Dr. Bob considered Eddie his first failure. But at Dr. Bob's funeral a man walked up to Smitty and said "Do you remember me?" It was Eddie. He was living in Youngstown, Ohio, and was sober one year.

Smitty said his father had a wonderful sense of humor.  When Smitty took the woman he married to meet his parents for the first time, Dr. Bob looked her up and
down and said of this tall, slender woman, "She's built for speed and light housekeeping."  Smitty said his wife was sober 19 years when she died.  One day Dr. Bob told his son "Flies carry germs.  So young man, keep yours buttoned."

Smitty said the Oxford Group members communicated with each other all the time.  His mother was always on the phone with one or another of them.  And that, of course, was true of the alcoholics in the Oxford Group as well.  But things were not always sunshine and joy. There were people in A.A. in the early days with big egos.  "Can you imagine?" he asked. "There were actually alcoholics with big egos in the early days?"

Smitty ended his talk with a big plug for the traditions. "I say thank God for those traditions."  He got a standing ovation.

I don't remember much of what Jules P said, but he was very enjoyable.

The last speaker was Ruth O.  When Bob P. introduced her he said that in planning the convention in 1995 he had a bright idea. "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time."  They would let every alcoholic with 40 years put their names and sobriety dates in a big bucket, and the first 15 called could get up and talk for five minutes.

When Ruth O. got up to talk she talked on, and on, and on.  She joked that they had told her that this time they were going to have a trap door to use if she talked too long.  But she was a fascinating speaker, sober 52 years.

She lived in the Bronx when she came into A.A. and was the only woman in her group for a long time.  The men were apparently not too kind to her. They were rather gruff. One of them asked her one day how long it had been since she had a drink. She said proudly: "50 days tomorrow."  The man sitting behind her hit her on the shoulder and said gruffly, "It's 49!"  She must have told that story often because the day before she celebrated her 50th anniversary the phone kept ringing.  When she answered a gruff voice would say "It's 49!  It's 49!"

But Bill Wilson was kinder. The first time she met Bill he kissed her on the cheek.  "I haven't washed that cheek since," she said.  And somehow I believed her.

Our choices for the early afternoon meetings were: Lesbians/Gays in AA; Women in AA; Humility: A Power Greater; Turning It Over; La Consicence de Groupe,
Informee; Living Sober; AA and Native Peoples; Sponsorship: Leading by Example; Young & successful - Who Needs Meetings?; Tools for Sobriety; Twelfth Step: Love in Action; Estructuras de Servicio General; AA Meeting in Japanese; Solo per Oggi; AA Traditions and AA Events; Die Zwöf Schritte; Unity Through Humility; Willingness: The Essence of Growth; AA's History of Love; A Daily Reprieve; East Central U.S. Regional - Meet Your AA Neighbors;
In All our Affairs; Twelve Concepts: The Structural Framework; and Twelfth-Stepping the Old Fashioned Way.

I had no problem choosing.  My old friend, Mel S, was speaking at the Twelfh-Stepping the Old Fashioned Way meeting. I hadn't seen Mel in years.  Mel had his last drink on May 23, 1965, in a bar at an officer's club in Virginia.  He had entered the Army Air Corps in 1939 as a private. He wanted to be a pilot. He retired 27 years later as a full Colonel.  He told of the many escapades involving crashing air planes when he was drunk. But he always somehow managed to get out of trouble.

But finally, in 1965, he was ordered to fly his plane to Washington to deliver some top secret papers to the Pentagon. He drank and was in a blackout. He got a call saying that the papers had not arrived at the Pentagon. Where were they? Mel couldn't remember. He had no idea what had happened.  He was desperate. This meant the end of his career. He would be court marshaled, he might serve time in prison.  In desperation he called the chaplain and told him his predicament. The chaplain told him to stay where he was, he was sending someone to get him.

Two men showed up, one of them an Army Warrant Officer. They took Mel in tow.



The warrant officer took him to stay in his home. It was a small, modest home and they didn't have a guest room, but they had an unfinished basement and they put a cot in the basement for Mel.  He lay there detoxing, and in terror of what the future would bring, Then he heard a noise on the stairs, and his host came down carrying a big roll under his arm.  He spread the roll on the floor next to Mel's cot and said "I'm going to sleep here tonight. I know how you feel."  Mel had trouble telling the story, he was so filled with emotion.

Mel was madly trying to think of excuses to make up to get out of this very serious trouble. But the two A.A. members told him that he had to do two things: don't drink, and tell the truth.  So Mel told his superiors the truth. He had been drunk and he had no idea what had happened to the top secret papers. An investigation was begun, and Mel tried -- on the advice of his A.A. sponsors -- to leave the matter in God's hands.

Then one day he got a call. It seems someone at the Pentagon had found the papers. They had been locked away in a safe the whole time.  So Mel's superiors told him that since he had, indeed, delivered the papers to the Pentagon as he had been ordered to do, all charges against him would be dropped.

In all the years I had known Mel I had not heard his story before. I was deeply moved.

Our choices for the late afternoon meetings were "Young People in AA;  Gratitude in Your Attitude; AA Loners and Internationalists; AA and Court Programs; Carrying the Message Into Treatment Facilities; El Anonimato al Nivel Público; Archives: A Collective Vision; Intergrupos y Oficinas Centrales; Freedom to Choose; History of the Big Book; Spiritual Journey; Resentment - the Number One Offender; AA and Cyberspace; Carrying the Message to Older Alcoholics; Notre Methode; AA Meeting in Korean; AA Meeting for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; AA in Western
Europe/Scandinavia; AA in Central/South America; Viviendo Sobrio; AA in Asia/Oceania Zone; Western Canada Regional - Meet Your AA Neighbors; This Matter of Honesty; Prayer Under Pressure; and A Daily Inventory.

Again I had no problem choosing; a friend from the Washington, D.C. area whom I hadn't seen in 20 years, Hal Marley, was speaking at the meeting on gratitude.  I am very glad I had that last opportunity to see Hal.  He died not long after.

The highlight of the opening meeting that night was the flag ceremony. The first flag to appear was carried by a Native American in full traditional dress and carrying a large pole covered with feathers. Then, as the name of each nation was called, an A.A. member from that country entered carrying the country's flag. They were called in alphabetical order, ending with Zambia, followed by the flags of the host countries: Canada and the United States.  Over 75 countries were represented.

As each country name was called the members from those countries rose and cheered loudly. But many of us cheered along with them. Especially when the Russian flag appeared.

The flags were lined up in front of the stage and remained there throughout the convention.

Saturday turned out to be a day for miracles. Miracles were happening all over Minneapolis from the beginning, but I first began being acutely aware of them on Saturday. 

The trip was costing me much more than I could afford, so I wanted to save money where I could. I had hoped to save some money by having my coffee in my room each morning. But the coffee pot didn't work. I told them at the desk Friday and they said they would put a new one in.  They did bring up a new one. But it, too, wouldn't work.  So I bought a $1.50 cup of coffee in the lobby, as I had the day before. 
The man selling the coffee was reading a book by Dr. Abraham Twersky, so I said "Oh, are you in the program?"  He said he was not but he was staying sober by another method.  I then started telling him that I knew Rabbi Twersky, the alcoholism treatment specialist.

A man was also buying a cup of coffee.  He was not wearing a badge and at first I didn't even know he was there for the convention.  He had just come down for coffee -- perhaps his coffee maker wasn't working either -- and had not bothered with his badge or anything else. But he was carrying a large file of papers.

He, too, was an A.A. member.  We sat down to drink our coffee together in the lobby and I started telling him about A.A. History Buffs.  He said "I feel there is something I should say to you."  Then he opened his file of papers and pulled out all sorts of wonderful historical documents.  He gave me a copy of Ruth Hock's letter to Bill Wilson, recalling the early days of A.A.

Our choices of meetings Saturday morning included the same wide variety of meetings, but I wanted to go to the one called "Archives: A Collective Vision," because I knew that Charles K. would be speaking there and I wanted to meet him and, Doug B., both on-line friends. 

Afterward, I went off to try to hear Clancy I. of California. Clancy's meeting was too crowded and I couldn't get in, so I went back to the Convention Center and wandered into the first meeting that I came upon.  The meeting was already in progress. I soon discovered that it was a Gay and Lesbian meeting, and a woman from San Francisco was speaking. Her name was "Peacock."

Another of those little "coincidences."  I had recently befriended a lesbian woman alcoholic in Pennsylvania.  When I heard "Peacock" I immediately knew I must buy her tape for my friend. 

She gave a magnificent talk. I was not taking notes but I remember a few things she said.  She said that Clancy I. was her sponsor. She called him to ask his permission to speak at a Gay/Lesbian meeting and he responded "Now, you know how I feel about special interest groups." 


 


"But I really want to do this, Clancy," she replied.


 


There was a very long pause and then he said: "I have good news and bad. The good news is that you may speak at the convention. The bad news is that I will be speaking at the same time." 


 


She responded "That's OK, honey, we won't attract the same crowd."  Her audience roared with laughter.

After hearing Peacock I wanted to catch the 3:30 meeting "Pass It On - Into the 21st Century."  Searcy W. of Texas was speaking at this meeting. He was Ebby's sponsor. Bill had sent Ebby to Searcy in Texas and Ebby stayed sober there for some time. 

But first I needed some food.  After I had some food I decided to go back to my hotel to rest. I totally forgot that I wanted to hear Searcy.  Another of those little coincidences?

Back in my room I found I couldn't nap, I was too restless. So I decided to try to reach another of the history buffs who was staying in the same hotel, Tex Brown of Illinois. I phoned him and asked if he would join me in the lobby.  The inspiration to call Tex lead to the most exciting part of the convention for me. Tex was then 83 years old and sober 53 years.  He had written me before the convention saying "I just happened to stumble into the history forum. I read the post saying that you will be staying at the Radisson Plaza.  So will my wife, Barb, and I. ... I thought that I might like historians better than archivists.  I guess I need to see what the big boys are like."

Tex got sober Feb. 6, 1947, in Skokie, IL. He was then the editor of the Area 20 (Northern Illinois Area) service letter, "NIA Concepts."  His delightful wife, Barb, has been sober 21 years.  I found Tex a charming, humble, serene, humorous fellow. He told me some wonderful stories about the early days in the Chicago area.

Then he scooped me up and took me along with them to sit in the oldtimers section for the oldtimers meeting at the Metrodome Saturday night.  He seemed to know everybody and made sure that he introduced me to them all.  Among those I met was Mel B. who has written so much wonderful AA history, and Dr. Jack Norris's widow.

And what an inspiration all the oldtimers were.  Those with more than 40 years sobriety had been asked to put their names and sobriety date in a Fishing Hat located at the Convention Center before 1 p.m. on Saturday. 

All the meetings in the Metrodome were simultaneously translated into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish and Swedish. Special arrangements were also made for the hearing impaired.  And the HP made sure that the oldtimers meeting would be truly international.  Among the names pulled from the hat were Mosku from Finland, sober 46 years; Collin from Australia, sober 54 years; and Manual M. from France, sober 40 years.

A little extra time was allowed for the oldtimers from Finland and France because they were accompanied by interpreters who repeated in English what they had said.  Collin from Australia complained that they hadn't supplied him with an interpreter, and there were moments when I wished they had. His Australian accent was sometimes hard to understand.  (Collin visited the U.S. in 2004 and phoned me from New York.  He planned to come to Virginia, where I am now living, to meet me.  But alas I was not available the only day that he could come to Virginia.  It was not until his phone call that I realized he was the man who had spoken at the convention.)

Shortly before they started drawing names out of the hat, I was puzzled to see a procession of about 30 members of the hospitality committee, wearing their distinctive white caps, march down the center isle. They then stood in front of the line of flags below the stage.  They drew 15 names out of the hat, and as each name was called, two of these host committee people would get on each side of the oldtimer and help him or her onto the stage. All of this could be seen very clearly on the large screens around the Metrodome and it was such fun watching them being escorted up.  One of them was wearing a white tuxedo. Another, whose escorts were two young women, started swinging them around and dancing with them on the way up.

To make sure that they didn't have another Ruth among these oldtimers, a man sat on the stage with a large rectangular sign that said APPLAUSE.  When three minutes were up, if they hadn't stopped speaking, he would walk up behind them with the sign and the entire convention would break into applause.

The first called to speak was Otto W., 40 years and two months sober.  Otto told how he was visited by two A.A. members while he was locked up in a mental ward. "They had something I wanted and I was willing to go to any lengths to get it: MATCHES!"  All of the oldtimers showed this kind of humor.

Marie M., sober 44 years, four months, said a woman had called her and said she was an alcoholic from A.A. and asked if she could visit her. "Well, I did not want any alcoholics coming to MY house."  So she said she would go to the A.A.'s house instead. She rang the door bell and when the A.A. contact opened the door she announced: "I have two black eyes (as if she couldn't see)."

One of the most inspirational, to my mind (and not because her name was Nancy and she was from Pennsylvania) was Nancy F.  Nancy, sober 55 years, said there isn't anything you can't do if you want to after you get sober. "I went to college at 70 ... and graduated at 80 ... cum laude!"

David Mc. M, sober 43 years, who followed Nancy, said he was 21 when he got sober and was told he was too young to be an alcoholic. He said he hasn't grown up yet, "but when I do I want to be just like her," pointing to Nancy.

The last speaker was a tall, handsome black woman, Louise R., sober 40 years, who said that they told her if she kept coming around she would get what they had. So she kept going to meetings and waiting for them to give her whatever it was they had. 


 


Finally she asked "When are you going to give me what you have?" They asked her how long she had been coming to meetings, and if she had a drink during that period. She had not.  "So you have what we have." 


 


"Here I was walking around with it," she said, "and I didn't know I had it."  She said they also kept talking at meetings about how anybody who didn't have one should buy the Big Book. It cost $3.50.  Well, she didn't WANT to buy no BIG Book. She didn't want to READ no BIG book.  Finally they announced at a meeting that anyone who didn't have a Big Book could have one and pay for it when they could.  "They think I can't AFFORD the Big Book."  So after the meeting she walked up to the man and said she wanted the Big Book. She slapped down a five dollar bill and said "Keep the change."

All of the oldtimers were very inspiring. They wasn't a dull one in the lot.  Murray M., our history buff from Dublin wrote: "The old-timers meeting was very special. You could not but be moved by their expressions of love and gratitude. The humour was unequaled and I think the entire 15 would have stayed there sharing for hours if time allowed. The member in the white tuxedo might have summed it all up when the occasion got to him."

Sunday morning my coffee pot worked just fine. Guess there was no special reason God wanted me down in the lobby for my coffee.  I scooped up my new friend, Rich (who had given me Ruth Hock's letter to Bill) and his roommate and took them with me to the handicapped second on the Metrodome floor. This was near where I had been sitting with Tex the night before.  I wanted to take Rich to that section because I wanted to see Tex again and introduce Rich to him. But we didn't find Tex. He told me in an e-mail that he and his wife had been late arriving. He had looked for me, too, because he wanted to give me some newsletters from his area.

At this closing meeting the 20 millionth copy of the Big Book was presented to the fellowship of Al-Anon. There are 30,000 Al-Anon groups world wide.

There were three very inspirational speakers.  One of them was Nancy K, the lead singer for a group called "Sweet Water" in the '60s.  Sweet Water was the first group to take the stage at Woodstock. "But they cut us out of the movie," she sighed.  We roared with laughter.  "You know, only A.A.s laugh when I tell them that. Everyone else says Ahhhhh, poor thing."  Nancy got sober in 1976 in Los Angeles. "I wore a bikini to my first meeting," she said. But someone told her she would look better if she were wearing a towel.  If I remember correctly, she had a bad accident, her vocal cords were damaged, and she lost her ability to sing. She later became an English teacher. But eventually her voice returned and she was reunited with some of the Sweet Water group. There are three still alive, "fatter and with less hair."  They entertained outdoors at the 1995 convention, but they forgot to advertise, so there wasn't the kind of crowd they'd hoped for.  I think it was Nancy who said AA is like taking wedding vows. "For better or worse, in sickness or in health, till death do us part, I am a part of AA."

John K. got sober on St. Patrick's Day. (How's that for a miracle. An Irishman getting sober on St. Patrick's Day?)  He told us of attending a funeral of a boy who had died and the preacher said "the only way we can change the world is to change ourselves, and now is the time, because for the boy in the box it is too late."  John's daughter smashed up his new car. She hit a Mercedes. John's sponsor drove him to the scene of the accident and all he could think of was himself.  Why did she have to smash MY car? How will I get to work, etc.  His daughter was still in the car, and his sponsor said, "Aren't you going to check on her?"  He went over to the car and his daughter said "Oh, daddy, give me a hug."  "I had to be prompted by my sponsor to hug my daughter," he said.  John asked us to remember that each alcoholic is a multifaceted, wonderful person.  And the only one that doesn't seem to recognize it is himself. 
______

One of the highlights for me Sunday morning was the sobriety countdown. They said this was our 65th anniversary, and asked any one who had been sober more
than 65 years to stand. "Has anyone been sober longer than Bill?"  No one stood.  "Has anyone been sober 65 years?  Please stand -- it you still can."  Sixty-four years? Sixty-three?  When they called "Fifty-five years?" One or more stood.  "Keep coming back," everyone shouted.

The persons with the longest sobriety at the convention had 55. When they got down to 24 hours, two or more stood. 

I'm not one who cries easily, but there were many times during the convention when I fought back tears.  But as we
concluded, and the children of Minneapolis came up and sang for us We Are Family I began to cry.  And then when we stood and joined hands to say the Serenity Prayer, I broke down completely.
___________

Postscript:

We were coming back from the Sunday meeting and Rich and his roommate asked me to join them for lunch. We walked around looking for a restaurant but they were all mobbed, with hundreds of people lined up outside to get in, so we went back to our hotel to have lunch.

While we were strolling around we ran into a man who had a bunch of pheasant feathers sticking out of a sack. Rich started chatting with him, and this man gave us each a feather. I did not want a feather, took it to be polite, and planned to throw it away as soon as I got back to my room.  I stuck into the opening in my handbag.

Then we had lunch at our hotel and Rich stuck his feather in the vase of flowers on the table. At one point the waiter came over and started to take the feather away. I said "Don't take that. it belongs to my friend." 

Shortly after lunch, Rich and his roommate left for the airport to return home. But I was not leaving until Monday morning.  I was tired and decided to spend the rest of the day in my room reading.  But I began feeling strangely restless, so I decided to go down to the lobby and find a comfortable chair in which to sit and read. 

 


So I was sitting in the lobby and I got chatting with a woman who is in Al-Anon. She and her husband, an A.A. member, were both at the convention.

She asked me where I got the feather, which was still sticking out of my handbag. I had "forgotten" to throw it away.  I told her that some man we met on the street had given them to us.  Then she showed me her feather. I said "Oh, you must have met the same man we did."  "No, I did not," she answered, with tears in her eyes.

Then she told me the following story.  Her son, who was also in A.A., died suddenly about six months earlier.  The day I met her would have been his A.A. anniversary. When she and her husband came to the convention they felt they were bringing him with them. And she saw many signs that his spirit indeed was with them.

After sobering up he had become a nurse.  He worked as a "traveling nurse" and worked at one point in New Mexico with Native Americans.  At the convention the first night they were sitting in the handicapped section and a group of kids came by with signs saying they were from New Mexico and smiled and waved at her and her husband. She thought it was a sign from her son.

Then the flag ceremony began and the Indian appeared with his big staff covered with feathers.  She thought of how her son had loved Native Americans, worked with them, and had at one time called his Dad to say "They don't have an AA group here. How do I start one for them?"

Her son (whom she described as a very spiritual, gentle, and artistic young man) loved feathers, collected them, and made things from them.

"Then today," she said, "we went up to the third floor for lunch and in the vase of flowers on the table was this feather. We knew it was another sign from our son."

Well, I never did throw away my feather. On my computer desk, as I write, stands a small vase of flowers.  A pheasant feather shoots up from the center. 

I am reminded daily of the little anonymous way God works miracles in our lives.

0 -1 0 0
1701 Mel Barger
Re: Bert Taylor - Compiled From Old Posts Bert Taylor - Compiled From Old Posts 3/11/2004 8:19:00 PM

Hi Everybody,


  As I understand it, Bert closed his tailor shop and later worked for Saks Fifth Avenue, which suggests that he must have been a first class tailor.


Mel Barger



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




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


From: NMOlson@aol.com


To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 8:05 AM


Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Bert Taylor - Compiled From Old Posts









I am continuing to combine old posts, which are then deleted, in order to make it easier for researchers to search the archives.


 


The following is excerpted from old posts by Charles K. and Rick T.


 


Charles wrote that Bert Taylor was an early AA member who borrowed $1,000.00 from a Mr. Cockran one of his customers and a prohibitionist. "The loan was to help buy some time from the printer until the Liberty Magazine article came out. Once that article came out we sold some books were able to settle with the printer and get the remaining Big Books out of hock, so to speak. He also allowed meetings to be held in the loft in his shop.


 


"Now whether the debt was not repaid on time or Bert just fell on hard times is uncertain, but he did loose ownership of the shop, but was able to keep his business and he died sober. He also was one of the first Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation."
 
Rick responded to Charles' message:



"Much of this additional history was gleaned in on-site research through minutes and correspondence at the GSO Archives....

"His $1,000 would have brought him 400 shares in Works Publishing, and I'm sure he was able to cash in the shares, when and if any of the loan was needed to be paid.  There are scant records on file of whose and how many shares were eventually traded in to the
Alcoholic Foundation. The AF Trustees' ledgers remained pretty thin for many years into the mid-1940s, and only a few shares were probably ever recorded as 'bought back' by the Board of Trustees. Bill wrote in 'AA Comes of Age'
about a few buy-backs, which turned out to be traded only at face value."



Rick said he did not think Bert was a Trustee, but Charles responded:

"I still believe Bert was a member of the Alcoholic Foundation, only from what I have read.




"In the August 1947 Grapevine article 'Last Seven Years Have Made AA self-supporting' Bill writes:

"'Two of the alcoholic members of our Foundation traveled out among the AA groups to explain the need. They presented their listeners with these ideas: that support of our Central Office was a definite responsibility of the AA groups; that answering written inquiries was a necessary assistance to our Twelfth Step work; that we AAs ought to pay these office expenses ourselves and rely no further upon outside charity or insufficient book sales. The two trustees also suggested that the Alcoholic Foundation be made a regular depository for group funds;  that the Foundation would earmark all group monies for Central Office expenses only; that each month the Central Office would bill the Foundation for the straight AA expenses of the place; that all group contributions ought to be entirely voluntary; that every AA group would receive equal service from the New York office, whether it contributed or not. It was estimated that if each group sent the Foundation a sum equal to $1 per member per year, this might eventually carry our office, without other assistance. Under this arrangement the office would ask the groups twice yearly for funds and render, at the same time, a statement of its expenses for the previous period.
     '"Our two trustees, Horace C. and Bert T., did not come back empty handed. Now clearly understanding the situation, most groups began contributing to the Alcoholic Foundation for Central Office expenses, and have continued to do so ever since. In this practice the AA Tradition of self-support had a firm beginning. Thus we handled the Saturday Evening Post article for which thousands of AAs are today so grateful.' (Reprint of this article can be found in 'Language of The Heart' see pages 64-65)

"Also from 'AA Comes Of Age'

"Page 186.........

 "'At about this time our trusteeship began to be enlarged. Mr. Robert Shaw, a lawyer and friend of Uncle Dick's, was elected to the Board. Two New Yorkers, my friends Howard and Bert, were also named. As time passed, these were joined by Tom B. and Dick S. Dick had been one of the original Akronites and was now living in New York. There was also Tom K., a hard-working and conservative Jerseyman. Somewhat later more nonalcoholic, notably Bernard Smith and Leonard Harrison, took up their long season of service with us.'



"(FYI:  This was around the time of the Rockefeller Dinner Feb. 1940, this also shows the alcoholic members of the Foundation made up of more than just Bill & Dr. Bob. I have a copy of the minutes of the Alcoholic Foundation in July 25, 1949.  Dick S., Tom B, and Bernard Smith were already trustees of the Foundation in 1949.)  



"Page 192:



 "'We also realized that these increased demands upon the office could not be met out of book income. So for the first time we asked the A.A. groups to help. Following the Post piece. Trustees Howard and Bert went on the road, one to Philadelphia and Washington, the other to Akron and Cleveland. They asked that all A.A. groups contribute to a special fund in the Foundation which would be earmarked 'for AA. office expenses only.' The contributions would be entirely voluntary. As a measuring stick, it was suggested that each group send in one dollar per member per year.' 



"Please let me repeat myself, I am not sure if this is the same Bert T.  that owned the Tailor Shop in New York, but sure sounds like it to me. Rick, maybe on your next trip to the Archives in New York you might look for the name Herbert F. Taylor.  Again I am not sure if this is the same person either, but his name and signature appears on Works Publishing Company stock certificates date September 26th 1940 (see 'AA Everywhere-Anywhere' the souvenir book from the 1995 International Convention page 23) and Bert is short for Herbert.  I also have a photocopy of the same stock certificate dated June 20th 1940 and his name is on that one too, as president I might add . May have no connection at all, but worth looking into.



"Well, I hope this sheds some light on the source for my assumption that Bert the Tailor might have been a Trustee of the Alcoholic Foundation.  This has open a whole other question about the early make up of the Alcoholic Foundation and I think I might explore this to find out what I can."

The following is from Jim Burwell's memoirs:  



"It was also in June of this year that we made our first contact with the Rockerfeller Foundation.  This was arranged by Bert Taylor, one of the older members, who had known the family for years in a business way.  Dr. Richardson, who had long been spiritual advisor for the Rockerfeller family, became very interested and friendly, and Bill and Hank made frequent visits to him, with Hank on one side asking for financial help and Bill on the other insisting on moral support only."












This message was scanned by GatewayDefender
8:33:05 AM ET - 3/11/2004


0 -1 0 0
1702 Arthur
Living Sober Living Sober 3/12/2004 7:47:00 PM



Hi

Joanna and a warm welcome back



As

Mel B noted, the booklet Living Sober was written by NY member Barry Leach. I

could not find a Conference advisory action (in publication M-39) that

explicitly approved it. However, the 1974 Conference passed an advisory action

that stated: "the partial draft of the new booklet 'Staying Sober' be

reviewed by the committee and returned with comments and suggestions to GSO by

June 1, 1974."



AA

Comes of Age (pg xi) states: "1975

- Publication of booklet Living Sober, detailing some practical methods AA

members have used for not drinking."



The

1974 advisory action infers that the booklet's title originally was planned as “Staying

Sober” instead of “Living Sober” (its opening narrative

"About that title" seems to address this). The first printing

occurred in 1975 and based on the mention in AA Comes of Age, 1975 also appears

to be its Conference approval year.



The

booklet's author, Barry L, is historically prominent in two other areas. He was

among the earliest homosexual members of the AA Fellowship. Barry also was the

individual who (in 1945) called Bill W from the 41st St clubhouse

concerning a black man who was described as an ex-convict with bleach-blond

hair, wearing women's clothing and makeup (re “Pass It On” pgs

317-318). The black man also admitted to being a "dope fiend." He is

reported (in Pass It On) to have disappeared shortly after yet anecdotal

accounts (at least here in Texas) often erroneously say that he went on to

become one of the best 12th Steppers in NY.



The

booklet “Living Sober” is reputed to be the second highest selling

publication in AA today.



Cheers



Arthur







From: Joanna Whitney

[mailto:joannagw@earthlink.net]


Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004

8:31 AM


To:

AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Living

Sober



 



Hi Group --





I am newly

returning after a long stay away and glad to see you are all still here. I am really curious about the origins of the publication Living Sober and

what conference approved it.





Anybody?





Thanks,


Joanna



 





0 -1 0 0
1704 Lash, William (Bill)
AA Historic Sites Near N.Y.C. AA Historic Sites Near N.Y.C. 3/12/2004 10:02:00 AM

General Service Offices of AA (World Service, originally called the Alcoholic Foundation):


1)      17 Williams Street in Newark, NJ, “Honor Dealers” Office; Hank Parkhurst & Bill Wilson set up the first “Headquarters” office.  Most of the Big Book is written here & Ruth Hock (secretary) is the first non-alcoholic employee.


2)      30 Vesey Street, N.Y.C., the second office, Bill splits with Hank.  (1938-1940)


3)      415 Lexington; office moves to Grand Central area after Bill gets Bedford Hills home.  (1940-1944)


4)      141 East 4th Street.  More space.  (1950-1960)


5)      315 east 45th Street; larger quarters in Grand Central Area.  (1960-1970)


6)      468 Park Avenue South, finally occupying 5 floors in two buildings (including 470 Park Avenue South).  (1970-1992)


7)      475 Riverside Drive; all of 11th Floor & half of the 10th Floor.  (1992-present)


 


Town’s Hospital, 293 Central Park West.  Bill had many trips to this hospital & ultimately has a spiritual experience here.  Dr. William D. Silkworth (author of most of the Big Book’s “Doctor’s Opinion”), Medical Superintendent, treated 40,000 alcoholics here.


 


Calvery Church/House, 21st Street & Park Avenue South.  Where Bill attended Oxford Group meetings & got sober along with Ebby T., Rowland H., Cebra G., Hank P. and all the gang.  Sam Shoemaker, source of “the Steps & all the spiritual principles via the Oxford Group” was the pastor here.


 


38 Livingston Street, Brooklyn.  Bill’s home during the high-flying years working on Wall Street.  They were so rich that they combined two apartments here.


 


182 Clinton Street, Brooklyn.  Bill’s home when he got sober.  A gift of Lois’s father.  Lost the house during the Depression (sober).


 


30 Rockefeller Plaza.  Where Bill met “Uncle Dick” Richardson, conduit to John D. Rockefeller.  Bill sat in Rockefeller’s chair on the 66th Floor office of John D.


 


Roosevelt Hotel, Madison Avenue & 44th Street.  Site of over 35 General Service Conferences.


 


Park Omni, Seventh Avenue & 56th Street.  Site of General Service Conferences.


 


New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Americas.  Site of the Bill W. Dinner, put on every year by the New York Intergroup since 1945.


0 -1 0 0
1705 NMOlson@aol.com
Burwell Correspondence and Memoirs Burwell Correspondence and Memoirs 3/13/2004 2:30:00 AM

In an effort to reduce the large number of posts which must be searched to find information, I am combining many that we previously posted singly.  This is a compilation of the letters to and from Jim Burwell, plus his memoirs.  The Philadelphia letters and the memoirs were originally posted by Bill L. (Barefoot Bill), and the other letters were mailed to me a few years ago by Cliff B. in Texas.  My thanks to them both.



Nancy



__________



W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N.Y. 



March 1, 1940



Dear Jimmy:



I hear Fitz came to join you at the first meeting of A.A. in Philadelphia - how was the meeting?



It seems impossible to dig up any bona fide requests for assistance in the territory around Philadelphia.  Here is one though that might (undoubtedly will) cause some inconvenience, but sounds like it might turn out to be something.



Mrs. Arthur W. Corning, Apt. G-41, Blind Brook Lodge, N.Y. wrote to us concerning her brother - Joseph Hoopes - who is now in the state hospital at Delaware.  She sent him the book and wanted to know if any of our members could contact him while he was there.  Can you do anything on this?  Will you let me know either way?  Thanks.



Sincerely,



/s/ Bill



__________ 



W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N.Y. 



March 4, 1940



Dear Jim:



Will you let me know with all speed at post office box #658, Church Street Annex, New York City, just what time, and just where, and how to get to your Philadelphia meeting Thursday P.M.



It seems a great movement towards Philadelphia is welling up here amongst the brethren.  At least one automobile load will put in an appearance, and perhaps two.



It never rains - it pours!  Twenty five dollars, coin of the realm has just come into my hands and I am endorsing it over to you as per enclosed.



Once more Jim, a lot of thanks for the automobile.  We appreciate what you did so much.



Now a final burst of generosity comes from Ruth Hock who is sending you one returned book and one new one, partly in consideration for the big business done at Wanamakers, partly for the use of the Philadelphia brethren, but mostly, I suspect, because she likes you so well.



Yours,



/s/ Bill



__________



W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N.Y. 



December 9, 1940



Dear Jimmy,



Sorry you couldn't get up.  I was away and so missed Bill Wells.



Jack Alexander expects to be in Philadelphia all day next Sunday.  He would like to see Drs. Hammer and Saul and also the man in charge of alcoholics at the Philadelphia General Hospital.  Will let you know just when he will arrive and may come down myself, proceeding with him, Sunday night to Akron where he will also take in the Cleveland group, going from there to Chicago and finally writing his article at St. Louis, which is his home town. This schedule is still tentative so will keep you posted.



Wes Northridge tells me there is another opening in your out-fit and he expects to interview your Mr. Carns (?) about it within a day or two.  If you feel you can, I wish you would write this gentleman and put in a good word for Wesley with your boss.  Some months ago I would not have done this for I have learned to be careful about pushing people too hard for jobs under some conditions.



But in this case I feel very different.  There has been a really miraculous transformation in Wes.  It is one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen and I am positive that it is going to stick.  Lois and I rode with him over to the Rockland meeting the other night when we had a good chance to talk for a long time.  All of the cockiness and disagreeable egotism is a thing of the past.  Moreover, he had laid hold of the spiritual angle in a big way.  So I am willing to bet on him without any reservation whatever.  As you know he has held some swell jobs and is usually competent to make the kind of industrial survey you are selling.



Please find enclosed a copy of my report to the Trustees.  Ruth is away in Cleveland and I can't give you Kathleen Parkhurst's address.



Give all the boys my best together with greetings from the whole New York group who appreciated the telegram from the Philadelphia group.  Though we haven't framed the telegram, it hangs on the bulletin board big as life.



Be seeing you soon.



As ever,



/s/ Bill



__________



W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N.Y. 



January 11, 1941



Deal Jim:



First of all please thank Art McMasters and all of the Philadelphia group for their telegram of Christmas greeting to Lois and me.  An avalanche of cards, letters, etc. came in from all over the country and it gives us both a great thrill to realize how many true friends we have.



Your detailed description of operations at the Research Council was most gratifying.  I have followed up the Foster Kennedy situation to the point where Blaisdell, although he won't read the paper himself, states he will request Dr. Smith to prepare and read one at the New York Academy of Medicine.  And as you know, Dr. Foster Kennedy will speak on the paper and the entire proceedings will be published in the Academy Quarterly. This will, of course, validate our work all over the world and will, in one grand short cut, make it possible to sell any doctor the program
immediately.



Some of the follow-ups you suggested I can make myself when Lois and I come down to Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, which will be some time within the next two weeks.  The rest of them I think ought to wait on publication of the Post article which is so powerful (we have just seen the manuscript) that it alone ought to push almost any doctor over because of its clear description and such convincing statistical data.  Sommers, the Post editor, wrote us a nice letter saying that he believes the article will
prove a great one both for the Post and for us; and after reading the article there can be no doubt of that.



As a model A.A. group I know all you Philadelphians will be set for the new grist of prospects when they appear.



With best to Mary, yourself, and all our friends,



As ever,



/s/ Bill



__________



January 23, 1941



Dear Jimmy:



Just sort of a note to send along a copy of the second effort at a bulletin. It doesn't contain very much and I'm full of ideas for it and such, but you can realize how difficult it is to get very much of anything on one page. And it is just out of the question to put out a lengthy bulletin right now. So this will have to do for the present.  I've sent a few along to Art McMaster.



Bill won't be down for another week or two though he definitely has the trip in mind.  Finley Shepard is working on the Foundation money angle right now and Bill wants to be handy.  Besides which Lois has the grippe and won't be set to go anywhere for another week.  She is feeling much better now and is on the upgrade but needs rest and quiet.



As you have perhaps already heard, the article will have the first three pages of that issue of the Post.  We don't know yet whether the cover will carry an announcement of it or not, but it may.  There has been some confusion about pictures, but they now have an assortment and what they will use only the Lord knows.  They have club pictures,
hospital pictures, office pictures, large group pictures and what have you. The big group picture taken in Cleveland was a floparoo.  After they went to all the trouble to get four or five hundred people together, and hired a commercial photographer, he let them down for the picture, for some
unknown reason, just didn't come out.  They had to get another group together, about a hundred and take that.



Did the Post get in touch with any of you down there for some splash picture of some kind.  They wanted something hair raising like a man being carried into a hospital on a stretcher or something.  Will you let me know if they did?  I hope not!



No other news - my best to Mary - be seeing you -



/s/ Ruth [Hock]



__________



W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N.Y. 
                                                                        
December 11, 1947

Dear Jimmy:

Well, it's been a long time.  But you know me.  More than usually delinquent, I realize I never answered your request for a financial lift. Nor have I thanked you for that history of A.A. The first came when I was feeling pretty low myself and had already committed the dough the Foundation set aside for us to improvements on the house.  So, actually I wasn't in a position to help.  Later on George Hood, I believe, brought me the history.

That history I did read with tremendous interest, as have several others who have since been to the house.  I think several of the oldtimers ought to wright [sic] up their impressions just as you have done.  If we had a dozen such accounts, I think it would be possible to piece together, after referring to the office files, an extremely accurate account of just what happened and who did what. Personally I don't care a rap who did what.  But I suppose there will be a lot of debate about it later on.  So the material should be assembled from different points of view and the best possible record made.  I don't think it would be possible for me ever to write a detailed history of A.A. I could only tell the story in a very general way. But if this thing keeps growing and making a stir, I suppose some historian will want to know the real facts by and by.  If we don't assemble them now, the record never will be anywhere near straight.  And lots of interesting detail and incidents will be forever lost.  So your effort in this direction
is tremendously appreciated, Jim.  Don't let my negligence of correspondence make you think it isn't.

Lois and I expect to get out on the road a great deal after the first of the year.  It looks like we might hit the Coast beginning at Vancouver and, say about the middle of March.  Thereafter we should work southward, arriving two
or three weeks later at San Diego.  This however, is tentative -- only a guess.  The idea of the trip would be to help explain and consolidate the Traditional material I have been publishing in the Grapevine.  The planks of our recovery platform seem pretty solid.  The sidewalls of the structure are now going up.  They are the Traditions.

And too, we shall have to do something further about the New York Headquarters.  A self-perpetuating Board of Trustees, unkown [sic] to most A.A. members, could never stand up over the long future.  So we shall have to have some kind of annual conference in which out-of-towners delegated for the purpose would sit down and talk things over with the Trustees, the office, and the Grapevine, and make a joint annual report to the Groups.  But how in the hell to choose this conference without politics and uproar has always been a puzzle.

After a lot of thought, I am beginning to think we have an answer -- at least a partial one.  The conference can't be too big, it cant be too small.  It can't ever be a political or governing body.  Just a bunch of sane AA's who will sit down and see whether things are going all right in New York and make a report on it.  I think that's all we shall ever need.  But how shall we make the assembly of the conference simple, fair, and not political?  That's the burning question.

What do you think about this?  Why not divide the country, including Canada, into four equal quarants. [sic] Suppose we take latitudes and longitude line already on the map.  Say 40 [appears that it said 10 and was corrected by ink
to 40] degrees latitude and 95 degrees longitude.  The north and south line would pass just west of Chicago, the east and west line just above San Francisco and Washington. Then why not build the conference up a little at a time.  The first year a panel of twelve, the next, twelve more, and the third year another batch of twelve.  At the end of three years the total of out-oftowners [sic] would be thirty-six. Which, plus the Headquarters people, would make a conference of about fifty.  To get the first panel of twelve, we would go to the three largest groups in each area. These twelve would be delegated for a three-year term, and each would have an alternate. The second year we would do exactly the same thing.  We would then have six
people from each quadrant.  But this would still leave a serious inequality.   As matters stand to-day [sic] the northeast quadrant would contain fifty per-cent [sic] of all the A.A. members.  So I suggest that the third panel of
twelve be selected on the size of the town only.  No matter in which quadrant the cities happen to be.  This would weight matters up a little in favor of the northeast quadrant, where so many AA's are to-day. [sic]  If things change later the composition of the conference would shift accordingly. We might even include foreign centers in this list of twelve, or we might create, later years, a special foreign panel.

Having thus designated the conference cities mechanically, why shouldn't we suggest to them that they do the same in picking out a delegate.  Otherwise we shall  have thirty-six political brawls every year at the designated point.  Why couldn't central committees, or in case it is where there is no strong central committee, why couldn't the groups themselves each nominate their choices.  And it ought to avoid politics or hand picking from here. Even though some hand picking might be done at the present time, it surely
couldn't be done later on when the present old-timers are gone.  I'm convinced the whole process will have to be pretty much mechanical.  What do you think about all this?

Please write me and tell me about all the news, especially about yourself and that good wife of yours.  Lois and I hope you both prosper and we shall look forward so much to seeing you when we come.

As ever,

/s/ Bill
__________



 


3943 Louisiana Street


San Diego 4,


Calif. 


 


January, 16th 1948

Dear Lois and Bill

It was swell hearing rom [sic] you at last, especially to hear you all are coming out our way this spring.  I think you will be very agreeably surprised at the real progress of AA on the Coast.  They seem to go to many more meetings than the Eastern groups and all the groups seem to be shaping up beautifully, especially in the last year or so.  One of the things I do especially like out here in [sic] that they read the Fifth Chapter of the Book before the meetings.  This seems to have more meaning to the new fellows than the reading of the Steps alone.

The business deal I wrote you about did not materialize so no harm was done. I left the Government (War Assets) in August and played around with a couple of things.  Now I hope I have a sales job that might work out for the long
pull but will not mention it until you come out.

January 8th was my tenth year in AA but 10th year of sobriety will not be completed until June 15th, so hope you will be here for it.

Bill, your plans for an annual national conference with rotating representation from the country at large is the best news I have heard from NY since the Grapevine was started.  In my opinion it will be the big step in making AA solid for the future - it will help AA groups to understand each other better and it will do more to sell, consolidate and perpetuate the AA traditions than anything else possible.  It will also save many new groups much of trial and error that has been necessary in the past, and I think you will be very agreeably surprised to see how well they will all get along
together in conference.

Your idea of dividing the country into quadrants sounds fine.  However, I would suggest, first, that you have a preliminary meeting of about twelve or fourteen AA's from the heavy membership area.  You can then present your conference ideas to them and they can polish them up - then they will go back to their own groups and present the ideas as their own.  This, I believe, would make for better acceptance of the plans nationally and will make all feel part of the planning.  My thought would be to have each of the following areas send a representative to New York for a round table discussion of a national conference and rotating board:


 


New York - Atlanata [sic] - Seattle


Boston - St. Louis -San Francisco


Philadelphia - Denver - Los Angeles 
Washington, DC - Dallas - Cleveland 
Chicago - Detroit

Would suggest that each area pick their representative from among their five oldest and most active AA's and that their sobriety shoud [sic] at least be five years wherever possible.  The area should finance the trip and the men
chosen should be in a position to take time off and be willing to circulate among their local groups on their return and put the idea over to them.  Of course all this could be suggested and sold to the groups gradually through the Grapevine and special letters to the groups at large.  I would do everything to make the groups feel that this was their party and that all the constructive ideas would be considered.

It has always been my idea that the drunk will support anything in which he is given an active part.

So much for that.  Rosa and I do love it out here.  Everyone has been grand to us and we feel a real part of the community and the local AA.  Rosa has been very active and helpful in the Women's Group and I am really trying hard to stay out of the middle of things.  I am a great believer in the oldtimers getting on the sidelines and letting the two and three year boys and girls do the dirty work.  Us oldsters got to know to [sic] much!

I'm so glad George Hood was able to give you the "History" and that you hope to assemble similar material in order that a factual story may be written up - you are so right that with the passage of time so much is apt to be lost or forgotten.

We have had a great deal of fun with your mother - we were all together for Thanksgiving and Christmas both this year and last.  She is one grand fellow and is now a real AA - that's what she says.

Well, all here are looking forward to your visit and are so glad to hear all the good reports on how well you and Lois are. 


 


Best to you both, 

/s/ Jim   


__________


 


 


W.G.W. 


Box 459 Grand Central Annex 


New York 17, N.Y  


 


August 23, 1949

Dear Jimmy and Rosa,


 


Thanks so much for all the up-to-the-minute news.  Just got a letter from mother saying she nearly took the plane East.


Better luck next time, though I doubt she will come down in winter weather.  Lois and I devoutly hope she will make it just for once before it is too late.

I note with a lot of interest that you saw Dick Stanley.  What you say is not surprising for we oldtimers, nearly all of us, are getting frightfully stale. I know that's very true of me.  I have lived and worked far too long in the trouble department of AA.  Anybody who does enough of that will finally go sour or crack up entirely. It is so everywhere.  The oldtimer situation is getting to be a real problem.  In a sense it means we all have to start over again and get back to first principles.  I am glad to see at the group and intergroup levels that our service affairs are in the hands of two or five year old people.  Moreover these folks were not so badly burned as we oldsters.  As a class they are not so screwy.

As you have probably gathered form Dick, neither he nor Dr. Bob are for a conference.  They seem sincerely persuaded that it would cause more trouble than cure.  Naturally this pits [sic] me in a hard spot.  It is most difficult to oppose Smithy under any circumstances and especially now on account of his health.  Therefore I suppose I expect I shall just have to wait until experience makes it painfully clear to everybody that the groups must participate or the Foundation, the Office, and the Grapevine will go under. We always learn the hard way anyway.  Even if a conference proved a flop, and I could know that before hand, I would still be for trying out the idea.  Basically these central assets belong to the AA movement.  Nobody has the right to withhold from the group their opportunity to participate in the management of their own affairs. However, time will tell the story.

Meanwhile I'm withdrawing as much as possible from any special activity hoping to be able to put some of the last ten years experience on paper. Whether I shall find the energy and the enthusiasm to see the job through, I frankly don't know, but at least I can try.

Mother always writes so enthusiastically about your helpfulness, I know it means so much to her, so please know of my great thanks. 


/s/ Bill


__________


 


 


W.G.W. 
Box 459 Grand Central Annex 


New York 17, N.Y.


 


December 15, 1950



Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
3611 Park Blvd.
San Diego, california [sic]

Dear Jim and Rosa: 

Thanks for your letter of November 10th.  Plenty certainly happened since you penned that one.  It is hard to get used to the idea that Dr. Bob is gone.  But his job was well finished. No more could have been ask [sic] of him.  Yet it will take a log time to get used to his absence.

Much obliged for all you say about A.A. on the coast.  I suppose that by now you have seen the Conference Plan.  I would very much like your view of it, though I guess you did not see the preliminary draft. There wasn't too much time for consultation because final approval came only at the October Trustees meeting.  We have to hold the first session in April or put it off a whole year.  The Foundation Annual Reports would be too cold if held at any other date.

With much interest I note what you saw about Hal Silverton. I fully agree, too, that Hal's part in the early days on the Coast has been persistently overlooked.  The first time I ever went to L.A., he seemed noticeably not included in the festivities.  Maybe I am wrong about that, but such was the
appearance.  Personally, I have always liked him a lot. These considerations would all make me look favorably on him for the post you suggest.

But, are there not other considerations too?  Around Los Angels, there is the largest aggregation in all A.A. Today, not one in a hundred of them know Hal. I don't believe he has been active in that area for years. These facts, would of course, suggest some old-timer in L.A. who has continued to be active and who is still favorably well-known. Besides, I understand Hal's health is very dubious; that he is often on the sick list.  These are the facts which give me pause when I consider your suggestion.


At best, the Trusteeship on the Coast is a ticklish business.


So many oldtimers are in each other's hair or are so little known that we may have to ask a Group Representativies [sic] assembly to pick one out for us.  This hand-picked business gets more full of dynamite each year A.A. grows older.

So think it all over again and let me have your reaction.  


 


Meanwhile, Lois joins in Christmas best to you both. 

Devotedly, 

/s/ Bill


WGW/hgb


__________


 


W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.



August, 31, 1951

Dear Jim and Rosa,



Thanks greatly for your good letter, containing fine news of you, also the sad news concerning Earl Ryan, to whom I have just written. 



As you say, the Conference did come off very well.  The results upon offices finances has already been excellent. We have taken in enoufg [sic] money during the past seven months to finance the Office for six months.  Meanwhile, the Grapevine deficit has dropped from one thousand a month to the break-even point.  The books in Works Publishing are also doing much better.  So we won't use up any more reserve for 1951, and if things continue this way, we may add ten thousand dollars to it at the end of the year. 

Respecting a name for the Family Groups.  Lois and Ann Bingham, a neighbor, have opened a Post Office Box for these groups.  Right now, they are corresponding with many of them, the question of the name still being up in the air.  To date, their correspondence suggests that the name may turnout to be Alanon Family Group or the Alanon Group. Only a few seem to like the word "Associate".  This is because, I suppose, there is still a good deal of hostility toward them in some quarters.  So they do not wish to use any word which would indicate an alliance with A.A. 

As you may have heard, Alcoholic Anonymous is receiving the so-called Lasker Award for meritorious service in the public health, to be awarded at the San Francisco Opera House October 30th.  I shall probably come to San Diego to see Mother prior to that time. 

Meanwhile, best luck-and congratulations. 

As always,

/s/ Bill



WGW/nw

Jim and Rosa Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, California
__________






W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex 
New York 17, N.Y. 
                                                                                                                                                     
November 24, 1953

Dear Folks, 

You two have certainly received tough assignments lately. And this is to tell you how often Lois and I regret your illness, think of you, and pray for you.  We do hope this letter finds you on the up and up both physically and in spirit. We need hardly question the latter for knowing you
as we do, you are bound to have a lot of what it takes. 

Please do write and tell us just how things are with you and don't forget to let us know if we can do anything.  Also, if you are up to it, what about A.A. and the news out there.



Back here, there isn't a lot to report.  Group contributions for the office are coming in pretty well and will, we think, meet the year's budget all right.  Slowly and surely, the general idea seems to be sinking in with the groups.  In many spots, the realization that A.A. has to function as
a whole, as well as in parts, is taking hold nicely.  The new book has gone mighty well, also - about 30,000 copies will be sold this year, about 10% of these by Harpers. However, the sales of the big book has slowed down some 30%. Whether this means the new book will cut into the old one permanently, we can't say.  It may be that the new line of pamphlets will slow the sales of the both books down eventually.  Only time will tell that.  It won't matter
too much anyway, so long as people get the message. 

Speaking about the new book, I suddenly realized I do not think I sent you folks one.  I really meant to do this and so you will soon find one in the mail, with all my affection and thanks.

So, good friends, hold fast.  May God bless you.  Write soon. 
                                                                        
Devotedly, 
                                                                          
/s/ Bill

WGW/nw
Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia, Street
San Diego, California





__________


 


 


January 27th 1957

Dear Bill,

Many thanks for the copy of the A.A. story  - and the grand recognition you gave me.  It's much more than I deserve except that I did prove to the original crowd that a "nonconformist" had to change to get well.  So maybe
that was good.

Bill, this history is the very finest thing you have done, and especially for those who come to A.A. future.  It is important that they know how and why we came to be what we are, and why we should continue on our present lines. Too, the way you brought all contributors in is splendid - it must have been hard, painstaking job.  I don't see  how any of the originals can kick-back or complain.  I was particularly pleased at the way you handled poor old Hank - even Caroline Parkhurst was happy about it!

I have absolutely no suggested changes.  It does seem to me that I saw a copy of a letter from you and Hank to Sam Shoemaker, resigning from the Oxford group and dated Sept. 1937.  In the book you say 1936 - am I wrong?  Is there any way to bring in Jackie Williams' Bellevue episode as an early tragedy? The only other addition I might suggest is the Dr. Fishbein deal - where he got five of the first books and then wrote that deathless review for the A.M.A. journal. Am attaching a copy of the review in case yours is not available.  And that's absolutely all I can think of.  I can certainly see why this book has taken a long time to put together - it's a grand job, Bil. [sic]

You know that you have my deepest thanks for all you and Lois has done for me - it's great to feel that by trying to live A.A. I  have contributed a little to the world and a little to help the future drunk coming to A.A. and your tolerance in those early days made it possible.

Rosa is going to conclude this with a suggestion for the Tradition section of the book.

Hi, you dear people;  Is there any place for a brief mention of non-A.A.books, pamphlets, records, etc. offered to members, secretaries, and those listed in the directory, especially the kind directed or of interest to A.A.'s only with discounts for group purchases, etc?  There are many complaints and questions about such material.  For instance, the local Community 7 Family Welfare sell and recommend "I Was a Very Sick Man" etc; then the new people ask us for them and create the problem of trying to play them down without sounding prejudiced.  An offical [sic] pronouncement on this would be very useful.

And THANKS very specially for the word "compulsory" in re "There are no dues ..etc."  This one word will make a tremendous difference in the collection approach at group level!  It's terrific! 

We both send you our very best love and appreciation. 


/s/ Jim

4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, Calif.


__________


 


 


W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y. 

March 20, 1957

Dear folks, 

Forgive this rather long delay.  I have been awful busy with both the book and the television project.  A contract for the latter will probably be signed soon.  NBC has purchased the story treatment.  So I suppose that we shall begin to try to dialogue it presently. 

Meanwhile I have received about a hundred favorable replies on "A.A. Comes of Age."  Like your own, they are extremely favorable.  I'm really delighted that you folks like the book and can see so few changes. 

I'm especially glad to have that early review in the A.M.A.
Journal.  I have ransacked our files, but couldn't find it.  We will try to put this in the Appendix of the book, provided that Dr. Bauer of the A.M.A. will be all right.  And I'm sure he will; he is a grand chap. 

I have heard from Dorothy and, as you say, she likes the book very much, also.  It was good to know that Caroline approved the way Hank was treated. 

You are dead right about 1937 being the date we parted from the Oxford Groups.  Somebody else picked this up, too. 

I'm also putting in a little bit about Jackie Williams, how, in
spite of the fact he didn't make it, he did us a lot of good. Also, the discription [sic] of his funeral and the great faith that was felt by everybody there.  It was a very affecting incident which ought to be recorded. 


Meanwhile, I've got to fly.  A million thanks to you both. 

Ever, 

/s/ Bill 

WGW/nw
Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, california [sic]


__________


 


 


W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y. 



 


April 3, 1958

Dear Folks, 

Thanks for your last, so full of good news. 
          
Be sure, Jim, to take it very easy for that first year after your coronary.  Lois did this and she's now good for anything - she can walk two or three miles without fatigue, up hill and down.  Like yourself, she's had no recurrence. But the big trick is to let the job thoroughly heal and get a
fresh circulation established during the first year. It's the folks who go tearing round that get in trouble.  I guess I've said this three times already, but it can't be emphasized too much. 


 


Thanks again for all you have put into A.A. The race has been well run and I hope that things will ease for you both on all fronts.  It was good to hear of the prospect of clearing up the debt on the house. 

The TV business has come to life again.  NBC backed away because they had a big management row over there.  Fred Coe, the noted producer, was interested while with NBC.  He has now moved to CBS.  He has recently eviced
[sic] an interest.  This he would  have done before, but he supposed that NBC owned the story outline.  As a matter of fact, we kept the property ourselves and only offered the use of it.  We let Coe know this recently, and he says he wants it for fall production.  But seeing is believing! 

Everybody sends all the best. 

Ever yours, 

/s/ Bill 

WGW/nw

Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego 3, California


__________


W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.



July 1, 1958

My dear Jim, 

Thanks for your last letter, telling me all the good news of
yourself and reminding me of your approaching anniversary* I do wish I could share it with you, but the press of affairs here is so great that I don't believe there is a chance.
 But please know how deeply appreciative I am for all that you did in the early days and ever since, to make A.A. what it now is ... it is a record in our annals that will never be forgotten. 

I note that what you say about the upcoming 1960 Conference and will suggest your name to the committee. They tell me there is still some question whether Long Beach will be big enough to accommodate the crowd.  
Judging, however, by the action of the Conference, I think we shall make the best of what is there.  It is certainly the largest center of population and this would guarantee the gate at once.  Probably you have heard by now that
Lois's sister Kitty died.  She contracted lung cancer a couple of years ago, had an operation, but it finally caught up with her.  She made a great job of the whole business -- it was vastly inspiring. I hope I can do half as well when the clock strikes. 

Meanwhile, please have all the best and the same to your good lady.  Wish I could make this longer, but am piled high.




Devotedly, 
                                                    
/s/ Bill 
         
WGW/nw

Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego 3, California

*Jim - Bill just gave this record recently, to transcribe, so your anniversary has been past these many days! Sorry to be so late.

Nell Wing.

__________



W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.
                                                                              
May 24, 1960

Dear Folks

Memories of your visit here are still green and most enjoyable to think on.

My hopper is pretty full just now.  Founders Day is coming up, I'm trying to finish those Twelve Concepts, and Long Beach is just in the offing.  I haven't begun to get ready for that, at least so far as what I am to say is concerned. However, I have very little luck in preparing that kind of thing in advance.

I wish we had thought of an old timers meeting earlier.  I'm taking this up with the office, but I imagine the schedule is pretty tight, as matters now stand.  I don't [know] how we would go about getting such a crowd together - where and how we would find them and so forth.  But I'll inquire. 

Meanwhile, all the best,

Ever devotedly, 

/s/ Bill

MGW/nw

Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, California



__________



W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.



August 8, 1960

Dear Rosa and Jim, 

Very sincerely I feel not a little badly that the Convention gave you, and perhaps other very old timers, an unhappy experience because of the lack of recognition. 

When you wrote me, not too long before the Convention, about the possibility of an old timers meeting, I did check this up.  The schedule was then in pretty air-tight shape, so far as the official sessions went. Perhaps I should have followed this thing through more fully, trying to get some sort of informal meeting together.  As you know, Hank got awfully sick just prior to the Convention.  This threw added burdens on me.  I must confess to neglect and forgetfulness - at least to some extent. 

As a matter of fact the Convention ran a little bit behind several thousands, we don't know just how much yet. There was always a question of how many people we could bring long distances pre-paid, and on what ground we could fetch them.  In this connection, I did [not] give you and Rosa much thought because you near by.  But I did think a good deal about Henrietta Seiberling and Bob Oviatt in Akron, both of whom preceded you, I think A.A.-wise.  Admittedly, I did not think of Clarence.  Probably this is because he has always disapproved of conventions and all of the doings of the New York headquarters - off and on he has had us under bitter attack for years.  I didn't mean to let that effect [sic] me, but subconsciously maybe it did.



In any case, you will surely remember that I tried to give all
possible credit in "A.A. Comes of Age" to you, Bert, Dorothy, Clarence, and a great many others. 

Considering the time at my disposal, I did not see how you people could have been introduced in either of my talks.  In the first one I could only show the bare beginnings of A.A. In the second one - which was altogether too long - I had to dwell on the development of the Traditions.  I really don't see where you folks would have fitted in - at least to the
satisfaction of the audience in that respect.  Naturally I had to bring in Ebby because despite his lack of soberiety [sic] he was at the very beginning.  Sister Ignatia was certainly due for a bow after all these years. After all, she and Smith ministered to 5,000 drunks - a number far greater than you and I ever thought of touching ourselves.



In this connection I also felt not a little sorry that Henrietta
wasn't invited.  There was not only the question of cost. Though she has been extremely friendly during the last two or three years, it must be remembered that she has never cared for the convention idea and indeed, was against the whole New York headquarters operation for many years. For several reasons she wasn't invited.  Maybe that was a mistake.  I know that, for one, I was damn sorry she wasn't there.  However, I wasn't the entire boss of this whole undertaking, by any means. 

I don't know whether you and Dorothy got to say anything at those Alkathon meetings.  Some of them were very outstanding indeed, and apparently rated much higher in many A.A. minds than any of my efforts.  If you were not
invited this [is] surprising indeed, considering how prominent you, especially, have been out on the Coast, well known to everybody.  If this was an omission, it certainly gives me cause for wonder, as doubtless it does you.  However, those arrangements were all made by the Coast people.  
Nevertheless I suppose if I had been thoughtful enough about it - which I wasn't - I might have taken pains. 

I guess the upshot of it is that life never gives quite the deal we would like.  On one hand, you say that you suffer from lack of recognition, and I can say with certainly equal fervor that I greatly suffer from far too much. 

Ever devotedly yours, 

/s/ Bill 

WGW:nw



Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, California



__________



 


W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.


 


August 2, 1961

Dear Folks, 

Thanks so much for that last news of you both.  It's good to read on and between the lines that you both are well and happy. 

We can say the same.  Haven't had better health in years. 

Am progressively detaching myself from active management of A.A. affairs, just as I probably should have done before this.  The November Grapevine will carry a piece to the effect that I can no longer get around speaking, nor participate in active management of the office.  Of course I
shall be glad to help put on blow-out patches, if anything serious turns up. 


 


But I do hope to keep up some writing.  This seems to be about the only channel left.  My present series in the Grapevine is a trial run to see if I can do a larger book on "Practicing These Principles in all our Affairs". 


About those Twelve Step Houses.  Well, honestly, I don't know. Like the clubs, some appear to be good and others bad.  Are most of the Twelve Step Houses on the Coast those famous "boarding houses"? 

Lois and I are just now taking off for a month - the most of it probably to be spent at the old home town in Vermont, that is if we can hide out up there! 

Meanwhile, all goes well at General Headquarters.  The
contributions and book sales are fine.  And the reserve fund continues to grow slowly.  So we could stand quite a lot of hard times, if necessary. 

Do you like the Grapevine any better nowadays?  We have been trying hard to improve it and have depended on improvement for increased sales, which are now up about 2,000 from the low point of a year or so ago. 


Meanwhile, Lois joins me in all affection, and I'll ask her to send you an Al-Anon book. 

Always devotedly, 


 


/s/ Bill 

WGW/nw

Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, California


__________



W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.


 


November 14, 1961

Dear Jim, 

First, all the best to you both.  And thanks for your remembrance of mother - she die [sic] May 15th last. When, during the last few months she realized she could not get out of bed alone, she began to quit eating. This was quite deliberate, and it finally did her in.  That was the way she wanted it, and she made a swell job of passing away - in fact, was mighty cheerful about it. 

You may have noticed my article in the Grapevine, which indicates that I have taken another several steps toward the sidelines.  For many years I meant business on this, and at last the time is now here. 

I think there are a few situations in which I can still help. Our
trusteeship needs several more out of town members, and perhaps a better method of selection.  Eventually I expect we shall have to shift the ratio and install an A.A. Chairman of the Board.  If we fail to do this, we shall be denying our present-day capabilities.  And whether this is a good idea or not, we shall never know unless we try. 

As to the Twelve Step Houses - well, there you've got me.  I haven't actually seen one of these operations in a very long time.  I think the impression at the office is that some seem good, some seem fair, and others practically no good. About the best that can be done is to restrain them from soliciting money at the top public level or busting anonymity for publicity and the like.  From this end we try to hold the line at this top level.  Beyond that there isn't a thing that we can really do except to leave these situations to the areas concerned.  It's like the trouble we used to have with the clubhouses in the old days.  Some were damn good, some were damn bad.  But these things do have a way [of] working around, after enough experience.  What the outcome of the Twelfth Step Houses will finally be, I'm
less qualified to predict than anybody I know.  I'm getting like Rip Van Winkle, just waking up in the Adirondacks! 


Meanwhile, the old desk gets piled pretty high, in spite of my supposed retirement.  I could make a full-time job of answering mail; another full-time job looking after all my old friends in trouble; a full-time job of traveling and speaking; a full-time job of messing around the office. 

But I don't think these are the most effective things that I could do from herein.  I shall continue to do a little of all of them, but the assignment has gotten so big that it couldn't be handled anyway.  So I'm beginning to get out from under a great many of these things which may often be desirable to do, but which are becoming impossible. 

Once again the old desk is piled up - so I have to fly.  I know you'll understand. 

In affection, 

/s/ Bill 

WGW/nw


__________


 


 


W.G.W.
Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y. 
  


August 29, 1962

Dear Folks, 

Your letter reached us while on vacation in East Dorset, Vermont, the old home town.  Sometimes I wish I could resettle up here. 

Thanks for all the news and views.  As you imply, we are not so young as we used to be.  I'm beginning to feel this also, as is Lois. However, we are still doing okay, thank God. 

About the late lamented April Conference.  There, I think we made some A.A. history, but I question just the right kind.  I do think that my recommendations for strengthening the General Service Board would have bucked up our situation a good deal against a future time of real trouble. Routinely, things would go along nicely with present setup.  But if the heat really came on in a big way, I would rather see a stronger situation to handle it, so I'm sure we ought to experiment in this direction -- something that the Conference and trustees seemed very adverse to doing. 

It wasn't [so] much that I was surprised or disappointed by the Conference decision -- the thing I deplored was the haste and even recklessness in which it was taken.  At the very least I think I might have been aloud [sic] to get my recommendations printed as an Appendix to the Third Legacy Manual, along with the Concepts.  But evidently the Conference and the Trustees thought the material to be of so little merit that it should not be put on permanent record in this fashion.  In a way, this attitude amounted to censorship, something I can't exactly relish.  I hope future
Conferences will allow me the courtesy of being printed permanently.  After all, the recommendations might prove to be some use later on. 


 


But one good thing did come of it.  Future responsibility was so completely and eagerly taken away from me that my trip to the sidelines has been greatly facilitated.  It's now strictly up to the Trustees and to the Conference and on their own say-so.  In a sense, this is a great relief, because, as you know, I have been backing away for along [sic] time.  So the job is now complete. 

All the best now, and God bless you both.  In this Lois joins, 


Affectionately, 

/s/ Bill 

WGW/nw

Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, California


__________



 


May 15, 1965


 


4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, California

Dear Bill, 

Just received a letter from Hazel Rice, saying G.S.O. could not invite me to Toronto, for it would break a precedent. First, I did not ask anyone in G.S.O. for an invitation.  I did mention to Hazel down in Washington, D.C., that I was retired and could not afford the trip and that I was going to talk it over with you at Bedford Hills, which I did, explaining
my circumstances. 


 


But, since this has now come up in G.S.O., I do feel quite


hurt and slighted and unappreciated.  I do feel a special exception can be made as with Ebby at two conventions. This is really a hard letter to write. Am listing a few unusual contributions I have made over these 27 years as follows:
    Am oldest active AA member at group level.
    Did contribute materially in all three of our A.A. books, with phrases "God as you understand Him" and "Only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking," plus my own story.
    In 1939-40 period did sell more books to stores, doctors, etc. than anyone.
    Did help in 1940, finance (200.00 stock) to keep Vesey Street going.
    Carried the message to and help organize original groups in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, and Harrisburg; plus half a dozen neighborhood and hospital groups in Philadelphia and San Diego.  The Philly group was the first to contribute to New York.
    Initiated the plan for Judge Bok to get us inside The Saturday Evening Post,


     And Bill, I am the only one of the original members that has never bucked publicly on any of your projects. Especially in 1948-49, I stumped the state for your conference.  I do hope this does not sound braggadocious,
[sic] but these are facts as I see them. 

In all these years, this is the very first favor I have ever asked you or the N.Y. office.  Am now 68 and feel positive I will not make the next convention.  Also, this is the first convention I have ever been asked to speak or participate, so do hope you will find ways and means to get me there. 

After all, A.A. has only given me life and peace of mind. Maybe I should not expect more, but have only done it this once in 27 years. 

Our love to both you and Lois as ever appreciated,

/s/ Jim 
__________


 


 


This is the "history"  that Bill refers to in his December 11, 1947, letter to Jim.  It was supplied by Bill L, whose editorial comments are included:


       






(Jim Burwell was among the first members of A.A. to get sober in New York. His sobriety date is 6/16/38 and his story can be found in the Big Book called "The Vicious Cycle".  Please keep in mind when reading this that his recollection of some of the specific facts around the first meeting of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith are inconsistent with more reliable versions of the same story.)


 


MEMOIRS OF JIMMY THE EVOLUTION OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
By Jim Burwell



The spark of Alcoholics Anonymous was ignited about the middle of November 1934 in a kitchen on a second floor at 182 Clinton Street, Brooklyn. This was Bill Wilson's home.  The occasion was the visit of a schoolboy friend of his from Vermont, Ebby Thacher.  Bill was in the middle of a binge, which had started on Armistice Day.  His friend Ebby had heard of Bill's trouble with alcohol.  Ebby was sober and Bill said later that this was the first time he had seen him in that condition for many years, for he always thought that Ebby was a hopeless drunk.  He greeted Bill on this visit with the words,  "I've got religion."



Bill says at the time he thought poor Ebby had probably gotten sober only to become balmy on religion.  While still drinking, he listened to Ebby's story about being converted some six months previously by the New York Oxford Group.  He told Bill about the main idea of this group being one person helping another, and their other formulas.  Bill said he listened to all this talk while he was in the process of keeping the jitters down by continuously drinking and probably smiling cynically to himself.



When Ebby left a few hours later he practically dismissed the incident, but he later found that this was not the case.  Within five days he found himself wheeled into his refuge, Towne's Hospital on Central Park West in New York, for the third time that year.  On his arrival at the hospital with his wife Lois, he was greeted and put to bed immediately by his old friend, Dr. Silkworth, the Director.  

Bill said that after he had been in bed a short while he heard the doctor talking to Lois by the door, saying that if her husband came out of this episode and did drink again, he did not honestly believe he would live six months.  [This was during an earlier hospitalization.]  Bill states that when he heard these words he was immediately carried back to his talk with his friend and could not dismiss the idea that although Ebby might be batty with religion, he was sober and he was happy.  He kept turning this over in his mind, in a mild delirium, and came to a vague conclusion that maybe Ebby did have something in a man's helping others in order to get away from his own obsessions and problems.  



A few hours later when the doctor came in, he felt a tremendous elation and said, "Doc, I've got it."  At the same time he felt that he was on a high mountain and that a very swift wind was blowing through him, and despite the several weeks of drinking, he found he was completely relaxed and quiet.  He asked Dr. Silkworth, "Am I going crazy with
this sudden elation I have?"  The doctor's answer was, "seriously, I don't know Bill, but I think you had better hold on to whatever you have."

While he was in the hospital Ebby and the other Oxford Group people visited Bill and told him of their activities, particularly in the Calvary Mission.   On Bill's release, while still shaky, he visited Dr. Shoemaker at Calvary Mission and made a decision to become very active in the Mission's work and to try and bring other alcoholics from Towne's to the Group.

This resolution he put into effect, visiting the Mission and Towne's almost daily for four or five months, and bringing some of the drunks to his home for rehabilitation.  During this time he was also trying to make another comeback in his Wall Street activities, for Bill, like many others, had built up tremendous paper profits in the roaring twenties, only to go broke in the '29 crash.  However, he did make a temporary comeback in the depression years of '32 and '33 as a syndicate man, only to have John Barleycorn wipe him out more completely than ever in his worst drinking year of 1934.  Through hard work and a little good luck, by May 1st, 1935, he managed to become a leader of a minority group of a small corporation, and obtained quite a few proxies from others.  This group sent him out to Akron, Ohio, hoping to get control of the corporation.  Bill said later that if this had happened, he would probably have been financially independent for life, but when he attended the stockholders meeting he found himself snowed under by the other faction.  So around the middle of May, there he was in the Portage Hotel in Akron [Mayflower Hotel; Portage was the name of the country club at which Henrietta Sieberling put Bill up for a few days, after which he moved into Dr. Bob's home.] without even return fare home and completely at the end of his rope.



Bill's story goes that he found himself pacing the lobby, backwards and forwards, trying to decide whether to forget it all in the hotel bar, when he noticed the Directory of Churches at the other end of the room.  The thought struck him that if he could talk to another alcoholic he might regain his composure, for that had been effective back in New York.  Although he had worked consistently with drunks for over six months he had not been able to save anyone, with the possible exception of himself.  He telephoned several of the churches listed, and was finally directed to one of the Oxford Group's leaders in town, Henrietta Seiberling.



Bill tells of calling Henrietta and being so shaky that he could hardly get the coin in the slot.  The first thing he asked her was, "Where can I find another alcoholic to talk to?"  
Henrietta's answer was, "You stay right where you are until I get there, for I think I can take you to the very man you are looking for." This she did, and the man she took Bill to see was Dr. Bob Smith, who later became the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  When Henrietta and Bill got to Dr. Bob's they found his wife, Annie, alone.  She was in a mental uproar herself because her husband had been on the loose for several days.  After Bill and Henrietta had waited and chatted on the Oxford Group policies, in popped the good doctor himself, quite potted and with a potted lily in his arms for his wife's Mothers Day gift.  When Bob had been bedded Annie insisted that Bill stay and try to straighten her husband out.  Bill did this and his stay lengthened into months.  During the next few days Bill and Bob talked for hours and decided to pool their resources to help other drunks.  When Bob had been dry only a few weeks, a new hurdle arose, for Bob found it was imperative for him to go to a medical convention in Atlantic City.  Bob did make the convention, but suddenly found himself drunk on the train going back to Akron.  However, this turned out to be his last spree, for he dates his last drink June 15, 1935.  [Note that Jim's memory of the date differs from official version of June 10.]

This apparent calamity was probably one of the greatest blessings in disguise for us later members, for it did cement Bob in this new fellowship they were launching.  Bill stayed on with the Smiths until the 1st of October and during that time Bob and he managed to secure two more converts to the fold.   Bill then returned to New York where he continued his previous activities, with daily visits to Towne's and Calvary Mission.  During the latter part of October, Bill got his first real New York convert, Hank Parkhurst.  Hank later became one of the genuine inspirations of Alcoholics Anonymous, for he was a red-haired, high-pressure human dynamo.  Before his last trip to Towne's, where Bill found him, Hank had been sales manager for Standard Oil
of New Jersey.  From the time of their meeting and during the latter part of 1935 it was Hank and Bill who did all the ground work, but even then they had but indifferent success until their next real convert, Paul Rudell came in about April 1936.

The next man to be pulled out of the mire, through Towne's, was dear old Fitz Mayo who joined the others about November 1936. From this time on the duet became a trio, Bill, Hank and Fitz and they were the spearheads in drunk-saving for the Oxford Group in the New York area.  



However, they discovered in September 1937, that despite all the wet-nursing, praying and rehabilitation work done at Bill's house on Clinton Street, of approximately thirty-five or forty drunks, they were the only three men to come clear in almost two years.  During this period many things happened, some quite tragic, with even an alcoholic suicide in Bill's home.

In September 1937 the three concluded that perhaps their technique would be better if they would do their work with drunks outside of an affiliation with a religious organization. Having arrived at this decision, the trio formally resigned from the Oxford Group and concentrated all their efforts on working with alcoholics in Towne's Hospital, using Bill's home as a de-fogging station.  About this time the first completely alcoholic meetings were held in Bill's home on Tuesday evenings and average attendance ran about fifteen, including the drunks' families.  Even though the trio had separated from the Oxford Group, they still retained a lot of their principles and utilized them in the discussions at these weekly meetings, but at the same time more emphasis was placed on the disease of alcoholism as a psychological sickness. At the same time they stressed spiritual regeneration and the understanding of one alcoholic for another.

A few months after the break with the Oxford Group, January 1938, I was brought into the New York fellowship from Washington by Fitz Mayo, whom I had known since boyhood.  I was enticed to New York by the existence of this new group and a small job that Hank Parkhurst gave me in a little business he and Bill had gone into on the side. [Honor Dealers]  When I arrived in New York I found myself thrust into this new group of three or four actively dry alcoholics, who at that time had no group name, or real creed or formula.

Within the next two or three months, things really started popping.  Hank, with his promotional ideas, started to push Bill into writing a formula, the trio finally decided a book should be written on our activities and this was in June 1938.  Bill was naturally given the job of writing the book for he was the only one who had made any real conclusive study of our problem.  From what I can remember, Bill's only special preparation for this was confined to the reading of four very well known books, the influence of which can clearly be seen in the AA Book.  Bill probably got most of his ideas from one of these books, namely James' "Varieties of Religious Experience."  I have always felt this was because Bill himself had undergone such a violent spiritual experience. He also gained a fine basic insight of spirituality through Emmet Fox's "Sermon on the Mount," and a good portion of the psychological approach of AA from Dick Peabody's "Common Sense of Drinking."  
It is my opinion that a great deal of Bill's traditions came from the fourth book.  Lewis Browne's "This Believing World."  From this book, I believe Bill attained a remarkable perception of possible future pitfalls for groups of our kind for it clearly shows that the major failures of religions and cults in the past have been due to one of three things: Too much organization, too much politics, and too much money or power.

Bill started his actual writing of our book in the later part of June 1938 in Hank Parkhurst's office in Newark, with Hank's secretary, Ruth Hock, taking dictation.  About a month later Bill had completed two chapters. Each had been brought up at the Clinton Street Tuesday night meetings.  Bill would read what had been written to the group as a whole and then pull apart and suggestions added by all those present. When these two chapters were rewritten, we were all very elated because we felt we were well on our way to saving all drunks everywhere.

With these two chapters in hand, and without any introduction of any kind, Bill went to see the editors of Harper's Publishing Company.  Harpers immediately caught fire and offered Bill, on the strength of this one visit, a $1,500 advance payment to finish the book, plus regular author's royalties. Bill said later that he almost succumbed to this offer because that was big money in those days and we were all broke.  When Bill returned and reported this offer, Hank said, "If it's worth that much for just two chapters from an unknown author, it's worth easily a million to us," and the trio immediately determined that Bill would finish writing the book and our Group would do the publishing.

In August, promotion minded Hank formed our first corporation for handling this book, to be named "100 Men Corporation" and he provided that two-thirds of the corporation would belong to him and Bill, the other third to be sold on shares at $25 par to friends and members.  He announced that this third should easily bring us in $10,000, which was to see us through publication. Our idea at this time was that the book alone would save the drunks in the majority of cases, by self-education.  Then it was decided that there would be some that the book alone would not do the job for, so another corporation was founded at the same time called, "The Alcoholic Foundation."  The Foundation's function would be the disbursement of funds and the establishment of alcoholic "farms" all over the country.  The money for this, of course, we would get after the sale of the first million books.  Then we were faced with the problem of who was to go on this new foundation.  At this time, August 1938, we had only four men dry over a year in New York. These were Bill, Hank, Fitz and Paul Rudell, so to these four Dr. Bob Smith of Akron was added.

During this time of promotion, corporations and other such activities, Bill continued his writing of the book, averaging about a chapter a week.  These were made up in triplicates, one copy going to Akron, one to the Clinton Street meetings and the third reserved as an office copy. These chapters, as completed, would be ranked and mauled over in the two group meetings, changes were noted in the margins and returned weekly to the Newark office.  About the middle of October 1938 the manuscript of the book was finished and the personal stories that appear in the AA book, in its present form, were contributed by individual members from Akron and New York.  As previously mentioned, the name of the book at this time was "100 Men" and the new corporation had finally raised, through forty-nine members in New York and Akron, about $3,000.

We then submitted the book to Dr. Yussel, well-known critic of New York University, this was about the 1st of November and he was paid $300 to edit the book. Practically nothing was done to the personal stories of the individual members and there was less than 20% deletion from the original manuscript.  When Yussel returned the book we found our "100 Men Corporation" broke, the $3,000 gone. The only concrete assets we had besides the manuscript were some blank copper plates to be used in printing.  We also found our name "100 Men" inadequate for we had forgotten the ladies and we already had one girl, Florence Rankin, on the ball.  In one or our discussion meetings at Clinton Street other names were brought up for consideration.  



Most prominent of these were "This Way Out," "Exit," "The End of the Road" and several others.  Finally we hit on our present name.  Nobody is too sure exactly where it came from but it is my opinion that it was suggested by one of our newer members, Joe Worden, who had at one time been considered quite a magazine promotion genius, and who had been given credit for starting the New Yorker magazine. Hank and Bill finally decided on the name "Alcoholics Anonymous" in the latter part of November 1938.

About this time we almost had a disaster in our still wobbly group but it later turned out to be a Godsend.  Bill and Hank had distributed quite a few copies of the original manuscript to doctors, psychiatrists and ministers to get a last minute reaction.  One of these went to Dr. Howard, Chief psychiatrist for the State of New Jersey.  He became greatly interested and enthusiastic, but was highly critical of several things in the book, for after reading it he told us there was entirely too much "Oxfordism" and that
it was too demanding.  This is where the disaster nearly overtook us, for it nearly threw Bill into a terrific mental uproar to have his "baby" pulled apart by an outside "screwball" psychiatrist, who in our opinion knew nothing about alcoholism.  After days of wrangling between Bill, Hank, Fitz and myself, Bill was finally convinced that all positive and "must" statements should be eliminated and in their place to use the word "suggest" and the expression "we found we had to."  



Another thing changed in this last rewriting was qualifying the word "God" with the phrase "as we understand Him."  (This was one of my few contributions to the book.) In the final finishing the fellowship angle was enlarged and emphasized.  After many arguments and uproars, the manuscript was finally finished, complete, in December 1938.  We now had one real problem - no money.

It was about this time that the "100 Men Corporation" was closed out and a new one started named "Works Publishing Company."  This name derived from a common expression, used in the group, "It works!!"  Those that had stock or
interest in the old corporation maintained the same priority in the new one.   (Editor's Note: Three years later the original stock subscribers returned all their shares and interest in "Works Publishing Company" to "The Alcoholic Foundation."  Today no individual has any financial interest in either the Alcoholic Foundation or in Alcoholics Anonymous.)

Then a new wrinkle was devised by our master-minds, we would make a couple of hundred multilith copies of the finished manuscript and these we would use as a promotion for more stock selling and at the same time to get possible
endorsement of well-known people, particularly, in the fields of religion and medicine.  These copies were distributed to the Works Publishing Company shareholders and possible prospective stockholders.  With these multilith copies we sent out a prospectus for our corporation and a note saying that the copy could be purchased for $3.50 and a copy of the book, if when printed, would be sent gratis to each purchaser.  From this venture, we did not get one new stockholder.  However, the copies did get into all sections of the country.  

One created quite an amusing incident for it got into the hands of a patient in a psychopathic hospital in California. This man immediately caught fire and religion all in one fell swoop.  He wrote and told us about the wonderful release he had from alcohol through our new Alcoholics Anonymous multilith.   Of course all of us in New York became highly excited and wires bounced back and forth between us and our new convert regarding this miracle that happened 3,000 miles away.  This man wrote the last personal history in the book while he was still in California called the "Lone Endeavor".  Our New York Groups were so impressed by his recovery that we passed the hat and sent for him to come East as an example.  This he did, but when the boys met him at the bus station the delusion faded, for he arrived stone drunk and as far as I know, never came out of it.

The major result of the multilith was our first important endorsement outside of our group and friends.  It came from Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, pastor of the Riverside Baptist Church in New York and a nationally-known speaker and writer.



So here we were again, broke, only more so!

Bill came to our rescue, as usual, by floating a $2,500 loan from Dr. Towne, who already had a good slice in the original corporation.  With the blank copper plates and Dr. Towne's loan, Hank prevailed on the Cornwall Press, in February 1939, to make 8,000 copies for our first edition. The book was purposely made to look bulky for two reasons -- to give it an air of intellectual authority and to make it look like a lot for the money.  The dust jacket, with its familiar red, black, yellow and white, was designed by one of our artist members, Ray Campbell, whose story in the book is called "An Artists Concept". Although Cornwall did print these 5,000 books in April 1939, they still felt that we were quite short in our down payment and insisted that the books be kept in a bonded warehouse and withdrawn only on the payment of $2.00 per copy.  Our method of distributing the books was to get possibly ten copies out at a time, and the members would individually buttonhole libraries, doctors and others for sales.  Funds received from these purchasers were in turn used to buy additional copies, which in their turn were sold in the same way.  About the only bookstores we could interest at the start was Brentano's in New York, who did gamble on a half a dozen copies.  Five of the very first books were presented to Dr. Fishbein, editor of the American Medical Journal to whom Dr. Towne had lauded AA.  Dr. Fishbein had promised to give us a real buildup in the Journal but when his review appeared, it merely said that AA was nothing new and had no real significance to the medical profession.  So another balloon busted.

In June, Bill and Hank decided to try another promotion stunt - this was to put a 2" x 3" advertisement in the New York Times Book Review.  This cost us $250 and I have often wondered where the money came from.  We thought we had the real answer to publicity this time, and we all sat back and started guessing and betting among ourselves on the number of requests we would get for our million-dollar book.  The estimates ranged from 2,000 to 20,000 copies, but we were due for another disappointment, as only two copies of the book were sold in spite of our seven-day free trial offer.

It was about this time that we got our first really active girl member, Marty Mann, who took the AA program while under restraint at Blythwood Sanitarium. Marty's efforts on behalf of women alcoholics in the early days were of inestimable value and today she is one of the most indefatigable workers on behalf of AA in the country.

It was also in June of this year that we made our first contact with the Rockerfeller Foundation.  This was arranged by Bert Taylor, one of the older members, who had known the family for years in a business way.  Dr. Richardson, who had long been spiritual advisor for the Rockerfeller family, became very interested and friendly, and Bill and Hank made frequent visits to him, with Hank on one side asking for financial help and Bill on the other insisting on moral support only.

Our first national publicity was arranged through one of our new members, Morgan Ryan in August 1939.  This was a spot on the "We The People" radio program, which was then very popular.  Again we were disappointed, for this publicity brought us only a dozen inquiries and one book sale.  This was despite the fact that we sent out 10,000 post cards to doctors and ministers in the New York area announcing the broadcast.  It was also in August that a real calamity befell Bill, for he and Lois were evicted from their home on Clinton Street.  This had once been Lois' girlhood home and was AA's first home.  Little did Bill and Lois know that for the next two years they would be homeless, dependent on the hospitality of other AA's.

About this time, too, another AA Group was launched in Cleveland, Ohio.  The founder was Clarence Snyder who had received his AA Indoctrination with Dr. Bob in Akron. Clarence and his wife, Dorothy, obtained our first newspaper publicity, which was in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in September 1939.  As a result of this publicity the Cleveland Group, within thirty days, became temporarily the largest group in the country.

Our first medical endorsement also came in September from Dr. Richard Smith, Superintendent of Rockland State Hospital in New York.  His praise was the result of our work with alcoholics in the hospital there over a period of
approximately six months.  The first national magazine to give us a break was Liberty, in October 1939, with a two-page article labeled "Alcoholics and God".  This article brought in about a thousand inquiries and sold possibly one hundred books.  My guess would be that as a summary for the year 1939, we had three active groups with a total membership of less than 200 and a gross book sale for eight months of less than 500.  By the end of 1939 also, AA was beginning to get some real recognition.  At the end of December that year John D. Rockerfeller, Jr. issued invitations to some 200 of his closest associates and friends to a dinner to be held February 8th 1940 at the Union League Club in New York.  The invitations stated that the purpose of the dinner was to have these people meet a group of people on whom Rockerfeller had become interested, no name announced.  The dinner and the publicity were arranged by Rockerfeller's personal publicity man, Ivy Lee.  Sixty actually attended this dinner, some of the more prominent being Dr. Fosdick, Owen Young, Wendell Wilkie, Sorenson of the Ford interests and Dr. Foster Kennedy, President of the Psychiatric Association. Before this dinner we felt it would solve all our problems, especially the financial ones, for Ivy Lee himself estimated the personal wealth of those present to be well over two billion dollars.  Fate was against us again despite glowing talks by Dr. Fosdick, Kennedy, Nelson Rockerfeller and Bill, the total contributions to Alcoholics Anonymous were less than $1,500, $1,000 of which came from the Rockerfeller Foundation.  (All of these contributions were later returned in full.)

Still we learned later that we had gained a great deal more than money from this dinner, for thereafter the Rockerfellers allowed their name to be publicly used in connection with AA.  It has always been my contention that this was the real turning point in the history of AA.

During the next six months practically the whole country was spotted with AA groups.  Between February and June 1940 Fitz and myself started groups in Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore.  About the same time Earl Treat migrated from the Akron Group to start one in Chicago, and Arch Trowbridge also went from Akron to Detroit.  It was also during these months that Larry Jewell left Cleveland and organized a group in Houston, Texas.  Kay Miller, a non-alcoholic but the wife of one of the early Akron members moved into Los Angeles and started their group.  In the Fall of 1940 a Jewish member named Meyerson, a traveling salesman, started AA groups in Atlanta, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida.

The next outstanding event in Alcoholics Anonymous growth was the publication of the Saturday Evening Post article. This was mostly arranged through the efforts of two well-known Philadelphia physicians, Dr. C. Dudly Saul and Dr. A. Wiese Hammer.  They had gained the interest of Judge Curtis Bok, one of the owners of the Saturday Evening Post and in the early days of Philadelphia AA, Judge Bok had been a constant visitor to the group.  It was in a large part due to his interest that Jack Alexander was assigned to do a feature article on Alcoholics Anonymous in August 1940. We were later told that the editors also thought Alexander would be a good man to possibly "expose" this new "screwball" organization.  However, Alexander did promise that he would not write his article until he had visited groups and seen AA in action.  He traveled from New York and Philadelphia as far West as St, Louis and attended AA meetings.  His experience with these groups made him so enthusiastic over the AA setup that the article he wrote was responsible for the largest sale of a single issue of the Post in its history.  The Alcoholic Foundation office in New York reports that over 10,000 inquiries were received from this one article.  Even today people coming into AA groups in various parts of the country tell us that their first knowledge of Alcoholics Anonymous was the Saturday Evening Post article by Jack Alexander.

It is my guess that in March 1941 there were less than 1,000 active AA members in the Country and the following year we added at least seven or eight thousand members.

(Editors Note: From this point on there is little the writer can add to add to the all over picture of AA's progress for this can be seen more clearly through the eyes of the New York office and the original group.)




0 -1 0 0
1707 ralpw2000
SOBRIETY TIME SOBRIETY TIME 3/14/2004 5:53:00 AM


RECENTLY ONE OUR MEMBERS IN AUSTRALIA DIED AFTER 52 YEARS OF

SOBRIETY. LAST YEAR HIS WIFE DIED AFTER 53 YEARS OF SOBRIETY. DOES

ANYONE KNOW OF ANY MARRIED COUPLE WHO HAD MORE THAN 105 YEARS OF

SOBRIETY BETWEEN THEM.

RALPH W.


0 -1 0 0
1710 Roger Dowdy
Re: Rowland Hazard Rowland Hazard 3/13/2004 7:05:00 PM


Several questions/myths regarding Rowland Hazard recently came up at our

District meeting. I'm hoping the more knowledgable folks in AAHistoryLovers

can help to clarify/dubunk them...



1. Did Rowland initially want to work with Freud and then Adler before going

to Jung?



2. Is it true Rowland got drunk on the return voyage after working with Dr.

Jung and he simply turned right around, making it a round trip? or was he

sober in the States for a short period of time prior to returning?



3. Also, what was the name of the ship?



Many thanks in advance,

Roger



_________________________________________________________________

Fast. Reliable. Get MSN 9 Dial-up - 3 months for the price of 1!

(Limited-time Offer) http://click.atdmt.com/AVE/go/onm00200361ave/direct/01/


0 -1 0 0
1712 Mel Barger
Re: Re: Rowland Hazard Rowland Hazard 3/15/2004 9:00:00 AM


Hi Roger and Group,

Re Rowland Hazard, I may be the culprit responsible for suggesting that

Rowland wanted to see Freud before consulting Jung. In "New Wine," page 14,

I mentioned that a Howard T. in Detroit used to say that. It's mere

speculation, but it is reasonable to believe that Freud would have been

first choice with most Americans at that time. But 1931 was a bad year for

Freud as he suffered terribly from cancer and would have had trouble seeing

patients.

Rowland's son told me they traveled to Europe on the Isle de France, but

this is not for certain either.

Mel Barger



~~~~~~~~

Mel Barger

melb@accesstoledo.com

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

From: "Roger Dowdy" <radowdy@hotmail.com>

To: <AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com>

Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2004 7:05 PM

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Re: Rowland Hazard





> Several questions/myths regarding Rowland Hazard recently came up at our

> District meeting. I'm hoping the more knowledgable folks in

AAHistoryLovers

> can help to clarify/dubunk them...

>

> 1. Did Rowland initially want to work with Freud and then Adler before

going

> to Jung?

>

> 2. Is it true Rowland got drunk on the return voyage after working with

Dr.

> Jung and he simply turned right around, making it a round trip? or was he

> sober in the States for a short period of time prior to returning?

>

> 3. Also, what was the name of the ship?

>

> Many thanks in advance,

> Roger

>

> _________________________________________________________________

> Fast. Reliable. Get MSN 9 Dial-up - 3 months for the price of 1!

> (Limited-time Offer)

http://click.atdmt.com/AVE/go/onm00200361ave/direct/01/

>

>

>

>

>

> Yahoo! Groups Links

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> __________________________________________________________

> This message was scanned by GatewayDefender

> 7:23:37 AM ET - 3/15/2004

>


0 -1 0 0
1713 Lash, William (Bill)
The AA Grapevine Digital Archive The AA Grapevine Digital Archive 3/15/2004 12:41:00 PM

In June 2004, coinciding with the sixtieth anniversary of the magazine, the new AA Grapevine Digital Archive will be up and running, and you’ll be able to go online and access every Grapevine article and letter ever published (all 12,000 of them), including the 150 articles Bill W. wrote for the magazine.  FREE UNLIMITED ACCESS for ALL for the entire month of June 2004.


With the AA Grapevine Digital Archive’s search engine, you’ll be able to locate not just an individual article but a group of articles related by topic.  Just type in a key word, such as “meditation” or “anonymity,” and you’ll have a wealth of articles on the subject at your fingertips.  You’ll be able to find articles by departments, such as Around AA or Ham On Wry, as well as by author, geographic location, or issue.  If you just want to browse, you’ll be able to scroll through topics to see what the Fellowship and its friends have had to say about spirituality, twelfth-stepping, or the Concepts.


 


The subscription process will begin July 1, 2004.  Starting then, you will be able to subscribe to the AA Grapevine Digital Archive in the following ways:


 


1)      Thirty-day access - $2.00


2)      One-year access for Grapevine subscribers - $10.00 (until October 31, 2004 only, a special introductory rate is available for current and new Grapevine subscribers - $5.00 for one-year access).


3)      One-year access for non-Grapevine subscribers - $15.00


 


You must go online to subscribe, and you’ll be able to link directly to the Digital Archive from the Home Page:


www.aagrapevine.org


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1714 Lash, William (Bill)
In Memory of Bobbie (1953) In Memory of Bobbie (1953) 3/15/2004 12:44:00 PM

April 1953 AA Grapevine


 


IN MEMORY OF BOBBIE


By Bill


 


MARGARET B., affectionately known throughout AA as "Bobbie," passed away in her sleep on February 17th of an unforeseen heart ailment.


She had headed our General Service Office at New York in all the years of AA's adolescence - that exciting but fearsome period when no one could tell for sure whether our fledgling society would survive or not.


Across her desk came thousands of pleas for help from individuals and hundreds from growing but anxious groups who wanted to be advised of the latest AA experience in meeting the problems that assailed them. It was out of this experience that AA's tradition was formed. And upon our tradition her devoted labor set a mark which will endure so long as God will have our society last.


Her pioneering work has proved an inspiring precedent for every Intergroup and Foundation secretary, and her departure creates in the heart of each of her friends a void which can only be filled by the memory of what she left us and the assurance that her destiny is happy and secure.


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1715 Lash, William (Bill)
Recovery, Unity, Service - Worldwide (1978) Recovery, Unity, Service - Worldwide (1978) 3/17/2004 2:12:00 PM

The theme of the Fifth World Service Meeting (1978) was “Recovery, Unity, Service - Worldwide.” The keynote address on this theme by David P., delegate from Columbia, was so brilliant it was not only acclaimed by his immediate audience in Helsinki, Finland, it became a kind of minor classic as it was reproduced and distributed widely in the Fellowship. It is reproduced in full here:


 


“The event we now open is indeed wonderful. We have gathered because, in spite of all our differences, we have something in common that binds us together with strong ties. We have known the process of a painful sickness. We have achieved, by the grace of God, a recovery which now allows us to live and to love again. We are involved in the spirit of unity that gives us strength. We are impelled by a desire to give service. We are the inheritors of the Legacies of A.A.


 


“The astronomers speak about certain bodies in outer space which, having lost their generating function, shrink slowly and inexorably, concentrating themselves in such a way that they shrink to infinitesimal size, but acquire an impressive gravity. They are the so-called “black holes,” of very small volume, with terrific weight. Their density becomes so concentrated that a gravitational vortex is formed around them, a ghostly and catastrophic hole that devours everything that passes by; light and radio and energy waves are absorbed and drawn by that irresistible whirlpool.


 


“The same thing happened in our alcoholic life. Emotional overload led to a shrinking of our mentality. A gloomy emptiness surrounded us. A tremendous storage of negative energy took place, aided by our own guilt and suffering. The greater our emotional load, the smaller our spiritual dimension. The greater the density of our selfishness, the shorter the scope of our horizons. Black holes in the space of our lives were sinking and paralyzing our willpower, our capacities, our dreams, our ambitions, goals, and outlooks.


 


“Unlike those surreal bodies, we did have a way out of our condition. The lifesaving message of A.A. came to us. And the tiny universe that confined us started to expand again. We began to untie our imagination, our mind, and our good will. We were ready to live and let live. Spiritual life was reborn. We found harmony with brothers, God, and ourselves. And we called that Recovery.


 


“What, then is Recovery for me?


 


“It is not perfection, but the search for it. It is not lethargy, but a state of awareness. It is realizing that there is a place for us in the world.


It is acknowledging that we, alone, cannot do anything, but with the help of God we can accomplish everything.


It is being sure that we walk along the path, even though we make our path as we walk.


It is living today as we would like to havelived yesterday, and as we wish to live tomorrow.


It is knowing that our journey has a meaning, a reason for being.


It is a constant spiritual awakening. And, above all, recovery is a working faith.


 


“We alcoholics have already suffered at the hands of a powerful enemy. We do not wish to fight against anybody, not even against alcohol. We have endured our illness physically, mentally, and morally. When we awoke to reality, we stood amidst the ruins of a shattered life, a destroyed morality, and a smashed dignity.


 


“Through the grace of God, however, we have survived by joining a society of equals. We need each other in a harmonious environment in order to survive. We needed Unity.


 


“What is Unity for me?


 


“It is not a monody, but a symphony of individual voices.


It is not a compact law, but a mixture of different opinions.


It is knowing that our alcoholic brother or sister has the same right to life, happiness, and peace as we have.


It is feeling that the word “we” stands before the word “I.”


It is admitting that we are all equal before God.


It is acceptance that different paths can lead us toward our final destiny.


It is a stripping of our pride, so we won’t feel greater or lesser than our fellows.


It is not doing to our neighbor what we wouldn’t like done to us.


And, above all, unity is a working humility - humility to accept the ultimate authority that expresses itself in our group conscience; humility to welcome anybody who wishes A.A. membership; humility to understand that our service tasks do not grant us power, command, or authority; humility to keep anonymity that reminds us to place principles before personalities.


 


“In our drinking days, when the world was only a large “nobody’s land” we had selfishness as compass and our own fulfillment as schedule. Money, intelligence, imagination, and initiative were used only as tools for constructing a universe fitted to our size. When our castle made out of cards fell down on our own heads, someone else came to rescue us, understood us, and delivered the message that saved us. So much was put at our disposal - literature to read, experience freely and gladly given, and a meeting place where a cup of coffee was waiting for us.


 


“At first we received and used these services, taking them for granted. But gradually we began to feel that a treasure, which we had no right to hide away, was being placed in our hands. We had to give to someone else the light of hope that had illuminated our darkness. It was unfair to let the fruits we had harvested rot in the barns of our laziness. And so we turned to Service.


 


“What is Service for me?


 


“It is not altruism, but a need for survival. It is not charity, but an expression of gratitude.


It is the responsibility of lending a hand to our brother or sister who is drowning. It is recognizing that, by giving ourselves to others, we will find our own souls.


It is learning that they who give the most, receive the most.


It is extending to other alcoholics the sobriety that was bestowed on us.


It is working so that others get a permanent place in the new world we have discovered. It is remembering the words of Bill W.: “We must carry A.A.’s message; otherwise we ourselves may fall into decay and those who have not yet been given the truth may die.”


And, above all, service is a working love.


 


“It is love that works - unselfish, patient, tolerant, anonymous love, love that doesn’t have a price tag on it. Love that has no envy andthat endures everything.


 


“In the name of John my fellow delegate, and all the A.A.‘s of Colombia, I would like to thank you for your kind invitation to address you. May God help all the participants in this meeting, so that we may be able to find new and better approaches to bringing to all alcoholics in the world our Legacies of Recovery with Unity through Service.


 


“Finally, we should like to congratulate our Finnish brethren for having undertaken, in such a brilliant, responsible, and effective way, the organization of this meeting.


 


“Thank you very much."


0 -1 0 0
1716 NMOlson@aol.com
Shep Cornell - Compiled Shep Cornell - Compiled 3/17/2004 4:52:00 AM

The following is compiled from previous messages which have been deleted.


 


Nancy


 


Hello Group,


 


I had someone ask me a good question that I could answer or could not find any additional information.


So I thought I would ask the HISTORYLOVERS


 


"What ever happened to Shep Cornwell?"


 


Thanks for your help


Charles from California
__________



Hello Charles and Group:


  Charles, I think you have Shep Cornell in mind--no "w" in the name.


  I talked with Shep by phone in 1980.  He was then retired and living in Earlysville, VA, right next to Charlottesville.  It must not be very large, because I don't find it in my Rand McNally Road Atlas.


  Shep knew Bill, Lois, and Ebby from the 1920s days in Manchester.  He was a successful investor and even owned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.  I don't know what circumstances led him into the Oxford Group, but he was a member in 1934 and conspired with Cebra Graves to call on Ebby, who was having lots of trouble right there in Manchester.  Rowland Hazard joined them, and became the key person in sponsoring Ebby.


  Shep had an apartment in Manhattan and Ebby, after being taken there (presumably by Rowland), soon moved to Calvary Mission, which was way over on the East Side from Calvary Church.  Shep was involved with Bill's early attempts to fit in with the Oxford Group and apparently didn't think Bill was very sincere at the time.  He was well-heeled enough to take all of them to dinner at a time when Bill and Ebby were both flat broke.


  Shep was not an alcoholic, although he was abstaining at that time--much in keeping with Oxford Group practice.  (My belief is that most of the Groupers didn't understand the crucial difference between normal drinkers and alcoholics.)  He told me that he drank moderately on occasions and had no problem.


  I have the impression that Shep didn't stay with the Oxford Group as the years rolled on.  He served in the Army during World War II, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel.  After the war, he eventually joined a large manufacturing firm in Milwaukee and became general manager.  (I can't remember the name of the company, but it was a large producer of automobile frames and farm silos.) He was comfortably retired when I talked with him, and spent his days golfing and, I assume, looking after his investments.  Lois remembered him as a fine golfer, and it's even possible that Bill played a few rounds with him in 1929, when Bill was still flying high on Wall Street. 


  I heard some years ago that Shep had passed on, but I don't know the year.  It's possible that his name is in the Social Security Death Index.  I believe his full name was Shepard or Sheppard.  Perhaps other History Lovers can do due diligence and track this down.~~~~~~~~
Mel Barger


__________


 















Check Francis Cornell 1899-1985 in SSDI -- I think he's the one.  (I believe it was Francis Shepard Cornell.) -- Jared Lobdell
__________



 






The info below was culled from the sources noted.



SOURCE 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)



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



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



LR                           Lois Remembers, by Lois Wilson



MSBW                     My Search for Bill W, by Mel B. (soft cover)



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



NW                          New Wine, by Mel B (soft cover)



PIO                          Pass It On, AAWS



1934



July, Ebby Thacher was approached in Manchester, VT by his friends Cebra Graves (an attorney) and F Sheppard (Shep) Cornell (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 Ebby was not quite ready yet to stop drinking. (EBBY 51-55, PIO 113)



August, Cebra G and Shep C vacationed at Rowland Hazard’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)



November (late), Ebby T (who was staying at the Calvary Mission in NYC) 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)



December 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)



Arthur S.



 




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1717 Lash, William (Bill)
Harry Tiebout Obituary (1966) Harry Tiebout Obituary (1966) 3/21/2004 5:30:00 PM

July 1966 AA Grapevine


 


In Memory of


HARRY


 


BY the time this issue of the Grapevine reaches its readers, the whole world of AA will have heard of the passing of our well-beloved friend, Dr. Harry M. Tiebout, the first psychiatrist ever to hold up the hands of our Fellowship for all to see. His gifts of courageous example, deep perception of our needs, and constant labor in our behalf have been - and always will be - values quite beyond our reckoning.


It began like this: The year was early 1939, and the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was about to hit the press. To help with the final edit of that volume we had made prepublication copies in multilith form. One of them fell into Harry's hands. Though much of the content was then alien to his own views, he read our up-coming book with deep interest. Far more significantly, he at once resolved to show the new volume to a couple of his patients, since known to us as "Marty" and "Grenny." These were the toughest kind of customers, and seemingly hopeless.


At first, the book made little impression on this pair. Indeed, its heavy larding with the word "God," so angered Marty that she threw it out her window, flounced off the grounds of the swank sanitarium where she was, and proceeded to tie on a big bender.


Grenny didn't carry a rebellion quite so far; he played it cool. When Marty finally turned up, shaking badly, and asked Dr. Harry what next to do, he simply grinned and said, "You'd better read that book again!" Back in her quarters, Marty finally brought herself to leaf through its pages once more. A single phrase caught her eye and it read, "We cannot live with resentment." The moment she admitted this to herself, she was filled with a "transforming spiritual experience."


Forthwith she attended a meeting. It was at Clinton Street, Brooklyn, where Lois and I lived. Returning to "Blythewood" she found Grenny intensely curious. Her first words to him were these: "Grenny, we are not alone any more!"


This was the beginning of recovery for both - recoveries that have lasted until this day. Watching their unfoldment, Harry was electrified. Only a week before they had both presented stone walls of obstinate resistance to his every approach. Now they talked, and freely. To Harry these were the facts - and brand new facts. Scientist and man of courage that he was, Harry did not for a moment look the other way. Setting aside his own convictions about alcoholism and its neurotic manifestations, he soon became convinced that AA had something, perhaps something big.


All the years afterwards, and often at very considerable risk to his professional standing, Harry continued to endorse AA. Considering Harry's professional standing, this required courage of the highest order.


Let me share some concrete examples. In one of his early medical papers - that noted one on “surrender” (Reprinted from the "Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol," Dec., 1954, pp. 610-621, available from the National Council on Alcoholism) - he had declared this ego-reducing practice to be not only basic to AA, but also absolutely fundamental to his own practice of psychiatry. This took humility as well as fortitude. It will always be a bright example for us all.


Nevertheless this much was but a bare beginning. In 1944, helped by Dr. Kirby Collier of Rochester and Dwight Anderson of New York, Harry had persuaded the American Medical Society of the State of New York to let me, a layman, read a paper about AA, at their annual gathering. Five years later this same trio, again spear-headed by Harry, persuaded the American Psychiatric Association to invite the reading of another paper by me - this time in their 1949 Annual Meeting at Montreal. By then, AA had about 100,000 members, and many psychiatrists had already seen at close range our impact on their patients.


For us of AA who were present at that gathering it was a breathtaking hour. My presentation would be "the spiritual experience," as we AAs understood it. Surely we could never get away with this! To our astonishment the paper was extremely well received - judging, at least, from the sustained applause.


Immediately afterwards, I was approached by a most distinguished old gentleman. He introduced himself as an early president of the American Psychiatric Association. Beaming he said, "Mr. W., it is very possible that I am the only one of my colleagues here today who really believes in 'spiritual experience' as you do. Once upon a time, I myself had an awakening much akin to your own, an experience that I shared in common with two close friends, Bucke and Whitman."


Naturally I inquired, "But why did your colleagues seem to like the paper?"


His reply went like this: "You see, we psychiatrists deeply know what very difficult people you alcoholics really are. It was not the claims of your paper that stirred my friends, it was the fact that AA can sober up alcoholics wholesale."


Seen in this light, I was the more deeply moved by the generous and magnificent tribute that had been paid to us of AA. My paper was soon published in the American Psychiatric Journal and our New York headquarters was authorized by the Association to make all the reprints we wished for distribution (Excerpts from this talk are contained in Alcoholism The Illness, by Bill W., a pamphlet available from AA World Services). By then the trek of AA overseas had well begun. Heaven only knows what this invaluable reprint accomplished when it was presented to psychiatrists in distant places by the fledgling AA groups. It vastly hastened the worldwide acceptance of AA.


I could go on and on about Harry, telling you of his activities in the general field of alcoholism, of his signal service on our AA Board of Trustees. I could tell stories of my own delightful friendship with him, especially remembering his great good humor and infectious laugh. But the space allotted me is too limited.


So in conclusion, I would have Harry speak for himself. Our AA Grapevine of November, 1963, carried a piece by him that, between its lines, unconsciously reveals to us a wonderful self portrait of our friend. Again, we feel his fine perception, again we see him at work for AA. No epitaph could be better than this.


0 -1 0 0
1718 ricktompkins@sbcglobal.net>
An Historical Announcement An Historical Announcement 3/21/2004 10:27:00 PM

Hello group,


 


This is your invitation to examine the Second Issue of An Alcoholics Anonymous History In Northern Illinois Area 20, copyright 1996, 2003 by NIA, Ltd.


Posted online at http://www.aa-nia.org this expanded monograph represents an additional six years of research and discovery. Where the First Issue spanned 104 pages of text, this rewritten work, its Second Issue, goes to 152 pages.


My Assembly will soon vote on a limited printing for distribution to District Archives and East Central Region Area Archives, to share its 'hard' copies in their lending libraries. This work is an effective result of the AA committee system, with full trust and procedural approval from the Area 20 Assembly.


Meanwhile, online, enjoy it in the same spirit of discovery that was given to me as its author!


Yours in serenity and in fellowship,


Rick T.,


Area 20 past Historian


Algonquin, Illinois


 


0 -1 0 0
1719 Victor A. Farinelli
Sparky H. Sparky H. 3/22/2004 9:26:00 AM


Hello Group,



I am looking for some information on Sparky H. from

the Chicago Il area. He passed away in the mid-80's.



Thanks,



Victor F.



__________________________________

Do you Yahoo!?

Yahoo! Finance Tax Center - File online. File on time.

http://taxes.yahoo.com/filing.html


0 -1 0 0
1720 NMOlson@aol.com
June 5, multi-district history & archives gathering June 5, multi-district history & archives gathering 3/24/2004 3:02:00 AM

JUNE 5, 2004 MULTI-DISTRICT HISTORY & ARCHIVES GATHERING:



District 36 of Area 59 (Eastern PA) will host a free one-day History & Archives Gathering Saturday, June 5, 2004 at the Friendship Fire Co. at 171 N. Mt Joy Street, Elizabethtown, PA.  Full directions will be available to those planning to come.  Contact Jared Lobdell at jaredlobdell@comcast.net or jaredlobdell@aol.com or by phone at 717-367-4985 (not after 9:30 p.m. Eastern time). 


 


Registration 8-9 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, and the Gathering will open at 9 a.m. and run till about 5 p.m.  The nearest motels are the Red Rose Motel on Route 230 (Market St.) on the edge of Elizabethtown and the Holiday Inn Express just off Route 283 on the edge of Elizabethtown.  Please let us know if you're coming.  The Gathering will be looking at forming archives for history and using archives for history, and there will be a concentration on three times in AA history esp. in Eastern PA, in and around 1954 (we have invited for local oldtimers with at least 50 years sobriety), in and around 1937 (looking particularly at some of the Eastern PA founders, including Fitz M.), and in and around 1971 -- so 67, 50, and 33 years ago.  The oldtimers are scheduled for the morning, the archives/history panels in the early afternoon, ending with history presentations and a roundtable. 


 


As with last year's Gathering we hope there will be archives exhibits at least from MD, Eastern PA, North Jersey, the Clarence S. Archive, and local archives.  Lunch will be served.  More to follow, but be in touch if you're intending to come. -- Jared lobdell 


 


Please send all replies to jaredlobdell@comcast.net


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1721 Lash, William (Bill)
Jerseyites Buy Big Sociable Clubhouse (1944) Jerseyites Buy Big Sociable Clubhouse (1944) 3/23/2004 11:14:00 AM

November 1944 AA Grapevine


 


JERSEYITES BUY BIG SOCIABLE CLUBHOUSE


 


To the A.A.s of North Jersey goes the honor of being the original contributors to one phase of A.A. history, geographically speaking. They are the first of the "Along the Metropolitan Circuit" groups to buy a clubhouse of their own.


Members of a dozen North Jersey groups, forming a company called Alanon Association (Joe B. is their counsel), participated in the deal that ended, in October, in the purchase of the three-story brick building at 8th Ave. and North 7th St., Newark, N.J., known as the Roseville Athletic Association.


The purchase price of $22,000 includes furniture and equipment, which in turn includes such things as billiard tables and bowling alleys. The transaction involved a first mortgage of $15,000.00 with a non-alcoholic A.A. supporter, the remainder (a large portion of which has already been subscribed) to be pledged by individual A.A.'s. Certificates of indebtedness are to be issued to all contributors, bearing interest, and redeemable in five to ten years. The plan is, however, to clear off all indebtedness as quickly as possible, including the mortgage. (Up to the time of purchase the building had sustained itself financially with revenues from bowling, pool, billiards, and tobacco.) The dues system will be voluntary weekly contributions - the amounts kept a strictly confidential matter – with $1.00 as tops.


Participation of the A.A. men and women in Alanon, Inc., is entirely as individuals. There were no group commitments, and care was taken to avoid involving Alcoholics Anonymous in any way. The Board of Trustees of the Corporation are: Chairman, Tom M.; Secretary, Jim G.; Treasurer, Herman G.; Recording Secretary (handling dues), Hal R.; Stuart S., Dr. Arthur S., Pete O'T., Oscar O., Helen D., Bea W., Ed M., and Leo D.


The Newark Group, who have been holding their meetings at the Roseville A.A. for three years will continue to do so. Maintained for 58 years as a conservative gentlemen's club, there has never been a bar in the club. However, food facilities, which also do not exist at present, will be installed pronto.


The big building is located one block from the Roseville Avenue station of the Lackawanna R.R., about 20 minutes from New York. It is expected that the clubhouse will develop into a clinical center for new people, and a social haven for all A.A. men and women, irrespective of their group membership.


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1722 Lash, William (Bill)
AA 2004 Founders'' Day Celebrations (N.Y., VT., OH.) AA 2004 Founders'' Day Celebrations (N.Y., VT., OH.) 3/24/2004 12:11:00 PM

Saturday, June 5, 2004


Stepping Stones (where Bill & Lois Wilson lived from 1941 until they died)


62 Oak Road, Bedford Hills (Katonah), NY


914-232-7368


House & Wit's End is open for viewing at 12NOON, AA (someone who knew Bill Wilson)/Alanon/Alateen speakers meeting begins at 2PM.


Coffee, soda, & dessert served only.


 


Sunday, June 6, 2004


The Wilson House (where Bill Wilson was born & lived as a child, & where Bill & Lois are buried)


Village St., East Dorset, VT.


802-362-5524


Gravesite ceremony at 1PM, speaker meeting (someone who knew Bill Wilson) at 2PM.


BBQ 3PM


 


Friday - Sunday, June 11-13, 2004


Akron, OH. (where Dr. Bob’s house is, where Dr. Bob & Anne Smith are buried, where AA meeting #1 is, where St. Thomas Hospital is, where Henrietta Sieberling’s gatehouse is, where the Mayflower Hotel is, etc.)


http://www.akronaa.org/FoundersDay/foundersdayindex.html


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1723 NMOlson@aol.com
Dr. Susan B. Anthony II Dr. Susan B. Anthony II 3/26/2004 3:34:00 AM

Since starting the AA History Buffs/Lovers four years ago, I have intended to write a piece on my good friend and spiritual mentor Dr. Susan B. Anthony II.  Susan sobered up in Marty Mann's office on August 22, 1946.


Today I discovered this biography on the website of the University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries, where Susan's papers are archived.


 


Nancy


__________


 




Dr. Susan B. Anthony (also referred to as Susan B. Anthony II), the great-niece and namesake of the women's rights leader Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), was born in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1916. Her father Luther Burt Anthony was the son of the suffragist's younger brother Jacob Merritt Anthony.



Anthony attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 1938. In 1938-39 she worked as a research assistant in the office of the National Youth Administration in Washington, DC. While an undergraduate she was involved in the peace movement, but learning of the plight of anti-fascists forces in the Spanish Civil War, she lobbied in 1938 to lift the arms embargo against the Spanish Republic. During this same period she was involved in the civil rights movement, becoming a sponsor of the National Negro congress. In 1941 she received a master of arts degree in Political science from American University.



Anthony was a city desk editor for the Washington Star from 1939 to 1944. She also published articles on women's issues and migrants in The New York Times Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and other periodicals. Her first book, Out of the Kitchen-Into the War was published in 1943.



In 1940 Anthony married political activist Henry Hill Collins, Jr., (1904-1961). During the war, she worked with Ann Shyne at Bryn Mawr College to compile a comprehensive study of "Women During the War and After." A summary of the results were published by the U.S. Women's Bureau and provided Anthony with material for several articles and lectures. In 1946 she hosted five times a week a radio program, "This Woman's World," over New York station WMCA. After nine months it was canceled for being "too controversial to be commercially feasible." The program was picked up by the New York Post station WLIB, but canceled six weeks later. In 1948, she and Henry Collins were divorced.



In 1945 she co-founded with Helen Snow the Congress of American Women. Anthony represented the Congress and its affiliate, the Women's International Democratic Federation, at the United Nations Status of Women Commission in 1948.



In 1949 or 1950, Anthony married Clifford Thomas McAvoy (1904-1957). McAvoy had been the deputy commissioner of Welfare in New York City from 1938 to 1941. In 1941 he was appointed legislative and political action director of the Greater New York Congress of Industrial Organizations Council, and in 1944 became the legislative representative in Washington for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. At the time of their marriage he was the New England Director of the Progressive Party Labor Committee, an organization he had founded to support the Presidential bid of Progressive Party candidate, Henry A. Wallace.



Now living in Boston, Anthony broadcast a radio program on which she discussed the problems of alcoholism and interviewed alcoholics. Because of her husband's associates, she was mentioned as a "fellow traveler" in a Life magazine article. In 1951 she divorced Clifford McAvoy and moved to Key West, Florida where she became a newspaper reporter for the Citizen.



In 1954 she married Aubrey John Lewis, a British citizen living in Jamaica. Lewis was a Religious Science practitioner and owner of an allspice plantation. In Jamaica Anthony became a reporter for The Gleaner, writing several articles on celebrities who visited the island.



Beginning in the early 1950s, Anthony's espousal of liberal causes brought her to the attention of the U. S. Justice Department, who requested her to come to Washington, D.C. to testify before a Congressional committee investigating communism. When, for health reasons, she refused to return to the United States, she became subject to extradition. After being served a subpoena in December, 1954, she took out British citizenship. Her lawyers advised her that this action would give her dual citizenship, and not jeopardize her American citizenship. This proved not to be the case.



In 1960 Anthony divorced John Lewis and left Jamaica. She arrived in the United States on a visitor's visa, her passport having been confiscated by the U. S. Consul in Kingston. In 1967 Congressman John Bardemas introduced a bill to restore her citizenship. It was voted down by the House Immigration Subcommittee, who ordered her immediate deportation. She won a stay of deportation, and the case was reheard before the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals in 1969. The Board reversed all former Immigration and Naturalization Service and Justice Department actions against her and restored her citizenship.





In 1960 Anthony underwent a religious conversion and was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church in 1961. She entered St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, and in 1965 received a Ph.D. in theology. She was one of the first fifteen Catholic laywomen to receive this degree. She taught theology at Marymount College in Boca Raton, Florida from 1965 to 1969.



A recovered alcoholic, Anthony dedicated much of her professional and personal life to helping others overcome alcoholism. She wrote articles and traveled extensively giving presentations on the issue. In 1973 she was a substance abuse coordinator at South County Mental Health Center in Florida. In 1975 she founded Wayside House, a rehabilitation center for chemically dependent women, in Delray Beach, Florida. The United States Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drugs honored Anthony for her work with alcoholics at a reception in 1976.



Having found strength in contemplation and prayer, Anthony often wrote and lectured on these subjects. For nine months in 1976 she was a novice at a Cenacle convent drawn by their emphasis on prayer and teaching.



In 1978 Anthony appeared on the television game show, "$124,000 Question" as a women's rights expert. In five appearances she won $16,000. The publicity helped launch her national lecture tour. Her topics included women, alcoholism, feminism, and prayer. In 1977 she attended the National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas, where she endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment. When the Susan B. Anthony dollar was issued in 1979, Anthony participated in many of the celebrations, culminating in a reception at the White House hosted by Rosalyn Carter.



During the 1980s, Anthony traveled throughout the country giving lectures on substance abuse, feminist issues, and prayer. In 1983 she participated in the Seneca Falls Women's Peace Encampment marching in the protest against nuclear weapons stored in the Seneca Falls army depot.



In 1971, Anthony published her autobiography The Ghost in My Life (New York: Chosen Books). It was reprinted by Bantam Books in 1973. Her other books include Survival Kit (New York: New American Library, 1972), and Sidewalk Contemplatives (New York: Crossroad, 1987).



Dr. Anthony died in 1991.



 


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1724 Lash, William (Bill)
The Man Behind the A.A. Revolution The Man Behind the A.A. Revolution 3/26/2004 11:03:00 AM

The Man Behind the A.A. Revolution
Susan Cheever talks about her new biography of Bill Wilson, the man she says was made to found Alcoholics Anonymous



Interview by Paul O'Donnell

There have been several books and memoirs written about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith in the 1940s. But as Susan Cheever found when she was asked to write a profile of Wilson, there has not been an authoritative biography, until now. Cheever, the daughter of novelist John Cheever and the author of two memoirs of her own drinking life, has written a very personal portrait of Wilson, portraying him as a restless thinker who created A.A. the way an inventor might stumble on a revolutionary technology. We talked to her recently about her book and her subject.

Bill Wilson was a complicated person with an amazing story. How did you go about getting a handle on him?
There were a number of books about Bill Wilson, and by him, but a lot of the basic biographical tasks had not been done. I used everything that had been written, and I went to the archives at Stepping Stones [Wilson's home, now a museum], where I had the amazing luck of getting there before it had been indexed, so I could watch the process of archiving. There are a ton of letters. Bill and [his wife] Lois were great letter writers, and much of the early part of the book, when he's still drinking, are from their letters. Whenever you're inside someone's mind in the book, whether it's Emily Wilson's in the opening scene or Bill Wilson's in the Mayfair hotel, it's from their letters.
I also went to [Wilson's birthplace] in Vermont. The more I hung out in East Dorset, the more I saw how important Yankee free-thinking and pure democracy and stubbornness is to the program of A.A. Dr. Robert Smith [A.A. co-founder] was also from Vermont.

What was it about that Yankee mindset that led to AA?
Well, a lot of threads start in Vermont that end up in the 12 steps and the 12 traditions of A.A. One is the idea that each person has an equal voice. That's enshrined in the bylaws. A.A. actually belongs to and is run by it's own member. That whole idea of pure democracy comes right out of the Vermont town meeting.
Another thing is that alot of New England was dry when Bill Wilson was growing up. They taught temperance in the schools. Bill Wilson actually had an education in how to stay sober and how not to stay sober. And of course there is the rampant spiritualism of the turn of the century in Vermont and New Hampshire and upstate New York. People were reaching out for a different kind of God, throwing over the Calvinistic, British Puritan God. Not just of humanism, but transcendentalism, which is also enshrined in the 12 steps.

Where do you find that in A.A.?
Well, "God as we understand him." That's Thoreau. That's Emerson. It seems to me that he took all these different strands--the religious, pure democracy, temperance, the transcendentalist-humanist strand, which was buttressed when he married a Swedenborgian--and wove them all into this astonishing program which has changed the way we think about addiction. When I look at his life, I think, 'Wow, this was a machine designed for this job.' He came out of this weird stew of educational and spiritual tenets that ended up being the best treatment for alcoholism.

The temperance movement plays a crucial role. As a child, he refuses to take the temperance pledge and rejects religion altogether. How does he get from there to seeing a higher power as a central part of a sober life as an adult?
Well, I think that's the story. For him, God took the form of a specific entity. He flirted and maybe even slept with Catholicism in his later years. But he had learned that God was an extremely personal concept, and that you can never say to anyone, this is the kind of God you must have. Part of his genius was understanding that there are things no one person can prescribe for another if the person wants to help the other.
This is where he really shifted the way we think. He understood that being drunk wasn't a lack of willpower or discipline. He understood that the way to treat addiction is to court a change of heart with the utmost gentleness. That is a really revolutionary idea. That understanding came from his own desperate attempt to get sober, through trial and error--mostly error. He became, as his friend Aldous Huxley called him, "The Greatest Social Architect of the 20th century."

His insight was that drinking was not a moral problem?
Absolutely. He took the idea that alcoholics were bad people and changed it to the idea that alcoholics are sick people. It changed the way we view addiction. It changed the way we see human nature. He changed the way we see each other as much as Freud did, I think. Bill led us to see that what we think of as a failure of willpower is not that at all. It's a disease.
He wasn't saying that you're not responsible for the things that you do when you're drinking. He was just saying that the way to stop drinking requires a change of heart.

How did he change his own heart?
As you watch his story unfold, you see all the pieces of his program fall into place. He would get one piece from talking to another drunk who had gotten sober. Then when he was in a group of people who didn't want to drink, he saw that the power of the group was a piece of it. Then he was able to think in terms of surrendering his power rather than in terms of getting more. It was as if he was always traveling further from or closer to a drink. Slowly he began to understand the things that brought him closer and the things that took him further away.

It's often called a religious program, and specifically Christian. It even makes forgiveness one of its paragons.
The program of A.A., as written by Bill Wilson and Dr. Smith, only has one purpose: to get you sober. That's it. To make you a better person, forget it. That was one of the things he came to understand in those years of trial and error. It has to be about only one thing.
So within the context of that primary purpose, forgiveness is a way to ready the heart for the change. Bill himself had a different view of forgiveness. One thing that's so moving about him is how he treated people who abandoned him with incredible courtesy and generosity. His parents abandoned him, financially, emotionally and physically, and they did it with incredible self-righteousness. Yet he was constantly writing them letters, sending them checks when he had no money, and inviting them to come and live with him. That's forgiveness. So as a person, and I guess we can say as a Christian, he was extremely forgiving, but in the steps of A.A., forgiveness is not meant to improve your soul, it's meant to get you sober.

But it is in a sense a faith-based program, and one the courts often order people into.
Well, they do that because it works. It's sort of the best thing we have by far. In some parts of the country, it's more Christian, because each A.A. meeting governs itself. So there are some A.A. meetings that are emphatically anti-Christian and there are some that are emphatically Christian.

But you don't object to it being called religious.
Well, that's another question. I object to that because they object to that. But I don't represent AA. I'm not an expert. And I would have trouble defining religion.

Some criticize AA for proclaiming it's the only way to get sober.
But it doesn't. It's like the Christianity charge. It's just not there.

In addition to his work with alcohol, Wilson left his mark on Wall Street. He essentially invented market research, didn't he?
That's true. While he was drinking.

Did his knack for business continue after he quit drinking?
His business skills were applied to try to make A.A. a going concern. He quit drinking in 1934, but it really wasn't until 1944 that it was clear that A.A. was a go. He spent ten years pouring all those skills, the endurance, the salesmanship, into making A.A. go forward.
And even after he turned it over to its membership, he kept on searching for some kind of help for alcoholics, looking for a magic bullet. A lot of his friendship with Aldous Huxley was about what we now call psychopharmacology. He took LSD, which at the time was not a street drug, but he thought maybe it could help alcoholics. He thought vitamin B could help. So he continued to do a lot of searching and experimenting.

Which brings us back to how he viewed alcoholism. He said it was a disease, and he even looked for pharmacological solutions. But the only remedy he found was a spiritual one. How many diseases can you say that about?
The relationship with the body and the mind is complicated and mysterious. You say most diseases aren't spiritual, but many people believe they are. The question of where does disease leave the body and enter the spirit, or enter the mind or the brain--that's a question I am not able to answer.

We're living in a 12-Step world now. Yet part of this story is how Wilson's program was once regarded with suspicion.
When AA was starting, it was thought of in many weird ways. There were years and years when it looked as if Bill Wilson was going to be the only successful recovering alcoholic. There's that famous scene where he complains to his wife, "You know, I've had 40 people get sober and they're all drinking again. This doesn't work." And she said, "Well it worked for one person--you." There were years were AA was lucky to be regarded as anything by anyone. I don't think Bill Wilson could have possibly have envisioned what's happened with those 12 steps of his. There hundreds of 12-Step programs saving millions of lives and millions of families in ways that I don't think he envisioned.

Paul O'Donnell is Beliefnet's Culture editor.


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1725 Lash, William (Bill)
Sister Ignatia Obituary (1966) Sister Ignatia Obituary (1966) 3/27/2004 8:09:00 PM

August 1966 AA Grapevine


 


For


Sister


Ignatia:


our everlasting gratitude


 


SISTER MARY IGNATIA, one of the finest friends that we of AA shall ever know, went to her reward Friday morning, April first, nineteen hundred sixty-six. Next day, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine opened their Mother House to visitors. More than one thousand of them signed the guest book in the first two hours. These were the first of many who during the two days following came to pay their respects to Sister.


On Monday at high noon the Cathedral at Cleveland could barely seat its congregation. Friends in the city and from afar attended the service. The Sisters of Charity themselves were seen to be seated in a body, radiant in their faith. Together with families and friends, we of AA had come there in expression of our gratitude for the life and works of our well-loved Sister. It was not really a time for mourning, it was instead a time to thank God for His great goodness to us all.


In its affirmation of the faith, the Mass was of singular beauty; the more so to many, since it was spoken in English. The eulogy, written and read by a close friend of Sister's, was a graphic and stirring portrayal of her character, and of her deeds. There was a most special emphasis upon the merits of AA, and upon the part co-founder Dr. Bob had played in Sister's great adventure among us. We were assured as seldom before that those who dwell in the fellowship of the Spirit need never be concerned with barriers, or with boundaries.


For those thousands of men, women and children whose lives had been directly touched and illumined by Sister, it would perhaps not be needful to write this account of her. Of Sister, and of the Grace she brought to all these, they already know better than anyone else. But to the many others who have never felt her presence and her love, it is hoped this narrative may be something for their special inspiration.


Born in 1889 of devout and liberty-loving parents, Sister entered into this world at Shanvilly, County Mayo, of the Emerald Isle. The famed poet Yeats, born nearby, once remarked that the strange beauty of County Mayo had been specially designed to raise up poets, artists, heroes and saints. We can little doubt that even when Ignatia was aged six, and her parents had emigrated from Ireland to Cleveland, she was already beginning to manifest many a sterling virtue.


Soon the child began to reveal unusual musical talents, both of piano and voice. A few years later she was seen giving lessons at the home of her parents. During 1914, she became possessed of a great desire to become a religious. In this year she joined the Community that many of us AAs know so well - the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. There she continued her musical education and her teaching.


But even then, as ever since, Sister was frail, exceeding frail. By 1933 the rigors of her music teaching had become too great. She had a really serious physical breakdown. Her doctor put to her this choice: "You will have to take it easy. You can either be a dead music teacher or a live Sister. Which is it going to be?"


With great good cheer, so her Community says, Mary Ignatia accepted a much quieter and less distinguished assignment. She became the registrar at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio - an institution administered by her Order. At the time it was wondered if she could manage even this much. That she would live to the age of seventy-seven was not believable; that she was destined to minister to 15,000 alcoholics and their families in the years to come was known only to God.


For a considerable time Sister serenely carried on at the admissions desk in St. Thomas. It was not then certain she had ever heard of AA. Though Group One at Akron, and Group Two in New York had been in slow and fitful growth since 1935, neither had come to public notice.


 


AA’s sudden growth


 


However in 1939 the scene changed abruptly. In the spring of that year the AA book was first printed, and Liberty magazine came up with an article about our society in the early fall. This was quickly followed by a whole series of remarkable pieces which were carried by The Cleveland Plain Dealer on its editorial page. The newspaper and the mere two dozen AAs then in town were swamped by frantic pleas for help. Despite this rather chaotic situation, the Cleveland membership burgeoned into several hundreds in a few months.


Nevertheless the implications of this AA population explosion were in some ways disturbing, especially the lack of proper hospital facilities. Though the Cleveland hospitals had rallied gallantly to this one emergency, their interest naturally waned when bills often went unpaid, and when ex-drunks trooped through the corridors to do what they called "Twelfth Step" work on sometimes noisy victims just arrived. Even the City Hospital at Akron, where Dr. Bob had attended numerous cases, was showing signs of weariness.


In New York we had temporarily got off to a better start. There we had dear old Dr. Silkworth and, after awhile, his wonderful AA nurse "Teddy." This pair were to "process" some 12,000 New York area drunks in the years ahead, and so they became, as it were, the "opposite numbers" to the partnership of co-founder Dr. Bob and Sister Ignatia at Akron.


Much concerned that, hospital-wise, his area might be caught quite unprepared to cope with a great new flood of publicity about AA, Dr. Bob in 1940 decided to visit St. Thomas and explain the great need for a hospital connection that could prove permanently effective. Since St. Thomas was a church institution, he thought the people there might vision a fine opportunity for service where the others had not. And how right he was!


 


Sister Ignatia learns of AA


 


But Bob knew no one in authority at the hospital. So he simply betook himself to "Admissions" and told the diminutive nun in charge the story of AA, including that of his own recovery. As this tale unfolded, the little sister glowed. Her compassion was deeply touched and perhaps her amazing intuition had already begun to say, "This is it." Of course Sister would try to help, but what could one small nun do? After all, there were certain attitudes and regulations. Alcoholism had not been reckoned as an illness; it was just a dire form of gluttony!


Dr. Bob then told Sister about an alcoholic who then was in a most serious condition. A bed would simply have to be found for him. Said Mary Ignatia, "I'm sure your friend must be very sick. You know, Doctor, this sounds to me like a terrible case of indigestion." Trying to keep a straight face, Dr. Bob replied, "How right you are – his indigestion is most terrible." Twinkling, Sister immediately said, "Why don't you bring him in right away?"


The two benign conspirators were soon faced with yet another dilemma. The victim proved to be distressingly intoxicated. It would soon be clear to all and sundry that his "indigestion" was quite incidental. Obviously a ward wouldn't do. There would have to be a private room. But all the single ones were filled. What on earth could they do? Sister pursed her lips, and then broke into a broad smile. Forthwith he declared, "I'11 have a bed moved into our flower room. In there he can't disturb anyone." This was hurriedly done, and the "indigestion" sufferer was already on his way to sobriety and health.


Of course the conspirators were conscience-stricken by their subterfuge of the flower room. And anyhow, the "indigestion" pretense simply couldn't last. Somebody in authority would have to be told, and that somebody was the hospital's Superior. With great trepidation Sister and Dr. Bob waited upon this good lady, and explained themselves. To their immense delight she went along, and a little later, she boldly unfolded the new project before the St. Thomas trustees. To their everlasting credit they went along too - so much so that it was not a great while before Dr. Bob himself was invited to become a staff physician at St. Thomas, a bright example indeed of the ecumenical spirit.


Presently a whole ward was devoted to the rehabilitation of alcoholics, and Sister Ignatia was of course placed in immediate charge. Dr. Bob sponsored the new cases into the hospital and medically treated each, never sending a bill to any. The hospital fees were very moderate and Sister often insisted on taking in patients on a "pay later" basis, sometimes to the mild consternation of the trustees.


Together Ignatia and Dr. Bob indoctrinated all who cared to listen to the AA approach as portrayed by the book Alcoholics Anonymous, lately come off the press. The ward was open to visiting AAs from surrounding groups who, morning to night, told their stories of drinking and of recovery. There were never any barriers of race or creed; neither was AA nor Church teaching pressed upon any.


 


With infinite tenderness


 


Since nearly all her strenuous hours were spent there, Sister became a central figure on the ward. She would alternately listen and talk, with infinite tenderness and understanding. The alcoholic's family and friends received the very same treatment. It was this most compassionate caring that was a chief ingredient of her unique Grace; it magnetically drew everyone to her, even the most rough and obstinate. Yet she would not always stand still for arrant nonsense. When the occasion required, she could really put her foot down. Then to ease the hurt, she would turn on her delightful humor. Once, when a recalcitrant drunk boasted he'd never again be seen at the hospital, Sister shot back, "Well, let's hope not. But just in case you do show up, please remember that we already have your size of pajamas. They will be ready and waiting for you!"


As the fame of St. Thomas grew, alcoholics flocked in from distant places. After their hospitalization they often remained for a time in Akron to get more first-hand AA from Dr. Bob, and from Akron's Group Number One. On their return home, Sister would carry on an ever mounting correspondence with them.


We AAs are often heard to say that our Fellowship is founded upon resources that we have drawn from medicine, from religion and from our own experience of drinking and of recovery. Never before nor since those Akron early days have we witnessed a more perfect synthesis of all these healing forces. Dr. Bob exemplified both medicine and AA; Ignatia and the Sisters of St. Augustine also practiced applied medicine, and their practice was supremely well animated by the wonderful spirit of their Community. A more perfect blending of Grace and talent cannot be imagined.


It should never be necessary to dwell, one by one, upon the virtues of these magnificent friends of AA's early time - Sister Ignatia and co-founder Dr. Bob. We need only recollect that "by their fruits we shall always know them."


 


Passing of Dr. Bob


 


Standing before the Cleveland International Convention of 1950, Dr. Bob looked upon us of AA for the last time. His good wife Anne had passed on before, and his own rendezvous with the new life to come was not many months away.


Ten years had slipped by since the day when he and Sister had bedded down that first sufferer in the St. Thomas flower room. In this marvelous decade Sister and Dr. Bob had medically treated, and had spiritually infused, five thousand alcoholics. The greater part of these had found their freedom under God.


In thankful recollection of this great work, we of AA presented to the Sisters of Charity -of St. Augustine and to the Staff of the St. Thomas Hospital a bronze plaque, ever since to be seen in the ward where Sister and Dr. Bob had wrought their wonders. The plaque reads as follows:


 


IN GRATITUDE


THE FRIENDS OF DR. BOB AND ANNE S.


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 DOORS TO OUR SOCIETY.


MAY THE LOVING DEVOTION OF THOSE WHO


LABORED HERE IN OUR PIONEERING TIME


BE A BRIGHT AND WONDROUS EXAMPLE


OF GOD'S GRACE EVERLASTINGLY SET


BEFORE US ALL.


 


Visitors at St. Thomas today often wonder why this inscription says not a word about Sister Ignatia. Well, the fact was, she wouldn't allow her name to be used. She had flatly refused; it was one of those times when she had put her foot down! This was of course a glowing example of her innate and absolutely genuine humility. Sister truly believed that she deserved no particular notice; that such Grace as she might have could only be credited to God and to the community of her sisters.


This was indeed the ultimate spirit of anonymity. We who had then seen this quality in her were deeply affected, especially Dr. Bob and myself. Hers came to be the influence that persuaded us both never to accept public honors of any sort. Sister's example taught that a mere observance of the form of AA anonymity should never become the slightest excuse for ignoring its spiritual substance.


Following Dr. Bob's death, there was great concern lest Sister might not be allowed to continue her work. As in other orders of the church, service assignments among the Sisters of Charity were rather frequently rotated. This was the ancient custom. However, nothing happened for a time. Assisted by surrounding AA groups, Sister continued to carry on at St. Thomas. Then suddenly in 1952, she was transferred to St. Vincent Charity Hospital at Cleveland, where, to the delight of us all, she was placed in charge of its alcoholic ward. At Akron a fine successor was named to succeed her; the work there would continue.


The ward at "Charity" occupied part of a dilapidated wing, and it was in great need of repair and rejuvenation. To those who knew and loved Sister, this opportunity proved a most stimulating challenge. The Charity trustees also agreed that something should be done. Substantial contributions flowed in. In their spare hours, AA carpenters, plumbers and electricians set about redoing the old wing - no charge for their services. The beautiful result of these labors of love is now known as Rosary Hall.


Again the miracles of recovery from alcoholism commenced to multiply. During the following fourteen years, an astonishing 10,000 alcoholics passed through the portals of "Rosary Hall" there to fall under the spell of Mary Ignatia, and of AA. More than two-thirds of all these recovered from their dire malady, and again became citizens of the world. From dawn to dark Sister offered her unique Grace to that endless procession of stricken sufferers. Moreover, she still found time to minister widely to their families and this very fruitful part of her work became a prime inspiration to the Al-Anon Family Groups of the whole region.


Notwithstanding her wonderful workers within the hospital, and help from AAs without, this must have been a most exacting and exhausting vocation for the increasingly frail Sister. That she was providentially enabled to be with us for so many years is something for our great wonder. To hundreds of friends it became worth a day's journey to witness her supreme and constant demonstration.


Toward the close of her long stewardship there were brushes with death. Sometimes I came to Cleveland and was allowed to sit by her bedside. Then I saw her at her best. Her perfect faith, and her complete acceptance of whatever God might will was somehow implicit in all she said, be our conversation gay, or serious. Fear and uncertainty seemed entire strangers to her. On my leave-taking, there was always that smiling radiance; always her prayerful hope that God might still allow her a bit more time at Rosary Hall. Then a few days later I would learn that she was back at her desk. This superb drama would be re-enacted time after time. She was quite unconscious that there was anything at all unusual about it.


Realizing there would come the day which would be her last, it seemed right that we of AA should privately present Sister with some tangible token that could, even a little, communicate to her the depth of our love. Remembering her insistence, in respect of the Akron plaque, that she would not really like any public attention, I simply sent word that I'd like to come to Cleveland for a visit, and casually added that should her health permit, we might take supper together in the company of a few of her stalwart AA friends and co-workers. Besides, it was her fiftieth year of service in her community.


On the appointed evening, we foregathered in one of the small dining rooms at Charity Hospital. Plainly delighted, Sister arrived. She was barely able to walk. Being old-timers all, the dinner hour was spent in telling tales of other days. For, her part, Sister regaled us with stories of St. Thomas and with cherished recollections of Anne and co-founder Dr. Bob. It was unforgettable.


Before Sister became too tired we addressed ourselves to our main project. From New York, I had brought an illuminated scroll. Its wording was in the form of a letter addressed by me to Sister, and it was written on behalf of our AA Fellowship worldwide. I stood up, read the scroll aloud, and then held the parchment for her to see. She was taken by complete surprise and could scarcely speak for a time. In a low voice she finally said, "Oh, but this is too much - this is too good for me."


Our richest reward of the evening was of course Ignatia's delight; a joy unbounded the moment we assured her that our gift need not be publicized; that if she wished to stow it away in her trunk we would quite understand.


It then seemed that this most memorable and moving evening was over. But there was to be another inspiring experience. Making light of her great fatigue, Sister insisted that we all go up to Rosary Hall, there to make a late round of the AA ward. This we did, wondering if any of us would ever again see her at work in the divine vocation to which she had given her all. For each of us this was the end of an epoch; I could think only of her poignant and oft-repeated saying, "Eternity is now."


 


The scroll given to Sister may now be seen at Rosary Hall. This is the inscription:


 


IN GRATITUDE


FOR SISTER MARY IGNATIA


ON THE OCCASION OF HER GOLDEN


JUBILEE


Dear Sister,


W e of Alcoholics Anonymous look upon you as the finest friend and the greatest spirit we may ever know.


We remember your tender ministrations to us in the days when AA was very young. Your partnership with Dr. Bob in that early time has created for us a spiritual heritage of incomparable worth.


In all the years since, we have watched you at the bedside of thousands. So watching, we have perceived ourselves to be the beneficiaries of that wondrous light which God has always sent through you to illumine our darkness. You have tirelessly tended our wounds; you have nourished us with your unique understanding and your matchless love. No greater gifts of Grace than these shall we ever have.


Speaking for AA members throughout the world, I say: "May God abundantly reward you according to your blessed works - now and forever!'


In devotion,


March 25,1964 Bill W.


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1726 Lash, William (Bill)
In Memory of Helen (1955) In Memory of Helen (1955) 3/31/2004 2:09:00 PM

November 1955 AA Grapevine


 


In Memory of Helen


 


JUST six years ago last month, a girl named Helen made a journey from Boston to New York. She came to this city to join the staff of AA's General Service Headquarters.


Her decision to leave Boston's Central Office, where she had for three years been much loved as its first Secretary, was to result in benefits beyond measure to worldwide AA. But for her, this decision proved to be a fateful one.


Helen died in my home at Bedford Hills September 28, 1955. Her death was the climax of a long period of severe exhaustion and of many difficulties. She had come to stay with Lois and me to recuperate for the fresh start about which she had eagerly written to friends only one day before the unexpected attack of illness that did, in a matter of minutes, carry her away from us.


All the countless AAs who knew Helen will surely declare her to have been one of the finest servants that we have ever had. Speaking for ourselves here at Headquarters we feel that a void has been left in our lives of the kind which can never quite be filled. With Lois and me, Helen always stood high among our most devoted and treasured friends.


One more unforgettable thing: When the crucial decisions were made in 1951 that a Conference of elected AAs should be called to meet yearly with our Trustees, that this Conference should ultimately become the guide and conscience for our entire Society, and the successor to its founders, a most difficult problem had to be faced. Anxiously we asked ourselves, "How can this be done?"


Because of her keen sense of AA feeling and reaction, her inborn flair for sound diplomacy, Helen was assigned to help me in the preparation of the Third Legacy. This document, on which the future of AA so much depends, and of which so many of us recently became conscious at St. Louis, will ever bear the stamp of Helen's great perception and devotion.


"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."


 


Bill W.


 


Helen B. was buried in Rockland, Massachusetts on Saturday, October 1, following a Solemn High Mass of Requiem at the Church of the Holy Family in Rockland.


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1727 Lash, William (Bill)
Traditions Question Traditions Question 3/31/2004 2:35:00 PM

Does anyone know why the Twelve Traditions are in the order that they are in? Thanks!


 


                                                                Just Love,


                                                                Barefoot Bill


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1728 Cloydg
Re: Traditions Question Traditions Question 4/1/2004 1:25:00 AM



A.A. Traditions

During its first decade, A.A. as a fellowship accumulated substantial experience which indicated that certain group attitudes and principles were particularly valuable in assuring survival of the informal structure of the Fellowship. In 1946, in the Fellowship’s international journal, the A.A. Grapevine, these principles were reduced to writing by the founders and early members as the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. They were accepted and endorsed by the membership as a whole at the International Convention of A.A., at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1950.


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1729 NMOlson@aol.com
Harper Brothers Harper Brothers 4/1/2004 1:36:00 AM

The following is a compilation of earlier posts which have been deleted:


 


Nancy


 


From:  John Wikelius <nov85_gr@snowhill.com>
Date:  Sun Oct 13, 2002  11:32 pm
Subject:  Harper Brothers


 


In 1953 Harper printed the 12&12 because I believe Bill did not want the controversy associated with getting this book into prints like he went through on the Big Book.  If this is true, why did Harper do two more printings since AA published their first printing in 1953 as well.  The AA Publishing was established at that time.  Was it a contract issue per chance?


 


In 1957 Harper printed the first printing of AA Comes of Age along with AA.  Does anyone know why they got involved in printing this book. 


 


The answer may be obvious to some but I cannot find any reference to this information to date.


 


From:  "tcumming" <tcumming@airmail.net>
Date:  Mon Oct 14, 2002  10:05 pm
Subject:  re: Harper Brothers


Pass It On has nice fairly succinct history of the writing of our "Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions" on pages 352-56. Far too much for this lazy alcoholic to type out the whole thing for you. But on pages 355-6 you can read:



"'Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions' was first published in two editions -- one for distribution through AA groups, and the second edition, costing 50 cents more ($2.75 instead of $2.25), intended for sale in commercial bookstores and distributed through Harper & Brothers (by arrangement with AA's old friend Eugene Exman). AA made a contract with Harper that enabled the Fellowship to retain full control and
copyright ownership of both editions."

AA Comes of Age, page 219, also has a bit on this:


"One more noteworthy event marked this period of quiet; the publication of AA's 'Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions' in 1953. This small volume is strictly a textbook which explains AA's twenty-four basic principles and their application, in detail and with great care.



"Helped by my editorial team, Betty L. and Tom P., I had begun work on this project in early 1952. The final draft was widely circulated among our friends of medicine and religion and also among many old-time AA's. This rigorous checkup was topped off by none other than Jack Alexander, who had added the final editorial touch. For group distribution we published the volume ourselves, and our old friend Gene Exman of Harper offered favorable terms for distribution through his firm to bookstores."

I'll also include a quote from earlier in AA Comes of Age, pertaining to the publishing of the Big Book, which may well have had an influence on this volume as well. On page 158:
"... But Henry was not discouraged. He still had ideas. 'Bill,' he said, 'you and I know this book is going to sell. And Harper thinks it will sell. But these New York drunks just do not believe it. Some take it as a joke, and the rest talk high and holy about mixing a spiritual enterprise with money and promotion. ... .'"

Other references pertaining to Harpers include:
AA Comes of Age - 153, 156, 158, 219
Language of the Heart - 143-4
Pass It On - 193, 194, 195, 356
(BTW, it is not too difficult to look these up in the index at the back of the books)

That's the official word. Now with salt shaker in hand:
What I think I remember being told about Harper publishing the 'Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions' is that it was set up that way to soothe some of those complaints. Where GSO would publish and distribute copies for the fellowship, and Harpers would handle it for those outside the fellowship. That way GSO wouldn't have to engage in promoting the book to bookstores, and money from outside sources
wouldn't get mixed in with our self support funds (Traditions 11 & 7).

It seemed like a good plan, but in reality it just didn't work.

At first Harpers did OK with the book, but eventually some bookstores and institutions outside AA found they could get the book cheaper through GSO than through their regular channels. Printing, distribution and publicity costs may also have gone up. In the end, what I remember being told, Harper's sales were down, costs were up and they knew they had to raise the price to make a profit. They also
knew that GSO wasn't going to raise the price. They made the simple business decision that it wasn't profitable to publish the book anymore and they stopped. And so ended our experiment with split distribution, 'within the fellowship' vs. outside the fellowship.






 


0 -1 0 0
1730 Jim Blair
Periodical Literature Periodical Literature 4/1/2004 9:45:00 AM

I have aquired 13 more articles and with post them on successive days


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 


 




Alcoholics take steps to cure themselves…..



Alcoholics Anonymous



From The Illinois Medical Journal, Oak Park, Ill.





A new approach to the problem of chronic alcoholism has been taken by the alcoholics themselves. Calling their group "Alcoholics Anonymous," they first realized the utter hopelessness of their condition and then set out to do something about it.



All of them had been in sanitoria, and many of them had been confined to institutions for the insane. They recognized their addiction to be a disease which medicines alone were unable to cure. They also realized that by themselves they were unable to break the hold alcohol had upon them.



The chronic alcoholic has lost his friends by his drinking. He feels that no one-not even his family-understands his plight. He is truly alone-and finds solace and companionship only in his bottle. Most chronic alcoholics really want to stop. When they openly admit this, and are willing to let others help, then the members of Alcoholics Anonymous can enter the picture.



The chronic alcoholic in talking to a member of the group finds a person who understands" – who has had the same experiences.



The new member is introduced to the fellowship of the group. "Business" gatherings are held weekly to talk over common problems. "Social" gatherings are held several other nights of the week where companionship is sincere and bridge, poker and conversation abound.



There are no officers in the group. Each member has equal standing. There are no fees, dues, nor expenses whatsoever.



When a new member has become thoroughly acquainted with the meaning of his new life he should go out himself and work with other unfortunates.



This giving of himself, without thought of remuneration gives him strength to combat his own desire.



It is indeed a miracle when a person who for years has been more or less constantly under the influence of alcohol and in whom his friends have lost all confidence, will sit up all night with a "drunk" and at stated intervals administer a small amount of liquor in accordance with a doctor’s order without taking a drop himself.



Full co-operation is given to the medical profession. In dealing with patients who are ill the family physician is called in who assumes charge until the patient has recovered.



About six years ago "Alcoholics Anonymous" was started in New York. The group gained headway slowly, but now there are about a thousand members with groups in nearly every large city.



The first member in Chicago joined the group on Akron, Ohio, about three years ago. One year ago Chicago had eight members; now there are 150 and the group grows daily.



Of alcoholics who are contacted about 80% join "Alcoholics Anonymous." Of the first 40 to join the Chicago group 23 have not tasted alcohol since being admitted. This covers a period of time of from six months to three years. Eleven have had one "slip." Three have had from two to four "slips" and three have been lost.



A new member may feel so well physically and so strong mentally that in his new condition he may believe he can drink moderately as many people do. In trying to do so he re-discovers his complete lack of power to combat this disease. After such an experience he usually remains firmly attached to his new found heaven.



It seems unbelievable, when one considers that in people who were "hopeless alcoholics" 58% have attained complete sobriety and 92% practical sobriety.



Broken minds and bodies that have been a weight on society have been rehabilitated. Broken homes have been restored-innocent families no longer suffer.



A movement that is strong enough to make rehabilitated men, some of high position and great wealth, give themselves to help restore other broken lives without thought of remuneration, is indeed a powerful thing, worthy of our attention.



Source: Current Digest, April 1941







 



 



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1731 Lash, William (Bill)
Fr. Ed Dowling Obituary (1960) Fr. Ed Dowling Obituary (1960) 4/1/2004 1:30:00 PM

AA Grapevine June 1960


 


To Father Ed - Godspeed!


By Bill W.


 


EARLY Sunday morning, April 3rd, Father Edward Dowling died peacefully in his sleep. The place was Memphis, Tennessee. Cheerfully unmindful of his ebbing health, he had been visiting one of his "Cana” groups (a favorite undertaking which he founded, Father Ed's Cana groups are dedicated, under Church auspices, to the solution of difficult family problems through the practice o f AA's Twelve Steps.). Never was there a gayer evening than in the hours before. He would have wanted to take his leave of us in just that way. This was one of the most gentle souls and finest friends we AAs may ever know. He left a heritage of inspiration and grace which will be with us always.


Father Ed had planned to be at our 1960 Long Beach Convention, come July. This prospect, now to be unfulfilled, brings a moving recollection of his appearance at AA's St. Louis International Convention of 1955. It seems altogether fitting that I repeat the introduction I then made of him, together with an account of the unforgettable impression he left upon me the very first time we met - a fragment of history recorded years afterward in AA Comes o f Age:


"With deep joy, I present to you Father Ed Dowling who lives at the Jesuit House right here in St. Louis. Father Ed, knowing whence comes his strength, is definitely allergic to praise. Nonetheless I think that certain facts about him should be put into our record - facts that new generations of AAs ought to hear, read, and know.


"Father Ed helped to start the first AA group in this town; he was the first clergyman of his faith to note the surprising resemblance between the spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuit order) and the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. As a result, he was quick to write in 1940 the first Catholic recommendation of AA of which we have any knowledge.


"Since then, his labor for us has been a prodigy. Not only have his recommendations been heard worldwide, but he has himself worked at AA and for AA. Travels, AA meetings, wise and tender counsel - these works of his can be measured in thousands of miles and thousands of hours.


"In my entire acquaintance, our friend Father Ed is the only one from whom I have never heard a resentful word and of whom I have never heard a single criticism. In my own life he has been a friend, adviser, great example, and the source of more inspiration than I can say.


"Father Ed is made of the stuff of the saints.


*   *   *


“A great cheer of welcome greeted Father Ed Dowling as, indifferent to his grievous lameness, he made his way to the lectern. Father Dowling of the Jesuit order in St. Louis is intimately known to AAs for a thousand miles and more around. Many in the Convention audience remembered with gratitude his ministry to their spiritual needs. St. Louis old-timers recalled how he helped start their group; it had turned out to be largely Protestant, but this fazed him not a bit. Some of us could remember his first piece about us in The Queen’s Work, the Sodality's magazine. He had been the first to note how closely in principle AA's Twelve Steps paralleled a part of the Exercises of St. Ignatius, a basic spiritual discipline of the Jesuit order. He had boldly written in effect to a11 alcoholics and especially to those of his own faith: 'Folks, AA is good. Come and get it.' And this they certainly had done. His first written words were the beginning of a wonderfully benign influence in favor of our fellowship, the total of which no one will ever be able to compute.


"Father Ed's talk to us at the Convention that Sunday morning flashed with humor and deep insight. As he spoke, the memory of his first appearance in my own life came back to me as fresh as though it were yesterday: One wintry night in 1940 in AA's Old Twenty-Fourth Street Club in New York I had gone to bed at about ten o'clock with a severe dose of self-pity and my imaginary ulcer. Lois was out somewhere. Hail and sleet beat on the tin roof over my head; it was a wild night. The Club was deserted except for old Tom, the retired fireman, that diamond in the rough lately salvaged from Rockland asylum. The front doorbell clanged, and a moment later Toni pushed open my bedroom door. 'Some bum,' said he, 'from St. Louis is down there and wants to see you.' 'Oh, Lord!' I said. 'Not another one! And at this time of night. Oh, well, bring him up.'


"I heard labored steps on the stairs. Then, balanced precariously on his cane, he came into the room, carrying a battered black hat that was shapeless as a cabbage leaf and plastered with sleet. He lowered himself into my solitary chair, and when he opened his overcoat I saw his clerical collar. He brushed back a shock of white hair and looked at me through the most remarkable pair of eyes I have ever seen. We talked about a lot of things, and my spirits kept on rising, and presently I began to realize that this man radiated a grace that filled the room with a sense of presence. I felt this with great intensity; it was a moving and mysterious experience. In years since I have seen much of this great friend, and whether I was in joy or in pain he always brought to me the same sense of grace and the presence of God. My case is no exception. Many who meet Father Ed experience this touch of the eternal. It is no wonder that he, was able to fill all of us there in the Kiel Auditorium with his inimitable spirit on that wonderful Sunday morning."


Everyone then present will remember this famous quote from Father Ed's St. Louis talk:


"There is a negative approach from agnosticism. This was the approach of Peter the Apostle. 'Lord, to whom shall we go'?" doubt if there is anybody in this hall who really ever sought sobriety. I think we were trying to get away from drunkenness. I don't think we should despise the negative. I have a feeling that if I ever find myself in Heaven, it will be from backing away from Hell." (End)


 


Just before his death, Father Ed had completed the article he wrote for AA TODAY, the twenty-fifth anniversary commemorative book prepared by the Grapevine. The article will appear in the book under the title, "AA's Steps for the Underprivileged Non-AA." - THE EDITORS.


0 -1 0 0
1732 Carter Elliott
Eddie Shill Eddie Shill 4/2/2004 8:01:00 AM




When I joined the Fellowship in 1969 (in North Jersey), one of my first assigned service tasks was that of chauffeuring an old timer to meetings.  A stroke had rendered Eddie Shill physically disabled but his mind was razor sharp.  His personal recollections of those folks we now call pioneers makes me wonder if his name pops up in any of our archive data bases.


 


Thanks,


 


Carter Elliott


Do you Yahoo!?


Yahoo! Small Business $15K Web Design Giveaway - Enter today
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1735 Jim Blair
Periodixal Lit., Your Life, November 1944 Periodixal Lit., Your Life, November 1944 4/2/2004 9:42:00 AM



Miracles at Work for Alcoholics





What is the secret of the success of Alcoholics Anonymous? A famous writer gives you his answer





By Arthur Hopkins



In Tagore’s Memories he tells of walking along a country road with his mother when he was a small child. They passed a grotesque drunkard. The boy laughed. The mother said: "Don’t laugh. He, too, is on his way to God."



I had read and heard of the work being done by Alcoholics Anonymous. I vaguely knew that the helpful service was being offered by former victims of alcohol who had found a way out.



Marcie, a friend of mine, told me of having lunch with a bank executive friend and was startled when the strong man told him, with no concealment, that he had been an alcoholic and had come close to wrecking his career. He was one of the workers in the Alcoholics Anonymous movement and asked Marcie if he would like to attend a monthly meeting of the workers. Marcie, having a lively interest in human service, accepted and later asked me if I would like to go along. Thus I shall always be indebted to Marcie for a strongly revealing and rewarding experience.



The prologue had a pleasant but conventional aspect. The host had us to dinner at the Yale Club. He was an athletic, beaming man who showed no marks of gutter bruises. He spoke of three ladies joining us for the evening. Presently they came-three gracious and cultured women, probably in the thirties. It looked more and more like a patronizing expedition of the Upper Ten to the Lower Five.



Soon the conversation revealed that the ladies, also free of telltale ravages, had likewise taken a pounding from John Barleycorn, but had managed to come up for the final count with John left sprawling and were now prepared to step back into the ring to second anyone who was ready to give John a battle.



Before the entrée the slumming aspect had disappeared. Here were the privileged seeking the privilege of helping their own, and their own were alcoholics.



More revealing than their willingness to discuss openly with strangers their alcoholic ordeal, was the complete absence of any desire to conceal what others would think shameful. This unusual freedom from the personal, I was later to learn at the meeting, is one of the key causes of the great success of the movement.



On entering the hall where there were several hundred men and women, mostly graduate alcoholics and aspirants, I looked for the derelicts and defeated and found none. There was gaiety and loud laughter, which had suffered nothing from the absence of libations.





A little man, with considerable dental jubilation, called the meeting to order. After a sullen, disapproving phonograph was prodded into action the assembly sang the national anthem.



The little man then unwrapped his gleaming teeth from the package of his lips and asked how many had remained abstinent for three months or longer. A number raised their hands. The teeth gleamed.



Then the little man told his experience in his life’s battle with alcohol. There was nothing sad, self-pitying or exhibitionist about his recital. It was rather the report of a persistent and hopeless experiment.



The one thing that he always knew after painful recovery from a devastating bout was that when he got in shape he would know how to handle liquor like sane people. Liquor wasn’t going to lick him. No, sir! His cure began on the day he was taken to the AA house and became convinced that he was an alcoholic and the seductive opponent would best him every time. It was a fight in which there was no compromise, a fight where the decision was already in. He was talked to by people who knew his whole experience. They had lived the scenario from beginning to end.



The little man, with AA guidance, gained his freedom and then became a worker himself. He found he gained new strength by helping others.



"I never need to take an inventory of myself," he said. "I see myself in every one I try to help. There it is looking right at me, all my liabilities and my assets. I was never a religious man. Of course, I believed in God, I suppose, but I never thought he could do anything about me. Now I know that I never could have come through without Him. I had to have God’s help. I kept asking for it and got it." Shade of Tagore’s mother.



There was a good deal of laughter through the little man’s talk. It was the comedy of identical experience. His hearers understood perfectly.



He then introduced a real estate operator from New Rochelle. Like the little man he opened his talk by saying: "I am an alcoholic." It was a recital of years of trying hopelessly to become a moderate drinker. There was obviously an element of pride involved. He could never admit to himself that alcohol was his master. As soon as he got into shape he would show alcohol how it ought to be handled. He must be a good businessman because he managed to survive for years with banks continuing to trust him.



"Finally," he said, "I wasn’t invited to leave my home as some here have put it. I was kicked out. I put a cot in the back of the office. I used to lie down about twelve at night so I could wake up before three and knock over a couple before the bar closed. Then I was awake at eight to be in time for the bar opening up.





He tried cures. He tried will power, but always ended up seeing himself in the bar mirror. He found AA. He knew for the first time that he was an alcoholic and could never beat it. It was the end of alcohol or the end of him. New challenge and new pride were awakened.



"Of course when I got off the stuff I began looking at myself to try and find out what was wrong with me. It must have been more than appetite. Then I discovered one of my troubles was intolerance. I couldn’t bear to be crossed by anyone. If, in putting through a deal, I thought someone was trying to pull something I got mad and told them to go to hell, and, of course, I was so mad I had to have a drink and then I was off again-once for five weeks in a hospital with a fractured hip.



"One time, after I had been going fine, I blew up again, tore up the contract, threw it on the floor. There was four hundred bucks in it for me, but to hell with it. Nobody was going to make a monkey out of me. I stormed out of the place, but this time I didn’t go to a bar. I thought it over and wondered how I could straighten myself out.



I always hated to apologize to anyone-knowing I’d been wrong only made it harder. But finally I had to get square with myself, so I called the fellow up. I said to him: ‘I’m sorry about that blow-up. I’m an alcoholic and sometimes I lose my head. I don’t want you to think I care about the money. That’s not why I’m calling you. I want you to forgive me.’ The man said: ‘You know, I’ve been trying to figure out why I blew up. Come on over and let’s straighten it out.’ We did. My fee wasn’t due for thirty days, but he gave me the check then. In the old days it would have ended that way. I’d have tied the bag on good.



"Soon after AA got hold of me my wife came to me and said: ‘Why don’t you come home?’ I said: ‘Do you mean it?’ ‘Of course, come on.’



"When I got home, I said: ‘I don’t suppose I could get a drink around here.’ My wife said: ‘Sure.’ She brought me a bottle of beer. The next day I had a bottle of beer. That night I slept for the first time without drugs. I slept because I was at peace.



"They tell us around here we can call it anything we like-God, Divine Power or-well, I call it God. I never believed much, but I know that without God I’m nothing. That time I blew up I knew I wasn’t going to drink because I had asked God that morning to help me." Shade of Tagore’s mother.





I am an alcoholic," began the next speaker. He looked like a football coach. He was a merchant from New Jersey. His drinking began young and industriously in the West. As a traveling man he found it convenient to have supplies constantly at hand by carrying three or four spares in his bag.



His experience was much as the others-releases and relapses, treatments, sanitariums, lost money, lost business, lost home, lost family.



"In one hospital there was a bottle of rubbing alcohol in the closet. I drank it to within one inch of the bottom, then turned on my face. When the nurse came in I asked her to rub my back as I was in such pain. She found the nearly empty bottle, refilled it and rubbed my back. When she had gone I helped myself from the refill. Later she told me I had been drinking refuse. Doctors and nurses had washed their hands in it. Wounds had been cleaned with it.



"After AA I got my family back and am in business again. I then tried helping others, but I didn’t have much success until I finally realized that I was looking down on them. Now I know that I am only made strong by what I can give others. I need them as much as they need me. Like the others I wasn't religious, but I now say boldly and reverently it was God and only God. Without Him I was helpless." Shade of Tagore’s mother.





For a time, the writer was disturbed by people who had obviously been freed saying emphatically: "I am an alcoholic." It seemed a false and harmful affirmation.



Thinking back on what the traveling man had said about his feeling of superiority once he had progressed beyond the other victims, it occurred to me that a professed alcoholic might easily be more helpful than one who thinks of himself only as a former alcoholic. Maybe it is better to stay right in the lodge with the others with never a suggestion of superiority. Perhaps negative affirmations for the purpose of closer brotherhood have a positive effect with no injury to the affirmer.



And now the little chairman got up to introduce a product of his own helpfulness.



One day a telephone call had come from the AA office for him to go to a Long Island address from which a call for help had come. It was for a woman, so the little man made sure first that her husband was at home. He called and the good work was begun. And now, with pride, he presented her.



She was Mary, a darling woman in her late twenties, with shining face, scoffing eyes and the wide, warm smile of Erin. She looked at the microphone and laughed. "When I used to see one of those things I thought I was Lily Pons."



So Mary was off to a great howl. She told the list of almost identical steps of disintegration. She had two children. Her husband had helped her try everything-sessions with priests, promises, pledges, treatments.



"But I hid bottles all over the house, even on the roof. Once when I needed it real bad the bottle on the roof was gone. Maybe some poor devil needed it worse than I did, but it was hard to see it that way at the time.



"I went to Sanitarium, too." The place had been mentioned twice before and each time had raised a great laugh. "And, of course, like the others I tried a psychiatrist. After he talked for some time I asked him if he drank. He said that if he took two drinks it made him sick to his stomach. He couldn’t take two drinks without losing his stomach and there he was trying to tell me how to handle liquor."





Perhaps Mary there touched one of the cardinal reasons for the success of the AA movement. Their applicants soon learn that they have nothing to explain. They are talking to experts who have gone all the way down the road, have lain in every pitfall and tried every false exit. They cannot be shocked or deceived.



"Finally," said Mary, "I landed in that lovely resort on the river, Bellevue, and what I saw there in two days left nothing but the bottle.



"At last my husband gave up. He said there was nothing for us but a divorce. When we were in court someone asked us why we didn’t try AA. So we telephoned, and the little man came. They asked me to the house on Twenty-fourth Street. I went and as soon as I was in the place I knew this was it. They talked to me some about God. I was raised in a convent school and that wasn’t hard to take. Well, it worked. There’s nothing more to say except that five weeks ago I had a baby." There were applause and cheers for Mary.



"When I came out of the ether the doctor said to me: ‘Never lose your sense of humor, Mary. When you were still under you said: "What’s all this talk about no atheists in foxholes? I guess you won’t find any in delivery rooms, either."’ From what my husband tells me you won’t find any in the corridor."



Mary was a joyful benediction. She filled the place with a sense of blessing. I doubt if there were any atheists there either.



The words of a sainted woman spoken nearly a hundred years ago had come true. Drunkards, with the help of fellow victims, had found God. Whatever the pain to themselves and their loved ones the journey was worth it. Perhaps in no other way would they have found God. It seemed to one present that God was nearer in that hall than He had ever been before, that the God long accepted by the head had moved into the heart and only there can God’s banners truly fly.



Source: Your Life, November 1944









 



 



 



0 -1 0 0
1736 Arthur
RE: Traditions Question Traditions Question 4/2/2004 1:12:00 PM



Bill



 



The data below is historical info on the

development of the Traditions.



I could not find anything to spell out

what went into determining their sequence.



 



Arthur



 



The history of

the Twelve Traditions constructed from the following sources





12&12           Twelve

Steps and Twelve Traditions



AACOA           AA

Comes of Age





BW-FH          Bill

W by Francis Hartigan



BW-RT          Bill

W by Robert Thompson



DBGO           Dr

Bob and the Good Oldtimers



GSC              General

Service Conference (report)



GTBT            Grateful

to Have Been There by Nell Wing



Gv                Grapevine



LOH              The

Language of the Heart



PIO               Pass

It On





SM               AA

Service Manual and Twelve Concepts for World Service





1942: Correspondence from groups gave

early signals of a need to develop guidelines to help with group problems that

occurred repeatedly. Basic ideas for the Twelve Traditions emerged from this

correspondence and the principles defined in the Foreword to the 1st

Ed. Big Book. (AACOA 187, 192-193, 198, 204, PIO 305-306, LOH 154)



1945: Apr, Earl T, pioneer member and

founder of AA in Chicago (whose story is He

Sold Himself Short
), suggested that Bill codify the Traditions and write essays on them for the Gv. Initially, the Twelve Traditions were qualified as Twelve Points to Assure Our Future. (AACOA 22, 203, GTBT 54-55, 77, SM S8, PIO 306, LOH 20-24)



Aug, the Gv

carried Bill’s first Traditions article (titled Modesty One Plank for Good Public Relations)

setting the ground work for his campaign for the Traditions. The July Gv had an

article by member C.H.K. of Lansing, MI about the Washingtonians. Bill used

this article to begin his essay commentaries.



1946: Apr, the Gv carried the article Twelve Suggested Points for AA Tradition. These would later be called the long form of the Traditions. (AACOA viii, 96,

203, LOH 20, 154, Gv)



1947: Jun, the AA Preamble first appeared in the Gv. It

was written by Tom Y, Grapevine’s first editor.



Aug, in his Gv

Traditions essay Last Seven Years Have Made AA

Self-Supporting
, Bill wrote “Two years ago the trustees set

aside, out of AA book funds, a sum which enabled my wife and me to pay off the

mortgage on our home and make some needed improvements. The Foundation also

granted Dr. Bob and me each a royalty of 10% on the book Alcoholics Anonymous,

our only income from AA sources. We are both very comfortable and deeply

grateful.”



Dec, the Gv

carried a notice that an important new 48 page pamphlet AA Traditions was sent to each group and

that enough copies were available for each member to have one free of charge.



1949: As plans for the 1st Int’l Convention were under way, Earl T suggested to Bill that the Twelve Suggested Points for AA Tradition

would benefit from revision and shortening. (AACOA says 1947). Bill, with Earl’s help, set out to develop the short form of the Traditions. (AACOA 213, GTBT 55,

77, PIO 334)



Nov, the short

form of the Twelve Traditions was first printed in the Gv. The entire issue was

dedicated to the Traditions in preparation for the forthcoming Cleveland

Convention. Two wording changes were subsequently made to the initial version:

“primary spiritual aim” was changed to “primary

purpose” in Tradition Six, and “principles above

personalities” was changed to “principles before

personalities” in Tradition Twelve. (LOH 96)



1950: Jul, AA’s 15th anniversary and 1st Int’l Convention at Cleveland, OH (est. 3,000 attendees). Registration was $1.50 per person. (AACOA 213,

BW-RT 308, PIO 338). The Twelve Traditions were adopted unanimously by the attendees by standing vote. (AACOA 43, LOH 121, PIO 338)



1953: Jun, the book Twelve

Steps and Twelve Traditions was published. Bill W. described the work as “This small volume is strictly a textbook which explains AA’s 24 basic

principles and their application, in detail and with great care.” Bill

was helped in its writing by Betty L and Tom P. Jack Alexander also helped with

editing. It was published in two editions: one for $2.25 for distribution

through AA groups, and a $2.75 edition distributed through Harper &

Brothers for sale in commercial bookstores. (AACOA ix, 219, PIO 354-356)



1955: AA’s 15th anniversary and 2nd Int’l Convention at St Louis, MO. On Jul 3, by resolution, Bill W and its old-timers turned over the

stewardship of the AA society to the movement. The Conference became the

Guardian of the Traditions and voice of the group conscience of the entire

Fellowship. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the Convention by

acclamation and by the GSC by formal resolution and vote. (AACOA ix, 47-48,

223-228)



1957: the GSC passed an advisory action

that “No change in Article 12 of the [Conference] Charter or in AA Tradition

or in the Twelve Steps of AA may be made with less than the written consent of

three-quarters of the AA groups.” (SM S87)



1958: the GSC passed an advisory action

“the GSC recognize the original use of the word ‘honest’

before ‘desire to stop drinking’ and its deletion from the

Traditions as part of the evolution of the AA movement. Any change to be left

to the discretion of AA Publishing, Inc.” This advisory action is worded

in a manner that can give the erroneous impression of a change to the wording

of Tradition Three. It actually involved removing the word “honest”

from “honest desire to stop drinking” in the AA Preamble in the Gv. It also led to changing the wording of

the Preamble from “AA has no dues or fees” to “There are no

dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own

contributions.” The changes were approved by the General Service Board in

the summer of 1958 (www.aagrapevine.org also Best

of the Grapevine
, vol.1, 274-275)



Third Tradition Story (Two items that often are erroneously

intermingled)



1937: On the AA calendar of “year

two,” the spirit of Tradition Three emerged. A member asked to be

admitted who frankly described himself to the “oldest” member as

“the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than

alcoholism.” The “addiction” was “sex deviate.” (Note:

info provided by David S from an audiotape of Bill W at an open meeting of the

1968 GSC. See also the pamphlet The

Co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous
, P-53, pg 30). Guidance came form

Dr  Bob (the oldest member in Akron) asking, “What would the Master

do?” The member was admitted and plunged into 12th Step work.

(DBGO 240-241 12&12 141-142) Note: this story is often erroneously

intermingled with an incident that occurred eight years later in 1945 at the 41st

St clubhouse in NYC (described next).



1945: Bill W was called by Barry L (who

would later author Living Sober)

from the 41st St clubhouse. Bill persuaded the group to take in a

black man who was an ex-convict with bleach-blond hair, wearing women’s

clothing and makeup. The man also admitted to being a “dope fiend.”

When asked what to do about it, Bill posed the question, “did you say he

was a drunk?” When answered, “yes” Bill replied, “well

I think that’s all we can ask.” The man disappeared shortly after.

(BW-FH 8, PIO 317-318) Anecdotal accounts erroneously say that this individual

went on to become one of the best 12th Steppers in NY. This

story is often erroneously intermingled with that of a 1937 incident

(“year two” on the AA calendar) involving an Akron member that is

discussed in the Tradition Three essay in the 12&12 (pgs 141-142).



The Order of the Traditions



The order of

the Traditions was defined in April 1946 and I cannot find anything that influenced

the sequence in which they were written.



The April 1946

Grapevine article states:



Almost any A.A. can tell you what

our group problems are. Fundamentally they have to do with our relations, one

with the other, and with the world outside. They involve relations of the A.A.

to his group, the relation of his group to Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole, and

the place of Alcoholics Anonymous in that troubled sea called Modern Society,

where all of humankind must presently shipwreck or find haven. Terribly

relevant is the problem of our basic structure and our attitude toward those

ever pressing questions of leadership, money and authority. The future may well

depend on how we feel and act about things that are controversial and how we

regard our public relations. Our final destiny will surely hang upon what we

presently decide to do with these danger-fraught issues!



Now comes the crux of our

discussion. It is this: Have we yet acquired sufficient experience to state

clear-cut policies on these, our chief concerns? Can we now declare general

principles which could grow into vital traditions—traditions sustained in

the heart of each A.A. by his own deep conviction and by the common consent of

his fellows? That is the question. Though full answer to all our perplexities

may never be found, I'm sure we have come at last to a vantage point whence we

can discern the main outlines of a body of tradition; which, God willing, can

stand as an effective guard against all the ravages of time and circumstance.



Acting upon the persistent urge of

old A.A. friends, and upon the conviction that general agreement and consent

between our members is now possible, I shall venture to place in words these

suggestions for An

Alcoholics Anonymous Tradition of Relations
Twelve Points to Assure Our Future.



The

sequence of the Gv essays that Bill wrote do not follow the sequence of the

Traditions until December 1947 through November 1948 when he wrote an essay for

each Tradition in numerical sequence (later incorporated into the 12&12 and

AA Comes of Age).



His

essays from August 1945 to November 1947 were:



Modesty One

Plank for Good Public Relations - Aug 1945



“Rules”

Dangerous but Unity Vital - Sep 1945



The Book Is

Born - Oct 1945



A Tradition Born

of Our Anonymity - Jan 1946



Our Anonymity

Is Both Inspiration and Safety - Mar 1946



Twelve

Suggested Points for AA Tradition - Apr 1946



Safe Use of

Money - May 1946



Policy on Gift

Funds - Jun 1946



The Individual

in Relation to AA as a Group - Jul 1946



Who Is a Member

of Alcoholics Anonymous - Aug 1946



Will AA Ever

Have a Personal Government - Jan 1947



Dangers in

Linking AA to Other Projects - Mar 1947



Clubs in AA -

Apr 1947



Adequate

Hospitalization: One Great Need - May 1947



Lack of Money

Proved AA Boon - Jun 1947



Last Seven

Years Have Made AA Self-Supporting - Aug 1947



Traditions

Stressed in Memphis Talk - Oct 1947



Incorporations:

Their Use and Misuse - Nov 1947



The above

period of time was also when Bill was going through some of the worst of his

episodes of depression.



 













From: Lash, William

(Bill) [mailto:wlash@avaya.com]


Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004

1:35 PM


To:

AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


Subject: [AAHistoryLovers]

Traditions Question









Does anyone know why the Twelve Traditions are in the order

that they are in? Thanks!













                                                               

Just Love,







                                                               

Barefoot Bill













0 -1 0 0
1737 mlibby
Re: Alan Guiness/A Members Eye View of AA Alan Guiness/A Members Eye View of AA 4/3/2004 1:06:00 AM

His name was Allen McGuiness (deceased) and I believe he was from Southern California.  I love the pamphlet and have memorized a large chunk of it because it is, in my opinion, the most beautiful expression of what AA is that I have ever read.   I'll send you separately a 15 minute excerpt from the pamphlet that I recite daily on my way to work.


 


You can go to xa-speakers.org and search for "Allen" and you'll find a series of five talks he gave in Brentwood, California back in 1968 called "AA Workshop" or something to that effect.  Tremendous....very much in line with A Member's Eye View.


 


You can download those and learn a significant amount more about this man through his sharing...  He got sober in the early 1950's, went out shortly thereafter, but came back.    Thank God.


 


Mike




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


From: burt reynolds


To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


Sent: Friday, February 06, 2004 5:05 PM


Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Alan Guiness/A Members Eye View of AA





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


0 -1 0 0
1738 Lash, William (Bill)
Sam Shoemaker Obituary (1964) Sam Shoemaker Obituary (1964) 4/5/2004 8:08:00 AM

January 1964 AA Grapevine


 


In Memory of Dr. Sam


by Bill


 


ON Thursday, October 31, 1963 Dr. Sam Shoemaker, the great Episcopal clergyman and first friend of AA, passed from our sight and hearing. He was one of those few without whose ministration AA could never have been born in the first place - nor prospered since.


From his teaching, Dr. Bob and I absorbed most of the principles that were later embodied in the Twelve Steps of AA. Our ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harms done and working with others came straight from Sam. Therefore he gave to us the concrete knowledge of what we could do about our illness; he passed to us the spiritual keys by which so many of us have since been liberated.


We who in AA's early time were privileged to fall under the spell of his inspiration can never be the same again.


We shall bless Sam's memory forever.


0 -1 0 0
1739 NMOlson@aol.com
Significant April Dates in AA History - Revised Significant April Dates in AA History - Revised 4/6/2004 3:55:00 AM

April 1:


 


1939 - Alcoholics Anonymous AA's Big Book was published. 
1966 - Sister Ignatia died at the age of 77.  She worked with Dr. Bob in treating many early AA members at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron.
1984 - 12 Coconuts Group, Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, Hawaii, was founded.


April 3:


 


1941 - First Florida AA meeting was held.


 


April 4:


 


1960 - The Chicago Daily News reported that Fr. Edward Dowling, Jesuit Priest who helped start the first AA group in St. Louis, had died at age 62. 


 


April 7:


 


1941 - Ruth Hock reported there were 1,500 letters asking for help, as a result of the Saturday Evening Post Article by Jack Alexander.


 


April 10:


 


1939 - The first ten copies of the Big Book arrived at the office Bill shared with Hank Parkhurst in Newark, New Jersey.  

April 11:


 


1938 - Alcoholic Foundation held its first meeting.
1939 - Marty Mann attended her first meeting a the home of Bill and Lois Wilson in Brooklyn.


1941 - Bill and Lois Wilson moved into their new home, Stepping Stones. 
 


April 12:


 


1942 - The Windsor Daily Star in Ontario, Canada, reported that over 400 AA's attended a testimonial dinner for Dr. Bob.


 


April 16:


 


1940 - A sober Rollie Helmsley caught the only opening day no-hitter in baseball history since 1909.
1973 - Dr. Jack Norris Chairman of the AA General Service Board, presented President Richard Nixon with the one-millionth copy of the Big Book at the White House.


 


April 17:


 


1941 - 2nd group in Los Angeles, the "Hole in the Ground Group" was formed.


 


April 19:


 


1940 - First AA group in Little Rock, Arkansas, was formed.
April 22:


 


1940 - Bill Wilson transferred his Works Publishing Stock to the Alcoholic Foundation.  The date on which Hank Parkhurst transferred his stock is uncertain.  See:  Yahoo! Groups : AAHistoryLovers Messages : Message 75 of 1732
April 23:


 


1940 - Dr. Bob wrote the Trustees to refuse Big Book royalties, but Bill Wilson insisted on them for Dr. Bob and Anne.


 


April 24:


 


1989 - Dr. Leonard Strong died.  He was Bill's brother-in-law and an AA Trustee.


 


April 25:


 


1951 - AA's first General Service Conference was held.


 


April 26:


 


1939 - Bill & Lois Wilson moved in with Hank Parkhurst after the bank foreclosed on 182 Clinton St.  This was the first of over 50 moves before they acquired Stepping Stones.


 


April 30:


 


1989 - The film "My Name is Bill W.," a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, was broadcast at 9 p.m. on ABC TV.


Other April events for which we have no specific dates:


 


1940 - The "Texas Preamble" used to open meetings in Texas, was written by Larry J. of Houston.  See:


Yahoo! Groups : AAHistoryLovers Messages : Message 841 of 1732


1940 - The first AA pamphlet was published, entitled simply: "AA."


1958 - The word "honest" was dropped from "an honest desire to top drinking," in the AA Preamble.


1960 - Bill Wilson refused to be on the cover of Time Magazine.


1988 - Cybil C., the first woman member in Los Angeles and archivist, died.




0 -1 0 0
1740 Jim Blair
Periodical Lit., REad, March 1945 Periodical Lit., REad, March 1945 4/7/2004 7:15:00 AM



Do You Drink Too Much?





A Professor of Psychology Tells Why PeopleDrink – and Offers Advice





By Peter J. Hampton





The moderate drinker avoids getting drunk. He does not seek intoxication. He uses alcoholic beverages because he likes their taste and enjoys their soothing effects. Occasionally he uses them also as a means of allaying irritation and assuaging minor pains. Alcohol is not a necessity for the moderate drinker. It constitutes only a small item in his budget.



More than half of the approximately 40,000,000 users of alcoholic beverages in the United States fall into this category. They can take it or leave it alone, for they have complete control over their drinking. This, more than anything else, distinguishes the moderate from the habitual or intemperate drinker.



The habitual drinker uses alcohol almost every day but in view of his health and tolerance for alcoholic beverages, he does not as a rule develop any alcoholic disease. He indulges in alcohol for the lift he gets from it. Alcohol breaks down his reserve and removes his inhibitions, and thus gives him a chance to work up enthusiasm for social activities and self-expression. Alcohol aids him, also, in covering up any neurotic faults he may have.



A credit manger for a retail store claims that drinking makes him a better social companion and at the same time gives him a feeling of importance. "when drinking," he says "I feel like ’a big shot’ and have no worries."



An inspector of machine parts puts it this way: "Because of my backward and timid nature, especially when I have to meet people, I take a few drinks to bolster me up. I feel as though the only time I can assert myself is when I am half drunk. I honestly believe that my being shy, timid, and having an inferiority complex is the main reason for my drinking."



Unlike many of the 7,000,000 habitual drinkers, this inspector of machine parts knows why he drinks. Knowing, he can help himself.



The neurotic drinker has to overcome his fear of people and things before he can regain control over alcohol. The pleadings and prayers of others have no effect on him. It is only when he shakes off his juvenile thinking and begins to realize that peace, contentment, relaxation and happiness come from within himself, and not from the inside of a beer glass, that he is on his way to recovery from the bondage of liquor.



The remaining 3,000,000 users of alcoholic beverages in the United States, grouped under intemperate drinkers, include the normal excessive drinkers, symptomatic drinkers, stupid drinkers and alcoholic addicts. Recklessness, exuberance and mistaken good fellowship are usually to blame for the overindulgence of excessive drinkers. Many are individuals of high alcoholic tolerance who could stop, but do not merely because there seems to be no reason to do so.



The symptomatic drinkers are those individuals whose excessive drinking is the result of a disturbed mental state. They may suffer from hysteria, neurasthenia, psychasthenia, schizophrenia, paranoia or manic depressive psychosis. Their drinking is only one of the many debilitating symptoms of their psychoneurotic or psy-chotic state.



Here is the story of a retail salesman who may be classified as a symptomatic drinker:



"As nearly as I can remember," the salesman told me, "I began to drink heavily in 1927. My average consumption of liquor per day then was two pints of hard stuff. In 1930, I had my first bout with delirium tremens and was hospitalized. When I got out, I resumed my drinking. During the next few years I was under a doctor’s care three or four times. In 1937 I married, more to escape the family and be able to drink in peace than anything else….



"The courts got tired of seeing me and I was probated and sent to a mental hospital. I stayed for thirty days and then got out on probation. Two months later I was back at the hospital. This time I was placed in the strong ward for incurables where I spent the next thirteen months. Thirty days after I was let out, I was drunk once more. My wife got fed up with me and divorced me.



"My trips to the hospital continued, sometimes for delirium tremens, sometimes for epileptic convulsions. Finally in September, 1943, I joined Alcoholics Anonymous. I had my last drink on October 3, 1943, and haven’t had the slightest urge to drink since."



Our friend, of course, is far from saved, even though he has joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has been sober for more than a year. A psychiatric examination shows that he has the symptomatology of paranoia, psychasthenia and schizophrenia, and, by his own admission, he has had epileptic convulsions. His drinking is therefore symptomatic and not causative, and unless the cause of his psychotic tendencies can be removed or ameliorated, he will at some future time relapse into inebriety.



Stupid drinkers are the feeble-minded individuals who drink because they cannot resist temptation and because they cannot rise to any higher form or recreation than the passive one of intoxication. These are the unfortunate individuals who, because of their low intelligence, cannot foresee the consequences of their actions.



Finally, the alcoholic addict is a person with an uncontrollable craving for alcohol. The outstanding criterion is the inability to break with the habit. Alcohol serves the purpose of creating an artificial social and personal adjustment.



A woman inspector at a watch-case factory tells this story: "At the time I started to be a heavy drinker, I had become very discouraged, not having a husband and a home of my own in which to rear my daughter. All the men I came in contact with were heavy drinkers and I drank with them. I thought at the time most men liked a woman who drank with them. I drank because my marriage had been a failure."



A bond dealer adds: "It was difficult to live with myself. I was not an upstanding citizen. I could not understand myself. I drank because of the threat of divorce and because I was losing custody of my baby son."



From a social point of view, only the 3,000,000 intemperate drinkers constitute a serious problem to society. The symptomatic drinkers and the stupid drinkers, when detected, are as a rule hospitalized in state institutions, with the result that society manages to keep them harmless. The normal excessive drinkers, although troublesome at times, usually contain themselves sufficiently to avoid being public hazards. The most pernicious and the most dangerous of intemperate drinkers are the alcoholic addicts.



Unable to control their drinking, they will go to almost any length to satisfy their craving for liquor. Although many of these people are likable and intelligent, they often become dangerous to themselves and to others. Their main difficulty lies in their absence of deep emotional responses, their inability to profit from experience, and their disregard of social mores. Between alcoholic sprees, they behave like perfectly normal people.



The inability of alcoholic addicts to profit from experience makes them especially liable to asocial and antisocial deeds. The following excerpts, taken from autobiographical sketches of alcoholic addicts in my files, illustrate the point.



A district manager for a business concern writes: "When I was in high school, I worked afternoons and Saturdays at a shoe store for $7 per week. Finding that having money in my pocket all the time added to my popularity, I soon began a system of petty thievery at the store."



A woman running a rooming house writes: "I gradually came to the point where drink was the first thing in my mind. I would lie, steal and deceive to get it. I became a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I treated my mother awful while under the influence of liquor, but would do anything for her when sober. The same thing with my daughter. I even thought of suicide to end the disgrace I was causing my mother and daughter."



Within the last ten years, a group of alcoholic addicts, known as Alcoholics Anonymous, have instituted a program of cure which has led many of these people back to sobriety. In a recent study of the personality structure of alcoholic addicts, I had an opportunity to question several hundred members of Alcoholics Anonymous as to why they became heavy drinkers.



Many of the reasons offered are good reasons, but not necessarily the real ones, for, like most other people, alcoholic addicts are past masters of the art of rationalization. However, the consistency found in the statements reveals a common trend which points to escape as perhaps the most fundamental reason for excessive drinking.



The alcoholic addict may try to escape from himself. Drink makes him gay, lively and happy. He forgets about his emotional immaturity, his feelings of insecurity. He becomes noisy, even boisterous and defiant. He feels like "a big shot" with no worries.



Instead of trying to escape from himself, the alcohol addict may try to escape from other people. He may drink to escape the nagging of his wife, the pettiness of domestic and business relations. Disappointed in his social and financial ambitions, he may drink to escape all social responsibilities. He may become depressed and morose and hides from people.



A manager for a construction company says: "I was unable to secure the financial and social position I desired. I had an adolescent viewpoint-refused to accept things as they were. I tried to find continued escape through alcohol and hide my frustration."



Finally, the alcoholic addict may try to escape from the environment in which he finds himself. He may use alcohol as a means to overcome the fears, worries and anxieties brought on by the real world or as a straight defense mechanism to substitute phantasy for all reality.



An advertising copywriter explains: "I used my first wife’s desertion as an excuse to drink. But I believe it was an effort to escape from all reality. I drank because of boredom, frustration, anger and the weather."



A stenographer says: "I sought to find temporary escape from reality. Mother’s illness, which steadily grew worse until she was finally committed to a mental hospital for senile dementia, made my life drab and miserable. I drank to escape from it all."



These then are the reasons why people drink. There are many ways of finding relief from "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Alcohol is one of the worst.



Source: Read, March, 1945



0 -1 0 0
1742 billyk3
grapevine 6/1950 grapevine 6/1950 4/8/2004 4:22:00 PM


does anyone know for sure who wrote this?

it was probably the 'editors' but if there is a name,

i'd like to know it. what a trbute to a wonderful lady!!

thanks

billyk













June 1950 AA Grapevine



ANNE SMITH

(March 21st, 1881 - June 1st, 1949)



"She greeted strangers, and listened for their names."



SOMEHOW we believe Dr. Bob's beloved Anne would prefer this simple

tribute beyond all others. It was written by one who knew her well.

It came from the bottom of a grateful heart which sensed that

extravagant language and trumpeting phrases would serve only to

obscure a life that had deep meaning.

It is doubtful if now, only one year after her passing, that, the

true significance of Anne Smith's life can be realized. Certainly it

cannot yet be written, for the warmth of her love, and charm of her

personality and the strength of her humility are still upon those of

us who knew her.

For Anne Smith was far more than a gracious lady. She was one of four

people, chosen by a Higher Destiny, to perform a service to mankind.

How great this contribution is, only time and an intelligence beyond

man's can determine. With Dr. Bob, Lois and Bill, Anne Smith stepped

into history, not as a heroine but as one willing to accept God's

will and ready to do what needed to be done.

Her kitchen was the battleground and, while Anne poured the black

coffee, a battle was fought there which has led to your salvation and

mine. It was she, perhaps, who first understood the miracle of what

passed between Bill and Dr. Bob. And, in the years to follow, it was

she who knew with divine certainty that what had happened in her home

would happen in other homes again, again, and yet again.

For Anne, understood the simplicity of faith. Perhaps that's why God

chose her for us. Perhaps that's why Anne never once thought of

herself as a 'woman of destiny' but went quietly about her job.

Perhaps that's why, when she said to a grief-torn wife, "Come in, my

dear, you're with friends now - friends who understand" that fear and

loneliness vanished. Perhaps that's why Anne always sat in the rear

of the meetings, so she could see the newcomers as they came, timid

and doubtful...and make them welcome.

There's a plaque on the wall of Akron's St. Thomas hospital dedicated

to Anne. It's a fine memorial. But there's a finer one lying

alongside the typewriter as this is being written - letters to Dr.

Bob from men and women who knew and loved her well. Each tries to put

in words what is felt in many hearts. They fail - and that's the

tribute beyond price. For real love, divine love, escapes even the

poet's pen.

So, in the simplest way we know, and speaking for every AA

everywhere, let's just say 'Thanks, Dr. Bob, for sharing her with

us.' We know that she's in a Higher Group now, sitting well to the

back, with an eye out for newcomers, greeting the strangers and

listening for their names!


0 -1 0 0
1747 NMOlson@aol.com
Traditions applied to GSO? Compiled. Traditions applied to GSO? Compiled. 4/10/2004 1:54:00 AM

The following have been deleted from the list and combined here:


 


From:  kentedavis@aol.com
Date:  Thu Apr 8, 2004  11:43 am
Subject:  [AAHistoryLovers] Traditions applied to GSO?

I have been trying to find a reference that indicates if GSO is to be guided by the traditions or were the traditions written to apply only to groups. So far I have not been successful in my efforts. Specifically, I would like to find out if any one knows of a reference of GSO being self supporting. I would really like to figure out if there has been any conference action that indicates that GSO is to follow the tradition.


 


Kent D


Concord, CA


 




From:  Jim Blair <jblair@videotron.ca>
Date:  Thu Apr 8, 2004  11:43 pm
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Traditions applied to GSO?

In an article in the November, 1952 AA Grapevine Bill W. stated that A.A.'s Twelve Traditions-


 


Define my relation to the group.


Define my group's relation to AA as a whole.


Define our relations with the public.


Give us a set of attitudes towards money, property, power and prestige.


 


I think this will answer your question.


Jim


 


From:  Jeff Your <jyour@jcu.edu>
Date:  Fri Apr 9, 2004  9:11 am
Subject:  Re: GSO and Traditions


Kent,

Take a look at Concepts III and XII:

[III] To insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of AA. -- the
Conference, the General Service Board and its service corporations, staffs,
committees, and executives -- with a traditional "Right of Decision."

[XII] The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition, taking care
that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient
operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place
none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that
it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by
substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an
incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government, and
that, like the Society it serves, it will always remain democratic in
thought and action.

Now, I don't know how much you want to split hairs, but these two Concepts, as
well as references within the other Concepts clearly indicate to me that all
AA entities recognize and follow the Traditions. At the same time, the
Traditions are not legal documents and do not provide the necessary language in
corporate circles to allow AA to live within the real world and conduct the
business of AA outside the rooms of AA. So, there are other documents and
by-laws which govern the day to day workings of the Trustees, when acting on
behalf of our Fellowship.


From:  "Arthur" <ArtSheehan@msn.com>
Date:  Fri Apr 9, 2004  12:32 pm
Subject:  RE: [AAHistoryLovers] Traditions applied to GSO?



The Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts are spiritual principles that are supposed to be practiced by AA as whole (i.e. members, groups, districts, central offices, areas, regions, GSOs, Conferences, etc., etc.). That’s how we pass on the Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service throughout the Fellowship.



Following is an abbreviated timeline of the evolution of the GSO in NY (which in its early days was called the “NY Headquarters” office):



Aug 11, 1938: the Alcoholic Foundation was established as a charitable trust with a board of 5 Trustees (in Language of the Heart 61, Bill W said it started with 7 Trustees). Non-alcoholic board members were Willard (Dick) Richardson (who proposed the Foundation) Frank Amos and John E F Wood. One of the early challenges facing Wood was legally defining the difference between an alcoholic and non-alcoholic. (Language of the Heart, pg 61) Alcoholic board members were Dr Bob and NY member William (Bill) Ruddell (whose Big Book story is A Business Man’s Recovery). Bill R was the first Board Chairman but returned to drinking and resigned in Feb 1939. The board composition began a long (and later troublesome) tradition of making non-alcoholics a majority. An advisory committee to the board was also established. It consisted of A LeRoy Chipman, Bill W, Albert L Scott and Hank P. (AA Comes of Age 151-152, Lois Remembers 197, Not God 66, 307, 330, Pass It On 188 -- Not God 330 end note states that the AA Comes of Age date and Amos’ date of Aug 5 are in error and gives the date as Spring 1938, Language of the Heart 142 and AA Comes of Age 15 say Spring of 1938).



Feb 8, 1940: John D Rockefeller Jr. held a dinner for AA at the Union League Club. 75 out of 400 invited guests attended. Nelson Rockefeller hosted the dinner in the absence of his ill father. The dinner produced much favorable publicity for AA. It also raised $2,200 ($29,000 today) from the attendees ($1,000 from Rockefeller). Rockefeller and the dinner guests continued to provide about $3,000 a year ($34,000 today) up to 1945 when they were asked to stop contributing. The Alcoholic Foundation received the donations and income from sales of the Big Book. (Lois Remembers 197, AA Comes of Age viii, 182-187, Not God 92-94, Pass It On 232-235).



Mar 1, 1941: Jack Alexander's Saturday Evening Post article was published. The publicity caused 1941 membership to jump from around 2,000 to 8,000. Bill and two other members’ pictures appeared full-face in the article. (AA Comes of Age viii, 35-36, 190-191, Language of the Heart 149-150, Pass It On 245-247) The article, led to over 6,000 appeals for help to be mailed to Box 658 for the NY Office to handle. (Service Manual S7, Pass It On 249) The NY office asked groups to donate $1 ($12 today) per member for support of the office. This began the practice of financing the NY office operations from group donations. (AA Comes of Age 112, 192, Language of the Heart 149, SM S7)



1945: The Alcoholic Foundation wrote to John D Rockefeller, Jr. and the 1940 dinner guests that AA no longer needed their financial help. Big Book royalties could look after Dr Bob and Bill W and Group contributions could pay the general office expenses. This ended all “outside contributions” to AA. (AA Comes of Age 203-204)



1950: AA members were asked to donate $2 per year ($15 today) to support the NY office. (Language of the Heart 159)



1958 General Service Conference Advisory Action: The suggestion of the name change from General Service Hq. to General Service Office be adopted. (M-39)



The earliest written reference would likely be the long form of Tradition Nine which states the following:



Each A.A. group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is the best. The small group may elect its Secretary, the large group its Rotating Committee, and the groups of a large Metropolitan area their Central or Intergroup Committee, which often employs a full-time Secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board are, in effect, our A.A. General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our A.A. Tradition and the receivers of voluntary A.A. contributions by which we maintain our A.A. General Service Office at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our over-all public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principle newspaper, "The A.A. Grapevine." All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in A.A. are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.



Page S69 in the 2003-2004 Service Manual states the following:



FINANCIAL SUPPORT: According to the Seventh Tradition, every group should be self-supporting, and the Tradition includes such pooled services as those provided by G.S.O. A.A. World Services has two sources of revenue: group contributions and income from the publishing operation. For reporting purposes, activities at G.S.O. are lumped into two categories: service and publishing expense. In the past, A.A. groups have contributed enough to cover about two-thirds of the service expenses (services provided to all registered groups, whether or not they make a contribution). The rest was covered by publishing income, which was in excess of that required for publishing expenses.



In 1986, the General Service Board asked for a special effort to inform the Fellowship of the dangers inherent in this situation; particularly that a substantial fraction of the publishing income now comes from outside sources. The effort was begun to inform the groups about this growing problem. The challenge was to make G.S.0.S service work self-supporting through contributions of the membership and to sell literature at cost to everyone.



The number and extent of group services have increased over the years, but the real cost of service per group has decreased consistently owing to the growth of the Fellowship. However, all groups do not contribute to the support of the service work. About one-half do not. This places a heavier burden on the groups that do. More important than the dollar amount of contributions, however, is group participation in this part of A.A. service work, as in the other activities that make groups members of the A.A. community. Making regular contributions to world services ties a group to A.A. worldwide.



Many groups have found it convenient to set up a regular contribution plan whereby they send in a predetermined percentage each month or each quarter. For part of this – or to make additions to it - they use various methods. The Birthday Plan is one: On their A.A. birthdays each year, group members make their personal contributions (through group treasuries) on the basis of $1.00 for each year of sobriety. G.S.O. will send special Birthday Plan envelopes on request.



Many groups have their own ways of getting their regular or special contributions together. In Memoriam contributions honor the memory of a deceased member. Of course contributions of this type, like those of any other, can be accepted from A.A. members only. In keeping with the Traditions, G.S.O. accepts contributions only from A.A. members, groups or other A.A. entities. Furthermore, the General Service Conference limits individual contributions to $2,000 per year. This limit also applies to a one-time bequest of $2,000 in the wills of deceased members.



Arthur



PS Last year around 46% of the groups in the US/Canada contributed to the GSO.



From:  "Dean @ e-AA" <dean@e-aa.org>
Date:  Fri Apr 9, 2004  5:46 pm
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Traditions applied to GSO?
GSO belongs to AA World Services, Inc., one of the two operating
corporations "owned" by the General Service Board of Trustees. (The other
corporation being the AA Grapevine, Inc.)

The Steps, Traditions (short form), and Concepts all appear in the GSB
bylaws. Here are some snippets from the bylaws:

"The General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc., now has but one
primary purpose, that of serving the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous."

"The General Service Board in its deliberations and decisions shall be
guided by the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. ..."

"The General Service Board also shall be guided by the spirit of the Twelve
Concepts of Alcoholics Anonymous. ..."

The GSB bylaws are included in the "AA Service Manual."

-- Dean C.
Monterey Peninsula, California





 





 


0 -1 0 0
1748 Sheila
Reference to "As Bill Sees It" Reference to "As Bill Sees It" 4/14/2004 6:59:00 AM


In the Book "As Bill Sees It" there are several referenced footnotes

to "A.A. Today". However, I cannot find any info or links to this

literature. Can anyone help me out?

Thanks

Sheila


0 -1 0 0
1749 Arthur Sheehan
Re: Reference to "As Bill Sees It" Reference to "As Bill Sees It" 4/17/2004 6:35:00 PM





Hi Sheila


 


"AA Today" was the first book published by the AA Grapevine. It was unveiled in 1960 at the 25th Anniversary Convention in Long Beach, CA. The book was an album styled volume containing original pictures and articles by Bill W, AA pioneers and early surviving AA friends.


 


Similar (but smaller sized) books were published in the anniversary years of 1985 ("50 Years With Gratitude") and 1995 ("AA Everywhere - Anywhere").


 


Arthur




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


From: Sheila


To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 6:59 AM


Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Reference to "As Bill Sees It"



In the Book "As Bill Sees It" there are several referenced footnotes
to "A.A. Today". However, I cannot find any info or links to this
literature. Can anyone help me out?
Thanks
Sheila





0 -1 0 0
1750 Arthur Sheehan
New Update of "A Narrative Timeline of AA History" New Update of "A Narrative Timeline of AA History" 4/17/2004 8:48:00 PM



Hi AA History Lovers

For those of you who are familiar with Archie M's "Timelines in AA History (1864 - present)" - his basic research data was used some time ago as a starting point to develop an expanded chronology with added narrative and reference sources. It is titled "A Narrative Timeline of AA History" and will be sent, in PDF file format, to any member of AA History Lovers who replies to this message. If you desire a copy of the timeline, please be careful to reply only to ArtSheehan@msn.com and not to AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com. Otherwise Nancy O, our moderator, will get burdened with the replies.


The timeline document is marked "confidential" and is intended for AA members and serious AA history researchers only. It contains last names and this version should not be publicly posted. There is also a "public" version of the document that can be posted on a web site and be distributed to the general public (last names have been reduced to last initial).

Arthur


0 -1 0 0
1756 Jaime Maliachi
Jack Alexander Article pictures. Jack Alexander Article pictures. 4/19/2004 4:12:00 PM



Bill W. Told us in A.A. comes

of Age, that in the Jack Alexander's Saturday Evening Post article, some

pictures were required by editors.



Somebody

knows who were the A. A. members that gave the face in that event?



Some body

has any image about?





Jaime F. Maliachi Pedrote.



servidor y amigo.



57 85 68 00   57 85 68

26



fax 57 85 68 44







0 -1 0 0
1760 Lash, William (Bill)
Trip to the Lois Wilson Picnic, Leaving from Berkeley Heights NJ, 6/5/04 Trip to the Lois Wilson Picnic, Leaving from Berkeley Heights NJ, 6/5/04 4/20/2004 7:43:00 AM



JOIN US FOR A TRIP TO THE ANNUAL 2004 LOIS WILSON PICNIC


 


At Stepping Stones


(where Bill & Lois Wilson lived from 1941 until they died)


62 Oak Road, Bedford Hills (Katonah), NY


Stepping Stones contact number is 914-232-7368.


 


Saturday, June 5, 2004


 


House & Wit's End is open for viewing at 12noon.


AA (someone who knew Bill Wilson), Alanon, & Alateen speakers meeting begins at 2pm.


Only coffee, soda, & dessert will be served at the house so we will be stopping for lunch on the way.


 


We are meeting at:


The Union Village United Methodist Church


1130 Mountain Ave., Berkeley Heights, NJ




We will be leaving from Berkeley Heights at EXACTLY 10:45am.


For more info or to call the day of the trip please contact Barefoot Bill at 732-939-5907 (cell).






Directions to The Union Village United Methodist Church (10:45am start):


Traveling Rt. 22 West take Watchung Ave - VA Hospital Exit.  Proceed straight on Watchung Ave. to traffic circle.  Make first right then immediate left toward Berkeley Heights.  The Union Village Methodist Church is approximately 3 miles on Hillcrest Rd. before blinking red light.




Traveling Rt. 22 East take Watchung Ave. exit, make the first right and go over Rt. 22 to the red light. Turn left onto Watchung Ave. and follow directions above.




Traveling Rt. 78 West take Exit 40 and make a right a yield sign.  Proceed straight on Hillcrest Rd. for approximately 1 1/2 miles.  Church is on the right before blinking light.




Traveling Rt. 78 East take Exit 40 and make a left at stop sign.  Proceed straight on Hillcrest Rd. for approximately 1 1/2 miles.  Church is on the right before blinking light.




  0 -1 0 0
1761 NMOlson@aol.com
Dr. Isadore Tuerk - Compiled Dr. Isadore Tuerk - Compiled 4/21/2004 4:11:00 AM

This is a compilation of posts about Isadore Tuerk:


 


The Alcoholics Anonymous West Baltimore Group began in 1947.  It's website mentions a Dr. Tuerk.


 


"One of the members approached Dr. Tuerk, who was in charge of the state mental institutions and was given permission to bring alcoholic patients to the meetings in Charlie C's home."


 


You can read more about the West Baltimore Group at this website: 


 


Alcoholics Anonymous West Baltimore Group, alcoholism, recovery, aa, AA, health


 


Last week I attended the NCADD-Maryland Tuerk Conference where I spoke on AA history.  The following was in the first page of the program book for the conference:


 


REMEMBERING DR. TUERK


 


Isadore Tuerk, a psychiatrist who served as Maryland's Mental Health Commissioner for eight years, died of heart failure at the age of 81 on February 26, 1989.  A native of Baltimore, Dr. Tuerk oversaw the state's mental hospital system from 1960 to 1968 before leaving public service, and continued practicing psychiatry and teaching at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins medical schools.


 


Dr. Tuerk grew up in the neighborhood around the School of Medicine, and first came into contract with the school as a child when he delivered clothes made by his tailor father.  A 1924 graduate of Baltimore City College, Dr. Tuerk completed undergraduate studies at Hopkins and received his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1934.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a division psychiatrist in the European Theatre, was awarded a bronze star and was discharged in 1946 as a lieutenant colonel.


 


As a public servant, he fought for more dollars for the state's mental hospitals and pioneered group therapy techniques for alcoholics.  All were welcome to the Saturday morning sessions he launched at Spring Grove State mental Hospital where he became a staff psychiatrist in 1939 and superintendent 10 years later.  Even street people sometimes showed up for the sessions.  His son Jonathan recollected that Dr. Tuerk only once threw someone out of the sessions - a man who came in with a bottle of whiskey.  "It was the only time he ever kicked somebody out of the group and years later he kept asking whether that was the right thing to do."


 


Dr. Tuerk was an honorary member of the Maryland Society on Alcoholism Treatment and was named its Man of the Year in 1957.  Tuerk House, an alcoholic treatment center, formerly a University of Maryland drug and alcohol abuse treatment center, was named in his honor in 1970.  He retired in 1986.


 


A loyal member of the Medical Alumni Association, Dr. Tuerk received the Gold Key and Honor Award in 1981.  He was a faithful caller in the Annual Phonothon, spreading his enthusiasm to the other participants.  In 1987, he received the Medical Alumni Association Service Award for having contributed the most time making Phonothon calls.  In November 1988, he was disappointed that his health prevented him from taking part.  He was loved and admired by all those whose lives he touched.  The Alumni office staff remembers him as soft spoken, warm and caring.


 


Nancy Olson


Moderator


__________


 




From: kyyank@aol.com
Date: Tue Apr 20, 2004 8:44am
Subject: Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Dr. Isadore Tuerk






I came across some information that may be useful in the research of my book "SILKWORTH- The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks" that is listed in the back section.  Note particularly the collection of articles from that period of time.


Dale Mitchel



 



 



0 -1 0 0
1763 NMOlson@aol.com
LSD use by AA members in AA History. - Compiled LSD use by AA members in AA History. - Compiled 4/21/2004 4:07:00 AM

From:  WCompWdsUnl@aol.com
Date:  Tue Apr 20, 2004  7:52 am
Subject:  LSD use by AA members in AA History.





Dear AA History Lovers:


 


In "Pass It On," Bill Wilson's historical documentation of the actual history of the AA movement, from it's inception, Bill Wilson records an entire chapter, Chapter 23; Anything that helps Alcoholics...Bill experiments with LSD but eventually ceases when controversy stirs within AA.  (This chapter describes how the pioneers of AA, used LSD, to wean or taper, chronic alcoholics to sobriety.)  This is a phenomena similar to the modern day recovery of heroin addicts, using methadone.  (Pages 368 - 378.)


 


Can anyone provide further information related to the history of the use of LSD by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, with Alcoholic's, in AA?


 


Larry W.


Atlanta, GA


 






From: "Alex H." <odat@utj.org>
Date: Tue Apr 20, 2004 9:13am
Subject: Re: [AAHistoryLovers] LSD use by AA members in AA History.



I suggest studying the context of the time in which these events occurred .... LSD initially was looked upon as a beneficial drug. I am not sure how much was known at the time of its potential for abuse. That is what I mean by finding out about the context of the
time. How did normal folks look at LSD at the time?

Alex


From Arthur S:












Hi Larry



First off the book Pass It On is a biography not an autobiography – it’s about Bill W not by Bill W. The primary author of Pass It On is Mel B who is also a member of AAHistoryLovers.



The functional comparison to methadone and heroin is a bit of a stretch. The intent of the LSD experiments was to induce DTs. If anything, it would likely fall into the class of "aversion therapy." Also, there is no linkage of Dr Bob to LSD in Pass It On. There were postings in February on the topic under the subject of "Humphrey Osmond." The response I sent in follows:



------ Feb response ------



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 Wing’s 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



Cheers



Arthur S



 



From Jared Lobdell:  

The idea that Chapter 23 of PIO shows the use of LSD to "taper off" alcoholics from alcohol in a mode of operations "simular" to methadone for heroin users does not tally with the chapter or with anything I know about Bill's use of LSD (or, indeed, with the present uses of methadone).  The fact that methadone is a maintenance rather than a tapering-off program is not relevant here, but the apparent inaccuracy on LSD is.  It is true that LSD was considered by some as a possible amethystine in the earlier days of its development, but it is clear from Chapter 23 (and the account in the not-now-Conference-approved book by Thomsen) that what intrigued Bill was the possibility of tapping the chemical component of classical mystical experiences otherwise occurring through prayer, fasting, meditation, etc (see esp. p. 375) -- in order to aid in spiritual sobriety (through ego-deflation etc.).  Bill's general rule seems to have been that spiritual aids (including LSD) might be used, but anything that would turn AAs away from the spiritual path (valium = alcohol in a pill, for example) should not.  (Of course, improved physical condition could also be sought, through Niacin etc.) -- Jared Lobdell  



0 -1 0 0
1764 Arthur
Jack Alexander Article Picture Jack Alexander Article Picture 4/22/2004 8:55:00 AM







Saturday Evening Post Inside Spread - March 1, 1941



Bill’s

and others’ pictures appeared full-face in the Saturday Evening Post article.

(See Pass It On page 247) from left to right are:



Horace C

(partial view), Helen P, Tom M, Tom B, Ruth Hock, Bill W, Dick S, Ray W, Lois

W, Gordon M and Bob F.



The

photo caption was “A typical club house discussion group.”



Arthur





----- Original Message

-----



From: Jaime Maliachi



To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com



Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 4:12 PM



Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Jack Alexander Article pictures.





Bill

W.  Told us in A.A. comes of Age, that in the Jack Alexander's Saturday Evening Post article, some

pictures were required by editors.



Somebody

knows who were the A. A. members that gave the face in that event?



Some

body has any image about?





Jaime

F. Maliachi Pedrote.



servidory

amigo.



57 85

68 00 57 85 68 26



fax

57 85 68 44











  0 -1 0 0
1766 Cloydg
Re: LSD use by AA members in AA History. - Compiled LSD use by AA members in AA History. - Compiled 4/22/2004 12:33:00 PM 

I found this short article in relation to questions being asked about Bill W.'s LSD experience.  It is short, concise and I believe it states his over-all-thoughts.  I found it on the Jeeves Answer Brouser by asking: Bill Wilson, LSD Therapy.  I too believe we AA's should remember, that at that time LSD(d-lysergic acid diethylamide) was invented; circa 1938.  Many clinical uses were being experimented with to discover cures for many aliments, depression being one of them.  I am hopeful we all keep this in perspective!


 













NOTE:


The following text is a transcription of Grinspoon & Bakalar's introduction to the history and use of psychedelics in the field of psychotherapy, originally published in Current Psychiatric Therapies in 1981 (20:275-283). Lester Grinspoon is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University, and James Bakalar is a Lecturer in Law in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. One error in reference numbering and one in spelling (a typo) were corrected.





Ron Koster
October, 1996





Lester Grinspoon, M.D.
James B. Bakalar






The Psychedelic Drug Therapies


Between 1950 and the mid-1960s there were more than a thousand clinical papers (discussing 40,000 patients), several dozen books, and six international conferences on psychedelic drug therapy. Almost all publication and most therapeutic practice in this field have now come to an end, however, as much because of legal and financial obstacles as because of loss of interest.
There were two main sources of therapeutic involvement. One of these was the belief of some experimental subjects that, after taking a psychedelic drug, they were less depressed, anxious, guilty, and angry and more self-accepting, tolerant, deeply religious, and sensually alert.1 The other main interest arose from the possibility that therapeutic use could be made of the powerful psychedelic experiences of regression, abreaction, intense transference, and symbolic drama in psychodynamic psychotherapy.
As a result, two polar forms of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) therapy emerged: one emphasized the mystical or conversion experience and its aftereffects; the other concentrated on exploring the labyrinth of the unconscious in the manner of psychoanalysis. Psychedelic therapy, as the first of these was called, involved the use of a large dose of LSD (200 µg or more) in a single session and was thought to be helpful in reforming alcoholics and criminals, as well as in improving the lives of normal people. The second type, psycholytic (literally, mind-loosening) therapy, required relatively small doses (usually not more than 150 µg) and several or even many sessions; it was used mainly for neurotic and psychosomatic disorders.2,3
In the psycholytic procedure, patients may be hospitalized or not; they may be asked to concentrate on interpretation of the drug-induced visions, on symbolic psychodrama, on regression with the psychotherapist as a parent surrogate, or on discharge of tension in physical activity. Props such as eyeshades, photographs, and objects with symbolic significance are often used. Music often plays an important part. The theoretical basis of this kind of psychotherapy is usually some form of psychoanalysis. If birth experiences are seen as true relivings of the traumatic event, Rank's ideas may be introduced; if archetypal visions are regarded as genuine manifestations of the collective unconscious, the interpretations will be Jungian.
An advantage of psychedelic drugs in exploring the unconscious is that a fragment of the adult ego usually keeps watch through all the fantasy adventures. Patients remain intellectually alert and remember their experiences vividly. They also become acutely aware of ego defenses such as projection, denial, and displacement as they catch themselves in the act of creating them. Transference can also be greatly intensified.
Psycholytic therapy has been recommended to speed up psychoanalysis and psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy, especially for people with excessively strict superegos and a lack of self-esteem. It has also been used to overcome the resistance of severe chronic neurotics with defenses so rigid that they would otherwise be inaccessible to treatment.
In practice, many combinations, variations, a special applications with some of the features of both psycholytic and psychedelic therapy have evolved. Stanislav Grof regards the form of treatment he developed in Czechoslovakia as a bridge between psycholytic and psychedelic therapy. The unconscious material brought into consciousness by LSD is said to incorporate the most significant events in the patient's emotional life and permit a systematic exploration of personality along Freudian lines. This is followed by reliving the birth trauma and then passage into the realm of archetypes and mystical or transpersonal experience.4
The Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo has pioneered the use of psychedelic drugs that do not produce the same degree of perceptual and emotional disturbance as LSD. Harmaline and ibogaine, which he calls fantasy enhancers, permit the use of guided fantasy techniques borrowed from Gestalt therapy to explore unconscious conflicts. The "feeling enhancers," 3,4 methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and the 3-methoxy-4,5 compound (MDMA), give a heightened capacity for introspection and intimacy along with a temporary freedom from anxiety and depression.5




NEUROTIC DISORDERS

One woman described her experience with psycholytic therapy this way:6


I found that in addition to being, consciously, a loving mother and a respectable citizen, I was also, unconsciously, a murderess, a pervert, a cannibal, a sadist, and a masochist. In the wake of these dreadful discoveries, I lost my fear of dentists, the clicking in my neck and throat, the arm tensions, and my dislike of clocks ticking in the bedroom. I also achieved transcendent sexual fulfillment. . . .
At the end of nine sessions, over a period of nine weeks, I was cured of my hitherto incurable frigidity. And at the end of 5 months, I felt that I had been completely reconstituted as a human being. I have continued to feel that way ever since.

These passages were written 3 years after a 5-month period during which she took LSD 23 times. Before that, she had had 4 years of psychoanalysis, but it was only after taking LSD that she became fully convinced of the value of Freud's theories.
Psycholytic therapy has also been reported to be successful in treating chronic migraine headaches:7


A 22-year-old woman who had suffered from migraine for 11 years went through nine LSD sessions. She relived trips to the dentist, her fear when she was given anesthesia for a tonsillectomy, and her desolation at being abandoned in a hospital when she was 11 years old. The migraine disappeared; 3 years later she and her husband wrote that she has felt less tense, more at peace with herself, and more mature; the migraine never returned.

Psychedelic drugs can also be used as a treatment for more ordinary forms of neurotic depression and anxiety and to resolve sexual problems.8, 9
Individual case histories, however impressive, can always be questioned; placebo effects, spontaneous recovery, and the therapist's and the patient's biases in judging improvement must be considered. Not many studies satisfy stringent methodological conditions; the most serious deficiencies are absence of controls and inadequate follow-up. In the case of LSD there is the special difficulty that a double blind study is impossible, since the effects of the drug are unmistakable. No form of psychotherapy for neurotics has ever been able to justify itself under stringent controls, and LSD therapy is no exception.10, 11 Most psychiatrists who have done LSD therapy with neurotics would, however, probably regard all the recorded controlled experiments as far too brief and superficial to provide a genuine test, especially where so much may depend on the quality of the therapeutic relationship.
For LSD therapy, as in psychoanalysis, psychiatrists tend to favor neurotics with hight intelligence, a genuine wish to recover, a strong ego, and stable, even if crippling, symptoms. Beyond that, little is clear. Should the emphasis be on expression of repressed feelings, or working through a transference attachment to the psychiatrist, or elsewhere? What should the psychiatrist do during the drug session? How much therapy is necessary in the intervals between LSD treatments? The fact that there are no general answers to these questions reflects the complexity of psychedelic drug effects; for the same reason a dose and diagnosis cannot be specified in the manner of chemotherapy.




ALCOHOLISM

Assuming that a single overwhelming experience can sometimes change the self-destructive drinking habits of a lifetime, can psychedelic drugs consistently produce such an experience?
There is no doubt that LSD often produces powerful immediate effects on alcoholics; the question is whether these can be reliably translated into enduring change. Early studies reported dazzling success: about 50% of sever chronic alcoholics treated with a single high dose of LSD recovered and were sober a year or two later.12, 13
Unfortunately, as the results of more careful research began to come in, the picture changed. All the early studies had insufficient controls, and most lacked objective measures of change, adequate follow-up, and other safeguards.14 When patients were randomly assigned to drug and control groups, it proved impossible to demonstrate any advantage for LSD. Even the most enthusiastic advocates of LSD have not been able to produce consistently promising results.15
Ludwig et al. at the Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin undertook an elaborate and methodologically adequate study of psychedelic therapy for alcoholics. The 195 patients were randomly divided into four treatment groups. All had 30 days of milieu therapy; three groups had in addition, LSD alone, LSD with psychotherapy, or LSD with psychotherapy and hypnosis. The results in all four groups were the same after 3, 6, 9 and 12 months; about 75% improved on measures of employment, legal adjustment, and drinking habits.16
It would be wrong to conclude that a psychedelic experience can never be a turning point in the life of an alcoholic. Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, said that his LSD trip resembled the sudden religious illumination that changed his life. Unfortunately, psychedelic experiences have the same weaknesses as religious conversions. Their authenticity and emotional power are not guarantees against backsliding when the same frustrations, limitations, and emotional distress have to be faced in everyday life. When the revelation does seem to have lasting effects, it might always have been merely a symptom of readiness to change rather than a cause.
Analogous are the religious ceremonies of the Native American Church, in which regular use of high doses of mescaline in the form of peyote is regarded as, among other things, part of a treatment for alcoholism. Obviously peyote is no panacea; otherwise, alcoholism would not be the major health problem of Native Americans. Nevertheless, Native Americans themselves and outside researchers believe that those who participate in the peyote ritual are more likely to be abstinent.17 Peyote sustains the ritual and religious principles of the community of believers, and these sometimes confirm and support an individual's commitment to give up alcohol.




DYING

In a letter to Humphry Osmond, Aldous Huxley recounted a mescaline trip during which he came to the conclusion that, "I didn't think I should mind dying; for dying must be like this passage from the known [constituted by lifelong habits of subjectobject existence] to the unknown cosmic fact [p.306]"18 When Huxley was dying, he asked his wife to give him 100 µg LSD, the drug he had portrayed in his last novel as the liberating moksha medicine. After that he looked at her with an expression of love and joy but spoke little except to say, when she gave him a second injection of LSD, and shortly before he died, "Light and free, forward and up." Laura Huxley, in the memoirs of her husband writes: "Now is his way of dying to remain for use, and only for us, a relief and a consolation, or should others also benefit from it? Aren't we all nobly born and entitled to nobly dying? [p. 308]."18
There is a new concern today about dying, in full consciousness of its significance as a part of life. As we look for ways to change the pattern, so common in chronic illness, of constantly increasing pain, anxiety, and depression, the emphasis shifts away from impersonal prolongation of physiological life toward a concept of dying as a psychiatric crisis, or even, in older language, a religious crisis. The purpose of giving psychedelic drugs to the dying might be stated as reconciliation: with one's past, family, and human limitations. Granted a new vision of the universe and their place in it, the dying learn that there is no need to cling desperately to the self.
Beginning in 1965, the experiment of providing a psychedelic experience for the dying was pursued at the Spring Grove State Hospital in Maryland, and later at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Institute. Walter N. Pahnke, the director of the cancer project from 1967 until his accidental death in 1971, was a doctor of divinity as well as a psychiatrist, and he first reported on his work in 1969. Seventeen dying patients received LSD after appropriate therapeutic preparation; on-third improved "dramatically," one-third improved "moderately," and one-third were unchanged by the criteria of reduced tension, depression, pain, and fear of death.19 The results of later experiments using LSD and dipropyltryptamine have been similar.20 These studies lacked control groups, and there is no sure way to separate the effects of the drug from those of the special therapeutic arrangements that were part of the treatment.




COMPLICATIONS AND DANGERS

The main danger in psychedelic drug therapy is the same in any deep-probing psychotherapy: if the unconscious material that comes up can be neither accepted and integrated nor totally repressed, symptoms may become worse, and even psychosis or suicide is possible. The potential for harm has, however, been exaggerated, for two reasons. First, much irrational fear and hostility is left over from the cultural wars of the 1960s. Second, and more generally, we tend to misconceive drugs as something utterly different from and almost by definition more dangerous than other ways of changing mental processes. Actually, the dangers in work with LSD do not seem obviously greater than in comparable forms of therapy aimed at emotional insight.
The most serious danger is suicide, and there are several reports of suicide attempts or actual suicide among patients in psychedelic drug therapy. But many people who have worked with psychedelic drugs consider them more likely to prevent suicide than to cause it. H Clark and R Funkhouser asked about this in a questionnaire distributed to 302 professionals who had done psychedelic drug research and to 2230 randomly chosen members of the American Psychiatric Association and American Medical Association. Of the 127 answering in the first group, none reported any suicides caused by psychedelic drugs, and 18 thought they had prevented suicide in one or more patients; of the 490 responding in other groups, one reported a suicide and seven believed suicidal tendencies had been checked.21
All available surveys agree that therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is not particularly dangerous. In 1960, Sidney Cohen made 62 inquiries to psychiatrist and received 44 replies covering 5000 patients and experimental subjects, all of whom had taken LSD or mescalinea total of 25,000 drug sessions. The rate of prolonged psychosis (48 hours or more) was 1.8 per 1000 in patients and 0.8 per 1000 in experimental subjects; the suicide rate was 0.4 per 1000 in patients during and after therapy, and zero in experimental subjects.22 Other studies have confirmed Cohen's conclusion that psychedelic drugs are relatively safe when used experimentally or therapeutically.
All these studies have serious limitations. Many psychiatrists may have minimized the dangers out of therapeutic enthusiasm and reluctance to admit mistakes; a few may have exaggerated them under the influence of bad publicity; long-term risks may have been underestimated if follow-up was inadequate. The problem is the absence of a basis for comparison between these patients and others with similar symptoms who were not treated with psychedelic drugs or not treated at all. However, psychedelic drugs were used for more than 15 years by hundreds of competent psychiatrist, who considered them reasonably safe as therapeutic agents, and no one has effectively challenged this opinion.




CONCLUSION

When a new kind of therapy is introduced, especially a new psychoactive drug, events follow a common pattern. At the beginning, there is spectacular success, enormous enthusiasm, and a conviction that it is the answer to a wide variety of psychiatric problems. Then the shortcomings of the early work become clear: insufficient follow-up, absence of controls, inadequate methods of measuring change. More careful studies prove disappointing, and the early anecdotes and case histories begin to seem less impressive. Later, psychiatrists fail to obtain the same results as their pioneering predecessor. As Sir William Osler said, "We should use new remedies quickly, while they are still efficacious."
The rise and decline of LSD, however, took an unusual course. In 1960, 10 years after it was introduced into psychiatry, its therapeutic prospects were still considered fair and the dangers slight. Then the debate received an infusion of irrational passion from the psychedelic crusaders and their enemies. The revolutionary proclamations and religious fervor of the nonmedical advocates of LSD began to evoke hostile incredulity rather than mere natural skepticism about the extravagant therapeutic claims backed mainly by intense subjective experiences. Twenty years after its introduction it was a pariah drug, scorned by the medical establishment and banned by the law. In rejecting the notion that psychedelic drugs are a panacea, we have chosen to treat them as entirely worthless and extraordinarily dangerous. Perhaps the time has come to find an intermediate position.
If therapeutic research becomes possible again, it might be good to begin with the dying, since in this case only short-term effects have to be considered. Psychedelic drugs might also be used to get past blocks in ordinary psychotherapy: to help patients decide whether they want to go through the sometimes painful process of psychotherapy, or to help a psychiatrist to decide whether a patient can benefit from the kind of insight that psychotherapy provides. In addition, MDA, harmaline, ketamine, and other psychedelic drugs with unique effects still need to be evaluated.
Psychedelic drug therapy apparently still goes on unofficially. People would not continue to practice it under difficult conditions unless they believed they were accomplishing something. Many regard it as an experience worth having, some as a first step toward change, and a few as a turning point in their lives. It would simplify matters if we would be sure that they were deceiving themselves, but we do not know enough about what works in psychotherapy to say anything like that. No panacea will be discovered any more than in psychoanalysis or religious epiphanies. Nevertheless, the field obviously has potential that is not being allowed to reveal itself.




REFERENCES

1. McGlothin W, Cohen S, McGlothlin MS: Long lasting effects of LSD on normals. J Psychedelic Drugs 3:20-31, 1970

2. Sherwood JN, Stolaroff MJ, Harman WW: The psychedelic experiencea new concept in psychotherapy. J Neuropsychiatry 2:59-66, 1967

3. Savage C., Hughes MA, Mogar R: The effectiveness of psychedelic (LSD) therapy: A preliminary report. Br J Soc Psychiatry 2:59-66, 1967

4. Grof S: Realms of the Human Unconsious: Observations from LSD Research. New York, Viking Press, 1975

5. Naranjo C: The Healing Journey. New York, Ballantine Books, 1975

6. Newland CA: My Self and I. New York, New American Library, 1962

7. Ling TA, Buckman J: Lysergic Acid (LSD 25) and Ritalin in the Treatment of Neurosis. London, England, Lambarde Press, 1963

8. Vanggard T: Indications and counter-indications for LSD treatment. Acta Psychiatr Scan 40:427-437, 1964

9. Leuner H: Halluzinogene in der psychotherapie. Pharmakopsychiatr Neuropsychopharmakol 4:333-351, 1971

10. Savage C, McCabe OL: Residential psychedelic (LSD) therapy for the narcotic addict: A controlled study. Arch Gen Psychiatry 28-808-814, 1973

11. Kurland AA: The therapeutic potential of LSD in medicine, in DeBold R, Leaf R (eds): LSD, Man and Society. Middletown, Connecticut, Wesleyan University Press, 1967

12. Maclean JR, Macdonald DC, Ogden F, et al: LSD 25 and mescaline as therapeutic adjuvants, in Abramson H (ed): The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism. New York, Bobbs-Merrill, 1967

13. Hoffer A: A program for the treatment of alcoholism: LSD, malvaria and nicotinic acid, in Abramson H (ed): The use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism. New York, Bobbs-Merrill, 1967

14. Smart RG, Storm T, Baker EFW, et al: A controlled study of lysergide in the treatment of alcoholism. Q J Stud alc 27:469-482, 1966

15. Sarett M, Cheek F, Osmond H: Reports of wives of alcoholics on effects of LSD-25 treatment on their husbands. Arch Gen Psychiatry 14:171-178, 1966

16. Ludwig AM, Levine J, Stark LH: LSD and Alcoholism: A Clinical Study of Treatment Efficacy. Springfield, Ill, Charles C Thomas, 1970

17. Roy C: Indian peyotists and alcohol. Am J Psychiatry 130:329-330, 1973

18. Huxley LA: This Timeless Moment. New York, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1968

19. Pahnke WN: The psychedelic mystical experience in the human encounter with death. Harvard Theol Rev 62:1-21, 1969

20. Grof S, Goodman LE, Richards WA, et al: LSD-assisted psychotherapy in patients with terminal cancer. Int Pharmacopsychiatry 8:129-141, 1973

21. Clark WH, Funkhouser GR: Physicians and researchers disagree on psychedelic drugs. Psychol Today 3:48-50, 70-73, 1970

22. Cohen S: Lysergic acid diethylamide: Side effects and complications. J Nerv Ment Dis130:30-40, 1960

23. Malleson N: Acute adverse reactions to LSD in clinical and experimental use in the United Kingdom. Br J Psychiatry 118:229-230, 1971



















 


 





 


 


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1767 Lash, William (Bill)
Smitty Passes On Smitty Passes On 4/23/2004 7:09:00 AM



I just got word this evening of the passing of a very special friend of this fellowship. Around 2 this afternoon, Thursday April 22 our friend Robert Smith Jr. - son of Dr. Bob Smith passed over. Smitty was probably the last living person  who had witnessed the birth of AA.  He  was a young boy of 15 when his father had that first eventful meeting with Bill Wilson in May 1935. 


He went into the hospital on the 7th of April, and has went downhill from there. I know you'll join me in sending prayers of comfort to Mona, his bride of only a couple of years.


Please help pass the word.


Mona Sides-Smith


Mailing address: 2660 Stage Coach Drive, Memphis, TN 38134-4437


 


 


Yours in shared sorrow,


Maria Hoffman


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1768 Lash, William (Bill)
Chan F. Talk About Pat C. (1978) Chan F. Talk About Pat C. (1978) 4/22/2004 2:46:00 PM

From a talk by Chan F. at the Annual Founder's Day Banquet, November 11, 1978 (thanks to Ken R. for this):


 


   It started with a light rain and moderate temperatures in November, 1940 and continued through the Armistice Day Blizzard.


   There was the football game between the University of Minnesota and Michigan for the Little Brown Jug (a trophy passed back and forth to the annual winners).


   Up from Chicago came two members of A.A., Bill L. and Chan F. The day after the football game they proceeded to call on a list of A.A. prospects that they had received from Ruth Hock, Bill Wilson's secretary. The fourth person on the list wouldn't come to the door when they knocked. They had no luck until calling on the last name on the list - Pat C. - at his apartment at 1704 1st Avenue South.


   Chan gave us more of the story in a talk at the 38th Annual Founder's Day Banquet on November 11, 1978:


   "Pat lived in a rear room on the second floor. He seemed glad to see us and greeted us with a warm smile.


   Though he was suffering from the granddaddy of all hangovers, it was apparent that he desperately wanted to quit drinking.


   No problem about the First Step; he admitted he was licked and obviously his life had become unmanageable.


   He told us his story, the usual sad one, and that he expected to get fired - again - from his job on the WPA (Works Progress Administration - A New Deal employment program) Writers Project next day because he had really messed things up.


   He seemed almost convinced about AA, but we left him without much real hope he would make it - all by himself - though we promised to keep in close touch by letter and phone.


   It was snowing pretty good when we went back to the Kenesaw Hotel, a cheapie on Hennepin Avenue about Twelfth Street. We were staying there because the father of a friend of mine managed the hotel and would put us up for free.


   All we could do was to go back to Chicago the next day and hope that through some miracle Pat would catch fire, quit drinking on his own, read the Big Book we had left him and stay sober.


   Next morning we woke up late and looked out of our room into lower Nicollet Avenue. It was Armistice Day. The sky was a strange gray, the snow was swirling down and it didn't look like a good time to start that long drive back to Chicago.


  We dressed and went to breakfast. Afterward we looked out to where the old Chevy was parked, already up to its hubcaps in snow.


   'You'd better get the car off the street,' said Bill. 'Then we'll wait and see what to do.'


   I bundled up and drove a couple of blocks south on Nicollet up to a garage whose door was already coming down with a 'full-up' sign on its side.


   I honked desperately. The attendant opened up again and shouted, 'OK, OK. We'll make room. But that's the last one.'


   Bill and I holed up for another night at the friendly Kenesaw, whiling away the evening hours in a long bull session just like AAs anywhere.


   Next morning, we woke up late and looked outside.


   The snow was waist-high and still swirling. Some places it had drifted nearly to the second stories of buildings.


   No way we could get out of town. What to do?


   Our new pigeon, Pat C., lived just around the corner on First Avenue and a couple of blocks south. That might give us an excuse to get out of the hotel before we started climbing the walls.


   'Let's try it,' I said to Bill. 'Maybe we can make it - even without snowshoes.'


   We wrapped mufflers around our faces, stayed close to buildings and trudged through deep snow until we got to 1704.


   Pat was really surprised and was he glad to see us!


   He said he was toying with the idea of getting a bottle to shake off the shakes. Now he wanted to talk.


   Pat and I found we had quite a lot in common, besides alcoholism. He had once worked on the Minneapolis Tribune as an ad salesman and he knew a couple of my old drinking friends.


   Our conversation went round and round for what seemed like hours. Pat could partially accept the program, but he had lots of doubts.


   'It's easy enough for you fellows,' he said. 'You've got a group and can help each other. But I'm really alone and I'm not sure I could ever convince any of my drinking pals to try AA.'


   He used some of his Irish blarney to fend us off, then he'd grin and listen some more."


   "We told him there were other loners scattered about the country who were staying sober just by reading the Big Book, trying to practice the program and work the Twelve Steps as best they could - and looking for other alcoholics to whom they could carry the message.


   His face brightened. But in a moment he shot back: 'Anyway, I've got problems that won't go away even if I quit drinking.'


   So we tried to brainstorm his problems; each time he would bring up another, we would try to put it into perspective. As he got them out, one by one, he admitted they didn't seem quite so desperate.


   His main problem, he said, involved a personal relationship. And it seemed impossible that he could work it out. He might even get tossed into jail.


   Gloom again.


   We asked him how much he spent on booze. When hegave us his figure - not really monumental in those years of cheap whisky - we pointed out that if he stayed sober those tidy little sums of drinking money - in regular payments - would help take care of the big problem. He hadn't thought of that.


   When we left his room late in the day, Pat flashed that smile so many of you knew so well and he said he'd give it a whirl.


   'But for godsake,' he said to Bill and me, 'be sure to keep in touch.'


   Next morning we got the Chevy out of the garage and headed for Chicago. The blizzard, that had taken the lives of a number of Minnesota duck hunters in the sloughs over in the Wheaton area, was over, the main highways had been plowed.


   The snowdrifts ended by the time we got to Hudson, Wisconsin, and it was clear the rest of the way. We did stop overnight at the home of Harry S., the loner who was making it in Madison and who had a lot of prospective members right at his own doorstep. Harry was the chef at the Wisconsin State Hospital.


   Now for what happened to Pat after we got back to Chicago.


   Last week I ran across a batch of letters written that first year, and carbon copies of some of my answers. I'm sure he wouldn't mind my sharing some of his paragraphs with you.


   Maybe he's even looking over my shoulder.


   I'm sure the spirit of Pat C. is in the room every time two or 20 or 1,700 of you - as tonight - get together in fellowship.


   In a letter dated November 22, 1940 - just 10 days after we talked with him in his room at 1704 - Pat wrote, in part:


                'Dear Chan & Bill:


                I am working this Friday to make up some time. So this joint letter to you is on WPA time...'


   (Pat didn't lose his WPA job. The day after we left him, he trudged a couple of miles through deep snow to get to work. That heroic performance was so unlike Pat of the drinking years that his boss was flabbergasted and gave him back his job with another final warning. For those of you unfamiliar with such Depression gobbledegook as WPA and such, WPA (Works Progress Administration) was a Roosevelt creation of the Depression years to give employment to the millions of jobless. The Writers Project, on which Pat worked, employed thousands of talented writers and editors, artists and photographers in producing state guidebooks that are now collectors' items and other creative work.)


   To go on with Pat's letter:


                'Father C. is taking things slowly in the field of propagation of our faith or code. You will be happy to know, however, that I have been definitely arid since your departure, even going so far as to turn down a full quart of McCormick's Special on Wednesday night for which Gabriel has appropriately credited me with two gold stars, I hope...


                I have had several rebuffs in my zeal for converts; guess you have to catch them at the right time. George M. is reading the book right now; he drinks spasmodically, mostly through lonesomeness, but he shoots his wad when he does go...


                Remember Joe B. who used to work on the project with me? A card from him advises that he is in Inglewood, California. Like all rummies he was cute enough to give his address as General Delivery. I wrote him right away telling him about AA, requesting that he forward his street address. Armed with that, I can turn the Los Angeles chapter loose on him.


   (I wonder if AA ever caught up with Joe; Pat never mentioned him again.)


   Pat goes on:


                I am going to write Ed K. at Eau Claire tomorrow, a line from me might help.


   (Bill L. and I had called on Ed K., a loner, on our way from Chicago that fateful weekend.)


   Pat again:


                Haven't missed a day from work since your appearance here; my next check will be quite, quite! But Lord, you should see this one...


                Let me know that secretary's name at the AA Foundation in New York, the one who wrote me. If she has any more inquiries from the Twin Cities I will be glad to look them over and see if I can line them up.


                Fraternally,


                Pat C.'


    "As far as I am concerned, I haven't had a drop since you called on me; got the guard up and it hasn't bothered me"


   "Paradoxically, however," Pat wrote, "all my drunken friends who have heard I am dry pay me regular visits for the purpose of putting the bite on me for two bits or half a buck to make up the balance on a pint."


   "Those guys will never surrender with their present set-up so I have given up trying to interest them atpresent."


   "I haven't got that unselfish spirit as yet - looking out for the other guy - and I know it is necessary to acquire it"


   Then on January 21, 1941 - two and a half months dry on his own - Pat wrote that things were really perking up!


   "Lo and behold," he wrote, "Bill L. sent me a letter last week, the first I have heard from him. Told me that Chicago was looking forward to an article in the Saturday Evening Post which was expected to bring many inquiries."


   "Chan, I bought a new suit of clothes and some haberdashery and am beginning to feel respectable once more."


   "(I) suppose you saw Winchell's reference to AA in his column last week. He said the head of AA in New York was a famous trans-Atlantic flier; my guess is that he refers to Clarence C. who was always quite a lush."


   "Trust you are doing well in material things and that you are dry as I am. Had no trouble at all during the holidays; I ducked and sat in movies, etc., ran away from it rather than face it."


   I hadn't seen the Winchell squib, but bits and pieces of information and misinformation about AA were beginning to appear in newspapers around the country. No doubt even the garbled versions sent desperate alcoholics hunting for an AA contact.


   In Chicago, a famous columnist named Howard Vincent O'Brien attended an open meeting and wrote about it: "this miracle of regeneration."


   Writing about the alcoholics at the meeting, O'Brien said: "Some of these people I had known for a long time. I know what they once were, and I know what they are now. Something has happened to them. I do not know what that something is. That is to say, I cannot weigh it or measure it, or define it in words. That doesn't matter. I have passed the stage of wanting to 'explain' everything. I am content with reporting what I see and hear."


   "Perhaps, when I recover from the awe of what I saw and heard last night, I may have a go at an 'explanation.' But I doubt it. The facts need no embroidery."


   That column, written in mid-1940 when the Chicago group had fewer than 40 members, brought many inquiries which O'Brien referred to his AA friends. Among those who came into Chicago AA after reading the column was O'Brien's 21-year-old son.


   Soon afterward, the famous Saturday Evening Post article by Jack Alexander hit the newsstands. That brought the deluge for many established groups around the country - including Chicago.


   But in Minneapolis, Pat C. was still working alone, there was no AA headquarters except Pat's small room, and there had been no local publicity to tell alkies, many of whom had seen the Post article, where to make contact.


   Pat had a great idea which he told me about in a letter dated March 14, 1941, at which time he had established a personal record - four months dry.


   He wrote:


   "Chan, my boy, the Lone Eagle from Minneapolis still clings to that old waterwagon, hoping to find companionship"


3/10/41


417, 12th Ave. S.E.


Minneapolis, Minn.


Dear Daniel,


   God bless the Irish! We have been swamped with letters recently and better than half of them are from Irishmen. When we get organized and going strong, I'm sure you'll feel right at home with us.


   At present though, we are just struggling to set up the frame of a local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous.   I would suggest, in fact it's almost necessary, that you get a March 1st copy of the "Saturday Evening Post" and read the article in this magazine on our group, its aims and ambitions.


   As soon as we have established contact with a few people like yourself, we will determine on a meeting place and all get together for conference.


   Please feel free to write us or drop around. We are just a bunch of men like yourself who freely admit that drink has us down and we're willing to try anything that might help us.


   If your friends or druggist haven't a copy of the Post you'll find one on file at any library. It states our aims much more clearly than I could in a letter.


You'll hear from us again shortly and until then I am,


Sincerely yours,


Frederick L. M.


Acting Secretary


Alcoholics Anonymous


 


   "After the article appeared in the Post, I went in to see Cedric Adams, whose column (in the Minneapolis Star) carries considerable weight in the Northwest. He had been talking to Dr. Michael's, head of the mental and nervous department (snake room, to you) at General Hospital."


   "The doctor persuaded Adams to appeal for ex-drunks (meaning Minneapolis AAs, if any) to look him up with a view to working on some of the prizes in his ward. The appeal, which was quite vague, didn't pan out for them. But he agreed a chapter of working AAs will help him solve some of his problems."


   "Yesterday Adams ran another squib for me. Haven't been down to see the mail as yet, but will stop in tomorrow. Don't know what to do with the guys when I do contact them."


   "Wish I knew the procedure you follow in Chicago. You might get together with some of the members there and write me the procedure pronto so I can pass it along to some of the shy lads who will be after writing me."


   Meanwhile, Pat had called me on the phone several times as he kept looking for advice and counsel and reassurance that he could handle the rummies who were coming at him in droves.


   Of course he could and did handle them.


   Who could resist Pat's gift of the tongue and his down-to-earth and earnest carrying of the message?


   By April 28, 1941, Pat had somehow brought together a fledgling group of alkies, including Orlo, one of my old friends.


   Another of my very old and dear friends, Barry C., whom I had contacted during the summer when he was critically ill in a hospital, was doing what he could to help between his regular trips back to the operating room. And in the hospital, Barry kept busy educating the doctors about AA.


   So by now, Pat was the busiest guy in town, working full time and trying to hold his group together.


   He wrote on April 28, 1941: "Our weekly meeting is arranged for this evening, at which 10 or 11 will be present. We had 10 at our last meeting. There are four or five more who for some reason or other can't attend."


   "Chan, we are getting some would-be members out of the upper brackets - a lawyer, a big-shot insurance man."


   It was almost three weeks before I heard from Pat again - a letter dated December 12, 1940 - and I was getting a little worried.


   But he was reassuring.


   "Personally, I have been too busy to even think of a drink. My landlady has developed fallen arches from running to the telephone, but we hope to remedy that situation shortly. As you and Bill L. have intimated, a permanent meeting place is our main problem. When we acquire one, we will have you up, we hope.


   With your Big Book, we have four in circulation."


   Two weeks later, on April 28, 1941, Pat was full of good news: "Chan, we have a Post Office box, 594, also a couple of rooms at 201 East Franklin, and a telephone GEneva 1251...


   (When I later visited the group at the new address, I learned that it was a beer flat left over from Prohibition years. How appropriate!)


   Pat wrote: "A Scotsman and his wife, who were separated and reunited, are living there. She answers the phone and we hold our meetings there...


It's crowded as hell, 26 at one meeting, but we hope to get hold of a philanthropic realtor and arrange for a low-rental house, 8 rooms or so, where we can take care of some of the boys who are coming out of it.


   We now number a lawyer in our group, George W., and an insurance man, N. K. P."


   Others Pat mentioned as new pigeons included Guy T., Jesse C., Regis G., K. S. A. who was a CPA, and one girl, Ruth B.


   Pat added: "We are going to divide into squads at the next meeting and deal out the assignments more equitably so everybody is working with some of the stronger members..."


   Again a moment of doubt: "Perhaps we have grown too fast, but what can you do when the guys come for you?


   I go to gatherings where whisky is served and my friends drink beer, but I have no desire to slip, as yet. I am living the 24-hour schedule same as you and it seems to work.


   I try to impress on the boys, at every meeting, the necessity of asking for Divine help."


   Now we jump to May of 1942.


   As you are aware, Pat and his cohorts did better than find a big house at low rent in which to hold meetings. The good news is contained in an invitation signed by Pat and Barry C. - and obviously sent out to many friends of the Minneapolis group - to attend an open house on May 10.


   The new home of Minneapolis AA, christened the Alano Club, was the old Washburn mansion at 2218 First Avenue South.


   Chan finished off his talk: So let's break off this chronicle right here.


   The rest of the story - of the phenomenal growth of Minneapolis AA and the growing pains, of the many groups throughout the Upper Midwest that owed their start to Minneapolis, of Pat's happy marriage to Helga, and his later service on the Board of Trustees of the AA Foundation - did not involve me.


   Twice before, I have been a guest at your anniversary banquets.


   The first time was, if my memory serves me right, the first annual banquet held in the ballroom of the Leamington Hotel in 1941.


   I have, somewhere among my souvenirs, a panoramic photograph of all who attended that one, all lined up at the front of the hall. There probably were more than a hundred that night at dinner, including spouses, a scattering of judges, clergy and other friends of AA.


   I am grateful to have been asked to share this 38th anniversary with you.


 


(Thanks to the Chicago Area 19 Archives Committee for furnishing a transcript).


 


Bill Wilson (co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) said in September 1965: "Pat C. came among us (1940) when it was by no means clear that Alcoholics Anonymous would succeed - whether permanent sobriety was going to be possible. As we all know, he stands in the forefront of those few early ones who proved that this could be so.


   "In all my A.A. life I have never heard an ill word spoken of him and I was always running across someone - indeed, hundreds - who owed him their very lives.


   "How well he kept the A.A. faith is now A.A. history, a demonstration for which we shall be grateful to Pat - and to God."


0 -1 0 0
1769 somrsickr
LAST EYEWITNESS OF AA’S ORIGINS DIES LAST EYEWITNESS OF AA’S ORIGINS DIES 4/23/2004 2:17:00 PM


LAST EYEWITNESS OF AA'S ORIGINS DIES IN MEMPHIS



(Memphis, Tenn. April 22, 2004) Robert "Bob" Smith II, last

eyewitness of the start of Alcoholics Anonymous, died of congestive

heart failure at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. about 5

o'clock Thursday evening, April 22, 2004. "Smitty," his

nickname in

youth and later at recovery gatherings worldwide, was the only son

of Anne Smith and Akron, Ohio physician Dr. Bob Smith. Then a

teenager, young Bob was there on Mother's day 1935 when his

father

met New York stockbroker Bill Wilson for the first time. The two co-

founded Alcoholics Anonymous, a twelve step recovery program that

has helped more than two million people worldwide recover from the

disease of alcoholism. AA's twelve step program has been

replicated

by more than 250 other groups that use the same steps to overcome

addictions to drugs, gambling, food, sex and other behaviors. Bob

Smith joined Al-Anon, a recovery program for the spouses, family,

friends and other loved ones of alcoholics, when one of his family

members began attending AA meetings in Nocona, Texas in the late

1970s. It was only then, the younger Smith would say, that he

realized the enormity of his father's contribution to the world

in

the co-founding of AA. In the past 27 years, Bob Smith accepted

invitations to speak at AA and Al-Anon Conventions worldwide thirty

to forty times a year. Smith made his last talk three weeks ago in

Chicago's Indiana suburbs at the Talumet Round-Up. He had cut

back

on his speaking engagements to twenty to twenty-five a year only as

he entered his mid-80s. Smith would say of such invitations,

"they

didn't invite me for who I am. It's who I know,"

referring to the

famous co-founders of AA who are regarded as spiritual giants by

recovering alcoholics worldwide. Bob Smith would share his memories

of AA's pioneering days at conferences, recalling how his

parents

and Bill Wilson allowed recovering drunks to stay in their Akron

home at 855 Ardmore Avenue. Bob Smith's childhood home is

visited

annually by thousands who wish to see where the program of recovery

had its origins. "It was such a gift to live with Bob. We

decided if

we had two weeks together or ten years together, we'd take it

one

day at a time and that's what we did, " said Mona

Sides-Smith, a

Memphis based therapist, who married the son of the AA co-founder in

September 2002. Smith's first wife of more than fifty years,

Betty

Smith, died several years earlier. Bob Smith leaves a son from huis

marriage to Betty, Todd Smith of Vernon, Texas and two daughters,

Penny Umbertino of Phoenix, Arizona and Judy Edmiston of Dallas,

Texas. He leaves one granddaughter, Kathy Graser of Denver,

Colorado. Smith also leave three stepdaughters: Rachel Farmer,

Elaine Orland and Elizabeth Douglas,all of Memphis. Smith spent his

working life in Texas as an oli producer. He served as a pilot in

World War II, flying the B-24 Liberator on 35 submarine huntinf

missions out of Africa. Smith worked as a commercial pilot for a

time after the war. But he spent the last three decades of his life

focused on sharing the gift his father helped bring into the world,

AA. In his book CHILDREN OF THE HEALER (Copyright 1992, Parkside

Publishing Company), co-authored with his late sister, Sue Smith

Windows, Smith's thoughts written on the dedication page seem a

fitting epitaph, "For the loving God who allowed me to lead a

very

exciting life and also loved me through my many mistakes and who

allows me to be of service. For the constant love and understanding

of four* good kids and a steadfast wife. I am truly grateful. For my

loving parents who tried to instill in me values by their tireless

example. For the many friends I have met and know as a result of 12

step programs. You have taught me a way of life in these programs

that I never would have figured out by myself. I am truly

grateful."

One AA member said upon learning of Smitty's death in Memphis,

"many

thousands of AAs who met Smitty and heard him tell the eyewitness

account of AA's origins will mourn his passing but will

celebrate

his life and the great gifts he shared." Memphis Funeral Home

on

Poplar Avenue in Memphis, Tenn. has charge.


0 -1 0 0
1770 text164
old timers info? old timers info? 4/24/2004 11:36:00 PM


is there any other people alive from 1934-39?i also have a question

if I provide a photo can someone help me identify a couple in the

picture?im thinking its an ol AA from Little Rock but not sure.

maybe some of you have seen this photo,its of Bill W at Dr.Bobs

grave theres a group of people in the back ground and one of the

couples is of african american decent.Im thinking its a guy named Joe

McQ.


0 -1 0 0
1771 JKNIGHTBIRD@aol.com
Robert Ripley Smith Jr. Robert Ripley Smith Jr. 4/24/2004 9:48:00 PM


A.A. co-founder's son is dead



Akron native Robert Ripley Smith Jr., 85, was proud that local program had

global impact



By Carol Biliczky



Akron Beacon Journal staff writer





As a child, ``Smitty'' came home to find a drunk in his bed, his house filled

with alcoholics.



Such was Robert Ripley Smith Jr.'s start in life as the son of the august --

and eventually revered -- co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.



In 1998, Bob Smith Jr. told the Akron Beacon Journal that he and his sister

were eyewitnesses to history as they saw A.A. unfold in their Akron home to

become a worldwide organization with millions of members.



``I loved it,'' he said. ``The first 17 years of my life I lived with active

alcoholism, now there was recovery.''



Mr. Smith died Thursday at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., of

congestive heart failure. He was 85.



He was the only son of Dr. Robert and Anna Smith, who lived at a modest

bungalow with three bedrooms at 855 Ardmore Ave. in Akron.



The son was there on Mother's Day in 1935 when his father, an Akron

physician, and New York stockbroker Bill Wilson co-founded what would become

A.A.



The organization flourished and its 12-step foundation has been used by more

than 250 other kinds of recovery groups that combat gambling, prostitution,

drugs and more.



As for Mr. Smith, he became a pilot in World War II, hunting submarines off

the coast of Africa. After the war, he worked as a commercial pilot and in the

oil industry, settling in Nocona, Texas, about 20 miles from the Oklahoma

border.



He was elected to the City Council from 1984 to 1991 and was mayor of the

town of 3,000 from 1991 to 1993, recalled Minnie Walker, then the city secretary

and now the city manager.



``He was a fun man, a real cut-up,'' she said. ``He told me every year how

many people he gained for Alcoholics Anonymous, and I'd tell him, `Look you're

not making any progress here.' ''



Mr. Smith joined Al-Anon, a recovery program for spouses and loved ones of

alcoholics, when his wife, Betty, began attending A.A. meetings in the 1970s.



It was then that he began to realize the enormity of his father's

contributions to the disease of alcoholism. He began to speak at A.A. and

Al-Anon

meetings across the country, most recently just three weeks ago in northern

Indiana.



``They don't invite me for who I am. They invite me for who I know,'' he said.



He would relate the stories of growing up in the Smith household, home to

A.A. meetings that approached 70 people before they were moved to the King

School

building.



He and his late sister, Sue Smith Windows of Akron, captured their memories

in a book called Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob's Kids in 1992.



``For the many friends I have met and know as a result of 12-step programs,''

he wrote on the dedication page. ``You have taught me a way of life in these

programs that I never would have figured out by myself. I am truly grateful.''



His Akron home is revered now as a national, state and local landmark and is

something of a shrine to A.A. devotees who return there in an annual

pilgrimage each year.



``He was a kind man, he loved his father,'' said Don C. of Cleveland, who is

chairman of the board of the nonprofit Dr. Bob's House, which has been

restored to the way it looked in 1935, complete with many of the Smith family's

original furnishings.



In keeping with A.A. tradition, group members only use the first letter of

their last names.



Mr. Smith's first wife and a son died several years ago. He leaves his

current wife, Mona Sides-Smith of Memphis; son Todd Smith of Vernon, Texas, and

daughters Penny Umbertino of Phoenix and Judy Edmiston of Dallas; three

stepdaughters and one granddaughter.



Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Memphis Funeral Home's Poplar Chapel

in Memphis.





------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--

Carol Biliczky can be reached at 330-996-3729 or

cbiliczky@thebeaconjournal.com

--------------------------------------------------------



Submitted by Jocie, Chicago







JKNIGHTBIRD

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer;

it sings because it has a song.

-Maya Angelou


0 -1 0 0
1772 NMOlson@aol.com
HUMILITY PLAQUE - Compilation HUMILITY PLAQUE - Compilation 4/26/2004 2:52:00 AM



From:  "dla32965" <darcie@aaahawk.com>
Date:  Sat Apr 17, 2004  8:11 am
Subject:  HUMILITY PLAQUE




Does anyone know who wrote the text on the famous plaque that sat on Dr. Bob's desk?

Humility is…Perpetual quietness of heart; It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore; to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble.


From:  "victoria callaway" <vickicool2003@yahoo.com>
Date:  Sun Apr 18, 2004  6:32 pm
Subject:  Author of Plaque on Humility





Dr Bob's Plaque on Humility author is Andrew Murray, a South African religous leader and writer who lived from 1828-1927-searched and found by Anne K., an AA member
with library experience. The results of her research was printed in "The Point" a newsletter of the Intercounty Fellowship of AA in San Francisco.  A research librarian found the citations in two publications of religious quotations.
reprinted with permisssion from Box 459 aApril-May 1998 vicki
calllaway


From Bill L:


 


Please keep in mind that Dr. Bob's kids (Sue Smith Windows & Bob
Smith Jr./"Smitty") have both been asked about this plaque & (although they were both in Dr' Bob's office many times) have stated that they had never seen this plaque in Dr. Bob's office.
Interesting!

Just Love,
Barefoot Bill



0 -1 0 0
1773 NMOlson@aol.com
Book ''12'' - Compiled from Previous Posts Book ''12'' - Compiled from Previous Posts 4/26/2004 5:32:00 AM

From:  "steve <livethesolution@hotmail.com>" <livethesolution@hotmail.com>
Date:  Sun Dec 8, 2002  2:46 pm
Subject:  Book '12'



HistoryLovers,

I have stumbled across a book which I need help ientifying. The cover is light blue with a gold `12' in the upper right hand corner. The title page reads: TWELVE STEPS and the Older Member, Older Member Press, Box 25, Guilford, Conn. Price Two Dollars
Copyright 1964, Older Member Press
Fourth Printing January, 1970

The book is 72 pages and its origination is articles in the Grapevine from 1954-1956. At that time (1954) the author had 7 years of sobriety. The articles for the grapevine are written about the steps. There are twelve
articles (one for each step). The book then reproduces these Grapevine articles of an AA's experience with the steps at seven years sober. The book also adds to these articles an AA's experience with the steps at seven more years sober (14 years).

The Eleventh Step article mentions that the original eleventh step article was printed in the April 1956 Grapevine, but none of the other articles gives an original date for the articles. Following the articles is `Lincoln on Alcoholism,' from Lincoln's address to the
Washington Temperance Society, Springfield, Ill. February 22, 1842. Following this is a 5 page article titled THE 24-HOUR PLAN.

I'm wondering if anyone has any more information on this piece, or its author? Does anyone know when the rest of these articles appeared in the Grapevine?

Thanks for your help
Steve Covieo
sober in kalamazoo
269-352-7702


From:  Jim Blair <jblair@videotron.ca>
Date:  Sun Dec 8, 2002  5:44 pm
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Book '12'



The dates of the articles in the GV are as follows

Step 1- Aug,54, March 61
Step 2- Oct.54, May 61
Step 3- Dec.54, July 61
Step 4- Jan. 54, Sept. 61
Step 5-March 55, Dec. 61
Step 6- June 55, Feb. 62
Step 7- Aug. 55
Step 8 - Oct. 55, June 62
Step 9- Dec. 55, Aug. 62
Step10- Feb. 56-Oct. 62
Step 11- April 56, Dec. 62
Step 12-June 56, Oct. 63

He did not include the Oct. 62 and Dec. 62 articles in the book you have.

The articles were written by Jerome E., who was a writer for a national magazine. He went to work in the GSO in 1962-63 and I guess he did not see eye to eye with the way things were done.

He wrote a scathing attack on the "Headquarters" and the way it publishes literature which was published in "The Nation" on March 2, 1964.
Jim

From:  "melb" <melb@accesstoledo.com>
Date:  Sun Dec 8, 2002  8:02 pm
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Book '12'



Hi Everybody,
I sent a letter to Steve about Jerry E.'s book. It's rue, as Jim says here, that Jerry had a falling out with AA General Services and wrote quite an attack on it for The Nation. He had called me while he was writing the
article because I had once submitted an article for The Grapevine about racial prejudice in a southern Michigan town's AA group. He changed that to "southern" only. We know that there has been plenty of racial prejudice in
the South, but we should not accuse them of any specific actions they were not guilty of! But Jerry was a good writer and I'm sorry that he had the falling out,
because he had a lot to contribute.
Mel Barger
Toledo, Ohio




0 -1 0 0
1774 Mel Barger
Re: Book ''12'' - Compiled from Previous Posts Book ''12'' - Compiled from Previous Posts 4/26/2004 10:10:00 AM

Hi Steve and Friends:


  The book you have was authored by the late Jerry E. who was for a short time the editor of The Grapevine.  Jerry had been a successful magazine writer, having started his career at The Reader's Digest and later becoming managing editor of Collier's when it was a popular family magazine.  He discussed his alcoholism in a book titled "Report to the Creator," which I read in the 1950s.  I met Jerry at The Grapevine in 1962 and spent a few hou rs with him at his home in Guilford, CT, in 1964.


  Hang on to that book, Steve, as I'm sure most of the copies have now been lost. 


  This is an odd coincidence, only a half-hour before reading your email, I was telling a fellow member something I'd heard from Jerry in 1964!.  




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





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


From: NMOlson@aol.com


To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 10:32 AM


Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Book '12' - Compiled from Previous Posts





From:  "steve <livethesolution@hotmail.com>" <livethesolution@hotmail.com>
Date:  Sun Dec 8, 2002  2:46 pm
Subject:  Book '12'



HistoryLovers,

I have stumbled across a book which I need help ientifying. The cover is light blue with a gold `12' in the upper right hand corner. The title page reads: TWELVE STEPS and the Older Member, Older Member Press, Box 25, Guilford, Conn. Price Two Dollars
Copyright 1964, Older Member Press
Fourth Printing January, 1970

The book is 72 pages and its origination is articles in the Grapevine from 1954-1956. At that time (1954) the author had 7 years of sobriety. The articles for the grapevine are written about the steps. There are twelve
articles (one for each step). The book then reproduces these Grapevine articles of an AA's experience with the steps at seven years sober. The book also adds to these articles an AA's experience with the steps at seven more years sober (14 years).

The Eleventh Step article mentions that the original eleventh step article was printed in the April 1956 Grapevine, but none of the other articles gives an original date for the articles. Following the articles is `Lincoln on Alcoholism,' from Lincoln's address to the
Washington Temperance Society, Springfield, Ill. February 22, 1842. Following this is a 5 page article titled THE 24-HOUR PLAN.

I'm wondering if anyone has any more information on this piece, or its author? Does anyone know when the rest of these articles appeared in the Grapevine?

Thanks for your help
Steve Covieo
sober in kalamazoo
269-352-7702


From:  Jim Blair <jblair@videotron.ca>
Date:  Sun Dec 8, 2002  5:44 pm
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Book '12'



The dates of the articles in the GV are as follows

Step 1- Aug,54, March 61
Step 2- Oct.54, May 61
Step 3- Dec.54, July 61
Step 4- Jan. 54, Sept. 61
Step 5-March 55, Dec. 61
Step 6- June 55, Feb. 62
Step 7- Aug. 55
Step 8 - Oct. 55, June 62
Step 9- Dec. 55, Aug. 62
Step10- Feb. 56-Oct. 62
Step 11- April 56, Dec. 62
Step 12-June 56, Oct. 63

He did not include the Oct. 62 and Dec. 62 articles in the book you have.

The articles were written by Jerome E., who was a writer for a national magazine. He went to work in the GSO in 1962-63 and I guess he did not see eye to eye with the way things were done.

He wrote a scathing attack on the "Headquarters" and the way it publishes literature which was published in "The Nation" on March 2, 1964.
Jim

From:  "melb" <melb@accesstoledo.com>
Date:  Sun Dec 8, 2002  8:02 pm
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Book '12'



Hi Everybody,
I sent a letter to Steve about Jerry E.'s book. It's rue, as Jim says here, that Jerry had a falling out with AA General Services and wrote quite an attack on it for The Nation. He had called me while he was writing the
article because I had once submitted an article for The Grapevine about racial prejudice in a southern Michigan town's AA group. He changed that to "southern" only. We know that there has been plenty of racial prejudice in
the South, but we should not accuse them of any specific actions they were not guilty of! But Jerry was a good writer and I'm sorry that he had the falling out,
because he had a lot to contribute.
Mel Barger
Toledo, Ohio













This message was scanned by GatewayDefender
10:44:14 AM ET - 4/26/2004


0 -1 0 0
1775 davidt030992
More Info on quote from Bill W More Info on quote from Bill W 4/27/2004 8:39:00 AM


While researching a workshop I am preparing for on singleness of

purpose, I recently came across this quote from Bill W in As Bill

Sees it on page 79



Our Sole Purpose



"An AA group, as such, cannot take on all the personal problems of

its members, let alone those of nonalcoholics in the world around us.

The AA group is not, for example, a mediator of domestic relations,

nor does it furnish personal financial aid to anyone.



"Though a member may sometimes be helped in such matters by his

friends in AA, the primary responsibility for the solutions of all

his problems of living and growing rests squarely upon the individual

himself. Should an AA group attempt this sort of help, its

effectiveness and energies would be hopelessly dissipated.



"This is why sobriety - freedom from alcohol - through the teaching

and practice of AA's Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of the group.

If we don't stick to this cardinal principle, we shall almost

certainly collapse. And if we collapse we cannot help anyone."



This was from a letter written to a memeber in 1966. I'd like to know

if anyone has any further info on this (maybe the entire letter),

what question was he responding to from this member? Also, I'd be

interested in any more material any of you may have to offer

regarding the subject.


0 -1 0 0
1776 victoria callaway
Special token of appreciation given to Bill W. Special token of appreciation given to Bill W. 4/28/2004 12:49:00 PM


In the BB and "Pass it On" it mentions a special token of

appreciation given to Bill W. Page 62 in "Pass it On' and page 1 in

BB. Can anyone tell me what this was that was given to him-much

thanks vicki c


0 -1 0 0
1777 goldentextpro@aol.com
Re: Special token of appreciation given to Bill W. Special token of appreciation given to Bill W. 4/28/2004 11:05:00 AM

From Lois Remembers: Memoirs of the Co-Founder of Al-Anon and Wife of the Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, (New York: Al-Anon Family Headquarters, Inc.), 1991, pp. 26-27:


 


Upon leaving France the men of his [Bill's] battery paid him special honor.  His letter of January 3, 1919, read: "Quite a touching thing happened yesterday.  The men presented Captain Sackville and me each with a watch, chain and ring.  The whole battery was lined up, and I tell you it was equal to promotion and decoration by J. J. Pershing himself!  Coming as it did from a clear sky, it was quite overwhelming.  Wouldn't have changed insignia with a brigadier general.  It means so much more than promotion.  Insofar as I know, we are the only people in the reigment who have been so honored.  I'm sure you will be as happy and proud as I am."


 


Richard K.


Haverhill, MA


0 -1 0 0
1778 Arthur Sheehan
Re: More Info on quote from Bill W More Info on quote from Bill W 4/29/2004 8:33:00 AM





Hi David


 


In going through Bill's writings it strikes me that he was an astute "recycler" of the same basic messages in order to maintain consistency and, perhaps, reinforce through repetition. The letter you cite on page 79 in "As Bill Sees It" was written in 1966.


 


The substance, and a part of the citation, is contained in Bill's February 1958 Grapevine article titled "Problems Other Than Alcohol." The article is preserved in the book "Language of the Heart" pages 222-225 and also contained in a Conference-approved pamphlet of the same title (publication number P-35). There is also a small excerpts pamphlet of "Problems Other Than Alcohol" (publication number F-8) which is provided by GSO at no charge.


 


A very powerful portion from the Grapevine/pamphlet article is:


 


"Now there are certain things that AA cannot do for anybody, regardless of what our several desires or sympathies may be.


 


Our first duty, as a Society, is to insure our own survival. Therefore we have to avoid distractions and multipurpose activity. An AA group, as such, cannot take on all the personal problems of its members, let alone the problems of the whole world.


 


Sobriety - freedom from alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group. Groups have repeatedly tried other activities and they have always failed. It has also been learned that there is no possible way to make nonalcoholics into AA members. We have to confine our membership to alcoholics and we have to confine our AA groups to a single purpose. If we don't stick to these principles, we shall almost surely collapse. And if we collapse, we cannot help anyone."


 


Arthur




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


From: davidt030992


To:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com


Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 8:39 AM


Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] More Info on quote from Bill W



While researching a workshop I am preparing for on singleness of
purpose, I recently came across this quote from Bill W in As Bill
Sees it on page 79

Our Sole Purpose

"An AA group, as such, cannot take on all the personal problems of
its members, let alone those of nonalcoholics in the world around us.
The AA group is not, for example, a mediator of domestic relations,
nor does it furnish personal financial aid to anyone.

"Though a member may sometimes be helped in such matters by his
friends in AA, the primary responsibility for the solutions of all
his problems of living and growing rests squarely upon the individual
himself. Should an AA group attempt this sort of help, its
effectiveness and energies would be hopelessly dissipated.

"This is why sobriety - freedom from alcohol - through the teaching
and practice of AA's Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of the group.
If we don't stick to this cardinal principle, we shall almost
certainly collapse. And if we collapse we cannot help anyone."

This was from a letter written to a memeber in 1966. I'd like to know
if anyone has any further info on this (maybe the entire letter),
what question was he responding to from this member? Also, I'd be
interested in any more material any of you may have to offer
regarding the subject.



0 -1 0 0
1779 jblair10101
"Academics Recovering Together" now a Yahoo Group "Academics Recovering Together" now a Yahoo Group 4/29/2004 3:31:00 PM


In message 483, August 25, 2002, Barefoot Bill provided an extensive

list of anonymous groups and 12-step offshoots. One group listed

was "Academics Recovering Together," which began in 1989 at Brown

University. This group is now online as a Yahoo Group.

John


0 -1 0 0
1780 jimmy
Hubert "Cubby" Selby--Obituary Hubert "Cubby" Selby--Obituary 4/30/2004 7:29:00 PM


A much loved, longtime sober and active member in Los Angeles.....





Author Hubert Selby Jr. Dead at 75

Associated Press

Monday, April 26, 2004



LOS ANGELES  — Hubert Selby Jr. , the acclaimed and anguished author of

"Last Exit to Brooklyn"  and "Requiem for a Dream," died Monday of a lung

disease, his wife said. He was 75.



Selby died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his home in the

Highland Park section of Los Angeles, said his wife of 35 years, Suzanne.



Born in New York City, Selby's experience among Brooklyn's gritty

longshoremen, homeless and the down-and-out formed the basis for his

lauded 1964 novel "Last Exit to Brooklyn," which was made into a film in

1989.



"It was a seminal piece of work. It broke so many traditions," said Jim Reg=

an,

head of the master's of professional writing program at the University of

Southern California, where Selby taught as an adjunct professor for the pas=

t

20 years.



"There was that generation of writers: William Burroughs, Henry Miller, and=



there was Hubert Selby. And he's one of the last of that generation, of som=

e of

the greatest writers in this country."



Suzanne Selby said her late husband was kind and generous but in recent

years suffered from depression and occasionally would launch into rages.



"He screamed, he yelled, he broke things," she said. "But he did not have

rages when he was writing."



Selby shared screenwriting credit on the 2000 film version of his 1978 nove=

l

"Requiem for a Dream," a harrowing look inside a family's many addictions. =



His other novels include "The Room" (1971), "The Demon" (1976) and "The

Willow Tree" (1998). A collection of short stories, "Song of the Silent Sno=

w,"

was published in 1986.



Selby continued to work on screenplays and teach at USC until he was

hospitalized last month. He had been in and out of the hospital in recent

weeks and died with his wife by his side, she said.



He contracted tuberculosis as a child and had suffered from breathing

problems ever since, Suzanne Shelby said. He was diagnosed with chronic

obstructive pulmonary disease several years ago.



Selby often wrote at an apartment he kept in West Hollywood. He worked in a=



bedroom there for at least five hours most days, and always left one line

unfinished at night to have a place to start the next morning, Suzanne Selb=

y

said.



She said that he had battled addictions, but while much of his work dealt w=

ith

the topic, he always wrote while sober and had not had any alcohol or any

drugs since 1969.



Along with his wife, he is survived by four children and 11 grandchildren.



© Associated Press. All rights reserved.



__________________________________







------------------------------------------------------------------------



April 27, 2004



Hubert Selby Jr., Who Wrote `Last Exit to Brooklyn,' Dies at 75

By ANTHONY DePALMA



Hubert Selby Jr., the Brooklyn-born ex-merchant mariner who turned to drugs=



and to writing after cheating death and created a lasting vision of urban h=

ell in

his novel "Last Exit to Brooklyn," died yesterday at his home in Los Angele=

s.

He was 75.



The cause was chronic pulmonary disease, said his son, Bill Selby, who

added that his father's death was the long-term consequence of the

tuberculosis he had contracted while at sea during World War II.



Mr. Selby had no formal training, and disdained the prim order of punctuati=

on

and plot. His writing was spare and direct. But what most marked his work

was the stark despair and loneliness he described in such shocking terms

that some of his work was blocked for a time in the United States, and late=

r

England, as obscene.



He said he did not understand what the fuss was about.



"The events that take place are the way people are," he said in an intervie=

w

with The New York Times in 1988, describing the gang rapes, brutal beatings=



and countless perversions described in "Last Exit." "These are not literary=



characters; these are real people. I knew these people. How can anybody

look inside themselves and be surprised at the hatred and violence in the

world? It's inside all of us."



"Tralala," one of the stories that make up the book, was the subject of an =



obscenity trial involving The Provincetown Review, which published it in

1961. And when "Last Exit," which consists of "Tralala" and five other loos=

ely

connected stories, was published in England in 1966, a jury found it to be =



obscene and fined its publisher.



The novel describes the seedy underbelly of the Red Hook waterfront

neighborhood in the Brooklyn of the 1950's, which is depicted as a wastelan=

d

prowled by gangs, whores and transvestites. When it was published by Grove =



Press in 1964, its repulsive language and blast-furnace images made the

novel difficult either to accept or reject.



"This is a brutal book — shocking, exhausting, depressing," wrote Eliot

Fremont-Smith in the first review of the book in The Times. Yet, despite th=

e

gutter language and obscene grunts of the dark characters in the novel, Mr.=



Fremont-Smith said that the book could not be easily dismissed. "The

profound depression it causes — once one starts seriously to read it — is a=



measure of an authentic power which carries through and beyond revulsion," =



he wrote. "Just who should be asked to undergo this experience is another

matter."



Hubert Selby Jr. was born on July 27, 1928, in Brooklyn, the son of Adalin =

and

Hubert Selby Sr., a coal miner from Kentucky who served in the merchant

marine for several years until his son was born. During World War II the se=

nior

Mr. Selby returned to the merchant marine. His son, though underage,

convinced the recruiters he was old enough to join as well. While at sea he=



developed tuberculosis. After going through radical surgery and more than a=



year of hospitalization, he was given no chance of recovery.



He did recover, but was hooked on the morphine he had received during his

hospitalization. He started drinking. With no other prospects, he decided t=

o try

writing, although he once said he had never read anything until he was an

adult. While he wrote the stories that went into "Last Exit to Brooklyn" he=



worked for a time as an insurance analyst in Manhattan.



Before the book was published in 1964, Mr. Selby's writing had earned him

less than $100. Despite its bleakness, the book's underlying message of

redemption through self-destruction caught on in a United States about to

enter the radical 1960's.



Mr. Selby overcame his addictions and moved to the West Coast, where he

wrote several other books, including "The Room" (1971) "The Demon" (1976), =



and "The Willow Tree" (1998). In 1989 "Last Exit" was made into a film by t=

he

German director Uli Edel.



Hubert Selby Jr. was married three times, most recently in 1969 to Suzanne =



Victoria Selby, who survives him, along with four children: Claudia Adams o=

f

Marrow Bone, Ky.; Kyle, of Yorktown, N.Y.; Rachel Kuehn of Corona, Calif.; =



and Bill, of Loma Linda, Calif.



At the time of his death, Mr. Selby, a high school dropout, taught a gradua=

te

writing class at the University of Southern California. His son Bill Selby =

said

he was also working on a novel and a screenplay.



Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company



________________________







World on the fringes of writer Selby

Hubert Selby Jr, who has died aged 75, has been described as one of

America's most influential writers.



Selby has been compared to William Burroughs and Joseph Heller for his

uncompromising prose and the scale of his impact as a US author.



He will probably be best remembered for his debut novel, Last Exit To

Brooklyn, a story of urban brutality set in a wasteland inhabited by charac=

ters

existing on the fringes of society.



It caused a storm on its publication in 1964 for its stark language and ble=

ak

storyline of prostitutes and gang members.



At a time when US society was regarded as the epitome of wholesome family

life, the book was notable for its daring depiction of a previously hidden =



underclass consisting of thieves, drug addicts and misfits.



Using material drawn from his experiences growing up in the New York

borough, the book became a cult classic but split the critics.





Allen Ginsberg, the New York beat poet, said it would "explode like a rusty=



hellish bombshell over America and still be eagerly read in a hundred years=

".



A review in The Times stated: "This is a brutal book - shocking, exhausting=

,

depressing"; yet the New York Times called it "an extraordinary

achievement... with a vision of hell so stern that it cannot be chucked or =

raged

aside".



In 1989 it was turned into a film by Uli Edel, starring Jennifer Jason Leig=

h and

Stephen Lang, set against a backdrop of violence and corruption in 1950s

Brooklyn. Like the book, it became cult viewing.



Selby's other best-known work was Requiem For A Dream, a harrowing

account of heroin addiction informed by his own problems with substance

abuse: he had become addicted to morphine during treatment for

tuberculosis.



On its publication in 1978, the New York Times Book Review said it cemented=



Selby's place in the "front rank" of American novelists.





It, too, was made into a film, released in 2000, starring Ellen Burstyn and=



Jennifer Connelly. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, it portrayed the tragic

downward spiral of four once-ambitious individuals consumed by their

addictions.



Years before the plaudits afforded to Selby by new generations of film-goin=

g

fans, critics had been in thrall of his lesser-known second novel, The Room=

,

published in 1971.



It received what Selby called "the greatest reviews I've ever read in my li=

fe",

then promptly vanished leaving barely a trace of its existence.



Typically dark and claustrophobic, it centred on a petty criminal locked in=

a

remand cell harbouring feelings of impotence, hatred and rage, and

fantasising about revenge.



Selby's foray into literature began as a teenager when he was sent home fro=

m

the merchant marines, critically ill with tuberculosis, during World War II=

.



Spending a year in hospital having survived radical surgery, he began writi=

ng

the work that would later develop in to Last Exit To Brooklyn.



A high school dropout, Selby was teaching a writing class at the University=

of

Southern California until his death.





Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3666117.stm



Published: 2004/04/28 11:44:29 GMT



© BBC MMIV


0 -1 0 0
1781 NMOlson@aol.com
The New York Times Magazine, February 21, 1988 The New York Times Magazine, February 21, 1988 5/1/2004 2:58:00 AM

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

More youths, blacks, women, homosexuals, Hispanics and alcoholics addicted to other drugs now join A.A.

(Adapted from "Getting Better: Inside Alcoholics Anonymous©" by Nan Robertson, to be published by William Morrow in April 1988.)

By Nan Robertson

Only Bill Wilson could have imagined A.A. as it is today, because only Bill, among the old-timers of Alcoholics Anonymous, had such grandiose, improbable dreams. In the summer of 1935, there were only two A.A. members - Wilson, a failed Wall Street stockbroker, and Dr. Bob Smith, a practicing surgeon - sitting in the Smith kitchen in Akron, Ohio, through half the night, chain-smoking and gulping coffee and trying to figure out how they could sober up other drunks like themselves. The society they had founded attracted only 100 members over the next four years; it would not even have a name until 1939. Now there are more than a million and a half of us around the world - members of the most successful, imitated, yet often misunderstood self-help movement of the 20th century.

About half of all A.A.'s are in the United States, the rest are scattered among 114 other countries. Many additional millions have passed through the movement and been made whole by its program, but A.A. periodically counts only those who are regularly attending meetings.

For those in the know, there are clues to A.A.'s presence everywhere: the sign on a jeep's hood in a Mexican town that says the "Grupo Bill Wilson" will meet that night; a West Virginia bumper sticker advising "Keep it Simple." The Serenity Prayer, attributed to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and recited at the end of A.A. meetings, appears framed on the wall in a South African living room or embroidered on a pillow in a chic Madison Avenue shop.

A.A.'s meet in Pagopago, American Samoa, on Wednesday nights, in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, on Saturdays, and in Lilongwe, Malawi, on Mondays and Friday, They find one another just to sit and chat between meetings in a doughnut shop and coffee shop on the main street of Peterborough, N.H., a town of 5,200 that has four A.A. groups. One of them is called Our Town in honor of Thornton Wilder, who took Peterborough as the model for his nostalgic play about American small-town life. The belfry of a Roman Catholic Church near Covent Garden in London and a bank's board room in Marin County, Calif., are reserved for A.A. meetings once each week. Some groups meet on ships, at sea or port. To these exotic settings must be added the thousands of prosaic basements and halls in churches, community centers and hospitals where most A.A.'s inch their way back to a life of quality.

In the last decade or so, large numbers of Americans, mainly entertainers, have gone public to say they are recovered alcoholics. Almost all said their motivation, and their hope, was, by their example, to inspire still-drinking alcoholics to recover. But the great mass of membership everywhere is composed of more or less ordinary people. They are neither movie stars nor skid row bums; the great drama of their lives has not been played out in the spotlight or in squalid flophouses. These alcoholics have suffered, increasingly isolated, in bars, in their own bedrooms, or in the living rooms of friends who have become estranged by their drunken behavior. Their recovery has been worked out in private.

Over the last 50 years, the substance of A.A. - its core literature, its program of recovery and its ways of looking at life - has changed very little. But in terms of the numbers and diversity of its members, A.A. today would be unrecognizable to its pioneers. In the early years, A.A. members were almost exclusively male, white, middle-class, middle-aged and of Western extraction. They were men who had fallen very far, often from the top of their business and professions.

The A.A. of 1988 is huge, increasingly international, multiethnic, multiracial, cutting across social classes, less rigidly religious than it was in the beginning, more accepting of gay people, and of women, who now form one-third of the total North American membership and about half of the A.A. membership in big cities. Increasingly, many turn to A.A. for help in earlier stages of their disease.

A much more abrupt and spectacular trend is that young people have streamed into A.A. in the last 10 years, most of them addicted to other drugs as well as to alcohol. Dr. LeClair Bissell, the founding director of the Smithers alcoholism center, in Manhattan, expresses the consensus of the alcoholism research and treatment world when she says: "There are almost no 'pure' alcoholics among young people anymore. They are hooked on booze and other drugs, or only other drugs."

It is common now at A.A. meetings to hear a young speaker say, "My name is Joe, and I'm a drug addict and an alcoholic."

The dually addicted anger some A.A. members. One with 20 tears of sobriety says: "This fellowship was formed to help suffering alcoholics, and alcoholics only. That's why it has been so successful - we don't monkey around with other problems."

In a few communities, A.A. members have formed groups billed for those "over 30." The message is clear: No druggies wanted. This development infuriates John T. Schwarzlose, executive director of the Betty Ford Center for substance abusers in Rancho Mirage, Calif.: "A.A. is the epitome of tolerance, flexibility and inclusiveness, but some drug addicts have told me about being turned away from A.A. meetings in the Midwest and South when they say they were just addicted to drugs, Now I tell them to say they are both alcoholics and drug abusers." In the big cities and at A.A. headquarters, attitudes toward the dually addicted are much more welcoming.

For a long time, Alcoholics Anonymous was believed to be a purely North American phenomenon. It was thought that its themes of self-help and voluntarism would not transfer to more relaxed cultures. A.A.'s Ecuador-born coordinator for Hispanic groups voiced the early point of view among his Latin friends: "A.A. is O.K. for gringos, but not for us. In Latin America... if a man doesn't drink, he's not a macho." To his surprise, A.A. began to boom among Hispanics in the 1970's. Mexico's membership of 250,000 is now second only to that of the United States. Brazil, with 78,000 members, and Guatemala, with 43,000, are next-highest in Latin America.

Until recently, A.A. had been unable to gain a toe-hold in the Soviet Union or in Eastern Europe. The movement had been regarded there as possibly threatening, because of its precepts of anonymity and confidentiality, its religious overtones and the fact that it operates outside any government control. Then last summer, the Soviet Union sent to the United States four doctors specializing in addiction. They visited Alcoholism-treatment centers, the Summer School of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University and numerous A.A. meetings. When they returned home, they took back quantities of A.A. pamphlets translated for them into Russian. Still, the only Eastern European nation to embrace A.A. has been Poland. Its Government finally recognized what is called the "psychotherapeutic" value of A.A.

In the United States, those long familiar with A.A. meetings notice that there seem to be disproportionately high numbers from certain ethnic groups. "Alcoholism goes with certain cultures, such as Celtic or the Scandinavian, that approve of drinking, or at least are ambivalent about it," says Dr. Bissell. "But in some environments or religions, people don't drink on principle. These abstinent cultures in the United States include Baptists, some other Southern Protestant sects and Mormons."

For a long time, there was a widely held belief that Jews did not become alcoholics. The work of JACS - Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others - is helping to dispel that myth. Jews are present in large numbers, JACS says, at A.A. meetings in many large cities where there is a significant Jewish population. But rarely do A.A. meetings take place in synagogues or Jewish community centers.

Sheldon B., an alcoholism counselor in New York, told of how a few years ago he approached his own rabbi with the idea of opening their temple to an A.A. group. He though that Jewish members in any A.A. group might be more comfortable about accepting help in a synagogue setting than in a church. The rabbi informed him that there was no need: "There are no Jewish alcoholics." When Sheldon B. said, "But I am an alcoholic," the rabbi thought for a moment and them replied, "are you sure you know who your real father was?"

Although there are black A.A. groups and mixed racial groups in large Northern cities, the number of blacks in A.A. does not appear to reflect the race's proportion in the nation - 29 million, or 12 percent of the population.

"There is a great stigma in being black and being drunk, even recovered, a black Philadelphia teacher declared at a meeting devoted to the subject. "I made the mistake of telling my principal that I had a problem. I checked myself into a treatment center. She used a hatchet on me."

As a black Milwaukee social worker explained: "The black community is afraid that if blacks admit their alcoholics, it will reinforce the white stereotype that they are shiftless...The black community likes to think that oppression causes their alcoholism...Other oppressed minorities use the same argument. "Who wouldn't drink?" they say. "Our lives are so goddamed awful. Oblivion is the only way out of our pain."

Homosexuals are coming into A.A., and in sophisticated communities are welcomed. Some recovered alcoholics have formed all-gay groups, just as there are special groups for women, doctors, agnostics, lawyers, airline pilots and others.

"Growing up in Alabama, I was taught to hate myself," one gay member told an A.A. meeting. "I was a nigger sissy. In A.A., I learned that God loves us all. My business in A.A. is to stay sober and help you if you want it."

A.A. surveys do not inquire whether members attend religious services or if they believe in God. There are no questions about ethnic or racial origins, sexual preference or whether alcoholism runs in the family. But a family predisposition to alcoholism is reflected strikingly within A.A. Often, speakers at meetings begin: "My name is Mary, and I am an alcoholic...and my father [or mother] was an alcoholic."

Longtime A.A. members believe that it is hopeless to drag another into sobriety if the alcoholic is determined not to be helped or refuses to believe he is ill. Even so, the courts in some states are sending thousands of offenders to A.A. meetings instead of to jail. But the A.A. program sometimes catches on even with unwilling alcoholics.

There are many things outsiders believe A.A. to be that it is not. It is not a temperance organization or Prohibition society. A.A. does not want to save the world from gin. Nobody invites you to join A.A. You are a member if you say you are, or if you walk into an A.A. meeting with the thought that you have a drinking problem and you want to stop. There are no papers to sign, no pledges to take, no obligations to speak up, no arms twisted. The attitude of members toward those outside who drink moderately is, "I wish I could drink as you do, but I can't."

A.A. is not a religious cult. Some members are agnostics or atheists. Many choose to believe that their "higher power" is their A.A. group. Most members prefer to call A.A.'s program "spiritual." Yet God is mentioned directly or indirectly in five of the Twelve Steps, which A.A. uses to help heal individuals, and this sometimes repels outsiders who might otherwise be attracted. (Boiled down to six instantly understandable principles, the Twelve Step program might read: We admitted we are licked and cannot get well on our own. We get honest with ourselves. We talk it out with somebody else. We try to make amends to people we have harmed. We pray to whatever greater Power we think there is. We try to give of ourselves for our own sake and without stint to other alcoholics with no thought of reward.)

A.A. does not work for everybody. But then, nothing does. About 60 per cent of those coming to A.A. for the first time remain in A.A. after going to meetings and assiduously "working the program" for months or even years. Usually, they stay sober for good. But about 40 percent drop out. These statistics refute a widely held notion that A.A. is always successful or an "instant fix." Even so, its success rate is phenomenally high.

Freudian analysis and religious faith, for example, may be two great ways to heal the human spirit, but they do not work on their own for alcoholics. The vast majority of doctors, psychologists and members of the clergy who are familiar with A.A. as well as almost all experts in alcoholism, make A.A. their No. 1 choice for a long-term program of recovery. A.A. precepts are built into the programs of every respected intensive alcoholism treatment center in the country, including those of Hazelden in Minnesota, Smithers in New York and the Betty Ford Center. John Schwarzlose of the Betty Ford Center expresses a typical opinion. "Patients ask how important it is that they go to A.A. after they're through here. I say, 'I can give you a guarantee. When you leave here, if you don't go to A.A., you won't make it.'"

A.A. has no ties with political parties, foundations, charities or causes, nor does it sponsor research into alcoholism.

And unlike most tax-exempt organizations, A.A., whose current annual budget is $11.5 million, does no fund raising. Nor does A.A. accept money from outsiders. The funds supporting headquarters services come mainly from A.A.'s huge publishing empire, which distributes authorized literature to members.

Each group is self-supporting, passing a basket at every meeting to help pay for coffee, snacks, literature and rent for the meeting space. Those present often give a dollar. Others may just drop a coin in the basket. Some cannot give anything.

No member may donate more that $1,000 a year to A.A. Nor may a member bequeath more than $1,000, or leave property to A.A., which has never owned any real estate.

"The reason we discourage gifts and bequests," says Dennis Manders, a nonalcoholic who served for 35 years as the controller at A.A. headquarters, "is that we don't ever want some person dropping a million bucks in the A.A. hopper and saying, 'Now, I'm going to call the tune.'"

About half of the groups contribute nothing at all for headquarters services. Many members feel that carrying the expenses of their "home group" is enough. This kind of autonomy and decentralization typifies Alcoholics Anonymous.

The average A.A. member, according to surveys, attends four meetings a week. After about five years of regular attendance, some A.A.'s go to fewer and fewer meetings. They may stop altogether when they feel they are able to function comfortably without alcohol. However, some speakers at meetings are full of cautionary tales about how they drifted away from A.A. and drank again, sometimes disastrously and for long, periods of time, before returning to the fold.

The movement works in quiet and simple ways. Members usually give of themselves without reservation; exchange telephone numbers with newcomers; come to help at any hour when a fellow member is in crisis; are free with tips on how to avoid that first drink. Most people in A.A. are flexible, tolerant of eccentrics, suspicious of "rules" and "musts." The lack of ritual can be a surprise to beginners. So is the absence of confrontation, finger-pointing, blame-laying, angry debate and chronic whining.

The essence of A.A. can only be guessed at in big, showy gatherings, such as its international conventions every five years. It is in the intimacy of the neighborhood meetings that the truth, the flavor and the inkling of the reasons for A.A.'s success can be grasped. The members may meet in groups as small as 2 or 3, or as large as 200, but the usual attendance is somewhere between a dozen and 40 people. In New York City, the most active single A.A. spot anywhere, there is a choice of 1,826 listed meetings held by 724 groups every week.

As A.A. grew and diversified, the stigma of alcoholism gradually faded. There were many stages along A.A.'s road to respectability, beginning in the 1940's, that gradually transformed the public's perception of the society of recovered drunks from a butt of disbelief and even ridicule to that of an accepted and admired organization. None was more significant than the action taken by the American Medical Association. In 1956, the AMA's trustees and its House of Delegates declared that alcoholism was a disease, thereby validating a central belief of A.A., from its co-founders on, that it is a sickness, not a sin.

Now the Supreme Court of the United States is debating the legality of the issue. Last Dec. 7, the court heard a challenge by two Vietnam War Veterans against the Veterans Administration for excluding "primary alcoholism" (in which drinking itself is the root disorder) from the list of illnesses and disabilities that allow veterans more time to claim education benefits. Extensions can be granted to veterans hindered by physical or mental problems "not the result of their own willful misconduct." The justices are expected to hand down an opinion before the Court's term ends in June.

The structure of A.A. is a little harder to grasp than the disease theory of alcoholism. It is close to the truth to say that A.A. consists of a million Indians and no chiefs. And that it is less an organization than an organism that keeps splitting amoeba like, into ever more groups. If a member doesn't like how things are run in his group, he can start another one with people he finds more compatible. This has given rise to an A.A. saying: "All you need to start a new group is two drunks, a coffee pot and some resentment."

There is a structure in Alcoholics Anonymous, but it would set any conventional notion of how to run a business on its head. Basically, the local groups are boss and the board of trustees and the staff at the General Service Office are supposed to carry out their orders. The board of trustees is made up of 14 A.A. members and 7 non-alcoholics.

Although alcoholics hold all the top administrative jobs, they never handle money. A.A.'s financial operation is run by non-alcoholics. The reason is that Bill Wilson and the early A.A.'s were afraid that if anybody running A.A. fell off the wagon, that would be bad enough, but if he were handling finances as well, the results could be disastrous. The philosophy has endured.

The manner in which A.A. directs its collective affairs and sets policy can be seen most clearly - or in all its democratic confusion - at its yearly General Service Conference, the closest approximation to a governing body of A.A. About 135 people attend, including 91 delegates elected at regional A.A. assemblies in the United States and Canada. Also on hand are the trustees of the board and representatives of the head-quarter's staff.

The day-to-day business of Alcoholics Anonymous has been carried on since 1970 in a brick building at 468 Park Avenue South, in midtown Manhattan. Whatever policies are decided at the conference are carried out by the headquarters staff. Their jobs are divided into specialties such as literature, treatment centers, prisons, public information and cooperation with professionals - doctors, counselors, social workers and teachers, for example - in the alcoholism field. And just in case somebody should become overly fond of a specialty, all the top staff members, except the general manager and the Hispanic coordinator, regularly rotate jobs every two years. The same frequent rotation occurs at every level in A.A. Officers in local groups usually step down every six months.

The seven nonalcoholic trustees, who are often experts in some profession, such as medicine, law, banking or social work, serve a special need. Joan K. Jackson, a sociologist with long experience among alcoholics, explains: "We can use our full names in public. We are not perceived by outsiders as having any vested interest. Privately within A.A., our greatest function is as gadflies and questioners."

What makes A.A. headquarters run is the A.A. World Service publishing empire. It now brings in $8.8 million annually or 76 per cent of A.A.'s yearly corporate revenues. It is the cause of some trepidation among those who have taken what amounts to a vow of poverty. Each year, A.A. distributes 7 million copies of more than 40 pamphlets (mostly gratis for members), and almost a million and a half copies of 6 books and two booklets. Seven million copies of the Big Book (A.A.'s central text, published in 1939, whose formal title is "Alcoholics Anonymous") have been sold. Last year alone, about a million Big Books were purchased, virtually all of them at A.A. meetings, alcoholic rehabilitation centers or through mail orders.

At the time of his death, early in 1971, Bill Wilson was earning about $65,000 a year in royalties from the Big Book and three other books he wrote for A.A. Last year, his widow, Lois, received $912,000 in royalties. Under the terms of the agreement Bill concluded with A.A. headquarters in 1963, she was allocated 13.5 per cent of Wilson's royalties. Another 1.5 percent went to his last mistress, who died a few years after Bill.

There has been almost no negative publicity about Alcoholics Anonymous over the five decades of its history. Extensive research turns up only a handful of critical views in the press. Writing in The Nation in 1964, Jerome Ellison charged that A.A.'s conservative top councils had lost touch with the ever more diverse rank-and-file. The same year, Arthur H. Cain, a New York psychologist, in a book and articles for various magazines, called A.A. a "cult" that enslaved its members to self-righteous sobriety. Bill Wilson's reaction was typical of the man's tolerance. The co-founder trying to calm the ensuing fuss at headquarters, said: "In all the years, this is the first thorough- going criticism our fellowship ever had. So the practicing of absorbing stuff like that in good humor should be of value." It was the first public criticism, and it proved to be one of the last.

Privately within A.A., there has been a growing dissatisfaction with headquarters. Some members say staff members are becoming frozen in bureaucracy and are overly sensitive to pressure from the most rigid and narrow-minded members, particularly old-timers, who regard the Big Book and other authorized literature almost as Holy Writ.

"If anything is going to destroy A.A.," says Dr. John Norris, a nonalcoholic physician, friend of Bill Wilson's and for many years chairman of A.A.'s board of trustees, "It will be what I call the 'tradition lawyers.' They find it easier to live with black and white than they do with gray. These 'bleeding deacons' * these fundamentalists are afraid of and fight any change."

Source: The New York Times Magazine©, February 21, 1988




0 -1 0 0
1782 NMOlson@aol.com
Significant May Dates in AA History Significant May Dates in AA History 5/1/2004 3:25:00 AM

May 1


 


1941 - First Wisconsin AA meeting was held in a Milwaukee hotel.


 


May 2


 


1941 - Jacksonville, FL, newspaper reported start of a new AA group.


1941 - First meeting was held in San Bernardino, California.


 


May 3


 


1941 - First AA group formed in New Orleans, Louisiana.


1943 - Democrat Chronicle in Rochester, NY, reported first annual AA dinner at Seneca Hotel with 60 attending. 


 


May 4


 


1946 - Marty Mann explained Alcoholics Anonymous and the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism on the "We the People" radio show.


 


May 5


 


1940 - Washington, DC, Sunday Star reported formation of first AA group in the District of Columbia.


 


May 7


 


1956 - The first English AA Convention was held in Cheltenham, England.


 


May 8


 


1943 - Akron AA group had its 8th anniversary celebration with 500 present and sober.


1971 - Bill Wilson was buried in private ceremony.


 


May 10


 


1946 - Searcy W. had his last drink.  (Searcy died September 30, 2003.)


 


May 11


 


1935 - From the Mayflower Hotel, Bill Wilson called Walter Tunks who referred him to Henrietta Seiberling who introduced Bill to Dr. Bob.


 


May 12


 


1935 - Mothers' Day - Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith met for the first time in Akron, Ohio, at the home of Henrietta Seiberling.


 


May 14


 


1948 - Long Beach, California. Central Office was opened.
1998 - Sybil C., first woman to enter A.A. west of the Mississippi, died. Her date of sobriety was March 23, 1941.  Her name at the time was Sybil Maxwell, though she later opened her talks by saying, "My name is Sybil Doris Adams Stratton Hart Maxwell Willis C., and I'm an alcoholic."


 


May 15


 


1961 - Bill Wilson's mother, Emiliy Strobell, died.


 


May 16


 


1941 - Ruth Hock learned that Joe W. (credited with coming up with the name Alcoholics Anonymous) had a "wet brain."


 


May 17


 


1942 - The Journal-Herald in Dayton, Ohio, ran a story on A.A. with photos of members in Halloween masks to protect their anonymity.


 


May 18


 


1950 - Dr. Bob told Bill "I reckon we ought to be buried like other folks" after hearing that local A.A.'s wanted a huge memorial.


 


May 19


 


2000 - Dr. Paul Ohliger died at the age of 83.  His story, "Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict," was retitled "Acceptance Was the Answer," in the 4th edition.  



May 22


 


1948 - Atlantic City Group celebrated its second anniversary with Dr. C. Nelson Davis of St. Luke's Hospital, Philadelphia, and other A.A.s speaking.


 


May 28


 


1974 - The first World Service meeting of AA outside of America was held in London.


 


May 29


 


1980 -  "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers," AAWS biography of AA co-founder and a history of early Mid-


west AA, was published. 


 


May 31


 


1938 - Bill and other AA's began writing the Big Book.


__________


 


Other May events for which we have no specific date:


 


1939 - Clarence Snyder told Dr. Bob, his sponsor, he would not be back to the Oxford Group meetings in Akron and would start an "A.A." meeting in Cleveland.


1942 - Richmond Walker, author of "Twenty-Four Hours a Day," had his last drink.


1946 - Long Form of Twelve Traditions was published in the AA Grapevine.


1946 - The AA Grapevine announced:  "AA has 6,000 members in 180 groups."


1947 - Avalon, California (Catalina Island Group) was formed.
1948 - The AA Grapevine reported $2.00 was sent to the General Service headquarters of AA in New York, asking for a bottle of Alcoholics Anonymous. 


1951 - Al-Anon was founded by Lois Wilson and Anne B.


 


0 -1 0 0
1783 kankakeebern
A MINOR HISTORY OF AA IN KANKAKEE, ILLINOIS A MINOR HISTORY OF AA IN KANKAKEE, ILLINOIS 5/2/2004 10:27:00 PM


(Kankakee is about 60 miles south of Chicago)

According to an article published in the Kankakee Journal in

December, 1958, A.A. here had endured 10 years in October of 1958. In

1948 a man named Doc Mills went up to Evanston to the Georgian Hotel

to hear Bill W. speak. He wanted to try the program here so he and

three others met at the courthouse the first time. As others joined,

they met once a week at different homes or wherever they could do it.

This first group was listed with G.S.O. in 1949 as the Kankakee Kounty

Kourthouse Group with 5 members. They tried to get churches to meet

in, but the churches would have no part of it. They met at the St.

Rose School in one corner of the gym while the basketball team

practiced at the other end. They met at a roller rink that used to be

where the old Radeke Brewery was. They met in a tavern storeroom on

south Washington. They met at the Salvation Army. They met in DeSelm

at a fellow's house who had a farm spraying business.

Whoever was elected chairman got the Book and coffee pot and was in

charge. It was an honor that they thought that much of you. They

didn't have a lot of meetings but they spent a lot of time with one

another. They were a close knit group. At the time, if one was in

trouble, the other ones were there. By 1950 there were 12 members.



Uncle Billie came in later for a while and he was sober for about a

year, but he went back out. He came back and stayed straight. Uncle

Billie was chairing a meeting at the Salvation Army with four others.

They were paying the Salvation Army five dollars for the meeting.

They passed the basket and there were only four dollars in it. He

said, "Well, we don't have enough." The other members said there would

be if he had put his dollar in. He had forgotten to put his money in.

Uncle Billy kept it going, because he was home during the day.

If they had a Twelfth Step call they ended up over at Uncle Billie's

kitchen with coffee. It grew slowly in the beginning, from six to nine

to 12 members.

Every once in a while they would take a big trip. One time they got

together to go to Indianapolis to hear Father John Doe talk. Three or

four of them would get together and go to Danville or Chicago or

another place for an out-of-town meeting. (This was before the

Interstate Highways we take for granted now.)

It was in 1972 they thought they had enough members to rent space on

Durham St. in Bradley for a meeting place and Alano Club. They ended

up with the space next to it being donated bcause the landlord didn't

have any luck renting it.

The late John Hefner came here from Chicago in 1960 to start an

alcohol rehab unit at Kankakee State Hospital. In 1984 They purchased

a building on East River Street for an Alano Club for meetings. As a

postscript, Doc Mills never did stay sober. Besides Kankakee, Bradley

and DeSelm, there were members from Momence and Bonfield.

(from interviews with Spike V. and John H.)


0 -1 0 0
1784 Lash, William (Bill)
One Page At A Time (2004) One Page At A Time (2004) 5/4/2004 5:25:00 PM

One Page At a Time
Susan Cheever's Chilling Glimpse of AA's Tormented 'Saint'
By David Von Drehle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 3, 2004; Page C01


During her research for a biography of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill
Wilson, author Susan Cheever dug through the just-opened archives at Stepping
Stones, Wilson's longtime home outside New York City. Alongside an archivist,
she sifted reams of material that had not been looked at in decades.

One day, the archivist handed her a sheaf of wide, green-lined pages -- hourly
logs kept by the nurses who tended Wilson on his deathbed.

Cheever glanced at them. They seemed mundane.

"Keep reading," the archivist urged her.

Cheever came to the pages covering Christmas 1970. On the eve of the holiday,
Bill Wilson passed a fitful night. A lifelong smoker, he had been fighting
emphysema for years, and now he was losing the battle. Nurse James Dannenberg
was on duty in the last hour before dawn. At 6:10 a.m. on Christmas morning,
according to Dannenberg's notes, the man who sobered up millions "asked for
three shots of whiskey."

He was quite upset when he didn't get them, Cheever writes.

Wilson asked for booze again about a week later, on Jan. 2, 1971.

And on Jan. 8.

And on Jan. 14.

"My blood ran cold," Cheever said recently of the discovery. "I was shocked and
horrified." With time to ponder, though, she found herself thinking, "Of course
he wanted a drink. He was the one who talked about sobriety being 'a daily
remission.' I realized that this was a story about the power of alcohol: that
even Bill Wilson, the man who invented sobriety, who had 30-plus years sober,
still wanted a drink."

In the Big Book, as AA's foundation text is known, Wilson recalled the time in
1934 when doctors concluded that he was a hopeless drunk and told his wife that
there was no cure, apart from the asylum or the grave. "They did not need to
tell me," he added. "I knew, and almost welcomed the idea."

On Jan. 24, 1971, the man known modestly to legions of alcoholics as "Bill W."
was finally cured.

Powerless Over Alcohol

Cheever's discovery, reported in her book "My Name Is Bill," doesn't really
change what little we know about alcoholism, a cruel, confounding and mysterious
disease. It doesn't really change what we know about Wilson, a rough-hewn and
unorthodox American saint sketched by Cheever in all his chain-smoking,
womanizing, Ouija-board-reading, acid-tripping holiness.

But it might change, at least a bit, the way some of us think about miracles --
the shelf life of miracles, the limited warranty they carry, and how
high-maintenance they are. Miracles come in Bill Wilson's story, but always with
strings attached. They are a bequest -- but not like an annuity that pays out
endlessly and effortlessly. More like an old mansion, precious and beautiful,
but demanding endless, unglamorous upkeep.

The miracle of Wilson's sobriety -- and the birth of AA -- arrived like
something out of the Old Testament. It was 1934, late in the year, when the
doctors had given up on Bill. Booze, which once put its arm around his shoulder,
now had its jaws around his throat. A smart, handsome, charming man, Wilson had
become the kind of drunk who could set off one morning to play golf and awaken a
day later outside his house, unsure how he got there, with his head bleeding
mysteriously and his unused clubs still at his side. "The more he decided not to
drink," Cheever writes, "the more irresistible drink seemed to become."

So for the third time, Wilson checked himself into a private hospital in New
York that specialized in drying out "rum hounds," as he called himself. He knew
what to expect: doses of barbiturates, assorted bitter herbs, castor oil and
other purgatives, vomiting, tremors and depression. He also knew it probably
would not work, that just about every hard case like him went back to drinking
after being discharged.

The prospect was so dismal that Wilson picked up a few bottles of beer for the
cab ride.

Wilson had a friend named Ebby Thatcher, another alcoholic, who had a friend
named Roland Hazard, yet another drunk, who was wealthy enough to seek help from
the eminent psychiatrist Carl Jung in Switzerland. When Jung realized how
serious Hazard's drinking problem was, he told his patient that the only hope
was a religious conversion -- in Jung's experience, nothing else worked. The
American psychologist William James had arrived at a similar conclusion,
declaring in "The Varieties of Religious Experience" that "the only cure for
dipsomania is religiomania."

Well, by God, Hazard got religion and sobered up, for a while. He preached this
approach to Thatcher, and Thatcher in turn proselytized Wilson.

"I was in favor of practically everything he had to say except one thing,"
Wilson later recalled of his conversations with Thatcher. "I was not in favor of
God."

After a couple of days at Towns Hospital, Bill Wilson was past the d.t.'s and
feeling really low. Science could do nothing for him. He now realized that he
couldn't kick the booze by himself. Yet he was unable to believe in the only
power experts knew of to save a drunk.

Then:

"Like a child crying out in the dark, I said, 'If there is a Father, if there is
a God, will he show himself?' And the place lit up in a great glare, a wondrous
white light. Then I began to have images, in the mind's eyes, so to speak, and
one came in which I seemed to see myself standing on a mountain and a great
clean wind was blowing, and this blowing at first went around and then it seemed
to go through me. And then the ecstasy redoubled and I found myself exclaiming,
'I am a free man! So this is the God of the preachers!' And little by little the
ecstasy subsided and I found myself in a new world of consciousness."

Wilson never had another drink.

Carry This Message

Brimming with vision and new consciousness, Wilson blew back into the familiar
world as if everything had changed -- not just for him, but for all of creation.
He bragged that he was going to save every drunk in the world. He went
scavenging for men to preach to, finding them in missions and hospitals and
jails and among his own drinking buddies. Some of his targets thought he sounded
an awful lot like the Bible-brandishing temperance ladies he had rebelled
against as a young man. He discovered that many alcoholics were "not in favor of
God" -- God was an authority figure and drunks don't deal well with authority.

"This doesn't work," he despaired to his wife, Lois. She reminded him that he
was keeping at least one drunk sober -- himself.

But within months, even that project was at risk. Having been blinded like Saul
on the road to Damascus, he now had his sight back and -- as often happens to
the miraculously enlightened -- was discovering little by little that he was
much the same as before.

Tempted while on a business trip in Akron, Ohio, Wilson fought off the bottle by
cold-calling churches from the hotel directory in search of a drunk to help. One
call led him to an alcoholic surgeon named Bob Smith. Initially, Smith objected
to being saved -- this was after one of those sad-but-hilarious tales that give
a sort of rosy glow to a truly savage disease: Wilson's first scheduled
encounter with Smith was called off after the doctor staggered home blotto
carrying an enormous potted plant for no discernible reason. He deposited the
non sequitur before his bewildered wife, then passed out.

The next day, when they finally met, Wilson answered Smith's reluctance by
saying that he wasn't there for Smith, he was there for Bill Wilson. This was a
key insight in the development of AA -- the realization that helping another
drunk is key to staying sober oneself. It reflected Wilson's new humility about
his wondrous white light and great clean wind. Before, he was trying to work
miracles in the lives of others. Now, he was just trying to maintain the miracle
in his own.

And it worked. After one relapse, Smith, who had been drinking even longer and
harder than Wilson, got sober. Bill W. and Dr. Bob shared the story of their
recoveries with more drunks in this same spirit. Some of those men and women got
sober themselves, and reached out to still others. And so on, down through the
years and out around the planet to the largely anonymous millions of today, who
range from celebrities to legislators to schoolteachers to busboys, from a
former first lady to the businessman striding down the sidewalk to the desperate
soul working on a second sober sunrise. AA is now so widespread and well known
that creators of the children's movie "Finding Nemo" could playfully include a
12-step meeting for fish-addicted sharks, confident that every parent in the
global reach of Disney would get the joke.

It's impossible to know exactly how many people have tried AA, how many stayed
sober, how many attend meetings and how often. The group is not only anonymous,
it is non-hierarchical, nondenominational, non-centralized, nonpartisan.
According to the Twelve Traditions that govern AA, there is no requirement for
membership except a desire to stop drinking, and the group endorses no cause
apart from that one. All it takes to convene an AA meeting is two alcoholics who
feel like talking, and the tone of the meetings is as varied as the people who
choose to attend. Group consensus rules in all things, so in any good-size city
there are smoking meetings and nonsmoking meetings, meetings for early risers
and for night owls, meetings mostly populated by long-timers and meetings more
oriented to the newly sober.

The 12 Steps and decentralized structure have proved so effective and popular
that other groups have copied the template for dealing with other problems:
Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and so forth. But
AA has never branched out. Getting and staying sober has been labor enough.

Unlike many spiritual visionaries, Wilson came to understand "that when he heard
the voice of God, it was often just the voice of Bill Wilson," as Cheever puts
it. And so, in the now-famous catechism that he created, AA members are pledged
simply to turn their will and lives over to "the care of God as we understood
him," with italics right there in the Big Book. Prospective converts are often
assured that they may take as their God the nearest radiator if that's what
works for them. Almighty God with the white beard, or a gentle breeze in the
treetops, or the sublime engineering of a molecule, or the vastness of space, or
the love of friends, or the power of the AA meeting itself: Choose your own
Infinite.

Whatever works.

In the can-do land of the bottom line, even our spirituality tends to be
results-oriented.

But the language of AA plays provocatively with a simple word: "work." In one
sense, sobriety is something that just happens, much like Wilson's great clean
wind. It is a gift from the Higher Power to the alcoholic. At the same time,
"work" means work, as in tangible, sometimes even grudging, effort. In the early
days, Bill W. and Dr. Bob would sit in the Smith parlor refining their
drunk-saving techniques, and often Smith's wife, Anne, read aloud from the
Bible. They were partial to the Epistle of James, which reminded them that
"faith without works is dead." AA members speak of "working the steps," and many
meetings end with the affirmation that "it works if you work it."

This means returning again and again to the state of mind and the exercises that
constitute the upkeep on each miracle of sobriety. Beginning with the admission
that they are powerless over alcohol and continuing through labors of humility,
repentance, meditation and service, AA members maintain the dam that holds back
the obliterating tide of booze from their lives.

A Friend of Bill W.

Cheever is a forthright woman with a big laugh and no immediately obvious
illusions, a hard-working writer who publishes books like clockwork, pens a
column for Newsday and teaches at Bennington College. She decided to write about
Wilson because "I loved him. I loved how he changed the world without knowing
it, just as a way to stop drinking himself. I loved his Yankeeness," by which
she seems to mean a range of qualities, from the Emersonian flinty optimism, to
the unsentimental practicality, to the hovering dark clouds and the weirdo
seances, which she calls his "table-tapping after dark."

No doubt she also loved Wilson for the fact that his miracle, worked and
reworked through the long chain of drunks, touched her own family, late in the
life of her father, the short-story artist John Cheever. Booze was the lubricant
of Cheever's masterpieces. He was the poet laureate of postwar suburbia, in
which hope, striving, lust and angst were all refracted through the bottom of a
cocktail glass.

But what was symbol and atmosphere in his stories was toxic in John Cheever's
life, as his daughter explained in her acclaimed memoirs "Home Before Dark," and
booze washed into Susan Cheever's life as well. In her book "Note Found in a
Bottle," she recalls learning to mix a martini by the age of 6, and doing plenty
of drinking as an adult. Susan Cheever now speaks of her father's AA years as an
amazing gift to the whole family, not a gift of bliss so much as a gift of
simple reality. When a drunk enters the unreal world of his illness, he takes
his family and friends with him.

Her homage to the family benefactor is pro-Wilson but not hagiographic. "I like
to take saints and make them into people," she explains. She touches the
spiritual bases in her portrait of Wilson, but seems more moved by the concrete
elements. Over lunch at a Manhattan bistro, she recalls her first visit to
Wilson's boyhood home in East Dorset, Vt., not far from the Bennington campus.
Cheever noticed the low ceiling of the stairway leading to Wilson's room, and
caught a glimpse in her mind's eyes, so to speak, of the gangly boy having to
duck his head each time he passed.

"And I was him," for that moment, she says. "I understood what it was to be a
depressed 10-year-old boy trapped in that house" after his parents had abandoned
him to his remote and austere grandparents.

It's not easy making a spiritual figure compelling and real without slipping
into iconoclasm. Cheever's approach is to apply a writerly version of Wilson's
humility. She gets the goods on his serial adultery, for instance, but declines
to make too much of it. "He was engaged to Lois when he was 18 -- hello!"
Cheever says. "They were married 53 years. All we really know is that they were
friends through an amazing life. He was a good-enough husband."

Likewise, she can look into Wilson's LSD experiment with proto-hippie Aldous
Huxley without getting mired in a puritanical inquisition into whether this
constituted a "slip" in his sobriety or hypocrisy in his creed.

This attitude allows Cheever to see that Wilson's inconsistencies and quirks
weren't blemishes on his record -- they were the essence of a flawed man who was
endlessly seeking what works. "Again and again, his intuitions were wrong,"
Cheever says. "But he wasn't interested in problems. He was interested in
solutions." Most of the key traditions of AA operations, including its
independence, anonymity and governance-by-consensus, ran counter to Wilson's
personal disposition. "He wanted fame and fortune, but somehow was able to
figure out that AA would have to be a group in which nobody represents it,
nobody speaks for it and nobody's in charge of it."

Sobering Reality

The striking thing about Wilson's story -- which only settles in upon reflection
-- is how hard his life was even after he sobered up.

What, really, had that bright light and clean wind changed? He and Lois remained
penniless, even homeless, for years. Sometimes it seemed that AA was determined
to keep him poor forever. He had a chance to cash in by allying his message with
a particular hospital, but his fledgling flock forbade him to do it. He harbored
hope that John D. Rockefeller Jr. would lavish money on him, but instead
Rockefeller came through with a tiny stipend. Alcoholics Anonymous struggled for
six long and underwhelming years before catching its crucial break: a glowing
article in the Saturday Evening Post.

Then, as the group flourished, Wilson was attacked by jealous colleagues and
abandoned by old friends. He sank into a crushing depression, and "often just
sat for hours with his head on the desk or with his head in his hands," Cheever
writes. "When he raised his head, he was sometimes weeping." Wilson liked
children but was childless. Cigarettes were killing him but he couldn't stop
smoking.

He wrote of "being swamped with guilt and self-loathing . . . often getting a
misshapen and painful pleasure out of it."

It was enough to drive a man to drink.

Yet for 36-plus years of this troubled and very human life, he was able to
resist that next drink. Perhaps the most efficacious miracles are the small
ones. And because "his mind was the right lens" and his will was "the right
machine," in Cheever's words, for mass-producing that limited but crucial
victory, Bill Wilson's miracle keeps working, one person and one day at a time.


© 2004 The Washington Post Company


Of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson, Cheever says, "He changed the world
without knowing it, just as a way to stop drinking himself." (Helayne Seidman
For The Washington Post)


0 -1 0 0
1785 wbmscm
One Solitary Voice by Jack B...any info.? One Solitary Voice by Jack B...any info.? 5/4/2004 6:43:00 PM


Does anyone have any information on a gentlemen by the name of Jack

B. who wrote a publication called "One Solitary Voice"?


0 -1 0 0
1786 Arthur Sheehan
Re: One Page At A Time (2004) One Page At A Time (2004) 5/6/2004 10:40:00 AM









I found Cheever's book to be a big disappointment - not based its so-called "revelations" but from numerous factual errors in the material. Having read most of the books cited in its bibliography, I don't get the sense Cheever studied them very thoroughly. The book is acclaimed to be well researched but I don’t get a sense that it measures up to those claims. I'm somewhat tempted to develop an itemized list of its errors (they are not trivial).





Outside of revealing a letter from Bill that his first drink was a beer (a few weeks or so before drinking a Bronx cocktail) I didn't see anything that hadn't appeared elsewhere. In regards to Bill asking for whiskey on his death bed, the delirious comments of a dying man should not be projected as being representative of anything other than the delirious comments of a dying man.





Regrettably there are those who persist in wanting to elevate Bill to demigod status and deprive him of his human fallibility. All things considered, despite his infidelities, séances, LSD, niacin, smoking himself to death, etc., etc., Bill's shortcomings do not need to be either rationalized or vilified. Bill left a priceless legacy of recovery, unity and service that has saved the lives of countless millions since 1935. That legacy gets obscured by what seems to be a disturbing and ever-increasing trend these days to churn out titillating exposés and editorials masquerading as well-researched biographies.





Arthur





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


From: Lash, William (Bill) "wlash@avaya.com"


Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 5:25 PM


Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] One Page At A Time (2004)





One Page At a Time
Susan Cheever's Chilling Glimpse of AA's Tormented 'Saint'
By David Von Drehle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 3, 2004; Page C01


During her research for a biography of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill
Wilson, author Susan Cheever dug through the just-opened archives at Stepping
Stones, Wilson's longtime home outside New York City. Alongside an archivist,
she sifted reams of material that had not been looked at in decades.

One day, the archivist handed her a sheaf of wide, green-lined pages -- hourly
logs kept by the nurses who tended Wilson on his deathbed.

Cheever glanced at them. They seemed mundane.

"Keep reading," the archivist urged her.

Cheever came to the pages covering Christmas 1970. On the eve of the holiday,
Bill Wilson passed a fitful night. A lifelong smoker, he had been fighting
emphysema for years, and now he was losing the battle. Nurse James Dannenberg
was on duty in the last hour before dawn. At 6:10 a.m. on Christmas morning,
according to Dannenberg's notes, the man who sobered up millions "asked for
three shots of whiskey."

He was quite upset when he didn't get them, Cheever writes.

Wilson asked for booze again about a week later, on Jan. 2, 1971.

And on Jan. 8.

And on Jan. 14.

"My blood ran cold," Cheever said recently of the discovery. "I was shocked and
horrified." With time to ponder, though, she found herself thinking, "Of course
he wanted a drink. He was the one who talked about sobriety being 'a daily
remission.' I realized that this was a story about the power of alcohol: that
even Bill Wilson, the man who invented sobriety, who had 30-plus years sober,
still wanted a drink."

In the Big Book, as AA's foundation text is known, Wilson recalled the time in
1934 when doctors concluded that he was a hopeless drunk and told his wife that
there was no cure, apart from the asylum or the grave. "They did not need to
tell me," he added. "I knew, and almost welcomed the idea."

On Jan. 24, 1971, the man known modestly to legions of alcoholics as "Bill W."
was finally cured.

Powerless Over Alcohol

Cheever's discovery, reported in her book "My Name Is Bill," doesn't really
change what little we know about alcoholism, a cruel, confounding and mysterious
disease. It doesn't really change what we know about Wilson, a rough-hewn and
unorthodox American saint sketched by Cheever in all his chain-smoking,
womanizing, Ouija-board-reading, acid-tripping holiness.

But it might change, at least a bit, the way some of us think about miracles --
the shelf life of miracles, the limited warranty they carry, and how
high-maintenance they are. Miracles come in Bill Wilson's story, but always with
strings attached. They are a bequest -- but not like an annuity that pays out
endlessly and effortlessly. More like an old mansion, precious and beautiful,
but demanding endless, unglamorous upkeep.

The miracle of Wilson's sobriety -- and the birth of AA -- arrived like
something out of the Old Testament. It was 1934, late in the year, when the
doctors had given up on Bill. Booze, which once put its arm around his shoulder,
now had its jaws around his throat. A smart, handsome, charming man, Wilson had
become the kind of drunk who could set off one morning to play golf and awaken a
day later outside his house, unsure how he got there, with his head bleeding
mysteriously and his unused clubs still at his side. "The more he decided not to
drink," Cheever writes, "the more irresistible drink seemed to become."

So for the third time, Wilson checked himself into a private hospital in New
York that specialized in drying out "rum hounds," as he called himself. He knew
what to expect: doses of barbiturates, assorted bitter herbs, castor oil and
other purgatives, vomiting, tremors and depression. He also knew it probably
would not work, that just about every hard case like him went back to drinking
after being discharged.

The prospect was so dismal that Wilson picked up a few bottles of beer for the
cab ride.

Wilson had a friend named Ebby Thatcher, another alcoholic, who had a friend
named Roland Hazard, yet another drunk, who was wealthy enough to seek help from
the eminent psychiatrist Carl Jung in Switzerland. When Jung realized how
serious Hazard's drinking problem was, he told his patient that the only hope
was a religious conversion -- in Jung's experience, nothing else worked. The
American psychologist William James had arrived at a similar conclusion,
declaring in "The Varieties of Religious Experience" that "the only cure for
dipsomania is religiomania."

Well, by God, Hazard got religion and sobered up, for a while. He preached this
approach to Thatcher, and Thatcher in turn proselytized Wilson.

"I was in favor of practically everything he had to say except one thing,"
Wilson later recalled of his conversations with Thatcher. "I was not in favor of
God."

After a couple of days at Towns Hospital, Bill Wilson was past the d.t.'s and
feeling really low. Science could do nothing for him. He now realized that he
couldn't kick the booze by himself. Yet he was unable to believe in the only
power experts knew of to save a drunk.

Then:

"Like a child crying out in the dark, I said, 'If there is a Father, if there is
a God, will he show himself?' And the place lit up in a great glare, a wondrous
white light. Then I began to have images, in the mind's eyes, so to speak, and
one came in which I seemed to see myself standing on a mountain and a great
clean wind was blowing, and this blowing at first went around and then it seemed
to go through me. And then the ecstasy redoubled and I found myself exclaiming,
'I am a free man! So this is the God of the preachers!' And little by little the
ecstasy subsided and I found myself in a new world of consciousness."

Wilson never had another drink.

Carry This Message

Brimming with vision and new consciousness, Wilson blew back into the familiar
world as if everything had changed -- not just for him, but for all of creation.
He bragged that he was going to save every drunk in the world. He went
scavenging for men to preach to, finding them in missions and hospitals and
jails and among his own drinking buddies. Some of his targets thought he sounded
an awful lot like the Bible-brandishing temperance ladies he had rebelled
against as a young man. He discovered that many alcoholics were "not in favor of
God" -- God was an authority figure and drunks don't deal well with authority.

"This doesn't work," he despaired to his wife, Lois. She reminded him that he
was keeping at least one drunk sober -- himself.

But within months, even that project was at risk. Having been blinded like Saul
on the road to Damascus, he now had his sight back and -- as often happens to
the miraculously enlightened -- was discovering little by little that he was
much the same as before.

Tempted while on a business trip in Akron, Ohio, Wilson fought off the bottle by
cold-calling churches from the hotel directory in search of a drunk to help. One
call led him to an alcoholic surgeon named Bob Smith. Initially, Smith objected
to being saved -- this was after one of those sad-but-hilarious tales that give
a sort of rosy glow to a truly savage disease: Wilson's first scheduled
encounter with Smith was called off after the doctor staggered home blotto
carrying an enormous potted plant for no discernible reason. He deposited the
non sequitur before his bewildered wife, then passed out.

The next day, when they finally met, Wilson answered Smith's reluctance by
saying that he wasn't there for Smith, he was there for Bill Wilson. This was a
key insight in the development of AA -- the realization that helping another
drunk is key to staying sober oneself. It reflected Wilson's new humility about
his wondrous white light and great clean wind. Before, he was trying to work
miracles in the lives of others. Now, he was just trying to maintain the miracle
in his own.

And it worked. After one relapse, Smith, who had been drinking even longer and
harder than Wilson, got sober. Bill W. and Dr. Bob shared the story of their
recoveries with more drunks in this same spirit. Some of those men and women got
sober themselves, and reached out to still others. And so on, down through the
years and out around the planet to the largely anonymous millions of today, who
range from celebrities to legislators to schoolteachers to busboys, from a
former first lady to the businessman striding down the sidewalk to the desperate
soul working on a second sober sunrise. AA is now so widespread and well known
that creators of the children's movie "Finding Nemo" could playfully include a
12-step meeting for fish-addicted sharks, confident that every parent in the
global reach of Disney would get the joke.

It's impossible to know exactly how many people have tried AA, how many stayed
sober, how many attend meetings and how often. The group is not only anonymous,
it is non-hierarchical, nondenominational, non-centralized, nonpartisan.
According to the Twelve Traditions that govern AA, there is no requirement for
membership except a desire to stop drinking, and the group endorses no cause
apart from that one. All it takes to convene an AA meeting is two alcoholics who
feel like talking, and the tone of the meetings is as varied as the people who
choose to attend. Group consensus rules in all things, so in any good-size city
there are smoking meetings and nonsmoking meetings, meetings for early risers
and for night owls, meetings mostly populated by long-timers and meetings more
oriented to the newly sober.

The 12 Steps and decentralized structure have proved so effective and popular
that other groups have copied the template for dealing with other problems:
Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and so forth. But
AA has never branched out. Getting and staying sober has been labor enough.

Unlike many spiritual visionaries, Wilson came to understand "that when he heard
the voice of God, it was often just the voice of Bill Wilson," as Cheever puts
it. And so, in the now-famous catechism that he created, AA members are pledged
simply to turn their will and lives over to "the care of God as we understood
him," with italics right there in the Big Book. Prospective converts are often
assured that they may take as their God the nearest radiator if that's what
works for them. Almighty God with the white beard, or a gentle breeze in the
treetops, or the sublime engineering of a molecule, or the vastness of space, or
the love of friends, or the power of the AA meeting itself: Choose your own
Infinite.

Whatever works.

In the can-do land of the bottom line, even our spirituality tends to be
results-oriented.

But the language of AA plays provocatively with a simple word: "work." In one
sense, sobriety is something that just happens, much like Wilson's great clean
wind. It is a gift from the Higher Power to the alcoholic. At the same time,
"work" means work, as in tangible, sometimes even grudging, effort. In the early
days, Bill W. and Dr. Bob would sit in the Smith parlor refining their
drunk-saving techniques, and often Smith's wife, Anne, read aloud from the
Bible. They were partial to the Epistle of James, which reminded them that
"faith without works is dead." AA members speak of "working the steps," and many
meetings end with the affirmation that "it works if you work it."

This means returning again and again to the state of mind and the exercises that
constitute the upkeep on each miracle of sobriety. Beginning with the admission
that they are powerless over alcohol and continuing through labors of humility,
repentance, meditation and service, AA members maintain the dam that holds back
the obliterating tide of booze from their lives.

A Friend of Bill W.

Cheever is a forthright woman with a big laugh and no immediately obvious
illusions, a hard-working writer who publishes books like clockwork, pens a
column for Newsday and teaches at Bennington College. She decided to write about
Wilson because "I loved him. I loved how he changed the world without knowing
it, just as a way to stop drinking himself. I loved his Yankeeness," by which
she seems to mean a range of qualities, from the Emersonian flinty optimism, to
the unsentimental practicality, to the hovering dark clouds and the weirdo
seances, which she calls his "table-tapping after dark."

No doubt she also loved Wilson for the fact that his miracle, worked and
reworked through the long chain of drunks, touched her own family, late in the
life of her father, the short-story artist John Cheever. Booze was the lubricant
of Cheever's masterpieces. He was the poet laureate of postwar suburbia, in
which hope, striving, lust and angst were all refracted through the bottom of a
cocktail glass.

But what was symbol and atmosphere in his stories was toxic in John Cheever's
life, as his daughter explained in her acclaimed memoirs "Home Before Dark," and
booze washed into Susan Cheever's life as well. In her book "Note Found in a
Bottle," she recalls learning to mix a martini by the age of 6, and doing plenty
of drinking as an adult. Susan Cheever now speaks of her father's AA years as an
amazing gift to the whole family, not a gift of bliss so much as a gift of
simple reality. When a drunk enters the unreal world of his illness, he takes
his family and friends with him.

Her homage to the family benefactor is pro-Wilson but not hagiographic. "I like
to take saints and make them into people," she explains. She touches the
spiritual bases in her portrait of Wilson, but seems more moved by the concrete
elements. Over lunch at a Manhattan bistro, she recalls her first visit to
Wilson's boyhood home in East Dorset, Vt., not far from the Bennington campus.
Cheever noticed the low ceiling of the stairway leading to Wilson's room, and
caught a glimpse in her mind's eyes, so to speak, of the gangly boy having to
duck his head each time he passed.

"And I was him," for that moment, she says. "I understood what it was to be a
depressed 10-year-old boy trapped in that house" after his parents had abandoned
him to his remote and austere grandparents.

It's not easy making a spiritual figure compelling and real without slipping
into iconoclasm. Cheever's approach is to apply a writerly version of Wilson's
humility. She gets the goods on his serial adultery, for instance, but declines
to make too much of it. "He was engaged to Lois when he was 18 -- hello!"
Cheever says. "They were married 53 years. All we really know is that they were
friends through an amazing life. He was a good-enough husband."

Likewise, she can look into Wilson's LSD experiment with proto-hippie Aldous
Huxley without getting mired in a puritanical inquisition into whether this
constituted a "slip" in his sobriety or hypocrisy in his creed.

This attitude allows Cheever to see that Wilson's inconsistencies and quirks
weren't blemishes on his record -- they were the essence of a flawed man who was
endlessly seeking what works. "Again and again, his intuitions were wrong,"
Cheever says. "But he wasn't interested in problems. He was interested in
solutions." Most of the key traditions of AA operations, including its
independence, anonymity and governance-by-consensus, ran counter to Wilson's
personal disposition. "He wanted fame and fortune, but somehow was able to
figure out that AA would have to be a group in which nobody represents it,
nobody speaks for it and nobody's in charge of it."

Sobering Reality

The striking thing about Wilson's story -- which only settles in upon reflection
-- is how hard his life was even after he sobered up.

What, really, had that bright light and clean wind changed? He and Lois remained
penniless, even homeless, for years. Sometimes it seemed that AA was determined
to keep him poor forever. He had a chance to cash in by allying his message with
a particular hospital, but his fledgling flock forbade him to do it. He harbored
hope that John D. Rockefeller Jr. would lavish money on him, but instead
Rockefeller came through with a tiny stipend. Alcoholics Anonymous struggled for
six long and underwhelming years before catching its crucial break: a glowing
article in the Saturday Evening Post.

Then, as the group flourished, Wilson was attacked by jealous colleagues and
abandoned by old friends. He sank into a crushing depression, and "often just
sat for hours with his head on the desk or with his head in his hands," Cheever
writes. "When he raised his head, he was sometimes weeping." Wilson liked
children but was childless. Cigarettes were killing him but he couldn't stop
smoking.

He wrote of "being swamped with guilt and self-loathing . . . often getting a
misshapen and painful pleasure out of it."

It was enough to drive a man to drink.

Yet for 36-plus years of this troubled and very human life, he was able to
resist that next drink. Perhaps the most efficacious miracles are the small
ones. And because "his mind was the right lens" and his will was "the right
machine," in Cheever's words, for mass-producing that limited but crucial
victory, Bill Wilson's miracle keeps working, one person and one day at a time.


© 2004 The Washington Post Company


Of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson, Cheever says, "He changed the world
without knowing it, just as a way to stop drinking himself." (Helayne Seidman
For The Washington Post)


0 -1 0 0
1788 Jim K.
Re: One Solitary Voice by Jack B...any info.? One Solitary Voice by Jack B...any info.? 5/6/2004 7:25:00 AM


Jack B got sober in 1942 in the southern Westchester county area

just north of New York City. Before relocating to Perth, Australia

in the late 1970s, he was associated with "The Cops and Robbers" of

Westchester AA [oldtimers from the era of 1950-80 in Westchester]

and notably at the Sobriety Unlimited Group on Gramatan Avenue in

Mt. Vernon, NY. As an aside: this group keeps a fully decorated

Christmas tree in the meeting room 365 days per year. Sobriety is

like Christmas everyday! It never stops giving!



Jack was well known for his emphasis on the physical aspects of our

disease which is chronicled in his pamphlet published in 1968 - "One

Solitary Voice". He used to go to area meetings with a contraption

known as "The Monster". Roughly it was a representation of the body,

it's organs, and the physical interrelations between the alcohol

intake in an alcoholic and the effect it has on the brain and body

of an alcoholic.



Jack passed in the mid 1980's if I recall correctly. He was a good

friend of my mom's [Margette Grandy/Hartzell (deceased) of Maryknoll

Group] and of Jim B. of Lincolndale.



I still have photocopies of "One Solitary Voice", [someone made off

with the original sometime ago] which I pass on to newcomers as it

helps to explain the physical dimension of alcoholism which isn't

discussed in many meetings these days.



Glenn K. Audiotapes of Long Island has a recording of Jack at the

Blackstone Retreat.



Jim K.

The Into Action Group

Manhattan, NY



--- In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com, "wbmscm" <mclean.w@c...>

wrote:

> Does anyone have any information on a gentlemen by the name of

Jack

> B. who wrote a publication called "One Solitary Voice"?


0 -1 0 0
1801 NMOlson@aol.com
Chip system, etc. -- Compilation Chip system, etc. -- Compilation 5/12/2004 4:37:00 PM

This is a compilation of previous posts which have been deleted.  


 


Nancy


 


From:  "pete_geilich" <pete_geilich@yahoo.com>
Date:  Thu May 6, 2004  3:00 pm
Subject:  Chip System


How did this system come about, and is it practiced world wide?


From:  Ken Ring <mcfrace1@minn.net>
Date:  Sat May 8, 2004  8:28 pm
Subject:  Re: Chip System





I don't claim that I have authenticated all of the statements included in the following, but it has been accepted locally for quite some time. From our archives collection.

MEDALLIONS
In 1965, a Wendell's employee, "Bill," joined AA. Bill gave numerous talks at Mission Farms and detention centers in Minneapolis and surrounding areas. He began handing out bronze medallions with the Serenity Prayer on one side and two large A's on the reverse. Everyone wanted a medallion!
Bill then got the idea that all AA members should have a medallion to carry in their pocket or purse, to constantly remind them of their hard won sobrietyÅ but the medallions should be just for that person-so, somehow it has to say how long he/she has been soberÅ it had to be easily distinguished from pocket change, thus, the raised center medallion was born.


The first versions of the medallion were actually two pieces-the medallion was struck, then the center was soldered on. This worked, but the medallions began to sell in such great numbers, Wendells couldn't keep up with the demand. At that time, coining dies were made and they used insert dies in the center with the Roman numeral engraved and when the medallion was struck, it gave them a one-piece medallion that could be made in one operation.


The raised center medallion was introduced in November of 1973 at the Founders Group weekend at the Leamington Hotel in Minneapolis. The response was outstanding. A mailing went out to all the Intergroups and Central Offices in the United States and Canada. Wendell's has had to make various changes in the medallion at the request of AA World Services (they deleted the two A's). Without a doubt, the raised center medallion has been used by more recovering people than any one item, aside from the Big Book, used in recovery, and it all came to be because of one member who recognized the need for "reassurance" and was fortunate enough to be employed by a coining mint.


In many parts of the country, or the world for that matter, have their own traditional ways of recognizing sobriety birthdays. Some offer "pins" to be worn on the lapels of jackets (remember them)?


Others simply have a cake, much like a real birthday celebration, to be shared in the group. And there are certainly combinations of all of these and further adornments that show the support of family, group and fellowship.


In some locales, recognition is in increments of months, years or sets of years-every five years-in others it is much more personal and not brought before the group at all and between sponsor and sponsee.

Ken Ring, Dist. 18 Archives Committee Chair
Archivist/Historian Alano Society of Minneapolis, Inc. "2218"



From:  "Robert Stonebraker" <rstonebraker212@insightbb.com>
Date:  Sun May 9, 2004  1:15 am
Subject:  RE: [AAHistoryLovers] Re: Chip System









Could someone please give me the history of celebration of sobriety.  I have not been able to find this in the BB. 



Here is a post on this subject I saved for history Lovers:




Chips, Medallions and Birthdays





The traditions of chips, medallions and birthdays vary in different parts of the country and I thought it would be interesting to look up some of the history on them.



Sister lgnatia, the nun who helped Dr. Bob get the hospitalization program started at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron was the first person to use medallions in AlcoholicsAnonymous. She gave the drunks who were leaving St. Thomas after a five day dry out a Sacred Heart Medallion and instructed them that the acceptance of the medallion signified a commitment to God, to A.A. and to recovery and that if they were going to drink, they had a responsibility to return the medallion to her before drinking.



The sacred heart badges had been used prior to A.A. by the Father Matthew Temperance Movement of the 1840s and the Pioneers an Irish Temperance Movement of the 1890s.



The practice of sobriety chips in A.A. started with a Group in Elmira, N.Y. in 1947 and has grown from there.



The celebration of birthdays came from the Oxford Group where they celebrated the anniversary of their spiritual rebirth. As we have a problem with honesty, A.A. chose the anniversary of the date of our last drink.



Early celebrations of birthdays resulted in people getting drunk and Dr. Harry Tiebout was asked to look at the problem and he commented on this phenomenon in an articled titled "When the Big "I" Becomes Nobody", (AAGV, Sept. 65)



"Early on in A.A., I was consulted about a serious problem plaguing the local group. The practice of celebrating a year’s sobriety with a birthday cake had resulted in a certain number of the members getting drunk within a short period after the celebration. It seemed apparent that some could not stand prosperity. I was asked to settle between birthday cakes or no birthday cakes. Characteristically, I begged off, not from shyness but from ignorance. Some three or four years later, A.A. furnished me the answer. The group no longer had such a problem because, as one member said, "We celebrate still, but a year’s sobriety is now a dime a dozen. No one gets much of a kick out of that anymore."



The AAGV carried many articles on chips and cakes and the following is a brief summary of some.



Feb. 1948, Why All the Congratulations? "When we start taking bows (even on anniversaries) we bow ourselves right into the cuspidor."



July, 1948. Group To Give Oscar for Anniversaries.



The Larchmont Group of Larchmont, N.Y. gives a cast bronze camel mounted on a mahogany base to celebrate 1st., 5th and 10th anniversaries.



"The camel is wholly emblematic of the purposes of most sincere A.A.s, i.e., to live for 24 hours without a drink."



August 1948. The Artesta, N.Mex. Group awards marbles to all members. If you are caught without your marbles, you are fined 25 cents. This money goes into the Foundation Fund.



June 1953, We operate a poker chip club in the Portland Group (Maine). We have poker chips of nine colors of which the white represents the probation period of one month. If he keeps his white chip for one month he is presented with a red chip for one month's sobriety.



The chips continue with blue for two months, black for three, green for four, transparent blue for five, amber for six, transparent purple for nine months and a transparent clear chip for one year. We have our chips stamped with gold A.A. letters.



Also at the end of the year and each year thereafter, we present them with a group birthday card signed by all members present at the meeting.



January 1955, Charlotte, N.C. "When a man takes "The Long Walk" at the end of a meeting, to pick up a white chip, he is admitting to his fellow men that he has finally accepted the precepts of A.A. and is beginning his sobriety. At the end of three months he exchanges his white chip for a red one. Later, a handsome, translucent chip of amber indicates that this new member has enjoyed six months of a new way of life. The nine month chip is a clear seagreen and a blue chip is given for the first year of sobriety. In some groups a sponsor will present his friend with an engraved silver chip, at the end of five years clear thinking and clean living.



March 1956, The One Ton Poker Chip. Alton, Illinois. Author gave friend a chip on his first day eight years ago (1948) and told him to accept it in the spirit of group membership and that if he wanted to drink to throw the chip away before starting drinking.



October 1956, Bangor Washington. Article about a woman who sits in a bar to drink the bartender sees her white chips and asks what it is. She tells him. He throws her out as he does not want an alcoholic in his bar. She calls friend.



April 1957, Cape Cod, Mass. Group recognizes 1st, 5th and 15th anniversaries. Person celebrating leads meeting. Person is presented with a set of wooden carved plaques with the slogans.



July 1957, New Brunswick, Canada. Birthday Board. Member contributes one dollar for each year of sobriety



July 1957, Oregon. Person is asked to speak and is introduced by his or her sponsor. The wife, mother, sister or other relative brings up a cake. The Group sings Happy Birthday. The wife gives a two or three minute talk.



April 1959, Patterson, N.J. People are asked to give "three month pin talks."



And that's a little bit of info on chips, cakes and medallions.





From:  "Robert Stonebraker" <rstonebraker212@insightbb.com>
Date:  Sun May 9, 2004  1:33 am
Subject:  RE: [AAHistoryLovers] Re: Chip System







In 1975, when I first came to AA in the Los Angeles area of Southern California, this was the custom:



·         No beginner's chip was given, but you had to hold up your hand if you had less than 30 days sober.



·         Then embossed poker chips on chains were given:  White for 30 days, Red for 3 months, Blue for 6 months, and Yellow for 9 months.  They had “God grant me the serenity” stamped on the back.



·         It was the custom to carry all these accumulated tokens till you got one year.



·         No tokens were given for number of years, but there was always a birthday cake and singing of “Happy Birthday.” Followed by singing “Keep coming back.”  Then the candles were blown out.



·         This custom was still in effect at some of the meetings I attended out there last year.



Bob S., now from Indiana







From:  "Kimball Rowe" <rowek@softcom.net>
Date:  Sat May 8, 2004  7:52 pm
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Chip System







The "chip" system used in Germany consisted of poker chips and pie pans (originally). They used poker chips with 5 colors, white, green, red, yellow and blue. They were given for beginners, 2 months, 3 months, and 6 months. There was no 9 month chip, and there was no 18 month chip.  Metal chips started at one year.



SURRENDER - The white chip was called the surrender chip since the international color for surrender is white. It was given to all new comers (1-30 days). It is said that if you chose not to surrender, then the white could stand for the color of the sheet that they cover you dead body with.



GO - The green chip was called the "GO" chip since green is the international color for go. It was given at 30 days and implied that the owner should GO to more meeting, GO get a big book, GO read your big book, GO take a step, GO get into service, GO get into action, etc. It is said that if you don't take these simple suggestions that green could also symbolize the color of your liver as they perform the autopsy.



STOP - The red chip was called the "STOP" chip since red is the international color for stop. It was given at two months and meant for us to STOP our stinking thinking, to STOP using our character defects, STOP taking others inventory, STOP ducking responsibility, etc. It is said that if you persisted in your old ways, then perhaps red could be the color of your windshield as you are ejected from the car in an alcohol related car accident.



CAUTION - The yellow chip was called the "CAUTION" chip since yellow is the international color for caution. It was given at three months because at three months a member knows just enough about sobriety to be dangerous, so CAUTION is the watch word. It is said that if you do not practice caution during this time that the color yellow could reflect the color of your eyes as jaundice sets in.



SERENITY - The blue chip was called the "SERENITY" chip, as it resembles the color of the a peaceful sky. It was given at six months. It is said that if you don't do what it takes to achieve serenity that the color blue could refer to the emotional state of your loved ones as you disappear into an alcoholic oblivion.



After the plastic chips, a disc of aluminum was cut our of an aluminum pie pan and the number of your sobriety year was stamped onto the soft aluminum. The aluminum chips have since been replaced by "store-bought" metal chips with anniversary years on them.



Kim R.



 





From:  "Gerry Silver" <silverg1@telus.net>
Date:  Sun May 9, 2004  9:37 am
Subject:  Fw: Chip System




 


I read with interest the comments of Ed Ring re Medallions, and that they first surfaced in the Minneapolis area in 1965.


 


In the early 1950's a Group in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada began using copper chips to recognize years of sobriety. They were almost as large as a large penny (for those who remember what a large penny looked like), they were blank and then stamped with the members initials and the number of years of sobriety. A number of these early chips are


hanging on the wall of the Wheat City Group in Brandon today.


 


In the mid 1950's, groups in Winnipeg, Manitoba began to use a heavy copper oval medallion about 1½" x 1". There was a raised AA on one side, and the flat reverse was used to engrave the members' name (with last initial), dry date, and group name. This type of medallion soon became widely used in Western Canada.


 


I still have my first medallion from 1959, although can't find it this minute.


 


Gerry Silver


From:  "wilfried antheunis" <wilant@sympatico.ca>
Date:  Sun May 9, 2004  3:37 pm
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Fw: Chip System








From:.The History of A.A. in Ontario:





The medallion as we know It today was thought of and designed by Tom G. the acting manager of our A.A. Toronto Office in April 1946. Little could he have known that his simple idea would come to mean so much to so many In such a short time.





From:  "Jim K." <jknyc@hotmail.com>
Date:  Mon May 10, 2004  12:46 pm
Subject:  Re: Fw: Chip System





In a twist on the chip system Long Islanders once had the following tradition:

When there was still smoking in meetings on Long Island, and in particular in Suffolk County, people were issued lighters at their
first anniversary. A Zippo with your sobriety date and your name and a single star. With each subsequent year a new star was added. Some would also bear a slogan of the member's choice.

Non-smokers, few indeed back in the 70's and 80's, were given a
medallion.

Then the meetings went non-smoking, as


 did I.

Jim K
The Into Action Group
Manhattan, NY


And I would add to the above, that I was told in New


York in 1965 -- where we then did not have chips, only a cake on the first anniversary -- that some sponsors


 gave a marble to their sponsees, telling the sponsee to carry it in his pocket and throw it away if he decided to take a drink.  "Then you will have lost


all your marbles."


 


Nancy




0 -1 0 0
1802 NMOlson@aol.com
Principles Meditation Card Principles Meditation Card 5/13/2004 2:27:00 AM





The following is a compilation of previous posts.  No further posts on this subject will be approved.


 


Nancy


 


From:  "David G." <doci333@hotmail.com>
Date:  Sun May 9, 2004  9:40 pm
Subject:  Principles Meditation Card







Good Day All,

While attending an AA Area function, I purchased a meditation card, from a vendor, which listed "The Principles of the Program."

Step One-Honest
Step Two-Hope
Step Three-Faith
Step Four-Courage
Step Five-Integrity
Step Six-Willingness
Step Seven-Humility
Step Eight-Brotherly Love
Step Nine-Justice
Step Ten-Perseverance
Step Eleven-Spiritual awareness
Step Twelve-Service

I've seen these around for years and usually buy some to just pass along.

Does anyone know where and/or when these originated?

Thanks, Respectfully,
David G.
Illinois-USA


 


From:  "Kimball Rowe" <rowek@softcom.net>
Date:  Mon May 10, 2004  8:28 am
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Principles Meditation Card






I have a card like that, that has the principles on one side and the gifts on the other.  The gifts were received as the result of taking the step.


 


The Gifts


Step 1 - Willingness - As willing to listen as a dying man can be. 


Step 2 - Open-Mindedness - All you really need is a truly open mind.


Step 3 - Honesty - Turning our will and lives over to the care of God, we lose our reason to lie.


Step 4 - Truth - The truth we must now share with our God and another human being.


Step 5 - Humility - We gained a genuine humility, a recognition of who and what we are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.


Step - 6 - Spiritual Growth - We begin to grow in the image and likeness of our Creator.


Step 7 - Unselfishness - We stand ready to make amends and serve others.


Step 8 - Forgiveness - Forgiveness of others makes step nine possible.


Step 9 - Freedom - Freedom of others, of our past and of ourselves. Free to seek God in the steps that follow.


Step 10 - Sanity - We will react normally, even where alcohol is concerned.


Step 11 - Strength - Sufficient strength to help others.


Step 12 - Recovery.


 


If anyone knows where the gifts come from that would be appreciated too! 


 


 


From:  "J. Lobdell" <jlobdell54@hotmail.com>
Date:  Mon May 10, 2004  9:21 am
Subject:  RE: [AAHistoryLovers] Principles Meditation Card










They originated with a Texas Intergroup sometime around 1951, I think -- there's a copy of the original Intergroup sheet/flyer/whatever in the Archives in NYC.  They are not GSO literature, and as they date from the time when the Conference had been established, they are at most local AA literature.  So far as I know "practice these principles" in Step 12 is intended to refer to the Steps. -- Jared Lobdell





From:  "wilfried antheunis" <wilant@sympatico.ca>
Date:  Mon May 10, 2004  11:19 am
Subject:  Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Principles Meditation Card






They have been around forever plus a day. The principles vary from various to other cards. A list I have dated February 2000 has the following variances;



8. Self-discipline


9. Love


 


The Big Book uses the word Principle 36 times.


 


USE OF THE WORD PRINCIPLE IN THE BIG BOOK




Here are the 36 instances of "principle" in the Big Book.



1 & 2) As we discovered the principles by which the individual alcoholic could live, so we had to evolve principles by which the A.A. groups and A.A. as a whole could survive and function effectively. [Big Book, page xix, lines 8 & 9]



3) Though none of these principles had the force of rules or laws, they had become so widely accepted by 1950 that they were confirmed by our first International Conference held at Cleveland. [Big Book, page xix, line 27]



4) The basic principles of the A.A. program, it appears, hold good for individuals with many different life-styles, just as the program has brought recovery to those of many different nationalities. [Big Book, page xxii, line 13]



5) My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. [Big Book, page 14, line 29]



6) We feel elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs. [Big Book, page 19, line 7]



7) Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems. [Big Book, page 42, line 32]



8) That was great news to us, for we had assumed we could not make use of spiritual principles unless we accepted many things on faith which seemed difficult to believe. [Big Book, page 47, line 23]



9) 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. [Big Book, page 60, line 3]



10) No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. [Big Book, page 60, line 8]



11) The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. [Big Book, page 60, line 9]



12) We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry. [Big Book, page 64, line 30]



13) Although these reparations take innumerable forms, there are some general principles which we find guiding. [Big Book, page 79, line 6]



14) Unless one's family expresses a desire to live upon spiritual principles we think we ought not to urge them. [Big Book, page 83, line 13]



15) If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. [Big Book, page 87, line 26]



16) The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles. [Big Book, page 93, line 10]



17) When dealing with such a person, you had better use everyday language to describe spiritual principles. [Big Book, page 93, line 12]



18) We are dealing only with general principles common to most denominations. [Big Book, page 93, line 12]



19) Should they accept and practice spiritual principles, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover. [Big Book, page 97, line 29]



20 & 21) When your prospect has made such reparation as he can to his family, and has thoroughly explained to them the new principles by which he is living, he should proceed to put those principles into action at home. [Big Book, page 98, lines 26 & 28]



22) The first principle of success is that you should never be angry. [Big Book, page 111, line 1]



23) If you act upon these principles, your husband may stop or moderate. [Big Book, page 112, line 20]



24) The same principles which apply to husband number one should be practiced. [Big Book, page 112, line 22



25) Your new courage, good nature and lack of self-consciousness will do wonders for you socially. The same principle applies in dealing with the children. [Big Book, page 115, line 20]



26) Now we try to put spiritual principles to work in every department of our lives. [Big Book, page 116, line 30]



27) Though it is entirely separate from Alcoholics Anonymous, it uses the general principles of the A.A. program as a guide for husbands, wives, relatives, friends, and others close to alcoholics. [Big Book, page 121, footnote line 3]



28) Another principle we observe carefully is that we do not relate intimate experiences of another person unless we are sure he would approve. [Big Book, page 125, line 18]



29) Giving, rather than getting, will become the guiding principle. [Big Book, page 128, line 2]



30) Whether the family has spiritual convictions or not, they may do well to examine the principles by which the alcoholic member is trying to live. [Big Book, page 130, line 21]



31) They can hardly fail to approve these simple principles, though the head of the house still fails somewhat in practicing them. [Big Book, page 130, line 23]



32) Without much ado, he accepted the principles and procedure that had helped us. [Big Book, page 139, line 5]



33) The use of spiritual principles in such cases was not so well understood as it is now. [Big Book, page 156, line 33]



34) Twelve - Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. [Big Book, Appendix I, page 564, line 32]



35) & 36) There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance -- that principle is contempt prior to investigation. HERBERT SPENCER [Big Book, Appendix II, page 570, lines 16 & 19]



[Note:  These page numbers are from the 3rd edition, not the 4th.  Nancy]