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Book Stories - Updated
The author's story, "There's Nothing The Matter With
Me!", appears on page 499 of Alcoholics Anonymous published
Wonder Still Lives
still looks upon the benefits of sobriety with the fresh
approach of a newcomer. It works!
© The A.A.
Grapevine, Inc., March 1968
little bit at a time, that's the way we take the program.
We (my wife and I) have made AA part of our life -- not
all of it, you understand -- part of it. We have found that
living is giving, giving is loving, and loving is God. Seems
we are never too busy to stop and say hello. I am afraid
that I make a lousy elder statesman.
said to me last night, "Bill, why do you continue to
speak and go to meetings after all these years? Surely your
sobriety is never in jeopardy, and you must certainly get
tired of hearing your same old story over and over again."
I said that a bricklayer must continue to lay brick if he
want to maintain his skills and an alcoholic must continue
to speak and take part in the meetings if he too wants to
keep his memory green and remember the humble earth from
whence he sprang. It is very easy to forget the trials and
tribulations after a few years of good living the AA way.
meetings are truly the meat on which the creature feeds,
the creature being me and all of the other so-called old
fellows of the movement. We still find nourishment in making
new friends and meeting old ones; in seeing people whose
names we have forgotten but whom we somehow know; in the
wondrous world of the newcomer and the knowledge that we
can be a part of his recovery through the grace of our blessed
Lord and just the fact that we took the time to join the
meeting on any given night.
the start, we knew the feeling of belonging: associating
with people who care just because you're you and have the
same problem they have. We realized that we were not Things
from outer space, idiots, or anything else apart from the
rest of the world; we had an illness and now we had someone
other than our immediate families to share needs and recovery
with. There was a solution to our problem if we cared to
apply ourselves. (And apply yourself you must, with all
the honesty and sincerity in your shivering, quivering carcass.)
the needs of tomorrow I need not pray; help me, keep me,
Lord, just for today.
first anniversary -- oh, what memories! They forgot the
cake! My child bride said to me, "Don't worry about
little things like that. Be grateful for your sobriety."
things!" I howled. "My first anniversary and no
it seems to me that the first formative years in AA -- developing
an awareness of God, beginning to believe and have faith
once again in the power of prayer -- were truly the glory
years of our young AA life, when everyone, so it seems to
me, was running, running all the time. A house full of drunks,
in and out, all the time. We spent our days trying to sober
up the whole world.
Bill and Lois for the first time was a thrill, and then
came the greatest thrill of my entire lifetime: a letter
from Bill asking if they might use my story in the new edition
of the Big Book. I felt so good I cried, and the sight of
this Irishman crying -- well, it is a memory and surely
a few years the running stopped, and we began to enjoy the
world around us, perhaps for the first time in many years;
the sights, smells, and sounds that booze had closed off
completely many years before.
modest success permitted us to indulge our loved ones and
to travel the length and breadth of this old globe telling
of the wondrous things that God and AA wrought, meeting
the same people with the same sickness regardless of color
or creed, and learning the story of AA over and over again.
all I had gained were sobriety, I would be a poor man indeed.
The length is unimportant; the quality, most important.
I could go on forever about the wonderful world of AA: the
people who inhabit it; the living that AA has made possible;
the hundreds of Christmas cards from folks we have met through
the years and sometimes from folks whom we don't know, but
just want to say hello. These are some other dividends of
the AA way of living: the growing up of our families around
us; the delight we take in doing things for our grandchildren
-- things denied our children because of our drinking.
AA work? I'll say it does! My child bride and I will be
eternally grateful to you boys and girls for the best third
of a lifetime one Irishman ever had.
© The A.A.
Grapevine, Inc., March 1968
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