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Biography: "Fear of Fear"

Ceil F. (Ceil M.?), New York City.
(p. 330 in the 2nd edition, p. 321 in the 3rd edition, and p. 289 in the 4th edition.)

They Stopped in Time

"This lady was cautious. She decided she wouldn't let herself go in her drinking. And she would never, never take that morning drink!"

Ceil's date of sobriety was, according to one source, July 1949. Her husband George joined shortly before she did.

She thought she was not an alcoholic, that her problem was that she had been married to a drunk. But she finally admitted, to a woman she met when she accompanied George to the Greenwich Village Group, that she, too, had a problem.

She was one who never went to a hospital, never lost a job, and had never been to jail. And she didn't drink in the morning. Nonetheless, she was a severe alcoholic. She believes that she should have lost her husband, but the fact that he was an alcoholic too kept them together.

She wrote an update of her story for the September 1968 A.A. Grapevine. In it she tells how dramatically their lives had changed.

When they came to A.A. they were spiritually, mentally, and physically beaten people. Their children were ashamed of them, their families did not want any part of them.

She reported that now their families trusted them again, and physically they were in better shape than they were when they came in. Their friends were all in the Fellowship.

George had found it tough going financially for a while, so the women in A.A. suggested she get a job.

She went to work for a New York advertising agency as a receptionist, but soon gained the confidence to look for a better job with more responsibility and a better salary. In 1968 she had been at her current job for eight years, getting advancements each year.

But she complained about the office politics and how the other women snickered when she told them she did not tell lies. Office politics were strange for her. She said she had always been honest, even when drinking, but "this office hanky-panky was new." She loved her work, but admitted that nineteen years earlier she would not have had the serenity to take the office politics.

George finally got started again in his profession.

After eighteen years, they were both still very active in A.A. and doing a lot of Twelfth Step work. She expressed enormous gratitude to the Fellowship for all it had given them. She said they were not reformed drunks, but informed alcoholics.

Like so many of us sober a long time, friends asked Ceil and George why they continued to go to meetings, do Twelfth Step work, and speak at other groups.

"They ask, 'Isn't eighteen years enough time to prove you have the alcoholic problem licked?' My answer is always the same: that I love my A.A. It is the one Fellowship that has given us our lives, freedom, and happiness. We are not reformed drunks - but informed alcoholics."

And she concludes: "I know to whom I owe my gratitude: my fellow members of A.A. I hope I shall never forget to be grateful."

She has been identified by one source as Ceil M., but her update was signed C.F. Perhaps that was a typo in the A.A. Grapevine, or perhaps she had begun using her maiden name for professional reason, or perhaps she remarried after being divorced or widowed.

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