You are on page 5 of the 1st AA Grapevine ever printed
Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., June 1944
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 of us recently: “Your letter of ten days ago was much appreciated and was one of, if not 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 to.—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 everyday 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” pounding into my daily living. To me, that’s the first “first step.” It keeps me from jumping at 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 Timbuctoo (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.
Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., June 1944
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