You are on page 8 of the 1st AA Grapevine ever printed
Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., June 1944
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(Continued from page 4 )
3 are workers from the mainland. It is quite a representative group. One lawyer, one radiotelegraph operator, one member of a Federal commission, one electrician, one carpenter, and myself–a small-boat builder, aged 32. I am enclosing $5.00. Please send me a copy of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and some more pamphlets. If there is any left it is my donation to the Foundation.
Dec. 14, 1943
Shop — —, Pearl Harbor
Dear — :
You may definitely stick a pin in Honolulu on your map. Tonight we had a meeting of the entire group for the first time. There were supposed to be 7–but only 5 came. All have been sober with the help of the A.A. program for a time-varying from over a month to 1 week before their first meeting. The meeting was so interesting to everyone we had trouble leaving in time to get home before curfew. And not bragging (much) I don’t think there are any more intelligent 5 people in Honolulu who meet as a group than we had there tonight . . . One reason that I am so optimistic about our little group is that every one of them sought help. There has been no evangelism, no compulsion. All of us really want to quit . . . Please don’t think you’re presuming to give me advice. We have not been able to contact any old members here. If ever there was a place where the blind are leading the blind, that place is Honolulu right now. We not only will accept any advice you care to give, we’re begging for it . . . I have had several bitter disappointments . . . I have discovered that a desire to stop and mere knowledge of the
program of A.A is not enough. It is those of us who are really trying to put into practice the 12 steps who are succeeding. Now that we are holding meetings I feel sure that more of us will be able to put them into practice. About my own case. I have for years considered myself an agnostic. After reading the A.A . literature, especially the part about an alcoholic who wanted to get well not being able to afford the luxury of a closed mind, I began asking myself what I really believed. The more I thought and worked with others the nearer to faith I came . . . The psychiatric social worker at —— Hospital, who has been trying to help me since July to quit drinking has remarked at the great change in me since I became acquainted with A.A. When I told her of my new source of strength she suggested that maybe that strength had been lying latent in me all along. I told her I didn’t really know what the source of strength was, but that I did know the formula I had used to tap it, and that was humble, sincere, unselfish prayer . . .
Yours in A.A.
(TO BE CONTINUED NEXT MONTH)
CONFERENCE ON ALCOHOLISM
On April 19th, a one-day conference on “Alcoholism, Prevention & Cure” was held in Lansing, Michigan, at Michigan State College. It was sponsored by the Michigan Temperance Foundation (!) and Yale University School of Alcoholic Studies, and the last speech of the day was on Alcoholics Anonymous. The speaker was a doctor from Detroit, a member of the Detroit group. We are told he did a swell job, and that the conference was followed by an A.A. banquet, at which some 75 A.A.s and their wives, from 8 different Michigan towns, AND Chicago, were present. That, of course turned into a regular A.A. meeting. These state-wide get-togethers seem to be gathering in frequency. The Public Health Commissioner of the State of Michigan addressed himself particularly to the A.A.’s present, and we think one remark of his is worth quoting: “You’re listen-
ing here to doctors, psychiatrists, sociologists and educators . . . but don’t pay too much attention to them! You people in A.A. are doing a fine job in coping with this problem directly. Keep on doing it in your own way!”
“Sir, we don’t think you’ve got the correct slant,” the bookseller said thoughtfully, “We six are sort of garage mechanics, servicing the paper. We don’t write it. That’s the
creamy part for every Jack and Doris of A.A. who can lay their hands on some news and a pencil stub. We wrestle with the punctuation if any. Hammer for copy as the deadline creaps up. Paste-up the dummy, and hope for the best.” “Very neat, ” I said, “and I wish you luck. But what’s the paper going to talk about?”
“About us Alcoholics, naturally!”, the mother of two said, “About A.A.’s whole design for living. There’s going to be a big, full-page on local group doings (there’s a Grapevine reporter in every group right now with his pencil at the ready). And we’re planning to get all the big general stuff on alcoholism into the paper. Best of all, we think, is the Servicemen’s Letter page . . .” “Now you’re talking,” I said with satisfaction. “Thanks,” the cashier said coldly. “We also hope to have a column on books, and the theater and films and radio and magazines
articles which have to do with A.A. or the 12 steps, or constructive living in general.” “And,” said the author, “a section called ‘Do You Know?’ which will pin down in print the things new members wonder about.”Anything else?”, I asked, reaching for my hat. “Oh yes!”, the six said, “Two things, particularly. There’ll be a write-up on the Central Office. And a letters-to-The-Grapevine where everybody can sound off–pro and con–on anything that seems to need saying out loud.”
“That positively all?” I asked, rising. “No! Aren’t you going to ask us how long we six are going to stick at this thing?” “Go on. Go on,” I said nervously. “Simple,” the six said. “We hang on for a trial spin of three months while the Metropolitan A.A.’s make up their minds whether they want a paper or not. If the verdicts’s No–we bow out.” “And if the verdict’s Yes?”, I asked, eyeing all six sharply. “We still bow out; and hand the paper to fresh new blood,” they said. “Well, it still looks like a cabal to me, ” I said in my most suspicious manner. “Think I’ll write a leter to The Grapevine demanding to know how come you six think you can get a paper going!”
“We’ll print it, sir. Goodbye; and kindly don’t slam the door,” was the last I heard the six say.
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