Pat C., Los Angeles, California.
(p. 391, in 1st printing of 1st edition. Removed from 2nd printing.)
Pat first stopped drinking in January 1939.
Bill W., Ruth Hock, and Hank P. were sending copies of the manuscript around the country to friends for comment. A copy reached the hands of Pat’s mother, and Pat read it. He then arranged to be hospitalized for detoxification “to get the liquor out of my system and start the new idea right.”
On about February 27, 1939, six weeks after leaving the hospital on January 15, 1939, he wrote a letter to The Alcoholic Foundation in New York saying he had recovered.
He thanked them for the draft of the book which he had read cover to cover. He told them how he had started drinking in 1917, about his service in World War I how his drinking continued in France and after he got back home from the war. The following 15 years were “one drunk after another.”
He enlisted in the Marine Corp. At first he drank very little and was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. But he started drinking heavily again and was reduced in rank, then sent to China (which didn’t help his drinking problem any). He did not reenlist.
After he returned, his wife left him because of his drinking, and he couldn’t hold a job. He married again, but his wife and mother were worried about his drinking.
Then he told how his mother had heard of A.A in an article published by a doctor, and had written the doctor for information. He turned the letter over to A.A., which, of course, had immediately responded.
Pat’s letter said he was already reaching out to help other alcoholics.
So they sent him a wire asking his permission to use the letter anonymously in the book, as the first example of what might be accomplished without personal contact. He wired back the next day: “Permission granted with pleasure. Lots of Luck.”
This was the first time anyone had sobered up just from reading the book, so everyone was very excited. After the exchange of correspondence, which appears in the first edition, a collection was taken up to buy a bus ticket to bring him to New York.
When the bus showed up in New York, a man fitting his given description did NOT exit the vehicle. Confused, the welcoming party asked the driver if he had seen a man of the description aboard the bus at any time. He replied that the man was sleeping it off UNDER the back seat! So the story was removed from the second printing of the Big Book.
In the MSCA Archives is a letter from Kaye Miller, a non-alcoholic who started the first A.A. meeting in LA, to Bill W. in New York. Bill had asked her to put on paper her early recollection of A.A. in Southern California. He also asked about Pat C. In this 1944 letter she writes that Pat was attending meetings again and had been sober about a year.
The story was ghost written by Ruth Hock, Bill W.’s secretary, from correspondence between the New York office and Pat and his mother.