AA History Lovers 2004 Messages 1575-2117 moderated by Nancy Olson September 18, 1929 March 25, 2005 Glenn F. Chesnut June 28, 1939 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1575. . . . . . . . . . . . Significant January Dates in A.A. History From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/1/2004 4:07:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Happy New Year to all 795 AA History Lovers. By popular demand, I am resuming sending the monthly significant dates in A.A. history. Nancy January 1: 1946: The A.A. Grapevine increased the cost of a year's subscription to $2.50. 1948: "Columbus Dispatch" reported first anniversary of Central Ohio A.A. Group. 1948: First A.A. meeting was held in Japan, English speaking. 1988: West Virginia A.A. began first statewide toll-free telephone hotline. January 2: 1889: Bridget Della Mary Gavin (Sister Ignatia) was born in Ireland. 2003: Mid-Southern California Archives moved to new location in Riverside. January 3: 1939: First sale of Works Publishing Co. stock was recorded. 1941: Jack Alexander told Bill Wilson the Oxford Group would be in his Saturday Evening Post article on A.A. January 4: 1939: Dr. Bob stated in a letter to Ruth Hock that A.A. had to get away from the Oxford Group atmosphere. 1940: First A.A. group was founded in Detroit, Michigan. 1941: Bill and Lois Wilson drove to Bedford Hills, NY, to see Stepping Stones and broke in through an unlocked window. January 5: 1941: Bill and Lois visited Bedford Hills again. 1941: Bill Wilson told Jack Alexander that Jack was "the toast of A.A. -- in Coca Cola, of course." January 6: 2000: Stephen Poe, compiler of the Concordance to Alcoholics Anonymous, died. January 8: 1938: New York A.A. split from the Oxford Group. January 12: 1943: Press reported the first A.A. group in Pontiac, Michigan. January 13: 1988: Jack Norris, M.D., Chairman/Trustees of A.A. for 27 yrs. died. 2003: Dr. Earle Marsh, author of "Physician Heal Thyself," sober 49 years, died January 15: 1941: A.A. Bulletin No. 2 reported St. Louis group had ten members. 1941: Bill Wilson asked Ruth Hock to get him "spook book," "The Unobstructed Universe." 1945: First A.A. meeting held in Springfield, Missouri. 1948: Polk Health Center Alcoholic Clinic for Negroes started operations with 14 willing subjects. The Washington Black Group of A.A. cooperated with the clinic. January 17: 1919: 18th amendment, "Prohibition," became law. January 19: 1940: First A.A. group met in Detroit, Mich. 1943: Canadian newspaper reported eight men met at "Little Denmark," a Toronto restaurant, to discuss starting Canada's first A.A. group. 1999: Frank M., A.A. Archivist since 1983, died. January 20: 1954: Hank Parkhurst, author of "The Unbeliever" in the first edition of the Big Book, died in Pennington, NJ. January 21: 1951: A.A. Grapevine published memorial issue on Dr. Bob. January 23: 1961: Bill W. sent an appreciation letter, which he considered long-overdue, to Dr. Carl Jung for his contribution to A.A. January 24: 1918: Bill Wilson and Lois Burnham were married, days before he was sent to Europe in WW I. 1971: Bill Wilson died in Miami, Florida, only weeks after sending a postcard to Senator Harold Hughes of Iowa, saying he wanted to live long enough to see Hughes become President. January 25: 1915: Dr. Bob Smith married Anne Ripley. January 26: 1971: New York Times published Bill's obituary on page 1. January 27: 1971: The Washington Post published an obituary of Bill Wilson written by Donald Graham, son of the owner of the Washington Post. January 30: 1961: Dr. Carl Jung answers Bill's letter with "Spiritus Contra Spiritum." Other significant things that happened in January (no specific date available): 1938: Jim Burwell, author of "The Vicious Cycle," a former atheist, gave A.A. "God as we understand Him." 1940: First AA meeting not in a home meets at Kings School, Akron, Ohio. 1942: "Drunks are Square Pegs" was published. 1951: The A.A. Grapevine published a memorial issue on Dr. Bob. 1984: "Pass It On," the story of Bill W. and how the A.A. message reached the world, was published. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1576. . . . . . . . . . . . Wynn L. Freedom From Bondage From: jeffrey4200 . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/1/2004 2:42:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII She married and divorced four times before finding A.A. The first time she married for financial security; her second husband was a prominent bandleader and she sang with his band; I wanted to know if anyone know the name of the band she sang with or the bandleaders name. If you have any information please let me know. Thank you Jeffrey Nilsen IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1577. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Question On When Districts Started From: gratitude . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/1/2004 6:34:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hello AAHLs, Just so happens there's an article in BOX 459 that speaks about the district and how it relates to the DCM (the DCMC in larger districts). Please see quote below: "The term 'district'' was mentioned during early General Service Conferences, and both 'district'' and 'district committee member' were used informally in the 1950s. The term 'district' was included in the 1955 draft of The Third Legacy Manual of World Service (now titled The A.A. Service Manual) and 20 years later was formalized in a 1975 supplement to The Service Manual. "In today's Service Manual a district is clearly defined as 'a geographical unit containing the right number of groups -- right in terms of the D.C.M.'s ability to keep in frequent touch with them, to learn their problems, and to find ways to contribute to their growth. In most areas a district includes six to 20 groups. In metropolitan districts the number is generally 15 to 20, while in rural or suburban districts it can be as small as five.' (To encourage maximum group participation, some areas have incorporated linguistic districts. These usually have a bilingual D.C.M. or liaison, and their boundaries may be independent of the conventional geographic district boundaries.)" Phil L. Outgoing DCMC Distric 4 - Long Beach Singleness of Purpose Workshop - March 21 gratitude@linkline.com Arthur wrote: Hi History Lovers Can anyone help me pin down the year that Districts started and the General Service Structure position of District Committee Member (DCM) was established? I would dearly like to find out in what year the Third Legacy Manual defined Districts and DCMs. My guess is the early 1960's but that is only a guess. The earliest reference to 'district'' I can find in Conference advisory actions is a 1966 action for a glossary to be added to the Service Manual. There is a 1956 advisory action that uses the term 'district'' but it seems more in the context of what would make up an Area rather than a District. Any help or citations from written references would be most appreciated. Cheers Arthur IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1578. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine Clip Sheet, Feb. ''48 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/2/2004 4:35:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, Feb. '48 [Note: There was no clip sheet column for Dec. '47 or Jan. '48.] The Clip Sheet Excerpts from the Public Press Boston, Mass., "Post": "Guernsey Island in the English Channel has an effective way of handling topers. It still retains its ancient custom of blacklisting alcoholics, in the hope of reforming them. A member of the tippler's family applies to the court, which issues an official order that no one is to sell him liquor thereafter, and to put teeth into the ruling the court orders a police photo of the offender to be posted in every bar. In England in the days of Oliver Cromwell drunkards were punished by being forced to walk around in a barrel with their heads protruding from the top and their arms dangling on the sides through holes. It has been suggested that this custom may be the origin of the term 'pickled.' "The ancient Romans used an 'aversion therapy' that is not unlike certain modern methods in use. Chronic alcoholics had to drink wine in which live eels were swimming, on the theory that this would create excessive disgust. "The word teetotaler, by the way, stems from the French 'the-a-toute a 1'heure,' which means literally 'tea in a little while.' "Alexander the Great would have lived longer if he had squeezed less grapes. He was a prodigious drinker, one of the mightiest, in fact, of his era. But he carried the crock to the spigot once too often. After two nights of guzzling he drained the so-called Hercules cup, which was the equivalent of six bottles of wine. He never awoke." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1579. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine Clip Shee, March ''48 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/3/2004 6:04:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, March '48 Clip Sheet - - Items of Interest from the Public Press "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette": "Vicious Den of Pinochle Players Unmasked: VICE RAIDERS CRASH A.A. PARTY -- Police Snoopers Smash into Roomful of Ex-Drinkers Quietly Whooping It Up for Abstinence -- It was the members of a police squad who wanted to be anonymous and not the Alcoholics, after an incident Saturday night which left the four raiders red-faced and sputtering. As you might or might not know, Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of persons whose purpose is to rehabilitate tipplers. Saturday night is usually the thirstiest night of the week for a drinker and, in an effort to get him 'over the knuckle,' as they say, the A.A.s sponsor a little social every Saturday eve for members and wives. This social consists of card games such as bridge, pinochle, '500' and other amusements such as bingo. Everyone pitches in for the sandwiches and coffee, and a good, dry time is had by all. Such was the situation Saturday night on the second floor at 3701 Fifth Avenue where the A.A.s were laughing it up to the tune of 'nine under the B' and 'four no trump' when there came a knocking at the door. It was the kind of bold, hard knock that settled silence over the 100 or so persons gathered in the recreation room. An anonymous member opened the door, and a broad-shouldered man shouldered his way into the room, flashed a badge, and blustered: 'What's going on in here? We've had a complaint about this place.' Three other policemany-looking men followed him and surveyed the soiree with steely eyes. It was explained that this was a harmless Alcoholics Anonymous social and they were welcome to join in the card games if they didn't mind not playing for stakes. The four men clutched their hats, muttered something about 'we must have made a mistake,' slowly backed out of the door and tiptoed away. Some of the A.A. members claimed at least two of the raiders were members of Lieutenant Lawrence Maloney's vice squad. This, however, the lieutenant denied, declaring that all members of his squad were with him on other business Saturday night." Sydney (Australia) "Sun," January 1: "Sydney Women Alcoholics in New Group. Inaugural meeting of a women's group of Alcoholics Anonymous, first of its kind in Australia, will be held in Sydney on January 14. The meeting is open to any woman with an alcoholic problem and no other visitors will be permitted. ... This society of mutual aid is expanding rapidly in Australia. Alcoholics Anonymous is nonsectarian and non-political. A.A. is so busy applying its principles to alcoholic sufferers that it has no place for arguments about creeds or politics." Sydney "Sun." January 16: "Women Alcoholics Urge Special Clinic. 'Many women have experienced mental hospital treatment when recognition of their malady as a public health problem would have been more humane,' said a spokesman of Alcoholics Anonymous Inter-Group today. 'We know alcoholism as a disease. In most cases, proper place for treatment is in a public hospital or alcoholic clinic. ... Because no hospital or clinic exists, many alcoholics are forced into institutions and gaols where no treatment for their disease is given.'" Santa Rosa (Calif.) "Press Democrat": "There was a contribution to Santa Rosa's Memorial Hospital Fund last week that is, perhaps, one of the most unusual to date. It was a $1,600 donation. There have been others larger, others smaller, but none with a more dramatic story behind it. The contribution is money that might have been wasted, and came from men whose lives, too, might have been wasted. It came from the Santa Rosa Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is the grateful contribution of former alcoholics now devoting their efforts to aid other victims of alcoholism, including some now successful businessmen for whom A.A. provided a turning point in life. ... The substantial hospital contribution is too significant to pass unnoticed, and calls for some recognition of the role A.A. has been playing in rebuilding lives right here in our community, lives that faced ruin as a result of the disease of alcoholism. The local group was established October 9, 1945, with six members. ... There is now a membership of 75, but over 100 have been benefited during the past two years. ... The need for hospitalization and medical attention is critical in a great many cases. Since alcoholism is recognized as a disease, the medical profession, the psychiatrists, courts and the hospitals are cooperating with A.A. in every way possible. But the A.A. here recognizes the need for an adequate hospital in Santa Rosa, and is doing its share to get one -- doing it with money that cured alcoholics might have wasted had it not been for Alcoholics Anonymous." Elmira (N. Y.) "Advertiser": "It is a great privilege to attend a meeting of this wonderful group which has found the way to bring peace and sobriety to so many hundreds of sick and troubled folks. Its method is simple and direct. It works for the proud and the humble, the rich and the poor -- works because an alcoholic of any estate is the suffering blood brother of every other man or woman who has passed beyond the border into the land where drinking is a thief that steals away family and friends and respect and money and health and mind and finally life itself -- does all that and more unless by some miracle he can find the way not to take the drink that numbs and dooms him." New York "Herald Tribune": "TOWN'S 80 TOPERS EXILED FROM BARS. Five Women in Group Facing 90-Day Discipline -- Bedford, Pa. (UP) Drinks were shut off today for five women and 75 men of "known intemperate habits" in this mountain community of 3,500. The ban was put into effect through resurrection of a nearly forgotten state law forbidding sale of liquor to persons of such habits. Proprietors of each of the 11 bars in the town were ordered to post in a prominent place lists containing the names of the 80 drinkers in the police department's 'doghouse.' The lists will be brought up to date every 90 days. If any of the wayward drinkers shows improved habits their names will be removed. Assistant Police Chief H. A. Clark said: 'We just decided we'd put up with these people long enough. If we had to help them home every night, it was a nuisance. If we brought them in and fined them, we were taking bread out of their wives' and children's mouths. This will work better.' " Brewton (Ala.) Standard": "If there were any who might have gone to the meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous which was held here recently in order to scoff, we are quite sure that they remained to offer prayerful thanks for an organization that is doing such a wonderful piece of work. Most of us are inclined to look on a man or women who is a victim of the alcohol habit as just another sot. But the A.A.s will soon convince you otherwise. While the disease is incurable, it can be arrested through the own efforts of the victim and with the help of his friends, so the A.A.s say. And they not only say it, they demonstrate it by their own experience. One remarkable thing about Alcoholics Anonymous is that it is not a crusading organization. It solicits no members and does not impose itself on any alcoholic who does not first request help. And therein, in our judgment, lies its greatest strength. It does not presume to interfere with the personal rights, and liberties of any person to consume as much alcohol as he chooses. But it does offer to that person who seeks aid in his problem what seems to be the greatest 'cure' for drinking that has ever been devised. The word 'cure' as we have used it here is ours -- not that of the A.A.s. They make no claim that their philosophy can cure alcoholism. ... The inspiring thing about the organization is the spiritual rebirth that appears to take place in those who adopt the philosophy which it teaches." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1580. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine Clip Sheet, April ''48 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/4/2004 2:03:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, April '48 THE CLIPSHEET -Excerpts from the Public Press Alliance, Neb., "Times & Herald": "Worn and haggard police officers who wonder what will happen next on Saturday nights will be very much interested in a classification of drunks as outlined by a New Jersey police chief some time ago. "Police have met most of the following engaging characters and if not, they will be glad to be on the lookout for the types they haven't yet had the displeasure to meet. "Here are the different classifications of persons who have swilled too much C2-H5-OH in one form or another: "Alias Joe Louis "1. The fighting drunk -- gets nasty after a few drinks and wants to fight anyone he sees, male or female. "2. The religious drunk -- heads for the nearest church and drops off to sleep. (This species is comparatively rare in Alliance.) "3. The leaning drunk -- is reluctant to move and wants to lean on the nearest upright solid substance, whether it is the policeman, a fellow pedestrian, lamp post or a plain wall. "4. The crying drunk -- this obnoxious person carries a good part of the community's alcohol in his system and a large part of the woes of the world on his heaving shoulders. "Unsweet Adeline" "5. The singing drunk -- here's the person who after a few bottles or drinks is convinced he can make Tibbett look and sound like a chump. Flats where he should sharp. "6. The suspicious drunk -- he's convinced that the police or his companions or both, are trying to railroad him into some asylum or jail, where he rightly should be, by the way. "7. The wife-beating drunk -- this character is usually a small man mentally and physically and would not engage in a fight with a 7-year-old boy without the false courage of a bottle. When he drinks he wants to lambaste somebody, usually his ever-suffering wife. "8. The running drunk -- this guy is always in a hurry. He goes crabwise down the street, usually in search of another shot. "The Big Gesture "9. The generous drunk -- this slaphappy person is tighter than Jack Benny with a nickel until he drinks too much and then he makes a fool of himself by going around waving fistfulls of bills at everybody. It's usually the money to pay off an old telephone bill. "10. The loving drunk -- he always wants to kiss every woman in sight except his own wife. "11. The talking drunk -- tells interminable stories, invariably about himself. None of the yarns has any point or interest. "12. The important drunk -- this is the person who wants to dominate everybody around him and who is filled with yarns about all the big shots he knows. "This unsavory crew are all well known to most policemen. The average citizen meets them once in a while. They make up 12 good arguments for Alcoholics Anonymous. Because they aren't. "VA Recommends A.A. "Newsweek": Even the harassed doctors, long used to sobering up lost-week-end revelers, had never seen anything like it. From Friday to Monday, drunken veterans reeled into Veterans Administration hospitals demanding the cure. "Of the thousands who applied, about 10,000 veterans were treated for alcoholism in 1947, as compared with 6,459 in 1946 and 3,529 in 1945. "Although tests showed that almost none of the alcoholics had service-connected disabilities or appeared to be suffering from alcoholism because of service connections, alarmed relatives, energetic local politicians, and veterans' organizations insisted that they be cared for in the already overcrowded VA hospitals. "Boozers: In exasperation, authorities finally made a nationwide survey among the VA hospitals. Last week Dr. Harvey Tompkins, assistant chief of the neuro-psychiatric division, gave Newsweek these facts: "Two-thirds of the veteran cases are 'pure, uncomplicated alcoholism,' with no evidence of mental illness. The others have accompanying mental or emotional ailments ranging from manic-depressive psychoses to less serious psychoneuroses. More than 10 per cent of all VA neuropsychiatric cases are alcoholics. (Inexplicably, the Southeast and Southwest account for more than half the alcoholic patients.) "The Veterans Administration has no specific treatment for alcoholism. In some instances it takes weeks, and in others months or years, to curb the craving for drink. VA doctors have tried insulin injections, forced vomiting to make the men "rum-sick," and group psychotherapy -- but with very little success. "In some hospitals, Dr. Tompkins said, 'as few as 10 per cent of the patients show themselves amenable to treatment at all.' The great majority entering the hospital with uncomplicated alcoholism merely stay long enough to sober up and then demand release. "A.A. Aid: For the veteran who wants to recover, VA doctors recommend Alcoholics Anonymous help as the best course. Nearly all VA institutions have made a working arrangement with this group, providing space in the hospitals for A.A. meetings and personal interviews with the patients. In turn, many cured veterans become A.A. crusaders and work in the wards on new cases. "Night Club Now A.A. Des Moines, Iowa, "Register": Babe's nightclub in downtown Des Moines, under padlock as a liquor nuisance since Oct. 29, was taken over Wednesday by the Des Moines chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous as a clubroom. "District Judge Loy Ladd, who had ordered the place padlocked, required the A.A. group to post a bond guaranteeing that no liquor will be brought on the premises. "'I am granting this application because I feel that this particular group (Alcoholics Anonymous) is one of the best organizations for suppression of intemperance in existence today,' Judge Ladd said. "'In Des Moines they have proven themselves successful in curbing and curing alcoholics,' he said. "Sentenced to A.A." Westport, Conn., "Herald": A sentence was imposed in Town Court this week by Judge Leo Nevas that deserves more than local attention. "A chronic alcoholic who is a solitary drinker was before the bench. Such cases have been there before, leaving the judge and prosecutor worried because the state has no hospital to which the habitual drunkard can be sent for treatment. Although medicine and jurisprudence are today looking upon these cases as sick people rather than as only inebriates, nothing official has been done to cure them. "The court cannot overlook the offenses when the drinkers become public nuisances, which the case of this week definitely is. But fines do no good and jail sentences too often aggravate the mental illness which makes a man or woman a drunkard. What can the court do? Judge Nevas decided. He imposed a jail sentence but suspended it on certain conditions. These conditions are what make his decision important. "The drunkard, he ordered, must once more become a member of Alcoholic Anonymous. She must report to the Yale Clinic for treatment. She must keep in close contact with her own physician. She must report to the probation officer weekly. Should she fail to do these things she must go to jail even though Judge Nevas knows well that a term there will do her no good unless it should frighten her to do the things he has ordered. "This sentence was imposed in the hope that the woman wants to help herself. If she doesn't, none of the suggestions will help. Alcoholics Anonymous, with its increasing record of aid to drinkers, can accomplish nothing without the determined cooperation of the patient. It is unlikely that the Yale Clinic can help those who refuse to help themselves. "Judge Nevas, however, was willing to believe the woman's insistence that she did not want to drink and would do anything to stop the habit. If she really means that, the clinic will probably turn her back to society completely cured. "This is a little court but into it can come problems of great importance, and this was one of them. Other courts might well emulate the example set by Judge Nevas. Other courts, too, might well watch how this case turns out. It should be of interest to everyone. "And the case plus the decision emphasizes anew the need for a state-operated clinic in Fairfield County set up properly for the treatment of habitual drunkards. There seems to be no other way to help them. "De-Smartize" Drink Boston, Mass., "Boston University News": "Our culture is too tolerant of drunkards of either sex," claims Dr. Herbert D. Lamson, Professor of Sociology. "Commenting on the proposed Massachusetts law to control the sale of alcoholics to women 'barflies,' Dr. Lamson argues that 'the alcoholic problem should be controlled for both sexes. A law which differentiates cannot be a far-reaching measure nor can it touch the basic problem. "'We must de-smartize the drink. We have been sold a bill of goods that it's smart to consume liquor by persons who have profit motive at stake. Profits in the industry are great,' continued the sociology expert. 'Alcoholism plays a great role in family disintegration, and society must face its abuses.' "As an alternative program to laws, Prof. Lamson suggests preventive methods. Alcoholics Anonymous is now in the first stages of the curative method, but a preventive approach must be begun in schools with health and alcoholic education, commencing in the grade school and varying at different school levels. "'We must have institutions for alcoholics, and not throw them in jail. Jail isn't helping them solve their problem,' says the doctor. 'Provide recreational facilities, hobby centers, and athletic contests as outlets for escape,' concludes Dr. Lamson, 'and it will do more than any patch-work laws can possibly do.'" IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1581. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, June ''44, Mail Call for the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/5/2004 4:33:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII This new series comes to us courtesy of Tony C. Grapevine, June '44 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 to us recently: "Your letter of ten days ago was much appreciated and was one of 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 too. 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 every day 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' pounded into my daily living. To me, that's a first 'first step.' It keeps me from jumping to 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 Timbuktu (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. David R." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1582. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, July ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/6/2004 3:13:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, July '44 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces In our first issue we told of the near reunion on a South Pacific Island of two veteran A.A. members, one a Navy, the other an Army, lieutenant. Our Navy friend now writes: "Have been having a few A.A. reunions out here on my own. Finally ran into John N., who has returned to this isle after an absence of several months. We see each other frequently and reminisce about the real old days. In addition to Johnny, I had a reunion with the master of a Liberty ship which came in here a short while ago -- he was a member of the Frisco group and out on the ship we just left the South Pacific and were right back in the old atmosphere. Both of us agreed that without the Group, neither would be here. Such reunions as these do wonders for people who have been more or less completely cut off, and living in a world apart. Give my best to all the old gang, and tell them to start those letters coming!" [That closing sentence should give us pause for thought. Ed.] The South Pacific lads are, it seems, our most prolific correspondents, and the following recent letter from Navy Lieutenant Bob W. to a fellow-member of a New Jersey Group contains so much sound A.A. philosophy that we are quoting it, in as far as space permits, verbatim: "Dear Tom: Life has been very full and interesting for the past few months. I am still living the way you expect me to and if I was ever tempted I am sure the memory of those who mean so much to me would intervene and put a halt to such ideas. There are plenty of boys who aren't doing themselves any good out here but it is quite easy to get a 'don't give a damn' attitude when you're so far from any civilization. There will be more than ever for us to do when this is over, Tom. "News about the new groups is very interesting. Personally I think it is a healthy sign. Every great philosophy of living, Christianity, Mohammedanism, or what have you, has grown because the original leader has multiplied himself by creating other strong leaders who in turn did the same thing. Whether you conceive of A.A. in the category of a religion or not, it certainly is a plan of life for those of us who need it and it will spread only as fast as capable leaders develop to organize in such a way that it will be accessible to as many as possible. Some are more effective with certain types than others but there are all types who need the program. You say you prefer the 'bottle drunks' and the Salvation Army bums. Someone else wants to deal with 'dignified drunks,' whatever they are. The need for this thing is far beyond the question of personalities but we still have to remember that we and our prospects are human beings, so it behooves us to present our merchandise as attractively as possible. If you work more effectively with one kind, which is quite likely, and someone else does better with another, I say full steam ahead on that basis. The underlying need and the answer to it will remain the same and we will all be happier because we will be doing our best work. Some of the groups will probably die off if the leadership isn't there, but they will merge with stronger groups. "I didn't mean to get going on that subject but I am enthusiastic about the development. It seemed to me at times that the South Orange meetings were getting so large as to be somewhat awesome to new members who were naturally a little shy. One of the most important holds on the new man is making him feel that he has a real part in the scheme. "When you get a chance, please give me the late news. You can do a lot of good for your SOUTH SEAS BRANCH, you know. One of the extra dividends of A.A. is that you get to know such damned fine people. Sincerely, Bob." [We, too, wonder who the "dignified drunks" are and think it would be restful 12th Step work to contact a few. Ed.] ONCE AGAIN, EASY DOES IT "Dear Bud: I feel like a rat not having answered your letter long ago; I'm afraid I'm not a very good correspondent. At least I can now tell you where I am -- Maui is the spot, the Hawaiian Islands the locale. This must be almost anti-climactic for you to hear, as I'm sure by this time you have pictured me anywhere but here -- probably down under, in a jungle surrounded by Japs. However, I'm in no hurry; I'll probably get there soon enough. Meanwhile this is a grand spot, and I feel very lucky indeed to be here. This climate just suits me, the scenery, flowers, etc., are lovely, the swimming superb, and recreational facilities are excellent. As far as I'm concerned, these Islands are all they're cracked up to be and more. I've seen Pearl Harbor, done Honolulu, swum at Waikiki, and lolled around the Royal Hawaiian. Even so, I'll take Maui. "I've had several letters from Bob D., and these, together with yours, have kept me pretty well posted on doings in New York. Was sorry to learn that the new Club House fell thru; but no doubt this will be only a question of time. I was interested, too, to learn of the proposed -- shall I say 'Trade' publication. Sounds intriguing, if it can be worked out. Give my best to Ed C., Bob D., Chase, Bill C., John, and all the rest, including the gals. Best regards, Bob H." [On receipt of Bob's letter, we immediately got in touch with the Central Office which will send him by Air Mail the address of the Honolulu group (see story in this and previous issue). As a veteran A.A., "dry" for two years, we believe he can he of invaluable assistance to that fledgling group which is trying so hard to consolidate its beachhead, and that he, in turn, will be pleasantly surprised to find A.A. has now reached the Hawaiian Island's. Ed.] First reactions to The Grapevine received from A.A.s in Service are favorable. Accordingly, we urge all members to send in interesting data, especially from members overseas, expressing ideas dealing with the Program, methods of handling their special problems, or amusing incidents of Service life. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1584. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, Aug ''44, Mail Call for All A. A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/7/2004 3:21:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, Aug. '44 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces In answer to our D-day letter, that old raconteur, Warrant Officer Norman M., shot one back at us from the South Pacific in near record time. His letter, dated June 15, enclosed as an exchange copy for The Grapevine an amusing Picture Supplement to an Air Force paper. Norman writes: "The Grapevine! There's a sardonic double entendre masthead if I ever saw one. It, like the whole tone of the paper, is perfectly A.A. in spirit. The utter lack of finality in editorializing as well as its sense of humor about its mission is grand! And what a gem it is for an A.A. to get overseas. Alcoholics are such a peculiarly 'much-in-common' group that I sometimes doubt how I'd behave in the Tokyo chapter of the A.A.! Comes that day, I think we'd better start one. Talk of alibis! Whew! The very thought makes me jittery and I can't get to 24th Street soon enough." (The ideas expressed in the following letter are, according to the author, "the result of much meditation during tropical nights on a South Pacific Island." We hope other members in the Service, wherever stationed, will find time to meditate and pass on to us as helpful an analysis of their conclusions on the effectiveness of the Program.) "As an officer in the Navy, completely apart from active touch with the Group for 11 months, I have had considerable opportunity to reflect that certain phases of the overall picture have been the most important in the A.A. Program; a program which has proved to be the most powerful influence in shaping my life. At a distance, not clouded by too close a perspective resulting from very active participation in Group matters, one has occasion to get a clearer view of the problem as a whole. Two years ago I attended my first meeting. It impressed me terrifically--so much so, in fact, that for the first year I 'worked' the program every possible moment, i.e., meetings, calls, discussions, etc., as well as trying to practice the principles. This, combined with the fact that I reached the portals of A.A. fully 'ripe,' and anxious to do something about my problem, has made it easy for me to remain 'dry' since that first meeting. From my reflections on A.A., and what it has meant to me, three salient factors have impressed themselves on my mind: "1. The definite and final realization that I cannot take a drink and react like a normal person. This had been pointed out by others before A.A., but it took the understanding, and the 'decide for yourself' approach of A.A. to convince me. Now I realize the fatality of believing that 'this time will be different,' and know that, no matter how long sober, the same old pattern will start with the first drink, whenever taken. To my mind, no other method has been devised to convince the alcoholic as conclusively of this fact as the plan of A.A., of hearing and watching (on '12th step' work) other alcoholics and their experiences. "2. The gradual stirring and awakening of the Spiritual side of my personality: Before A.A. I had never given consideration to spiritual thought, or the power to be transmitted and released through contact with God, and the resultant influence in shaping one's life. Through the Program, an interest in Spiritual thought evolved, I know not exactly how, and this contact with a 'Higher Power' has resulted in the banishment of fear, a peace of mind which I never expected to enjoy, and a change in my whole method of living. In fact, it has reached into corners of my life far apart from the problem which led me to A.A. "3. The friendships which have resulted from being in the Group: These are truly real friendships in every sense of the word. While I feel that I have many friends outside of A.A., and also the ties that bind me and my brother officers. I know that in time of crisis of any kind, none would stand by with clearer understanding or a more sincere desire to help than each or all of my many friends in the Group. For from the teaching of A.A. as a program of living come richer friendships than any others. "To my mind, any one of the above three factors would, of itself, make the Program worthwhile. Combined, they have remolded my life, and provided it with its greatest experience. Y.G." FROM THE ATLANTIC FRONT On the eve of D-day, another good A.A. member, an Army officer in a responsible post, writing from England, gives his method of working out the problem of lack of A.A. contacts: "We are pretty tense wondering if and when the big show is going to start. I think often, with pleasure, of our small meetings. In fact, I believe I have an even deeper appreciation of them and the friendships made there than I did before. Being over here under present circumstances gives you a pretty sharp perception of values. A.A. has been working without a 'slip' for me. By reading and rereading the book and holding regular thought sessions with myself, I have been able to compensate in part for the lack of association and group therapy. Feel very confident but not cocky." ADDITIONAL OVERSEAS NOTES From one of our two-man Group on a South Pacific Island (see the last issue): "G. and myself have a wonderful time together. To meet one of the boys in a place like this is really out of the world. He has a jolt which is very harassing and he takes it right in his stride. His attitude is a fine example. ... I have met lots of people in my travels but give me the understanding, tolerant group of people I left at 24th Street. John" What locality is your guess on this one? "Both typewriters and ink are scarce in these parts. So are napkins, matches, good coffee, female legs with proper curves (all the ladies look like they're muscle-bound), streets that know where they're going, sunshine, and good plumbing." From an Island in the South Pacific: "It's so damned hot here that even a nonalcoholic would 'blow his top' on a drink. " A London oddity: "A cabbie from Brooklyn who'd been here since the last war." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1585. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, Sept. ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/8/2004 3:20:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, Sept. '44 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces We received a letter from Bill X., who has been in Northern Ireland, which starts innocently enough with a pat on the hack for the Editors and winds up with the germ of a great idea for a new column for the paper: "Congratulations to the staff. Two copies have come along now and Grapevine has proved a 24th Street extension course for me [24th Street refers to the New York clubhouse]. It will be particularly helpful for isolated individuals sweating out the prologues to pub-crawling without the Group; and for new Johnny-come-latelys out in Jeeptown, Arizona, with the book only. Grapevine is a meeting by mail. "That new group in Honolulu will be aided no little by the publication of their tribulations in getting started because we are all rooting them on from all over the world. The house organ idea, with the chit-chat, lore and some party line thinking, establishes a newer sense of unity which projects the group therapy phase a step further. It's terrific. "Why not have a little 'Alibi Alley' or 'rationalization of the month' column, printing the phoniest excuses submitted. For example, 'Well it was like this, see, it was the night of the invasion, and here I am sitting back hundreds of miles from the action, squarely behind a typewriter, a chair-borne paragraph trooper. So, getting such lousy breaks, and being such an eventful day, how could a little drink or possibly two hurt anybody, and even if it did hurt a bit, how could it compare to the thousands of casualties on the beachhead, and how could such an insignificant taking of a drink or possibly two be noticed during such a catastrophic, world-shaking event. And, oh yes! I have just been promoted to sergeant, and that in itself calls for a little good-humored drink of celebration or possibly two, in itself.' "'That's right, you only get promoted to sergeant once. After showing up at noon the next day when I was on duty, and with the shakes no less, I damn near got busted. since that time I have taken some active steps including coming clean on the whole deal to my boss. And I have a date with one of the highest churchmen over here to pass the story on, etc. Grapevine (the first issue) had come a few days after the 'slip' and it was a real antidote to the fogs and fears. I simply sat down and had a meeting with the whole outfit. So you can understand my enthusiasm for Grapevine." Permission, accompanied by the encouraging comment, "More strength and success to you," was obtained to print this interesting official communication: "The Army War College Library would appreciate greatly being placed on your mailing list to receive future copies, and also to receive a copy of each back number. This is a subject which has a bearing upon the efficiency of military personnel." To the Librarian, our best Grapevine bow. LIEUTENANT RE-DISCOVERS BEAUTIES OF "EASY DOES IT" One of the strongest motives behind the starting of The Grapevine -- in fact the main thing that pushed the Editors from the talking to the acting stage -- was the need so often expressed in letters from A.A.s in the Service for more A.A. news. We felt that their deep desire for a feeling of contact with A.A. might be fulfilled at least in part by such a publication -- by us and for us. And, as the first issue emerged from the presses, a letter came to one of the Editors from a woman A.A., a Second Lieutenant stationed in an out-of-the-way place. It was a cry for help: "' . . . if things keep up the way they have been going I'm going to be in more trouble than I can handle. ... I've been recommended for promotion, but ... My work is more than satisfying, but off duty I'm a total loss. There isn't a single soul here that speaks the same language. ... The Army is a funny place. One is expected to drink, but not to get noisy or pass out or do any of the things drunks do. ... I've met a few A.A.s but we've only been in the same place for a short time. Several of them were in the same boat as I, skating on thin ice, but I don't know the outcome. Frankly, I'm scared. Has this problem been discussed at meetings? If so, has anyone offered any constructive suggestions? M.L." A copy of The Grapevine went off by return mail. And now comes this: "Dear Editors: The second copy of The Grapevine just arrived. Does that mean I'm to get it every month? It's proving no end of a help to me. Thanks so much for getting it started, anyhow. ... I guess there isn't much one can do about the sort of spot that I'm in. There isn't anything wrong but loneliness and boredom, and there's no way out of that, for now. ... Right after the first copy of the paper arrived I decided to try to take it a little easier (I'd forgotten all about 'Easy Does It'). ... I was working so very hard that the hectic on-duty and the static off-duty hours didn't mix. For some reason it doesn't seem as bad to be bored now. M.L. P.S. I got that promotion I wrote you about." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1586. . . . . . . . . . . . Which city is this they are referring to in this passage? From: alev101@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/8/2004 12:11:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Does anyone know which city they are referring to in this passage? page 163 We know of an A.A. member who was living in a large community. He had lived there but a few weeks when he found that the place probably contained more alcoholics per square mile than any city in the country. This was only a few days ago at this writing. (1939) the authorities were much concerned. Stumped in NYC Ava IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1587. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Which city is this they are referring to in this passage? From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/9/2004 8:42:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII According to my notes they are talking about Hank P. in Montclair N.J. -----Original Message----- From: alev101@aol.com [mailto:alev101@aol.com] Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 5:11 PM Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Which city is this they are referring to in this passage? Does anyone know which city they are referring to in this passage? page 163 We know of an A.A. member who was living in a large community. He had lived there but a few weeks when he found that the place probably contained more alcoholics per square mile than any city in the country. This was only a few days ago at this writing. (1939) the authorities were much concerned. Stumped in NYC Ava IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1588. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, October ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/9/2004 3:47:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, October '44 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces We are fortunate to have secured the following story for this issue of The Grapevine from an A.A. who participated in the preparations for D-Day and the actual invasion. We think his conclusions should he helpful to all A.A.s: When we sailed out of New York harbor bound for England I was riding a high swell of confidence that I would be able to keep on the A.A. beam without too much trouble. Several factors contributed to that comfortable feeling. We had just completed a period of training that was pretty tough for a 40-year-old, chair-borne officer, and I had survived the spells of low spirits that so often accompany physical exhaustion. "The Army had twisted, flexed and P.T.'d us into top condition. Among the officers traveling with me was a close friend who knew about A.A. and was wholeheartedly in favor of my membership. My foot-locker contained an elemental A.A. library: 'the' book, Screwtape Letters, Return to Religion, Lost Weekend, and Christian Behavior, to which I planned to turn for remindful reading. Finally, I was enroute to a C.O. who previously had been informed that I was not drinking, thus relieving me of prospects of any embarrassment, imagined or real, over the 'have-one-on-me' kind of comradeship with him. So, notwithstanding the thoughts of danger that occur to anyone moving into a combat zone, I had few misgivings about anything and particularly not about alcohol even though each hour took me farther from 24th Street and the revitalizing smaller meetings. "On the arrival in the ETO [European Theater of Operations] I quickly began to appreciate the difficulties that are likely to confront an A.A. away from other A.A.s unless the pattern of the new way of thinking has been carved very deep. England had already been overrun by Yanks and the British had decided, not without basis, that we liked to drink, knew how to drink and had the money to pay for our drinks. So, in their efforts to be hospitable, the Scotch, the Irish, the Welsh and the English doled out whiskey, gin, rum, and mild bitters from their limited stock. That was fine for non-alcoholic Yanks, and they went to no greater excesses than are inevitable for any nationality away from restraints of home and living under wartime pressure. For quite a time I went along all right with the aid of the various tools and tricks A.A. had taught. I re-read my books. Each morning I'd give a few minutes, whether in a flat in London or a Nissen hut at one of our bases in the country, to the 24-hour plan and A.A. principles in general. And I'd talk occasionally with my A.A.-minded friend. "Then, inspecting old churches and cathedrals and palaces on off-duty hours in the country began to pall. Presently I realized that the pubs are among the most interesting places in England. It is true that they offer an open door to an intimate knowledge of the British, and I was anxious to get to know the people as well as possible. Even after I began going to the pubs I managed to sidestep trouble for a long time, a fact which I now make a point of remembering because it supports a vital lesson that I hope I've learned too thoroughly to forget, ever. "D-Day came with an unforgettable air assignment followed soon by a transfer to France with a succession of hectic experiences on the ground. At least they were hectic for me and I hit emotional extremes I never had before. Yet, through it all I stayed on the beam. Although we naturally had to travel too light for me to he carrying books, I had an A.A. card in a case with my AGO identification card and I continued that brief contemplation in the morning. Liquor was available here and there. Where isn't it? Anyway, an alcoholic will find a bottle even on a Sahara if he puts his mind to it. But I had no urge. "Trouble did not develop until I began to get lazy about my way of thinking. Sometimes I felt in too much of a hurry to re-read my poem or even go through the premeditated thoughts that had proved so useful, I begun to slip back into the old pattern. Incredible as it seems, one of the hoariest of thoughts that bedevil an A.A. seeped into my mind. Perhaps things had been going too well. Maybe I was cocky. Maybe it was the tension. There always are plenty of excuses. Presently I was toying with the idea that I had "progressed" to the point where I could handle a few. Why not try? Mild and bitters were new drinks. Perhaps they wouldn't have the same effect as liquor at home. The climate was different, too. From there, of course, it was an easy step to nibbling. The fact that I did not get drunk the first few times helped to grease the way right into the hands of Uncle Screwtape. I even told my friend, who did not know all the wiles of an A.A. on the loose, that I had found a new system for drinking. Due to restricted stocks, the 'governor' of many an English pub would lead his customers from whiskey to gin to rum and finally to bitters during an evening. This switching from one kind of potion to another enabled me to avoid getting too much of any one, I said. Amazing, isn't it? "By blessed luck, no disaster occurred. No one noticed my drinking particularly. After all, getting mildly drunk was no sin in itself and I resorted to the old trick of going away by myself to have more after reaching that point where I knew I was on the edge. After a few hangovers with the old dreary miseries, I managed to pull up and do some thinking. A hangover in the comparative peace of your own home is bad enough. It's infinitely worse when punctuated by the noises and smells and sights of war. I went back to morning contemplation augmented by mental pauses during the day wherever I was -- bouncing in a jeep or lying in a foxhole. At first I didn't put much meaning into what I was saying to myself. But I was frightened by the picture of what I had sense enough to know would be the inevitable result if I kept on in the old way. I knew that in a combat zone they couldn't fool with drunks. "Back in the A.A. way of thinking, I continued on through more disturbing experiences in France, even that of the death of some men with whom I was assigned; I returned to London for a period when the buzz-bombs were at the worst, with terrifying and sickening effects at close hand; I resumed going to the pubs for pleasant comradeship; I sat around while other men were drinking whiskey -- I shared all of those experiences safely because I was thinking right again. "Contrasting to that fortunate outcome for me is the fact that months previous while still in New York, within easy traveling distance of 24th Street and within telephone reach of several good A.A. friends who were ready to come to my aid any time -- and did -- I had a couple of 'slips.' "All of this adds up in my book as proof that the crux is not in where you are or what you're doing, but how you're thinking. To be sure, an A.A. is more in danger the farther he is from other A.A.s. But separation is not necessarily disastrous, nor proximity a guarantee of safety. T.D.Y." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1589. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, November ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/10/2004 2:44:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, November '44 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces On this page in the July issue, we printed a letter from Sergeant Bob H., then in Hawaii. Bob has recently returned from the Islands to attend Officer's Candidate School in the United States. While he was in New York on furlough, we asked him to contribute an article on how A.A. had helped him over the rough spots in an Army career of approximately two years. Emphasis should be placed, we think, on the fact that Bob entered the Service after only four months as an A.A. He had, however, so firm a grasp of the program that he has made an uninterrupted progress in a completely new field of endeavor. Bob's Story: "Two years ago, about to be inducted into the Army, I was secretly scared stiff. I had been in A.A. only four months, and while I had managed to stay 'dry,' it had been touch-and-go with me on a number of occasions. When I'd had the jitters I'd always been able to stave off that fatal first drink by getting in contact with one or more members of the local group. This, combined with frequent attendance at the various meetings, had sufficed to keep me in line so far, but what was I to do now? I knew I would have none of the physical contacts with A.A. upon which I had been relying; and I knew too that without something to fall back upon I would be a gone goose. "The solution to which I turned in desperation was the 11th step in the A.A. program --'prayer and meditation.' I knew nothing about prayer and very little about meditation, but I reckoned it was a case of start learning or else. It was very difficult for me at first (it still isn't easy), but by attending chapel whenever I could, I finally came to believe that I was discovering some of those spiritual values which in the past I had never even known existed. Anyway it worked; and it kept me 'dry.' And certainly it paid dividends from a more materialistic viewpoint -- I got my promotions with reasonable regularity, and finally received an appointment to an Officer's Candidate School, to which I am now on my way. Without A.A. I might now be in line for some bars, but they certainly wouldn't be shoulder bars." A BEGINNER IN THE WACS We are indebted to the Philadelphia Group for a letter from a comparative newcomer to A.A. The author of this letter, upon learning of A.A. through her doctor, wanted help so badly that she moved to Philadelphia from her home 125 miles distant and got a job so that she might attend meetings regularly: "The fact that I have not written before is no indication that I have forgotten you or any of the members of A.A. I think of you all quite often, remembering the few short weeks I spent in your midst. With that in mind I purposely chose today to write you. It may be just another day to you, but it marks an anniversary for me. It was just three months ago to date that I first entered your clubhouse in Philadelphia. Three months that I have remained 'dry' and maintained complete sobriety. How well I recall how far away that three-month period seemed then. Until that time had expired I could not feel as if I had accomplished anything, but now at least, my feet are on the first rung of the ladder. But I've learned my lesson well. My fingers are still crossed. I know I can never be sure. "Little did I think then that I would be a member of the Woman's Army Corps today. I led such a useless, wasteful life -- and now, though I am playing only a very small part -- I am, at least, a useful citizen. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming. In the beginning I used to envy you all so much. You seemed so light-hearted and gay, so thoroughly happy and at peace with the world. I used to ask myself, 'Will I ever be like that? Will my mind some day be free from worry and care?' I doubted it then, for I was still confused, my brain a tumult of conflicting emotions. The future loomed ahead as some hideous nightmare. I was convinced that nothing could ever make me enjoy life again. But you were all so kind, so tolerant, so helpful, so willing to listen to my tale of woe without censure, criticism or boredom, that gradually the cobwebs began to disappear, the weight was lifting from my heart, and I was learning to smile again. And then before I quite knew what had happened, I suddenly realized that my decision in coming to your group had not been in vain -- that I had at last found the contentment that I had been so long in searching for. Nothing that I could ever do or say could sufficiently show my gratitude. I regret very much that I was unable to do anything about the 12th Step, but this war won't last forever and the A.A.s will always be in existence, so perhaps, God willing, some time in the future I will have the opportunity to put that into effect. May God bless you all. K." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1590. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, December ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/11/2004 2:28:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, December '44 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Our mail from A.A.s in the armed forces comes from all corners of the globe and has been particularly gratifying. The Grapevine sends to all members in Service its Christmas greetings and the fervent wish that soon they may be with us again in person as they so obviously are in spirit. If we have helped one individual A.A., as the following letter seems to indicate, we feel that our efforts have been more than justified: "Dear Friend: And I do think of The Grapevine as a friend -- three cheers for it and the idea that brought it into being. After fourteen months in the E.T.O. and not another A.A. in sight, the old beam has not burned too brightly at times. Now with our own publication serving us as something of a link with you people back there and a friendly little get-together on paper, it is my belief that our thought processes won't be so sluggish and we A.A.s will have a better chance of taking up where we left off without passing through little Hell again. I could appreciate with ease the experience of the officer in the October issue. His arguments and alibis for a bit of pub crawling might have been lifted in full from recent activities of my own. As he said, a man can carry on alone and stay 'dry,' but it's not so easy as when you had your group all going in the same direction. You have to put more thought into your efforts or the first thing you know you'll be draped over a bar with only its early closing hour and shortage in spirits between you and a royal binge -- and that isn't just scuttle butt. So thanks a million for Grapevine. It will be a lift, and may hit on a date when you need it most. Maybe someday we can make it a weekly. Hugh P., SF 1/c--British Isles, October 20th" [A weekly? Sailor, you don't know what you're asking!] TENTING ON PELELIU ISLAND "Received your letter a couple of days back and I'll try to give you a little dope now. Our life is improving somewhat around here; when one stops to consider that everything has to come in by ship over thousands of miles of water, these guys certainly do a good job. We even have showers now in our area but most of the men are still living without tents. I managed to chisel a tent from a guy on about D+5 so I have been comparatively well off. The only complaint I have is the number of gents who cut themselves in as partners. Seven men sleeping and living in one tent reminds me of a 1 and room apartment with about ten drunks sleeping overnight! Guess you probably get the picture. Personally, I would much rather have a shower than a tent. You nearly go crazy being so dirty for so many days with absolutely no facilities. However, one manages, and lots of things that happen would be really very humorous if things were not quite so serious. I feel fine and missed getting the spell of malaria I rather expected. This is the hottest and wettest of the Islands, as far us I know. The only saving grace is the wonderful drainage, due to the coral formation. Under cruise ship conditions, these Islands would be interesting to visit, but see that you miss all D Days! They 'ain't' good! Thanks for your letters. It brings me some closer to the group to hear about it and maybe someday I can get back to pick up where I stopped. Remember me to everyone. Sincerely, John N., U.S. Army." Some weeks later, bound for a new destination, the same correspondent wrote us further of his adventures, stating: "I have often thought how much better I am prepared for all these mixups by having a little of the A.A. doctrine. This is strictly a business where one is able to change some things but, in the main, it is just a matter of standing whatever is passed out." SERVICE PAPER INTERESTED IN NATIONAL COMMITTEE Italy, October 6, 1944 "Dear Marty: I have enclosed a clipping from our Service Paper (Stars & Stripes, Mediterranean edition). I hope it's the first 'clipping service' from this part of the world with regard to your newest endeavor in the field of alcoholism. I know it won't be the last. "Your new work is something in which I absolutely believe, and of which I have thought constantly. I intend to spend as much of my time as I can possibly give, along those same lines, as soon as I am returned to civilian life. I intend to follow your 'lead' over here by contacting the Editor of the Stars Si Stripes and offering myself as a bona fide alcoholic, a three-star example of an ex-rummy, with the ultimate purpose of contacting alcoholics in this sector who may have read the article and would like to do something about it. I have some A.A. literature with me, and will be able to tell them whom to contact for added information, and where to go when they hit the States. If, in this way, I could help one man, I would consider the effort a success. "I wish to extend the greatest possible good luck to your new educational program. I know it will succeed and grow, and eventually prove that alcoholism and alcoholics are what we believe they are, and that therefore they should be given consideration in any public social problem work. Sincerely, Harold M." [A recent letter from Sergeant Hugh B., from England, also mentions that the Stars & Stripes, European edition, reported the move to organize the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism.] IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1592. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, January 1945, Mail Call for All A.A. s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/12/2004 4:15:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, January 1945 Mail Call for All A.A. s in the Armed Forces The first A.A. Seamen's group ever organized was formed in Manhattan, June, 1944. Six months later, in December, the Seamen took over the first A.A. clubhouse ever opened anywhere (over 4 years ago), at 334 W. 24th St., New York, the clubhouse having been vacated by the New York A.A. s for larger quarters. That sounds like quick, easy going. Actually, the establishment of the A.A. Seamen's Club was preceded by many months of consistent work by A.A. and doctors along the Eastern seaboard. As hospitals became overcrowded, the War Shipping Administration and the United Seamen's Service opened 7 Rest Centers throughout the country, near the largest seaports, where for 3 weeks men of the Merchant Marine could recuperate from their nerve-racking trips at sea. In some of the Rest Centers, the doctors have taken particular interest in steering alcoholic seamen into the A.A. way of thinking. The A.A. Seamen's Club does not confine itself to the Merchant Marine but hopes to include the Navy and Coast Guard as well -- all types of seamen. Already the A.A. Seamen are looking toward the day when they'll have groups in San Pedro, San Francisco, Baltimore -- in all the ports of the United States and, eventually, in all the ports of the world. One of the dried up seamen among those making calls on the alcoholics in the seamen's hospitals at Staten Island and Ellis Island is a man who, until a few weeks ago, hadn't bought himself a suit of clothes in 20 years. John W., always penniless after the binge that invariably followed his reaching shore, got his clothes from charitable institutions. The other day John, who was accustomed to getting "a Hop at the doghouse at 60 cents a week," for the first time in 20 years bought himself a new suit, new shoes, new overcoat -- and put up at a big New York hotel at $6.50 a day. And he had one swell time. Sober. While formerly Drink was the only international language known to seamen when they got off their ships, an ever increasing number are learning the constructive language of the A.A. Seamen. Treasurer of the Club is the non-alcoholic Vice-President of the Bank of New York, James Carey. Seaman Joe F. is Secretary, and among those on the Policy Committee are Horace C., an A.A. of 6-years-dry standing, and his non-alcoholic lawyer brother, Alfred. (The Grapevine extends best wishes for 1945 to the new Seamen's Club. ) MORE ABOUT SEABORNE A.A.s We have noticed from the correspondence of A.A. s in Service that, without group contacts over long periods of time, these men and women frequently appear to be following the A.A. program, especially the spiritual side, more closely than many of the rest of us who live in almost daily association with our fellow members. In this connection, we quote, by courtesy of the Toledo group, several paragraphs of a letter from one of its Servicemen with an F.P.O. address: "You may think that I am making a very broad statement when I say I feel I know all of the benefits of A.A. I feel I am qualified to say I do, after a year and one-half without contact of the group. I have been able to do the same as you that have had constant contact. This is due to a supreme effort to live up to the teachings of A.A. and the guidance of 'The Supreme Power.' I was taught how to do this while with the group. Many of you were my teachers, and convincing ones at that. It , at times, has not been an easy job but, like yourselves, I am on the twenty-four hour basis, and continue to place my problems in 'His' hands. A personal inventory has always shown me a way for improvement. Honesty is a prime factor, and key to our future progress, and if we are honest with ourselves we will be with others. ... "To those of you that I know I hope you will continue on your present path to happiness and to those of you that I do not, I hope you will find as much happiness as I have found through A.A. W. M. L." (The Toledo group, numbering approximately 150, has 15 members who have served in this War and one who died in Service.) We have always had a profound curiosity to know more about those gallant lads known as Seabees. Now, most unexpectedly, we learn that A.A. is represented, and well, in that branch of Service also. The letter quoted above was from a Seabee and we are advised from Cleveland that another Ohio A.A. is not only with them but right in the midst of things in the Pacific: "N. R. is with The Seabees now in the Philippines and has done a bang up job staying completely well for over four years, one and one-half of which have been spent in the Pacific. An outstanding job by a real guy." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1593. . . . . . . . . . . . Bernard B. Smith AA Grapevine Obituary (1970) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/12/2004 12:41:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII October 1970 AA Grapevine Bernard B. Smith (1901 - 1970) The AA General Service Board was still called the Alcoholic Foundation when he joined it, in June 1944. His advice influenced the decision to hold the first General Service Conference, in 1951. Chairman of the Board and the Conference from January 1951 to April 1956, he was serving as first vice-chairman of the Board at the time of his death. He was an attorney, an author, and an advocate of Anglo-American understanding; for his efforts in that cause, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him a decoration. Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in October 1957. A tribute from Bill: I deeply regret that my health will not permit me to attend the services for my old friend Bern Smith. His death is a great personal loss to me, for I have leaned heavily upon him for many years. His wise counsel was always mine for the asking; the warmth of his friendship, mine from the beginning. From the very beginning, Bern Smith understood the spiritual basis upon which the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous rests. Such an understanding is rare among "outsiders." But Bern never was an outsider - not really. He not only understood our Fellowship, he believed in it as well. Just one month ago today, Bern made a remarkable and inspiring talk to some 11,000 of our members gathered in Miami Beach to celebrate our Fellowship's thirty-fifth anniversary. The subject of his talk was Unity - truly an apt subject, for no man did more than he to assure Unity within our Fellowship. For that matter, he did much to assure our very survival, for he was one of the principal architects of our General Service Conference. Bern Smith would not want, nor does he need, encomiums from me. What he has done for Alcoholics Anonymous speaks far louder than any words of mine could ever do. His wisdom and vision will be sorely missed by us all. I can only add that I have lost an old and valued friend; AA, a great and devoted servant. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1594. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, February 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/13/2004 3:38:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, February 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces "A rigid disciplinarian, a fine doctor, a good officer -- above all, a gentleman -- ordered me to sit down. 'Your offense against the Navy is a serious one. For it, you could be shot. I know you're a sick man, but the Navy cannot afford to recognize you as such. My suggestion to you is simply this. You can't stop drinking by yourself. When you learn that, you have started back. I would recommend A.A.; it might work.' "I thanked him, walked back to the locked ward in a large Naval hospital, and wrote to A.A. Ten days later two men, two fine-looking, happy men, two strangers, came to see me. They cared not what my type of discharge, nor what my offense was. They were interested in whether or not I wanted to do something about my drinking. Such was my introduction to A.A. Since then I have found a new -- a sober and happy -- way to live. I have found my answer, the solution to my problems. My yellow, undesirable discharge brought with it the first understanding of my own condition; the first freedom from fear; the first shouldering of my just responsibilities. I have been fortunate in having the opportunity granted me to work with men in this same Naval hospital. The doctors, the psychiatrists, the Chaplain, have been frequent visitors to our meetings; not merely once, out of curiosity, but as repeated visitors and friends, because they were amazed to find that A.A. worked. These men -- and for them I have the warmest respect and admiration -- can and do, and will, pass on what they've learned. In my heart I know some man will be saved from standing mast, the brig, court martial, and disgrace, because of the advice and help these officers will, and can now, give him. Especially to you men out there -- many of us who aren't with you because we didn't make the grade are now carrying on for the things you're fighting for. "The Skipper stands bridge, always alert and willing and eager to heave a line, so stand to. Here's luck and a happy voyage home. Page D." Members of the A.A. Seamen's group are making good progress. On January 18th they extended their activities to include an open meeting within the portals of the Seamen's Church Institute, attended by more than fifty interested seamen. As a result the 24th Street group has four new members spreading the news of the A.A. program along the water front. Officials of the Institute were so pleased with the outcome that they assigned the main auditorium of the Institute for a second meeting held January 25th. It is unfortunate that frequently the seamen are only able to attend a few meetings at their Club before shipping out again on other hazardous voyages. A.A. FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE We have had several interesting letters recently from our most faithful A.A. correspondent in the Pacific War Zone, an Army lieutenant, who wrote after coming out of a tough landing operation: "I am well rested now and have regained my lost weight -- all the other officers have gained too. It is a funny thing but when it was really rough, very few of us could eat and one didn't feel hungry. Sort of like getting off a bat -- you know you should eat but the stuff sticks in your throat. Well, that in one deal I got by and I consider myself a very lucky person. (Over twenty-six years ago, in the Champaign country of France, others experienced a similar reaction to food when the going was tough -- the bats came later.)" Our correspondent then added the following reflections about A.A.: "I am not sure in my mind whether so much publicity is good for A.A. Would like your views. I'm a liberal on all subjects except A.A." Again, we quote from a very recent letter from the same officer: "In my case, you should always look on the envelope in see what address I am currently working under. I have only been here a short time and immediately contacted Y. [Reference is to another good A.A. naval officer]. He (Y.) is impatiently awaiting official word to take off. He has done an excellent job and deserves a rest -- I hope he can keep out of this area when his leave is terminated. "I just finished reading October issue of Grapevine. I enjoy everything printed therein and I do get set before me some of the things one is liable to forget over a period of time. We don't care, do we, whether they call them D days or Zero hours -- but we know that is the time that you can really get it. If you are a part of it, you understand -- if you have never experienced it, you don't and can't understand. I have sixteen months overseas now. It hasn't all been bad and I've had lots of fun in spots. As a matter of fact, if it weren't so serious, it would be funny. "A.A. seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. It is only natural. I, for one, will be everlastingly grateful for it. I have a long road to travel but, at least, I know I'm on the right road. Write when you can. The new quarters for A.A. on 41st Street sound fine. As ever. John" IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1595. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Serenity Prayer 1/2 from Grapevine From: t . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/13/2004 11:26:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, November 1964 The Serenity Prayer God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. THERE'S nothing new under the sun? Well, perhaps there is in the area of material things. Telstar and moon probes are new. As a matter of fact, so is AA, which celebrated a young twenty-ninth birthday this year. But in the spiritual life, when we make a discovery, we're usually waking up to an old truth. When the Grapevine last reported on the origin of the Serenity Prayer (January, 1950, issue), we had traced it to Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, who set it down in 1932 in very much the form given above. AA first used it on printed cards and at meetings in 1939. Dr. Niebuhr said at the time that he thought it "might have been spooking around for years, even centuries...." Now an alert AA has sent us a clipping from the Paris 'Herald Tribune' of an article written by its special Koblenz (West Germany) correspondent: "In the rather dreary hall of a converted hotel, overlooking the Rhine at Koblenz, framed by the flags of famous Prussian regiments rescued from the Tannenberg memorial, is a tablet inscribed with the following words: 'God give me the detachment to accept those things I cannot alter; the courage to alter those things which I can alter; and the wisdom to distinguish the ones from the others.' These words [are] by Friedrich Otinger, an evangelical pietist of the eighteenth century--" We don't have the original German of the Koblenz tablet. And we have somewhere a printed card stating that the prayer is a "soldier's prayer from the fourteenth century." So there may be more news on the origins of it to write about in the future. But let us not get carried away by antiquarian research; it is the praying that is going to help me, an alcoholic. Anon. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1596. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Serenity Prayer 2/2 from Grapevine From: t . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/13/2004 11:27:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, January 1950 The Serenity Prayer ...it's origin is traced... AT long last the mystery of the Serenity Prayer has been solved! We have learned who wrote it, when it was written and how it came to the attention of the early members of AA. We have learned, too, how it was originally written, a bit of information which should lay to rest all arguments as to which is the correct quotation. The timeless little prayer has been credited to almost every theologian, philosopher and saint known to man. The most popular opinion on its authorship favors St. Francis of Assisi. It was actually written by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, of the Union Theological Seminary, New York City, in about 1932 as the ending to a longer prayer. In 1934 the doctor's friend and neighbor, Dr. Howard Robbins asked permission to use that part of the longer prayer in a compilation he was making at the time. It was published in that year in Dr. Robbins' book of prayers. Dr. Niebuhr says, "Of course, it may have been spooking around for years, even centuries, but I don't think so. I honestly do believe that I wrote it myself." It came to the attention of an early member of AA in 1939. He read it in an obituary appearing in the New York Times. He liked it so much he brought it in to the little office on Vesey St. for Bill W. to read. When Bill and the staff read the little prayer, they felt that it particularly suited the needs of AA. Cards were printed and passed around. Thus the simple little prayer became an integral part of the AA movement. Today it is in the pockets of thousands of AAs; it is framed and placed on the wall of AA meeting rooms throughout the world; it appears monthly on the back cover of your magazine and every now and then someone tells us that we have quoted it incorrectly. We have. As it appears in The A. A. Grapevine, it reads: God grant me the serenity To accept things I cannot change, Courage to change things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. Many tell us that it should read: God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change; The courage to change the things I can; And the wisdom to know the difference. The way it was originally written by Dr. Niebuhr is as follows: God give me the serenity to accept things which cannot be changed; Give me courage to change things which must be changed; And the wisdom to distinguish one from the other. Dr. Niebuhr doesn't seem to mind that his prayer is incorrectly quoted. . .a comma. . .a preposition . . .even several verbs. . .the meaning and the message remain intact. "In fact," says the good doctor, "in some respects, I believe your way is better." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1597. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, March 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/14/2004 3:05:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, March 1945 Mail Call for All A.A. s in the Armed Forces It is becoming increasingly apparent that A.A. is going to be called upon to perform a real job in aiding many veterans of this War during or, more particularly, some time after their re-entry into civilian life. We believe, therefore, that the following piece, written for The Grapevine by an A.A. who is himself in the process of undergoing this readjustment, following Army experiences that included participation in the invasion of Normandy, is extremely timely. "Becoming acclimated to a tail-less shirt assuming you can find any at all--is a small but symbolic problem that every veteran of the military forces encounters in making the transition to civilian ways of life. "The tail-less shirt is not the only reason for feeling shorn. The veteran also feels that a number of other things besides the tail of his shirt are missing. The Army--or the Navy, or whatever his branch of the service --is no longer taking care of him. The privileges and protection that the uniform provides, along with the responsibilities, have come to an end. Your assignment, whatever it may have been, has been finished. There's no longer somebody on hand to tell you, whether you were officer, soldier or sailor, what to do next. You can't even get cigarets when you want them. You're just another short-tailed civilian, mister! "The dischargee not only misses the things he found enjoyable while wearing a uniform. Strangely, he also misses some of the things he disliked the most. He may yearn for the very things that used to draw his loudest and longest gripes. If he happens to be a veteran from a combat zone, he may even miss some of the gadgets and conditions that scared him silly while he was in the middle of them. When, for instance, in New York he hears the weekly Saturday noon air raid sirens and, after an involuntary tightening of nerves, he remembers that they're only practice, he may wish momentarily (only momentarily) that they were the real thing. It's not that he ever liked robots or enemy raiders; it's that his nerves are still attuned to the excitement and tension that a combat zone produces in generous quantities as a daily, and nightly fare. War in one phase or another has been reality to him. That has now been removed and what's left seems, at times, unreal and even empty. "Another void becomes apparent in topics of conversation in normal circles. What the veteran has been talking about morning, noon and night for however long he has been in uniform is scarcely suitable now. People just aren't interested in what Sgt. Doakes said to Capt. Whoozit. And you certainly can't blame them for that. Even when they are genuinely interested in hearing something of his experiences, the dischargee discovers that there's a great deal he can't express in a way that is understandable to someone who has not felt what he has. So he tends to avoid the subject--and he certainly does avoid it after one or two encounters with the occasional person who reacts to war anecdotes with a look in his eye that says, 'What a line this guy's got!' In such cases, the dischargee learns that what may be commonplace in theaters of war may sound fantastic and unbelievable elsewhere. "All of these factors add up to an emotional disturbance involving lonesomeness, injured vanity, loss of poise and direction, fear of the future and resentments. For many persons, of course, relief at being permitted to return to normal pursuits offsets the other factors. But reconversion from the military to the civilian world calls for considerable readjustments for anyone. For an A.A. member, the readjustment may be especially difficult--and dangerous. "Paradoxically, an A.A. who has had no or little trouble during his enforced separation from the group may be in greater danger during this period of readjustment than the one who has had an up and down fight all the way from enlistment or induction to discharge, if he has gone through military service without any slips or near-slips he has scored a real achievement. The military life imposes severe handicaps on an A.A. It usually prevents him from practicing many of the steps on which he normally depends. It divorces him from group therapy, 12th step work and inspirational talks. It precipitates him into circumstances that are upsetting and that tend to unbalance anyone's sense of values. "If the A.A. has survived all of that successfully, he's likely to feel pretty strong when he returns to normal life. Certainly he feels that now, once again within his home orbit, among A.A. friends and within reach of all the help he could ask, he is in much less danger, alcoholically, than he was in the service away from home. So he may very easily let down. He may drop his guard. He may become 'too tired' to attend any meetings or do any 12th step work. He may slack off in doing some of the little things that help to keep an A.A. growing along A.A. lines. "If he begins to slide off in any of these ways, he's heading for a tailspin and a tight inside loop. Whatever hazardous tendencies he may develop will be aggravated by the emotional disturbances which his military-to-civilian readjustment is bound to create for him even if he remains squarely on the beam. The fact is, he has need to double his guard and keep his defenses on the alert during this period. "Those are facts which this A.A. had to learn the painful way. But, in learning those, he also learned that application of the A.A. way of thinking will ease the transition for the veteran in many ways. Again I have seen how A.A. not only helps to overcome Personal Enemy No. 1, but how infinitely effective it is on many other human problems. "Again, too, I have been reminded forcefully that in A.A. one cannot stand still for long he either goes backwards or he grows, and he grows only by using a gradually increasing amount of A.A. T.D.Y." IT'S FREE FOR SERVICEMEN "India, January 27 "Dear Grapevine: Was pleasantly surprised to receive two issues of The Grapevine in the past few days, as I didn't know that our organization had such a swell publication. "I don't know whether one of my friends in the Tucson group has paid for a subscription to The Grapevine for me or if these were sample copies, so will appreciate receiving that information from you, and will forward the subscription if such has not been paid. Hoping that I will continue to keep in contact with all of you through The Grapevine, "I am, gratefully yours, "John F.M., Sgt. Air Force" IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1598. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, April 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/15/2004 3:28:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, April 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces "I have just returned to the States after 20 months overseas, during which time my only contact with the group has been The Grapevine (but what a refreshing contact that was!). And, as in most other things these days, remarkable changes have taken place, and much progress. After a lapse of so many months, of course the first thing that strikes one is the tremendous expansion in all groups everywhere. Many have been obliged to take on new quarters, and the ones which I have seen have all been an improvement over the old. As we had all hoped, the A.A. program has been made available to thousands more people who have been struggling with the problem, and it is a fine thing to meet so many new and happy A.A.s who have embarked on the wonderful adventure afforded by the program. An outstanding feature to be noticed today is the large number of 'high-bottom members,' those who have gained an early understanding of their problem through A.A. Perhaps because of the fact that A.A. is becoming so well known nationally, they have not had to bounce all the way down the hard road, losing everything, before realizing that something must be done about it, and, what is more important, learning how to do it. "It is evident, too, to one who has been away, that present-day conditions are putting a pressure on the civilian population which has caused day to day existence to be speeded up in a manner reminiscent of the 'terrific twenties.' As a result, there is necessarily more drinking going on generally, I should say, than before the war. During my 17 days on leave in the New York area, friends have brought me into contact with three people who have gone beyond the 'safety line' of normal drinking. So the group is needed more than ever before, in all areas of the country. "Most satisfactory of all, however, is the fact that in spite of the great nation-wide expansion in A.A., the same warm, friendly, and happy spirit prevails everywhere--just as it always has. So, it's great to be home again, with the grandest bunch of people in the land! Y. G." "[Attached is a very precious letter written by a young bomber pilot in Italy, this son of a Springfield A.A., who has been a member since November, 1944. It is addressed to the. A.A.s everywhere in appreciation for what A.A. has done for him through his mother. C. W.] "Ten years ago my mother recovered miraculously after almost losing her life in a Chicago hospital. It was God, and her love for her family, that pulled her through. It was following this recovery that I first remember her drinking to excess. Not too much at first, but as years went on, things grew worse. I'd come home from high school in the afternoon to find her in a drunken stupor, and inside I'd be boiling mad, and sick at heart. I never said anything particularly unkind to her while she was like this, as the words would have been forgotten in the morning, and I'd only get as a reply to anything I said, that 'everything was o.k.--everything o. k.' But I'd lie awake half the night planning what I would tactfully say in the morning. "Morning came and mother would be her bright, very beautiful and very gracious self again, and I could never get up enough courage to say anything that might hurt her. "So things went on. I'd be afraid to bring a friend home from school because I didn't want him to see my mother like that. I hadn't cried from pain in many years, but at night I'd lie in bed, tears rolling down my cheeks, praying to God to help. God had answered in saving her life the only other time I asked Him to help. "At intervals in the last two or three years my mother told my sister and me that she would give it up. She tried, I know, but never was successful. There was one way left that I thought would do a lot of good, but it was a very hard thing for me to do. I wrote a long letter appealing to my mother's love for her family. It hurt her deeply, as I knew it would, but with her great love she fought all the pent-up emotional disturbances within her to a great degree of success. To help reduce the great strain on her mind and to insure a rapid comeback to a happy life, my sister and a member of A.A. induced her to join your organization. You don't know how extremely happy and proud a person I am today. To be fighting 3,000 miles from home and know that your family is back on the road to complete happiness after ten years of discouraging disappointments is a wonderful thing and it's even more wonderful to be able to love every little thing about your mother with all your heart, and with all your soul. "I am extremely grateful to you for the way in which you have helped. A heartful of thanks and sincere good wishes from--a son of one of you. W.A.L MEDICINE FOR SELF PITY "I've wanted to write for a long time, but my days are long and full. We all are too much in this work to really observe it. If I were on a schedule like this back in the States I'd have blown my top regularly just like the noon whistle at the biscuit factory. "Of course, I often think of A.A. It's one of the things we have to do. But when you see men who have been through the real hell of war, and you hear from them what it's like (you can't know unless you've been there), or you see them laugh with tears in their eyes as they tell you how their comrades were killed all around them, you wonder how you could ever have taken yourself so damned seriously. "I'm very well in every way, and living only for the day we can all take up where we left off. Pvt. John D., BUSH Hospital, France" IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1599. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, May 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/16/2004 3:08:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, May 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces This is a quotation from a personal letter received by the editor of the "Mail Call" page, himself an overseas veteran of World War I. It was written by a fellow A.A., a sergeant who has been, taking part in the recent activities on the unquiet Western front: "About a year ago you sent me a letter concerning a particular attack you made in the last war, and as I was really in a tight spot recently that description among many other thoughts came to mind. I remember you wrote that with all the artillery, mortars and general hell flying you didn't know how you could survive, but did! That gave me a certain hope and fortified me in my thinking. Prayer for my other buddies was easy and some Power brought me through. Slightly wounded, I am practically well now and will be re-joining my outfit by the time you receive this. Our push looks successful, with plenty of hard fighting ahead. " As this issue of The Grapevine deals primarily with the feminine viewpoint on A.A., we ask indulgence for printing the description of the "particular attack" referred to in the sergeant's letter above. The letter-writer was then a young second lieutenant of Infantry and he describes for his father his initiation into the art of war. His alcoholic problem had not developed at that time: "Somewhere in France. "September 17, 1918 "On the morning of the 12th, I had the greatest experience that comes to any soldier during his service in this war. I went over the top and, incidentally, it was the first time I had ever been under fire. One is, I know, supposed to think of many things during those hours in the trenches before daylight, and perhaps some may pray a bit and make good resolutions provided they come through, but my only sensation, that I can recall, was that I was colder than I had ever been in my life and that anything requiring motion would be a relief. We were in the trenches four hours before zero and during that time a terrific artillery barrage went over from our guns. You would imagine that the noise would be terrible, but it did not seem to worry me, and as Fritz did not reply we were perfectly safe at that time. Fritz, I imagine, thought all Hell was loose and God for once far from being with him. At daylight we rushed up a trench into another, parallel to Fritz's line, and over we went. I suppose it is nearly impossible to imagine the confusion of an attack--it is barely light enough to see, shells are bursting with a crash and a flash all about, and every now and then an enemy machine gun starts popping. To keep your men together and in place is nearly impossible. I got up with the company ahead before we reached the German line, but when I got there I had the platoon together and in proper place, where I kept most of the men for the remainder of the day. I had men from many another company and regiment with me during the day. In the trench, we found only a few machine gunners who had caused us to lie flat at times. We passed on through a thick woods and advanced about nine kilometers before the German artillery got our range. Then we caught a little Hell ourselves. I saw a man killed and my runner wounded not ten feet from me--where I had been lying only two seconds before. I hadn't had sense enough to be scared before that, but from then on I didn't enjoy the German artillery. We got out of that spot by advancing, but late that day, or rather all afternoon, while we were dug in at our captured objective, they shelled us with remarkable accuracy. It was unpleasant and unhealthy for more than one. As for me, I dug with my mess kit and dug fast. An Austrian 88 would make anyone dig fast, and he would not have to be paid $5.00 per day either! I would be interrupted occasionally and flatten out till things quieted a bit. "Next evening we were relieved; now we are well behind the lines. I understand that St. Mihiel on our left was taken and the line is straight. Our casualties and worries all came. from artillery. Men of the company say we were very lucky, as the regiment has been up against tougher propositions. Be that as it may, we did what we set out to do and I did not see a single man hesitate to do his part. As for me, another time I will know what everything is like. I am now recognized by the old hands as belonging to the company, having gone under fire with proper behavior--not hard when the rest all do. Really I believe my big Texas runner (not the one who was hit) kept me cool. He wasn't fazed by anything--delivered his messages quickly, and was at other times constantly at my side as a sort of personal bodyguard. Later when we were all cold and hungry and worn out (I slept only three or four hours in about 84) he was always cheerful and joked about things when others grumbled. He too was having his first experience under fire, but little he cared. My sergeant, an old-timer, did his part well. I have looked on dead and wounded now, and I know what a poor devil suffers when he is hit, but I am principally impressed by the fact that with shells falling all around one has miraculous escapes. The Americans do not halt for a shelling--they go through and win. It is all over for the present for us. We are still a bit tired and very dirty but we are happy. This is certainly a fine outfit--they know they have a good reputation as fighters and they would go anywhere to keep it. The cold has been our greatest enemy, that is at night. I am in A1 shape but unrecognizably dirty. Soon I shall wash. Cooties are not with me as yet. Abbot T., New York" NAVY SYMPATHETIC TO A.A. Capt. Forrest M. Harrison of the U. S. Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, recently reported to the press that the alcoholic in the Navy gets separate barracks, well equipped with magazines, books and special literature "such as that issued by Alcoholics Anonymous." Meetings are held, and every effort is made to get the men straightened out through education, physical rehabilitation, et cetera. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1600. . . . . . . . . . . . re: Lasker Award From: dgrant004 . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/16/2004 8:36:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi All, Does anyone know if the Lasker Award is currently being kept at AAWS in NYC? Much thanks! David IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1601. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: re: Lasker Award From: Al Welch . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/16/2004 5:09:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Yep, saw it last Friday in the Archives section IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1602. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, June 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/17/2004 3:23:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, June 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces We are fortunate in having received from an A.A. participant, a sergeant of Infantry, a vivid account of the battle for Germany and his reactions: "Somewhere, in Europe "7th Army, April 10 "Dear Elliot: Your marvelous New Year's Day letter, and also The Soul's Sincere Desire, the book you so thoughtfully sent to me, caught up just yesterday. Both meant much more to me than if they had been received earlier in the year. At the first of the year I was called up for combat duty in the general ground forces reinforcement program after our serious losses in the December Ardennes set back. "After a one-month 'get-rich-quick' course in Infantry I left England and subsequently joined the veteran 3rd Division and participated in the final stages of the Colmar Pocket campaign. About a month ago we went into the big campaign as a 'spearhead' unit in cracking the Siegfried Line on the 7th Army front below Saarbrucken, which with General Patton's swing from the North came to be known as the Saar-Moselle-Rhine Triangle bagging 125, 000 Krauts--salting away the Saar, as you have been reading in screaming headlines, no doubt. I am most fortunate to be alive! We fought and beat crack Waffen SS units, broke the thickest part of the Siegfried (but as you know you have to spend lots of men to do it) and so I am back here at a General Hospital rapidly recovering from a comparatively slight wound, and enjoying the finest Springtime season of my life and the fragrance of the earth is something to be truly grateful for, to say the least. "During a counter attack on a fortified Jerry village we had previously taken and lost the night before, I had so many close calls it went beyond any ordinary or extraordinary luck factor, and as you suggested in your letter I felt something, a factor of divine protection. I didn't expect to live through that almost overwhelming maelstrom of utter chaos. Tanks entered the town and ran wild battering down houses and our rubble positions at fifty yards point blank range. We were cut off without artillery or armor support and were nearly up against an impossible tactical setup, i.e., trying to fight Tiger Tanks with your bare fists. An 88 shell tore the air so close to me the suction of it spun me off balance. Bullets tore my combat jacket. Shoe mines exploded nearby as we caught mine fields, shells demolished rooms I had occupied minutes before; mortars, rockets, screaming Meemies (neberwerfel rockets) pounded us night and day. Caught inside Jerry lines and enveloped, we later were subjected to our own artillery barrages and strafing and dive bombing by our Air Force, etc., etc. "The point being I felt something soon after the big floor show started. After our jump-off we were caught and pinned down and Jerry's stuff started to fly as if he thought he was fighting his last battle. I prayed but I couldn't quite see why I should have the gall to ask for personal favors or protection. Someone was going to get it and there were too many fine, clean, happy twenty-year olds with a fresh future ahead in my outfit. Why should God be interested in sparing my rum soaked bones? It didn't make sense and it became practically impossible, but it was easy to pray for the others and a great happiness and inner calm (as you mention) welled up within me in doing so. I know that prayer for all of us was answered! Most of my company were finally captured and are POWs today which approaches the miraculous in view of the severity of the heavy fire power thrown against us, and compared to the general casualty percentages of the overall campaign. "I felt a nearness to understanding I can't quite explain but I know you know what I am talking about. "You told me three years ago on a hot summer day standing at 42nd Street and Madison. Your waking in the middle of the night with a great sense of gratitude and merely saying 'Thank you, God,' is the most eloquent prayer I have ever heard. "You see, Elliot, how much I appreciate and treasure your letter and book. The author suggested in the first chapter something I liked very much. Write up or think up some of your own psalms and prayers, don't be a slave to set forms. You can't beat the 23rd Psalm or the Lord's Prayer as great literature but maybe something you can express your own way will have more of that essence of sincerity, for you at least. Likewise I like to sing hymns and work in some barber shop harmonies with my rather dubious baritone. Why can't people really enjoy their religion? That's why I have trouble sitting in church as they seem to want you to, with a puss this long. People are supposed to be happy and not fearful I am sure. And as you say, 'kicking against the traces.' Best regards. Hugh B." ACCEPT THOSE THINGS WE CANNOT CHANGE One of our A.A. correspondents who has been actively engaged in the Pacific War writes us about a subject that probably applies to servicemen especially but seems to have significance for all A.A.s: "Waiting is one of the biggest problems in the service. And at certain times, a five-minute wait can be a real torture. Ernest Hemingway said the same in one of his books, and when I read it, I thought the concept foolish. But waiting (or rather patience) is one of the hardest traits to develop and one of the most necessary. At one of those times of stress I believe it would be extremely easy to completely lose one's outlook and perspective. And it doesn't seem to make any difference whether or not the thing for which you are waiting is dangerous. There is no question that at times the hold of A.A. over one is lessened. It can't be otherwise, but I do think that experience teaches one certain danger signals and only a fool would ignore them. For instance, when a person is rotated and goes home, he is in a very dangerous period because we know that one can be so happy that, all of a sudden one may be caught very, very drunk. I know that there must be people in A.A. who would raise their hands in horror at the idea that an A.A. doesn't have complete control at all times. They may be right, but it hasn't been my experience. The reason may well be because I have been able to attend only one meeting in the last three years. And I do heartily approve of meeting attendance as insurance against possible slips. But for the person who does not have the advantages that meetings give, these blind spots must be recognized, understood and controlled. "I guess I have been trying to say that the course is not always smooth and a person new to A.A. might very well become discouraged. When a blank period arrives there is only one possible course of 'inaction'--just don't drink. Sometimes in the space of a very few minutes the upset has passed and all is serene again. John N., Lt. U. S. Army" Copies of The Grapevine are sent free to all A.A. servicemen and women. If you know of any member of the Armed Forces who is not on the mailing list, please send his or her name to the Editors. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1603. . . . . . . . . . . . big book index From: judicrochet . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/17/2004 7:14:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII i have an index for the big book copyright 1975 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc. it's A.A. General Service Conference approved literature. does any one know how long this was in print and why it was discontinued. thanks judi IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1604. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, July 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/18/2004 1:51:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, July 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces Some months ago we suggested on this page that perhaps A.A.s in service often worked out their not inconsiderable problems more realistically than their civilian brethren and that, almost certainly, they had to place greater dependence on the spiritual aspects of the program. The quotation below is part of a recent letter from a soldier stationed in France: "In the old days (and it's a wonderful thing to think of them as 'old days') most of us didn't face these conflicts, but they must be faced now, and faced squarely. So for me there's only one answer and that is our 3rd Step. That is the answer to so many things if we only be mindful of it. However, like everything else, now and then we forget. I was feeling particularly low and in need of help. I got just the lift I needed from my old friend Chet through his piece on the 3rd Step in the March Grapevine. "This has been a very personal letter. However, isn't that what this is all about--getting the right slant on the things that bother us?" A Marine Tells Us The following is our first letter from an A.A. who is also a member of the Marine Corps. It is from a sergeant with a Marine fighter squadron now in the Pacific, and was written to a friend in the Buffalo group. We think it bears out our comment at the beginning of this page. "It was pretty rough most of the way over, but after leaving Honolulu most of us were pretty good sailors but our only wish was to set foot on terra firma once again. Had my fill of the deep blue sea--it really is blue and at night when there is no moon one would think that there was some sort of indirect lighting due to the phosphorus in the water glowing as the prow of the boat would churn it up. "We were able to pitch a one-day liberty in Honolulu and I really took in the sights--saw the famous beach at Waikiki and also stopped in a quaint little church and thanked Him for keeping me 'dry' and asked Him to help all of us in our struggle with alcohol. He has been very good to me, John. "We finally arrived on this little rock of coral and sand where the Navy and Marines left a tree or two standing when they knocked the little monkeys out of here some time back. "Each day gets hotter and, although the nights cool off, even they are starting to get a bit warmer. We used to have our choice of either two bottles of cold brew or two cokes every other night but now they are out of cokes so I'm drinking warm water out of Lyster bags. Yes, I know just what two beers would do to me--even out here--and I don't care to experiment. I'll wait until medical science can find a remedy. This is all I'm allowed to write. It is lonesome here and I'd sure enjoy hearing from some of the boys." Dick F. M., Sgt. V. S. Marines, April 8 Our most faithful correspondent in the Pacific seems to have gotten into the thick of things again, but is still calling on his A.A. philosophy whenever the going gets tough: "I have really been busy. Am receiving Grapevine and enjoy it so much. M is sending September Remember which I look forward to enthusiastically. Y. (a naval lieutenant) wrote from Boston. He must have been very active. He is a grand fellow and the new A.A. member should be helped by people like him. We are getting well set up now. Had my first shower in six weeks yesterday and you would be surprised how one gets used to taking a bath in a helmet. We spend considerable time in foxholes but as yet I haven't caught cold. The snakes around here have me worried--especially when I spend the night on the ground. We have killed a couple of them and they were deadly. Oh well, it's just like a lot of other things--bad, but not too bad. My spirits are well up these days and now I'm happy with a little less. Thank God, it has ended in Europe." John N., Lt. U. S. Army A Soldier Avoids That Fatal First Drink "I have had several pleasant visits with a family I met in Rheims. There was, at first, a rather awkward situation created by my not taking a glass of wine at dinner. I'm sure my friends consider it very queer, but the matter is settled and they have accepted the fact of my not drinking. Later on, I should like to tell them about A.A. They are intelligent, alert people, and I might be able to convey the general idea to them." John D., U. S. Army, France, May 25 Copies of The Grapevine are sent free to all A.A. servicemen and women. If you know of any member of the Armed Forces' who is not on the mailing list, please send his or her name to the Editors. TIME ON YOUR HANDS "The term 'hobby' not only refers to an occupation pursued as a pastime but also means 'a slow and steady horse.' To me, the latter definition is more important to an alcoholic because it's so patently the reverse of the kind of animal he used to be. One of our most potent slogans is 'easy does it' ... and I think that philosophy should be especially followed when it comes to picking hobbies. "The reason we're looking for hobbies is because we know that too much loose time on our hands represents the most frightening saboteur we have to face in our aim toward continued sobriety. But for an alcoholic, too much intensity toward any objective is equally dangerous, because should circumstances deprive us of our "hobby crutch" we're ripe for a slip. "So, in my very humble and still inexperienced opinion, we should take our hobbies where we find them and have as many as possible that fit into everyday living instead of concentrating on one or two important ones. For example, you'd hardly call your family a hobby but it can function very well as such with priority--and more satisfyingly so than any I have found. The time I spend planning and executing for my wife and son the many ordinary pastimes and associations which they missed during my drinking days has proven to be the happiest heritage which A.A. has given me. There is no need to expand on that statement--every alcoholic will recognize immediately what I'm trying to say. "The only other important hobby I have (excepting of course my A.A. group) is to associate as much as possible with friends who are not alcoholics, but who are fully aware of my status as one and my desire to stay dry. It's been amazing to me how much help I can get from these friends who, although they may not fully understand why a guy can't take a drink now and then, respect and encourage my aims. I guess you'd call that being something of an "alcoholic hero" to the folks outside of A.A. who are important to me, but if that be treason, I still feel that I can make the most of it as a hobby--and you'll agree that results are what count." Jim D. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1605. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, August 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/19/2004 3:20:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, August 1945 Mail Call for All A.As in the Armed Forces "As a very new A.A.--less than two months--I can find only one gripe. In the best illogical tradition of the Army it is that I didn't find A.A. soon enough, specifically, before I went overseas. I had 18 months of the Middle East and I'm firmly convinced that the toughest job for a soldier who is trying to get away from alcohol is to be stuck in a non-combat overseas post in a command the chiefest ingredient of which is boredom. "I drew Persia and any other GI who has served there can explain to strangers that the combination of camels, loneliness and free hours with nothing to fill them leads to an almost immediate discovery of the wines of the country--vodka, zorovka (a vodka derivative which borrows a faint brownish color from the stalk of buffalo grass stuck in every bottle) and mastique (otherwise known as arak, raki and zibib, a cousin of the absinthe family one gulp of which starts a three alarm fire in your vitals, several gulps of which puts out both the fire and you). "The soldier-alcoholic, whether in a rear echelon, in combat or on garrison duty in the U. S., has a different set of problems than his civilian brother-in-allergy. Even a line outfit has its fill of blank hours and nothing can be blanker than spare time in uniform. Between this boredom and the occasional hard work or swift action which gives you an excuse and almost a necessity for emotional relief of some sort, the GI is usually in a mood where he wants and thinks he needs a short one. "I found it possible, for short spells of time, to go on the wagon overseas. But it was never a satisfactory solution. It is too easy, in the Army, to find an alibi to go off. Maybe you have just come into town from a long truck convoy over days of dusty roads with no more sustenance than C-rations and lukewarm canteen water. Maybe you are on a three-day pass from combat. Maybe you have had a fight with the Old Man and, according to the rigidity of Army discipline, have no other way of getting back at him than to tie one on for your own satisfaction. At any rate, when you do hit the town, when you do get the pass, when you have that fight, you don't lack for friends to help you drown your sorrows. And you have assisting you liquorwards also a long and strong, if not entirely accurate, tradition that a good soldier is a two-fisted drinker and that you're not an honest-to-goodness soldier until you've been busted a couple of times for drunkenness. "These invitations to drink apply equally to the A.A. alcoholic in uniform as they do to his unenlightened brother, but I honestly believe the A.A. has a good chance of beating them while the non-A.A. doesn't have better than 100-to-one odds in his favor. Even a fledgling A.A. realizes that the organization and its philosophy give him something to cushion the shock of not drinking, something to fill the open space left in his social life when be puts away the bottle. "When I went on the wagon in the Army--not as an A.A.--I was acutely miserable. I haunted the Special Service clubhouse or tent because I knew I wouldn't get a drink there, but the inanities of most Army entertainments loomed as even more inane to my still alcoholically critical eyes. I was constantly aware, every waking hour, that I was engaged in doing something I didn't like. A.A. hasn't deadened my critical faculties, but today I feel sure I could get amusement (sometimes perhaps snide), if not full enjoyment, out of a service club, and I am not a little suspicious that I might find myself participating in and enjoying the goings on after a while. "Needless to say, there should be any amount of 12th Step opportunities in the service, but I'm inclined to think that 12th Step work should be approached even more carefully than ordinarily when dealing with GIs. All of us in the Army are living in a close community full of community prejudices sharper and more quickly applied than in civilian life. The first thing to convince any alcoholic in uniform should be that by joining A.A. he is not making himself ridiculous and not abandoning his right to be one of the boys. If you can convince the boys, too, so much the better. From there on in you should have relatively clear sailing. "In my own overseas drinking experience I have had many amusing and diverting adventures, so amusing and diverting that I get the dry heaves recalling them. There was the time I got tramped on by the camel, and the time I passed out on the Avenue Chah Reza in Teheran and had my pants stolen, and the time I fell head first into a lime-pit and had to take off my field jacket with a mason's chip hammer, and the endless times I had to weave back to camp one alley ahead of the MPs. Diverting as hell. "Whatsa matter with this A.A. they didn't get me sooner? That's my only kick." Sgt. A. H. The Seed Was Planted "I tried to follow the A.A. principles three years ago in my home town of Anderson, S.C., and it was too much for me all alone, and after a few weeks I slipped, but several months ago I was able to affiliate with the Oklahoma City Group and I see now that the Higher Power intended things to work out this way. I have met some of the finest people in the world and only hope that after I'm discharged from the Service I will be able to partly repay them by carrying the A.A. message to Anderson, S. C. Had it not been for A.A., I'm afraid I would have gotten the little yellow discharge from the Navy long ago." Jack G. C., Jr., H A I / c, U.S. Navy Letters Look Good at Front "I enjoyed your letter tremendously and am rather ashamed that I haven't written sooner. Ever since the day we hit this Oriental rock the time has flown--our hours are long and the nights are sleepless--we have had over one hundred alerts and a goodly number of raids in the short time I've been here. You see I left my old base in the Pacific in the latter part of April and now am right in the thick of it. I am writing this during an alert but haven't as yet heard any ack! ack! which is the signal for this ex-drunk to dive into his foxhole." Sgt. Richard J. F. M., U.S.M.C.R. Navy Chaplain Lauds Work "Dear Editor: "I have never needed A.A. help myself, but have had some very fine acquaintances whom it could have assisted long ago and might have kept them from sailing their ships on the rocks of alcoholic despair and destruction. "During the past month it has been my great privilege to watch from outside and also inside observation by attending meetings of A.A. in this city. I have seen its work and as a minister and chaplain in the Navy, I marvel at the results it seems to get from its application to alcoholics. "I have read all the literature at hand and hope to read more to get an insight into the very fine results and remarkable record that make for the conversion of alcoholics to most decent and reputable citizens. "I am enclosing herewith a check for $1.50 for which you will please put me on as a yearly subscriber to The Grapevine. Would be glad to have any old copies and any other literature that you may see fit to send." H.G.G., Captain, Ch. C, U.S.N. Copies of The Grapevine are sent free to all A.A. servicemen and women. If you know of any member of the Armed Forces who is not on the mailing list, please send his or her name to the Editors. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1606. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, September 1945, Mail Call for All A.A.s at Home or Abroad From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/20/2004 2:25:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, September 1945 Mail Call for All A.A.s at Home or Abroad (Editor's Note: With the cessation of hostilities, Mail Call is thrown open to all A.A.s, those still far away with the victorious armed forces, those returning to civil life, and those on the home front who face the same fight. ) From a U. S. Marine In the July 1945 issue we published a letter from an A.A., a sergeant of Marines in the Pacific, with whom we have since had the good fortune to carry on an active correspondence. We think part of his most recent letter should appear here: "I received your last letter and answered it immediately, but because we were moving I was unable to mail it. In the meantime, we had some terrific rainfalls with the result that your letter and others were waterlogged and had to be destroyed. Now I am at my new base. "The little rock I was on was called Ie Shima and was the place where Ernie Pyle was killed. Being a small rock and just off the west coast of Okinawa, it was a fairly easy target and as a result was pretty hot with air raids and alerts. I am in Okinawa now. It's much nicer here--much like our own country with hills and ravines, mountains and valleys and plenty of foliage and pine trees. We have lots of new equipment, including a new mess hall with all its accessories, ice cream machine and all. There are still a number of enemy stragglers around which hinders me from doing the exploring I'd like to do--such as into the mountains and down the valleys and along the rocky coast line. Besides I have enough work to do to take up most of my time." Our friend goes on to discuss some of his thoughts about A.A., the probable reasons for "slips" and the danger of uncontrolled temper. His remarks on this last subject seem very much to the point: "Ever since I attended my first meeting I knew that I would have to curb my temper if I wanted success (sobriety) and since I want that more than anything else in the world I pray daily that God will grant me patience and help me control my temper. I've been quite successful along this line and have, gained twofold results--first, I've removed another obstacle to a life of complete contentment and second I get along with my family, as well as my fellow men; 100% better. I believe a temper is an asset when it is well bridled. No, I'm not cocky--either over my controlled temper or over two years of sobriety--if I were, I would not be praying daily for help. I need it. "Just recently A.A. saved my life--someday I'll tell you about it. Thanks once again to A.A. that I'm here." D. F. M., Sgt., USMCR [This was the only letter this month from a member of the Services.] IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1607. . . . . . . . . . . . ...officers from Plattsburg From: pennington2 . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/20/2004 12:50:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII As part of an online Big Book study group, the participants are encouraged to read with a dictionary and encyclopedia handy . . . . . . I have also found that the WWW is handy! Reading the first few pages of Bill's story this week, I was Intrigued by the statement "officers from Plattsburg" and did a search. I found this reference on the web that others may find of interest: p2 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1608. . . . . . . . . . . . Periodical Literature, The Amarillo, October 22, 1944 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/22/2004 3:35:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII THE LOST WEEKEND Charles Jackson gives us five days out of a man's life while in the flamboyant arms of alcohol; this type of a book might have been burdensome or highly sensational--instead the author has given as clear a picture of what goes on in the mind of an alcoholic as is probably possible. William Seabrook treated the matter completely in his ASYLUM, but this is the meticulous and factual account of a good mind holding its own throughout the flattering of the ego and the anti-social aspects produced by excessive drinking. To the layman, alcoholism is merely a state of being drunk, of intoxication; but to those who have studied psychopathic trends, alcoholism is a release of all that man has within him, it is the highest and at once the lowest. Within the confines of the bonds of this stimulant, man achieves his loftiest ambitions in thought, experiences and aberrations to do with everything from theft to possible murder, which the true alcoholic shuns. As the book and serious writers on the subject point out, it is only the drug addict who will kill to satisfy his appetite. Alcoholics may beg, steal, borrow or pawn to satisfy that thirst, but murder as a general rule is foreign to such a disturbed mind. Mr. Jackson has contributed what is possibly the finest study in print of true alcoholism from the standpoint of the afflicted; his book is a priceless primer toward understanding of that great number who find escape for such a short time down the drinkers' road. After so much trash has been written on this and kindred subjects, concerning the 'escapist' side of man, this book should prove invaluable to mankind to understanding not only alcoholics, but his own reactions based upon whole or part intoxication. Mr. Jackson is not the type of writer to soft-pedal his ideas, but the sex angle of this book is well into the background and hardly raises its inquiring head; of course this might be different in relation to the subject--assuredly women alcoholics react differently than the males, but in all people of this type, the sex-life plays a dominant part and this author has given full scope to the possibility if not elaborating upon it. To those who have seen patients of this type by the dozens, confined behind institution walls, this book will find a welcome world of avid readers; to those whose lives are touched with the "fiery fumes" of this line of escape, let them read and analyze for themselves, forgetting that dreams are all necessary to escape the realities of life. No human being should miss this book, moreover, no human being can afford to. Source: The Amarillo, October 22, 1944 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1610. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: re: clapboard factory explosion From: Jim Blair . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/22/2004 3:40:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII DAvid wrote Does anyone know if the Wombleys clapboard factory explosion ( referenced in Tradition 4 in the 12&12 ) was an actual event, or just a figure of speech. I had a discussion with Ozzie Lepper who runs the Wison House in East Dorset and he claims that the foundations of the clapboard factory can still be seen. Jim IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1611. . . . . . . . . . . . Origin of Rule #62 From: timwarner1990 . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/22/2004 3:19:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi everybody, First of all, please forgive me if this subject has been addressed previously. I did use the search function in both the AAHISTORYLOVERS and the AAHISTORYBUFFS groups, to no avail. Could someone please point me to a description of the origin of our beloved Rule #62? I'm almost positive that I heard Bill W. describe the origins of this term on a speaker tape, but I can't for the life of me remember which speech it was. The more detail you could provide, the better. Thanks so much. Yours, Tim W. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1612. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Origin of Rule #62 From: Arthur Sheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/23/2004 12:12:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Tim - Following are some published sources: Not God, pg 107: This reference suggests that the 'super-promoter" sobered up in early 1940. He first wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation outlining his ideas and applying for a "super-charter." The letter on "rule #62" came later after the ideas collapsed. AA Grapevine, August 1952 on Tradition Four: This reference is the initial version of the essay material later incorporated into the 12&12 and AA Comes of Age. Bill's first editorial on (the long form of) Tradition Four, in the March 1948 Grapevine, makes no mention of the rule #62 story. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pgs 147-149: Published in 1953, this is the generally accepted source of the story. AA Comes of Age, pgs 103-104: Published in 1957, this version of the story just mentions a "clapboard factory" and not "Wombley's Clapboard Factory" to describe the collapse of the grandiose plan. This was part of Bill W's Second Legacy talk at the historic 20th Anniversary Convention in St Louis, MO. The rule #62 story is an endearing one and I believe it sometimes overshadows the central notion of Tradition Four that "every group has the right to be wrong." One other thing, is that sometimes this Tradition unfortunately gets interpreted as an all-too-convenient loophole to arbitrarily ignore the principles embedded in the Traditions. Cheers Arthur ----- Original Message ----- From: timwarner1990 Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2004 2:19 PM Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Origin of Rule #62 Hi everybody, First of all, please forgive me if this subject has been addressed previously. I did use the search function in both the AAHISTORYLOVERS and the AAHISTORYBUFFS groups, to no avail. Could someone please point me to a description of the origin of our beloved Rule #62? I'm almost positive that I heard Bill W. describe the origins of this term on a speaker tape, but I can't for the life of me remember which speech it was. The more detail you could provide, the better. Thanks so much. Yours, Tim W. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1613. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Bob''s Last Drink From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/24/2004 3:21:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The following question was received recently from Ted C. in Australia: Subject: Dr Bob's Last Drink Can anyone ascertain the EXACT date of Dr Bob's last drink. Assuming the medical convention that he attended in June actually started on the 10th, as reported on this forum, and given the travelling time back from Atlantic City. Add to that the blackout that he had.(pp73-74 Dr Bob & the GOT) etc., and considering that surgeons only operated on perhaps one day a week, an exact date could be ascertained. TedC I sent him this response, but I do not think it has been previously posted: This article is written by nationally recognized historian and oft-quoted Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K. Dr. Bob's Last Drink Bill W. had met a kindred spirit in Dr. Bob. Both men were born in Vermont, both were intelligent and both were alcoholics. They somehow knew that fateful evening in Henrietta Seiberling's Gatehouse home both of them were going to be okay. Dr. Bob kept his promise to Anne. That is, until he boarded the train to Atlantic City. After a few weeks of working with each other and attempting to deliver the message of recovery to other alcoholics Bill and Dr. Bob did not appear to be discouraged. Despite their not being able to bring another rummy into the fold -- they were staying sober. Quite a feat for Dr. Bob who had been attending Oxford Group meetings even prior to getting together with Bill. Dr. Bob was feeling so secure that he decided to attend a convention of the American Medical Association. He had not missed a convention in 20 years and did not plan on missing this one. Bob's wife, Anne was set against him attending the convention. She remembered previous ones where he had gotten drunk. Dr. Bob assured her that he would not drink. He said that alcoholics, even those who had stopped drinking, would have to begin to learn how to live in the real world. She finally agreed and off he went. Dr. Bob kept his promise to Anne. That is, until he boarded the train to Atlantic City. Once on the train Dr. Bob began to drink in earnest. He drank all the way to Atlantic City, purchased more bottles prior to checking in to the hotel. That was on a Sunday evening. Dr. Bob stayed sober on Monday until after dinner. He then resumed his drinking. Upon awakening Tuesday morning his drinking continued until noon. He then realized that he was about to disgrace himself by showing up at the convention drunk. 24-Hour Blackout He decided to check out of the hotel and return home. He purchased more alcohol on the way to the train depot. He waited for the train for a long time and continued to drink. That was all he remembered until waking up in the home of his office nurse and her husband back in Ohio. In order to insure the steadiness of Dr. Bob's hands during the operation Bill gave him a bottle of beer. Dr. Bob's blackout lasted over 24 hours. There was a five-day period from when Dr. Bob left for the convention to when the nurse called Anne and Bill. They took Dr. Bob home and put him to bed. The detoxification process began once again. That process usually lasted three days according to Bill. They tapered Dr. Bob off of alcohol and fed him a diet of sauerkraut, tomato juice and Karo Syrup. Bill had remembered that in three days, Dr. Bob was scheduled to perform surgery. On the day of the surgery, Dr. Bob had recovered sufficiently to go to work. In order to insure the steadiness of Dr. Bob's hands during the operation Bill gave him a bottle of beer. That was to be Dr. Bob's last drink and the "official" Founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous. The operation was a success and Dr. Bob did not return home right after it. Both Bill and Anne were concerned to say the least. They later found out, after Dr. Bob had returned, that he was out making amends. Not drunk as they may have surmised, but happy and sober. That date according to the AA literature was June 10, 1935. June 10, 1935, has been considered as AA's Founding Date for many years. After all, it was the date Dr. Bob had his last drink -- or was it? Recently discovered evidence appears to differ with the "official" literature. The "Official" Date The Archives of the American Medical Association reportedly show that their convention in Atlantic City, in the year 1935 did not start until June 10th. How could Dr. Bob have gone to the convention, by train -- check into a hotel -- attend the convention on Monday -- check out on Tuesday -- be in a blackout for 24 hours -- go through a three-day detoxification -- perform surgery on the day of his last drink -- June 10, 1935? It now appears that the date of Dr. Bob's last drink was probably on, or about, June 17, 1935. Five days had passed since Dr. Bob left for the convention and returned to Akron. There was the three-day detoxification process and then there was the day of the surgery. Approximately nine days had passed from when he left and the date of his last drink. If the records of the American Medical Association are in error as to the date of their convention it is possible that June 10, 1935, was the date of Dr. Bob's last drink. If the records are in error, the 1935 convention would have been the only one in the history of the American Medical Association that was listed with the wrong date. It now appears that the date of Dr. Bob's last drink was probably on, or about, June 17, 1935. Maybe AA should keep the June 10th date as a symbolic Founding Date rather than claim it as the actual one? Maybe the date should be changed to reflect historical accuracy? Either way, Dr. Bob never drank again until his death, November 16, 1950. Dr. Bob sponsored more than 5,000 AA members and left the legacy of his life as an example. Dr. Bob told those he sponsored that there were three things one had to do to keep sober: TRUST GOD, CLEAN HOUSE, HELP OTHERS. More will be revealed… IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1614. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Dr. Bob''s Last Drink From: Arthur . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/24/2004 6:57:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Ted The date of June 17 looks pretty compelling as Dr Bob's dry date. Barefoot Bill obtained confirmation from the AMA Archives in Chicago, IL that the 1935 Atlantic City, NJ Convention was held from Mon to Fri, June 10-14, 1935. Also, there is a graphic of the AMA convention program circulating on the web and it clearly indicates June 10-14. There are also good clues in the literature for a deduction. *In AA Comes of Age (pgs 70-71*) Bill writes "So he [Dr Bob] went to the Atlantic City Medical Convention and nothing was heard of him for several days." *In Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers (pgs 72-75)* it cites (with my editing for brevity) Dr Bob ... began drinking as he boarded the train to Atlantic City. On his arrival he bought several quarts on his way to the hotel. That was Sunday night. He stayed sober on Monday until after dinner... On Tuesday, Bob started drinking in the morning and [checked out of the hotel] The next thing he knew he was in the home of his office nurse... The blackout was certainly more than 24 hours long Bill and Anne had waited for five days from the time Bob left before they heard from the nurse... She had picked him up that morning at the Akron railroad station... As Bill and Sue remembered, there was a 3-day sobering up period... Upon Dr Bob's return, they had discovered that he was due to perform surgery 3 days later... At 4 o'clock on the morning of the operation [Bob] said "I am going through with this...'' On the way to City Hospital ... Bill gave him a beer *In the video Bill's Own Story,* Bill says he gave Dr Bob a beer and a "goofball" [a barbiturate] on the morning of the surgery. The same information is repeated in *Pass It On, pgs 147-149*. See also *Not God, pgs 32-33.* Estimate on the turn of events: *June** Dr Bob* 09 Sunday Checked into Atlantic City Hotel (started drinking on the train on the way in) 10 Monday Stayed sober until after dinner 11 Tuesday Began drinking in the morning - later checked out of the hotel. 12 Wednesday Went into blackout (likely greater than 24 hours) 13 Thursday Blackout continues (may have arrived at Akron train station) 14 Friday Picked up by nurse in the morning at the train station Then picked up by Bill at nurse's house (5 days after leaving) Day 1 of 3-day dry out period 15 Saturday Day 2 of 3-day dry out period 16 Sunday Day 3 of 3-day dry out period 17 Monday Day of surgery - Bill gives Bob a beer and a goofball (3 days after Bob's return) Cheers Arthur ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: NMOlson@aol.com Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004 7:21 AM Subject: Dr. Bob's Last Drink The following question was received recently from Ted C. in Australia: Subject: Dr Bob's Last Drink Can anyone ascertain the *EXACT* date of Dr Bob's last drink. Assuming the medical convention that he attended in June actually started on the 10th, as reported on this forum, and given the travelling time back from Atlantic City. Add to that the blackout that he had.(pp73-74 Dr Bob & the GOT) etc., and considering that surgeons only operated on perhaps one day a week, an exact date could be ascertained. TedC I sent him this response, but I do not think it has been previously posted: This article is written by nationally recognized historian and oft-quoted Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K. Dr. Bob's Last Drink Bill W. had met a kindred spirit in Dr. Bob. Both men were born in Vermont, both were intelligent and both were alcoholics. They somehow knew that fateful evening in Henrietta Seiberling's Gatehouse home both of them were going to be okay. Dr. Bob kept his promise to Anne. That is, until he boarded the train to Atlantic City. After a few weeks of working with each other and attempting to deliver the message of recovery to other alcoholics Bill and Dr. Bob did not appear to be discouraged. Despite their not being able to bring another rummy into the fold -- they were staying sober. Quite a feat for Dr. Bob who had been attending Oxford Group meetings even prior to getting together with Bill. Dr. Bob was feeling so secure that he decided to attend a convention of the American Medical Association. He had not missed a convention in 20 years and did not plan on missing this one. Bob's wife, Anne was set against him attending the convention. She remembered previous ones where he had gotten drunk. Dr. Bob assured her that he would not drink. He said that alcoholics, even those who had stopped drinking, would have to begin to learn how to live in the real world. She finally agreed and off he went. Dr. Bob kept his promise to Anne. That is, until he boarded the train to Atlantic City. Once on the train Dr. Bob began to drink in earnest. He drank all the way to Atlantic City, purchased more bottles prior to checking in to the hotel. That was on a Sunday evening. Dr. Bob stayed sober on Monday until after dinner. He then resumed his drinking. Upon awakening Tuesday morning his drinking continued until noon. He then realized that he was about to disgrace himself by showing up at the convention drunk. 24-Hour Blackout He decided to check out of the hotel and return home. He purchased more alcohol on the way to the train depot. He waited for the train for a long time and continued to drink. That was all he remembered until waking up in the home of his office nurse and her husband back in Ohio. In order to insure the steadiness of Dr. Bob's hands during the operation Bill gave him a bottle of beer. Dr. Bob's blackout lasted over 24 hours. There was a five-day period from when Dr. Bob left for the convention to when the nurse called Anne and Bill. They took Dr. Bob home and put him to bed. The detoxification process began once again. That process usually lasted three days according to Bill. They tapered Dr. Bob off of alcohol and fed him a diet of sauerkraut, tomato juice and Karo Syrup. Bill had remembered that in three days, Dr. Bob was scheduled to perform surgery. On the day of the surgery, Dr. Bob had recovered sufficiently to go to work. In order to insure the steadiness of Dr. Bob's hands during the operation Bill gave him a bottle of beer. That was to be Dr. Bob's last drink and the "official" Founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous. The operation was a success and Dr. Bob did not return home right after it. Both Bill and Anne were concerned to say the least. They later found out, after Dr. Bob had returned, that he was out making amends. Not drunk as they may have surmised, but happy and sober. That date according to the AA literature was June 10, 1935. June 10, 1935, has been considered as AA's Founding Date for many years. After all, it was the date Dr. Bob had his last drink -- or was it? Recently discovered evidence appears to differ with the "official" literature. The "Official" Date The Archives of the American Medical Association reportedly show that their convention in Atlantic City, in the year 1935 did not start until June 10th. How could Dr. Bob have gone to the convention, by train -- check into a hotel -- attend the convention on Monday -- check out on Tuesday -- be in a blackout for 24 hours -- go through a three-day detoxification -- perform surgery on the day of his last drink -- June 10, 1935? It now appears that the date of Dr. Bob's last drink was probably on, or about, June 17, 1935. Five days had passed since Dr. Bob left for the convention and returned to Akron. There was the three-day detoxification process and then there was the day of the surgery. Approximately nine days had passed from when he left and the date of his last drink. If the records of the American Medical Association are in error as to the date of their convention it is possible that June 10, 1935, was the date of Dr. Bob's last drink. If the records are in error, the 1935 convention would have been the only one in the history of the American Medical Association that was listed with the wrong date. It now appears that the date of Dr. Bob's last drink was probably on, or about, June 17, 1935. Maybe AA should keep the June 10th date as a symbolic Founding Date rather than claim it as the actual one? Maybe the date should be changed to reflect historical accuracy? Either way, Dr. Bob never drank again until his death, November 16, 1950. Dr. Bob sponsored more than 5,000 AA members and left the legacy of his life as an example. Dr. Bob told those he sponsored that there were three things one had to do to keep sober: TRUST GOD, CLEAN HOUSE, HELP OTHERS. More will be revealed IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1615. . . . . . . . . . . . Closing statement From: friendofbillw89 . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/25/2004 10:01:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII IN my area we have a closing statement that reads in part...*let there be no gossip or criticism of another, Instead let the love of the fellowship grow inside you one day at a time.* I cannot remember the whole closing statement offhand and could not find anything in the archives. Where did that closing originate and can I find a copy or link online? Nisa IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1616. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Closing statement From: Judi . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/26/2004 8:15:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII check with al-anon, thats the closing they use here. judi friendofbillw89 wrote: IN my area we have a closing statement tha reads in part...*let there be no gossip or criticsm of another, Instead let the love of the fellowship grow inside you one day at a time.* I cannot remember the whole closing statement offhand and could not find anything in the archives. Where did that closing originate and can I find a copy or link online? Nisa IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1617. . . . . . . . . . . . When did the break from Oxford Groups take place From: soomedrunk . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/24/2004 11:50:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi all, When and how did the break from the Oxford Group take place. Was there a specific meeting that occured? How did it happen? Does that mean there is a meeting that can be said to be the 1st actual AA meeting? Was there a problem or a fight that caused the break? Please help with this. Most respectfully, Eric IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1618. . . . . . . . . . . . serenity prayer From: NORMANSOBRIETY@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/24/2004 10:49:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Dear All, I have just read the SERENITY PRAYER BY ELISABETH SIFTON. Does anyone know if it was a AA member that changed the Serenity prayer as we know it today. The original Serenity Prayer is: GOD GIVE US GRACE, TO ACCEPT WITH SERENITY THE THINGS THAT CANNOT BE CHANGED, COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS THAT SHOULD BE CHANGED, AND THE WISDOM TO DISTINGUISH THE ONE FROM THE OTHER. Does anyone know where the second part of the serenity prayer came from as it is not mentioned in the book. Yours in the fellowship Norrie F. Oban Sunday Scotland UK IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1619. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: When did the break from Oxford Groups take place From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/26/2004 12:21:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII This message came from Richard K. It had a typo in it which would have been misleading, so I have corrected the typo and forward it to the group. Nancy The break came in stages. The first break came in New York, in 1937. Bill Wilson oftentimes gave several reasons for the split, as I've heard in countless tapes during the 1940s and 1950s. However, his wife Lois was more to the point: " (the) Oxford Group kind of kicked us out." (Pass It On, p. 174) The break in Akron came in two phases. Cleveland pioneer Clarence Snyder was vying to get his Catholic prospects into the group. But these folks were receiving some static from their churches. Chief among the problems was the Oxford Group practice of (open) group confession. They were facing quite the dilemma: either leave the Akron alcoholic group and remain in their parishes, or continue with the group and face excommunication. Clarence had a meeting with Dr. Bob on May 10, 1939, and announced that his Cleveland contingent were longer to be coming down to Akron, and that they would begin a group in Cleveland "for alcoholics and their families only." (Mitchell K, "How It Worked: The Stroy of Clarence H. Snyder") The date of this first meeting was May 11, 1935 [correction, 1939] at 2345 Stillman Road, Cleveland Heights. Clarence stated that this group would be called Alcoholics Anonymous, after the title of the newly-released book. This has been recognized in some quarters as the first "AA meeting." Dr. Bob was intensely loyal to the Akron Oxford Groupers who had helped them in AA's formative years (T. Henry and Clarace Williams, Henrietta Seiberling, et al.). Exactly when the final split occurred is open to debate. Most historians point to late 1939 - January 1940. Dr. Bob never elaborated on the actual facts pertaining to the split, and not much had been recorded. Letters do exist that confirm 74 members meeting at Dr. Bob's home at Ardmore Avenue on the last Wednesday of 1939, and by 1940 they were gathering at the King School. Regards, Richard K. Haverhill, MA IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1620. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: When did the break from Oxford Groups take place From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/26/2004 4:39:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi, I actually discussed the Oxford Group break with Bill. He gave 1937 as the time of the break in New York and 1939 as the time in Akron. But he quickly said that the Akron people stayed with the Oxford Group only because of the help they were getting from T. Henry and Clarace Williams, nonalcoholic Oxford Groupers who had provided the use of their fine home for Wednesday night meetings of alcoholics. I think the New York break came because the O.G. people had become critical of Bill, and Sam Shoemaker's assistant pastor had gone out of his way to knock them. The Akron people began finding the Oxford Group connection unsatisfactory, and some of this may have been due to the Oxford Group's growing public relations problems. (Frank Buchman, the O.G. founder, had committed a terrible P.R. blunder in a 1936 newspaper interview.) When the Akron people finally did break, in late 1939, Dr. Bob described it to Bill as getting out from under their yoke, which suggests that the alcoholics had become unhappy with the arrangement. They then met in Dr. Bob's house for a short time before going to King's School. Bob told Bill they had 75 in his house for a meeting. If you ever visit the house in Akron, you'll be amazed that they could squeeze 75 in there! I explain much of this in my book "New Wine," which is published by Hazelden (if it's permissible to say so!). Mel Barger ~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com ----- Original Message ----- From: "soomedrunk" Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004 11:50 PM Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] When did the break from Oxford Groups take place > Hi all, > > When and how did the break from the Oxford Group take place. > > Was there a specific meeting that occured? How did it happen? > > Does that mean there is a meeting that can be said to be the 1st > actual AA meeting? Was there a problem or a fight that caused the > break? > > Please help with this. > > Most respectfully, > Eric IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1621. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Closing statement From: CBBB164@AOL.COM . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/26/2004 10:25:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The subject phrase can be found in the suggested closing for Al-Anon meetings. http://home.bham.rr.com/therealmuddy/Meeting%20closing.txt In God's love and service, Cliff Bishop - IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1622. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: When did the break from Oxford Groups take place From: Arthur . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/26/2004 8:57:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Eric The short answer is: NY broke away in Aug 1937 and Cleveland/Akron broke away in May/Oct 1939. A much longer answer follows (it turned into an essay). I got the impression you are looking for all the info you can get on the Oxford Group. *Sources (with page number references)* AABB _Alcoholics Anonymous_, the Big Book, AAWS AACOA _AA Comes of Age_, AAWS AGAA _The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous_, by Dick B (soft cover) BW-RT _Bill W_ by Robert Thompson (soft cover) BW-FH _Bill W_ by Francis Hartigan (hard cover) BW-40 _Bill W_ *My First 40 Years*, autobiography (hard cover) DBGO _Dr Bob and the Good Old-timers_, AAWS EBBY _Ebby the Man Who Sponsored Bill W_ by Mel B (soft cover) GB _Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous_ by Nan Robertson (soft cover) GTBT _Grateful to Have Been There_by Nell Wing (soft cover) LOH _The Language of the Heart_, AA Grapevine Inc. LR _Lois Remembers_, by Lois Wilson NG _Not God_, by Ernest Kurtz (expanded edition, soft cover) NW _New Wine_, by Mel B (soft cover) PIO _Pass It On_, AAWS RAA _The Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous_,by Bill Pittman, nee _AA the Way It Began_ (soft cover) SI _Sister Ignatia_, by Mary C Darrah (soft cover) www Web search (typically using Google search engine) *1908* Jul., Frank N D Buchman arrived in England to attend the Keswick Convention of evangelicals. After hearing a sermon by a woman evangelist, Jessie Penn-Lewis, he experienced a profound spiritual surrender and later helped another attendee to go through the same experience. His experiences became the key to the rest of his life's work. Returning to the US, he started his 'laboratory years'' working out the principles he would later apply on a global scale. (NG 9, NW 32-45, PIO 130) *1918* Jan., Frank Buchman met Sam Shoemaker in Peking (now Beijing) China. Shoemaker had a spiritual conversion experience and became a devoted member of Buchman's _First Century Christian Fellowship_. (NW 29, 47-52, RAA 117-118, AGAA 209) *1921* Frank Buchman was invited to visit Cambridge, England. His movement _The First Century Christian Fellowship_ would later become the _Oxford Group_ and receive wide publicity during the 1920's and 1930's. Core principles consisted of the 'four absolutes'' (of honesty, unselfishness, purity and love - believed to be derived from scripture in the Sermon on the Mount). Additionally the OG advocated the 'five C's'' (confidence, confession, conviction, conversion and continuance) and 'five procedures'' (1. Give in to God, 2. Listen to God's direction, 3. Check guidance, 4. Restitution and 5. Sharing - for witness and confession). (DBGO 53-55, CH 3) (GB 45 states Buchman dated the founding and name of the OG when he met with undergraduates from Christ Church College of Oxford U). *1922* Frank Buchman resigned his job at the Hartford Theological Seminary to pursue a wider calling. Over the next few years, he worked mostly in universities (Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge). During the economic depression, students (particularly in Oxford) responded to his approach and were ordained ministers. Others gave all their time to working with him. (www) *1928* Summer, a group of Rhodes Scholars returned home to S. Africa, from Oxford U, England to tell how their lives changed through meeting Frank Buchman. A railway employee labeled their train compartment _The Oxford Group_. The press took it up and the name stuck (the name _First Century Christian Fellowship_ faded). (RAA 120, www) *1931* Rowland H (age 50) was treated by Dr. Carl Gustav Jung in Zurich, Switzerland. It is believed that he was a patient for about a year, sobered up and then returned to drinking. Treated a second time by Jung, Rowland was told that there was no medical or psychological hope for an alcoholic of his type; that his only hope was a vital spiritual or religious experience - in short a genuine conversion experience. Bill W later wrote that this was 'the first in the chain of events that led to the founding of AA.'' (NW 11-19, NG 8-9, EBBY 59, LOH 277) Dec., Russell (Bud) Firestone (alcoholic son of Akron, OH business magnate Harvey Firestone Sr.) was introduced to Sam Shoemaker by James Newton on a train returning from an Episcopal conference in Denver, CO. Newton was a prominent Oxford Group member and an executive at Firestone. Bud, who was drinking a fifth or more of whiskey a day, spiritually surrendered with Shoemaker and was released from his alcohol obsession. Bud joined the OG and became an active member (but later returned to drinking). (NW 15, 65, AGAA 8-9, 32-36) *1932* Rowland H found sobriety through the spiritual practices of the Oxford Group (it is not clear whether this occurred in Europe or the US - and it could have occurred in 1931). Rowland was a dedicated OG member in NY, VT and upper MA and a prominent member of the Calvary Episcopal Church in NYC. He later moved to Shaftsbury, VT. (NW 10-19, NG 8-9, PIO 113-114, AGAA 28, 141-144, LOH 277-278, www) *1933* Jan., Harvey Firestone Sr. (grateful for help given his son Bud) sponsored an Oxford Group conference weekend (DBGO says 10-day house party) headquartered at the Mayflower Hotel in Akron, OH. Frank Buchman and 30 members (DBGO says 60) of his team were met at the train station by the Firestones and Rev Walter Tunks (Firestone's minister and rector of St Paul's Episcopal Church). The event included 300 overseas members of the OG and received widespread news coverage. The event attracted Henrietta Sieberling, T Henry and Clarace Williams and Anne Smith. (NW 65-67, CH 2, DBGO 55, AGAA 9, 37-51, 71) Early, Anne Smith attended meetings of the Oxford Group with her friend Henrietta Sieberling (whose marriage to J Frederick Sieberling was crumbling). Anne later persuaded Dr Bob to attend. The meetings were held on Thursday nights at the West Hill group. (NW 67-68, SI 32, 34, DBGO 53-60, CH 2-3, 28-29) Beer had become legal and Dr Bob previously went through a beer-drinking phase ('the beer experiment''). It was not long before he was drinking a case and a half a day fortifying the beer with straight alcohol. In his Big Book story, Bob says that this was around the time when he was introduced to the OG. He participated in the OG for 2 years before meeting Bill. (DBGO 42, AABB 177-178, NW 62) *1934* Jul., Ebby T was approached in Manchester, VT by his friends Cebra G (an attorney) and F Sheppard (Shep) C (a NY stockbroker). Both were Oxford Group members who had done considerable drinking with Ebby and were abstaining from drinking. They informed Ebby of the OG in VT but he was not quite ready yet to stop drinking. (EBBY 51-55, PIO 113) Aug, Cebra G and Shep C vacationed at Rowland H's house in Bennington, VT. Cebra learned that Ebby T was about to be committed to Brattleboro Asylum. Cebra, Shep and Rowland decided to make Ebby 'a project.'' (NG 309) Aug., Rowland H and Cebra G persuaded a VT court judge (who happened to be Cebra's father Collins) to parole Ebby T into their custody. Ebby had first met Rowland only shortly before. In the fall, Rowland took Ebby to NYC where he sobered up with the help of the Oxford Group at the Calvary Mission. (RAA 151, AACOA vii, NW 20-21, 26, EBBY 52-59, NG 9-10, PIO 115, AGAA 155-156) Nov (late), Ebby T, while staying at the Calvary Mission and working with the Oxford Group, heard about Bill W's problems with drinking. He phoned Lois who invited him over for dinner. (EBBY 66) Nov. (late), Ebby visited Bill W at 182 Clinton St and shared his recovery experience "one alcoholic talking to another.'' (AACOA vii, 58-59) A few days later, Ebby returned with Shep C. They spoke to Bill about the Oxford Group. Bill did not think too highly of Shep. Lois recalled that Ebby visited several times, once even staying for dinner. (AACOA vii, NG 17-18, 31`, BW-FH 57-58, NW 22-23, PIO 111-116, BW-RT 187-192) Dec. 7, Bill W decided to investigate the Calvary Mission on 23rd St. He showed up drunk with a drinking companion found along the way (Alec the Finn). Bill kept interrupting the service wanting to speak. On the verge of being ejected, Ebby came by and fed Bill a plate of beans. Bill later joined the penitents and drunkenly 'testified'' at the meeting. (AACOA 59-60, BW-40 136-137, NG 18-19, BW-FH 60, NW 23, PIO 116-119, BW-RT 193-196, AGAA 156-159, EBBY 66-69) Dec. 11, Bill W (age 39) decided to go back to Towns Hospital and had his last drink (four bottles of beer purchased on the way). He got financial help from his mother, Emily, for the hospital bill. (AACOA 61-62, LOH 197, RAA 152, NG 19, 311, NW 23, PIO 119-120, GB 31). Dec. 14, Ebby visited Bill W at Towns Hospital and told him about the Oxford Group principles. After Ebby left, Bill fell into a deep depression (his 'deflation at depth'') and had a profound spiritual experience after crying out 'If there be a God, will he show himself.'' Dr. Silkworth later assured Bill he was not crazy and told him to hang on to what he had found. In a lighter vein, Bill and others would later refer to this as his 'white flash'' or 'hot flash'' experience. (AABB 13-14, AACOA vii, 13, BW-40 141-148, NG 19-20, NW 23-24, PIO 120-124, GTBT 111, LOH 278-279) Dec 15, Ebby brought Bill W a copy of William James' book _The Varieties of Religious Experience_. Some references indicate that it may have been Rowland H who gave Bill the book. (AGAA 142) Bill was deeply inspired by the book. It revealed three key points for recovery: [1] calamity or complete defeat in some vital area of life (hitting bottom), [2] admission of defeat (acceptance) and [3] appeal to a higher power for help (surrender). The book strongly influenced early AAs and is cited in the Big Book. (AACOA 62-64, LOH 279, EBBY 70, SI 26, BW-40 150-152, NG 20-24, 312-313, NW 24-25, PIO 124-125, GTBT 111-112, AABB 28) Dec. 18, Bill W left Towns Hospital and began working with drunks. He and Lois attended Oxford Group meetings with Ebby T and Shep C at Calvary House. The Rev Sam Shoemaker was the rector at the Calvary Church (the OG's US headquarters). The church was on 4th Ave (now Park Ave) and 21st St. Calvary House (where OG meetings were usually held) was at 61 Gramercy Park. Calvary Mission was located at 346 E 23rd St. (AABB 14-16, AACOA vii, LR 197, BW-40 155-160, NG 24-25, PIO 127, GB 32-33, AGAA 144) Dec (late), after Oxford Group meetings, Bill W and other OG alcoholics met at Stewart's Cafeteria near the Calvary Mission. Attendees included Rowland H and Ebby T. (BW-RT 207, BW-40 160, AAGA 141-142, NG 314) *1935* Early, Bill W worked with alcoholics at the Calvary Mission and Towns Hospital, emphasizing his "hot flash" spiritual experience. Alcoholic Oxford Group members began meeting at his home on Clinton St. Bill had no success sobering up others. (AACOA vii, AABB, BW-FH 69, PIO 131-133) Mar./Apr., Henrietta Sieberling encouraged by her friend Delphine Weber, organized a Wednesday-night Oxford Group meeting at T Henry and Clarace Williams' house on 676 Palisades Dr. The meeting was started specifically to help Dr Bob who later confessed openly about his drinking problem. OG meetings continued at the William's house until 1954. (DBGO Apr., Bill W returned to Wall St and was introduced to Howard Tompkins of the firm Baer and Co. Tompkins was involved in a proxy fight to take over control of the National Rubber Machinery Co. based in Akron, OH. (BW-RT 211, NG 26, BW-FH 74, PIO 133-134, GB 33) May, Bill W went to Akron but the proxy fight was quickly lost. He remained behind at the Mayflower Hotel very discouraged. (BW-RT 212, PIO 134-135) May 11, (AGAA says May 10) Bill W, in poor spirits, and tempted to enter the Mayflower Hotel bar, realized he needed another alcoholic. He telephoned members of the clergy listed on the lobby directory. He reached the Rev. Walter Tunks who referred him to Norman Sheppard who then referred him to Henrietta Sieberling (47 years old and an Oxford Group adherent). Bill introduced himself as 'a member of the OG and a rum hound from NY.'' Henrietta met with Bill at her gatehouse (Stan Hywet Hall) on the Sieberling estate. She arranged a dinner meeting the next day with Dr Bob and Anne. (AACOA 65-67, SI 21, BW-RT 212-213, DBGO 60, 63-67, NG 26-28, PIO 134-138, GB 19) Note: some stories say that when Henrietta called Anne, Dr Bob was passed out under the kitchen table. He was upstairs in bed. May 12, Mother's Day - Bill W (age 39) met Dr Bob (age 55) Anne and their young son Bob (age 17) at Henrietta Sieberling's gatehouse at 5PM. Dr Bob, too hung over to eat dinner, planned to stay only 15 minutes. Privately, in the library, Bill told Bob of his alcoholism experience in the manner suggested by Dr Silkworth. Bob opened up and he and Bill talked until after 11PM. (AACOA vii, 67-70, BW-RT 214-215, DBGO 66-69, NG 28-32, BW-FH 4, GB 21) May, Bill W wrote a letter to Lois saying that he and Dr Bob tried in vain to sober up a 'once prominent surgeon'' who developed into a 'terrific rake and drunk.'' Henrietta Sieberling arranged for Bill to stay at the Portage Country Club. (DBGO 70, 77) Jun., Bill W moved to Dr Bob's house at the request of Anne Smith. Bill insisted on keeping two bottles of liquor in the kitchen to prove that he and Bob could live in the presence of liquor. Both worked with alcoholics and went to Oxford Group meetings on Wednesday nights at the home of T Henry and Clarace Williams. T Henry lost his job due to the proxy fight that brought Bill to Akron. (AACOA 141, NW 68-69, 73, DBGO 70-71, 99-102, PIO 145-147, AGAA 186, NG 317) Favored Scripture readings at meetings were _The Sermon on the Mount, First_ _Corinthians Chapter 13 and the Book of James_. (AAGA 193, 208-209, 253) (GTBT 95-96 says that meetings were held at Dr Bob's house and moved to the Williams' house in late 1936 or early 1937) Aug. 26, Bill W returned to NYC. Meetings were held at his house at 182 Clinton St on Tues. nights. His home also became a halfway house, of sorts, for drunks. (AACOA 74, BW-RT 225, PIO 160-162, GTBT 96, GB 51, AGAA 145) *1936* Bill W's efforts in working only with alcoholics were criticized by NY Oxford Group members. Similarly, in Akron, T Henry and Clarace Williams were criticized as well by OG members who were not supportive of their efforts being extended primarily to alcoholics. (NG 44-45, NW 73, AGAA 76) Aug. 26, Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group experienced an international public relations disaster. A _NY World Telegram_ article by William H Birnie, quoted Buchman as saying, 'I thank heaven for a man like Adolph Hitler, who built a front-line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism.'' Although the remark was taken out of context in its reporting, it would plague Buchman's reputation for many years. It marked the beginning of the decline of the OG. (NW 30, 96, DBGO 155, BW-FH 96, PIO 170-171, GB 53, AGAA 161) *1937* Early, Bill W and Lois attended a major Oxford Group house party at the Hotel Thayer in West Point, NY. For the previous 2 years they had been attending two OG meetings a week. (NW 89) Late spring, leaders of the Oxford Group at the Calvary Mission ordered alcoholics staying there not to attend meetings at Clinton St. Bill W and Lois were criticized by OG members for having 'drunks only'' meetings at their home. The Wilson's were described as 'not maximum'' (an OG term for those believed to be lagging in their devotion to OG principles). (EBBY 75, LR 103, BW-RT 231, NG 45, NW 89-91) Aug., Bill and Lois stopped attending Oxford Group meetings. The NY AAs separated from the OG. (LR 197, AACOA vii, 74-76) *1938* Nations of the world armed for World War II and Frank Buchman called for a 'moral and spiritual re-armament'' to address the root causes of the conflict. He renamed the _Oxford Group_ to _Moral Re-Armament_. (www, NW 44) *1939* May 10, Led by pioneer member Clarence S (whose Big Book story is _Home Brewmeister_) the Cleveland, OH group met separately from Akron and the Oxford Group at the home of Albert (Abby) G (whose Big Book story is _He Thought He Could Drink Like a Gentleman_). This was the first group to call itself _Alcoholics Anonymous_. The Clevelanders still sent their most difficult cases to Dr Bob in Akron for treatment. (AACOA 19-21, NW 94, SI 35, DBGO 161-168, NG 78-79, PIO 224, AGAA 4, 201, 242). Oct. late, (AACOA viii says summer) Akron members of the 'alcoholic squad'' withdrew from the Oxford Group and held meetings at Dr Bob's house. It was a painful separation due to the great affection the alcoholic members had toward T Henry and Clarace Williams. (NW 93-94, SI 35, DBGO 212-219, NG 81, GTBT 123, AGAA 8-10, 188, 243) *1941* Nov., Dr. Sam Shoemaker left the Oxford Group (then called _ italic;">Moral Re-Armament_) and formed a fellowship named _Faith at Work._ MRA was asked to completely vacate the premises at Calvary House. Shoemaker's dispute with Buchman was amplified in the press. (EBBY 75-76, AAGA 161, 244) *1949* Jul. 14, in a letter to the Rev Sam Shoemaker Bill W wrote 'So far as I am concerned, and Dr Smith too, the Oxford Group seeded AA. It was our spiritual wellspring at the beginning.'' (AGAA 137) *1961* Frank N D Buchman died. _Moral Re-Armament_ had declined significantly in numbers and influence and became headquartered in Caux, Switzerland. (NW 45, 97-98) A month after Buchman's death Bill W wrote to a friend regretting that he did not write to Buchman acknowledging his contributions to the AA movement. (PIO 386-387) *2002* Apr., MRA changed its name to _Initiatives of Change_. (www) The role of the Oxford Group is an interesting and significant one. I get a sense that the underlying tension occurred because the Oxford Group was out to save the world and Bill was primarily focused on saving drunks. The OG influence in Akron appeared much stronger and orthodox even though the Calvary Church in NY was the OG US headquarters. Dick B has written books that are very informative in providing insight on the OG's influence on AA. One of the books, _Anne Smith's Journal 1933-1939_, is a particularly interesting read. Cheers Arthur *From:* soomedrunk *Sent:* Saturday, January 24, 2004 10:51 PM *Subject:* When did the break from Oxford Groups take place Hi all, When and how did the break from the Oxford Group take place. Was there a specific meeting that occured? How did it happen? Does that mean there is a meeting that can be said to be the 1st actual AA meeting? Was there a problem or a fight that caused the break? Please help with this. Most respectfully, Eric IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1623. . . . . . . . . . . . Oxford Groups -> Initiatives of Change From: ny-aa@att.net . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/27/2004 11:28:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Where did our ancestor the Oxford Groups go? They became Moral Rearmament which was also called MRA. They're still around today trying to "remake the world." As of 2001, MRA became Initiatives of Change. I quote: NAME CHANGE 2001 With the approach of the new millennium, there is world-wide recognition that the words 'moral re-armament' no longer hold the same resonance as they did in 1938. In 2001 the new name Initiatives of Change (IC) is announced to the world's media by the Caux President, Dr Cornelia Sommaruga (former President of the international Red Cross), and Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of the Mahatma. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1624. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: serenity prayer From: J. Lobdell . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/27/2004 8:59:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The book is inaccurate (and perhaps tendentious) in its dating the prayer 1943 as it was already in existence by 1941 and (by Dr. Niebuhr's testimony) in the 1930s. Nor can Mrs Sifton's 1943 revision be counted as the original wording. >From: NORMANSOBRIETY@aol.com >Reply-To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com >To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com >Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] serenity prayer >Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 03:49:49 EST > >Dear All, > > I have just read the SERENITY PRAYER BY ELISABETH SIFTON. >Does anyone know if it was a AA member that changed the Serenity prayer as we >know it today. The original Serenity Prayer is: >GOD GIVE US GRACE, TO ACCEPT WITH SERENITY THE THINGS THAT CANNOT BE CHANGED, >COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS THAT SHOULD BE CHANGED, AND THE WISDOM TO >DISTINGUISH THE ONE FROM THE OTHER. >Does anyone know where the second part of the serenity prayer came from as it >is not mentioned in the book. > > Yours in the fellowship > > Norrie F. Oban Sunday >Scotland UK IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1627. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Back to Basics From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/29/2004 11:44:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII AA's Forgotten Beginning - The Alcoholics Anonymous "Beginners' Classes" (Facts and thoughts transcribed from a talk given by Wally P. on 11/23/96 in Mesa, Arizona. Wally is the author of the book "Back To Basics: The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners' Meetings, 'Here are the steps we took...' in Four One-Hour Sessions".) Initial growth in Alcoholics Anonymous took place in Cleveland, Ohio. Clarence S. and the guys went out actively pursuing drunks and brought them off bar stools and street corners. We don't do that today, but we were doing it back then [late 1930's and 1940's]. And it worked! In early 1940, when there were about 1,000 members of AA, more than half were from Cleveland. The book 'AA Comes of Age' talks about it on pages 20 and 21: "It was soon evident that a scheme of personal sponsorship would have to be devised for the new people. Each prospect was assigned an older AA, who visited him at his home or in the hospital, instructed him on AA principles, and conducted him to his first meeting." So even back in the early days the sponsor was taking the sponsee to meetings and getting together with him, rather than having the sponsee track the sponsor down. 'AA Comes of Age' continues by saying, "But in the face of many hundreds of pleas for help, the supply of elders could not possibly match the demand. Brand-new AA's, sober only a month or even a week, had to sponsor alcoholics still drying up in hospitals." Because of this rapid growth in Cleveland, the idea of formalized classes started. In the book 'Dr. Bob and the Good Old-timers' it states on page 261, "Yes, Cleveland's results were the best. Their results were in fact so good that many a Clevelander really though AA had started there in the first place." Over half of the fellowship was from Cleveland up and through the mid-1940s. During the winter of 1941 the Crawford Group (founded in February 1941) organized a separate group to help newcomers through the Steps. By the first issue of the Cleveland Central Bulletin, October 1942, the Crawford "Beginners' Class" was listed as a separate meeting. And in the second issue, in November 1942, there was an article entitled "Crawford Men's Training". This refers to possibly the first "Beginners' Class". "The Crawford Men's Training System has been highly acclaimed to many. Old AA's are asked to come to these meetings with or without new prospects, where new prospects will be given individual attention just as though they were in a hospital. Visiting a prospect in his home has always been handicapped by interruptions. But the prospect not daring to unburden himself completely for fear of being overheard by his relatives and by the AA's reticence for the same reason. Hospitalization without question is the ideal answer to where the message will be most effective; but the Crawford training plan strikes us as being the next best." In the early days they weren't sure if you could get sober if you didn't go to treatment. That was one of the early questions - could a person get sober without going to a three or five-day detox. Because it was during that detox that sometimes ten and twenty AA members came to visit the new person. And each hour the prospect was awake he would hear someone's story - over and over again. And something gelled during these hospital stays. But they were trying to do it outside of the hospital and this is where the first of the classes came from. These classes continued at Euclid Avenue Meeting Hall through June 1943 and at that time the Central Bulletin announced a second session - "The Miles Training Meeting". The bulletin read, "The Miles Group reports they have enjoyed unusual success with their training meetings. The newcomer is not permitted to attend a regular AA meeting until he has been given a thorough knowledge of the work." The newcomer couldn't go to a meeting until he completed the training session. A lot of places didn't allow you to go to AA meetings until you had taken the four classes. You didn't just sit there - you had already completed the steps when you went to your first AA meeting. "From 15 to 20 participate at each training meeting and new members are thoroughly indoctrinated." These meetings grew and spread and visitors came from out of town and out of state. In 1943 the Northwest Group in Detroit, Michigan standardized the classes into four sessions. "In June 1943 a group of members proposed the idea of a separate discussion meeting to more advantageously present the Twelve Steps of the recovery program to the new affiliates. The decision was made to hold a Closed Meeting for alcoholics only for this purpose. The first discussion meeting of the Northwest Group was held on Monday night June 14, 1943 and has been held every Monday night without exception thereafter (as of 1948). A plan of presentation of the Twelve Steps of the recovery program was developed at this meeting. The plan consisted of dividing the Twelve Steps into four categories for easier study." The divisions were: 1. The Admission 2. Spiritual 3. Restitution and Inventory 4. Working and the message "Each division came to be discussed on each succeeding Monday night in rotation. This method was so successful that it was adopted first by other groups in Detroit and then throughout the United States. Finally the format was published in it's entirety by the Washington, DC Group in a pamphlet entitled 'An Interpretation of our Twelve Steps." The first pamphlet was published in 1944 and contains the following introduction: "Meetings are held for the purpose of aquatinting both the old and new members with the Twelve Steps on which our Program is based. So that all Twelve Steps may be covered in a minimum of time they are divided into four classifications. One evening each week will be devoted to each of the four subdivisions. Thus, in one month a new man can get the bases of our Twelve Suggested Steps." This pamphlet was reproduced many times in Washington, DC and then throughout the country and is even still being printed in some areas today. In the Fall of 1944, a copy of the Washington, DC pamphlet reached Barry C. - one of the AA pioneers in Minneapolis. He wrote a letter to the New York headquarters requesting permission to distribute the pamphlet. We talk about "Conference Approved Literature" today; but this is the way the Fellowship operated back then. This is a letter from Bobby B., Bill W.'s secretary, printed on "Alcoholic Foundation" stationary. This is what she says: "The Washington pamphlet, like the new Cleveland one, and a host of others, are all local projects. We do not actually approve or disapprove these local pieces. By that I mean the Foundation feels that each group is entitled to write up their own 'can opener' and to let it stand on it's own merits. All of them have their good points and very few have caused any controversy. But in all things of a local nature we keep hands off - either pro or con. Frankly, I haven't had the time to more than glance at the Washington booklet, but I've heard some favorable comments about it. I think there must be at least 25 local pamphlets now being used and I've yet to see one that hasn't some good points." And then in 1945 the AA Grapevine printed three articles on the "Beginners' Classes". The first one was published in June and it described how the classes were conducted in St. Louis, Missouri. This has to do with the "education plan" and they called it the Wilson Club. "One of the four St. Louis AA groups is now using a very satisfactory method of educating prospects and new members. It has done much to reduce the number of 'slippers' among new members. In brief it is somewhat as follows: Each new prospect is asked to attend four successive Thursday night meetings. Each one of which is devoted to helping the new man learn something about Alcoholics Anonymous, it's founding and the way it works. The new man is told something about the book and how this particular group functions. Wilson Club members are not considered full active members of AA until they've attended these four educational meetings." In the September 1945 issue of the Grapevine the Geniuses Group in Rochester, NY explained their format for taking newcomers through the Steps. The title of the article was "Rochester Prepares Novices for Group Participation". This is how they perceived the recovery process to operate most efficiently: "It has been our observation that bringing men [and woman] into the group indiscriminately and without adequate preliminary training and information can be a source of considerable grief and a cause of great harm to the general moral of the group itself. We feel that unless a man, after a course of instruction and an intelligent presentation of the case for the AA life, has accepted it without any reservation he should not be included in group membership. When the sponsors feel that a novice has a fair working knowledge of AA's objectives and sufficient grasp of it's fundamentals then he is brought to his first group meeting. Then he listens to four successive talks based on the Twelve Steps and Four Absolutes. They are twenty-minute talks given by the older members of the group and the Steps for convenience and brevity are divided into four sections. The first three Steps constitute the text of the first talk; the next four the second; the next four the third; and the last Step is considered to be entitled a full evening's discussion by itself." This group taught the Steps in order rather than in segments. In December 1945, the St. Paul, Minnesota Group wrote a full-page description of the "Beginners' Meetings". The description of their four one-hour classes was: "New members are urged to attend all the sessions in the proper order. At every meeting the three objectives of AA are kept before the group: to obtain and to recover from those things which caused us to drink and to help others who want what we have." In 1945 Barry C., of Minneapolis, received a letter from one of the members from the Peoria, Illinois Group. In the letter, the writer, Bud, describes the efforts of Peoria, Illinois in regarding the "Beginners' Classes". "In my usual slow and cautious matter I proceeded to sell the Peoria Group on the Nicollet Group. Tomorrow night we all meet to vote the adoption of our bylaws slightly altered to fit local conditions". (No one taught the classes the same way. They were taught based on a group conscience.) "Sunday afternoon at 4:30 our first class in the Twelve Steps begins. We're all attending the first series of classes so we'll all be on an even footing. We anticipate on losing some fair-weather AA hangers-on in the elimination automatically imposed by the rule that these classes must be attended. This elimination we anticipate with a "we" feeling of suppressed pleasure. It is much as we are all extremely fed up with running a free drunk taxi and sobering-up service." Then sometime prior to 1946 in Akron, Ohio the Akron Group started publishing four pamphlets on the AA Program. They were written by Ed W. at the direction of Dr. Bob, one of the co-founders of AA. Dr. Bob wanted some "blue-collar" pamphlets for the Fellowship. In one of the pamphlets, "A Guide to the Twelve Steps", it reads: "A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is intended to be a simple, short and concise interpretation of the rules for sober living as compiled by the earliest members of the organization. The writers and editors are members of the Akron, Ohio Group where Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935. Most of the ideas and explanations were brought out in a series of instruction classes conducted by veteran members of the group." So this proves the classes were being taught in Akron, Ohio. There are a lot of places they were being taught. Then the classes were actually formalized into a book called "The Little Red Book" in 1946. The inscription on the inside cover says, "The material in this Little Red Book is an outgrowth of a series of notes originally prepared for Twelve Step instruction to AA beginners." So we know the "Little Red Book" came out of these four one-hour classes also. "Few books have had greater record for humble service than the Little Red Book upon which so many members have cut their AA teeth." A manuscript drawn up from these notes was sent to Dr. Bob at the request of USA and Canadian members. He approved the manuscript and the book was published in 1946. Dr. Bob approved of "The Little Red Book". So Dr. Bob not only authorized the publication of the Akron pamphlets, he also endorsed "The Little Red Book", both of which were products of the "Beginners' Classes". Even our first AA group handbook, originally entitled "A Handbook for the Secretary", published by the Alcoholic Foundation in 1950, had a section on the "Beginners' Classes". At the time there were only three types of meetings: Open Speaker Meetings, Closed Discussion Meetings, and Beginners' Meetings. There was no such thing as an Open Discussion Meeting in the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the Beginners' Meetings, which are described in the Meeting section, the handbook states: "In larger metropolitan areas a special type of meeting for newcomers to AA is proved extremely successful. Usually staged for a half-hour prior to an open meeting, this meeting features an interpretation of AA usually by an older member presented in terms designed to make the program clear to the new member. (Note: The Chicago Group held their "Beginners' Classes" a half-hour prior to their Open Meeting. When publishing the group handbook, the New York office only described Chicago's format.) After the speaker's presentation the meeting is thrown open to questions." In each of the four one-hour classes there was always a session for questions afterwards. "Occasionally, the AA story is presented by more than one speaker. The emphasis remains exclusively on the newcomer and his problem." The four one-hour classes were taught all over the country. Some other cities include Oklahoma City, Miami Florida, and Phoenix Arizona. If these classes were so important, then what happened to them? Most of the people who have joined AA in the last twenty-five years or so have never even heard of them. Ruth R., an old-timer in Miami Florida, who came into AA in 1953, gave some insight into the demise of the "Beginners' Classes". "At that time the classes were being conducted at the Alana Club in Miami - two books were used: "Alcoholics Anonymous" (Big Book) and the "Little Red Book". Jim and Dora H., Florida AA pioneers, were enthusiastic supporters and they helped organize several of the classes and served as instructors." (Note: Dora was a Panel 7 Delegate to the General Service Office.) Ruth recalled that the classes were discontinued in the mid-1950s as the result of the publication of the book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing Inc. In the Miami area the "Twelve and Twelve" replaced both the "Big Book" and the "Little Red Book" and "Step Studies" replaced the "Beginners' Classes". In the process, the period for taking the Steps was expanded and modified from 4 weeks to somewhere in between 12 and 16 weeks. The Fourth Step inventory was modified and became a much more laborious and detailed procedure. What was originally conceived as a very simple program, which took a few hours to complete, evolved into a complicated and confusing undertaking requiring several months. Studying the Steps is not the same as taking the Steps. In the "Beginners' Classes" you take the steps. The Big Book says, "Here are the steps we took" not "here are the steps we read and talked about." The AA pioneers proved that action, not knowledge, produced the spiritual awakening that resulted in recovery from alcoholism. On page 88, the authors of the Big Book wrote, "It works-it really does. We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined. But this is not all. There is action and more action. Faith without works is dead." (This concludes the description of the "Beginners' Classes" during Wally P.'s talk in Masa, Arizona on November 23, 1996. Wally P. is an AA Archivist from Tucson, Arizona. For two years he researched and studied areas of the country that held "Beginners' Classes" back in the 40's and '50's. He then started teaching the classes under the guidance of his sponsor who took the classes in 1953 and never drank again. In March of 1996 Wally mentioned the "Beginners' Classes" as part of his historical presentation at the Wilson House in East Dorset, Vermont. Wally then wrote and published a book entitled "Back to Basics: The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners' Classes - Take all 12 Steps in Four One-Hour Sessions." Since then, there have been over 1000 "Back to Basics" meetings and groups started all over the world. Now, almost 60 years since the classes were first originated, newcomers are once again being taken through the Twelve Steps in four one-hour "Beginners' Classes". On Saturday 4/11/98, members of the "Into Action Big Book Group" of Berkeley Heights, N.J. went to see Wally give a presentation of the "Beginners' Classes" in Philadelphia. Members went through the Steps in the four one-hour classes, all in one day. This group then began facilitating the classes in June 1998 in various locations throughout New Jersey and has taken thousands of AA members through the Steps since. They have expanded the classes to be five, one-and-one-half hour sessions, to include more of the material for each Step in the Big Book. The Cherry Hill Group of Southern New Jersey has taught Beginners' Classes every Sunday evening since May 1997. The Woodlands Group in Texas have been conducting the "Beginners' Classes" since April 1998. Within one year, about ten "Back to Basics" meetings resulted from the Woodland group and approximately 1,650 alcoholics were taken through the Steps that year! The Woodlands and subsequent groups in Texas are enjoying a 75-93% success rate like the Cleveland groups had in the 1940's. Wally P. has a website containing much information on the AA "Beginners' Classes" at www.aabacktobasics.com on the World Wide Web.) -----Original Message----- From: friendofbillw89 [mailto:friendofbillw89@yahoo.com] Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 5:16 PM Subject: Back to Basics I have attended a few *cycles* of the Back to Basics meetings in my area. It is where we do all 12 steps in 4 one-hour sessions. What is the history of working the steps in this method? I was told this was the way it was done in the early days in Akron. Nisa IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1628. . . . . . . . . . . . Periodical literature, Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 21, 2004 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/30/2004 2:30:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII This was sent to me by John B., but without a proper subject line, so I have copied it and am sending it for him. Nancy From the Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2004, edition How far can 12 steps go? Thousands attest to the power of 12-step programs in breaking the hold of addiction. But might the popular programs be wrong for some? By Jane Lampman | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor Americans have a penchant for 12-step programs. The original beacon for a path out of addiction - Alcoholics Anonymous - has grown past 50,000 groups in the US (and twice that worldwide). And its message is being reincarnated in self-help fellowships to fight drugs, gambling, overeating, sexual addictions, smoking, and even indebtedness. Conventional wisdom has it that the 12-step approach -- in which an individual acknowledges his or her powerlessness before the addiction, turns to a higher power, and takes specific steps to change -- is the most effective route out of addiction. Its popularity seems to support that. Some 90 percent of residential and outpatient treatment programs draw directly on its principles. Yet there are many who question not that it helps thousands, but whether its predominance may get in the way of some people finding their freedom. There are issues, some critics say, related to its quasi-religious nature, its definition of addiction as an incurable disease, the creation of long-term dependence on the program, and the way courts and other agencies mandate addicts' participation. Are some with alcohol or drug problems being coerced to follow a path that may not be suited to their needs and beliefs? "The problem is that people think AA is the only correct treatment," says Lance Dodes, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "That's true only for a subset of the population, and many people are harmed by it." An AA representative declined to respond, saying it is the group's tradition to refrain from controversy and not comment on what others say about alcoholism or about AA. Over the past 70 years, AA has helped huge numbers to find sobriety and a new lease on life. "If you look at the number of groups and 2,000,000 members worldwide, it's clearly got longevity and appeal," says Barbara McCrady, clinical director of Rutgers University's Center of Alcohol Studies. Yet AA's own surveys show that of the people who attend a meeting, 9 out of 10 drop out within the first year. Research hasn't yet been done on its siblings, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and others, she says. For many who stay with it, the benefits can't be overestimated. A big-time drinker who turned to drugs after a family tragedy, "Alan" was in denial about his situation. Near the end of college, though, he was weary and tried unsuccessfully to quit. It was only when he tagged along with a friend to an NA meeting that his turnaround began. "Listening to people's stories, I knew I was an addict and these were people I could relate to," he says. "Going to meetings, I'd stay clean for a while and then use. It took six months 'til I got clean for the last time." He's been free for six years but attends meetings several times a week. "Once you stay clean for a while you realize drugs were only the tip of the iceberg," adds Alan who asked that his real name not be used. "You also need to change your compulsive behaviors and how you react to situations. There's a wealth of knowledge in that room." Keith Humphreys at Stanford University's School of Medicine sees this kind of "instillation of hope" as a crucial factor in changing addicts' lives. "Most people feel defeated and have a frightening sense they can't control their own behavior," he says. "They go to a group and see others who've had the same problem now doing well, and that instills a lot of hope." Twelve-step groups provide a valuable public health benefit, says Dr. Humphreys. Not only are they widely available, but one cost study showed that people going to the groups require $5,000 less per person from the healthcare system annually. "Multiply that by more than a million people getting treatment each year, and they are taking an extraordinary burden off the system," he adds. At the same time, the very limited research done so far doesn't back up the conventional wisdom. Comparisons of professional treatment based on 12-step with other professional treatment modes show no superior outcomes. Longitudinal studies of self-help groups in treatment showed them comparable on most dimensions with any other kind of treatment except in the area of abstinence, where they had better results. Given the limited evidence and quasi-religious nature of 12-step plans, some object to the way courts and other agencies mandate addicts' participation. "Several aspects of AA don't work for everyone -- such as its spiritual or religious nature, or the emphasis on powerlessness, or its group approach," says Stanton Peele, a psychologist and lawyer who has written several books on addiction, including "Resisting 12-Step Coercion." Some courts have ruled it unconstitutional to require participation because they deem the program religious, while others have ruled it is not. AA literature emphasizes that its message is spiritual but not religious -- that people decide on their own what the higher power is, and for some it is simply the group itself. The only membership requirement is the desire to stop drinking. Other issues some find troubling relate to theories of addiction. The 12-step message is that addiction is an incurable disease, that while alcoholics can become sober, they remain alcoholics, and should stay in the program to maintain that sobriety. In each meeting, people introduce themselves: "I'm [name], and I'm an alcoholic," no matter how long they've been clean. The disease model isn't helpful, Dr. Peele says. "If you had an 18-year-old drinking way too much on weekends, would the best approach be to take him to AA and convince him he has a lifelong disease?" he asks. Dr. Dodes, who has treated various forms of addiction, says the disease idea takes the moralizing out of it, which is good, but discourages people from understanding the problem. "They think it's a physical problem, which it's not, or a genetic problem, which it's not, or a biological or chemical problem, which it's not," he says. In his book "The Heart of Addiction," he describes it as psychological. "All addictions are an attempt to treat a sense of overwhelming helplessness," which is accompanied by rage over that helplessness, he says. He helps people identify the kind of helplessness that's troubling them and address it, "not by white-knuckling it but because they understand what is happening." While AA requires you to make "a fearless moral inventory" and make amends to those you have hurt, Dodes adds, that sometimes leaves people feeling something is very wrong with them while not getting to the root of their emotional trouble. While many talk of a genetic element to alcoholism, Dodes reviewed the genetic research and says there is no such gene, that there is at most the idea of a susceptibility gene, but it's not been discovered either. McCrady suggests addiction has psychological, genetic, and/or social components. Others object to what they see as the creation of a dependency on the program itself. An alternative program, Woman in Sobriety, for example, aims to help people take responsibility for themselves and then move on with their lives on their own. Yet the ongoing group support offers valuable benefits, some argue. People who leave addictions behind usually require new friends who don't drink or take drugs. "I have friends that have over 20 years of abstinence," says Alan. "They've been through all kinds of crises ... but didn't return to use. That gives you strength." Practitioners and problem drinkers, however, say drinking problems differ greatly and it's a fallacy that one must be in lifelong recovery. "There are people with less severe problems who can benefit from a limited period of counseling and then they are just done with it," says McCrady. In fact, a 1996 study showed that three-quarters of those who'd recovered from alcohol problems had done so on their own. For her book, "Sober for Good," Ann Fletcher interviewed some 200 people who had recovered through various means, from AA to secular self-help groups, psychological counseling, and religion. But there are also millions who don't know where to go for help. An estimated 14 million Americans have drinking problems; only 1 in 10 receives treatment. Experts say more treatment options for addictions need to be supported. Meanwhile, those in AA and NA point to results. "I was at a regional NA conference in Richmond last weekend with about a thousand people," Alan says. "All these people who used to be addicts, what was their drain on society? Now they're clean and working and productive. It's amazing." The Twelve Steps 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Source: Alcoholics Anonymous IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1629. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Periodical literature, Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 21, 2004 From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/30/2004 11:12:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Nancy, I appreciate your going to the effort of copying the Jane Lampman article from the Christian Science Monitor. It is a good article, although some AA members may feel it's too critical. I have followed criticisms of AA ever since the first major one appeared in Harper's magazine in 1963. This was really the first time AA had received serious criticism in an important publication, and many of us were enraged by it. While AA World Services made no direct reply to the article, Bill W. did offer an excellent response in the April, 1963, issue of The AA Grapevine. This can be found today in "The Language of the Heart," a collection of Bill's articles published over the years in The Grapevine. See "Our Critics Can Be Our Benefactors," p. 345. I consider it a masterpiece of conciliatory writing. Since then, we've had much more criticism of various kinds, and there are even several books which take AA to task. While some of the critics are malicious, others are honest and sincere in pointing to problems with the way our program is presented. Bill often acknowledged that we don't have all the answers and should never present our program as the only solution to problem drinking. Criticism is almost always difficult to accept, but Bill explained that we can benefit from it. I feel very secure about our program. As for any statistics about its success percentages, my answer is 100%. I haven't had a drink since I fully accepted the program on April 15, 1950. All the best, Mel Barger ~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1630. . . . . . . . . . . . Tyler Tex Morning Telegraph 2004 -57th anniv From: t . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/31/2004 5:34:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII MEMBERS SHARE STORIES, SUPPORT AT AA ANNIVERSARY By: MEGAN MIDDLETON, Staff Writer January 10, 2004 Gayle S. still wells up with tears when she thinks about the day more than 20 years ago that a pastor told her about Alcoholics Anonymous. She said he threw an Alcoholics Anonymous book down on the table in front of her, letting it make a loud thud, and told her, "'These are the only people who can help you. There's more love in Alcoholics Anonymous than there is in my big old ... church.'" And that night she went to her first AA meeting. "Those women just grabbed me and welcomed me," Gayle, a former Tyler resident, said. "They overwhelm you with love because they know how you feel." And for more than 20 years Gayle has remained sober. "This is a deadly disease, treated, in my case, only by abstinence from alcohol," she said. About 700 AA members from East Texas and throughout Texas and the country attended Saturday's celebration of the group's 57th anniversary in Tyler, which began Friday and continues Sunday at Harvey Convention Center. AA members identify themselves with only their first names and initials to preserve the anonymity on which the group is based. On Saturday participants listened to several speakers from across the state and nation tell their stories of dealing with alcohol and its effect on their lives. They also had a barbecue dinner and a dance. More speakers are scheduled for Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. The cost for the weekend is $10. Gayle, who came from Kerrville to attend the conference, said the AA anniversary celebrations are important because "it tells us there's continuity in Alcoholics Anonymous." "If Alcoholics Anonymous had not arrived here, many of us would not have found sobriety," she said. A Saturday afternoon speaker, Maryann W. of Corpus Christi, kept the crowd laughing while also bringing a message of the importance of AA. Maryann was married and became a mother at 15 years old, she said, and to deal with her feelings she eventually turned to drinking. "My solution was alcohol," she said. "It was my best friend." She described the kind of drinker she was, comparing how different people would react to having a fly in their drink. She said the non-drinker would ask for a Diet Coke, a heavy drinker would ask for a different glass, and "I would have the fly by the nape of the neck saying, 'Spit it out, spit it out!'" "It was never enough," she said to the laughing crowd. She explained that her husband, who also drank, was her "cover" and the "reason" she drank. But one day she realized that it wasn't him. "What happened to me in 1977 was the most amazing grace," she said. "I saw myself for what I really was, and I remember thinking, 'It's not his fault.' I uttered, 'God help me.'" Some time after receiving help at a treatment center, she met with a woman from an AA group. "I zeroed in on her eyes," she said. "I looked at her eyes, and they were bright and shining and they danced ... and they were full of life." What hooked her on AA were the people, she said. "I was enamored and enthralled with you," she said to the crowd. "You hooked my soul, and I didn't know you hooked my soul." Despite her jokes, she said "being forced to your knees is a blessing" and warned about thinking of ways to avoid doing what you know you need to do. "Alcoholism is just beneath the skin," she said. "Don't think it ever goes away." DEMETRIUS Those listening to the speakers had their own stories as well. Demetrius J., an AA district committee member, has been sober for more than nine years. He first came to AA, he said, to save his marriage and his job. "After being in here a couple of days, I began to stop trying to save my marriage and stop trying to save my job and started trying to save my life," Demetrius said. To be sober "feels wonderful," he said. But he knows what might have been had he not found help. "I believe if it wasn't for Alcoholics Anonymous, I'd been in jail or an institution or I'd be dead," he said. "Alcoholics Anonymous guided me back to my God." He said he took his first drink, whiskey, at 10 years old and began drinking "for the confidence" he believed it gave him. "It would make me 10-foot-tall and bulletproof," he said. "It would make me sauve and debonair. It would also make the life of the party. It would also make me Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I drank 20 years trying to escape who I was." He swore off drinking time and time again during those 20 years, but when he saw that he was hurting other people, that he might lose his children and his job, he knew something had to change. "When I realized I had to drink to live and lived to drink, then and only then did I realize I had to do something about my drinking." And while contemplating suicide when he was "all alone" in his house, he said, "three words came into my mouth, 'God help me.'" GAYLE For Gayle, the drinking began after the birth of her second child in 1965, and it became a "security blanket" for her, she said. "I had denied being an alcoholic," she said. "I blamed my husband." But, like Maryann, one day she realized she couldn't shift the blame anymore. Her husband, who also drank, left on a business trip, and she got drunk by 8 p.m. every night. "I couldn't blame it on him anymore," she said. The hardest part about dealing with the problem was admitting she had one, she said. But coming to AA helped her look at her drinking in a different way. "It gave me an opportunity to see that I was not a bad person trying to get good," she said. "I was a sick person trying to get well." And she said AA is important because of the people there who can relate to each other and help each other. "Another alcoholic can help an alcoholic when no one else in the world can," Gayle said. "They can help them where professionals might not be able to." She has remained sober since 1980. To say that she has been sober for 24 years, "to me, it sounds wonderful," she said. "It's not to brag by any means. I never thought I would live to be 24 years sober and have a wonderful, fruitful ... life. My life is just so full now." But she must stay on her toes, she said, and be vigilant and diligent. "You can't be careless about your sobriety," she said. "It (alcoholism) is always beneath the surface." Gayle and Demetrius advised those battling a drinking problem to find an AA meeting to attend. "Look in the phone book under Alcoholics Anonymous, call and find out where a meeting is," Gayle said. "Take some action. You can't sit at home ... and expect to get any better." For more information on AA meetings in Tyler, call the Central Service Office at (903) 597-1796. Megan Middleton covers Gregg and Anderson counties. She can be reached at 903.596.6287. e-mail: news@tylerpaper.com Tyler Morning Telegraph 2004 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1631. . . . . . . . . . . . Stepping Into History -Westchester Journal News Jan04 From: t . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/31/2004 7:42:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Stepping Into history By ROB RYSER THE JOURNAL NEWS of Westchester County NY (Original publication: January 20, 2004) BEDFORD HILLS -- It's hard to say how Alcoholics Anonymous would have ended up if Bill and Lois Wilson had stayed homeless in 1941. Bill Wilson's only work then was with alcoholics, and his 1939 book about the AA fellowship had not gotten the acclaim that the group's early members expected. Lois was finding scattered jobs as a decorator, but her real work was keeping the couple off the street. The Wilsons slept at 51 places in two years. Then 1941 brought what Bill Wilson called a godsend -- a chocolate brown cottage in Bedford Hills with French doors that Lois adored and a fieldstone fireplace that reminded Bill of the East Dorset, Vt., home where he was born. The house belonged to actress Helen Griffith, whose husband drank himself to death and whose alcoholic friend had been "revived" by an AA group in New Jersey. She knew the Wilsons were destitute and offered them what Bill Wilson later called "unbelievably easy terms." The impact that the Wilsons had during the next four decades in the home they named Stepping Stones is still being lived out today. Yet the contributions they made to the understanding of alcoholism, the requirement for spiritual steps in recovery and the need for families of alcoholics to have their own support are so substantial that the National Park Service is preparing to crown the contemporary couple's home as historic. "The Wilsons' influence on 20th-century society is immeasurable," reads the nominating statement, prepared by Margaret Gaertner, a preservation specialist with the Dobbs Ferry architectural firm Stephen Tilly. "AA enabled, and continues to enable, millions of people around the world to achieve and sustain permanent sobriety." Although it may seem contradictory to call a 20th-century home historic in a region where historic properties often have 200-year pasts, the nominating form says the Wilsons are legends who make it easy to forget that as recently as 1940, alcoholism was considered one of society's great unsolved public health enigmas. Bill Wilson proclaimed that alcoholism was a disease three decades before the American Medical Association did in 1956. The 12-step solution that Wilson and AA co-founder Dr. Bob Smith created to treat the physical, mental and spiritual dimensions of alcoholism has become the standard for U.S. hospitals and clinics. Remarkably, AA was proved not in hospitals but in church basements, where recovering alcoholics shared their experiences, strength and hope to help others find the inspiration and power to stop drinking. "Wilson realized that only another alcoholic could truly understand the tangled emotions evoked by his debilitating ordeal," reads the nominating form. The Wilsons' cozy Dutch Colonial, with its barn-like gambrel roof and cement-block studio where Bill Wilson wrote, could be added to the state's Register of Historic Places in the spring. Stepping Stones could then join the National Register of Historic Places by summer. Managed by a foundation that Lois Wilson formed in 1979, eight years after Bill's death at 71, Stepping Stones is a sacred site for Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, the 12-step program co-founded by Lois Wilson for the spouses and children of alcoholics. Yet, Stepping Stones is not mobbed with pilgrims. A mere 1,000 visitors stop by each year -- and up to half of those come for the annual picnic in June. "We could increase our visitors by 100 percent, and we could handle it," said Eileen Giuliani, Stepping Stones' executive director. Of course, she means that theoretically. For one thing, Stepping Stones is surrounded by single-family homes and wants to keep the peace. The other matter is that not all recovering alcoholics and Al-Anons know that Stepping Stones is the Wilson home, much less that it is in Bedford Hills. The historical designation is sure to raise awareness among AA's 2.2 million members in 100,000 groups worldwide, and among the 29,000 Al-Anon groups with some 387,000 members in 115 countries, according to the organizations' estimates. Giuliani said federal recognition will advance Stepping Stones' mission to protect the Wilson museum and archives, and promote the tenets of the AA experience. Neighbors -- for once in Westchester -- seem ready to yield to the prospect of more cars in the neighborhood. "It's fine with me, and I've been here seven years," said Kim Cassone, a mother of two who lives near Stepping Stones on Oak Street. "They were out there to help people who had problems, and that is a good thing." Once at Stepping Stones, visitors often feel an unmistakable presence: The air seems sweet, as though bread has been baking, but no one has lived here since Lois died at age 97 in 1988. The house is as Lois Wilson left it -- wall lengths of books stacked five shelves high, scores of grandmotherly collections, a gallery's worth of photos and framed proclamations by dignitaries ranging from Pope Paul VI to President Eisenhower. Susan Cheever, a Manhattan resident, will publish a biography, "My Name is Bill: Bill Wilson -- His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous," this month. Cheever, who grew up in Ossining, is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning short-story writer John Cheever, whose own battle with alcohol she documented in her 1984 memoir, "Home Before Dark." "It is a very powerful place," Cheever said of Stepping Stones. "The ghosts are still there." It is a rite for visitors to sit at the 1920s porcelain-topped kitchen table where Bill Wilson had a spiritual breakthrough with his childhood friend Ebby Thatcher, one month before Bill got sober in December 1934. Ignoble as the little white table seems, it is venerated at Stepping Stones, sometimes drawing tears from those in recovery. "I was overwhelmed," said Mark W., 51, of Topeka, Kan., a businessman who has been sober 10 years and is obliged under AA's 12 Traditions to be anonymous when speaking to the media. He has made three pilgrimages to Stepping Stones in the past three years. It was his second visit with his wife when he dropped his composure and cried. "I already knew how much I lost drinking," he said. "But sitting there made me realize how much I gained by staying sober." Other relics nearly as special to visitors are the desk in Bill's backyard studio and the desk in the home's upstairs library, where in 1951 Lois Wilson organized the first Al-Anon groups. It was on Bill Wilson's desk, which he brought to Stepping Stones from New Jersey, that he wrote the important opening 11 chapters to "Alcoholics Anonymous" -- the 575-page AA textbook that has sold 20 million copies. "I don't want to call Stepping Stones a shrine, but it is pretty close," said Mark. W. "If it hadn't been for those people, I wouldn't be sane." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1633. . . . . . . . . . . . AA Group, Member, Growth and Recovery Statistics From: Arthur . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/1/2004 4:28:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi History Lovers Below is a table of group and membership data reported by GSO. The figures come from Conference reports except where cited. The numbers must be interpreted very carefully, very skeptically and in proper context. Group counts include only those asking GSO to be listed (thousands do not). Groups may or may not report membership estimates or update estimates over time. Members can be counted in multiple group estimates and the composition of the numbers has changed at various times from reported to estimated. In 1994, a major revision occurred in the GSOs counting methods. The number of groups reported by GSO no longer included those described as "meetings" which chose not to be considered "groups." Such "meetings" (typically special interest) are included in prior years data. The 1994 revision can erroneously be interpreted as a steep drop from 1993 to 1994 when, in fact, it simply reflects a procedural change in counting methods. AA is in about 150 countries (with 51 GSOs overseas). Each year, the NY office attempts to contact overseas GSOs and groups requesting to be listed in their records. Where current data are lacking, the NY GSO uses earlier year's figures. An estimate of membership of non-reporting groups is arrived at by taking an average of reporting groups. From the beginning, the numbers are, at best, "fuzzy" and do need to be interpreted prudently to avoid drawing erroneous conclusions. The table data are not an accurate measure of a specific years increase or decrease. However, trends over the decades are indicative (but not exact) of AA groups reaching more places and more AA members achieving recovery. Average (mean) annual growth in groups and members is 6% and 7% respectively. (Message over 64 K, truncated.) IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1634. . . . . . . . . . . . Periodical Literature, Akron Beacon Journal, IA, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/2/2004 2:46:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Thu, Jan. 08, 2004 A.A. members object to relocating history Hospital may move world's first alcohol treatment site By John Higgins Beacon Journal staff writer The first hospital in the world to acknowledge alcoholism as a disease rather than a moral failing might move its revered treatment center to a different floor. St. Thomas Hospital would continue to provide alcoholism and drug treatment, but Ignatia Hall would lose its fifth-floor home. The hospital wants to use that space as a psychiatric unit for Alzheimer's and dementia patients; the unit would be the first of its kind in Akron. The rearrangements probably wouldn't attract much attention at most hospitals, but to recovering alcoholics worldwide, Ignatia Hall is a sacred site. Named after Alcoholics Anonymous pioneer Sister Ignatia, it became the first alcohol treatment center in the world in 1939. It's a history that the 75-year-old hospital, now part of Summa Health System, proudly claims. But tinkering with the past to accommodate the future is a tricky business. Ignatia Hall, which has been on the fifth floor since the early 1980s, has become a shrine for the thousands of pilgrims who visit Akron each summer to commemorate the birthplace of A.A. Local A.A. members have heard rumors about the proposed changes for a few months. Some have talked about trying to make Ignatia Hall an official historical landmark to ensure the hospital doesn't mess with it. "A lot of members are upset," said Rob of the Akron Intergroup Council of Alcoholics Anonymous, which does not publicize the last names or titles of its staffers. "Even if we banded together and started to whine, it's a business decision, and it's strictly the bottom line. (The hospital) doesn't care about the history," he said, speaking for himself as a recovering alcoholic. The council coordinates weekly meetings for 6,000 to 8,000 A.A. members in the Akron area and oversees the annual Founders Day events. As a matter of policy, A.A. doesn't take a position. Hospital officials say money has nothing to do with the planned change. "The legacy will continue. There's been no question about that," said Dr. Robert A. Liebelt, the treatment center's medical director. "We're not going to get rid of Ignatia Hall." Patients who need medically supervised detoxification, a process that typically requires three days' stay, probably would be moved to a medical surgical floor. Liebelt said they would have to be kept together, separated from other patients, to ensure confidentiality. "It will be a designated area and have the same ambience that Ignatia Hall as it stands today has," Liebelt said. "It's just that it will be in another part of the hospital." After those first three days, patients begin what is traditionally known as treatment, which can include talk therapy, group meetings and other counseling. That had been done in Ignatia Hall until those patients grew too numerous and were then scattered in classrooms throughout the hospital. More recently, those services have had a permanent home on the third floor in the former medical library. Summa spokeswoman Carrie Massucci said the changes are still tentative and the hospital has no timeline for the proposed transition. But should plans go through, the hospital would want that space for elderly psychiatric patients because it would be near other psychiatric services. "Summa Health System now has the only dedicated senior services program in Akron," she said. "This is just another way that we can continue to serve that population." The hospital hasn't forgotten about its past, she said. Since Ignatia Hall's founding, "we've relocated those services at least six times," she said. "They stayed in St. Thomas Hospital, but they've moved around." Sister Ignatia originally put the cots in the chapel's choir loft, now walled in, so the patients could participate in Mass, Liebelt said. But for the last 20 years, visitors to Ignatia Hall have always found it on the fifth floor. So have the former patients who return to the place they say saved their lives. At least 3,000 visitors paid homage at Ignatia Hall last summer during the Founders Day celebration, which now attracts 10,000 visitors from around the world. "It's really sad that they would destroy their own heritage," said Mary C. Darrah, the Fairlawn author of Sister Ignatia: Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Over the years, people have become more and more interested in the founding places of A.A. It's like a family. They want to go back to their family roots." She likens relocating the center to tearing down A.A. co-founder Dr. Bob Smith's house, another pilgrimage site, and rebuilding it somewhere else. Physical locations matter. "This is the birthplace of the first treatment center affiliated with A.A.," Darrah said. "That's a major piece of history that belongs to the community. And the community should at least, in my opinion, have input." Liebelt said the memorabilia will be relocated along with the patients, and the pilgrims will still have a place to visit. The center was already on the fifth floor when Liebelt began in 1982. He stopped counting about three years ago, but he figures he's treated 15,000 patients and cares as much about the history of the place as anyone else. "The legacy of Ignatia Hall and St. Thomas Hospital is doing well and is viable and will continue to do well and be viable," Liebelt said. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1635. . . . . . . . . . . . 12 step prayers--a prayer for each step From: buickmackane0830 . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2004 5:03:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Good morning, I just been granted the privilege of working on the archives for my local intergroup. We have a newsletter which does a good job of putting information for our groups. We have been printing prayers for each step. I questioned this and was told A.A. at one time used these prayers. I have searched on my own and could not find 12 step prayers for each step connected to A.A. Does anyone know of such prayers connected to A.A. (except 3rd, 7th step) In the big book and then there is the 11th step in the 12+12. What really bothered me was the relious implication of the prayers so if any one is aware of these prayers connected to AA or know where I can find their connection to AA please email. Note: I found 12th step prayers. Thank you IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1636. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Stepping Into History -Westchester Journal News Jan04 From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2004 1:02:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hello group! My mother lives not far from Bedford Hills & she sent me the below Journal News article. It contained extras not mentioned below so I just wanted to include them here. Take it easy & God bless! Just Love, Barefoot Bill Historic Place Stepping Stones (picture) has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places because Bill and Lois Wilson (picture) are national figures who co-founded significant social movements, not because the homestead itself has important architecture. Yet, the nomination notes that the six buildings on the 8-acre Stepping Stones homestead are intact and unified. Designed in matching brown shingle siding, white casings and trim, and with bright blue doors, the buildings retain a high level of historic integrity." Among the highlights: -A three-bedroom Dutch Colonial main house, built in 1920 as a summer cottage. -A large living room dominated by a stone fireplace and wall-length French doors. -The kitchen includes a porcelain-topped table where Wilson first discussed with a newly sober friend the importance of trusting the God of one's own understanding. -A winding stair leading to a second-floor library preserved as Lois Wilson left when she died in 1988. -A collection of antiques, glassware, china, photographs, printed materials and musical instruments of the Wilsons, including Bill Wilson's cello and Lois Wilson's piano, which visitors are encouraged to play. -Bill Wilson's homemade backyard studio, named Wit's End, has a large picture window and the desk where he wrote four books about the AA experience. Information Alcoholics Anonymous: Call 212-647-1680, visit the Web site www.aa.org, look up local listings under Alcoholics Anonymous in either the telephone directory's white pages or Yellow Pages, or write Alcoholics Anonymous, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 459, New York, N.Y. 10163. Al-Anon Family Groups: Call Al-Anon Information Services at 914-946-1748, visit the Web site www.al-anon.alateen.org or write to the World Service Office for Al-Anon and Alateen, 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617. Stepping Stones: Call 914-232-4822, visit the Web site www.steppingstones.org, or write Stepping Stones Foundation, Box 452, Bedford Hills, N.Y. 10507. Excerpts from Bill Wilson's letters In the Spring 1941, after 23 years of marriage and a stretch of homelessness that had lasted two years, Bill and Lois Wilson moved to their first and only true home in Bedford Hills. Originally they called the home "Bi-Lo's Break," because a friend had offered it to them for one-fourth of what it cost to build. In the next four decades, as the AA and Al-Anon movements that the Wilsons co-founded grew, they added land and buildings to their beloved homestead, which they renamed Stepping Stones. Here are excerpts from three letters Bill Wilson wrote about Stepping Stones. The letters are the property of the Stepping Stones Foundation. From a Jan. 11, 1941 letter to his mother, Emily Wilson: "It is a rather large house perched on a hill with a magnificent view extending for miles....This house was a dream of Mrs. Griffith, an artist and well-known actress. Her husband died of alcoholism so she feels quite partial to Lois and me. "[Griffith] spent about $25,000 on it before getting tired of the project. I think it can be bought for five or six thousand dollars and hope the Alcoholic Foundation will undertake to make the purchase on a small monthly payment plan over a period of years so that my earnings, if they materialize, can go into improvements." From an April 23, 1941 letter to AA co-founder Dr. Bob Smith in Ohio: "This place is going to be a godsend for Lois and me....We can't get over the peace and quiet.... "From anyplace in this living room, you may look out over the treetops on a swell view of rolling wooded country." From an undated letter many years after the Wilsons moved to Stepping Stones: "The idea of Westchester real estate seemed out of the question.... "One day we visited a new A.A. member in Chappaqua....We remembered the Bedford Hills house Mrs. Griffith had described....Lois and I drove over with [them] to see the house....We broke in at the back window and looked around.... "At the very next meeting Mrs. Griffith approached Lois and me....She told us we might have the Bedford Hills place for $40 a month....It was a great year, 1941." -----Original Message----- From: t [mailto:tcumming@airmail.net] Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2004 7:42 PM To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Stepping Into History -Westchester Journal News Jan04 Stepping Into history By ROB RYSER THE JOURNAL NEWS of Westchester County NY (Original publication: January 20, 2004) BEDFORD HILLS -- It's hard to say how Alcoholics Anonymous would have ended up if Bill and Lois Wilson had stayed homeless in 1941. Bill Wilson's only work then was with alcoholics, and his 1939 book about the AA fellowship had not gotten the acclaim that the group's early members expected. Lois was finding scattered jobs as a decorator, but her real work was keeping the couple off the street. The Wilsons slept at 51 places in two years. Then 1941 brought what Bill Wilson called a godsend -- a chocolate brown cottage in Bedford Hills with French doors that Lois adored and a fieldstone fireplace that reminded Bill of the East Dorset, Vt., home where he was born. The house belonged to actress Helen Griffith, whose husband drank himself to death and whose alcoholic friend had been "revived" by an AA group in New Jersey. She knew the Wilsons were destitute and offered them what Bill Wilson later called "unbelievably easy terms." The impact that the Wilsons had during the next four decades in the home they named Stepping Stones is still being lived out today. Yet the contributions they made to the understanding of alcoholism, the requirement for spiritual steps in recovery and the need for families of alcoholics to have their own support are so substantial that the National Park Service is preparing to crown the contemporary couple's home as historic. "The Wilsons' influence on 20th-century society is immeasurable," reads the nominating statement, prepared by Margaret Gaertner, a preservation specialist with the Dobbs Ferry architectural firm Stephen Tilly. "AA enabled, and continues to enable, millions of people around the world to achieve and sustain permanent sobriety." Although it may seem contradictory to call a 20th-century home historic in a region where historic properties often have 200-year pasts, the nominating form says the Wilsons are legends who make it easy to forget that as recently as 1940, alcoholism was considered one of society's great unsolved public health enigmas. Bill Wilson proclaimed that alcoholism was a disease three decades before the American Medical Association did in 1956. The 12-step solution that Wilson and AA co-founder Dr. Bob Smith created to treat the physical, mental and spiritual dimensions of alcoholism has become the standard for U.S. hospitals and clinics. Remarkably, AA was proved not in hospitals but in church basements, where recovering alcoholics shared their experiences, strength and hope to help others find the inspiration and power to stop drinking. "Wilson realized that only another alcoholic could truly understand the tangled emotions evoked by his debilitating ordeal," reads the nominating form. The Wilsons' cozy Dutch Colonial, with its barn-like gambrel roof and cement-block studio where Bill Wilson wrote, could be added to the state's Register of Historic Places in the spring. Stepping Stones could then join the National Register of Historic Places by summer. Managed by a foundation that Lois Wilson formed in 1979, eight years after Bill's death at 71, Stepping Stones is a sacred site for Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, the 12-step program co-founded by Lois Wilson for the spouses and children of alcoholics. Yet, Stepping Stones is not mobbed with pilgrims. A mere 1,000 visitors stop by each year -- and up to half of those come for the annual picnic in June. "We could increase our visitors by 100 percent, and we could handle it," said Eileen Giuliani, Stepping Stones' executive director. Of course, she means that theoretically. For one thing, Stepping Stones is surrounded by single-family homes and wants to keep the peace. The other matter is that not all recovering alcoholics and Al-Anons know that Stepping Stones is the Wilson home, much less that it is in Bedford Hills. The historical designation is sure to raise awareness among AA's 2.2 million members in 100,000 groups worldwide, and among the 29,000 Al-Anon groups with some 387,000 members in 115 countries, according to the organizations' estimates. Giuliani said federal recognition will advance Stepping Stones' mission to protect the Wilson museum and archives, and promote the tenets of the AA experience. Neighbors -- for once in Westchester -- seem ready to yield to the prospect of more cars in the neighborhood. "It's fine with me, and I've been here seven years," said Kim Cassone, a mother of two who lives near Stepping Stones on Oak Street. "They were out there to help people who had problems, and that is a good thing." Once at Stepping Stones, visitors often feel an unmistakable presence: The air seems sweet, as though bread has been baking, but no one has lived here since Lois died at age 97 in 1988. The house is as Lois Wilson left it -- wall lengths of books stacked five shelves high, scores of grandmotherly collections, a gallery's worth of photos and framed proclamations by dignitaries ranging from Pope Paul VI to President Eisenhower. Susan Cheever, a Manhattan resident, will publish a biography, "My Name is Bill: Bill Wilson -- His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous," this month. Cheever, who grew up in Ossining, is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning short-story writer John Cheever, whose own battle with alcohol she documented in her 1984 memoir, "Home Before Dark." "It is a very powerful place," Cheever said of Stepping Stones. "The ghosts are still there." It is a rite for visitors to sit at the 1920s porcelain-topped kitchen table where Bill Wilson had a spiritual breakthrough with his childhood friend Ebby Thatcher, one month before Bill got sober in December 1934. Ignoble as the little white table seems, it is venerated at Stepping Stones, sometimes drawing tears from those in recovery. "I was overwhelmed," said Mark W., 51, of Topeka, Kan., a businessman who has been sober 10 years and is obliged under AA's 12 Traditions to be anonymous when speaking to the media. He has made three pilgrimages to Stepping Stones in the past three years. It was his second visit with his wife when he dropped his composure and cried. "I already knew how much I lost drinking," he said. "But sitting there made me realize how much I gained by staying sober." Other relics nearly as special to visitors are the desk in Bill's backyard studio and the desk in the home's upstairs library, where in 1951 Lois Wilson organized the first Al-Anon groups. It was on Bill Wilson's desk, which he brought to Stepping Stones from New Jersey, that he wrote the important opening 11 chapters to "Alcoholics Anonymous" -- the 575-page AA textbook that has sold 20 million copies. "I don't want to call Stepping Stones a shrine, but it is pretty close," said Mark. W. "If it hadn't been for those people, I wouldn't be sane." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1637. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 1 of 3 From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/2/2004 12:17:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Dr. Bob Memorial Edition January 1951 AA Grapevine (for those of you that don't know, this has now been discontinued by GSO) Part 1 of 3 Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. - Matthew V, 23-24 For 120,000 of us...and for the thousands yet to come...we who have cause for eternal gratitude dedicate this issue of the AA Grapevine to the memory of the Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous our beloved DR. BOB. A Tribute from Bill Dr. Bob SERENELY remarking to his attendant, "I think this is it," Dr. Bob passed out of our sight and hearing November sixteenth at noonday. So ended the consuming malady wherein he had so well shown us how high faith can rise over grievous distress. As he had lived, so he had died, supremely aware that in his Father's House are many Mansions. In all those he knew, memory was at floodtide. But who could really say what was thought and felt by the five thousand sick ones to whom he personally ministered and freely gave a physician's care; who could possibly record the reflections of his townsmen who had seen him sink almost within the grasp of oblivion, then rise to anonymous world renown; who could express the gratitude of those tens of thousands of AA families who had so well heard of him but had never seen him face to face? What, too, were the emotions of those nearest him as they thankfully pondered the mystery of his regeneration fifteen years ago and all its vast consequence since? Not the smallest fraction of this great benefaction could be comprehended. He could only declare, "What indeed hath God wrought?" Never would Dr. Bob have us think him saint or superman. Nor would he have us praise him or grieve his passing. He can almost be heard, saying, "Seems to me you folks are making heavy going. I'm not to be taken so seriously as all that. I was only a first link in that chain of Providential circumstance which is called AA. By Grace and great fortune my link did not break; though my faults and failures might often have brought on that unhappy result. I was just another alcoholic trying to get along - under the Grace of God. Forget me, but go you and do likewise. Securely add your own link to our chain. With God's help, forge that chain well and truly." In this manner would Dr. Bob estimate himself and counsel us. It was a Saturday in May, 1935. An ill-starred business venture had brought me to Akron where it immediately collapsed leaving me in a precarious state of sobriety. That afternoon I paced the lobby of Akron's Mayflower Hotel. As I peered at the gathering crowd in the bar, I became desperately frightened of a slip. It was the first severe temptation since my New York friend had laid before me what were to become the basic principles of AA, in November 1934. For the next six months I had felt utterly secure in my sobriety. But now there was no security; I felt alone, helpless. In the months before I had worked hard with other alcoholics. Or, rather, I had preached at them in a somewhat cocksure fashion. In my false assurance I felt I couldn't fall. But this time it was different. Something had to be done at once. Glancing at a Church Directory at the far end of the lobby, I selected the name of a clergyman at random. Over the phone I told him of my need to work with another alcoholic. Though I'd had no previous success with any of them I suddenly realized how such work had kept me free from desire. The clergyman gave me a list of ten names. Some of these people, he was sure, would refer me a case in need of help. Almost running to my room, I seized the phone. But my enthusiasm soon ebbed. Not a person in the first nine called could, or would, suggest anything to meet my urgency. One uncalled name still stood at the end of my list - Henrietta S. Somehow I couldn't muster courage to lift the phone. But after one more look into the bar downstairs something said to me, "You'd better." To my astonishment a warm Southern voice floated in over the wire. Declaring herself no alcoholic, Henrietta nonetheless insisted that she understood. Would I come to her home at once? Because she had been enabled to face and transcend other calamities, she certainly did understand mine. She was to become a vital link to those fantastic events which were presently to gather around the birth and development of our AA society. Of all names the obliging Rector had given me, she was the only one who cared enough. I would here like to record our timeless gratitude. Straightway she pictured the plight of Dr. Bob and Anne. Suiting action to her word, she called their house. As Anne answered, Henrietta described me as a sobered alcoholic from New York who, she felt sure, could help Bob. The good doctor had seemingly exhausted all medical and spiritual remedies for his condition. Then Anne replied, "What you say, Henrietta, is terribly interesting. But I am afraid we can't do anything now. Being Mother's Day, my dear boy has just brought in a fine potted plant. The pot is on the table but, alas, Bob is on the floor. Could we try to make it tomorrow?" Henrietta instantly issued a dinner invitation for the following day. At five o'clock next afternoon, Anne and Dr. Bob stood at Henrietta's door. She discreetly wisked Bob and me off to the library. His words were, "Mightly glad to meet you Bill. But it happens I can't stay long; five or ten minutes at the outside." I laughed and observed, "Guess you're pretty thirsty, aren't you?" His rejoinder was, "Well, maybe you do understand this drinking business after all." So began a talk which lasted hours. How different my attitude was this time. My fright of getting drunk had evoked a much more becoming humility. After telling Dr. Bob my story, I explained how truly I needed him. Would he allow me to help him, I might remain sober myself. The seed that was to flower as AA began to grow toward the light. But as dear Anne well guessed, that first tendril was a fragile thing. Practical steps had better be taken. She bade me come and live at their menage for awhile. There I might keep an eye on Dr. Bob. And he might on me. This was the very thing. Perhaps we could do together what we couldn't do separately. Besides I might revive my sagging business venture. For the next three months I lived with these two wonderful people. I shall always believe they gave me more than I ever brought them. Each morning there was devotion. After the long silence Anne would read out of the Good Book. James was our favorite. Reading him from her chair in the corner, she would softly conclude "Faith without works is dead." But Bob's travail with alcohol was not quite over. That Atlantic City Medical Convention had to be attended. He hadn't missed one in twenty years. Anxiously waiting, Anne and I heard nothing for five days. Finally his office nurse and her husband found him early one morning at the Akron railroad station in some confusion and disarray - which puts it mildly. A horrible dilemma developed. Dr. Bob had to perform a critical surgical operation just three days hence. Nor could an associate substitute for him. He simply had to do it. But how? Could we ever get him ready in time? He and I were placed in twin beds. A typical tapering down process was inaugurated. Not much sleep for anybody, but he cooperated. At four o'clock on the morning of the operation he turned, looked at me and said, "I am going through with this." I inquired, "You mean you are going through with the operation?" He replied, "I have placed both operation and myself in God's hands. I'm going to do what it takes to get sober and stay that way." Not another word did he say. At nine o'clock he shook miserably as we helped him into his clothes. We were panic stricken. Could he ever do it? Were he too tight or too shaky, it would make little difference, his misguided scalpel might take the life of his patient. We gambled. I gave him one bottle of beer. That was the last drink he ever took. It was June 10, 1935. The patient lived. Our first prospect appeared, a neighboring parson sent him over. Because the newcomer faced eviction, Anne took in his whole family, wife and two children. The new one was a puzzler. When drinking, he'd go clean out of his mind. One afternoon Anne sat at her kitchen table, calmly regarding him as he fingered a carving knife. Under her steady gaze, his hand dropped. But he did not sober then. His wife despairingly betook herself to her own parents and he disappeared. But he did reappear fifteen years later for Dr. Bob's last rites. There we saw him, soundly and happily sober in AA. Back in 1935 we weren't so accustomed to miracles as we are today, we had given him up. Then came a lull on the 12th Step front. In this time Anne and Henrietta infused much needed spirituality into Bob and me. Lois came to Akron on vacation from her grind at a New York department store, so raised our morale immensely. We began to attend Oxford Group meetings at the Akron home of T. Henry W. The devotion of this good man and his wife is a bright page in memory. Their names will be inscribed on Page One of AA's book of first and best friends. One day Dr. Bob said to me. "Don't you think we'd better scare up some drunks to work on?" He phoned the nurse in charge of admissions at Akron City Hospital and told her how he and another drunk from New York had a cure for alcoholism. I saw the old boy blush and look disconcerted. The nurse had commented, "Well, Doctor, you'd better give that cure a good workout on yourself." Nevertheless the admitting nurse produced a customer. A dandy, she said he was. A prominent Akron lawyer, he had lost about everything. He'd been in City Hospital six times in four months. He'd arrived at that very moment; had just knocked down a nurse he'd thought a pink elephant. "Will that one do you?" she inquired. Said Dr. Bob, "Put him in a private room. We'll be down when he's better." Soon Dr. Bob and I saw a sight which tens of thousands of us have since beheld, the sight of the man on the bed who does not yet know he can get well. We explained to the man on the bed the nature of his malady and told him our own stories of drinking and recovery. But the sick one shook his head, "Guess you've been through the mill boys, but you never were half as bad off as I am. For me it's too late. I don't dare go out of here. I'm a man of faith, too; used to be deacon in my church. I've still faith in God but I guess he hasn't got any in me. Alcohol has me, it's no use. Come and see me again, though. I'd like to talk with you more." As we entered his room for our second visit a woman sitting at the foot of his bed was saying, "What has happened to you, husband? You seem so different. I feel so relieved." The new man turned to us. "Here they are," he cried. "They understand. After they left yesterday I couldn't get what they told me out of my mind, I laid awake all night. Then hope came. If they could find release, so might I. I became willing to get honest with myself, to square my wrongdoing, to help other alcoholics. The minute I did this I began to feel different. I knew I was going to be well." Continued the man on the bed, "Now, good wife, please fetch me my clothes. We are going to get up and out of here." Whereupon AA number three arose from his bed, never to drink again. The seed of AA had pushed another tendril up through the new soil. Though we knew it not, it had already flowered. Three of us were gathered together. Akron's Group One was a reality. We three worked with scores of others. Many were called but mighty few chosen; failure was our daily companion. But when I left Akron in September, 1935, two or three more sufferers had apparently linked themselves to us for good. The next two years marked the "flying blind" period of our pioneering time. With the fine instinct of that good physician he was, Dr. Bob continued to medically treat and indoctrinate every new case, first at Akron City hospital then for the dozen years since at famed St. Thomas where thousands passed under his watchful eye and sure AA touch. Though not of his faith, the Staff and Sisters there did prodigies. Theirs is one of the most compelling examples of love and devotion we AAs have ever witnessed. Ask the thousands of AA visitors and patients who really know. Ask them what they think of Sister Ignatia, of St. Thomas. Or of Dr. Bob. But I'm getting ahead of my story. Meanwhile a small group had taken shape in New York. The Akron meeting at T. Henry's home began to have a few Cleveland visitors. At this juncture I spent a week visiting Dr.Bob. We commenced to count noses. Out of hundreds of alcoholics, how many had stuck? How many were sober? And for how long? In that fall of 1937 Bob and I counted forty cases who had significant dry time - maybe sixty years for the whole lot of them! Our eyes glistened. Enough time had elapsed on enough cases to spell out something quite new, perhaps something great indeed. Suddenly the ceiling went up. We no longer flew blind. A beacon had been lighted. God had shown alcoholics how it might be passed from hand to hand. Never shall I forget that great and humbling hour of realization, shared with Dr. Bob. But the new realization faced us with a great problem, a momentous decision. It had taken nearly three years to effect forty recoveries. The United States alone probably had a million alcoholics. How were we to get the story to them? Wouldn't we need paid workers, hospitals of our own, lots of money? Surely we must have some sort of a textbook. Dare we crawl at a snail's pace whilst our story got garbled and mayhap thousands would die? What a poser that was! How we were spared from professionalism, wealth, and extensive property management; how we finally came up with the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" is a story by itself. But in this critical period it was Dr. Bob's prudent counsel which so often restrained us from rash ventures that might have retarded us for years, perhaps ruined us for good. Nor can we ever forget the devotion of Dr. Bob and Jim S. (who passed away last summer) as they gathered stories for the AA Book, three-fifths of them coming from Akron alone. Dr. Bob's special fortitude and wisdom were prime factors in that time so much characterized by doubt, and finally by grave decision. How much we may rejoice that Anne and Dr. Bob both lived to see the lamp lit at Akron carried into every corner of the earth; that they doubtless realized millions might someday pass under the ever-widening arch whose keystone they so gallantly helped carve. Yet, being so humble as they were, I'm sure they never quite guessed what a heritage they left us, nor how beautifully their appointed task had been completed. All they needed to do was finished. It was even reserved for Dr. Bob to see AA come of age as, for the last time, he spoke to 7000 of us at Cleveland, July, 1950. I saw Dr. Bob the Sunday before he died. A bare month previous he had aided me in framing a proposal for the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous, AA's third legacy. This bequest, in pamphlet form, was actually at the printers when he took his final departure the following Thursday. As his last act and desire respecting AA, this document will be sure to carry a great and special meaning for us all. With no other person have I ever experienced quite the same relation: the finest thing I know how to say is that in all the strenuous time of our association, he and I never had an uncomfortable difference of opinion. His capacity for brotherhood and love was often beyond my ken. For a last word, may I leave with you a moving example of his simplicity and humility. Curiously enough, the story is about a monument - a monument proposed for him. A year ago, when Anne passed away, the thought of an imposing shaft came uppermost in the minds of many. People were insistent that something be done. Hearing rumors of this, Dr. Bob promptly declared against AAs erecting for Anne and himself any tangible memorials or monument. These usual symbols of personal distinction he brushed aside in a single devastating sentence. Said he, "Annie and I plan to be buried just like other folks." At the alcoholic ward in St. Thomas his friends did, however, erect this simple plaque. It reads: IN GRATITUDE THE FRIENDS OF DR. BOB AND ANNE SMITH AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATE THIS MEMORIAL TO THE SISTERS AND STAFF OF ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL AT AKRON, BIRTHPLACE OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL BECAME THE FIRST RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION EVER TO OPEN ITS DOOR TO OUR SOCIETY. MAY THE LOVING DEVOTION OF THOSE WHO LABORED HERE IN OUR PIONEERING TIME BE A BRIGHT AND WONDEROUS EXAMPLE OF GOD'S GRACE EVERLASTINGLY SET BEFORE US ALL. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1638. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 2 of 3 From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2004 9:53:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Dr. Bob Memorial Edition January 1951 AA Grapevine Part 2 of 3 Without heroics ... as he would wish it, this is the story of Dr. Bob the physician whose 'practice' reached half across the world... Dr. Bob was born August 8, 1879, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, a typical New England village of some 7000 souls. As the only son of parents prominent in civic and church activities, his early childhood was spent under strict parental guidance. Signs of inner revolt came at an early age. In later years the doctor liked to tell his children, Sue and Robert, of how he was put to bed every evening at five o'clock. He would go quietly enough, a fact which might have led the modern child-psychology-wise parent to suspect the worst, but which seemingly went unnoticed by the young man's parents. As soon as he was reasonably sure that he was considered safely asleep, he would arise, dress and slip quietly downstairs and out the backdoor to join his village gang. So far as is known he was never apprehended while on his nocturnal expeditions. The call of the woodland trail was far more fascinating to young Rob, as his schoolmates called him, than the stuffy schoolhouse to which he was forced to make his reluctant way each morning. His active young mind was more apt to be concentrating upon the best method to trap a bear than on the dull drone of his teacher's voice. He wanted to be free to roam. Rebellion surged within him at the thought of restraint of any sort...study and home-work were "musts"...even the keenness of his youthful mind was not enough to make up for his lack of application to his daily lessons. Serious repercussions often followed which led to accusations of "waywardness" by his parents and his teachers. Though his scholastic neglect may have disgraced him with his elders upon occasion, his schoolmates loved him. Whether it was because his habitual and sometimes adventurous revolts against restraint gave him a glamorous aura or because of the accuracy with which children often sense traits of character obscure to adults, they made him a popular and sought-after member of their class. Freedom from some of the "musts" came with vacations. He was released, then, to wander the hills, hunt, and trap and swim in the sea. Often Rob and his friends went into Canada on hunting trips. On one of these forays into the wilds, hunting was so poor that the boys lived on eels, blueberries and cream of tartar biscuits for three weeks. They did flush a particularly large woodchuck. They stalked him for several hours. Finally they had him within shooting range. After being shot at for sometime, the woodchuck disappeared. This episode later caused Rob's father, the Judge, to remark that the woodchuck probably went in to get out of the noise. The incident of the woodchuck and a tale of a great bear chase cast some shadow of doubt on young Rob's prowess as a hunter and woodsman. Off to the woods one day, went the young hunter and a schoolmate. The boys sauntered along, kicking at stones ... building castles in the air...talking about the things that spirited adolescent males talk about. Suddenly they saw before them a huge bear. The bear, who was probably as astonished as the boys, took to the woods at a gallop. The young hunters were hard at his heels. The day was hot, the brambles thick, courageous daring was at its height...the bear got away. "I don't believe," Dr. Bob used to say, "that we ran as fast as we might have!" In the summers the family often spent some weeks in a cottage by the sea. Here Rob became an expert swimmer. He and his foster sister, Nancy, spent many hours building and sailing their own sailboats. It was here that he saved a young girl from drowning. This event must have left an impression...probably of the advisability for every child to learn to swim at an early age. He taught his own children, Robert R. and Sue, to be expert swimmers at the age of five. The three of them would set out every vacation morning to swim the channel near their cottage. This feat often caused distraught neighbors to call their mother to tell her that her babies had fallen out of a boat in the middle of the channel. While the boy, Rob, was high-spirited, considered rebellious and wayward he was industrious and labored long and hard at anything he wanted to do. He was still very young when it became apparent that he was ambitious as well as willing to work. He wanted, above all else, to become a medical doctor like his maternal grandfather. When he was about nine years old he began to show signs of liking to work, especially out of doors. That summer he was at a neighbor's farm helping the men load hay. Perhaps he was resting, perhaps he was prowling around poking under bushes to see what he could see...he saw a jug...he pulled the cork and sniffed. It was a new odor to this son of strict New England parents. It was an odor that he liked. If the stuff in the jug smelled so good, it should taste good too. And it was good. He liked the taste. He liked the way it made him feel. A little boy; a jug of hooch; the first securely welded link in the chain. By the time he reached his teens, Rob was spending parts of his summers working on a Vermont farm or juggling trays and lugging baggage as a bellhop in an Adirondack summer hotel. His winters were passed trying to avoid the necessity of having to attend high school in order to receive a diploma. It may have been during his high school days that young Rob learned much of what there is to know about a billiard table. Later when his son, Robert, would tease him about this accomplishment as being the product of a mis-spent youth, Dr. Bob would just smile and say nothing. He was a good student in spite of himself and graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy in 1898. It was at a party given at the Academy that Dr. Bob first met Anne. A student at Wellesley, she was spending a holiday with a college chum. It was a small, reserved girl whom the tall, rangy Rob met that night. With an agile mind to match his own, Anne had a cheerfulness, sweetness and calm that was to remain with her through the years. It was these same qualities that were in the future to endear her to hundreds as Anne, Dr. Bob's wife. After high school at St. Johnsbury Academy came four years of college at Dartmouth. At long last the rebellious young colt was free of his parents' restraining supervision. New experiences were to be explored and enjoyed without having to give an accounting. His first discovery in his search for the facts of life on the campus was that joining the boys for a brew seemed to make up the greater part of after-class recreation. From Dr. Bob's point of view it was the major extra-curricular activity. It had long been evident that whatever Rob did, he did well. He became a leader in the sport. He drank for the sheer fun of it and suffered little or no ill-effects. Fame came to him at Dartmouth - no accolades for scholarship...no letters for athletic prowess...his fame came for a capacity for drinking beer that was matched by few and topped by none...and for what the students called his "patent throat." They would stand in awe watching him consume an entire bottle of beer without any visible muscular movement of swallowing. The prospects of getting drunk in the evening furnished Rob and his cronies with conversations which ran on all day. The pros and cons of whether to get drunk or not to get drunk would invariably drive one of their mild-mannered friends to distraction. He would rise in spluttering protest to say, "Well! If I were going to get drunk, I'd be about it!" As often as not...they were about it. There were times, though, when a change of scenery seemed more to their liking. Like the time Rob and a friend got it into their heads that going to Montpelier, Vermont was a fine idea. Admiral Dewey had just returned from Manila and was to parade through the town. Being in the usual state of financial embarrassment, how to get there caused a fleeting problem, but being convinced that where there was a will, a way would certainly present itself, they hopped a freight. In the morning weary but mightily pleased with themselves, they descended from the boxcar in Montpelier. As they walked up the street toward the parade route they met a fellow Dartmouth student. The boys greeted him with as much dignity as their grimy faces and straw-flecked garments would allow. To their astonishment his "Hello" was most cordial. Wouldn't they like to go to the State House with him? There, from the reviewing stand, the boys viewed the parade with their Dartmouth friend, whose father was the Governor of Vermont. Through the carefree days at college he studied just about as much as he had to, to get by. But he was a good student none-the-less. Here he made friends whom he was to know and to see from time to time through his life ...friends who did not always approve of his drinking prowess, but loved him in spite of it. His last years at Dartmouth were spent doing exactly what he wanted to do with little thought of the wishes or feelings of others...a state of mind which became more and more predominate as the years passed. Rob graduated in 1902..."summa cum laude" in the eyes of the drinking fraternity. The dean had a somewhat lower estimate. Now that he held a Dartmouth diploma, it seemed advisable that the willful young man settle down to making a living and a solid, secure future for himself. He wasn't ready to settle down to a job. The strong desire to become a medical doctor was still with him. His mother, who had never approved of this career for her son, hadn't altered her views. He went to work. For the next three years his business career was varied, if not successful. The first two years he worked for a large scale company; then he went to Montreal where he labored diligently at selling railway supplies, gas engines of all sorts and many other items of heavy hardware. He left Montreal and went to Boston where he was employed at Filene's. What his duties were there, have never been recorded. All through this three year period he was drinking as much as purse allowed, still without getting into any serious trouble. But he wasn't making any headway either. Whatever his duties at Filene's were, they certainly were not what he wanted to do. He still wanted to be a doctor. It was time he was about it. He quit his job at the store and that Fall entered the University of Michigan as a premedical student. Again he was free of all restraint and doing just as he wanted to do. Earnestly, he got down to serious business... the serious business of drinking as much as he could and still make it to class in the morning. His famous capacity for beer followed him to the Michigan campus. He was elected to membership in the drinking fraternity. Once again he displayed the wonders of his "patent throat" before his gaping brothers. He, who had boasted to his friends..."Never had a hangover in my life...began to have the morning after shakes. Many a morning Dr. Bob went to classes and even though fully prepared, turned away at the door and went back to the fraternity house. So bad were his jitters that he feared he would cause a scene if he should be called on. He went from bad to worse. No longer drinking for the fun of it, his life at Michigan became one long binge after another. In the Spring of his Sophomore year, Dr. Bob made up his mind that he could not complete his course. He packed his grip and headed South. After a month spent on a large farm owned by a friend, the fog began to clear from his brain. As he began to think more clearly he realized that it was very foolish to quit school. He decided to return and continue his work. The faculty had other ideas on the subject. They were, they told him, completely disgusted. It would require no effort at all to get along without his presence on the Michigan campus. After a long argument they allowed him to return to take his exams. He passed them creditably. After many more painful discussions, the faculty also gave him his credits. That Fall he entered Brush University as a Junior. Here his drinking became so much worse that his fraternity brothers felt forced to send for his father. The Judge made the long journey in a vain effort to get him straightened out. After those long disasterous binges when Dr. Bob was forced to face his father he had a deep feeling of guilt. His father always met the situation quietly, "Well, what did this one cost you?" he would ask. Oddly enough this feeling of guilt would come, not because he felt that he had hurt him in any way, but because his father seemed, somehow, to understand. It was this quiet, hopeless understanding that pained him deep inside. He was drinking more and more hard liquor, now, and coming up to his final exams he went on a particularly rough binge. When he went in to the examinations his hand trembled so badly he could not hold a pencil. He was, of course, called before the faculty. Their decision was that if he wished to graduate he must come back for two more quarters, remaining absolutely dry. This he was able to do. The faculty considered his work so creditable he was able to secure a much coveted internship in City Hospital in Akron, Ohio. The first two years in Akron, as a young intern, were free of trouble. Hard work took the place of hard drinking simply because there wasn't time for both. At one time during his internship he ran the hospital pharmacy by himself. This added to other duties took him all over the hospital...running up and down the stairs because the elevators were too slow...running here, rushing there as if the devil were after him. All this frenzied activity never failed to bring about an explosive, "Now where is that cadaverous young Yankee!" from one of the older doctors who became particularly fond of him. Though the two years as intern at City were hectic, Dr. Bob had time to learn much from the older men who were glad to share their knowledge with him. He began to perfect his own skills so that he might become a specialist, a surgeon. When his two years of internship were over he opened an office in The Second National Bank Building, in Akron. This was in 1912. His offices were in the same building until he retired from practice in 1948. Completely out on his own now, and again free to do as he chose - some money in his pocket and all the time in the world. It may have been that reaction set in from all the work, the irregular hours, the hectic life of an intern; it may have been real or imagined; whatever caused it, Dr. Bob developed considerable stomach trouble. The remedy for that was, of course, a couple of drinks. It didn't take him long to return to the old drinking habits. Now he began to know the real horror, the suffering of pain that goes with alcoholism. In hope of relief, he incarcerated himself at least a dozen times in one of the local sanitariums. After three years of this torture he ended up in a local hospital where they tried to help him. But he got his friends to smuggle him in a quart. Or, if that failed, it wasn't difficult for a man who knew his way around a hospital to steal the alcohol kept in the building. He got rapidly worse. Finally his father had to send a doctor out from St. Johnsbury to attempt to get him home. Somehow the doctor managed to get him back to the house he was born in, where he stayed in bed for two months before he could venture out. He stayed around town for about two months more, then returned to Akron to resume his practice. Dr. Bob was thoroughly scared, either by what had happened, by what the doctor had told him, or both. He went into one of his dry periods and stayed that way until the 18th Amendment was passed. In 1915 he went back to Chicago to marry Anne. He brought her back to Akron as his bride. The first three years of their married life were free of the unhappiness that was to come later. He became established in his practice. Their son Robert was born and life began to make a sensible pattern. Then the 18th Amendment was passed. Dr. Bob's reasoning was quite typical at this time, if not quite logical. It would make very little difference if he did take a few drinks now. The liquor that he and his friends had bought in amounts according to the size of their bank accounts, would soon be gone. He could come to no harm. He was soon to learn the facts of the Great American Experiment. The government obligingly made it possible for doctors to obtain unlimited supplies of liquor. Often during those black years, Dr. Bob, who held his profession sacred, would go to the phone book, pick out a name at random and fill out the prescription which would get him a pint of whisky. When all else failed there was the newly accredited member of American society, the bootlegger. A moderate beginning led to Dr. Bob's usual ending. During the next few years, he developed two distinct phobias. One was the fear of not sleeping and the other was the fear of running out of liquor. So began the squirrel-cage existence. Staying sober to earn enough money to get drunk...getting drunk to go to sleep...using sedatives to quiet the jitters...staying sober...earning money...getting drunk...smuggling home a bottle...hiding the bottle from Anne who became an expert at detecting hiding places. This horrible nightmare went on for seventeen years. Somehow he had the good sense to stay away from the hospital and not to receive patients if he were drinking. He stayed sober every day until four o'clock, then came home. In this way he was able to keep his drinking problem from becoming common knowledge or hospital gossip. Through these mad years Dr. Bob was an active member of the City Hospital Staff and often he had occasion to go to St. Thomas Hospital, where in 1934, he became a member of the Courtesy Staff and in 1943, a member of the Active Staff. It was during one of these visits to St. Thomas, in 1928, that in the course of his duties, he met Sister Mary Ignatia. The meeting seemed of no particular consequence at the time. Many Sisters came to St. Thomas, then departed for duties elsewhere. Though neither of them knew it, the meeting was to have great importance to them both in the years to come. Sister Ignatia, like the others, never knew of the inner turmoil with which this man was beset..."He just always seemed different than the rest...he brought something with him when he came into a room...I never knew what it was, I just felt it..." So perhaps it was, then, that the Hand that moves us all was beginning to speed up the events that led to Dr. Bob's meeting with the stranger. Anne and the children now lived in a shambles of broken promises, given in all sincerity. Unable to see her friends, she existed on the bare necessities. About all she had left was her faith that her prayers for her husband would somehow be answered. It then happened that Dr. Bob and Anne were thrown in with a crowd of people who attracted Dr. Bob because of their poise, health and happiness. These people spoke without embarrassment, a thing he could never do. They all seemed very much at ease. Above all, they seemed happy. They were members of the Oxford Group. Self conscious, ill at ease most of the time, his health nearing the breaking point, Dr. Bob was thoroughly miserable. He sensed that these new-found friends had something that he did not have. He felt that he could profit from them. When he learned that what they had was something of a spiritual nature, his enthusiasm was somewhat dampened. Unfortunately his childhood background of church twice during the week and three times on Sunday had caused him to resolve that he would never appear in a church so long as he lived. He kept that resolve for 40 years except when his presence there was absolutely necessary. It helped some to find out that these people did not gather in a church but at each other's homes. That they might have the answer to his drinking problem never entered his head but he thought it could do him no harm to study their philosophy. For the next two and one half years he attended their meetings. And got drunk regularly! Anne became deeply interested in the group and her interest sustained Dr. Bob's. He delved into religious philosophy, he read the Scriptures, he studied spiritual interpretations, the lives of the Saints. Like a sponge he soaked up the spiritual philosophies of the ages. Anne kept her simple faith in prayer...and her courage - Dr. Bob got drunk. Then one Saturday afternoon, Henrietta called Anne. Could they come over to meet a friend of hers who might help Bob... At five o'clock Sunday evening they were at Henrietta's door. Dr. Bob faced Bill W. who said, "You must be awfully thirsty...this won't take us long..." From the moment Bill spoke to him, Dr. Bob knew that here was a man who knew what he was talking about. As the hours passed, Bill told of his experiences with alcohol; he told him of the simple message that a friend had brought... "Show me your faith and by my works I will show you mine..." Slowly, at first, then with sudden clarity, Dr. Bob began to understand. Bill had been able to control his drinking problem by the very means that Dr. Bob, himself had been trying to use...but there was a difference. The spiritual approach was as useless as any other if you soaked it up like a sponge and kept it all to yourself. True, Bill had been preaching his message at any drunk who would listen; he had been unsuccessful 'til now, but the important thing was that by giving his knowledge away, he, himself, was sober! There was one more short binge for Dr. Bob after that talk. On June 10, 1935, he took his last drink. It was high time now to put his house in order. With his quiet professional dignity, his ready humor, he got about it. Bill stayed on in Akron for several months, living with Dr. Bob and Anne. It wasn't long before they realized that they needed another drunk to help, if they could. The two men went over to City Hospital. They asked the nurse on "admitting" if she had an alcoholic in the hospital. They were taken to a room where a man lay strapped to the bed, writhing in agony, "Will this one do?" the nurse asked. "This one" would do very well. That human wreck to whom they talked that day and several times after, came out of the hospital, sober. Bill D. became the third member of the little group...AA Number Three! Dr. Bob now was a man with a purpose and the will to live. When the fog cleared out of his brain, his health had improved. He felt so good in the summer of 1935, at 56 years of age, that he took Bob and Sue out to the tennis courts one day. He played them six straight sets of tennis. The kids were done in. Anne began to live again, too. She was happy with her husband's new-found, joyful sobriety. She was no longer friendless, alone. Her kitchen table was almost always littered with coffee cups, a fresh pot-full sat waiting on the stove. Her faith, her belief in prayer and divine guidance went far to carry the men through that first summer. In the year 1935, there were few men alive who would accept the fact that alcoholism is a disease, which should be treated as such. Prejudice and ignorance were some of the problems facing Dr. Bob as he set about helping sick alcoholics with his professional skill and his new-found spiritual understanding. City Hospital was often filled with drunks smuggled in under trumped-up diagnosis. The oldtimers who were hospitalized during those first years were admitted as suffering from "acute gastritis." Since he was on the courtesy staff at St. Thomas, run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Dr. Bob felt that he might enlist the help of Sister Ignatia. He knew that it had never seemed right to her that a drunk should be turned away. She couldn't understand why a drunk on the verge of DT's was turned away but a drunk with a bashed-in head was admitted. They were both sick. They both needed help. His first approach to her on the subject was casual. He didn't tell her much nor did he make any promises. He just told her that he was trying to treat alcoholics by a new method. He and some other alcoholics, he said believed that alcoholism could be controlled by medical attention coupled with the spiritual. His remarks, though brief, made sense to her. It wasn't long before Dr. Bob brought in an alcoholic. Sister admitted him as having acute indigestion. He was put to bed in a double room. Then Dr. Bob told her quietly, "We'd like to have him in a private room in the morning." As if it weren't bad enough to have an illegal admittance on her conscience this man was asking for a private room! Morning found the patient peacefully asleep, on a cot in the room where flowers were trimmed and arranged for patients' rooms! FOR HE IS THE ROCK UPON WHICH AA IS FOUNDED After that more and more "acute gastritis" cases woke up in St. Thomas Hospital. In August, 1939, Dr. Bob brought a patient to Sister for admittance. So far as is known, he was the first alcoholic ever to be admitted into a general hospital under the diagnosis: Alcoholism. Dr. Bob never could remember just what the policy of the hospital was at that time, nor did he recall ever having asked. Since that August day there have been 4800 cases admitted into St. Thomas. Until Dr. Bob retired, he visited the ward each day to give personal attention to each patient. His cheerful, "Well, what can I do for you?" was heard in the ward for the last time, on Christmas, 1949. On that day Sister played the organ for him and showed him the beautiful new chimes ...talked of her hopes of more beds and furniture for a lounge outside the ward. The chimes tell the story of the bitter criticism of 10 years ago to the complete co-operation from everyone connected with the hospital today. But so long as Sister Ignatia goes about her duties on the admitting desk and in the AA ward, whenever a drunk is brought in a call will come, "Sister, you'd better come. One of your boys is downstairs!" Dr. Bob and his first few red-eyed disciples continued to meet with the Oxford Group. But they were a 'special interest' bloc. The unpredictable nature of the alcoholic and his preoccupation with the earthy realities of drinking and drunkenness, led the tactful Doctor to the idea of separate meetings. Without fuss or bother, Dr. Bob announced that there would be a meeting for the alcoholics...if any of them cared to come. When the meeting came to order, all of the little band were there. Dr. Bob put his foot on the rung of a dining room chair, identified himself as an alcoholic and began reading The Sermon on the Mount. Still not known as Alcoholics Anonymous, this was the first Akron meeting for alcoholics only. Word of the work being done in Akron began to spread to nearby Cleveland. Men began coming over to be hospitalized in St. Thomas or City Hospital. The growth of the group speeded up. By 1939, they were meeting in Akron's Kings School. They had long since outgrown Anne's small house. Through all the growth, the hurts that come with growing pains, the gossip, the little grievances, Dr. Bob listened to them all. Occasionally, he advised. He became the "father confessor" to the group. So sacred to him were confidences, that he would not break them for anybody or anything. Anne used to tease him about being "so close-mouthed" that she claimed she didn't know a thing that was going on. She laughingly told him that she would divorce him unless he told her some of the things he knew...but she was quick to retract her statement because she knew, even for her, he would not break a confidence. By 1939, there were enough men coming to Akron from Cleveland to make it seem advisable to start a Cleveland Group. The first meeting was held in May of that year. The break away from the Akron group brought with it disagreements. The only thing that kept them on an even keel, say those pioneers, was the sound wisdom of Dr. Bob. How he kept his sanity seemed a miracle. There he was, they say, in the midst of a bunch of unstable people, not yet dry behind the ears. It may have been because he would never allow one man to speak ill of another unless that man were present, that the Cleveland off-spring survived. By the end of 1939, Cleveland had proved a big point in AA history. It had proved, first that one group could break from another. This they proved conclusively because by the end of the year there was not one Cleveland group...there were three! The two splits had been brought about by differences of opinion. It seemed that no matter what happened the group activity would go on. Cleveland proved, too, that alcoholics could be sobered up on what almost amounted to a mass production basis. By 1944, the Cleveland membership was well past 1000. Dr. Bob's wise counsel was right..."there's no use worrying about these things. As long as people have faith and believe, this will go on." In the years that came after that meeting on Mother's Day, 1935, Dr. Bob gave freely of himself to all who came to ask for help, to seek advice...to laugh or to cry. In so helping others, he began to rebuild himself. Professionally, he became loved and respected by all who worked with him...socially he was once again the kind, dignified man who Anne and their friends knew and admired. Dr. Bob, as Anne had known him to be, was possessed of calm professional dignity which gave courage and heart to his patients. In the years to come, this dignity, was to play a large part in the lives of the hundreds who came to his door. Never given to loose talk, Dr. Bob controlled his tongue as surely, as steadily and as potently as he did his scalpel. He used the gift of speech with the same concise economy, the sureness of purpose, that went into each deft movement of his surgeon's hands. More often than not his observations were sprinkled with salty humor. Dr. Bob had the rare quality of being able to laugh at himself and with others. As much a part of him as his quiet professional dignity, was this keen sense of humor. He spoke with a broad New England accent and was given to dropping a remark or telling a riotous story absolutely deadpan. This sometimes proved disconcerting to those who did not know him well, especially when he referred to the poised, charming Anne, as "The Frail." Seldom did he call his friends by their given names... it was Abercrombie to those men of whom he was particularly fond - or Sugar to close women friends...a friend in the loan business was Shylock. This tall "cadaverous looking Yankee" who held his profession sacred and walked through life with dignity would tell anyone who questioned him as to his hopes, his ambitions...that all he ever wanted in life was "to have curly hair, to tap dance, to play the piano and to own a convertible." One of the very early Akron members says that the first impression he had of Dr. Bob was of a gruff person, a bit forbidding, with a habit of looking over his glasses. He gave the impression of looking right through to your soul. This AA says that he got the impression that Dr. Bob knew exactly what he was thinking... and found out later that he did! When he met Dr. Bob for the first time, what was offered seemed to the new man, a perfect answer to an immediate and serious problem... it was something to tell a boss who, at the time was none too sympathetic to his drinking. Dr. Bob knew that the man wasn't being honest with him, and he knew he was kidding himself. No lectures were given, no recriminations. Dr. Bob began to make a habit of stopping by the man's house after office hours. About twice a week he stopped for coffee and the two men discussed ...honesty. Then Dr. Bob suggested that the man stop kidding himself. Their discussion moved on to faith...faith in God. The new man went to his employer and, for the first time, saw the practical power of real honesty. A problem which had looked insurmountable, vanished, just melted away. Dr. Bob always began his day with a prayer and meditation over some familiar Bible verse, then he set about his work in "My Father's vineyard..." The work in the "vineyard" was not easy in those years. No "preaching" would have served, either to the alcoholics who came his way or to those skeptic members of his profession. He began, now to make AA a way of life. His life began to be an example of patience and serenity for all to see and to benefit by if they so chose. It was too early in the years of education on alcoholism to be able to speak of the disease above a whisper...Dr. Bob and Sister Ignatia developed a little code...the boys on the third floor were called the Frails, while the surgical patients were spoken of in the most proper professional terms. Often while he went about the business of washing up he had to listen in silence to bitter remarks from his fellow doctors..."Too bad this hospital is so full that a fellow can't get a patient in...always room for the drunks though -." In the years to come he was to live to hear himself introduced as the co-founder of "the greatest," "most wonderful," "must momentous movement of all times..." For these tributes he was grateful, but he laughed them off and upon one occasion was heard to remark..."The speaker certainly takes in a lot of territory and plenty of time..." In his drinking days, Dr. Bob was two people, two personalities. After his return to sobriety he remained two personalities. As he made his rounds through the hospitals he was the medical practitioner but as he entered the door of the alcoholic ward he became, Dr. Bob, a man eager, willing and able to help his fellowman. Those who worked with him say that as he left the hospital each day they felt that two men went out the door... one a great M.D., the other a great man. Dr. Bob and Anne lived simply and without pretense in their modest home. Here they shared the joys of parenthood, the sorrows, the companionship of their friends. He was an industrious man, willing to work for the creature comforts that he loved. He accepted with humility any material wealth that came his way. Something of a perfectionist, he loved diamonds, not for possession, but for the beauty of their brilliant perfection. He would go out of his way to look at a diamond owned by another...he would go out of his way, too, to look at a favorite view of his beloved mountains and sea. If he had any pride in possession it was for big gleaming automobiles. He owned, through his life, many of them. He treated them with the care that their mechanical perfection deserved. The car that he probably loved the most was the last one he bought just before the end...the convertible. The car that symbolized a lifetime ambition. His friends will remember him in the summer of 1950, at 71, speeding through the streets of Akron in his new yellow Buick convertible - the long slim lines made even more rakish with the top down. No hat, his face to the sun, into the driveway he sped, pebbles flying, tires screeching, he'd swoosh to a stop! Fate, however, permitted him only 150 miles of this joyous "hot-rod" driving. It was with reluctance, that summer, that he gave in to his illness. For the forty fifth year he returned to his home in Vermont...in the staid and sedate sedan..."I won't be able to see the mountains so well...but my legs are a little long for that roadster..." Until the last summer his days were spent in the routine of the hospital... his office and his club, for recreation. During almost all of his adult life in Akron, Dr. Bob lunched at the City Club. In his drinking days, it was often to hide away in a room until he was found by friends. But in later years it was to enjoy the companionship of his good friends, some of whom joined him in his new-found sobriety, others had no need of the help he could give them...other than the pleasure of his friendship. Noon would almost always find him at the same table in the corner of the men's dining room. There, for more than ten years he was served by the same waitress, Nancy. Dr. Bob always greeted her with, "How's my chum today..." They were good friends. As Nancy served him his simple lunch of melon or grapefruit, soup, milk or coffee and his favorite Boston Cream Pie, they discussed her problems. Once, Nancy, who was ill at the time, became uncontrollably angry and threw a cracker basket at another waiter. Dr. Bob admonished..."Now, now Chum, don't let little things bother you..." The next day he sent her "As a Man Thinketh So Is He" and "The Runner's Bible." Nancy always looked forward to serving Dr. Bob and his friends..."he was such a good fellow..." Often when there was much discussion, arguments and pros and cons, Nancy would ask him why he didn't say something, to which he'd answer... "Too much being said already!" To Nancy, Dr. Bob was "such a good kind man...he had such a simple faith in prayer." After luncheon, if time permitted, Dr. Bob joined his cronies for a game of Rum or Bridge. He was expert at both; and he always played to win. The man who would give you his last dollar, though his own creditors might be hard at his heels, would take your last cent away from you, if he could, in a card game...but he never got angry. He had the habit of keeping up a steady chatter through the game, his cronies say that it could have been annoying except that it was always so funny that you had to laugh. Dr. Bob vowed that it was silly to take the game seriously...never could see how these tournament players got so serious about this thing. Once when he and Anne were in Florida, he was airing his views to a stranger on the seriousness of some bridge players. The subject had come up because a bridge tournament was scheduled for that day. The two men sat together discussing bridge until they talked themselves into entering the tournament...since they had nothing better to do. The stranger and Dr. Bob made a good showing among the "serious" players. They won that afternoon but upset their opponents to such a degree as to cause one to remark, "If you had bid right and played right you never would have won!" Whereupon Dr. Bob said, "Quite so," as he accepted the first prize. For some obscure reason, Dr. Bob always carried a pocket-full of silver. It may have been a hangover from the insecure squirrel-cage days of the eternal fight to keep enough money in his pocket just because he liked to hear the jingle but there were times when he had as much as ten dollars in his pocket. He had one particular friend with whom he would match a fifty cent piece by way of greeting. No matter where the two met, each would silently reach into his pocket, draw out the silver and match. Silently the winner took the money from the other. The first time Dr. Bob underwent serious surgery, he could not have visitors. His coin-matching friend came to the hospital to call. He was met there by Emma, the woman friend and nurse who cared for Anne. Emma met the visitor in the guest lounge. She greeted him silently with a coin in her palm...silently they matched. Dr.Bob was the richer by fifty cents. This man of two personalities would weep as he told you of his fear that his skill would not enable him to save the life of a charity patient; then again he would weep as he told of what seemed to be a miraculous recovery. He would weep, too, from laughter at some story which struck his fancy. As his son, Bob, grew into manhood, Dr. Bob shared with him the incidents and the fun of the day. He could hardly wait, it seemed, to get home to tell young Bob some story picked up at the hospital. Young Bob tells of how he would tell a good story, or listen to one, then lean back in his chair to laugh until the tears streamed down his cheeks. Then with a familiar gesture, he took off his glasses to wipe the tears away...still chuckling. "Our home was a happy one, in those days," said young Bob, "I never heard a cross word between my mother and my father." The war, then marriage took young Bob from home and to Texas where he now lives. Bob laughs as he tells of his father's first meeting with his bride-to-be. He looked her up and down then remarked, in his dry and disconcerting fashion; "She's all right, son. She's built for speed and light house-keeping!" Young Bob often remarked to his father about his seemingly endless knowledge of medicine, philosophies and general bits of information. To which Dr. Bob would reply, "Well, I should know something, I've read for at least an hour every night of my adult life - drunk or sober." Sometime during the course of all the reading, he delved into Spiritualism...he even tried the mysteries of the Ouija board. He felt that in some far distant centuries, the science of the mind would be so developed as to make possible contact between the living and the dead. All the reading of the years had included studies on alcoholism, too. This scientific knowledge coupled with his experiences with alcoholics including himself might well have led him to a strictly scientific approach. He could, with ease, have spoken of statistics, cures and the like because he undoubtedly listened to more "case histories" than any other man alive. He listened patiently to each man in the ward, to every person who came to his home for advice, and there were hundreds. He remained plain Dr. Bob, alcoholic, who came to believe that the disorder was more on the psychological and spiritual side rather than the physical. The thinking of the alcoholic patient was all beclouded, his attitudes were wrong, his philosophy of life was all mixed up, he had no spiritual life...the whole man was sick. As one man said, "He came to me in the hospital, he sat quietly by my bed and talked, then he prayed to his God for me...that's what stuck...that he took the time and interest and the compassion to pray for me..." The happy years of Dr. Bob's sobriety were marred, at last, by Anne's illness and blindness. Cataracts were completely covering her eyes, so that she could not see...even after surgery her last years were spent in shadows. Dr. Bob began, then, to be her eyes as much as he could. Still in medical practice, though, he could not be with her every hour. It was then, in his own quiet way that he found a solution. In 1942, years before Anne's blindness had become serious, two strangers came to his office, a man and his wife, Emma. The man was seeking the help that Dr. Bob could give him. The three sat in his office and talked for almost an hour, while in the reception room waited the "paying patients." Occasionally, after that first meeting, Dr. Bob and Anne stopped by their house; they saw them each week at the AA meeting in King School. Dr. Bob knew that Anne's blindness was fast growing worse and that she needed daily care...he knew too, that she would be unhappy to think of herself as a burden to anyone. It came vacation time, the children were gone which meant that the house must be left empty...the dog to his own devices. What better plan than the nice couple, who lived down the street should come to the house while they were on vacation...to keep it in running order and watch over the dog? Would the couple consider throwing some clothes into a bag and going over to the house? So it was for eight years Emma, a nurse, and her husband came from time to time to stay at Dr. Bob's house...until it was necessary for Emma to be with Anne at all times. In the last years of Anne's illness she kept house for them and during the day, when Dr. Bob was at his office, she watched over Anne. Through those last years together Anne, though in ill health, stood ever ready to give words of hope and encouragement to all who came to her door. Her first thoughts were for others, never herself, no matter how badly she might feel. When Dr. Bob and Anne prepared for their last trip together, Anne said, "You know, I don't really care to go but Dad wants too, and he may never be able to make the trip again...it will make him happy. "Of the same trip, Dr. Bob said of Anne, "I don't really want to go, but Anne wants it. It will make her happy." Each took the long trip feeling that it was making the other happy. It was in June, 1949, just after their return, that Anne passed away. At the time of her passing, Dr. Bob, said, "I will miss her terribly, but she would have had it no other way. Had she survived this attack she would have been in the hospital for months...then there would have been months at home in bed...she would have hated being a burden...she could not have stood it." In the summer of 1948, Dr. Bob found that he, too, was suffering from a serious malady. He closed his office and retired from practice, so that he and Anne could live their last days together, quietly. For a time after Anne died, there was some indecision in the house. It was understood that Emma and her husband, who had by this time been spending most of their time at the house, would leave and go to their own home. Dr. Bob was to get a housekeeper or a nurse. He did interview one woman, but his heart wasn't in it. It was then that they all felt that Anne had reached out and made their decision for them. For the first few weeks after Anne's death, Dr. Bob and Emma dreamed of Anne almost every night. To Emma, she seemed troubled. One night Emma's dream of Anne was so real as to be almost a vision. Emma knew what she must do. Next morning she faced Dr, Bob. "Do you want us to stay with you?" His answer was quick and simple, "Yes." None of them dreamed of Anne again. So it was that the couple who once came to Dr. Bob for help, came to spend the last year and one half with him...they gave up their apartment and lived with him until he too, passed on. Ever the professional man, Dr. Bob watched the progress of his disease each day. When at last, he knew that the malady was malignant and hopeless, he accepted it with calm and lack of resentment. He felt no bitterness at the doctors who had failed to make an early diagnosis..."Why should I blame them? I've probably made a lot of fatal mistakes myself!" Between the times that he was forced to stay in bed or to go to the hospital to undergo surgery, he lived his life as normally as possible and got as much enjoyment out of it as he could. After Anne's death, he and a good friend drove to the West Coast, where they renewed old acquaintances; then they went on to his home in Vermont...and to Maine. Wherever he went AAs showered him with attention and kindness. Of this he said, "Sometimes these good people do so much for me, it is embarrassing. I have done nothing to deserve it, I have only been an instrument through which God worked." At home Dr. Bob settled down to enjoying his friends and the things he could do for them...between his serious attacks he enjoyed "Emmy's" good food. "I never saw a man who could eat so much sauerkraut...he would go without his dessert, just to have another helping!" Then came the television set. Emma's husband went to Dr. Bob one day telling him that he was in the mood to buy a television set. "Well," said Dr. Bob, who didn't like television...would have no part of it... "I guess if you can buy the set, I can give you the chimney for the aerial." The beautiful new set arrived in due time but Dr. Bob would have none of it. He absolutely refused to look at it. Then one night, as he lay on the davenport, Emma caught him peeking around his newspaper! The "sneaking a look" went on for days until he succumbed and became a fan. After that he spent long pleasant hours watching the TV shows...especially the tap dancers..."Hmph," he'd grunt, "that's easy...nothing to it...anybody can do it!" At the time of the Louis Charles fight, he stayed in bed all day so that he would be rested enough to see the fight that evening! As a patient, Dr. Bob behaved himself very well except for one thing. He refused to take his pills as they were scheduled. Instead he put his old "patent throat" to use. He kept a shot glass, which he filled with all the pills he was to take for the day. While Emma looked on in awe, even as the brothers of yore, he'd throw back his head and toss off the pills at one gulp..."What difference does it make? They all go to the same place anyway!" That he knew the exact progress of his disease was evident to Emma and those close to him, although he never complained, even when in pain. After a doctor's call he would say to Emma, "Sugar, don't kid me now. This is the end isn't it?" Emma always answered with, "Now you know better. You know exactly what's going on!" During the Spring and Summer of 1950, when he had to husband his strength and measure it out carefully, Dr. Bob expressed the wish to do three things. He wanted to attend the First International Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland. He wanted, once again, to go to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for his vacation. And he wanted to spend Christmas with his son in Texas...two of his wishes were fulfilled. As the days passed and the date of the Conference drew nearer, he began more and more, to conserve his energy. Most of his days were spent in his room...on the davenport watching the TV tap-dancers and listening to the pianists. Those who were close to him watched him grow weaker...then rally... While the last, mad days of preparations for the Conference were going on in Cleveland, it seemed, at times, to his close friends, that he would not gather the strength to do the thing that he so much wanted to do. Even to the last minutes before the Big Meeting, on Sunday, it was doubtful whether he would be granted the vigor he needed to appear in the Cleveland Auditorium to say the few words that he wanted to say to the thousands waiting to hear and see him. Those gathered that hot Sunday afternoon, now know, that when at last Dr. Bob joined the others on the platform they were witnessing another milestone of the movement built on simple faith and works...At the time, this throng was perhaps too close to history to know the full meaning of what was taking place before them...Now he came forward to speak to the thousands...with quiet dignity...even as that night so long ago, when in Anne's living room, he put his foot on the rung of a dining room chair to read The Sermon on the Mount...he leaned forward against the lectern to say: "My good friends in AA and of AA. I feel I would be very remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to welcome you here to Cleveland not only to this meeting but those that have already transpired. I hope very much that the presence of so many people and the words that you have heard will prove an inspiration to you - not only to you but may you be able to impart that inspiration to the boys and girls back home who were not fortunate enough to be able to come. In other words, we hope that your visit here has been both enjoyable and profitable. "I get a big thrill out of looking over a vast sea of faces like this with a feeling that possibly some small thing that I did a number of years ago played an infinitely small part in making this meeting possible. I also get quite a thrill when I think that we all had the same problem. We all did the same things. We all get the same results in proportion to our zeal and enthusiasm and stick-to-itiveness. If you will pardon the injection of a personal note at this time, let me say that I have been in bed five of the last seven months and my strength hasn't returned as I would like, so my remarks of necessity will be very brief. "But there are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis; one is the simplicity of our Program. Let's not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind but have very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service. We understand what love is and we understand what service is. So let's bear those two things in mind. "Let us also remember to guard that erring member - the tongue, and if we must use it, let's use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance. "And one more thing; none of us would be here today if somebody hadn't taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat on the back, to take us to a meeting or two, to have done numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get the degree of smug complacency so that we're not willing to extend or attempt to, that help which has been so beneficial to us, to our less fortunate brothers. Thank you very much." As he returned to his seat on the platform, those who watched could easily see that the exertion of saying the brief words of counsel had left him physically weak and spent. Try as he would, he was forced to leave after a few moments. In consternation thousands of eyes followed him as he left the stage. He was driven back to Akron, that afternoon by a friend. As Dr. Bob was helped into the automobile, he seemed physically very near complete exhaustion. As they drove the thirty odd miles from Cleveland to Akron, some inner strength seemed to revive Dr. Bob so that by the time they drove up to his home he was almost his old self. The man who seemed on the point of collapse only an hour before, said "Well, if I'm going to be ready to go to Vermont next week, I'd better be about it." Shortly after the Conference, he did go to Vermont. Dr. Bob, his son and his daughter-in-law, drove, in the sedan, to his boyhood home, where he visited old friends for the last time...and worried all the time for fear the convertible would not be comfortable for Emma and her husband to drive on their long vacation trip..."Should've taken it myself..." Upon his return home, he was admitted into St. Thomas hospital for a minor operation...one of so many that had come during the last years. Then home to Emma's good cooking and rest. In November, his doctors found it advisable to perform another of the minor operations. This time, he went to City Hospital, where in 1910 he had come as an intern and where later, he and Bill had talked to "the third man." On Wednesday, November 15, a day after the operation, an old friend called and spoke to him. "Why, I'm just fine Abercrombie, just fine..." Close to noontime on Thursday, November 16, 1950, he was resting. The nurse in attendance stood by his bed, watching...waiting for any change that might come. Dr. Bob, M.D., lifted his hand to the light...with professional calm he studied the color...with a final confirming glance, he spoke... "You had better call the family...this is it..." --so reconciled with his brothers, he placed his gifts upon the alter and went his way... IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1639. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Bob Memorial Edition of the AA Grapevine (1951), Part 3 of 3 From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2004 9:53:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Dr. Bob Memorial Edition January 1951 AA Grapevine Part 3 of 3 From Dr. Walter F. Tunks, the man who answered the telephone... EULOGY TODAY we are paying our respects to the memory of a friend whose name and influence have extended around the world. A phrase of St. Paul's well describes him; "As unknown, yet well known." Affectionately we called him Doctor Bob - and thousands who never knew him are greatly in his debt. Dr. Bob would not want us to hang any haloes around him. He would ask us, rather, to carry on the work in which he had so influential a part. There is no need for me to tell you the story of his life. It is well known to any who are familiar with the work of Alcoholics Anonymous, of which he was a co-founder. Let me merely point out how often in history God has used human weakness to demonstrate his redeeming power. Next to Jesus, no one has influenced human history more than St. Paul. Who was he? He was the chief persecutor of the Christian Church. He had stood by and watched young Stephen stoned, with never a word of protest. Then one day God caught up with him, turned him straight around in his tracks and Saul the persecutor became Paul the Apostle and chief defender of Christianity. Had you and I been living in the fourth century near the city of Carthage, we might have heard of the escapades of a fast living young man named Augustine. He was lecherous and profligate and all but broke his saintly mother's heart, though Monica's prayers for him never ceased. Then one day as he walked in the garden, he heard a voice which said to him, "Tolle, Lege" - Take, Read - and, opening the Bible at random, he came upon this passage: "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye in the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." So a man was reborn, and Augustine the dissolute, became St. Augustine, one of the most prominent leaders in the Christian Church. You know the story of Dr. Bob's weakness. Then something happened to him that profoundly changed his life and that of thousands of others who shared the same weakness. In a desperate hour, he and Bill turned to God for help they couldn't find anywhere else, and Alcoholics Anonymous was born. By Dr. Bob's side was a brave and understanding wife whom we laid to rest last year. With wisdom and patience, she helped guide the AA group in its early days and never ceased to be a power for good. And now Bob has gone to be with the one he loved so much. Here is the lesson of his life. God can use human weakness to demonstrate his power. No man need stay the way he is. With God's help he can throw off the chains of any enslaving habit and be free again to be what God wants him to be. His monument is not the money he left in the bank, but the gratitude in the hearts of so many men and women who own more than they can ever repay to his example. O GOD we thank Thee for the life and service of Thy dear servant, Doctor Bob, whom we remember at Thy alter this day. Bless and prosper the work of Alcoholics Anonymous, in whose founding he played such an all important part. Prosper the work of this organization that it may reclaim the lives of many who are ashamed of their own weakness. This we ask in the name of Him who taught us that no failure ever need be final - our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Hail and Farewell... It is such a little while ago he stood before us, sick unto death and strong unto faith... Strong still unto the task begun... Firm still, and he spoke in a strong, sure voice Ten minutes. How many thousand times ten minutes Had he served ten times ten thousands of us who were halt, and sick, and steeped in fear? And in ten minutes there again were strengths anew, and old truths reaffirmed In the strong, sure voice...in the tired, frail body. How far from St. Thomas house of healing in Akron To the surging conclave of Cleveland? In miles as far as the Marshall isles are far; As near as the first lengthening step of one drunk taking one clear stride forward, And as far as fifteen years are far, and as near as one new ray of hope in one new breast. The little man who had sworn Hippocrates great oath Had helped to heal beyond it. This be the arch of his memorial: the towering span Of Fellowship, held high upon the heritage By which we grow. And this be the echo of his founding voice: The weakest knock of whosoever seeks The opening Of any AA door... IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1642. . . . . . . . . . . . Significant February dates in AA History-corrected From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5/2004 2:45:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Thanks to members from Philadelphia for the correction of the date Jim Burwell moved to Philadelphia. Nancy FEB 1: 1918 - Original date set for Bill Wilson's marriage to Lois Burnham. The date was moved up because of the war. FEB. 2: 1942 - Bill Wilson paid tribute to Ruth Hock, AA's first paid secretary, who resigned to get married. She had written approximately 15,000 letters to people asking for help FEB. 5: 1941 - Pittsburgh Telegram ran a story on the first AA group's Friday night meeting of a dozen "former hopeless drunks." FEB. 8: 1940 - Bill W., Dr. Bob, and six other A.A.s asked 60 rich friends of John D. Rockefeller,Jr., for money at the Union Club, NY. They got $2,000. 1940 - Houston Press ran first of 6 anonymous articles on A.A. by Larry J. FEB. 9: 2002 - Sue Smith Windows, Dr. Bob's daughter died. FEB. 10: 1922: Harold E. Hughes was born on a farm near Ida Grove, Iowa. After his recovery from alcoholism, he became Governor of Iowa, a United States Senator, and the leading dark horse for the Presidential Democratic nomination in 1972, until he announced he would not run. He authored the legislation which created the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and other legislation to help alcoholics and addicts. FEB 11: 1938 - Clarence Snyder ("Home Brewmeister" in 1st, 2nd & 3rd editions) had his last drink. Feb. 12: 1945 - World War II paper shortage forced reduction in size of the Big Book. Feb. 13: 1937 - Oxford Groups "Alcoholic Squadron" met at the home of Hank Parkhurst ("The Unbeliever" in the 1st edition of the Big Book) in New Jersey. 1940 - With about two years of sobriety, Jim Burwell ("The Vicious Cycle") moved to the Philadelphia area and started the first Philadelphia A.A. group. FEB 14: 1971 - AA groups worldwide held a memorial service for Bill Wilson. 2000 - William Y., "California Bill" died in Winston Salem, NC. Feb. 15: 1946 - AA Tribune, Des Moines, IA, reported 36 new members since Marty Mann had been there. Feb. 16: 1941 - Baltimore Sunday Sun reported city's first AA group begun in 1940 had grown from 3 to 40 members, with five being women. FEB. 18: 1943 - AA's were granted the right to use cars for 12th step work in emergency cases, despite gas rationing. FEB.19: 1967 - Father "John Doe" (Ralph Pfau), 1st Catholic Priest in AA, died. FEB 20: 1941 - The Toledo Blade published first of three articles on AA by Seymour Rothman. Feb. 21: 1939 - 400 copies of the Big Book manuscript were sent to doctors, judges, psychiatrists, and others for comment. This was the "multilith" Big Book. Feb. 22: 1842 - Abe Lincoln addressed the Washington Temperance Society in Springfield, IL. Feb. 24: 2002 -- Hal Marley, "Dr. Attitude of Gratitude," died. He had 37 years of sobriety. Hal testified, anonymously, before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse on December 3, 1970. Feb. 26: 1999 - Felicia Gizycka, author of "Stars Don't Fall," died. Born Countess Felicia Gizycka in 1905, she was the daughter of Count Josef Gizycki and Eleanor Medill Patterson. She married Drew Pearson in 1925 and divorced him three years later. She married Dudley de Lavigne in 1934, but the marriage lasted less than a year. In 1958 she married John Kennedy Magruder and divorced him in 1964. For most of her professional career, she went by the name Felicia Gizycka. Other February happenings for which I have no specific date: 1908 - Bill Wilson made boomerang. 1916 - Bill Wilson & sophomore class at Norwich University was suspended for hazing. 1938 - Rockefeller gave $5,000 to AA. 1939 - Dr. Harry Tiebout endorsed AA, the first psychiatrist to do so. 1940 - First organization meeting of Philadelphia AA is held at McCready Hustona's room at 2209 Delaney Street. 1940 - 1st AA clubhouse opened at 334-1/2 West 24th Street, NYC. 1943 - San Francisco Bulletin reporter Marsh Masline interviewed Ricardo, a San Quentin Prison AA group member. 1946 - Baton Rouge, La., AA's hold their first anniversary meeting. 1946 - The AA Grapevine reported the New York Seaman's Group issued a pamphlet for seamen "on one page the 12 Steps have been streamlined into 5." 1946 - Des Moines Committee for Education on Alcoholism aired its first show on KRNT. 1946 - Pueblo. Colorado, had a second group, composed of alcoholic State Hospital patients. 1951 - Fortune magazine article about AA was published in pamphlet form. 1959 - AA granted "Recording for the Blind" permission to tape the Big Book. 1963 - Harpers carried article critical of AA. 1981 - 1st issue of "Markings," AA Archives Newsletter, was published, "to give the Fellowship a sense of its own past and the opportunity to study it." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1643. . . . . . . . . . . . Carl K. Obituary (1948) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5/2004 10:37:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII February 1948 AA Grapevine EDITOR DIES Carl K., editor of The Empty Jug, died of a cerebral hemorrhage, Saturday night, July 13, in Memphis, Tenn. Carl was a member of the Chattanooga Group and was well known throughout the South. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1644. . . . . . . . . . . . Alcoholics Cannot Learn to be ''Social'' Drinkers (1995) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5/2004 4:00:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII This article appeared in the July 29, 1995 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It followed shortly after an article featuring an advocate of teaching alcoholics "responsible drinking" habits. James E. Royce, S.J., Ph.D. is professor emeritus of psychology and addiction studies at Seattle University and author of a leading textbook on alcoholism. Alcoholics cannot learn to be 'social' drinkers by James E. Royce Can alcoholics be conditioned to drink socially? Under such titles as "harm reduction" and "moderation management" that old question has been resurrected. Moderate drinking is certainly a more appealing goal to many problem drinkers than total abstinence. But medical professionals and additions counselors are unanimous in their opposition. Are they just rigid prohibitionists? As a lifetime member of the board of directors of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, I must point out that the big problem is that alcoholism is a progressive disease, often labeled as "problem drinking" in its early stages. Monday's cold is the flu on Wednesday and pneumonia on Friday. Most alcoholics are sure they can control their drinking on the next occasion. The result is killing alcoholics, who can expect a normal lifespan if they remain abstinent. For decades I have defined an alcoholic as one who says, "I can quit any time I want to." Self-deception is so typical of alcoholics that the American Society of Addiction Medicine included the term "denial" in its latest definition. Talk of harm reduction just feeds that denial. Most research fails to adequately separate true alcoholics from alcohol abusers or problem drinkers, which makes reports of success misleading. We can't know how many of the latter may progress into true alcoholism. The most thorough research (Helzer and Associates, 1985) studied five- and seven-year outcomes on 1,289 diagnosed and treated alcoholics, and found only 1.6 percent were successful moderate drinkers. Of that fraction, most were female and none showed clear symptoms of true alcoholism. In any case, it would be unethical to suggest to any patient a goal with a failure rate of 98.4 percent. We psychologists know that conditioning is limited in its ability to produce behavioral changes. To attempt to condition alcoholics to drink socially is asking of behavior modification more than it can do. Some have thought one value of controlled-drinking experiments could be that the patient learns for himself what he has not been able to accept from others, that he cannot drink in moderation - giving all that extra scientific help might destroy the rationalizations of the alcoholic who still thinks he can drink socially "if I really tried." Actually, most uses of conditioning in the field have been to create an aversion against drinking, to condition alcoholics to live comfortably in a drinking society and to learn how to resist pressure to drink. In that we have been reasonably successful, since this is in accord with the physiology and psychology of addiction. The discussion about turning recovered alcoholics into social drinkers started in 1962, but no scientific research had been attempted until 1970, when Mark and Linda Sobell, two psychologist at Patton State Hospital in California with no clinical experience in treating alcoholics, attempted to modify the drinking of chronic alcoholics, not as a treatment goal but just to see whether it could be done. The research literature is largely a record of failure, indicating that the only realistic goal in treatment is total abstinence. The prestigious British alcoholism authority Griffith Edwards (1994) concluded that research disproved rather than confirmed the Sobell position. Drs. Ruth Fox, Harry Tiebout, Marvin Block and M.M. Glatt were among the authorities who responded in a special reprint from the 1963 Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol to the effect that never in the thousands of cases they had treated was there ever a clear instance of a true alcoholic who returned to drinking in moderation. Ewing (1975) was determined to prove it could be done by using every technique known to behavior modification, but he also did careful and lengthy follow up - and at the end of four years every one of Ewing's subjects had gotten drunk and he called off the experiment. Finally, Pendery and Maltzman (AAAS Science, July 9, 1982) exposed the failure of the Sobell work, using hospital and police records and direct contact to show that 19 of the 20 subjects did not maintain sobriety in social drinking, and the other probably was not a true alcoholics to begin with. The Research of Peter Nathan indicates that whereas others may be able to use internal cues (subjective feelings of intoxication) to estimate blood-alcohol level while drinking, alcoholics cannot; so that method of control is not available to them. To ask a recovered addict to engage in "responsible heroin shooting" or a compulsive gambler to play just for small amounts is to ignore the whole psychology and physiology of addiction. Alcoholism is not a simple learned behavior that can be unlearned, but a habitual disposition that has profoundly modified the whole person, mind and body. That explains the admitted failure of psychoanalysis to achieve any notable success in treating alcoholics, and renders vapid the notion of Claude Steiner in "Games Alcoholics Play" that the alcoholic is a naughty child rather than a sick adult. Even the Sobells' claimed successful cases are now reported to have given up controlled drinking. For them abstinence is easier - for them trying to take one drink and stop is sheer misery. The reason is that one cannot "unlearn" the instant euphoric reinforcement that alcohol gives. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1646. . . . . . . . . . . . Alan Guiness/A Members Eye View of AA From: burt reynolds . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/6/2004 8:05:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Does anyone know anything about the man whose speech became the pamphlet "A Member's Eye View of AA"? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Finance: Get your refund fast by filing online [5] IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1647. . . . . . . . . . . . Recollections Of AA''s Beginnings (1952) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/7/2004 5:39:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII November 1952 AA Grapevine Thus Do I Remember. An Editorial Brings Some Recollections Of AA's Beginnings. . . Dear Grapevine: So September is the month of remembering! I am glad that you added "reading" and especially "re-dedication." I remember...the amazing friendliness of Akron AA in 1938. We were given an address book with all names listed (few could afford telephones then) and the earnest invitation to "call at any time." And we did. I remember...meetings. We were from Cleveland, and every Wednesday, rain or snow or shine, we made the 70-mile round trip to Akron. We made it eagerly, willingly; anxious to be with new friends. Often there would be pot-luck supper on Saturday nights. We were too poor in material possessions to entertain, but how wealthy we were in friendships! I remember...the emphasis on "morning meditation and morning reading," and all of us equipped with the 5 Upper Room. That was a must. I remember...every lesson that Anne dished out in her gentle and inimitable manner. "Dorothy, everyone has been kind to you as a newcomer. Never forget to pass that friendliness and kindness along!" I remember...when several manuscript chapters of "The Book" came. Anne and I read them to each other till 4 a.m., and Anne said: "Pray with me that this will help others." I remember...Anne every time I hear the Twelve Steps read, for the fifth chapter was one that we read so eagerly one night. I remember our first AA New Year's Eve party in Akron. Anne had gotten two new dresses, her very first new clothes. When I asked her which dress she would wear, she said "I can't wear a new dress. There will be so many who have no new clothes," and she wore the dress we were so accustomed to seeing on her. I remember...the word spreading like wild-fire: "Bill and Lois are coming!" When they arrived we would all be congregated to greet them. They would hide their weariness (as they still do) and greet us with warmth and affection. I remember...it says in the Big Book "We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck..." How true it was of us then! D.M., La Jolla, Calif. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1648. . . . . . . . . . . . General Service Conference - 1956 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/8/2004 2:43:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII General Service Conference - 1956 "Petition, Appeal, Participation and Decision" By Bill W. God has been good to Alcoholics Anonymous. These sessions of the Sixth General Service Conference now ending have marked the time when our Society has taken the first step into the brave new world of our future. Never have we felt more confident, more assured of the years to come than we do this afternoon. This Conference thinks, I am sure, that its main structural concepts are approximately right. I am thinking of the relation of AA groups to their Assemblies, the method of choosing Committeemen and Delegates, Directors and Headquarters Staffs; also the relation of the Trustees, essentially a body of custody, to the operating services of the Headquarters, the Grapevine, Service office and AA Publishing. These interlocking relations are something for high confidence already based on considerable experience. Nevertheless we shall remain aware that these structures can be changed if they fail to work. Our Charter can always be amended. And of course, we shall always be much concerned with those lesser refinements that can improve the working of our main structure. Recent Improvements: On the first evening here, I explained some of our recent improvements of this Charter - how our newly formed Budget Committee is a fresh assurance that we can't go broke, how our new Policy Committee can avert blunders in this area and take the back breaking load of minor matters off of the Trustees, how our Nominating Committee can insure good choices of new Staff members, Directors and Trustees. In short, our Board of Trustees is now fitted with eyes, ears and a nose that can guarantee a much improved functioning. So far, so good. But our structure of service is no empty blueprint. It is manned by people who feel and think and act. Therefore any principles or devices that can better relate them to each other in a harmonious and effective whole are worth considering. So I now offer you four principles that might someday permeate all of AA's services, principles which express tolerance, patience and love of each other; principles which could do much to avert friction, indecision and power-driving. These are not really new principles; unconsciously we have been making use of them right along. I simply propose to name them and, if you like them, their scope and application can, over coming years, be fully defined. Four Key Words: Here are the words for them: petition, appeal, participation and decision. Maybe all this sounds a bit vague and abstract. So let's develop the meaning and application of these four words. Take petition. Actually this is an ancient device to protect minorities. It is for the redress of grievances. Every AA member, inside or outside our services, should have the right to petition his fellows. Some years ago, for example, a group of my old friends on the outside became violently opposed to the Conference. They feared it would ruin AA. To put it mildly, they thought they had a grievance. So they placed their ideas on paper and petitioned the AA groups to stop the Conference. Lots of our members got sore; they said this group had no right to do this. But they really did have the right, didn't they? Yet in our services, this right is often forgotten or unused. It is my belief that every person working in AAs services should feel free to petition for a redress of grievances or an improvement of conditions. I would like to make this personal right unlimited. Under it, a boy wrapping books in our shipping room could petition the Board of AA Publishing, the Board of Trustees, or indeed, the whole Conference if he chose to do so -- and this without the slightest prejudice against him. Of course, he'd seldom carry this right so far. But its very existence, and everybody's knowledge of it, would go far to stop those morale breakers of undue domination and petty tyranny. Let's look at the right of appeal. A century ago a young Frenchman, deTocqueville, came to this country to look at the new Republic. Despite the fact that his family had suffered loss of life and property in the French Revolution, this nobleman-student had begun to love democracy and to believe in its future. His writing on the subject is still a classic. But he did express one deep fear for the future: he feared the tyranny of the majority, especially that of the uninformed, the angry, or the close majority. He wanted to be sure that minority opinion could always be well heard and never trampled upon. How very right he was has already been sensed by the Conference. Therefore, I propose that we further insure, in AA service matters, the right to appeal. Under it, the minority of any committee, corporate Board, or a minority of the Board of Trustees, or a minority of this Conference, could continue to appeal, if they wished, all the way forward to the whole AA movement, thus making the minority voice both clear and loud. Protective Safeguard: As a matter of practice, this right, too, would seldom be carried to extremes. But again, its very existence would make majorities careful of acting in haste or with too much cocksureness. In this connection we should note that our Charter already requires in many cases a two-thirds vote (and in some instances a three-quarter vote) for action. This is to prevent hasty or inconsiderate decision by a close majority. Once set up and defined, this right of appeal could greatly add to our protection. Now we come to participation. The central concept here is that all Conference members are on our service team. Basically we are all partners in a common enterprise of World Service. Naturally, there has to be a division of duties and responsibilities among us. Not all of us can be elected Delegate, appointed Trustee, chosen Director, or become hired Staff member. We have to have our respective authorities, duties and responsibilities to serve; otherwise we couldn't function. But in this quite necessary division, there is a danger -- a very great danger -- something that will always need watching. The danger is that our Conference will commence to function along strict class lines. The elected Delegates will want all, or most all, of the Conference votes, so they can be sure to rule the Trustees. The Trustees will tend to create corporate boards composed exclusively of themselves, the better to rule and direct those working daily at the office, Grapevine and AA Publishing. And, in their turn, the volunteer Directors of the Grapevine and Publishing Company will tend to exclude from their own Board any of the paid staff members, people who so often carry the main burden of doing the work. To sum it up: the Delegates will want to rule the Trustees, the Trustees will want to rule the corporations and the corporate directors will want to rule the hired Staff members. Headquarters Experience: Now Headquarters experience has already proved that this state of affairs means complete ruin of morale and function. That is why Article Twelve of your Conference Charter states that "No Conference member shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over another." In the early days, this principle was hard to learn. Over it we had battles, furious ones. For lack of a seat on the several boards and committees that ran her office, for lack of defined status and duties, and because she was "just hired help," and a woman besides, one of the most devoted Staff members we ever had completely cracked up. She had too many bosses, people who sometimes knew less and carried less actual responsibilities than she. She could not sit in the same board or committee room as a voting equal. No alcoholic can work under this brand of domination and paternalism. This was the costly lesson that now leads us to the principle of participation. Participation means, at the Conference level, that we are all voting equals, a Staff member's vote is guaranteed as good as anyone's. Participation also means, at the level of the Headquarters, that every corporate Board or Committee shall always contain a voting representation of the executives directly responsible for the work to be done, whether they are Trustees or not, or whether they are paid or volunteer workers. This is why, today the president of AA Publishing and the senior Staff member at the AA office are both Directors and both vote on the Board of AA Publishing. This puts them on a partnership basis with the Trustee and other members of the Publishing Board. It gives them a service standing and an authority commensurate with their actual duties and responsibilities. Nor is this just a beautiful idea of brotherhood. This is standard American corporate business practice everywhere, something that we had better follow when we can. In this connection I am hopeful that the principal assistant to the Editor of The Grapevine, the person who has the immediate task of getting the magazine together, will presently be given a defined status and seated on the Grapevine's Board as a voting director. So much, then, for the principle and practice of "participation." Now, what about decision? Our Conference and our Headquarters has to have leadership. Without it, we get nowhere. And the business of leadership is to lead. The three principles just described -- petition, appeal and participation -- are obviously checks upon our leadership, checks to prevent our leadership running away with us. Clearly this is of immense importance. But of equal importance is the principle that leaders must still lead. If we don't trust them enough, if we hamstring them too much, they simply can't function. They become demoralized and either quit or get nothing done. How, then, are AA's service leaders to be authorized and protected so that they can work as executives, as committees, as boards of trustees or even as a Service Conference, without undue interference in the ordinary conduct of AAs policy and business? The answer lies, I think, in trusting our leadership with proper powers of decision, carefully and definitely defined. Trusted Executives: We shall have to trust our executives to decide when they shall act on their own, and when they should consult their respective committees or boards. Likewise, our Policy, Public Information and Finance Committees should be given the right to choose (within whatever definitions of their authority are established) whether they will act on their own or whether they will consult the Board of Trustees. (Our Headquarters can, of course, have no secrets.) Similarly, the Grapevine and AA Publishing Boards should be able to decide when to decide when to act on their own and when to consult the full Board of Trustees. The Trustees, in their turn, must positively be trusted to decide which matters they shall act upon, and which they shall refer to the Conference as a whole. But where, of course, any independent action of importance is taken, a full report should afterward be made to the Conference. And last, but not at all least, the Conference itself must have a defined power of decision. It cannot rush back to the grassroots with all its problems or even many of them. In my belief the Conference should never take a serious problem to the grassroots until it knows what their own opinion is, and what the "pros" and "cons" of such a problem really are. It is the function of Conference leadership to instruct the Group Conscience on the issues concerned. Otherwise, an instruction from the grassroots which doesn't really know the score can be very confusing and quite wrong. Informed Groups: Therefore Conference Delegates must have liberty to decide what questions shall be referred to the AA group and just how and when this is to be done. The conscience of AA is certainly the ultimate authority. But the grassroots will have to trust the Conference to act in many matters and only the Conference can decide which they are. The Conference, however, must at all times stand ready to have their opinions reversed by its constituent groups but only after these groups have been thoroughly informed of the issues involved. Such, I think, are the several powers of decision that our Conference and Headquarters leadership must have or else fail in their duty. Anarchy may theoretically be a beautiful form of association, but it cannot function. Dictatorship is efficient but ultimately it goes wrong and becomes demoralized. Of course AA wants neither. Therefore, we want leadership that can lead, yet one which can be changed and restrained. Servants of our fellowship, however, our leaders must always remain trusted. We surely want leaders who are enabled to act in small matters without constant interference. We want a Conference that will remain extremely responsible to AA opinion, yet a body completely able to act alone for us when necessary -- even in some great and sudden crisis. Such then could become the AA service principle of decision. If we now begin to incorporate the words petition, appeal, participation and decision into our service thinking and action, I believe that many of our confusions about AA's service functions will begin to disappear. More harmony and effectiveness will gradually replace the service gears that still grind and stick among us. Of course, I am not now announcing these as permanent principles for definite adoption. I only offer them as ideas to ponder until we meet again in 1957. Therefore I don't see why we should delay trying the experiment I have just outlined above. If it doesn't work, we can always change. AA has often asked me to make suggestions and sometimes to take the initiative in these structural projects. That is why I have tried to go into this very important matter so thoroughly. Please believe that I shall not be at all affected if you happen to disagree. Above all, you must act on experience and on the facts, and never because you think I want a change. Since St. Louis, the future of AA belongs to you! P.S. Some AAs believe that we should increase our Board from 15 to 21 members in order to get the 10 alcoholics we need. This would involve raising the non-alcoholics from 8 to 11 in number. But, might this not be cumbersome and needlessly expensive? Personally, I think so. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1649. . . . . . . . . . . . General Service Conference - 1957 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/9/2004 3:05:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII General Service Conference - 1957 The Need for Authority Equal to Responsibility By Bill W. The Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous in its present short form suggests that AA shall forever remain unorganized, that we may create special boards or committees to serve us -- never governmental in character. The Second Tradition is the source of all of the authority which, as you know, lies in the group conscience of which this Conference is the articulate voice worldwide. Those are the basics on which our structure of service rests, whether at the group level, the Intergroup or AA as a whole. What we want of the service is primarily to fill a need that can be met in no other way. The test of any service really is: "Is it necessary." If it is really necessary, then provide it we must, or fail in our duty to AA and those still to come. Experience has shown that certain necessary services are absolutely indispensable at all levels. We make this distinction: The movement itself is never organized in any governmental sense. A member is a member if he says so. He cannot be coerced. He cannot be compelled. In that sense we are a source of benign anarchy. When it comes to the matter of service, the services within themselves obviously have to be organized or they won't work. Therefore the service structure of Alcoholics Anonymous and more especially of this Conference is the blueprint in which we, as flesh and blood people, operate, relate ourselves to each other and provide these needed services. And it is the evolution of this blueprint within which we function that has been my chief concern for the last dozen and a half years. The usefulness of AA to us in it, and more particularly to all those still to come, even the survival of AA, really depend very much on the soundness of our basic blueprint of relating ourselves together so A.A. can function. That is the primary thing. That is what we have come to call the structure. Let's have a brief overall look at our structure again. Then see at what point it may possibly need refinement and improvement. I hope we never think that the cathedral of AA is finished. I hope that we will always be able to refine its lines and enhance its beauty and its function. Very obviously the unit of authority in AA is the AA group itself. That's all the "law" there is. Everything that we have here in the way of authority must come from the groups. To create the voice of AA's conscience as expressed in the groups, we meet in group assemblies. And then to obviate the usual political pressures, we choose Committeemen and Delegates by the novel methods of no personal nominations and use of a two-thirds vote. Now arrived here, how are Delegates to be related to the Board of Trustees? It was the original parent of the groups and a hierarchy of service quite appropriate to our infancy, but one which must now become directly amenable to Delegates and those closely linked to Delegates. That question was responsible for a great deal of thought and speculation in time past. And I think our seven years' experience has suggested that, in broad outline, we are somewhere near right. The Board of Trustees as a hierarchy had certain great advantages, which we want to keep. For the long pull, it had immense liabilities. It was a law unto itself. Now, it must become a partner. We have the Board, which is more or less of an appointive proposition, and the staff members and directors of services, largely appointed, subject to your consent, of course. We had the problem of how the electees are going to relate to the appointees. In the first place, in this Conference, we put all of ourselves in the same club. The Trustee, for example, becomes a Conference member with one vote, and a custodial duty. A Director of a service agency becomes a Conference member, with a service duty. At the level of this Conference, we are all equal; we are all in the club. Mid you note that the appointees have been set in a great minority to the electees to insure that Area Delegates will always have adequate powers of persuasion. The Board of Trustees, you remember, is a legally incorporated entity. It has to be that way first of all to transact business. It has to be that way to give its several members and committees appropriate powers and titles which denote what they do. We have to have that much organization in order to function. Theoretically, as Bernard Smith has pointed out, the Board of Trustees has been legally undisturbed by all the recent change. Nevertheless, in a Traditional and psychological sense, the Trustees' relations to the groups and to you has been profoundly altered, not because Delegates have legal power but because Trustees know that Delegates are their linkage to AA as a whole. They also very well know that if you don't like what they do, you can go home and cut off Area support. In order to have anything functional, people have to have an authority to act. Very obviously there are all kinds of questions arising where the basic problem is "Who should act? And where should the committee or board or individual act, and when should he act?" A Conference, a movement, can't actually run anything. A Board of Trustees really can't run anything. We operated on that mistaken idea for a while. We have to classify the kind of thing that each worker, each Board, does -- and the kind of thing the Conference does and the kind of thing that AA must do to keep this Fellowship functioning. In other words there must always be an authority equal to the responsibility involved in service work. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1650. . . . . . . . . . . . Development of Online General Service From: John Phipps . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/9/2004 6:42:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII *Online General Service -- A History for Representatives to the Online Service Conference * ****************************************************************************************************** *Forenote: * The purpose of this document is to provide a basis of history as background for Online Service Conference members. The online AA groups share a common history both of Alcoholics Anonymous service structure and of AA development on the internet. It is this unique combination of shared histories which led to the Online Service Conference. *Development of General Service. * The general service structure of Alcoholics Anonymous sprang from the early success and spread of AA throughout the United States and Canada, then across the world. The founders, particularly Bill W. and Dr. Bob, realized that the program of recovery which they had founded in the late 1930's had become a "movement" only a few years later. After the Jack Alexander article of 1941 in the Saturday Evening Post, the number of groups rapidly quadrupled and continued to grow rapidly. As AA spread, it began to change to adapt to new areas, then new nations. The need for a unifying structure soon became obvious. Some means of gathering the group conscience of all the groups was needed. The increasing age of the founders made it clear that their term of leadership was nearing an end. Early attempts to answer group questions and policy issues were handled one-at-a-time by Bill W., aided by Ruth Hock, using the US mails as the principal glue which held the growing movement together. The first International Convention celebrated AA's fifteenth anniversary in Cleveland in July 1950. The first General Service Conference convened in New York City in April 1951. Both the International Conventions and the General Service Conferences have been used to express AA's collective group conscience over the years. The "three legacies" of recovery, unity and service were adopted at the International Convention of 1955, the year of publication of the second edition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Development of the general service structure in the United States and Canada is chronicled in some detail in AA Comes of Age, published in 1957, the year in which membership went over 200,000. It is recommended reading for those interested in early AA history. However, very little is available concerning the development of general service structures in nations other than the US and Canada. Bill W's suggestions for the continuation of the Fellowship were written as the "Traditions" of AA in 1945, published in the Grapevine in 1946, and not at all enthusiastically received by the Fellowship. Bill and wife Lois traveled far and wide in an attempt to persuade the members of new groups across North America that the Traditions were meaningful and useful. Finally, they were adopted at the International Convention of 1950 at Cleveland. In that same year, Dr. Bob fell seriously ill, and the trustees authorized Bill W to lay out a plan for a General Service Conference, to insure continued guidance for the Fellowship . On the heels of his difficult experience with "selling" the Traditions, Bill struggled with the Conference structure. He wrote, "... how on earth were we going to cut down destructive politics, with all its usual struggles for prestige and vainglory?" He also wrote, "Though the Conference might be later enlarged to include the whole world, we felt that the first delegates should come from the US and Canada only." We know now that the expansion of the Conference to the world did not come in Bill's lifetime, and is yet to be realized. There is no "World General Service Conference" of Alcoholics Anonymous which addresses policy issues and expresses the collective conscience of the worldwide Fellowship. In its place, some 52 General Service Offices and a growing number of General Service Conferences have sprung up to meet the needs of Alcoholics Anonymous groups around the world. Some of these emulate the US/Canada pattern closely; others are more unique to the locale in which they exist. The boundaries of the Conferences usually follow national frontiers, but there are linguistic Conferences which flow over the borders of nations, as did the original General Service Conference of the United States and Canada. A World Service Meeting was begun in New York City in 1969, with 27 delegates from 16 countries, and has been held biennially since; however, the meeting is not a part of the general service structure of the Fellowship, and does not attempt to express the group conscience of the world's AA's. It is an information-sharing meeting for attendees. *AA on the Internet* ==================== Little is known of the first AA members to contact other members using computer-based communications. It is likely that AA members among the first users of email sought out others to share experience, strength and hope. There are fragmentary records and oral histories of AA members using the earliest bulletin board systems (BBS) through local telephone connections via modems which were both slow and limited in reliability. Hardware concerns were in the forefront, and communication among computers over distance was possible, but difficult. By 1986, there were AA meetings, or at least meetings of AA friends, on bulletin boards in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, and probably other American cities. A few staff members in the New York General Service Office were aware of AA members meeting electronically, and began keeping contact addresses in the late 1980's. According to the AA Grapevine's "From Akron to the Internet" timeline of AA communications, "Q-link," one of the earliest online AA groups, began in 1986, grew to 200 members in two years, and GSO began keeping a partial list of online AA groups by 1988. A meeting for online members was provided at the Seattle 1990 International Convention, which may have been the first face to face meeting of AA onliners from a wide area. It was well attended, but did not result in a lasting organization for online members. The internet developed rapidly into an international communications system, and facilitated written communications at long distances. Local bulletin boards and small access providers added newsgroup and email capabilities, which soon made the local net technologies redundant. Early internet AA groups used multiple addresses (cc: lists) for email to reach all member mailboxes with a single post. When a member changed email addresses, or internet service providers, all members had to change the address in order to keep the system up to date and whole. Early members remember this as a constant headache. Mailing list technology was a breakthrough in providing a suitable online home for email-based AA groups. Listserv and Majordomo software "reflected" a message sent to a single common address onward to a multitude of recipients, and greatly eased maintenance of address lists, which could now be updated centrally. A new AA service position as online group "listkeeper" was born, and became key to the growth of the Fellowship in the new medium. Other online technologies, including "chat rooms," "guest book" technology on WWW sites and newsgroups all have played roles in the development of AA online, and continue to be used in varying ways by online groups, but the greatest growth has been in email-based groups, which number some 240 groups with perhaps 8000 participants as the Online Service Conference came into being in mid-2002. (No accurate census is available. Numbers based on estimates). * Online AA Comes Together *The first online AA groups depended upon word of mouth by their own members to identify and enroll new members. There was no complete online directory of groups. Each group carried out its efforts independently, finding its own way to sharing recovery in the new medium. Some groups grew very large, notably the Lamplighters Group, perhaps the first online meeting to formally identify itself as an AA group. It took its name from the General Electric "Aladdin's lamp" logo which identified the GEnie online service provider on which the group met. It grew swiftly in the early 1990's to hundreds of members and a full spectrum of AA committees and elected service positions emulating the largest face to face groups. Other meetings and groups felt that it was important to remain small to permit good online sharing on AA topics, and broke off to form new groups repeatedly when group size exceeded 30 or 40 members. Some groups related to one another on the basis of a common internet service provider. New online groups were founded for specialized membership, such as women, men, gay or lesbian, etc. Other groups formed around a preference for certain meeting styles, such as Big Book study, weekly topic discussions, or other styles. Email groups sometimes "spun off" chat meetings that appealed to a sector of their members. The groups were clearly autonomous. There was no central online body, and little communication among the existing groups. Rumors surfaced that one of the earliest groups, "Meeting of the Minds" (MoM) had registered as a group with the General Service Board of the UK. Some of the group's founders had been Scots. In the UK, a unique district had been designated "District 11" to contain those English-speaking AA groups not meeting in the British Isles, particularly those meeting on the European continent. In the US, Lamplighters Group attempted to follow suit by sending a standard group registration form to the US/Canada General Service Office in 1994. Because the form asked for place and time of meetings, the group identified itself as an online group and was denied registration for that reason. The GSO of the US and Canada explained that only groups which met face to face within the boundaries of the US and Canada could be registered in their Conference. A group which met on the internet, ("in cyberspace") could not be included, and could have no voice or vote in its Conference. *No criticism based on how the AA Traditions were followed online ever was voiced by the General Service Office nor any AA trustee.* It was agreed that a list of online groups would be maintained in the New York offices and provided to anyone seeking online participation in AA. The online groups were pleasantly surprised in the same year when their request to participate was approved, and a "loving invitation" was issued to provide workshop speakers on the topic of online AA and to host a hospitality room for the 1995 International Convention in San Diego. Speakers for the panel were easily located, and a "Living Cyber Committee" was formed online to host the hospitality room and plan its activities. A member of the Living Cyber Committee worked for a San Francisco Bay company which had just replaced its computing machinery with newer models, and was able to borrow some idle older machines to be used in the hospitality room as demonstrations of online AA. Online groups agreed to share with conventiongoers, and in some cases nonattending members set up special lists or held "model" meetings online for convention participants. The "Cyber Suite," as the hospitality room came to be known, was a major success by any measure, and a watershed event for online AA. The "buzz" around the San Diego Convention halls led thousands of visitors to the online demonstrations. Another important activity of the room was to provide a meeting place for "friends who had never met face to face" from the participating online groups. Every day there were whoops of recognition as members encountered those previously known only as usernames on their monitors. Delegates and trustees were briefed on the new medium as they visited, and online groups took turns in four hour shifts as "hosts" for the room. As the convention came to a close, a few members of the Living Cyber Committee and a few new friends from online groups vowed to continue serving together in some manner after they returned to their home computers. A handful, perhaps less than a dozen, set about to form a service structure for the online groups. After a few weeks of discussion, it was determined that the most flexible AA service organization, and easiest to found, was an intergroup. In short order, the Online Intergroup of AA (OIAA) was formed, incorporated in New Jersey, and brought into initial operation on the internet. Efforts continued by individual members, online groups and the new online intergroup to find a place in the general service structure of Alcoholics Anonymous. Requests to attend the US/Canada General Service Conference in observer status were denied. Requests to attend the World Service Meeting in observer status were denied, even after recommendation was made by a WSM committee that online organizations participate in their meetings, as a view to the future. Few, if any, area delegates to the US and Canada General Service Conference were online AA participants, and many without experience viewed the growing number of new online groups with suspicion and open derision. In 1998, with no representatives of online AA groups in attendance, the US/Canada General Service Conference determined that online groups applying for registration would be classified as "international correspondence meetings." The online intergroup, OIAA, was listed under that directory classification also, rather than among "Central Offices, Intergroups and Answering Services." Another "loving invitation" was issued, this time to OIAA, to participate in the 2000 International Convention in Minneapolis. Rather than a single workshop, the program included several individual presentations by online members. A trustee with online experience chaired a panel on "AA in Cyberspace - Now", followed by "AA in Cyberspace - Future,." plus other specialized online topics. A hospitality room again was hosted in Minneapolis by OIAA, and equipped with online computers demonstrating how AA had grown on the internet; however, its location outside the main flows of convention traffic, plus growing public familiarity with computers and the internet, resulted in somewhat less conventiongoer curiosity and attendance than five years earlier in San Diego. Online members were pleased beyond measure when their medium of AA participation was favorably mentioned in the last paragraph of the new Foreword to the Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Fellowship's basic text. They were equally shocked when the first US/Canada General Service Conference after the Fourth Edition's publication voted to remove a sentence from the paragraph in future printings. The proscribed sentence alluded to the equivalence of online meetings and face to face groups. Even without the sentence, the paragraph remains a strong endorsement of online AA, ending, "Modem to modem or face to face, AA's speak the language of the heart in all its power and simplicity," clearly marking recognition of online AA in the basic text, if not in the general service structure.. * Establishment of an Online Service Conference*. In November 2001, OIAA members decided to start again from the beginning and study the matter of how online AA groups might best fit into the worldwide Fellowship, with emphasis on how online groups might participate in a general service structure. The chairman appointed a study committee, headed by Ewart F. of South Africa, who invited participation by a mixed group of online members, some of whom had long experience with the issues. It became clear early in study committee discussions that there were a limited number of ways in which online groups might join together in pursuit of a meaningful group conscience. The possibilities narrowed to three patterns; (1) Online Group in Existing Area, (2) Online Area for Online Groups, and (3) Online Conference for Online Groups. The following is a much-abbreviated summary of the committee's evaluation of each pattern of participation, with benefits and problems of each pattern, from the records of the study group: (1) "Online Group in Existing Area." This is the easiest and most obvious pattern of participation. An online AA group might participate as part of an existing face to face area, based upon some chosen geographic location, perhaps the home address of the group's elected GSR. The problems are many, including probable nonacceptance by some areas, and probable unwillingness of some online members to support a single distant geographic area. Ultimately, the problem lies in the question, "What was discussed at the area meeting?" There are no face to face areas which share the concerns of online groups and vice versa. Onliners in a group with worldwide membership will have little interest in the plans for visits to treatment centers in Wyoming or the convention planned for Puerto Rico. Members of face to face groups in those areas would likely have little interest in plans for an online hospitality room at the next International Convention. (2) "Online Area for Online Groups." It might be possible for the US and Canada General Service Conference to create a new area equivalent to a state or provincial area, perhaps called the "Online Area." It is easy to conceptualize, but the most difficult pattern to achieve. First, there are no delegates in the US/Canada General Service Conference who represent online groups, so there is no one to advance the proposal against known opposition -- it is "politically impossible." Second, there are many online members who are not residents of the US or Canada, and would have problems analogous to the "distant area" difficulties outlined above. A decision would have to be made whether to assume that all online members are American and Canadian for group conscience purposes, or whether each national or linguistic conference should create a separate "Online Area." Neither is fully satisfactory, and both are unlikely to be attainable. (3) "Online Conference for Online Groups." This pattern follows the model of most "new nations"(or linguistic zones) as they come into the AA Fellowship. First, a few groups are established, then perhaps an intergroup or central office, then a new general service structure evolves, especially adapted to the characteristics of the "new nation." An Online Service Conference would represent no geographic nation, but would include all the AA groups in "cyberspace," that is, those which operate on the internet, which has no national boundaries. This pattern would insure a Conference richly populated with AA viewpoints from many parts of the world. It would be necessary to replace the missing national General Service Office with some mechanism to act for the Conference between its meeting times, but such a Conference could be assembled online with less difficulty than a face to face Conference. Of the three options, all study committee members agreed that the Online Service Conference held out the only real hope for meaningful participation by online AA members in the group conscience process. The potential for future participation by an Online Service Conference in the World Service Meeting or conceptual "World Service Conference" is an attractive, if uncertain, possibility. The question remaining was whether or not the online groups would understand and support the concept of an Online Service Conference of their own. The OIAA study committee formulated an Online General Service Statement, as follows: "We, the members of Alcoholics Anonymous who share our experience, strength and hope on the internet, now assemble to discuss our common purpose and establish the Online Service Conference to unify our voice in the worldwide Fellowship of AA." This was offered to online groups for their endorsement.. The committee chairman reported to the OIAA chairman that the committee's work was finished, and that it should be dissolved to reassemble and continue its work outside the intergroup. This ended affiliation between the intergroup and the new general service structure under development. Former committee members took on the tasks of identifying online groups and inviting them to meet, and established procedures to keep the confusion of a new organization to a minimum, including a new "Steering Committee" to act in the role of a General Service Office between Conference meetings in "cyberspace." Six committee members were designated to serve as "Interim Steering Committee" to guide activities for the first meetings of the new Conference, and an agenda was prepared for the first meeting, set for July 1, 2002. * *The first meeting on the Online Service Conference was held July 1-31, 2002, when the Interim Steering Committee assembled approximately 49 interested members representing around 32 online groups. There was discussion of many issues of concern to online AA groups, including how a group conscience could be formed online, issues of internet publication of AA copyrighted documents, online anonymity, relationships with "face to face" AA bodies, and other concerns. The first Online Service Conference representatives together passed only two actions; the first, ratifying the Conference as beginning a general service structure for online AA and planning to meet again in January 2003; the second, to elect six members of a Steering Committee to stand for the Conference and prepare an agenda in the interim between meetings. The second Online Service Conference met January1-31, 2003, with 59 members (including 33 group representatives, plus alternates and steering committee) continuing discussion of many of the issues considered in the first Conference. The agenda included (1) definition of an "online AA group," (2) online literature publication and AAWS copyrights, (3) using online AA to reach those who cannot be served by "face to face" AA, (4) anonymity guidelines for the internet, (5) issues affecting world unity of the AA Fellowship, (6) future OSC participation with other AA organizations. New committees were organized, including one to search for more online AA groups who might be invited to OSC, a Literature Committee, a Translation Committee and a Web Committee. Nominations were taken for candidates for the Steering Committee, to be voted at the third Online Service Conference in July 2003. No Online Advisory Actions were voted during the second conference. The third Online Service Conference met July 1-31, 2003 with 43 groups represented, plus alternates and steering committee members, totaling 57 members. Two actions were considered - a definition of online AA groups, and a recommendation that online groups provide representatives to OSC for two year periods. Neither passed with substantial unanimity and both were referred for further study. Committees were formed to study the issues which had been offered. New members were elected to fill vacant Steering Committee positions. As in the previous assembly, no Online Advisory Actions were voted during the third conference. The fourth Online Service Conference met January 1-31, 2004 with 48 groups represented, plus alternates and steering committee members, totaling 73 members. The most significant action at the assembly was introduction of a proposed Charter for OSC presented by James C. from the UK, as chairman of the Voting Methods Committee. The Web Committee also presented its work on the OSC website for comment by the assembly. No voting actions were offered with the agenda or acted upon during the conference assembly. * John P., OSC Listkeeper *Rev: Feb 8, 2004 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1651. . . . . . . . . . . . Bill W. Yale Correspondence (1954) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/10/2004 10:48:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The Bill W. - Yale Correspondence Bill's letters declining an honorary degree, unpublished in his lifetime, set an example of personal humility for AA today and tomorrow. EARLY IN 1954, after considerable soul-searching, Bill W. made a painful decision that ran counter to his own strong, self-admitted desire for personal achievement and recognition. The AA co-founder declined, with humble gratitude, an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws offered by Yale, one of the nation's oldest, most famous, and most prestigious universities. Acceptance would have brought him - and AA - enormous amounts of favorable publicity. The university, too, would have received respectful recognition from press, public, and the academic world for presenting the degree. Yet he turned it down. Would a yes from Bill have vastly changed AA as we know it today? Would the change have been for better, or for worse? Could Bill's acceptance of the honor have sown seeds that, in time, would have destroyed AA? These are some of the questions that figured in Bill's perplexity and in his prayers. The Grapevine is publishing the correspondence between Bill and Reuben A. Holden, then secretary of the university. The exchange of letters followed a personal visit to Bill from Mr. Holden and Professor Selden Bacon in January of 1954. The following week, Bill received this letter: Yale University New Haven, Connecticut January 21, 1954 Dear Mr. W : I enclose a suggested draft of a citation which might be used in conferring upon you the proposed honorary degree on June 7th. If your trustees approve this formula, I should then like to submit it to the Yale Corporation for their consideration. The wording can be considerably improved. We shall work on that during the next few months, but in every instance we shall be sure it has your unqualified blessing. Thanks for your hospitality on Tuesday and for your thoughtful consideration of our invitation. Very sincerely yours, Reuben A. Holden (Naturally, Bill's full name was used in all this private exchange. In observance of the Eleventh and Twelfth Traditions, the Grapevine is maintaining his anonymity at the public level.) This is the first draft of the text of the citation: W.W.: Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. For twenty years, this Fellowship has rendered a distinguished service to mankind. Victory has been gained through surrender, fame achieved through anonymity, and for many tens of thousands, the emotional, the physical, and the spiritual self has been rediscovered and reborn. This nonprofessional movement, rising from the depths of intense suffering and universal stigma, has not only shown the way to the conquest of a morbid condition of body, mind, and soul, but has invigorated the individual, social, and religious life of our times. Yale takes pride in honoring this great anonymous assembly of men and women by conferring upon you, a worthy representative of its high purpose, this degree of Doctor of Laws, admitting you to all its rights and privileges. From the office of the Alcoholic Foundation (now the AA General Service Office), Bill sent this reply: February 2, 1954 Mr. Reuben Holden, secretary Yale University New Haven, Connecticut Dear Mr. Holden, This is to express my deepest thanks to the members of the Yale Corporation for considering me as one suitable for the degree of Doctor of Laws. It is only after most careful consultation with friends, and with my conscience, that I now feel obligated to decline such a mark of distinction. Were I to accept, the near term benefit to Alcoholics Anonymous and to legions who still suffer our malady would, no doubt, be worldwide and considerable. I am sure that such a potent endorsement would greatly hasten public approval of AA everywhere. Therefore, none but the most compelling of reasons could prompt my decision to deny Alcoholics Anonymous an opportunity of this dimension. Now this is the reason: The tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous - our only means of self-government - entreats each member to avoid all that particular kind of personal publicity or distinction which might link his name with our Society in the general public mind. AA's Tradition Twelve reads as follows: "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities." Because we have already had much practical experience with this vital principle, it is today the view of every thoughtful AA member that if, over the years ahead, we practice this anonymity absolutely, it will guarantee our effectiveness and unity by heavily restraining those to whom public honors and distinctions are but the natural stepping-stones to dominance and personal power. Like other men and women, we AAs look with deep apprehension upon the vast power struggle about us, a struggle in myriad forms that invades every level, tearing society apart. I think we AAs are fortunate to be acutely aware that such forces must never be ruling among us, lest we perish altogether. The Tradition of personal anonymity and no honors at the public level is our protective shield. We dare not meet the power temptation naked. Of course, we quite understand the high value of honors outside our Fellowship. We always find inspiration when these are deservedly bestowed and humbly received as the hallmarks of distinguished attainment or service. We say only that in our special circumstances it would be imprudent for us to accept them for AA achievement. For example: My own life story gathered for years around an implacable pursuit of money, fame, and power, anti-climaxed by my near sinking in a sea of alcohol. Though I survived that grim misadventure, I well understand that the dread neurotic germ of the power contagion has survived in me also. It is only dormant, and it can again multiply and rend me - and AA, too. Tens of thousands of my fellow AAs are temperamentally just like me. Fortunately, they know it, and I know it. Hence our Tradition of anonymity, and hence my clear obligation to decline this signal honor with all the immediate satisfaction and benefit it could have yielded. True, the splendid citation you propose, which describes me as "W. W.," does protect my anonymity for the time being. Nevertheless, it would surely appear on the later historical record that I had taken an LL.D. The public would then know the fact. So, while I might accept the degree within the letter of AA's Tradition as of today, I would surely be setting the stage for a violation of its spirit tomorrow. This would be, I am certain, a perilous precedent to set. Though it might be a novel departure, I'm wondering if the Yale Corporation could consider giving AA itself the entire citation, omitting the degree to me. In such an event, I will gladly appear at any time to receive it on behalf of our Society. Should a discussion of this possibility seem desirable to you, I'll come to New Haven at once. Gratefully yours, William G. W Six days later, Mr. Holden replied: Dear Mr. W : I have waited to respond to your letter, of February 2 until we had a meeting of the Committee on Honorary Degrees, which has now taken place, and I want to report to you on behalf of the committee that after hearing your magnificent letter, they all wish more than ever they could award you the degree - though it probably in our opinion isn't half good enough for you. The entire committee begged me to tell you in as genuine a way as I can how very deeply they appreciated your considering this invitation as thoroughly and thoughtfully and unselfishly as you have. We understand completely your feelings in the matter, and we only wish there were some way we could show you our deep sense of respect for you and AA. Some day, the opportunity will surely come. Meanwhile, I should say that it was also the feeling of the committee that honorary degrees are, like knighthoods, bestowed on individuals, and that being the tradition, it would seem logical that we look in other ways than an honorary-degree award for the type of recognition that we should like to give the organization in accordance with the suggestion you made in your last paragraph. I hope this may be possible. I send you the warmest greetings of the president of Yale University and of the entire corporation and assure you of our sincere admiration and good wishes for the continued contribution you are making to the welfare of this country. Cordially yours, Reuben A. Holden The series of letters ends with Bill's acknowledgment: March 1, 1954 Dear Mr. Holden, Your letter of February 8th, in which you record the feelings of the Yale Corporation respecting my declination of the degree of Doctor of Laws, has been read with great relief and gratitude. I shall treasure it always. Your quick and moving insight into AA's vital need to curb its future aspirants to power, the good thought you hold of me, and your hope that the Yale Corporation might presently find the means of giving Alcoholics Anonymous a suitable public recognition, are something for the greatest satisfaction. Please carry to the president of Yale and to every member of the board my lasting appreciation. Devotedly yours, Bill W Recently, the Grapevine received a letter from an AA who was a trustee on the AA General Service Board at the time of this offer to Bill. The former trustee, Cliff W. of California, recalls talking to Bill at the board meeting following the ex-change of correspondence. "I suggested that we make a pamphlet of these letters, as his refusal letter was truly magnificent. Bill grinned and replied, 'Not while I'm alive. I don't want to capitalize on humility.'" Cliff suggested to the Grapevine that it would now be proper to print the letters. During Bill's lifetime, copies of the Yale correspondence were privately circulated within the Fellowship, with Bill's knowledge and consent. Jim A., who in 1965 was AA public information chairman for a central office in a large West Coast city, wrote to Bill, asking permission to show the letters to anonymity-breakers "...as an example that AA probably does not need their individual names to keep it going or to make it more effective." In reply, Bill wrote, "Certainly, you may show that Yale correspondence in a limited way. But I see you agree that it would not be exactly right on my part to consent to its general publication at this time. Actually, I'm not so damn noble as you suppose. In reality, I rather wanted that degree...However, I think the principle of anonymity will be so invaluable to us, especially in future time, that one in my position should really fall over backwards in trying to demonstrate the principle. By way of example, it might help in the years to come." Ten years before this, just one year after the Yale correspondence had ended and less than two weeks before the Twentieth Anniversary AA Convention in St. Louis in 1955, Bill replied to a Canadian AA friend who felt that publishing the letters at that time would "help consolidate AA and fortify the anonymity Tradition." "I agree with you in part," Bill answered, "that publication now could help temporarily. But I do think that publication would imply my permission and would therefore be not a little ego manifestation on my part. "Actually, when I declined the degree, I did it with the long future in mind. I could picture a possible time when AA might find itself in some great contention and crisis. At that time, this letter, though bearing the dead hand, might have a marked, even a deciding, effect...Anyhow, I would be disinclined to have it generally published at present - that is, published under circumstances which will surely indicate to the reader that I have given my consent." Under present circumstances - seven years after Bill's death - there is clearly no possibility of the consent that he called an "ego manifestation." The Grapevine feels that AA members, now numbering around eight times as many as were sober in 1954, have a right to know of Bill's example of both courage and humility. This correspondence may help all of us appreciate the sacrifice Bill made for us, and for the countless alcoholics yet to come to our Fellowship for help. February 1978 AA Grapevine IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1652. . . . . . . . . . . . GV March 94 -- Nicollet Group, Minn From: t . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/10/2004 12:15:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Grapevine, March 1994 [from column/series What We Were Like] Minneapolis: the Nicollet Chapter Most AA members in these parts know the story of Pat C., the drunken newspaperman who borrowed the Big Book from the Minneapolis Library, read it, and wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation [forerunner of the General Service Office] asking for help on August 9, 1940. The Alcoholic Foundation replied to Pat and sent his name on to the Chicago Group. Two members of that group came to see Pat in November of 1940. Pat took his last drink on November 11, 1940, and began working with others, and the first AA meeting in Minneapolis occurred shortly afterward. That is the history and the founding that we hear about most in the Twin Cities, and many AA groups all over the state can trace their beginnings back to Pat C. and 2218 First Avenue South, the first (and still operating) Alano Society in this part of the country. We had other beginnings and other pioneers, however, and this is the story of another Twelve-Step call, another pioneer, and another longstanding AA foundation stone in Minneapolis: There is a group that meets in Minneapolis, at 6301 Penn Avenue South, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in October 1993. The name of the group is the Nicollet Chapter and it began in 1943 when Barry C. left 2218 to start a new group, styled after the groups of his friend and AA's co-founder, Dr. Bob of Akron, Ohio. It was a big deal when the Nicollet Chapter left 2218. Until that time, 2218 was the hub of all of the AA activity in this area. 2218 was mother and mentor to many AA groups, and most early groups asked for and got a lot of help in starting. But the Nicollet Chapter started, autonomous from 2218 and clearly wanted to stay that way, and it shook a lot of AA members up. Was this a fight? Was there a problem? Was somebody going to get drunk? Barry and Pat both said no, but a rift was created between 2218 and the Nicollet Chapter that never quite healed. Barry C. had quietly gotten sober in April of 1940, a few months before Pat, after a visit from a sober Chicago friend, Chan F. (who was also one of the two AAs who visited Pat in November). But Barry was chronically ill most of his life, and spent much of the first months of his sobriety incapacitated. Barry was in the hospital when Pat got sober and began working with others. He always had a much "lower profile" than Pat, and did not contend Pat's status as the founder of AA in Minnesota. Pat, however, made certain that Barry's part in our history was known, as witnessed in this 1941 letter to his fellow Minneapolis AAs: "Many of you, perhaps, don't know it but Barry C. was the first practicing AA in Minneapolis . . . Only the fact that he was hopelessly invalided for a long time prevented Barry from getting out and organizing. You all know what he has accomplished since he has been able to get around. That guy has more ideas in five minutes than I have in five weeks, and we all owe him a note of thanks ..." Barry C. corresponded with Bob and others in Akron, Cleveland and Chicago, and the Nicollet Chapter resembled in many ways the early meetings in Akron. Barry believed that all of the alcoholics' solutions were in the Big Book. He believed that alcoholism was a family problem and that recovery must include the entire family - the attendance of wives was strongly suggested. The Nicollet Group's most unusual characteristic was its intolerance of "slippers." Prospective members were asked if they were ready, willing, and able to practice the Twelve Steps. If not, they were asked to do their drinking outside of AA. Faith in the program was considered paramount, and once a member lost their faith, it was felt that it could not be easily regained. These were the principles that the Nicollet Chapter started with, and stayed with. They hung with each other, did Twelfth Step work, helped start AA in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Winnipeg and Manitoba, Canada, which still have groups modeled on the Nicollet Group. Those groups still correspond today, and still believe that their way of practicing the teachings of the Big Book are the best way. In their ideology, the Nicollet Group members stayed to themselves. The growth of AA in Minnesota and nationwide did not change them. The adoption of the Traditions did not change their meetings, and the General Service structure did not concern them. And, fifty years later, the Nicollet Groups' 100 or so members still stick to the original. Stepping into the meeting is sort of like stepping back in time. There is coffee, yes, and more food than usual at a meeting place. Folks know each other, and have no trouble spotting outsiders and greeting them. The Twelve Steps and the Serenity Prayer are prominently displayed everywhere, but the Traditions are not. Don't look for notices of upcoming conventions or roundups - you won't find Nicollet Group members at these events. They have their own social gatherings. There also won't be notices of upcoming general service assemblies or district meetings, or notices of intergroup happenings. They do not participate in these events. When I was newly sober, I asked an older AA member about our cofounders, Dr. Bob and Bill W. She told me about Dr. Bob wishing to keep AA simple, and about Bill the super AA promoter. She told me an old AA joke: that if Dr. Bob had his way, AA would never have made it out of the midwest, and if Bill had his way, it would be set up as an international franchise. She said that between the two of them, they created the balance between simple service and service organization that we needed to function and carry out our primary purpose. I don't know if this is what Dr. Bob had in mind, but I thought of this when I visited the Nicollet Group. There was love there, and Twelfth Step work, and newcomers, and talk of the Steps, and families, and sharing, and picnics, and announcements to visit members in the hospital. I met a man and his wife, in their late twenties, who were celebrating their one year membership in the group. I met couples who were 20 or 25 year members. I saw (and was given to pass on to our area archives) a wealth of historical materials - correspondence, articles, photographs - all telling of the miracles and the timelessness of alcoholics working together. As a group, Nicollet is recognizing that in order to survive AA groups need to work together. For the first time in many years, the Nicollet Group is listed in our local intergroup directory. They know they need to work with others, as do we all. Autonomy is a valued possession, and we cannot deny the Nicollet Group theirs. There is a lesson in autonomy here for me as an AA member. I see our autonomy must end when others are affected, as it states in the Fourth Tradition. The Nicollet Group will be richer for interaction with the rest of us, and we will be richer for our interaction with them. The Nicollet Group deserves recognition for their fifty years of meeting together, growing together, and staying sober together. They have contributed much to the fabric of AA. Anonymous, Minneapolis, Minn. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1653. . . . . . . . . . . . 10th General Service Conference - 1960 (Part One of Two) From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/11/2004 3:19:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Proposal by Bill W. For Twelve Concepts For World Service 10th General Service Conference - 1960 This proposal, delivered by Bill W. at the closing of the 10th General Service Conference, is of great historical significance as it was the first time that Bill had spoken to the Fellowship on the subject of the Twelve Concepts. The transcript has been verified against the original voice recording. _________ The last of the sand in the hourglass of our time together is about to run its course. And you have asked me, as of old, to conclude this conference, our tenth. I always approach this hour with mixed feelings. As time has passed, each year succeeding itself, I have found increasing gratitude beyond measure, because of the increasing sureness that AA is safe at last for God, so long as he may wish this society to endure. So I stand here among you and feel as you do a sense of security and gratitude such as we have never known before. There is not a little regret, too, that the other side of the coin -- that we cannot turn back the clock and renew these hours. Soon they will become a part of our history. The three legacies of AA - recovery, unity and service -- in a sense represent three utter impossibilities, impossibilities that we know became possible, and possibilities that now have borne this unbelievable fruit. Old Fitz Mayo, one of the early AAs and I visited the Surgeon General of the United States in the third year of this society, told him of our beginnings. He was a gentle man, Dr. Lawrence Kolb, since become a great friend of AA, and he said: "I wish you well. Even the sobriety of such a few is almost a miracle. The government knows that this is one of the greatest health problems we have, one of the greatest moral problems, one of the greatest spiritual problems. But we here have considered recovery of alcoholics so impossible that we have given up and have instead concluded that rehabilitation of narcotic addicts would be the easier job to tackle." Such was the devastating impossibility of our situation. Now, what had been brought to bear upon this impossibility that it has become possible? First, the Grace of Him who presides over all of us. Next, the cruel lash of John Barleycorn who said, "This you must do, or die." Next, the intervention of God through friends, at first a few, and now legion, who opened to us, who in the early days were uncommitted, the whole field of human ideas, morality and religion, from which we could choose. These have been the wellsprings of the forces and ideas and emotions and spirit which were first fused into our Twelve Steps for recovery. And some of us got well. But no sooner had a few got sober then the old forces began to come into play. In us rather frail people, they were fearsome: the old forces, the drives, money, acclaim, prestige. Would these tear us apart? Besides, we came from every walk of life. Early, we had begun to be a cross section of all men and women, all differently conditioned, all so different and yet happily so alike in our kinship of suffering. Could we hold in unity? To those few who remain who lived in those earlier times when the Traditions were being forged in the school of hard experience on its thousands of anvils, we had our very, very dark moments. It was sure recovery was in sight, but how could there be recovery for many? Or how could recovery endure if we were to fall into controversy and so into dissolution and decay? Well, the spirit of the Twelve Steps, which has brought us release, from one of the grimmest obsessions known -- obviously, this spirit and these principles of retaining Grace had to be the fundamentals of our unity. But in order to become fundamental to our unity, these principles had to be spelled out as they applied to the most prominent and the most grievous of our problems. So, out of experience, the need to apply the spirit of our steps to our lives of working and living together, these were the forces that generated the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. But, we had to have more than cohesion. Even for survival, we had to carry this message. We had to function. In fact, that had become evident in the Twelve Steps themselves for the last one enjoins us to carry the message. But just how would we carry this message? How would we communicate, we few, with those myriad's who still didn't know? And how would this communication be handled? And how could we do these things, how could we authorize these things in such a way that in this new hot focus of effort and ego we were not again to be shattered by the forces that had once ruined our lives? This was the problem of the Third Legacy. From the vital Twelfth Step call right up through our society to its culmination today. And, again, many of us said: This can't be done. It's all very well for Bill and Bob and a few friends to set up a Board of Trustees and to provide us with some literature, and look after our public relations, and do all of those chores for us we can't do for ourselves. This is fine, but we can't go any further than that. This is a job for our elders. This is a job for our parents. In this direction only can there be simplicity and security. And then we came to the day when it was seen that the parents were both fallible and perishable (although this seems to be a token they are not). And Dr. Bob's hour struck. And we suddenly realized that this ganglion, this vital nerve center of World Service, would lose its sensation the day the communication between an increasingly unknown Board of Trustees and you was broken. Fresh links would have to be forged. And at that time many of us said: This is impossible. This is too hard. Even in transacting the simplest business, providing the simplest of services, raising the minimum amounts of money, these excitements to us, in this society so bent on survival have been almost too much locally. Look at our club brawls. My God, if we have elections countrywide, and Delegates come down here, and look at the complexity -- thousands of group representatives, hundreds of committeemen, scores of Delegates - My God, when these descend on our parents, the Trustees, what is going to happen then? It won't be simplicity; it can't be. Our experience has spelled it out. But there was the imperative, the must. And why was there an imperative? Because we had better have some confusion, we had better have some politicking, than to have an utter collapse of this center. That was the alternative. And that was the uncertain and tenuous ground on which this Conference was called into being. I venture, in the minds of many, sometimes in mine, the Conference could be symbolized by a great prayer and a faint hope. This was the state of affairs in 1945 to 1950. And then came the day that some of us went up to Boston to watch an Assembly elect by two-thirds vote or lot a Delegate. And prior to the Assembly, I consulted all the local politicos and those very wise Irishmen in Boston said, we're gonna make your prediction Bill, you know us temperamentally, but we're going to say that this thing is going to work. And it was the biggest piece of news and one of the mightiest assurances that I had up to this time that there could be any survival for these services. Well, work it has, and we have survived another impossibility. Not only have we survived the impossibility, we have so far transcended it that I think that there can be no return in future years to the old uncertainties, come what perils there may. Now, as we have seen in this quick review, the spirit of the Twelve Steps was applied in specific terms to our problems, to living, to working together. This developed the Traditions. In turn, the Traditions were applied to this problem of functioning at world levels in harmony and in unity. And something which had seemed to grow like Topsy took on an increasing coherence. And through the process of trial and error, refinements began to be made until the day of the great radical change. Our question here in the old days was: Is the group conscience for Trustees and for founders? Or are they to be the parents of Alcoholics Anonymous forever? There is something a little repugnant -- you know, They got it through us, why can't we go on telling them? So the great problem, could the group conscience function at world levels? Well, it can and it does. Today we are still in this process of definition and of refinement in this matter of functioning. Unlike the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions which no doubt will be undisturbed from here out, there will always be room in the functional area for refinements, improvements, adaptations. For God's sake, let us never freeze these things. On the other hand, let us look at yesterday and today, at our experience. Now, just as it was vital to codify in Twelve Steps the spiritual side of our program, to codify in twelve traditional principles the forces and ideas that would make for unity, and discourage disunity, so may it now be necessary to codify, those principles and relationships upon which our world service function rests, from the group right up through. This is what I like to call structuring. People often say, What do you mean by structuring? What use is it? Why don't we just get together and do these things? Well, structure at this level means just what structure means in the Twelve Steps and in the Twelve Traditions. It is a stated set of principles and relationships by which we may understand each other, the tasks to be done and what the principles are for doing them. Therefore, why shouldn't we take the broad expanse of the Traditions and use their principles to spell out our special needs in relationships in this area of function for world service, indeed, at long last, I trust for all services whatever character? Well, we've been in the process of doing this and two or three years ago it occurred to me that I should perhaps take another stab -- not at another batch of twelve principles or points, God forbid, but at trying to organize the ideas and relationships that already exist so as to present them in an easily understood manner. (continued in Part Two) IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1654. . . . . . . . . . . . 10th General Service Conference - 1960 (Part Two of Two) From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/11/2004 3:25:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII As you know the Third Legacy Manual is a manual that largely tells us how; it is mostly a thing of mere description and of procedure. So I have cooked up in a very tentative way something which we might call Twelve Concepts for World Service. This has been a three-year job. I found the material, because of its ramifications, exceedingly hard to organize. But I have made a stab at it and the Concepts, which are really bundles of related principles, are on paper and underneath each is a descriptive article. And I have eleven of the articles and perhaps will soon wind up the Twelfth. Now, to give you an idea of what's cooking, what I've been driving at, I'll venture to bore you with two or three paragraphs of the introduction to this thing. "The Concepts to be discussed in the following pages are primarily an interpretation of AA's world service structure. They spell out the traditional practices and the Conference charter principles that relate the component parts of our world structure into a working whole. Our Third Legacy manual is largely a document of procedure. Up to now the Manual tells us how to operate our service structure. But there is considerable lack of detailed information which would tell us why the structure has developed as it has and why its working parts are related together in the fashion that our Conference and General Service Board charters provide. "These Twelve Concepts therefore represent an attempt to put on paper the why of our service structure in such a fashion that the highly valuable experience of the past and the conclusions that we have drawn from it cannot be lost. "These Concepts are no attempt to freeze our operation against needed change. They only describe the present situation, the forces and principles that have molded it. It is to be remembered that in most respects the Conference charter can be readily amended. This interpretation of the past and present can, however, have a high value for the future. Every oncoming generation of service workers will be eager to change and improve our structure and operations. This is good. No doubt change will be needed. Perhaps unforeseen flaws will emerge. These will have to be remedied. "But along with this very constructive outlook, there will be bound to be still another, a destructive one. We shall always be tempted to throw out the baby with the bath water. We shall suffer the illusion that change, any plausible change, will necessarily represent progress. When so animated, we may carelessly cast aside the hard won lessons of early experience and so fall back into many of the great errors of the past. "Hence, a prime purpose of these Twelve Concepts is to hold the experience and lessons of the early days constantly before us. This should reduce the chance of hasty and unnecessary change. And if alterations are made that happen to work out badly, then it is hoped that these Twelve Concepts will make a point of safe return." Now, quickly, what are they? Well, the first two deal with: ultimate responsibility and authority for world services belongs to the AA group. That is to say, that's the AA conscience. The next one deals with the necessity for delegates' authority. And perhaps you haven't thought of it, but when you re-read Tradition Two, you will see that the group conscience represents a final and ultimate authority and that the trusted servant is the delegated authority from the groups in which the servant is trusted to do the kinds of things for the groups they can't do for themselves. So, how that got that way, respecting world services: ultimate authority, delegated authority is here spelled out. Then there comes in the next essay this all questioned importance of leadership, this all important question of what anyway is a trusted servant. Is this gent or gal a messenger, a housemaid - or is he to be really trusted? And if so, how is he going to know how much he can be trusted? And what is going to be your understanding of it when you hand him the job? Now, these problems are legion. The extent to which this trust is to be spelled out and applied to each particular condition has to have some means of interpretation, doesn't it? So I have suggested here that, throughout our services, we create what might be called the principle of decision - and the root of this principle is trust. The principle of decision, which says that any executive, committee, board, the Conference itself, within the state or customary scope of their several duties, should be able to say what questions they will dispose of themselves - and which they will pass on to the next higher authority for guidance, direction, consultation and whatnot. This spells out and defines, and makes an automatic means of defining throughout our structure at all times, what the trust is that any servant could expect. You say this is dangerous? I don't think so. It simply means that you are not, out of your ultimate authority as groups, to be constantly giving a guy directions who you've already trusted to think for himself. Now, if he thinks badly, you can sack him. But trust him first. That is the big thing. Now, then, there is another traditional principle, the source of another essay here called the principle of participation. Our whole lives have been wrecked, often from childhood, because we have not been participants. There had been too much of the parental thing, too much of the wrong kind of the parental thing. We always wanted to belong, we always wanted to participate; and there is going to be a constant tendency, which we must always defend against, and that is to place in our service structure any group, AA as a whole, the Conference, the Board of Trustees, committees, executives - to place any of these people in absolutely unqualified authority, one over the other. This is an institutional, a military, set-up - and God knows we drunks have rejected institutions and this kind of authority, for our purpose, haven't we? So, therefore, how, as a practical matter, are we going to express this participation. Right here in this conference it's burned in; in Article XII you'll see this statement in the Conference Charter: nobody is to be set in utter authority over anybody else. How do we prevent this? The Trustees here, and the headquarters people here, are in a great minority over you people. You have the ultimate authority over us. And you say, well these folks are nicely incorporated, and we ain't; and they have the dough legally, so have we got it? Sure, you got it. You can go home and shut the dough off, can't you? You've got the ultimate authority but - we've got some delegated authority. Now when you get in this Conference, you find that the Trustees, and the Directors and the staffs have votes. And many of you say, why is it; we represent the groups; why the hell shouldn't we tell these people? Why should they utter one yip while we're doing it? Oh, we'll let 'em yip, but not vote. Well, you see, right there we get from the institutional idea to the corporate idea. And in the corporate business world, there is participation in these levels. Can you imagine how much stock would you buy in General Motors if you knew the president and half the board of directors couldn't get into a meeting because they were on the payroll? Or could just come in and listen to the out-of-town directors? You'd want these people's opinions registered. And they can't really belong unless they vote. This we have found out by the hardest kind of experience. So therefore, the essay here on participation deals with the principle that any AA servant in any top echelon of service, regardless of whether they're paid, unpaid, volunteer or what, shall be entitled to reasonable voting privileges in accordance with their responsibility. And you good politicos are going to say, but these people here hold a balance of power. Well, we qualified that in one way. We'll take the balance of power away from them when it comes to qualifications for their own jobs or voting in approval of their own actions. But the bulk of the work of this Conference has to do with plans and policy for the future. So supposing that among you Delegates there is a split. And supposing these people come in and vote, which, by the way, they seldom do as a bloc, and they swing it one way or the other on matters of future policy and planning; well, after all, why shouldn't they? Are they any less competent than the rest of us? Of course not. Besides these technical considerations, there is this deep need in us to belong, to participate. And you can only participate on the basis of equality - and one token of this is voting equality. At first blush, you won't like the idea. But you'll have a chance to think about it. One more idea: There came to this country some hundred years ago a French Baron whose family and himself had been wracked by the French revolution, de Tocqueville. And he was a worshipful admirer of democracy. And in those days democracy seemed to be mostly expressed in people's minds by votes of simple majorities. And he was a worshipful admirer of the spirit of democracy as expressed by the power of a majority to govern. But, said de Tocqueville, a majority can be ignorant, it can be brutal, it can be tyrannous - and we have seen it. Therefore, unless you most carefully protect a minority, large or small, make sure that minority opinions are voiced, make sure that minorities have unusual rights, you're democracy is never going to work and its spirit will die. This was de Toqueville's prediction and, considering today's times, is it strange that he is not widely read now? That is why in this Conference we try to get a unanimous consent while we can; this is why we say the Conference can mandate the Board of Trustees on a two-thirds vote. But we have said more here. We have said that any Delegate, any Trustee, any staff member, any service director, - any board, committee or whatever -- that wherever there is a minority, it shall always be the right of this minority to file a minority report so that their views are held up clearly. And if in the opinion of any such minority, even a minority of one, if the majority is about to hastily or angrily do something which could be to the detriment of Alcoholics Anonymous, the serious detriment, it is not only their right to file a minority appeal, it is their duty. So, like de Tocqueville, neither you nor I want either the tyranny or the majority, nor the tyranny of the small minority. And steps have been taken here to balance up these relations. Now, some of the other things cover topics like this, I touched on this: The Conference acknowledges the primary administrative responsibility of the Trustees. We have talked about electing trustees and yet primarily they are a body of administrators. In a sense, it's an executive body, isn't it? Look at any form of government. (Understand we're not a form of government, but you have to pay attention to these forms). The President of the United States is the only elected executive; all the rest are appointive, aren't they, subject to confirmation by the Senate, which is the system we got here - and this goes into that. And then there is this question taken up in another essay. How can these legal rights of the Trustees, which haven't been changed one jot or tittle by the appearance of this Conference, if they've got the legal right to hang on to your money and do as they dammed please, what's going to stop them? Well, the answer is: Nobody has a vested interest. They have to be volunteers always. They are amenable to the spirit of this Conference and its power and its prestige -- and if they are not, there is a provision here by which they can be reorganized; there is a provision in here by which they can be censored - and you can always go home and shut off the money spigot. So, the traditional power of this Conference and the groups is actually superior to the legal power of the Trustees. That is the balance. But the trustees as a minority some day, should this Conference get very angry and unreasonable, say: Boys, we're going to veto you for the time being, we ain't gonna do this - even as the President of the United States has the veto, so will these fellows. You go home and think this over. We won't go along. And if you give them a vote of no confidence, they can appeal to the groups. These are the balances, see; this is interpretive, this has all been implicit in our structure but we're trying to spell it out. Well, there are others - There's a whole section on leadership, service leadership from top to bottom, what it's composed of. In AA we wash between great extremes. On the one side, we've got the infallible leader who never makes any mistakes - and let us do just as he says. On the other side we have a concept of leadership which goes and says: What shall I do? What shall I do? Tell me, what time do it - I'm just a humble servant, not a trusted one, just a humble one. The hell with either. Leadership in practice works in between - and we spell that out. And so on. This will give you an idea of what's cooking in the Twelve Concepts for World Service. The last one which I haven't done deals with the Conference - Article XII of the Conference charter. And you who recall it know that this is several things. First of all, it's the substance of the contract the groups made with the Board of Trustees at the time of St. Louis. And this contract decrees that this body shall never be a government. It decrees that we shall be prudent financially. It decrees that we shall be keepers of the AA Tradition - and so on - so that it is in part a spiritual document and in part a contract. And, God willing, because it is both spiritual and contract, let it be for all time of our existence a sanctified contract. My own days of active service, like the sands in our last hourglass, are running out. And this is good. We know that all families have to have parents and we know that the great unwisdom of all parenthood is to try to remain the parents of infants in adolescence and keep people in this state forever. We know that when the parents have done their bit, and said their pieces, and have nursed the family along, that there comes the point that the parents must say: Now, you go out and try your wings. You haven't grown up and we haven't grown up, but you have come to the age of responsibility where, with the tools we are leaving you, you must try to grow up, to grow in God's image and likeness. So my feeling is not that I'm withdrawing because I'm tired. My feeling is that I would like to be another kind of parent, a fellow on the sidelines. If there is some breach in these walls which we have erected, some unseen flaw or defect, of course all of us oldsters are going to pitch in for the repairs. But this business of functioning in the here and now, that is for the new generation. May God bless Alcoholics Anonymous forever. And I offer a prayer that the destiny of this society will ever be safe in the hearts of its membership and in the conscience of its trusted servants. You are the heirs. As I said at the opening the future belongs to you. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1655. . . . . . . . . . . . Grace Cultice Obituary (1948) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/12/2004 2:15:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII CHICAGO SECRETARY DIES SUDDENLY From Chicago She knew all about us and loved us anyway. Grace Cultice, 57, was a blessed paradox-a non-alcoholic who spoke the language of the alkies, an "outside" believer in Alcoholics Anonymous who backed her faith with good works. When two alcoholics got together eight years ago to form the first A.A. group in Chicago, Grace was on hand to help. She's been helping ever since. She gave those eight years willingly, eagerly, unselfishly. Indeed, she literally gave her life. Grace died in her Chicago apartment January 8 of a heart attack. She had endured a long illness, but was thought to be recovering. Against medical advice she had persisted in many of her duties as secretary and office manager of the Greater Chicago group. She'd tried to slow down, but it was next to impossible to keep her under wraps. For two days her flower-banked casket lay in a Chicago mortuary. Thousands came to mourn. Then the body was taken to her native Xenia, Ohio, for burial by relatives. Miss Cultice was a familiar figure in Chicago advertising circles when she became interested in A.A. through friendship with the local group founders. Often she acted as hostess at early meetings of three, four or a half dozen members. She grew up with the Chicago group. Along the route to its present 5,000-plus membership, the need became pressing for a full-time secretary. Grace took the job, ignoring the financial sacrifice. Because she knew how alkies talk and think and act, she shepherded hundreds into the ways of recovery. She was a genial "greeter" for A.A.s visiting Chicago. On her last Christmas, cards came from A.A.s the world over. Alcoholics have an inherent distaste for mawkishness. But none feels shame for his tears for Grace, nor for his devastating sense of personal loss.-E.B. February 1948 AA Grapevine IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1656. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Bob "In Memoriam" (1952) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/15/2004 2:22:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII November 1952 AA Grapevine IN MEMORIAM And In Thanks Two years ago, on November 16th, 1950, R. H. S., died in Akron, Ohio. It was Thursday, close to noontime, one week before what would have been his 71st Thanksgiving Day. It was fifteen years and five months after his own last drink...and it was fifteen years and five months in which he had personally ministered as friend and teacher and physician to 5,000 alcoholics. To each of them he was simply "Doctor Bob." And to history he will be "Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous." And to Bill he is "The Prince of Twelfth Steppers"...and "The Rock Upon Which AA Is Founded"...and simply "Smitty." He met death serenely, for he had to the fullest given himself to life. He left the rich gifts of simplicity and love and service. We who have followed him in The Way Out give him thanks anew for the message he so tirelessly carried. And we think this man who learned true humility would most like the memorial that is still to come...those thousands now sick and despairing who will yet find our way out of dilemma into recoverystrengthened by the invisible hand of Doctor Bob... IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1657. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Bob Announcement Of His Passing (1950) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/15/2004 2:22:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII December 1950 AA Grapevine Dr. Bob The tragic news of Dr. Bob's death came after this issue of the Grapevine had gone to press. No hastily written words can possibly describe the feelings of the thousands of AAs who knew him personally. And only the loving God who has been so merciful to us all can truly measure the greatness of his contribution not only to AA but to all mankind. We shall make here no mere listing of his devotions to AA. How in-adequate for a man who is a co-founder of something that has meant so much to so many. But even 'Co-Founder' does not serve. For Dr. Bob was the rock on which AA is founded. None who saw and heard him last summer at Cleveland will ever forget his characteristic statement -- the last he made in public -- " -- love and service are the cornerstones of Alcoholics Anonymous!" In loving tribute, the January issue of the Grapevine will be dedicated as a Memorial to our beloved Dr. Bob. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1659. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Bob Quote From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/16/2004 5:23:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII I have always heard this quote as being attributed to Dr. Bob: "Carry the message. And if you must, use words." Can anyone tell me where this Dr. Bob quote can be found? Thanks! I found this other quote on a website attributed to St. Francis: "Preach always. When necessary use words". We recognize the importance of paying attention to the substance of our message, but that is not enough. The manner in which we make that message known is as important as the message itself. Just Love, Barefoot Bill IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1660. . . . . . . . . . . . Back to Basics - Compilation of excerpts from Previous Posts From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/17/2004 7:16:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Friends, The AA History Lovers list is getting so long that it is difficult if not impossible to search the entire list. For example, when a question was asked recently about Back to Basics I had forgotten that the subject was already thoroughly covered on the list. In an effort to clean up the list I am starting to combine posts on the same subject. The post numbers will stay but the message will be deleted after being combined in one message. I am starting with Back to Basics. Some feel that this is not an appropriate topic for the list, but I still think it is of interest to AA historians. In order to avoid repetition the following are excerpts from the posts re Back to Basics, usually not the entire message. I cannot verify the accuracy of all the posts. Nancy On September 29, 2002, Katherine E wrote: I was wondering if anyone had any information on the the development of the movement Back to Basic and their connection to AA History. I was recently at a conference where I met some Back to Basic advocates who where making some questionable statements about how things were done in the early days. I was wondering how valid this back to Basic movement is in regards to actual AA program and it's history. Ernest Kurtz responded: From what I have seen and heard in well over two decades of study, the so-called "Back to Basics" movement is an attempt to re-create the Oxford Group as it existed in the mid-1930s. AA as we know it grew out of that, partially by rejecting aspects of those teachings. Some, from Henrietta Seiberling and James Houck on, have effectively tried to deny that separation and to bring "A.A." back under those auspices. The "Back to Basics" movement has many strengths and apparently helps many people. But its relationship to Alcoholics Anonymous is similar to the relationship of Judaism to Christianity. Mary in Michigan wrote: Here in Michigan we are using a book Call Back to Basic, by Wally P. This Book has information about the development of the movement. In Michigan Meetings are starting to use the back to basic back as a class for taking the 12 steps. ... Here is a web site to check it http://www.aabacktobasics.com/index.html Jim McG wrote: That we use the AA Big Book to teach the steps, makes the claim that we are attempting to re-create the Oxford Group movement seem odd. We DO feature an Oxford Group staple, a pamphlet called "How to Listen to God" in our practicing the 11th step. This we use as a guide to practice "quiet time and guidance." ,,, We also feature a simplfied "assets/liability" 4th step inventory that is described on the page next to the resentments/fears/sex thing in the Big Book. Cliff B. in Texas wrote: One of the things I have appreciated and enjoyed about this Group has been the lack of controversy. But in the past few weeks, we have seen it begin and this topic is one that really has no place in this Group. Any student of the Big Book readily recognizes that there is a lot of stuff that has been written in the "Back to Basics" manual that is not Alcoholics Anonymous. With 63 years of time tested, experience proven success, no one has approached the success that is realized when an alcoholic PRECISELY follows the clear-cut directions that are outlined in the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous which are obviously divinely inspired. ... I have been around long enough to see our Fellowship slip from: "Rarely have we seen a person fail....." to seldom do we see a person recover. Let's get back to the real Basics; the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous which is titled, "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS." ______ When questions appeared again recently I combined some of the responses as follows: From: goldentextpro@aol.com [6] NO! "Back to Basics" is not the original AA program, and it had nothing to do with Akron. And I have to be emphatic about this. First, read Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, on the Frank Amos report of AA in 1938, pp. 130-136. You will find a good description of the real first program as employed by Dr. Bob Smith. There were no Steps. There was no classroom. There was the Bible, a morning Quiet Time, religious devotionals, prayer, no drunkalogs, church affiliation, and frequent hospital visits to new prospects. The "Back to Basics" approach, kicked up by Wally P., is an off-shoot of what Clarence Snyder was doing in Cleveland post-1939. Clarence said that his only two source books were the Big Book and the Good Book. Following the Cleveland Plain Dealer's outstanding articles on AA, membership exploded in Cleveland, and to keep up with it, and so that the program wouldn't get garbled, Clarence decided to start group classroom-type education classes. He would take the folks through the first nine steps. The last three, of course, was the daily program. Prayer, Quiet Time, a daily inventory utilizing the Four Absolutes (honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love) as yardsticks, and helping others. From: "Robert Stonebraker" [7] A view of how Dr. Bob sponsored Earl Treat through Six-Step process, as it was at that time (1937), can be found on page 292 of the Third Edition (263, Fourth Edition) of the Big Book. ... I have in possession a rather thick binder from an existing Akron Group called: "Back To the 40's." The cover of which states: "Taking the 12 Steps in 5 one hour classes." Briefly, the meeting is chaired by a reader and a commentator as they "teach" the Twelve Step process in five classes by going through the Big Book. The person who gave me this is very involved in Akron AA history. From: "Arthur" [8] BtB advocates that so-called original' AA (as practiced in Akron) had a remarkably high recovery rate no longer achieved today. They further claim that 90-180 days of their meetings "takes us back to the 'original' program that produced a 50-75% recovery rate." Somehow, someway, someone has concluded that BtB is getting a 50-75% recovery rate and the rest of AA has only a 5-10% recovery rate, depending on which study you read. According to BtB, contemporary AA is supposed to be errant due to its lack of orthodoxy relative to 'original' Oxford Group methodology and principles. Please don't take my word on it. Visit their web site and draw your own conclusion based on its content. ... A possible source of BtB's assertion of an "early AA 75% recovery rate" may derive from Dr Harry Tiebout's paper "Therapeutic Mechanism of Alcoholics Anonymous." It was originally published in 1944 and later reprinted [in 1957] in "AA Comes of Age." On pg 310, it states "Alcoholics Anonymous claims a recovery rate of 75 percent of those who really try their methods." I'd suggest that the key words are "really try" not "75 percent." ... Later in commenting about Bill W's spiritual experience (Bill is called Mr. "X") Tiebout states "According to Alcoholics Anonymous experience the speed with which the spiritual awakening takes place is no criterion of either depth or permanence of cure. The religious leavening, however little at first, starts the process; the program helps to bring it to a successful conclusion." The 1944 paper, I presume, would serve as a reputable description of AA's program of Recovery in its "early days." Tiebout goes on to list a series of numbers for the initial 7 years of AA: 5 recovered at the end of the 1st year [1935];15 recovered at the end of the 2nd year [1936]; 40 recovered at the end of the 3rd year [1937];100 recovered at the end of the 4th year [1938]; 400 recovered at the end of the 5th year [1939]; 2000 recovered at the end of the 6th year [1940]; 8000 recovered at the end of the 7th year [1941]. Jack Alexander's article in Sat. Eve. Post. It should be fairly obvious that the figures cited as "recovered" are membership estimates. While certain locales may have made claims of this or that success rate, there is no way anyone can verify those claims with reasonable confidence. The data to do so just doesn't exist. What appears to get used most in these scenarios are statements of articles of faith based on anecdotal assertion and sincerity. From a membership of 5 in 1935 to an international membership in excess of 2,100,000 today, perceived issues in success rates seem far more premised on imagination than information. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1661. . . . . . . . . . . . Letter from Ruth Hock to Bill Wilson dated November 10, 1955 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/17/2004 10:47:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII A photocopy of this letter was give to me by Rich B. in Minneapolis during the 2000 international convention. Across the top in Bill's handwriting it says "Ruth Hocks recollections." I originally posted it in several parts hoping to keep it as close to the original as possible. To clean up the list I am posting it here as one document. I have made no effort to correct punctuation or grammatical errors, so you language purists will just have to exercise tolerance. Nancy Nov. 10, 1955 Dear Bill: As I wrote to you last week it is difficult for me to get a long period of uninterrupted time together to put down my recollections of those old A.A. days - but I have about two hours - so here goes. Let me say first that I do not guarantee the accuracy of any dates I may use until I have the opportunity to check one thing against the other which I am willing to do if it ever proves necessary - neither do I insist that my memory is absolutely accurate - it will be easier if I can just sort of meander along for present purposes. As I remember it you had been sober just a little over a year when I first met you. I think I went to work for Honor Dealers in about January of 1936. The job I applied for was as Secretary to sort of a distributorship for a group of service stations - naturally I had no idea what a surprise fate had in store for me and what a change it would make in my personal life, in my relations to and my opinions of my fellow man. I walked into the Honor Dealers office in Newark, N.J. on Williams Street one Monday morning - was interviewed by Hank - and started to work immediately that morning. My immediate impression of Hank was that he had a vibrant personality - that he was capable of strong likes and dislikes - that he seemed to be possessed of inexhaustible energy - and that he liked to make quick decisions. You arrived shortly thereafter Bill bringing with you an aura of quiet warm friendliness - of slow deliberate decisions - and at least I thought at the time, not much interest really in the Service Station business. By the end of that very first day I was a very confused female for, if I remember correctly, that first afternoon you had a visitor in your office and I think it was Paul Kellogg. Anyway, the connecting door was left wide open and instead of business phrases what I heard was fragments of a discussion about drunken misery, a miserable wife, and what I thought was a very queer conclusion indeed - that being a drunk was a disease. I remember distinctly feeling that you were all rather hard hearted because at some points there was roaring laughter about various drunken incidents. Fortunately I liked you both immediately - I am not too easily frightened - and you were paying $3.00 more per week than I had been getting - so I was willing to give it a try. You will remember with me, I know, that in those days and for several years to come, we talked about "drunks" and not "alcoholics" and therefore I use those terms here. The activity of Honor Dealers, as I remember it, was never of paramount importance it seemed to me after I began to know most of you original men, that it was only a means to an end - that end being to help a bunch of nameless drunks. Having come from a thrifty German family I know what I thought if you two would spend as much energy and thought and enthusiasm on Honor Dealers as you did on drunks you might get somewhere. That would be hard to prove either way and actually I've never known whether the original premise of Honor Dealers was sound. Anyway I soon stopped caring whether Honor Dealers was successful or not and became more and more interested in each new face that came along with the alcoholic problem and caring very much whether they made the grade or not. All of you made me feel as though I were a very worthwhile person in my own right and very important to you which in turn made me want to always give my best to all of you. To me that is part of the secret of the success of A.A. - the generous giving of oneself to the needs of the other. Well - the activities of Honor Dealers slowly but surely declined and there was more and more correspondence with drunks and more of them showing up in the office. In those days it was part of the procedure, if the prospect was willing to go along, to kneel and pray together - all of you who happened to be there. To me, drunkenness and prayer were both very private activities and I sure did consider all of you a very revolutionary lot - but such likable and interesting revolutionaries! Hank put a good bit of thought and effort into Honor Dealers but whether his ideas had real merit or whether there was not enough prolonged effort or whether it was just a poor time for that kind of an idea I was not capable of judging then nor am I now. I only know that within about a year finances were precarious enough to move us into a tiny office in the same building and even then I was front man to explain to the superintendent why the rent wasn't paid on time and the telephone bill, etc. Payday was an indefinite affair indeed. I am somewhat confused about the timing of the move into the small Newark office because now that I think about it I remember that the book work was done in the large office. Anyway, early in my association with you, Bill, you began to dictate letters to Doc Smith. You never liked to dictate to a shorthand note book - you always dictated directly as I typed. In the amazing way these things often happen, since word of what you fellows were doing in New York and by that time Doc Smith in Akron was simply spread vocally from mouth to mouth, inquiries began to float in from amazing distances and some of these you asked me to answer in my own fashion. That is, to refer them to the closest "educated drunk." "Educated" of course in the sense that they knew something of this new possibility of an answer to alcoholism. Somewhere during those first months I also first met Doc Smith who gave everyone a feeling of great serenity - peace with himself and God - and an abounding wish to share what he had found with others. Somewhere along in there John Henry Fitzhugh Mayo also appeared (Offhand I have no idea of the dates) with his warm sense of humor and the all abiding wish to give to other drunks what he too had found. This you all had in common to an exciting and unbelievable degree. During that first year at least I don't think I ever attended a meeting, but through your dictation, Bill, through all I heard at the office and through the letters I was answering myself in your behalf I began to absorb an understanding of what it was all about and what you were trying to do and I became aware that the possibilities of writing a book were being discussed. Many of you thought it was an absolute necessity because even then the original idea was often distorted in the hundreds of word of mouth discussions. Its original basic simplicity was often completely confused beyond comprehension and besides it was becoming more and more impossible to fully expound the idea satisfactorily in letter after letter to various inquirers. Also, especially to the advertising type of man, the spread of the idea was going much too slowly and would become a sensation overnight if only put out in book form!! So far as I know there was never any doubt that you were the one to write it, Bill, and I know that you spent endless hours discussing its general form with everyone who would listen or offer an idea - especially with Doc Smith, Fitz and Hank. As soon as you began to feel you had at least a majority agreement you began to arrive at the office with those yellow scratch pads sheets I came to know so well. All you generally had on those yellow sheets were a few notes to guide you on a whole chapter! My understanding was that those notes were the result of long thought on your part after hours of discussion pro and con with everyone who might be interested. That is the way I remember first seeing an outline of the twelve steps. As I look at it today the basic idea of each chapter of the book and the twelve steps is still essentially today what you scribbled on the original yellow sheets. Of course there were thousands of small changes and rewrites - constant cutting or adding or editing but there are only two major changes made that I remember, both fought out in the office when you and Hank and Fitz and I were present. The first had to do with how much God was going to be included in the book itself and the 12 steps. Fitz was for going all the way with God, you were in the middle, Hank was for very little and I - trying to reflect the reaction of the non-alcoholic was for very little too. The result of this was the phrase "God as you understand Him," which I don't think ever had much of a negative reaction anywhere. We were unanimous that day and you got a greenlight everywhere you showed that typewritten copy including Doc Smith and the Akron contingent where a copy of everything was sent for O.K. or criticism. The only other major change I remember during the actual writing of the book was that originally it was directly written to the prospective alcoholic, that is -- "You were wrong" -- "You must" -- "You should" and after a big hassle, this was changed to read -- "We were wrong" -- "We must" -- "We should" -- etc." This was quite a job because by the time this major revision was decided on most of the book had been finished in its first draft at least and each chapter as well as the 12 steps had been slanted toward "you" instead of "We" to begin with. At this time I had still attended very few meetings but I know that the office confabs and final decisions were only made after the aforementioned hours of discussion with all who cared to take part in them with you so that the majority opinion of all who attended meetings at that time was reflected in the final decisions. During all this time, of course, there was plenty of discussion about a name for the book and there were probably hundreds of suggestions. However, I remember very few --"One Hundred Men" - "The Empty Glass" - "The Dry Way" - "The Dry Life" - "Dry Frontiers" - "The Way Out" - This last was by far the most popular. Alcoholics Anonymous had been suggested and was used a lot among ourselves as a very amusing description of the group itself but I don't believe it was seriously considered as a name for the book. More later on this. By the time the book was mimeographed mostly for distribution in an effort to raise money to carry on and get the book published. There was constant discussion about detail changes with seemingly little hope for unanimous agreement so it was finally decided to offer the book to Tom Uzzell for final editing. It had been agreed, for one thing, that the book, as written, was too long but nobody could agree on where and how to cut it. At that point it was still nameless because Fitz had reported that the selected name of "The Way Out" was over patented. I remember that during an appointment with Tom Uzzell, we discussed the various name possibilities and he [handwritten insert: Tom Uzzell] immediately - very firmly and very enthusiastically - stated that "Alcoholics Anonymous" was a dead wringer both from the sales point of view because it was "catchy" and because it really did describe the group to perfection. The more this name was studied from this point of view the more everybody agreed and so it was decided. Uzzell cut the book by at least a third as I remember it and in my opinion did a wonderful job on sharpening up the context without losing anything at all of what you were trying to say, Bill, and the way you said it. I really cannot remember who originally thought up the name "Alcoholics Anonymous". [Handwritten insert which appears to read "Joe Worden" and a reference to a handwritten footnote which appears to read "Joe Worden ... an AA member who just couldn't stay sober." It does not look like Bill's handwriting.] The financing of the book is quite difficult for me to remember, that is, what happened when. Originally, of course, the work was done on Honor Dealer time. In other words what salaries were paid came from Honor Dealer transactions, and the paper, the pencils, the office, the typewriter, the phone, etc. belonged to Honor Dealers. Let me make it clear that the members of Honor Dealers were never cheated in any way they were always promptly served - it's only that what might have been a worthwhile idea for a group of service stations just didn't pan out. When the income from Honor Dealers finally dwindled away completely - finances were a real problem. At this point there was universal agreement (except in Cleveland) that the book was a necessity and that what you had done on it up to that time was extremely satisfactory both in concept and execution. So the only problem was how to get enough money to finish it and get it published. You went to one of the large book publishers about an advance - and as I remember it you were offered One Thousand Dollars with a rather minute royalty on each book published. Hank, (I think) then came up with the idea of selling stock to finance the writing of the book and to publish it. Thus - Works Publishing Co. was born - and the book stock idea set up and forms printed. There was great optimism about the ease with which this stock could be sold by you and Hank and Wally von Arx who was active in this phase of the situation. That dream was not to be fulfilled because for the most part selling a share of Works Publishing Co. stock for $25.00 was like pulling teeth. Enough stock was sold in the original enthusiastic reaction of a few to keep us going on an extremely minimum basis for a while and then sales came to a complete halt and there we were back where we started. The paradox of this is the fact that if enough stock had been sold and the book carried through to a conclusion on this basis, the stockholders would have had a fine return indeed for their original investment. However all things happen for the best and this kind of private profit would probably have been a perpetual thorn in the A.A. side. You then decided to approach Mr. Rockefeller and were able to do so through various contacts you had built up through the years. This resulted in the Rockefeller dinner which in turn resulted in a minimum pledge which finally resulted in the book being carried to a conclusion and finally published by the Cornwall Press. Unfortunately I am not very good at getting across the spirit of fun, the real enjoyment of life, the cheerful acceptance of temporary defeat, the will to keep trying, the eternal effort to keep everybody satisfied, which made these years so very worth while and so soul satisfying. In this paragraph I am describing particularly my own reactions, but I know that you will agree and so would everyone else who had any share in it. Even the altercations and disagreements of which there were many were carried on with a basic will to reach a compromise at least - therefore a compromise was always possible and always reached amicably. Naturally, when the book was finally rolling off the press the feeling was that our troubles were over which turned out to be far from the case. It was agreed that the book needed to be advertised and a date was finagled for a member of A.A. on "We The People". Morgan Ryan agreed to appear anonymously and did a good job with his three minutes while we all listened breathlessly on the radio. As I remember it his talk was slanted at Doctors and to back him up we had mailed out thousands of postal cards to a selected list of Doctors to reach them in time to get them to listen to the broadcast and to tell them how to get a copy of the book. We had an assembly line all ready to pack and mail the books when the orders came rolling in - and then we waited. I don't think more than four cards were returned at all and the only one that made an impression on me was the first one that came in - an order for six books - C.O.D. There was great jubilation that morning - naturally we though we were in. We simmered down to as close to gloom as I ever remember we got in the next few days over the few replies and were really practically squashed flat when the package of six books was returned marked "no such address". I'm afraid none of us appreciated for a while the humor of whoever that joker was. By this time we were at the Vesey Street office and that address was a compromise too. Since I lived in New Jersey I didn't want to work in New York at all - on the other hand you had always wanted to have the office near Grand Central Station - so we settled on Vesey St. For quite a while, about a year at least, there were just the two of us handling correspondence, packing books, and whatever there was to be done and all the while the financial struggle to keep the thing going at all continued. The Liberty magazine article was published and for the first time we began to find a stirred up interest in the form of [letters]. Each letter was answered individually and although the book was mentioned we tried to get across the fact that it was not necessary to purchase the book and in each case the individual was referred to whatever group or individual A.A. closest to him or her. Since at that time I imagine there were no more than 500 A.A. members, if that, scattered from coast to coast and the great majority of those in the middle west and East it was often difficult to get any closer to the individual than several hundred miles. However, we did the best we could and we soon fortunately began to be able to count several traveling salesmen among our A.A. members. Outstanding among these was "Greenberg" who often made side trips of several hundred miles to try to contact people who had written to our New York A.A. office for help. When the Saturday Evening Post article hit the stands we really began to be flooded with mail and meanwhile the book sales had been steadily increasing from two or three a week until I think they hit an average of about 25 a week and we began to be able to meet office expenses. We then had to hire an assistant who turned out to be Lorraine [?] who was promptly christened "Sweety Pie" by you Bill and I don't think was ever called anything else by anyone connected with A.A. I would like to say that "Sweety Pie" was always cheerful and loyal and understanding beyond her years and was a real asset to those early days of the A.A. office at Vesey St. To me some of the things that stand out most were letters from individuals who were too far distant to contact any A.A. group or member but who kept writing back to us and with the help of the book were able to reach sobriety by themselves, and even to start their own groups. To keep us humble and laughing were developments like the Southern group started via mail through (was his last name Henry?) Anyway, he wrote us flowing reports about his group and its amazing recoveries of members of his group. One of our traveling members stopped in for a visit and his letter to us was an eye opener indeed. It seems that this particular group was based on the theory that all alcoholic beverages were very bad for the alcoholic - except beer. This idea was carried out so thoroughly that beer was served at their A.A. meetings with copious readings of the A.A. book. Oh well - the beer itself soon cured that misconception. One of the biggest things you ever did for the solid growth of A.A. in my opinion Bill was to set up a policy of non-interference in the development of individual groups. You set up a policy of suggestion not direction with which I agreed all the way and which I always followed. An individual or a group can resent and argue an order or direction but how much can you resent a suggestion which carries the intimation that possibly they might come up with a better answer if they work it out for themselves. In other words if a group wrote us a description of a problem in their midst and asked for an answer, we would usually describe what another group had done under similar circumstances or suggest possibilities and put the problem squarely back in their laps. In other words as each individual is responsible for his own sobriety - so is each group. We learned early too not to make predictions about who would or would not stay sober. The most impossible looking cases so often made the grade to confound us with the miracle while our most promising so often fell by the wayside. Do you remember the two young hopefuls we practically made bets on? I think they were Mac and Shepherd. They contacted us about the same time and [we] were specially interested because they were younger than most at that time. As I remember it Shepherd was a high betting favorite while "poor Mac was hopeless". To our surpass Sheperd at that time had trouble almost immediately while Mac seemed to make steady progress in sobriety. Of course the whole situation blew up in our faces when one day Mr. Chipman promised to visit us at Vesey Street so that you could show him what wonderful progress A.A. was making in every way and to top off the performance you invited Mac to appear to prove that even very young men could achieve sobriety. The stage was all set and you met Mr. Chipman for lunch. Meanwhile Mac appeared at the office completely polluted for the first time in about six months. Unfortunately he was so far gone that he collapsed in a coma in the big chair in your private office. I couldn't budge him so all I could think of to do was shut the door and try to head you off. When you appeared with Mr. Chipman though you were talking a blue streak complete with gestures and I couldn't get a word in edgewise as you swept open the door to your office to reveal Mac in all his drunken glory. After the proverbial moment of stunned silence you broke into roars of laughter, and a minute later, bless his heart, Mr. Chipman joined you. Then I relaxed too and all three of us laughed until we literally wept. When Mac snapped out of this particular binge some days later he enjoyed it too. This ability to laugh at yourselves and to accept the puncturing of your own self importance is one of the basic steps in A.A. I believe - of course it makes every individual more likable and lovable whether alcoholic or not. What little I have been able to absorb has made life much simpler for me I know. I'm going to quit right here Bill - if it isn't the kind of thing you want - tear it up. If there is anything I can or should add or subtract, let me know. Always the best to you Bill -- Devotedly - Ruth IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1662. . . . . . . . . . . . Books About Bill Wilson From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/18/2004 2:28:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Friends, Recent books about Bill Wilson have come to my attention. The first is written for children at a reading level of 6 to 12 years. However, I find it a fine summary of Bill's life which should be of interest to persons of all ages. Amazon.com: Books: Bill W.: A Different Kind of Hero: The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous [9] The second is a recent book by Susan Cheever called "My Name is Bill." I have only scanned it, but it looks quite interesting. Amazon.com: Books: My Name Is Bill : Bill Wilson--His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous While searching Amazon.com for the Cheever book I came upon a book entitled "Bill W., A Strange Salvation." I hasten to add that this book is not written as history but as "a Biographical Novel Based on Key Moments in the Life of Bill Wilson, the Alcoholics Anonymous Founder, and a Probing of His Mysterious 22-Year Depression." I am finding it interesting, but frustrating in that I do not know the historicity of some of the events he discussed (such as Bill's trip to Canada to visit his father while still in his teens). Amazon.com: Books: Bill W., A Strange Salvation: A Biographical Novel [10] IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1663. . . . . . . . . . . . Second Annual Stockholm SpeakersConvention 2004. From: fredrik hogberg . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/18/2004 8:02:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII SECOND ANNUAL STOCKHOLM SPEAKERS' CONVENTION The Serenity Group of Stockholm, Sweden, is organizing its 2nd annual Speakers' Convention. The convention will be held on the 28th and 29th of May, 2004.The venue will be "stra Reals Auditorium" - a grand old school in the heart of Stockholm. Our main speaker will be Johnnie H., from the Pacific Group, Los Angeles. He is a highly sought-after speaker in Southern California, and well known for his strong pitch. The topics of this convention will be "The Promises" and "Service". We can promise you a very interesting "Life story" together with a program brimming with good fellowship! The Serenity Group AA - Speakers' Committee of Stockholm would love to welcome visitors from other countries as well. We promise to take GOOD care of our guests and also let them know something - That Swedish hospitality entails more than meatballs.... In conjunction with the convention we will also organize dinners both evenings, for our speaker as well as all the international guests coming to visit us. We can assure you all that there will be a lot of sober fun! Last year was a real smash, with Clancy I., as our main speaker, followed by dinner and dancing at a famous downtown restaurant and nightclub. I wish to welcome all of you to this springtime convention in Sweden; at a time when Stockholm will be displaying her very prettiest face! For information and registration, please feel free to contact us at: talarkonvent2004@yahoo.com In Love and Service, Fredrik H. Committee Chairperson of Stockholm AA - Speakers' Convention 2004 Exciting offer! You won't believe it! FREE INTERNET SUPER STORES! Earn Big Income! How? By giving away SUPER STORES for FREE! Try it FREE! http://hogberg.freestoreclub.com Hstrusk och gr moln - kp en resa till solen p Yahoo! Resor [11] IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1664. . . . . . . . . . . . Belladonna - Compiled from old posts From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/19/2004 2:35:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII On Sep. 26, 2003, Norrie F. from Scotland asked for information about Belladonna. The following are excerpts from the replies. The original posts have been deleted. Nancy David G. replied: Belladonna is the name of a sedative, antispasmodic drug that is extracted from the Bella Donna plant. Used for relief of muscle spasms, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract due to nausea and diarrhea. Developed in NY by Physician Sam Lambert. Used in alcohol treatment to ease withdrawal. Art S. replied: The book Bill W., by Francis Hartigan (pg 50) has a very brief description: “Bill’s treatment took place under the supervision of the hospital’s medical director, Dr. William D. Silkworth, who would become a legendary figure in AA circles. Silkworth had little more to offer of a medical nature than the “belladonna cure”. This involved a 'purging and puking' aided by, among other things, castor oil. Belladonna, a hallucinogen, was also administered to ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.” Mark E. replied I found the following using Google as my search engine for the term Belladonna treatment when I was taking a few of my sponsees through the Big Book. The website address is as follows: http://www.aabacktobasics.com/archives/archive6.html "Upon Wilson's arrival at Towns Hospital, he was placed in a bed and the Towns-Lambert Treatment was begun. Dr. Lambert described the belladonna treatment as follows: Briefly stated, it consists in the hourly dosage of a mixture of belladonna, hyoscyamus and xanthoxylum. The mixture is given every hour, day and night, for about fifty hours. There is also given about every twelve hours a vigorous catharsis of C.C. pills and blue mass. At the end of the treatment, when it is evident that there are abundant bilious stools, castor oil is given to clean out thoroughly the intestinal tract. If you leave any of the ingredients out, the reaction of the cessation of desire is not as clear cut as when the three are mixed together. The amount necessary to give is judged by the physiologic action of the belladonna it contains. When the face becomes flushed, the throat dry, and the pupils of the eyes dilated, you must cut down your mixture or cease giving it altogether until these symptoms pass. You must, however, push this mixture until these symptoms appear, or you will not obtain a clear cut cessation of the desire for the narcotic..." (Bill Pittman's book: AA The Way It Began 17, p. 2126; 209, p. 186) IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1665. . . . . . . . . . . . How AA Got Started in Scotland - Compilation of Posts From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/19/2004 2:37:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Friends, The following are excerpts from three posts I previously made to AA History Buffs, and transferred to AA History Lovers. The original three posts have been deleted. Nancy The following flyer concerning the book "Sir Philip Dundas" by Jenny Wren was received from an archivist in England named "Barbara": Sir Philip Dundas (1899-1952) was the grandson of Sir Robert, 1st Baronet of Arniston, and thus a member of a well-known family of Lowland Scots. He was the eldest of a family of six boys and one girl, and inherited the baronetcy on the death of his father in 1930. However, he never lived at the family home of Arniston House. He served for many years in the Black Watch, including a tour of duty in Silesia after the First World War, where his regiment was stationed to keep the peace until plebiscites were arranged to settle the new borders between Germany and Poland. On retirement from the army, he farmed on the Mull of Kintyre, near Campbeltown. His greatest achievement is unconnected with either the army or farming, but arises from a personal battle with alcoholism. Realising the need for assistance with his affliction, he found help in a recently created self-help organisation in America. He was so grateful for his own liberation from alcoholism that he determined to introduce this new approach to his own country, and thus became the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in Scotland. There are still some today who remember meeting him, and are grateful for his influence and example. There are many more who are profoundly thankful for his work, and he is held in high esteem by the Scottish Alcoholics Anonymous. Many of his more illustrious forebears have been the subject of biographical and historical studies, but this is the first book about Sir Philip and his family. As well as Sir Philip, it tells the story of each of his five brothers, whose careers ranged from banking to the Fleet Air Arm. Overlooked in most existing histories of the Dundas family, they are 'the forgotten generation of Arniston.' In this personal biography, Sir Philip's daughter puts him and his brothers on the record. _______ Barbara sent me some additional information on how AA got started in Scotland. She says: "ONE DAY AT A TIME INTO THE 1950s -- the Loners make contact... "Alcoholics Anonymous came to Scotland about the same time that it arrived in England, though reports on the earliest meetings sometimes conflict. The man who played the biggest part in getting meetings established was Philip D, [Sir Philip Dundas] whom New York registered as a loner in Campbeltown in 1948. "In February that year, New York wrote to the London members about him, describing 'an alcoholic who stopped drinking some four years ago on spiritual principles, but on his own and before he heard of AA.' Philip, a titled Scottish gentleman farmer, had gone to a World Christian Association conference in the USA, where a group of businessmen were trying to bring God into industry by setting up breakfast clubs for prayer. Philip thought that maybe doing good work like that would help him stay off drink. At the very first session he met an old time Philadelphia AA, George R, 'who gave him AA right off the spiritual main line.' wrote Bill W in AA Comes of Age. The head of one of Scotland's most ancient clans sobered up on the spot. 'In March, Philip visited London and contacted general secretary, Lottie.' "A month later, she was referring enquiries to him, and Philip began what was to be a series of 12-step visits to hospitals and prisons criss-crossing Scotland. 'My difficulties are several,' he wrote to her that same month. 'I am actively engaged in farming and what with lambing and seeding I have been up to the eyes. "'My next problem is that I live in the most out of the way spot imaginable ... a very small size fishing town and the fishermen are a comparatively sober lot so not much scope locally. It is obvious to get AA going in Scotland I shall have to collect one or two in either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Possibly out of the letters you say you have which please send on, I may be able to make a start.' "Philip paid Forbes C. to go round Scotland telling interested parties about AA. It wasn't easy. 'You know as well as I do that the Scottish alcoholics are pretty tough cases,' wrote Lottie in September 1948. "According to this letter, Forbes 'was asked by Marty M[ann] (the visiting alcoholism expert from the USA who was also an AA member) and Philip to go off ... to see if a real group could not be started. Forbes succeeded and there is one group in Perth and another one will be in Edinburgh and Glasgow.' The first Edinburgh meeting was held in Mackie's Restaurant, Princes Street. "Philip had made contact with Jack McK of Glasgow, who had been a patient at Gilgal Hospital in Perth. And in the spring of 1949, other patients in the same hospital became interested. In February that year a meeting was held in the Waverley Hotel, Perth. Five people attended. "Meanwhile in Glasgow, Philip and Jack McK had contacted Jimmy R, a patient of Crichton Royal, Dumfries, and an alcoholic named Charlie B. In March 1949, there was a public meeting held in the St. Enoch's Hotel, Glasgow, with 54 people present. Fourteen expressed some interest but only four showed up at the second meeting - Philip, Jimmy R, Jack McK and John R. Philip paid the expenses for the first three or four sessions and they decided to hold regular meetings every Tuesday evening. "Attendance was not encouraging. But a visit from Gordon M, an American, persuaded them to register as a group with the New York office. Thus in May 1949 both Edinburgh First and Glasgow Central became part of the official record. "By November 1949 a letter from Jimmy F reported that the Edinburgh group was flourishing. There was 'a stable nucleus' by the end of the year and a Dr. Clark in charge of a ward in Edinburgh Hospital was referring patients to the Fellowship. "The Glasgow members were also active in contacting doctors. Consultant Psychiatrist A. Balfour Sclare recalled: 'To the best of my recollection Alcoholics Anonymous first made its impact upon psychiatrists ... in the Glasgow area when a member of this Fellowship gave an address on its modus operandi at the Lansdowne Clinic in 1949.' "Philip continued to do his best from his Scottish farm. One of the prospects he interested was a John MD, an inmate of Greenock Prison. He sent Forbes to talk to the governor and later wrote himself in August 1949: 'If you feel it would be any use either I or one of the Glasgow members would be only too willing to come to Greenock and have a few talks with him about the movement ... I am perfectly willing to have a try with him provided he, himself, will honestly make up his mind to chuck alcohol for good, otherwise it is just a waste of time talking to him.'" _______ More On Sir Philip Dundas and How AA Got Started in Scotland I have finished reading the book "Sir Philip Dundas," by Jenny Wren. It was Philip Dundas who started AA in Scotland. "Jenny Wren" is really Myfanwy [yes, I spelled it correctly] Baldwin. At first her siblings called her "Myffie" but then changed it to "Vannie" which she has been called by her family ever since. But Sir Philip, called her his "little Jenny Wren." (Jenny Wren is the name of a character in a Charles Dickens novel, and also the name of a rose.) I asked Mrs. Baldwin, with whom I have been in touch by e-mail, if she knew whether he had called her Jenny Wren because of the character Dickens or because of the rose. She believes he called her that because he thought the wrinkled little baby looked like a little brown bird, a wren. Mrs. Baldwin writes in the book: "My mother described my father as somewhat tipsy but in a very good mood on his first visit to see me. He presented my mother with a brooch and asked her if it went with the new baby. Then he picked me up in his arms and walked up and down the room with me calling me his little Jenny Wren. So apart from half his genetic make-up my first gift from my father was my nom de plume for the purposes of his story." Sir Philip was born in 1899, and inherited his father's title in 1930, becoming the fourth Baronet of Arniston. He had been educated in the finest schools, including the prestigious Harrow, where his father had also been educated. In July of 1918, Philip was given a commission in the Black Watch (42nd Foot, Royal Highlanders). In 1920, when Europe was still dealing with the aftermath of the war, Philip was sent to Silesia to serve with the 2nd Battalion in the disputed zone on the borders of Germany and Poland. The 1920s brought tragedy to the family. In 1922, Philip's brother David, 19, who was serving in the Navy, was killed when his boat -- a mine sweeper -- disappeared at sea. Only three of the crew was found, but not David. Philip could not be with his family during this tragic time, as he was serving in Silesia. In 1928 Philip was serving in India when he brother Henry, who was in the Malay states, contracted blackwater fever and died at age 27. None of the family was able to get there for the funeral. And then, in the winter of 1930, his father -- while sailing from Southampton on his way to Capetown, South Africa -- died suddenly of a heart attack, and was buried at sea. So at age 31, following several family tragedies, Philip found himself head of the family, with all the responsibilities of his title. His daughter says that "Psychologically he may have felt somewhat battered at this time following three close family deaths." Just when Philip began drinking, she doesn't say, but by the time he assumed his title he was showing signs of strain. "He began to drink quite heavily and at times seemed unable to control the amount he drank. A photograph of him ... in April 1932 shows that he had put on weight and his face looked troubled." By 1932, his drinking was often out of control, and his mother was growing extremely concerned about him. She turned to her friend and neighbor, Violet Hood, for advice. Violet's daughter, Jean, was a very religious girl. She had joined the Oxford Group, with whom she had traveled to America where she attended meetings. They thought that perhaps the Oxford Group could help Philip. So Jean was called to talk to him. But much to her mother's dismay, Jean and Philip fell in love. (Violet had taken quite a fancy to Philip's brother Tom and had been heard to tell his mother how proud she would be to have a son like Tom. But Philip was quite another story.) Jean's parents were concerned at the situation she might be getting into, and they decided to consult the Oxford Group about the problem. Philip's mother, on the other hand was delighted, probably thinking that Jean would be a good influence on her son. Jean, however, thought that the Dundases probably felt she was not quite "out of the top drawer." The Oxford group seemed unable to help. It seemed to Jean that they were against the idea of her marrying Philip and wanted her to give him up. But Jean would not, and they were married. Their daughter says that Jean had not known Philip well during their childhood as he was more than ten years her senior, but she never could resist a "lame duck." "Now she became determined that God could heal this young man, and put all her energies into helping wherever she could." Philip and Jean produced a son, Henry, in 1937, and a daughter, Althea, in 1939. By the 1940s Philip's drinking was making Philip's behavior towards his wife impossible and she left him and planned to divorce him. But Philip soon persuaded her to return and try again, "and promised to do something about the drinking problem." His Jenny Wren was born after the reconciliation, in 1946. Another daughter, Joanne, was born in 1949. Philip had been trying for some time to find a solution to his drinking problem and by 1947 "as a member of MRA, had with their help achieved a measure of control." [I believe "MRA" may refer to "moral rearmament," the new name for the Oxford Group.] Mrs. Baldwin reports that "In 1948 he and Jean visited the United States apparently at the invitation of the Oxford Group." During his visit to America he attended a dinner at which he met "George R. who told him of an organisation, formed some fifteen years earlier, which could help people with his problem. George thus introduced my father to Alcoholics Anonymous, and that first meeting was said to have changed his life. It was also said that from that time forward he did not touch alcohol again." Bill Wilson, described it like this: "He [Philip] came over to have a look at the International Christian Leadership Movement, where he met with a group of businessmen who were interested in bringing God into industry through the medium of breakfast clubs for prayer and planning. Philip thought that maybe he could introduce the breakfast club idea to Scotland, and he hoped that such a good work would loosen his fatal attachment to the bottle. At the very first session he met an old-time Philadelphia A.A., George R., who gave him A.A. right off the spiritual mainline. The head of one of Scotland's most ancient clans sobered up on the spot. He took A.A. back to his native heath, and soon alcoholic Scots were drying up all the way from Glasgow ship chandlers to society folks in Edinburgh." His daughter reports that he "returned to Britain fired up with all he had learned in the States and, despite the initial suffering without an alcoholic drop, had stuck to his resolved and began to feel well and happy again." His relationship with his wife improved and he was determined to use his gifts and talents in helping other people who suffered from alcoholism. He was now determined to bring AA to Scotland. "His years as an officer in the army and his family background gave him the confidence of how to go about this." His first efforts were not too successful. He then "contacted the Governor of Gilgal prison and other institutions where men and women with a drinking problem might be found and asked if he might be allowed to come and talk to the sufferers. Together with a man called Forbes, who was unemployed at the time, he attempted to raise an interest in the past successes of this organization. At first it was slow to take off, as often the people approached were not interested, but eventually a group of four got together and gradually interest began to grow." Some of his letters from this time survive and his daughter says that they reveal some of his feelings and thoughts about himself. "As he worked through the agonies of withdrawing from alcohol he gradually began to feel better both mentally and physically. Washing up pots and pans, a job he had always loathed, now struck him as something he quite enjoyed and he would scrub them as hard as he could to see how bright and shiny he could make them. He began to get to know his own strengths and weaknesses much better, and was aware that sometimes he was too soft and trusting with people. He realised that it was easier to see the good in people than to face up to their faults. He sometimes acknowledged he might not be the best person to deal with certain alcoholic cases as people found it easy to deceive him. He cursed the fact that he had what he called 'a handle' to his name, because he felt that people believed he might be a soft touch for money." He was very eager to get AA established in Scotland as quickly as possible. "He feared complacency as he felt the development might grind to a halt. He also feared his fellow founders might feel he was being dictatorial and trying to grab power." But his daughter says that it was his desire to get as many branches as possible formed with plenty of capable people to run them. "The Irish set-up was a case where he felt there was too much dependence on the founder. Rather ironically he suggested what a disaster this would be should the founder suddenly die." As time went by his spent a lot of his time traveling about trying to set up new branches of AA in Scotland. Mrs. Baldwin writes that "In April 1950, my father received a personal letter from Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, stating that he proposed to visit the British Isles in June and July. This letter also mentioned that Bill hoped for a short period of rest and sightseeing while in Scotland. My parents had him and his wife to stay at Fairnington Craigs, and then went with them on their visit further north." (There is a wonderful picture in the book of Bill with Sir Philip and an unidentified man and woman at Dunkeld. Bill is looking very handsome in a three piece suit as he towers over Sir Philip by at least a head.) Sir Philip died in 1952. During his final illness his little Jenny Wren read to him from a pile of Beatrix Potter books, as her mother had read to her when she was ill. "Those words I couldn't read I made up, and he went along with it like the good sport he was," she reports. He was buried at Holy Trinity Church in Melrose. His wife chose words from St. John's Gospel to go on his gravestone: "For as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me." "It was a reminder of his work in bringing Alcoholics Anonymous to Scotland," writes his daughter. His eldest child and only son, Henry, became the fifth Baronet upon the death of Philip in 1952. He was only 14 when he inherited the title. Sadly, Harry died unexpectedly at the age of twenty-six. He was buried at Melrose beside his father. His mother's choice of biblical text for him was "You are not alone because the father is with you." Sir Philip's brother Jim then inherited the title. His little Jenny Wren, who obviously adored her father, ends her book by saying: "During the last few years of his life, he gave so much of himself to setting up further branches of AA in Scotland, and by his death there were branches in Perth, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Ayr, Dumfries and Inverness. Today I'm told there are over 900 groups in Scotland. How many people, I wonder, does that mean have been touched by his courage and conviction? How many families have been enabled to live normal and happy lives with the help of AA? A few weeks ago it was the centenary of my father's birth, and we are now about to start on a new and significant century. I hope he would be proud of the little acorns that he sowed in Scotland. From these, people have carried on his work and reached out to those who suffer in this particular way. "Most little girls, I'm told, want a dad to be proud of. It has been a privilege through writing this book to share some of his joys and sorrows, to discover how courageous he was, and to possess that pride in his memory." Myfanwy Baldwin (nee Dundas), Cleobury Mortimer, December 1999. _______ Sources; Sir Philip Dundas, by Jenny Wren, M & M Baldwin Press. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1667. . . . . . . . . . . . AA in Russia - Letters from Marina K and Irina K From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/20/2004 3:46:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Friends, In June of 2000 I posted to AA History Buffs (and later transferred to AA History Lovers) some correspondence from an AA in Russia named Marina K. which had been forwarded from Barbara in the UK. This resulted in my receiving copies of some letters from Irina K. in Russia. This post combines those letters. The originals have been deleted. Nancy Letters from Marina to Barbara in the UK: Good day, Barbara! I can't answer you letter in moment. It takes some more time for me to read and write in English, when in Russian. But it is one more reason for delay. I took part in very interesting thing in our AA. We name it "avtoprobeg" - it means, that on 30th of April 7 cars start from one Russian town (Tolyatty). They pass over 3000 kilometers - Ural (this is a Russian region on the border of Europe and Asia). Every day - new town, meetings this members of AA of this towns. During the way from one town to another (it took nearle 4-5 hours) - groups in the cars. It was wonderful. I was waiting this trip the whole year. I was vry afraid, that something may happen and I could not take part in this journey. But High Power gave me such happy opportunity. It is very difficult for me to tell in English about this trip. It is difficult yet in Russian - I haven't words. I met my friends (some members of AA from this towns I had meet in Moscow during last years). I saw problems of AA in deep Russian regions. I saw, how AA grow there. We visited 7 towns of Ural. And 2 and 3 years ago I was in 2 of this towns. Were was the all-Russian Convention in this towns (in 1997 - Magnitogorsk, and in 1998 - Glazov). It was difficult decision for Russian AA - to organize such all-Russian conventions not in Moscow, there we can gather more people, then in such small towns. But we think: this Convention will help AA in this regions to grow. Today, then I visit this towns second time - I saw: it was write decision. I saw results of our work 2 or 3 years ago. So, I returned home very weary (we sleep nearly for 3-4 hours at night during this journey), but very happy. Now I'll try to write for your letter. [Barbara's newsletter.] About history of Russian AA and archive documents. We are nearly 13 years old - but we have problems this our history. The first problem - we don't exactly know data of beginning. In particular - beginning of Moscow AA. There was many debates about this 3 years ago - and for today we don't decide, then Moscow AA began - in 1987 or in 1998. Different people have different opinions. Today we say, that Russian AA is 13, because it is the age of St. Peterburg group AA "Almaz" (December 1996). I don't know for today the eldest group. Many documents is keeping at homes of some members of AA. Only year ago we began to take such archives to office. But we have problems - how to keep them. But the main problem - I don't know a men (or woman) for today, who want to work this archives. For today we only put this documents in boxes - but I understand - it needs more serious work. I know one man - he try to fix events in Russian AA. But he live not in Moscow. Month ago I get from him document, it name "Chronicle of events of Russian AA" (4 pages). And this is nearly all, that we have for today about our history. No, we have some more documents - registration sheets of Russian groups (since 1995), documents of Conferences from 9 to 12 (12 was in this year). We have no documents from Conferences 1st, 2nd, 3rd. We have only decisions from Conferences from 4th to 8th. But I think - such problems are not only in Russian AA. It is reality. Perhaps, we began to think about our history not too late. About Russian office of AA. It is in Moscow, not in the center - on the fringe of Moscow. It consist of two small rooms. We have xerox, two computers, and some more equipment. What we do there? Prepare AA books (3 main books) to printing. (But print them not in office). Prepare booklets and make copies on Xerox. Unswerving service (telephone), e-mail contacts. 3 time during year we send to all Russian groups (nearly 210 for today) letters this some information about "AA life" (the analog of BOX), materials on Service. Purpose: group consciousness must be informed. I may tell many detail about work in office, but it is detail. It is every day work to help people find AA, to help them understand not only one word (recovery) but 3 important words (Unity - Service - Recovery). This is my way too - I understand, that I need service to stay sober. For last 2 years, before I had need to go to another town (this is family situation) - I worked in office as volunteer - two or three evenings and all Saturday. But today I think - it was the happiest time for last 20 years of my life. We have 2 workers in office, who get money for theirs work: secretary and accountant. We can't pay them enough money - Russian AA doesn't have mush money for today. But they do work - and this is not a work of volunteer. The main problem for today in Russian AA - we have not state registration. This gives many juridical and organization problems. And for today this question is open. It is a great problem. About your another questions. I have never been in England. I have never been in any foreign country. Last year I was elected a delegate to European Service Meeting (it was in October). All was good, I get documents, but+ In August I was informed, that my mother have cancer. She has died. It is a reason, that I go from Moscow to a small town (I have need to live with my father for today). But I can't get to Service Meeting in October. How I learn English? A specialized school in childhood. Then I forgot many. But then I came to AA - I began to work this materials in English - made translation, correct translations of another people. Then I began to work this e-mail. And I have to answer for letters from another countries - this help me to "remember" English. I don't think my English is very good, but I think - it become more better since I came to AA. About AA journals. During last year I got numbers of "Grapevine" - it was a gift from members of AA in America. It was very useful for me - I find many interesting articles, some of them we translated to Russian and one or two was publish in Russian AA journal "Rodnic". I want to translate some more articles from numbers of "Grapevine", which I have. But - my main problem - I have a little time and I wish to do so many things in AA. And this translation - not the first things for me. I have some deals, that I think more important. And translations can be done by another people. But I can say - it was very interesting to read "Grapevine", it help me in my sobriety (and in my English too). So, I must stop this letter - tomorrow I'll send it (I have Internet only on my work - and I can send letters only 1 or 2 times a week). Thank you for your story. This love in AA Marina Dear Barbara. Certainly, you may send my letter to Nancy and use it and next in your Newsletter. I understand, that my letters need a corrections (my English is not good enough+) - you may do it. I get a letter from Nancy with suggestion to join Internet group AA History Buffs. As I understand from her letter - it is very interesting group for me. I am very grateful for this suggestion. But I have some problems to join this group - Today I live in a small town on the North of Russia. And our telephone lines are not good enough. So, I have my own name in Internet, but I have technical problems to connect with my internet provider from my home computer. And I connect from my place of work (where I get money). It is not comfortable. I have a permission to use telephone line from work, but+ Usually, I have only 10-15 minutes to send my and get e-mail letters, convert them to Word file and put them on the mini-diskette. And I read this letters at home in the evening. So, in Russian-speaking e-mail group I ask my friends to send me letters in special ZIP-archives - it take less time to get such e-mail. So, I afraid, that in this group (AA History Buffs) I may get many letters, and I shall not be able "to process" them. The second problem - in summer I'll be on my work rarely (once a week or once in 10 days) - so, you may understand, that I can't answer letters very quick. I have a hope - to do some manipulations with my computer during summer and to get connection from my home. If it will be so - I'll join AA History Buffs. But for today I must wait. But I am ready to contact with you and with Nancy (if she want this), to have individual correspondence. I'll try to translate to English the document "hronika" - it is a history of Russian AA (it was written by one member of Russian AA). But I think it will take time (perhaps month or more) - I have many duties (in AA and in my usual life) today. If I will do this - I'll send it to you. I'll be very grateful, if you can send me the most interesting materials. If it will be 2-4 letters in a week - it is normal, but more then 10 - it is a problem for me (and if this files will be not very "big' in kilobytes). But if it is difficult to do this - I'll understand. I know, that it take time to do individual selection. You may not do it for me. In any case - I'll be very glad to get letters from you. Please, send a copy of this letter to Nancy. I find e-mail address in her letter, but as I understand - this is address of a group. And as I said - today I may have only individual contacts. Marina K. (Marina gave permission for me to correct her English, but I wanted to keep the flavor of her own words.) _________ Letters from Irina to Margaret S.: Hi Margaret. It's a small world! Marina mentioned about "autoprobeg"-motor race through Urals. I would like to say I came to Yekaterinburg (central city of Urals region) 2 May two years ago on this gathering after some cars of this race arrived there! Maybe I saw Marina but I don't remember. Guys did a great job. It was inspirational experience for local AAs! I'm not so advanced in history of AA of Russia. The first group in Yekaterinburg appeared just 8 years ago. There are some groups one among them in prison. I had been there twice (in prison's group Svecha-Candle). Also there are some groups in towns of Middle Urals (AA ,Al-Anon, NA). I'm the only Loner by correspondence. We have't meetimg-by-mail for Loners, Homers etc. in Russia. In my first year I asked myself, my friends in groups of Yekaterinburg- What should I do with my sobriety in my small settlement without group? I would like to mention that then my husband still drunk. I attended speaker meeting for the first time in December 98 in Yekaterinburg. Speaker was Tom from US. I was impressed. I remember I wrote down all that he said in my notebook! It was turning point for me. After meeting one sheet fell into my hands-it was information from Moscow AA Office about LIM. One brother Felix (he died in last year) told how he tries to set up something like LIM in Russia. I wrote to him immidiately. I thought just about corresponding in Russia & not presumed about Inernational corresponding-I knew nothing! He mentioned if I understand English I can write to GSO. I thought I knew! Now I know it was just a beginning. He did a great job. I wrote to GSO. After they published my letter in LIM bulletin I got a lot of letters from different countries! I'm grateful to my Higher Power for this gift! Still I have many pen pals but now prefere using e-mail because postage on "snail-mail" still rising. By the way you can read about typical state of AA of Russia in typical towns in the AA Grapevine, Millenium Editon, January 2000, page 22 "A Hard Spiritual Labor". I was so impressed that immidiately found in Russian AA Directory & wrote a letter to Krasnodar to Valery M. You can picture his shock! -He could't imagine that someone could read Grapevine somewhere in such nook as my settlement! Now he is my close AA friend & the first person with whom I corresponding in Russian! Misterious way! I found pen pal in my own country via English-speaking Grapevine! I live just near geografical border Europe/Asia about 15 km from the point. Through my sister in Australia I got last AOSM newsletter. Russia among many countries of this zone was included in AOSM. Our candidate was present on last AOSM in Seoul in Oct. 2001. I got Final Report too. As to literature-I have some pamphlets & books (AA) both in Russian & English. Mainly in English. I'm really blessed I can translate & read. But I take responsibility for not violating copyrights of AA. Yes, I have an opportunity to translate, to print, to copy. But it 's tremendous responsibility as AA member. I saw illegal BB made in Germany there a couple of years ago (free of cause). I get AA materials from Moscow AA Service regularly information about events, gathering etc. Recently I got a couple of addresses of new loners in Russia! Now I have a couple of pen pals in my country at last! Thank you for listening! Margaret, you can send my letter on the group if you wish. If someone have questions I will be glad to answer. Irina Margaret then forwarded this letter: When I read story about visit to Soviet Union [see next post] I recalled those times during Communism. If Communism wouldn't fall it would be impossible my sobriety & my participation in AAs! I remember well this time - from 1970 to 1990. It was the country of militant atheism. The only "cure" for alcoholics were labor camps. If police had stopped drunks on streets of town they were dispatched into special sobering-up stations. "Alcoholic" is still like stigma in community. I tried to prove I'm not alcoholic. My folks had said "where is your will power?" Still for example in a lobby of our mashine works names of those who drunk "too much" posting up on special board-administration of plant think that these poor workers must be ashamed! These boards were used in former Soviet Union at every plant. In province where I live (this is typical Russian out-of-the-way place) community yet not open to "open" talk. I could make sure in it. It's legacy of Communism that touched mind & spirit of people. I believe that through new market economics & freedom, reforms, cooperation something will change. People will be more free & open. Russian society is not the same as 10 or 20 years ago - I can compare those years as I was born in 1964 in Yekaterinburg (former Sverdlovsk). By the way as it turned out I was born in this city twice-in 1964 & in 1998. It's not a coinscidence! Irina (As with Marina, I did not attempt to correct Irina's English. My profound thanks to Barbara and Margaret for sending the list these letters.) IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1668. . . . . . . . . . . . AA in Russia -- Some posts from those who have visited Russia From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/20/2004 4:04:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII These were compiled from earlier posts which have been deleted. Mike B. wrote: I was privileged to be on two of the trips sponsored by CASW to the then-Soviet Union. My first was in April 1987 and then again the following April - 1988. To my knowledge, trip #1 in April 1986 marked the first public AA meeting in Moscow and that is considered by most as the beginning of AA in Russia. On both of my trips (CASW # 3 and # 6), our group met in Helsinki and the Finnish AAs, then went into the Soviet Union. On the '87 trip, we went first to Estonia, and held the first AA meeting in Tallin. We also met with the Anti-Bacchus Society, a sobriety club in Tartu. Most of our contacts in both St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and Moscow were initially through the Department of Health and the hospitals. In Leningrad, it was the Bechterov Institute and in Moscow, Hospital # 13. During these trips, I met several Russian alcoholics, some in the hospitals and some in their homes. On the second trip, we held workshops on how to take an inventory and how to make a twelve-step call; it was fascinating stuff. I remember one woman named Marina being in our meetings, but this is a very common name in Russia. ___________ Bobby D. writes: I had a most blessed trip to Russia for 10 days before I went to Minneapolis, it was an incredible experience. The highlight, of course, was to sit in a meeting in Niznhy Novgorod and hear the beautiful language of the heart spoken by 60 or 70 wonderful Russian people. I have to tell you a funny thing. There were no meetings listed for that city in the International Directory, so I took it upon myself to go looking for some drunks to work with! I contacted a pastor who contacted several others, but what I got was a group of pastors, doctors, psychiatrists, etc. They were all very eager to help alcoholics, and it was wonderful. By the second night, there were 100 of them, and there were also some real alcoholics in the bunch! I was thrilled. I spoke to them and told them my story on the first night, and what the Big Book tells us about each of the 12 steps during the second night. Then an amazing thing happened. Several of them had questions, and soon it became apparent that they knew things about AA that the average person would not know. So after the second night I asked them if they had attended AA somewhere. They said, "Oh yes. We belong to one of the two groups here in town!" I was thrilled, and they invited me to speak at their meeting. I went and was met by 60 or 70 beautiful alcoholics! They all understood why I cried, I think. I was moved to tears with gratitude. Never in my life did I imagine that I would be sitting in an AA meeting half way around the world. What a beautiful experience. I must admit that I was amazed by all the people who had turned out to hear me 4 nights in a row (including the AA meeting). Then one sweet Al-Anon lady spilled the beans. She had come to the meeting, she said, and was afraid they might not let her in, since it was a closed meeting. When she arrived, though, she found out that it was an open meeting that night. "I don't think you could have kept me out," she said, "because I figured I'd never again have the chance to meet Dr. Bob of AA fame..." My mouth dropped open! These people had actually been telling everyone in town that Dr. Bob was visiting them! Can you BELIEVE IT????? I began to chuckle, and then finally told them that I hated to disappoint them. I said, "This is a case of mistaken identity.... My name is Bobby Davis. But I'm not a doctor, and certainly not Dr. Bob! He's been dead for about 50 years..." There was a hush in the room, and then a sudden mass-recognition of the mistake they had made. There was much laughter, and afterwards, I was hugged, kissed and fawned over like I have never been before in my entire life! They are wonderful people. And they ALL BELIEVE IN GOD! WOW. Not bad from a country full of atheists! Of course, who can be an atheist for very long in an AA meeting! LOL Bobby __________ Larry D. wrote: I WAS PRIVILEGED TO SET UP A MEETING WITH THREE SPEAKERS FROM THE FIRST AA GROUP FORMED IN MOSCOW. THEIR INTERPRETER WAS ALSO WITH THEM, AN AMERICAN, WHO WAS NOT AN AA MEMBER, BUT GAVE HIS HEART AND SOUL TO THE PROGRAM OF AA IN RUSSIA. HE WAS EDUCATED AT WHEATON COLLEGE AND BECAME A MINISTER WITH MISSIONARY ZEAL. BILLY GRAHAM WAS EDUCATED AT THE SAME SCHOOL. THE MINISTER, WHO ALSO HAD HIS HOME IN WHEATON, IL BUT SPENDS MOST OF HIS TIME IN RUSSIA, WAS INTERPRETER FOR THE THREE SPEAKERS FROM RUSSIA. IT WAS FELT BY EVERYONE THERE THAT NO INTERPRETER WAS NEEDED. THIS WAS THOUGHT BY MOST OF THE ATTENDEES, ABOUT THREE HUNDRED. THEY SPOKE FROM THEIR HEARTS. THEIR EMOTIONS WERE AS EVIDENT AS THE TEARS CAME INTO THEIR EYES, SHAKING VOICES, AND THANKFULNESS TO AA. WE WERE MOST STRUCK BY THEIR BY THEIR LOVING HIGHER POWER WHICH THEY DECIDED TO CALL GOD. THEY KNEW THAT THEIR SURRENDER TO GOD WAS ONLY AS GOOD AS THEY PRAYED EACH DAY. AS I LEFT THE MEETING WITH MY NEW AA FRIENDS FROM RUSSIA, I WAS ALL BUT OVERCOME BY THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT THEY LEFT WITH US. IT WAS A MIRACLE MEETING THAT SATURDAY NIGHT. LOVE YOU ALL, LARRY D. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1669. . . . . . . . . . . . More on AA in Russia compiled from earlier posts. From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/20/2004 5:12:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII I came upon this interesting article in The Alcoholism Report of July 11, 1975: "Dr. John L. Norris, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous, urged the development of cooperative efforts between the U.S. and Russia in the area of alcoholism. He offered to go to the Soviet Union to share the AA program with the Russian people. "In comments made on his arrival in Denver for the 40th Anniversary International Convention of AA in Denver July 4-6, Norris said: 'My hope is that AA may soon find its way to every nation on earth -- including the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain countries. We are told that alcoholism is a major health problem in these regions. AA could alleviate it. We are apolitical -- so there should be no conflict on that score. "'Further, a believe in God or membership in any formal religion are not requirements for AA membership. Therefore, our program would work in Moscow just as it works in Denver or London or Sydney or Paris. It is refreshing to observe that some of the barriers between the U.S. and the USSR seem to be softening. I urge the development of cooperative efforts in the area of alcoholism. "'We would be willing to travel to the Soviet Union to confer with the leaders in that country who are concerned about the problems of addictions. We would be pleased to share our program with the Russian people. Alcoholism transcends all barriers. The alcoholic in Russia suffers the same pain experienced by an alcoholic anywhere. He or she deserves the same relief from pain.'" ________ AA Grapevine, July 1989 A VISIT TO THE SOVIET UNION The message of Alcoholics Anonymous knows no language barrier, nor do custom or cultural heritage have any meaning when it comes to our recovery process. There were sixteen of us at the Moscow Beginners Group. We were there celebrating their first anniversary as an AA group. The meeting opened in Russian with the Preamble, then a reading of the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. The chairperson said, "This is a Second Step meeting," and they began to share. One member spoke up. He was an enthusiastic Moscow businessman who was five months sober and beginning to work the Steps. When he spoke, I heard my own alcoholism, I heard my own history of destruction and pain. "I have no history of God in my life," he said. "But I began to do what they said to do here. And I have found a spiritual power within me. I think that might be God." This man is now working with three other alcoholics in the group who also had no history of God in their lives, but who together have found a spiritual power they can rely on. Inasmuch as AA can be official in any way, this was an "official" visit from the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous in the United States and Canada to some very specific people in the Soviet Union. Over the previous year or so, there had been a number of communications back and forth between the Soviet and American governments concerning alcoholism; and AA, while not affiliated with these efforts in any way, had cooperated in full. In September 1987, the general manager of the General Service Office in New York traveled by invitation to the Soviet Union with sixteen other individuals related to the field of alcoholism, as part of an exchange program between the two governments on the topic of alcoholism and drug abuse. Then, in May of 1988, a return visit was made by a group of Soviets. Through the course of these exchanges, it became clear that there were quite a few people inside the Soviet Union who had a growing interest in Alcoholics Anonymous. We began corresponding with some of these people - Ministry of Health people, Temperance Promotion Society (TPS) people, psychologists, psychiatrists, narcologists, sobriety clubs - and in the course of this ongoing dialogue, another visit was set up which was to be independent of the previous trips. The AA members picked for the trip were the two trustees-at-large - myself from the United States and Webb J. from Canada - along with Sarah P., the GSO staff member assigned to the trustees' International Committee. In addition, since we'd be talking primarily with Soviet professionals and doctors, it seemed appropriate to have a doctor along with us. So Dr. John Hartley Smith, a nonalcoholic trustee from Canada, was added to the team. Of course it wouldn't have done much good to send us off without a voice, so we also added a nonalcoholic fellow who is a simultaneous translator. Our first stop was Helsinki, Finland. We went there first for two reasons: first, we wanted to take care of jet lag and be fully adjusted to the time change; and second, the Finns have been carrying the AA message into Russia for some time and we wanted to coordinate our efforts so that each of us might be as effective as possible. Now, I've been around drunks most of my life, but I've never seen quality drunkenness until I saw the Finns. They were big, they were like redwood trees, they were stoned, and they were moving. Finnish AA members are incredible, too. They give the same depth of love to AA that they gave to the bottle - and then some. One of the ways in which the Finns practice anonymity is by taking on a nickname. And so, in Helsinki, we met "Columbus," the fellow who first brought AA to Finland. On November 13, we took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn was one of the most beautiful cities I'd ever seen. There were buildings there which had been built in the 1400s and were still in use. Estonia was in the Soviet Republic, but it is a separate culture. We'd carried with us a good-sized box of Russian-language AA literature, and though I knew we'd be stopped, I had no idea how this literature would be received. I've been through plenty of tough customs checks before - and after one of them, I ended up in prison - and I was getting a little nervous. I'd brought along a pocket knife to open up the box with, but I couldn't find it anywhere and ended up having to open up the box with a plastic pocket comb. The customs lady took out a piece of literature, looked at it, and walked off to show it to a fellow in a suit standing back in a corner. Our interpreter leaned over and whispered to me, "It's an ideology check." In a short while, the customs lady returned with a smile on her face. She called over a uniformed guard. I thought, "There goes the box." As they talked together, the interpreter leaned over. "They like it," he said. With another burst of conversation and a nod of the head, she waved me, the box, and the interpreter on through. On the other side of the check point, the interpreter translated her last comments to the uniformed guard for me. "Look," she had said, "they are here to help us in our struggle with alcoholism." This seemed to set the tone for the entire trip, and we started handing out literature wherever we went. Each one of us on this trip had a sense of the immensity of our task, and each one of us had a real desire not to promote anything but rather to share our experience, strength, and hope with the professionals we came in contact with so that they might better understand AA and perhaps allow AA to happen in the Soviet Union. At one of our meetings with the Sobriety Society of Estonia, the people involved in helping alcoholics there tended to dominate and tell us of their program and to slant the conversation politically, but eventually we got across to them that helping alcoholics was our only interest. During one of our conversations, a girl spoke up in English and said, "I have read your book [the Big Book]. How am I going to work with these AA principles if I don't believe in God?" "Well," I said, "that's no big deal. I didn't believe in God either when I came to AA. It's not a requirement, you know." With this, the girl visibly relaxed and I heard a sigh of relief. We also met with a doctor there, a former government official, and he kept saying how the program would have to be changed to fit the Russian people, a people with no historical cultural background of God. "It won't work here" was something we heard a lot. I must admit that I did get a bit of a chuckle out of this. Quite a few times I heard people say, "We don't have any historical background of God," and then in the next breath would ask, "Would you like to see the cathedral?" At first, many of the people we talked to were reserved. But because we talked so openly about alcoholism and about ourselves, they too began to share openly. We discovered that whatever else they might be doing in terms of treatment, they were already using some of the basic principles of Alcoholics Anonymous: admission of powerlessness, an honest belief that some sort of recovery is possible, and the importance of taking a personal inventory. It was rigorous, but they were doing it. They had a thirty-question inventory that had to be renewed every six months with a doctor and a peer group. Treatment was a three-year process, and if you slipped, you went to a labor camp for two years. The official position was that after six or eight weeks of effective treatment, the patient was no longer an alcoholic. There was a cure, they believed, and it took about six to eight weeks. The only catch was that they had to keep renewing this cure or they became alcoholics again. However, the drunks we talked to said, "We know it's important to understand that we're alcoholics forevermore." And they completely understood the need to pass this information on to the next person. This, then, was the foundation of whatever was going on in the Soviet Union, and it seemed like fertile ground for AA principles to flourish in. I was looking forward to the trip from Estonia up to Leningrad because we were going to be traveling by train and I hoped it was going to be like the Orient Express. But it turned out to be more like the milk train instead. They put the four of us into one compartment with all our luggage, one bunk apiece, and gave us a cup of black Russian tea. It was an experience that I wouldn't have missed for the world, but I certainly wouldn't want to do it again. In Leningrad, we met with a doctor who had alcoholic patients who were trying to use the AA method, but he didn't believe it would work because of the emphasis on God. Eventually this man brought some of his patients to see us and it is our hope that the sharing that went on will one day be of some use to them. One of the exercises this doctor has his group doing for therapy purposes is to translate the Big Book. "It's not a very good translation," he said, but they don't seem to mind. The group that this doctor worked with has been using AA for about three years, and one of the group had three years sobriety, another had one year, and another had seven months. These people were allowed to come and visit with us in our hotel rooms, something unheard of just a few years back. On our end, we were not restricted in any way in our travels. We were allowed to just wander wherever we wanted. The people of Leningrad had a pride and a spirit like I'd never seen. At one point during our stay in Leningrad, just prior to our scheduled meeting with the Temperance Promotion Society, an American movie was shown on Soviet TV - a movie about one woman's struggle with alcoholism and her eventual sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. The movie created quite a response from its Soviet viewers, and the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda printed a piece with some of the hundreds of requests it received asking for more information on AA. We had the article translated and were moved by the overriding tone of the responses. Here, translated from the Russian, is just one of the many responses: "I have acquaintances but no friends. I have spent these last ten days at home. I have not gone anywhere and will invariably get drunk. And once I go on a binge, it lasts a long time. "I don't work anywhere. I would love to go to heaven, but my sins won't let me. I'm twenty-four. My employment record is like an index of available jobs. Besides which, last summer I was released from incarceration. "What should I do? I don't visit my neighborhood duty officer because I know his crowning remark: 'If you don't have a job in ten days, I'll send you to the Labor-Rehabilitation Camp.' Who wants to go there? So I hide. It was better in jail. I don't know how AA can help me, but I am writing nevertheless." The newspaper article also carried the comments of the first deputy chairman of the Temperance Promotion Society (TPS), which had recently come under fire for what appeared to be a lack of effectiveness in supplying adequate answers to the huge problem of alcoholism facing the Soviet Union. Of AA, the first deputy had this to say: "We will not forge an alliance with them. Their method is interesting, but is only partially useful for us. And we will reject it primarily because certain interested parties from across the ocean are very clearly using it to promote the American way of life. The pretext is a good one; there is nothing to be said against it. But still I will block it." With a note of uncertainty, then - and these conflicting messages in our minds - we went off to our scheduled meeting with the TPS. Of course, we got lost along the way, literally, and as things hlostave a way of going in AA, it turned out to be one of the greatest days I've ever had. Finally, after wandering around the city's back streets, we found our way. Unlike our dire predictions based on the newspaper article, the TPS people were very cordial, very kind, very open, very pro-AA. While we were there talking, a television producer showed up with her camera crew asking for permission to do some filming for a ten-minute documentary on Alcoholics Anonymous for Soviet television. We started to explain our Traditions, of course, and she cut us off; she understood them quite well, she assured us, and promised to maintain our anonymity. So, as we began to talk with the TPS people, the cameraman went to work. Rather than showing any faces, he focussed in on our hands as we were talking. At the end of the meeting, the producer commented that she didn't think ten minutes was going to be nearly enough to give a sense of Alcoholics Anonymous to the Soviet public. So what they intended to do, at their own expense, was to travel to the United States in order to prepare a more in depth documentary on AA. We made plans to send them copies of some of the films and video material that AA has already produced, such as "Young People and AA," "It Sure Beats Sitting in a Cell," and "AA - An Inside View," hoping that this material would add to their understanding of AA principles and practices. Eventually, we headed up to Moscow, and on our first day there we met with the Moscow Beginners Group. There will be debates forevermore about which was the first AA group in Russia, but this group had as good a claim as the next. It was started by an Episcopal minister who was living and working in Moscow, and it now had a number of regular attendees. It was the first Soviet AA group registered with the General Service Office in New York. Also in Moscow we had an appointment to meet with a doctor who had written a book about alcoholism and recovery, and a good part of it was about AA and its principles. The book, it seems, was a huge popular success and had already sold out. They were going to have a public debate about this book, and a big hall had been opened up at one of the cultural palaces where everyone - police, antagonists, proponents, everybody - showed up to debate the ideas in this book. We were invited to come. It turned into quite an afternoon - one we never could have planned. The author of the book and several other narcologists fielded most of the questions about AA and were quite right in their understanding of anonymity and the purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous. These people proved to be great advocates of AA. And by the time the debate was over, a spokesman for TPS announced in public that they would now actively support Alcoholics Anonymous. A woman stood up in the crowd and shouted out, "How do you think Alcoholics Anonymous will work in the Soviet Union?" My compatriots looked at me. All I could really tell her was that it would be presumptuous of me to pretend to be an expert. I had been in her country only thirteen days. How could I possibly base anything on that? But I did say that we have the experience of 114 other cultures who have used AA quite effectively, and that the only purpose of our visit to her country was to share our experience with them if it could be of any help. Finally, we were to have a meeting with the head of TPS, the man who had made the statement in Komsomolskaya Pravda. This fellow was a very short man with white hair - very charming, very cordial, and tough as nails. There was no question about who he was. The first thing he did was give us a cup of tea and say, "Now, here are the rules for this get together." He laid out how the meeting was to be conducted and said, "Since you have requested this meeting, I have asked a number of people also to be here. They are alcoholics with another way of doing things." This was all done very graciously, however, and it was clear that he wasn't opposing us in any way. So, off we went into another room, and sure enough there was this other bunch of people there. These were alcoholics from a sobriety club formed in 1978, and the founder of the club was there. He was now twelve years sober. The club was formed to give alcoholics something to do in their spare time. They were responsible for forming their own activities - staging plays, etc. Their charter stated that members couldn't drink until death, and they told us that only two people in the last nine years had slipped. They wanted to demonstrate the sober life. The trade union bosses had helped to organize this club. It was all done through the workplace. If you were an alcoholic, your name was on the wall at work. They knew who you were and lots of peer pressure was brought to bear. Their idea was to break the cycle of alcoholism. They wanted to have a whole generation of people who were living good, healthy lives without drinking alcohol. One of the interesting things to come out of this meeting was our awareness of how little they really understood of the concept of anonymity. "How can you get well when you don't even know each other?" was the basic question the head of TPS asked us. He said that in these sobriety clubs, people weren't anonymous to each other - they got together frequently and were much like a family. Our last really official meeting was with the chief deputy and chief narcologist of the Ministry of Health, the governmental agency that oversees all alcoholism treatment in the Soviet Union. This guy was tough - not in any antagonistic way, but he wanted "the facts, please." He wanted to know organizational things: how AA was set up, and how his agency could use AA. He voiced his biggest concern, however, by calling AA an "uncontrolled movement." After we'd been talking with this man for an hour or so, he asked us pointblank, "What can we do to get this thing started here?" Our response was very simple: "Give them space. Give them rooms to meet in and a little bit of space to grow in." We told him we'd send him a lot of AA information, especially the organizational stuff he was interested in. I believe that the purpose of our visit was accomplished. More and more professionals in the Soviet Union now know about and trust the process of Alcoholics Anonymous, and we've seen indications that they're willing to give it a try. We've also found that there are some necessities that the General Service Office can provide to these people, the greatest of which would be to provide portions of the pamphlet "The AA Group" in Russian so that some of the how-to questions might begin to be resolved. They also need the pamphlet on sponsorship, and of course the Big Book. Like the businessman from the Moscow Beginners Group, I am a fellow who had no history of God in his life. I am a common, garden-variety drunk with all kinds of other problems, whose very best thinking got him into a penitentiary; a man completely without moral standards, a man you could not trust, a man for whom the ends always justified the means, a self centered and domineering man. And yet, because of Alcoholics Anonymous and the grace of God I was able to participate in this trip because I was sober. It could happen to anybody reading this. There are no Russian alcoholics, no Estonian or Siberian or American alcoholics. There are only alcoholics. Of this I am now certain. Don P., Aurora, Colorado IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1670. . . . . . . . . . . . AA History FYI From: Rob White . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/20/2004 10:29:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Dear Friend, You are getting this email because you have an interest in Recovery Issues. Nancy Olson (former staff to Senator Hughes and expert historian on AA history) will be speaking at a conference on 4/15/04 in Baltimore. Her two presentations will include: Morning Plenary : Nancy Olson - The Politics of Alcoholism (Book Signing to Follow) Afternoon Workshop : Authors of the AA Big Book: Who were they and what do we know about them The conference information is below. Hope to see you there! Please pass it on. Rob White ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----\ ---- NCADD - Maryland Tuerk Conference "Double Jeopardy: Addiction and Depression" Baltimore Convention Center Baltimore, Maryland Thursday, April 15, 2004 Keynote Speaker: Claudia Black, PhD Cost: $80.00 (includes 6 CEus/CMEs & Lunch) Average Attendance: 1,000 This year's conference, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - Maryland Chapter, (Co-sponsored by UMMS and Med Chi) will feature Claudia Black, PhD as the Keynote Speaker. Dr. Black is a renowned lecturer, author and trainer internationally recognized for her work with family systems and addictive disorders. Since the mid 1970's, Dr. Black's work has encompassed the impact of addiction on young and adult children. She has offered models of intervention and treatment related to family violence, multi-addictions, relapse, anger, depression and women's issues. She authors books, interactive journals, and creates and produces educational videos for use with both the addicted client and families affected by addiction. Since 1998, she has been the primary Clinical Consultant of Addictive Disorders for the Meadows Institute and Treatment Center in Wickenburg, Arizona. Workshop Titles Include: Depression and Addiction; History of Alcoholism; Relapse Issues; Adult Children of Alcoholics; Psychotropic Medications; Advocacy; Women, Work and Recovery; Substance Abuse Management; Gay and Lesbian Addiction Treatment; Anxiety and Addiction; Treating Borderline Patients; and Chronic Mental Illness and Addiction. Full-Day Cost Early Registration: Postmarked by March 5, 2004 $80.00 General Registration: Postmarked March 6 - April 2, 2004 $90.00 Early Student Registration: Postmarked by March 5, 2004 $40.00 General Student Registration: Postmarked March 6 - April 2, 2004 $50.00 (Proof of full-time student status must accompany registration.) On-Site Registration: After April 2nd, only walk-in registrations will be accepted at the cost of $120.00. Please note that lunch cannot be guaranteed for these registrations. The registration fee includes the NCADD-MD Awards Luncheon, handouts, and continuing education credits. Please note that parking is not included. For More Information or to Register: Please contact NCADD - Maryland at 410-625-6482. Additional information, including on-line registration, is available at our website www.NCADDMaryland.org IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1671. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: 12 step prayers--a prayer for each step From: jsrmeat@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/21/2004 4:44:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII I have found prayers in the fifth chapter of Big Book.Pages 76 line 7,God save me from being angry, thy will be done.-Page 68:3 We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be.-Page 69:2 Weasked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them.-Page 69:3 We ask God what we should do about each specific matter.Page 70:2 We earnestly pray for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity,and for the strength to do the right thing. I have the belief when I am directly asking or petioning God I am praying and have been directed to do so by our book. Also in the fifth step-page 75:3 We thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know him better.also the ninth step-page79:1 we askthat we be given strength and direction to do the the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. THere probably are more but I have to sign out for now. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do for the man who is still sick. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1672. . . . . . . . . . . . Rollie Hemsley From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/22/2004 2:52:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII A question was asked: In the late fifties I signed a Professional Baseball contract with the Washington Senators. Was assigned to Ferndina Beach with the Charlotte Hornets. The club manager was Rollie Hemsley. His career as a player was with the Cleveland Indians as a catcher. He caught three of Bob Fellers no hitters. Could this be the same player mentioned in "AA COMES OF AGE," bottom paragraph P-24? The following are excerpts from the replies: That is the same Rollie, referred to as "Rollicking Rollie" in Bob Feller's autobiography. Before the anonymity tradition, sports pages gave much attention to AA's role in sobering up Rolllie. _________ I know that this has little to do with AA, but as a practicing baseball history lover/buff, I felt I should correct the facts here. Rollie caught only the first of Feller's 3 no-hitters. It was the most famous one though, the one on Opening Day, 4/16/40. Feller threw his other 2 no-hitters on 4/30/46 and 7/1/51. Hemsley was a Phillie in '46, and was not an active major leaguer in '51. His complete MLB Stats http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/hemslro01.shtml A brief AA related bio http://silkworth.net/aahistory_names/namesr.html IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1673. . . . . . . . . . . . The Little Big Book From: Chrisjon10@earthlink.net . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/22/2004 9:41:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII What is the history surrounding publication of the pocket-size version of the Big Book? Thanks. John P. Richmond, VA IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1674. . . . . . . . . . . . History & Archives Gathering 2004 From: jlobdell54 . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/22/2004 6:10:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Those HistoryLovers who are AA members (and other AAs also) may be interested in the 2004 Multi-District Central Pennsylvania History & Archives Gathering, now scheduled for June 5, 2004, near Harrisburg PA. We are awaiting word from several of last year's speakers/ participants, and a couple of those who couldn't come last year, when it was held April 5th (2003) at Central Pennsylvania College. It will have a different venue this year, but it will still be focussed on the Mid-Atlantic region, especially Eastern (and Central) PA, with archives exhibits -- we hope -- at least from PA, MD, and NJ. The feature old-timer last year, Trainor H. (sober 56 years), died three months after the Gathering, but we hope other old- timers will be back, for our mixture of historians of AA, archivists, history lovers, AAs in service, and oldtimers. My email address is jaredlobdell@comcast.net, or jlobdell54@hotmail.com, or jaredlobdell@aol.com. Will let you know more details as soon as I have them. -- Jared Lobdell IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1675. . . . . . . . . . . . Humphry Osmond Passing From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/23/2004 10:37:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The Toledo Blade recently carried a notice of the Febr. 6th passing of Dr. Humphry Osmond, 86, the British-born psychiatrist who introduced the word "psychedelic" to describe the effects of hallucinatory drugs. You can read about Dr. Osmond and his colleague, Dr. Abram Hoffer, in Chapter 23 of "Pass It On." Bill Wilson met them through Aldous Huxley, the celebrated author of "Brave New World" and one of the pioneers of the New Age movement. In the 1950s, Osmond and Hoffer experimented with LSD as a possible treatment for schizophrenia. Bill saw this as a chemical means of achieving what he had found in his 1934 spiritual experience and became their advocate and ally in the experiments. He later withdrew from the LSD experiments but continued to proclaim the benefits of massive doses of Vitamin B-3. I first learned about Bill's LSD involvement from Ernie Kurtz's "Not God." I feel that any use of LSD by a recovering person is a dangerous flirtation with disaster, but Bill apparently surivived without any trouble and continued to say that LSD was not addictive. I was skeptical about the supposed benefits of LSD, although I did read that it helped actor Cary Grant recover his potency! Mel Barger ~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1676. . . . . . . . . . . . Humphry Osmond dies From: Mark Stephen Kornbluth . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/23/2004 2:45:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII February 22, 2004 Humphry Osmond, 86, Who Sought Medicinal Value in Psychedelic Drugs, Dies By DOUGLAS MARTIN Humphry Osmond, the psychiatrist who coined the word "psychedelic" for the drugs to which he introduced the writer and essayist Aldous Huxley, died on Feb. 6 at his home in Appleton, Wis. He was 86. The cause was cardiac arrhythmia, said his daughter Euphemia Blackburn of Appleton, where Dr. Osmond moved to four years ago. Dr. Osmond entered the history of the counterculture by supplying hallucinogenic drugs to Huxley, who ascribed mystical significance to them in his playfully thoughtful, widely read book "The Doors of Perception," from which the rock group the Doors took its name. But in his own view and in that of some other scientists, Dr. Osmond was most important for inspiring researchers who saw drugs like L.S.D. and mescaline as potential treatments for psychological ailments. By the mid-1960's, medical journals had published more than 1,000 papers on the subject, and Dr. Osmond's work using L.S.D. to treat alcoholics drew particular interest. "Osmond was a pioneer," Dr. Charles Grob, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California School of Medicine, said in an interview. "He published some fascinating data." In one study, in the late 1950's, when Dr. Osmond gave L.S.D. to alcoholics in Alcoholics Anonymous who had failed to quit drinking, about half had not had a drink after a year. "No one has ever duplicated the success rate of that study," said Dr. John H. Halpern, associate director of substance abuse research at the McLean Hospital Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center in Belmont, Mass., and an instructor at Harvard. Dr. Halpern added that no one really tried. Other studies used different methodology, and the combination of flagrant youthful abuse of hallucinogens; the propagation of a flashy, otherworldly drug culture by Timothy Leary; and reports of health dangers from hallucinogens (some of which Dr. Halpern said were wrong or overstated) eventually doomed almost all research into psychedelic drugs. Research on hallucinogens as a treatment for mental ills has re-emerged in recent years, in small projects at places like the University of Arizona, the University of South Carolina, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard. Though such research was always legal, regulatory, financial and other obstacles had largely ended it. Huxley's reading about Dr. Osmond's research into similarities between schizophrenia and mescaline intoxication led him to volunteer to try the drug. Dr. Osmond agreed, but later wrote that he "did not relish the possibility, however remote, of being the man who drove Aldous Huxley mad." So in 1953, a day Dr. Osmond described 12 years later as "delicious May morning," he dropped a pinch of silvery white mescaline crystals in a glass of water and handed it to Huxley, the author of "Brave New World," which described a totalitarian society in which people are controlled by drugs. "Within two and a half hours I could see that it was acting, and after three I could see that all would go well," Dr. Osmond wrote. He said he felt "much relieved." Dr. Osmond first offered his new term, psychedelic, at a meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences in 1957. He said the word meant "mind manifesting" and called it "clear, euphonious and uncontaminated by other associations." Huxley had sent Dr. Osmond a rhyme with his own word choice: "To make this trivial world sublime, take half a gram of phanerothyme." (Thymos means soul in Greek.) Rejecting that, Dr. Osmond replied: "To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic." Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar in their 1979 book "Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered" pointed out that by the rules for combining Greek roots, the word should have been psychodelic. They also said that even in the late 70's, psychedelic had mostly been replaced by hallucinogenic, a vocabulary shift they said Dr. Osmond himself made. In addition to his daughter Euphemia, Dr. Osmond is survived by his wife, Jane; a second daughter, Helen Swanson of Surrey, England; a son, Julian, of New Orleans; a sister, Dorothy Gale of Devon, England; and five grandchildren. Humphry Fortescue Osmond was born on July 1, 1917, in Surrey. He intended to be a banker, but attended Guy's Hospital Medical School of the University of London. In World War II, he was a surgeon-lieutenant in the Navy, where he trained to become a ship's psychiatrist. At St. George's Hospital in London, he and a colleague, John R. Smythies, developed the hypothesis that schizophrenia was a form of self-intoxication caused by the body's mistakenly producing its own L.S.D.-like compounds. When their theory was not embraced by the British mental health establishment, the two doctors moved to Canada to continue their research at Saskatchewan Hospital in Weyburn. There, they developed the idea, not widely accepted, that no one should treat schizophrenics who had not personally experienced schizophrenia. "This it is possible to do quite easily by taking mescaline," they wrote. Huxley read about this work and volunteered to be studied. The research also directly inspired other scientists, Dr. Halpern said. "There was a certain point where almost every major psychiatrist wanted to do hallucinogen research," Dr. Halpern said, adding that in the early 1960's, it was recommended that psychiatric residents take a dose to understand psychosis better. Perhaps the most famous psychedelic researcher was Dr. Oscar Janiger, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist, who gave L.S.D. to Cary Grant, Jack Nicholson and, again, Huxley. Dr. Halpern said that today's understanding of serotonin, a neurotransmitter important in causing and alleviating depression, grew out of research into the effect of L.S.D. on the brain. L.S.D. and serotonin are chemically similar. Dr. Osmond's most important work involved alcoholism research, done with Abram Hoffer, a colleague at Weyburn. Originally, they thought L.S.D. would terrify alcoholics by causing symptoms akin to delirium tremens. Instead, they found it opened them to radical personal transformation. "One conception of psychedelic theory for alcoholics is that L.S.D. can truly accomplish the transcendence that is repeatedly and unsuccessfully sought in drunkenness," "Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered" suggested in 1979. Bill Wilson, a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, met Dr. Osmond and took L.S.D. himself, strongly agreeing that it could help many alcoholics. As psychedelic research became increasingly difficult, Dr. Osmond left Canada to become director of the Bureau of Research in Neurology and Psychiatry at the New Jersey Psychiatric Institute in Princeton, and then a professor of psychology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He mainly studied schizophrenia but was disappointed he could not pursue his research into hallucinogens, Mrs. Blackburn, his daughter, said. "I'm sure he was very saddened by it," she said. "It could have helped millions of people." Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | Help | Back to Top -------------------------------------------------------------------------- A blank message to these addresses performs the following - holo-cert-on@mail-list.com gets you on the list. holo-cert-off@mail-list.com gets you off the list. holo-cert-switch@mail-list.com toggles you to/from the fancy digest version. holo-cert-vacation@mail-list.com toggles you to/from the vacation list. Post your message to the list by sending it to holo-cert@mail-list.com. To contact the list owner, send your message to holo-cert-list-owner@mail-list.com. This message was sent to 129 subscribers. To unsubscribe, click on the following web page. http://cgi.mail-list.com/u?ln=holo-cert&nm=mark@msknyc.com . ____________________________________________________ [12] IncrediMail - Email has finally evolved - Click Here [12] IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1678. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Humphry Osmond Passing From: Jim Burns . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/24/2004 1:05:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hello Group, Under what circumstances did Bill Wilson withdraw from the LSD experiments? Was it widely known in The Fellowship that Bill and Lois were participating in these experiments? I became curious based on Mel B.'s post that he had found out about Bill's involvement through Ernest Kurtz's book. Thank-you Jim Burns Orange County, California ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard [13] - Read only the mail you want. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1679. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Humphry Osmond Passing From: Arthur . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/25/2004 12:01:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII There are a few other books that go in to the LSD experiments in more detail than _Not God_. Mel, by the way, is the modest and primary author of _Pass It On_ which covers the matter in some detail. Francis Hartigan's book _Bill W_ and Nell Wings book _Glad to Have Been There_ offer information as well. The info below is a composite extract: British radio commentator Gerald Heard introduced Bill W to Aldous Huxley and to the British psychiatrists Humphry Osmond and Abraham Hoffer (the founders of orthomolecular psychiatry). Humphrey and Osmond were working with schizophrenic and alcoholic patients at a Canadian hospital. Bill W joined with Heard and Huxley and first took LSD in California on Aug 29, 1956. It was medically supervised by psychiatrist Sidney Cohen of the Los Angeles VA hospital. The LSD experiments occurred well prior to the 'hippie era.'' At the time, LSD was thought to have psychotherapeutic potential (research was also being funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Academy of Sciences). The intent of Osmond and Hoffer was to induce an experience akin to delirium tremens (DTs) in hopes that it might shock alcoholics from alcohol. Among those invited to experiment with LSD (and who accepted) were Nell Wing, Father Ed Dowling, (possibly) Sam Shoemaker and Lois Wilson. Marty M and Helen W (Bill's mistress) and other AA members participated in NY (under medical supervision by a psychiatrist from Roosevelt Hospital). Bill had several experiments with LSD up to 1959 (perhaps into the 1960's). _Pass It On_ reports that there were repercussions within AA over these activities. Lois was a reluctant participant and claimed to have had no response to the chemical. Hoffer and Osmond did research that later influenced Bill, in Dec 1966, to enthusiastically embrace a campaign to promote vitamin B3 (niacin - nicotinic acid) therapy. It created Traditions issues within the Fellowship and caused a bit of an uproar. The General Service Board report accepted by the 1967 Conference recommended that 'to insure separation of AA from non-AA matters by establishing a procedure whereby all inquiries pertaining to B-3 and niacin are referred directly to an office in Pleasantville, NY in order that Bill's personal interest in these items not involve the Fellowship.'' Please reference the following for more details: Pass It On - pgs 368-376, 388-391 Not God - pgs 136-138 Bill W by Francis Hartigan - pgs 9, 177-179 Glad To Have Been There - pgs 81-82 11.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy;">Arthur S ----- *From:* Jim Burns [mailto:buddhabilly1964@yahoo.com] *Sent:* Tuesday, February 24, 2004 12:06 PM *To:* AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com *Subject:* Re: [AAHistoryLovers] Humphry Osmond Passing 12.0pt;"> 12.0pt;">Hello Group, 12.0pt;">Under what circumstances did Bill Wilson withdraw from the LSD experiments? Was it widely known in The Fellowship that Bill and Lois were participating in these experiments? 12.0pt;"> 12.0pt;">I became curious based on Mel B.'s post that he had found out about Bill's involvement through Ernest Kurtz's book. 12.0pt;"> 12.0pt;">Thank-you 12.0pt;"> 12.0pt;">Jim Burns 12.0pt;">Orange County, California 12.0pt;"> ----- 12.0pt;">Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard [14] - Read only the mail you want. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1680. . . . . . . . . . . . Harper''s 12 & 12 (1953) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/26/2004 2:35:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII May 1953 AA Grapevine (Editor's Note: As promised last month, we are pleased to bring you a special advance notice from General Service Headquarters announcing publication 'Bill's new book, "The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions." The Traditions appeared serially in The Grapevine in the past twelve issues.) After nearly eighteen months of writing, editing, and pre-publication detail, 'The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions" is about to be released. In this new volume, regarded by those familiar with the project as the most important AA publication since the "Big Book" first appeared in 1939, Bill draws upon his long experience, and upon that of other early members, to set forth his profound yet spirited interpretation of the fundamental principles of AA. Step by Step, Tradition by Tradition - in nearly 200 deeply stirring pages-Bill offers his unique insight into the full meaning of each of AA's tested guidepoststhe Twelve Steps through which individuals have achieved sobriety and the Twelve Traditions through which our group structure has been maintained and strengthened. Advance interest has been so great that arrangements have been made to issue the book in two editions - one for distribution by AA groups, and another for bookstore distribution to the general public by Harper and Brothers. AA retains full control and copyright ownership of both editions through Works Publishing, Inc. When the book is released for sale in late May or early June, the bookstore price will be $2.75, and our agreement with Harper's is that no books will be retailed for less than that price. To AA groups only, the book will be sold for $2.25, enabling the groups to realize fifty cents on each copy re-sold to individuals. (Although two-thirds of General Service Conference delegates in a recent poll felt that this book ought to be sold without profit to the groups, to help build an adequate Foundation reserve, neither Bill nor those at Headquarters felt this to be sufficient consent on a matter of such importance; hence the above discount.) Orders are now being accepted, by mail only, and all shipments will be made as soon after May 10 as possible. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1681. . . . . . . . . . . . Bill D. - AA #3 (1954) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/27/2004 4:27:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII November 1954 AA Grapevine HE KEPT THE FAITH IN MEMORIAM By Bill W. BILL D., AA Number Three, died in Akron Friday night, September 17th, 1954. That is, people say he died, but he really didn't. His spirit and works are today alive in the hearts of uncounted AAs and who can doubt that Bill already dwells in one of those many Mansions in the Great Beyond. Nineteen years ago last summer, Dr. Bob and I saw him for the first time. Bill lay on his hospital bed and looked at us in wonder. Two days before this, Dr. Bob had said to me, "If you and I are going to stay sober, we had better get busy." Straightway Bob called Akron's City Hospital and asked for the nurse on the receiving ward. He explained that he and a man from New York had a cure for alcoholism. Did she have an alcoholic customer on whom it could be tried? Knowing Bob of old, she jokingly replied, "Well, Doctor, I suppose you've already tried it yourself?" Yes, she did have a customer - a dandy. He just arrived in D.T.s. Had blacked the eyes of two nurses, and now they had him strapped down tight. Would this one do? After prescribing medicines, Dr. Bob ordered, "Put him in a private room. We'll be down as soon as he clears up." We found we had a tough customer in Bill. According to the nurse, he had been a well-known attorney in Akron and a City Councilman. But he had landed in the Akron City Hospital four times in the last six months. Following each release, he got drunk even before he could get home. So here we were, talking to Bill, the first "man on the bed." We told him about our drinking. We hammered it into him that alcoholism was an obsession of the mind, coupled to an allergy of the body. The obsession, we explained, condemned the alcoholic to drink against his will and the allergy, if he went on drinking, could positively guarantee his insanity or death. How to unhook that fatal compulsion, how to restore the alcoholic to sanity, was, of course, the problem. Hearing this bad news, Bill's swollen eyes opened wide. Then we took the hopeful tack, we told what we had done: how we got honest with ourselves as never before, how we had talked our problems out with each other in confidence, how we tried to make amends for harm done others, how we had then been miraculously released from the desire to drink as soon as we had humbly asked God, as we understood him, for guidance and protection. Bill didn't seem too impressed. Looking sadder than ever, he wearily ventured, "Well, this is wonderful for you fellows, but can't be for me. My case is so terrible that I'm scared to go out of this hospital at all. You don't have to sell me religion, either. I was one time a deacon in the church and I still believe in God. But I guess He doesn't believe much in me." Then Dr. Bob said, "Well. Bill, maybe you'll feel better tomorrow. Wouldn't you like to see us again?" "Sure I would," replied Bill, "Maybe it won't do any good. But I'd like to see you both, anyhow. You certainly know what you are talking about." Looking in next day, we found Bill with his wife, Henrietta. Eagerly he pointed to us saying, "These are the fellows I told you about, they are the ones who understand." Bill then related how he had lain awake nearly all night. Down in the pit of his depression, new hope had somehow been born. The thought flashed thorough his mind, "If they can do it, I can do it." Over and over he said this to himself. Finally, out of his hope, there burst conviction. Now he was sure. Then came a great joy. At length peace stole over him and he slept. Before our visit was over Bill suddenly turned to his wife and said, "Go fetch my clothes, dear. We're going to get up and get out of here." Bill D. walked out of that hospital a free man, never to drink again. AA's Number One Group dates from that very day. The force of the great example that Bill set in our pioneering time will last as long as AA itself. Bill kept the faith - what more could we say? IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1682. . . . . . . . . . . . Review of "My Name is Bill" From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/28/2004 2:26:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII A friend sent me this review of Susan Cheever's book "My Name is Bill." The review is written by Carolyn See. See was a stepdaughter of Wynn Laws, the author of "Freedom From Bondage." See my short bio of Wynn at this post: Yahoo! Groups : AAHistoryLovers Messages : Message 135 of 1680 [15] Nancy Teetotal Devotion By Carolyn See, who can be reached at www.carolynsee.com Friday, February 27, 2004; Page C02 MY NAME IS BILL Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous By Susan Cheever Simon & Schuster. 306 pp. $24 When a wonderful writer with a unique voice undertakes to record the official life of an institutional icon, something interesting is bound to happen. Susan Cheever is exquisitely smart, amazingly curious and a master of the telling image. She can paint a picture of six or eight young married people dining on chicken baked in cream, and in that half a page recall -- and perfectly delineate -- a particular decade in American life. Her father was John Cheever, that literary expert on Northeastern class distinctions, and she has beautifully carried on his legacy. The elder Cheever was also a hard drinker, until he quit, and his daughter carried on that legacy, too. In her memoirs she often makes the distinction between the rapscallion she was and the sober citizen she became, but again, her work comes to far more than that. She is a perfect, natural storyteller, and that narrative gift is enlivened by an extremely keen mind. On the other hand, Bill Wilson, "Bill W.," co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, is an iconic figure. His life has traditionally been described in terms befitting a saint. His organization has been concerned with "anonymity" -- which can turn, with a single shift of light, into secrecy. The devotion of Bill's followers is legendary. This biography, then, is both "life" and an act of devotion. (Even as I write these words I feel my shoulders hunching, because there's probably no group of people more irate on general principle than AA members, who are keen to any sense that their group has been slighted in even the most glancing way.) Full disclosure: I grew up with a stepmom, Wynn, who had been fully prepared to marry Bill. He disengaged himself but put her "story" in the second edition of "Alcoholics Anonymous," in which the accounts of recovering alcoholics were included for the first time. She married my dad, her fifth husband, as a sort of consolation prize. Wynn was a wonderful woman, but I saw AA then from the point of view of a prissy, still-sober teenager, watching members bicker about whether taking an aspirin for a headache constituted a "slip," listening to stories of their friendships with a Personal God -- "I told God to have you call me today," my stepmother would say after I moved out of the house. (And what could I possibly say? Maybe she had, and maybe He did.) But they didn't worry much about sex. The first two parts, "A Rural Childhood" and "Drinking," seem to me to be absolutely brilliant. Bill Wilson was born in a Vermont town, to a family not quite yet up in the middle class. Cheever knows this material inside and out; she, again, is a scholar of the exquisite, merciless permutations of class. Bill suffered greatly. Cheever perfectly captures the undereducated, inferior-feeling young World War I recruit discovering pretty girls and iridescent cocktails; becoming, in his mind at least, a sophisticated man of the world -- as long as he has a drink in his hand. Then the drinking gets out of hand, and the Great Depression hits (together with his own personal depression). Bill's wife hangs on for dear life. It's such an American story. Cheever tells it brilliantly. Part 3, "Alcoholics Anonymous," is an entirely different story, told by another sort of writer. It's a tale like "The Boston Tea Party," or "How Jazz Came Up the River from New Orleans." It's good -- and good for us. AA is not a religion, the author assures the reader repeatedly, even though Bill and AA's other co-founder, "Dr. Bob" Smith, spent a lot of time on their knees. Men sometimes got disillusioned with Bill and went their own separate ways, the author tells us as well. But what really happened? What were their complaints? Did it have something to do with sex? Though he was married for more than 50 years, Bill W. was reputed to have had many girlfriends. But "some people believe," Cheever writes, "that none of it is true." She devotes less time to his womanizing than to his chain-smoking, and mentions only two women at any length. (One safely a lesbian; another one, coincidentally, named Wynn.) She then includes a shamefaced page or two on sexual possibilities. But there's no "evidence." Again, what an American story! What a Clintonian, "Death of a Salesman" story. So I want to say for the record (and you won't find it on "Grapevine," or any other AA publication) that early AA, at least on the West Coast, was full of raucous men and women bursting with the physical energy that drying out brings. I speak now for Wynn (the Wynn I knew), who wrote "Freedom From Bondage" in the Book, and who, though she had five husbands, considered the high point of her life her amorous connection to Bill. Wynn stood on our front steps one bright Christmas morning enthusiastically kissing a different handsome AA swain as others crowded past them, pushing inside to a party, where they would drink tomato juice and laugh like banshees, delirious with joy. They had found God (as they understood Him), and as long as they stayed away from booze and aspirin, they were okay; they were in the clear. They weren't ashamed of sex; they gloried in it. I know. Even the very brilliant and accomplished Susan Cheever couldn't take on this material, which is in no way "conference-approved literature." The second half of this very fine book is burdened by the "official story." 2004 The Washington Post Company IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1685. . . . . . . . . . . . AA Grapevine Announcement From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/1/2004 11:30:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Dear Grapevine Web Friend: The entire AA Grapevine Digital Archive continues to be built on our website and is scheduled to launch June 2004, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the magazine. As the search function is being developed and the articles (over 12,000 of them) are being proofread, many little gems land on my desk. From February, 1963: "When rivalry threatens to cause an open fight between two Eskimo men, they use song instead of spears. They revile each other extemporaneously and the wittiest is declared the winner and a fight is averted. Psychologist Dr. Glenn says we can change the direction of an action started in the mind. If, for instance, you are all set to stage a fancy tantrum, you can sidetrack that action by song. A married couple developed a tendency to indulge in spats. They were made to promise, at the first sign of rising temperature, to sing the round "Row Your Boat" picking up speed as they went along, until out of breath. The most violent rage can be sidetracked by a hearty song." Maybe we AAs aren't as likely to break into song as we are apt to commence recital of the Serenity Prayer. From July 1957, someone had these thoughts: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change . . . "To be aware that the irritations and disappointments of each day are not a perverse plot aimed at me by the world. To understand that this world is not operated for my benefit; that my importance and its debt to me exist in direct ratio to my contributions and my adjustment to it." Courage to change the things I can . . . "To eliminate from my environment and its associations things I know to be harmful, attitudes I know to be insupportable and, no matter how well I thought I argued them, reasons which had no logic." And the wisdom to know the difference . . .. "To understand, with neither prejudice, self-justification nor pity, why changes are necessary - and which changes will give my life meaning - without alcohol." J.K., Los Angeles, Calif. Check out the latest cartoon for your one-liner contribution to Grapevine history: http://www.aagrapevine.org/Rule.html Also, exciting news: In early March, the website will have a new look. Not only will you get the Rule #62 cartoon, but a joke from each issue, and if he is available, our very own Victor E. So be sure to come back and visit. That's all for now. Best Regards, The Grapevine Web Manager IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1686. . . . . . . . . . . . Herbert Spencer Biography From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/1/2004 12:18:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII On Page 568 of the Fourth Edition Big Book it says the following: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." - Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer Biography British philosopher and sociologist, Herbert Spencer was a major figure in the intellectual life of the Victorian era. He was one of the principal proponents of evolutionary theory in the mid nineteenth century, and his reputation at the time rivaled that of Charles Darwin. Spencer was initially best known for developing and applying evolutionary theory to philosophy, psychology and the study of society -- what he called his "synthetic philosophy" (see his A System of Synthetic Philosophy, 1862-93). Today, however, he is usually remembered in philosophical circles for his political thought, primarily for his defense of natural rights and for criticisms of utilitarian positivism, and his views have been invoked by 'libertarian' thinkers such as Robert Nozick. Table of Contents Life Method Human Nature Religion Moral Philosophy Political Philosophy Assessment Bibliography Life Spencer was born in Derby, England on 27 April 1820, the eldest of nine children, but the only one to survive infancy. He was the product of an undisciplined, largely informal education. His father, George, was a school teacher, but an unconventional man, and Spencer's family were Methodist 'Dissenters,' with Quaker sympathies. From an early age, Herbert was strongly influenced by the individualism and the anti-establishment and anti-clerical views of his father, and the Benthamite radical views of his uncle Thomas. Indeed, Spencer's early years showed a good deal of resistance to authority and independence. A person of eclectic interests, Spencer eventually trained as a civil engineer for railways but, in his early 20s, turned to journalism and political writing. He was initially an advocate of many of the causes of philosophic radicalism and some of his ideas (e.g., the definition of 'good' and 'bad' in terms of their pleasurable or painful consequences, and his adoption of a version of the 'greatest happiness principle') show similarities to utilitarianism. From 1848 to 1853, Spencer worked as a writer and subeditor for The Economist financial weekly and, as a result, came into contact with a number of political controversialists such as George Henry Lewes, Thomas Carlyle, Lewes' future lover George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans [1819-1880])--with whom Spencer had himself had a lengthy (though purely intellectual) association--and T.H. Huxley (1825-1895). Despite the diversity of opinions to which he was exposed, Spencer's unquestioning confidence in his own views was coupled with a stubbornness and a refusal to read authors with whom he disagreed. In his early writings, Spencer defended a number of radical causes-- particularly on land nationalization, the extent to which economics should reflect a policy of laissez-faire, and the place and role of women in society--though he came to abandon most of these causes later in his life. In 1851 Spencer's first book, Social Statics, or the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness appeared. ('Social statics'--the term was borrowed from Auguste Comte--deals with the conditions of social order, and was preliminary to a study of human progress and evolution--i.e., 'social dynamics.') In this work, Spencer presents an account of the development of human freedom and a defense of individual liberties, based on a (Lamarckian-style) evolutionary theory. Upon the death of his uncle Thomas, in 1853, Spencer received a small inheritance which allowed him to devote himself to writing without depending on regular employment. In 1855, Spencer published his second book, The Principles of Psychology. As in Social Statics, Spencer saw Bentham and Mill as major targets, though in the present work he focussed on criticisms of the latter's associationism. (Spencer later revised this work, and Mill came to respect some of Spencer's arguments.) The Principles of Psychology was much less successful than Social Statics, however, and about this time Spencer began to experience serious (predominantly mental) health problems that affected him for the rest of his life. This led him to seek privacy, and he increasingly avoided appearing in public. Although he found that, because of his ill health, he could write for only a few hours each day, he embarked upon a lengthy project--the nine-volume A System of Synthetic Philosophy (1862- 93)--which provided a systematic account of his views in biology, sociology, ethics and politics. This 'synthetic philosophy' brought together a wide range of data from the various natural and social sciences and organized it according to the basic principles of his evolutionary theory. Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy was initially available only through private subscription, but he was also a contributor to the leading intellectual magazines and newspapers of his day. His fame grew with his publications, and he counted among his admirers both radical thinkers and prominent scientists, including John Stuart Mill and the physicist, John Tyndall. In the 1860s and 1870s, for example, the influence of Spencer's evolutionary theory was on a par with that of Charles Darwin. In 1883 Spencer was elected a corresponding member of philosophical section of the French academy of moral and political sciences. His work was also particularly influential in the United States, where his book, The Study of Sociology, was at the center of a controversy (1879-80) at Yale University between a professor, William Graham Sumner, and the University's president, Noah Porter. Spencer's influence extended into the upper echelons of American society and it has been claimed that, in 1896, "three justices of the Supreme Court were avowed 'Spencerians'." His reputation was at its peak in the 1870s and early 1880s, and he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1902. Spencer, however, declined most of the honors he was given. Spencer's health significantly deteriorated in the last two decades of his life, and he died in relative seclusion, following a long illness, on December 8, 1903. Within his lifetime, some one million copies of his books had been sold, his work had been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian, and his ideas were popular in a number of other countries such as Poland (e.g., through the work of the positivist, Wladyslaw Kozlowski). Nevertheless, by the end of his life, his political views were no longer as popular as they had once been, and the dominant currents in liberalism allowed for a more interventionist state. Method Spencer's method is, broadly speaking, scientific and empirical, and it was influenced significantly by the positivism of Auguste Comte. Because of the empirical character of scientific knowledge and because of his conviction that that which is known--biological life--is in a process of evolution, Spencer held that knowledge is subject to change. Thus, Spencer writes, "In science the important thing is to modify and change one's ideas as science advances." As scientific knowledge was primarily empirical, however, that which was not 'perceivable' and could not be empirically tested could not be known. (This emphasis on the knowable as perceivable led critics to charge that Spencer fails to distinguish perceiving and conceiving.) Nevertheless, Spencer was not a skeptic. Spencer's method was also synthetic. The purpose of each science or field of investigation was to accumulate data and to derive from these phenomena the basic principles or laws or 'forces' which gave rise to them. To the extent that such principles conformed to the results of inquiries or experiments in the other sciences, one could have explanations that were of a high degree of certainty. Thus, Spencer was at pains to show how the evidence and conclusions of each of the sciences is relevant to, and materially affected by, the conclusions of the others. Human Nature In the first volume of A System of Synthetic Philosophy, entitled First Principles (1862), Spencer argued that all phenomena could be explained in terms of a lengthy process of evolution in things. This 'principle of continuity' was that homogeneous organisms are unstable, that organisms develop from simple to more complex and heterogeneous forms, and that such evolution constituted a norm of progress. This account of evolution provided a complete and 'predetermined' structure for the kind of variation noted by Darwin--and Darwin's respect for Spencer was significant. But while Spencer held that progress was a necessity, it was 'necessary' only overall, and there is no teleological element in his account of this process. In fact, it was Spencer, and not Darwin, who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest," though Darwin came to employ the expression in later editions of the Origin of Species. (That this view was both ambiguous --for it was not clear whether one had in mind the 'fittest' individual or species--and far from universal was something that both figures, however, failed to address.) Spencer's understanding of evolution included the Lamarckian theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics and emphasized the direct influence of external agencies on the organism's development. He denied (as Darwin had argued) that evolution was based on the characteristics and development of the organism itself and on a simple principle of natural selection. Spencer held that he had evidence for this evolutionary account from the study of biology (see Principles of Biology, 2 vols. [1864-7]). He argued that there is a gradual specialization in things--beginning with biological organisms--towards self-sufficiency and individuation. Because human nature can be said to improve and change, then, scientific--including moral and political-- views that rested on the assumption of a stable human nature (such as that presupposed by many utilitarians) had to be rejected. 'Human nature' was simply "the aggregate of men's instincts and sentiments" which, over time, would become adapted to social existence. Spencer still recognized the importance of understanding individuals in terms of the 'whole' of which they were 'parts,' but these parts were mutually dependent, not subordinate to the organism as a whole. They had an identity and value on which the whole depended--unlike, Spencer thought, that portrayed by Hobbes. For Spencer, then, human life was not only on a continuum with, but was also the culmination of, a lengthy process of evolution. Even though he allowed that there was a parallel development of mind and body, without reducing the former to the latter, he was opposed to dualism and his account of mind and of the functioning of the central nervous system and the brain was mechanistic. Although what characterized the development of organisms was the 'tendency to individuation' (Social Statics [1851], p. 436), this was coupled with a natural inclination in beings to pursue whatever would preserve their lives. When one examines human beings, this natural inclination was reflected in the characteristic of rational self-interest. Indeed, this tendency to pursue one's individual interests is such that, in primitive societies, at least, Spencer believed that a prime motivating factor in human beings coming together was the threat of violence and war. Paradoxically, perhaps, Spencer held an 'organic' view of society. Starting with the characteristics of individual entities, one could deduce, using laws of nature, what would promote or provide life and human happiness. He believed that social life was an extension of the life of a natural body, and that social 'organisms' reflected the same (Lamarckian) evolutionary principles or laws as biological entities did. The existence of such 'laws,' then, provides a basis for moral science and for determining how individuals ought to act and what would constitute human happiness. Religion As a result of his view that knowledge about phenomena required empirical demonstration, Spencer held that we cannot know the nature of reality in itself and that there was, therefore, something that was fundamentally "unknowable." (This included the complete knowledge of the nature of space, time, force, motion, and substance.) Since, Spencer claimed, we cannot know anything non-empirical, we cannot know whether there is a God or what its character might be. Though Spencer was a severe critic of religion and religious doctrine and practice--these being the appropriate objects of empirical investigation and assessment--his general position on religion was agnostic. Theism, he argued, cannot be adopted because there is no means to acquire knowledge of the divine, and there would be no way of testing it. But while we cannot know whether religious beliefs are true, neither can we know that (fundamental) religious beliefs are false. Moral Philosophy Spencer saw human life on a continuum with, but also as the culmination of, a lengthy process of evolution, and he held that human society reflects the same evolutionary principles as biological organisms do in their development. Society--and social institutions such as the economy--can, he believed, function without external control, just as the digestive system or a lower organism does (though, in arguing this, Spencer failed to see the fundamental differences between 'higher' and 'lower' levels of social organization). For Spencer, all natural and social development reflected 'the universality of law'. Beginning with the 'laws of life', the conditions of social existence, and the recognition of life as a fundamental value, moral science can deduce what kinds of laws promote life and produce happiness. Spencer's ethics and political philosophy, then, depends on a theory of 'natural law,' and it is because of this that, he maintained, evolutionary theory could provide a basis for a comprehensive political and even philosophical theory. Given the variations in temperament and character among individuals, Spencer recognized that there were differences in what happiness specifically consists in (Social Statics [1851], p. 5). In general, however, 'happiness' is the surplus of pleasure over pain, and 'the good' is what contributes to the life and development of the organism, or--what is much the same--what provides this surplus of pleasure over pain. Happiness, therefore, reflects the complete adaptation of an individual organism to its environment--or, in other words, 'happiness' is that which an individual human being naturally seeks. For human beings to flourish and develop, Spencer held that there must be as few artificial restrictions as possible, and it is primarily freedom that he, contra Bentham, saw as promoting human happiness. While progress was an inevitable characteristic of evolution, it was something to be achieved only through the free exercise of human faculties (see Social Statics). Society, however, is (by definition, for Spencer) an aggregate of individuals, and change in society could take place only once the individual members of that society had changed and developed (The Study of Sociology, pp. 366-367). Individuals are, therefore, 'primary,' individual development was 'egoistic,' and associations with others largely instrumental and contractual. Still, Spencer thought that human beings exhibited a natural sympathy and concern for one another; there is a common character and there are common interests among human beings that they eventually come to recognize as necessary not only for general, but for individual development. (This reflects, to an extent, Spencer's organicism.) Nevertheless, Spencer held that 'altruism' and compassion beyond the family unit were sentiments that came to exist only recently in human beings. Spencer maintained that there was a natural mechanism--an 'innate moral sense'--in human beings by which they come to arrive at certain moral intuitions and from which laws of conduct might be deduced (The Principles of Ethics, I [1892], p. 26). Thus one might say that Spencer held a kind of 'moral sense theory' (Social Statics, pp. 23, 19). (Later in his life, Spencer described these 'principles' of moral sense and of sympathy as the 'accumulated effects of instinctual or inherited experiences.') Such a mechanism of moral feeling was, Spencer believed, a manifestation of his general idea of the 'persistence of force.' As this persistence of force was a principle of nature, and could not be created artificially, Spencer held that no state or government could promote moral feeling any more than it could promote the existence of physical force. But while Spencer insisted that freedom was the power to do what one desired, he also held that what one desired and willed was wholly determined by "an infinitude of previous experiences" (The Principles of Psychology, pp. 500-502.) Spencer saw this analysis of ethics as culminating in an 'Absolute Ethics,' the standard for which was the production of pure pleasure--and he held that the application of this standard would produce, so far as possible, the greatest amount of pleasure over pain in the long run. Spencer's views here were rejected by Mill and Hartley. Their principal objection was that Spencer's account of natural 'desires' was inadequate because it failed to provide any reason why one ought to have the feelings or preferences one did. There is, however, more to Spencer's ethics than this. As individuals become increasingly aware of their individuality, they also become aware of the individuality of others and, thereby, of the law of equal freedom. This 'first principle' is that 'Every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man' (Social Statics, p. 103). One's 'moral sense,' then, led to the recognition of the existence of individual rights, and one can identify strains of a rights-based ethic in Spencer's writings. Spencer's views clearly reflect a fundamentally 'egoist' ethic, but he held that rational egoists would, in the pursuit of their own self interest, not conflict with one another. Still, to care for someone who has no direct relation to oneself--such as supporting the un- and under employed--is, therefore, not only not in one's self interest, but encourages laziness and works against evolution. In this sense, at least, social inequity was explained, if not justified, by evolutionary principles. Political Philosophy Despite his egoism and individualism, Spencer held that life in community was important. Because the relation of parts to one another was one of mutual dependency, and because of the priority of the individual 'part' to the collective, society could not do or be anything other than the sum of its units. This view is evident, not only in his first significant major contribution to political philosophy, Social Statics, but in his later essays--some of which appear in later editions of The Man versus the State. As noted earlier, Spencer held an 'organic' view of society, Nevertheless, as also noted above, he argued that the natural growth of an organism required 'liberty'--which enabled him (philosophically) to justify individualism and to defend the existence of individual human rights. Because of his commitment to the 'law of equal freedom' and his view that law and the state would of necessity interfere with it, he insisted on an extensive policy of laissez faire. For Spencer, 'liberty' "is to be measured, not by the nature of the government machinery he lives under [...] but by the relative paucity of the restraints it imposes on him" (The Man versus the State [1940], p. 19); the genuine liberal seeks to repeal those laws that coerce and restrict individuals from doing as they see fit. Spencer followed earlier liberalism, then, in maintaining that law is a restriction of liberty and that the restriction of liberty, in itself, is evil and justified only where it is necessary to the preservation of liberty. The only function of government was to be the policing and protection of individual rights. Spencer maintained that education, religion, the economy, and care for the sick or indigent were not to be undertaken by the state. Law and public authority have as their general purpose, therefore, the administration of justice (equated with freedom and the protection of rights). These issues became the focus of Spencer's later work in political philosophy and, particularly, in The Man versus the State. Here, Spencer contrasts early, classical liberalism with the liberalism of the 19th century, arguing that it was the latter, and not the former, that was a "new Toryism"--the enemy of individual progress and liberty. It is here as well that Spencer develops an argument for the claim that individuals have rights, based on a 'law of life'. (Interestingly, Spencer acknowledges that rights are not inherently moral, but become so only by one's recognition that for them to be binding on others the rights of others must be binding on oneself--this is, in other words, a consequence of the 'law of equal freedom.') He concluded that everyone had basic rights to liberty 'in virtue of their constitutions' as human beings (Social Statics, p. 77), and that such rights were essential to social progress. (These rights included rights to life, liberty, property, free speech, equal rights of women, universal suffrage, and the right 'to ignore the state'--though Spencer reversed himself on some of these rights in his later writings.) Thus, the industrious--those of character, but with no commitment to existing structures except those which promoted such industry (and, therefore, not religion or patriotic institutions)--would thrive. Nevertheless, all industrious individuals, Spencer believed, would end up being in fundamental agreement. Not surprisingly, then, Spencer maintained that the arguments of the early utilitarians on the justification of law and authority and on the origin of rights were fallacious. He also rejected utilitarianism and its model of distributive justice because he held that it rested on an egalitarianism that ignored desert and, more fundamentally, biological need and efficiency. Spencer further maintained that the utilitarian account of the law and the state was also inconsistent---that it tacitly assumed the existence of claims or rights that have both moral and legal weight independently of the positive law. And, finally, Spencer argues as well against parliamentary, representative government, seeing it as exhibiting a virtual "divine right"---i.e., claiming that "the majority in an assembly has power that has no bounds." Spencer maintained that government action requires not only individual consent, but that the model for political association should be that of a "joint stock company", where the 'directors' can never act for a certain good except on the explicit wishes of its 'shareholders'. When parliaments attempt to do more than protect the rights of their citizens by, for example, 'imposing' a conception of the good--be it only on a minority--Spencer suggested that they are no different from tyrannies. Assessment Spencer has been frequently accused of inconsistency; one finds variations in his conclusions concerning land nationalization and reform, the rights of children and the extension of suffrage to women, and the role of government. Moreover, in recent studies of Spencer's theory of social justice, there is some debate whether justice is based primarily on desert or on entitlement, whether the 'law of equal freedom' is a moral imperative or a descriptive natural law, and whether the law of equal freedom is grounded on rights, utility, or, ultimately, on 'moral sense'. Nevertheless, Spencer's work has frequently been seen as a model for later 'libertarian' thinkers, such as Robert Nozick, and he continues to be read--and is often invoked--by 'libertarians' on issues concerning the function of government and the fundamental character of individual rights. Bibliography Primary Sources: The Proper Sphere of Government. London: W. Brittain, 1843. Social Statics. London: Chapman, 1851. The Principles of Psychology. London: Longmans, 1855; 2nd edn., 2 vols. London: Williams and Norgate, 1870-2; 3rd edn., 2 vols. (1890). [A System of Synthetic Philosophy ; v. 4-5] First Principles. London: Williams and Norgate, 1862; 6th edn., revised, 1904. [A system of Synthetic Philosophy ; v. 1] Principles of Biology, 2 vols. London: Williams and Norgate, 1864, 1867; 2nd edn., 1898-99).[A System of Synthetic Philosophy ; v. 2-3] The Study of Sociology. New York: D. Appleton, 1874, [c1873] The Principles of Sociology. 3 vols. London : Williams and Norgate, 1882-1898. [A System of Synthetic Philosophy, v. 6-8] CONTENTS: Vol. 1: pt. 1. The data of sociology. pt. 2. The inductions of sociology. pt. 3. The domestic relations; Vol. 2: pt. 4. Ceremonial institutions. pt. 5. Political institutions; v. 3: pt. 6. Ecclesiastical institutions. pt. 7. Professional institutions. pt. 8. Industrial institutions.] The Man versus the State: containing "The new Toryism," "The coming slavery," "The sins of legislators," and "The great political superstition," London : Williams & Norgate, 1884; with additional essays and an introduction by Albert Jay Nock. [adds "From freedom to bondage," and "Over- legislation"] Intro. A.J. Nock. Caldwell, ID: Caxton, 1940. Spencer, Herbert. The Factors of Organic Evolution. London: Williams and Norgate, 1887. Spencer, Herbert. The Principles of Ethics. 2 vols. London: Williams and Northgate, 1892. [A system of synthetic philosophy ; v. 9-10] An Autobiography. 2 v. London: Williams and Norgate, 1904. Secondary Sources: Andreski, S. Herbert Spencer: Structure, Function and Evolution. London, 1972. Duncan, David. (ed.) The Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer. London: Methuen, 1908. Gray, T.S. The Political Philosophy of Herbert Spencer, Aldershot: Avebury, 1996. Jones, G. Social Darwinism and English Thought: The Interaction between Biological and Social Theory. Brighton, 1980. Kennedy, James G. Herbert Spencer. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1978. Miller, David. Social Justice. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976. Ch. 6 Paxton, N.L. George Eliot and Herbert Spencer: Feminism, Evolutionism, and the Reconstruction of Gender. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991. Peel, J.D.Y. Herbert Spencer: The Evolution of a Sociologist. London, 1971. Ritchie, David G. The Principles of State Interference: Four Essays on the Political Philosophy of Mr Herbert Spencer, J.S. Mill and T.H. Green. London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1891. Taylor, M.W. Men versus the State: Herbert Spencer and late Victorian Liberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Wiltshire, David. The Social and Political Thought of Herbert Spencer. New York: Oxford, 1978. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1687. . . . . . . . . . . . Living Sober From: Joanna Whitney . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/3/2004 9:30:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Group -- I am newly returning after a long stay away and glad to see you are all still here. I am really curious about the origins of the publication Living Sober and what conference approved it. Anybody? Thanks, Joanna IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1688. . . . . . . . . . . . AA Literature at Unity retreats From: victoria callaway . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/3/2004 9:20:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Can anyone clarify if some piece of AA literature was written at a Nity Village retreat and what piece that is. this remark was made at a meeting my sponsor was at and she wanted me to find out. Thanks IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1689. . . . . . . . . . . . Significant March dates in AA History - Revised From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/3/2004 6:51:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Thanks to the two eagle-eyed members who spotted errors in the original list posted March 1. One of these days I'll get it right the first time. Nancy [16] March 1: 1939 - Readers Digest failed to write promised article on AA. 1941 - Saturday Evening Post article by Jack Alexander created national sensation. AA membership quadrupled in one year from 2000 to 8000. March 3: 1947 - Nell Wing, Bill's secretary and first archivist of AA, began her career at Alcoholic Foundation Office. March 4: 1891 - Lois Wilson was born. March 5: 1945 - Time Magazine reported Detroit radio broadcasts of AA members. March 9: 1941 - Wichita Beacon reported AA member from NY who wanted to form a group in Wichita, Kansas. March 11: 1947 - A Priest in St. Paul, Minnesota, founded Calix International. Alcoholics in his parish met after Saturday morning Mass to discuss the readings for the upcoming Sunday and how their faith melded with the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. March 12: 1940 - Ebby Thatcher, Bill Wilson's boyhood friend and sponsor, was reported sober again. March 14: 1941 - South Orange, NJ, AA held an anniversary dinner at the Hotel Suburban with Bill Wilson as the guest speaker. March 15: 1941 - 1st AA group was formed in New Haven, Connecticut. March 16: 1940: Bill moved the Alcoholic Foundation office to 30 Vesey St., NY. (30 Vesey St., NY, was almost destroyed on September 11, 2001.) March 18: 1951 - Cliff W. was elected 1st delegate from Southern California. March 21: 1881 - Anne Ripley, Dr. Bob's wife, was born. 1966 - Ebby Thatcher, Bill Wilson's sponsor, died sober. March 22: 1951 - Dr. William Duncan Silkworth died at Towns Hospital. 1984 - Clarence Snyder, founder of Cleveland AA and author of "Home Brewmeister," died at 81, 46 years sober. March 23: 1936 - Bill & Lois Wilson visited Fitz Mayo, "Our Southern Friend," in Maryland. 1941 - Sybil C.'s sobriety date. She was the first woman to enter AA west of the Mississippi. March 25: 1965 - Richmond Walker, author of "Twenty-Four Hours a Day" book, died at age 72, almost 23 years sober. March 29: 1943 - The Charleston Mail, WV, reported that Bill Wilson had given a talk at St. John's Parish House. March 31: 1947 - 1st AA group was formed in London, England. Other events in March, for which I have no exact date: 1942 - 1st Prison AA Group formed at San Quentin. 1945 - March of Time film was produced and supervised by E.M. Jellinek. 1946 - The Jefferson Barracks AA Group in Missouri was formed. It is thought to be the first ever in a military installation. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1690. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Living Sober From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/3/2004 2:16:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Joanna, I don't know what conference approved of Living Sober but I do know that it was written by Barry Leach, now deceased. Barry was very devoted to Lois Wilson---somewhat like a surrogate son---and even accompanied her on trips when she was very elderly. I took a picture of Barry and Lois greeting Jack Bailey (the famous Queen for a Day man) when he spoke in Akron in 1978. I wish I could find a portrait of Barry for use in my Power Point presentations. Mel Barger ~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1691. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Living Sober From: Jim Blair . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/4/2004 12:12:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Mel wrote > I don't know what conference approved of Living Sober but I do know that it was written by Barry Leach, now deceased. This is from the unpublished history manuscript by Bob P. "Living Sober," the other booklet, published in 1975, had a more tortuous history. Around 1968, there were discussions by the Board of the need for a pamphlet for sober old-timers, and the need to point out "traps" or "danger signals." Members of the Literature Committee and others were asked to submit their ideas. Out of this grew a specific proposal for a piece of literature to be developed around the topic, "How We Stay Sober." It was in outline form by October 1969, and was assigned to a professional writer on the staff of a prestigious national magazine. After nearly two years of work, he submitted a complete draft.. Which everyone agreed would not do at all. They felt it needed such drastic revision that it should be started again from scratch by a new author. Barry L., a seasoned, skillful freelance writer/consultant for G.S.O. was given the task. With Bob H., general manager of G.S.O., he negotiated a flat fee for the project. After four and a half years of organizing material and writing . and probably some procrastinating, as well, Barry came up with a simple, intensely practical, charmingly written manual on how to enjoy a happy, productive life without drinking. It was not spiritual and contained nothing about getting sober; but it was chock-full of the kind of advice and suggestions a newcomer might get from a super-sponsor. ("A.A.'s First Aid Kit" was Bayard's name for it.) And it was written in a style unlike any other A.A. literature: breezy, impertinent, colloquial and informal. "Living Sober" proved to be hugely popular, and after it had sold nearly a million copies, Barry L. felt he should have been compensated more generously and should receive some sort of royalty. He sent a letter to all past Trustees and G.S.O. staff members with whom he was acquainted, to advance his claim. The AAWS Board and the General Service Board considered his case, but declined to take action. He then threatened legal recourse, but perhaps realizing the weakness of his case, never followed through. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1695. . . . . . . . . . . . Marty Mann and Bill Wilson, 1956, Compiled from Previous Posts From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/8/2004 7:54:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII [17] In 1956, Marty Mann had the pleasure of introducing Bill Wilson at the annual meeting of the National Committee on Alcoholism. This Committee was later to become the National Council on Alcoholism (now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence). Bill's talk, while it included his usual "bedtime story," was also a call to cooperation and understanding and support of all those who are trying to help the still suffering alcoholic. Nancy National Committee on Alcoholism Annual Meeting Hotel Statler, New York City, N.Y. March 30, 1956 Introduction by the National Director of the National Committee on Alcoholism, Mrs. Marty Mann. Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I had to have that formal beginning to find out if I had a voice. This moment is of such import to me that I have been fearful for a week that I would not be able to speak. It's a moment I've been waiting for a long time. The National Committee on Alcoholism was founded on a proof. Unless there had been proof that alcoholics could recover there could have been no National Committee on Alcoholism. That proof was available by 1944, the year of the founding of the Committee because of what Alcoholics Anonymous had been doing for nine years. And the work that Alcoholics Anonymous had been doing for nine years is very largely due to a recovery of an individual. Everything has to start somewhere. We no longer look upon it as a divine plan, I think we should as divine plans require instruments, instruments that we can see and touch and hear, that can reach us. Such an instrument was found in a man who had suffered deeply and terribly from alcoholism and he was able to recover and he discovered that in order to keep his recovery he had to share it, he had to pass it on. I like to describe this as the discovery of a constructive chain reaction. Something was set in motion back in November 1934, that was to become one of the great sources for good in our time. I was very fortunate in coming in contact with this force when I most desperately needed it. It was not easy for me to change the pattern of my living from a negative one to a constructive one and I had a little trouble from time to time in the beginning in attempting my new life. The most seriously difficulty I had was met by this same man who sought me out and dug me out and whom I couldn't refuse to see and when he spoke to me he said something that I'll never forget. Something that is having is culmination here today. He asked me if I wanted to stop drinking. I said, "Yes." He put his arm around me and he said, "I'm glad because we have a long way to go together." Neither of us knew back in 1939 how far that road led or where it was going to lead but we are still traveling that road together and it's lead up all the way, up and on. I believe that the contribution that was made by this instrument, if you like, is a contribution past description, past telling. I believe that it was largely through that contribution which produced living proof that we have been able to arrive at a meeting such as today where we have been able to bring together representatives of all the professional disciplines who are happily and gladly working in this field as this wasn't always true fifteen years ago. But we were able to get great names in medicine and psychiatry and social work and psychology and in public health to be present at a meeting like this, to take part in what we are doing, to join hands with that little band of recovered alcoholics to help lick this problem. Alcoholics Anonymous couldn't do it alone. We couldn't expect any other victims of a particular affliction to carry the whole burden of doing something about that particular disease and we shouldn't expect it in this field. To lick a problem as complex, as vast and as devastating as alcoholism requires the cooperation of every one of us, of every area of our life. To have that cooperation we had to have evidence that it could produce them. That evidence exists in the growing ranks of Alcoholics Anonymous and that truth exists because back in 1934, one man got sober and allowed himself to be used as the great instrument in spreading this word of hope. In my book he is one of the greatest men of our times. I give you my friend, my sponsor, the reason why I am here, Bill. Address by Bill W. Well, folks, our world is certainly a world of contrast, it was only a few year ago that Westbrook Pegler wrote a piece in which he described Dr. Bob and me as "the wet brain founders of Alcoholics Anonymous." But very seriously and very happily, too, I think that the A.A.'s present in and out of this Committee and everywhere join in with Lois and me and are able to say that this is one of the finest hours that has yet to come to us. Some people say that destiny is a series of events held together by a thin thread of change or circumstance. Other people say that destiny is composed of a series of events strung on a cord of cause and effect and still others say that the destiny of good work is often the issue of the will of God and that he forges the links and brings the events to pass. I've been asked to come here to tell the story of A.A. and in that story, everyone here I am sure can find justification for either of those points of view. But, I want to tell more than the story of A.A., this time. I was beset, I must confess, by a certain reluctance and the reluctance issues out of this fact, of course everybody is fairly familiar with the fact that I once suffered from alcoholism, but people are not so wise to the fact that I suffer also from schizophrenia, split personality. I have a personality say as a patriarch of A.A.,founding father, if you like, and I also have a personality as an A.A. member and between these personalities is a terrific gulf. You see, a founding father of A.A. has to stand up to the A.A. Tradition which says that you must not endorse anything or anybody or even say good things about your friends on the outside or even of Beemans chewing gum lest it be an endorsement. So as the father of A.A. I am very strictly bound to do nothing but tell the story of our society. But as an A.A. member like all the rest, I am an anarchist who revels in litter so I'm really going to say what I damn please. So, if only you will receive me as Mr. Anonymous, one of the poor old drunks still trying to get honest! Now to our narrative and to the first links in the chain of events that has led us to this magnificent hour. I was by no means the first link in this chain and only one of very many. I think the founder business ought to be well deflated and I'm just going to take a minute or two to do it. As a fact, the first link in the chain was probably forged about twenty-five years ago in the office of a great psychiatrist, Carl Jung. At that time he had as a patient a certain very prominent American businessman. They worked together for a year. My business friend Rowland was a very grim case of alcoholism and yet under the doctor's guidance he thought he was going to find release. He left the doctor in great confidence but shortly, he was back drunk. Said he to Dr. Jung, "What now, You*re my court of last resort." The doctor looked at him and said, "I thought that you might be one of those rare cases that could be touched with my art, but you aren't. I have never seen," continued doctor Jung, "one single case of alcoholism recover, so grave as yours under my tutelage." Well, to my friend Rowland this was tantamount to a sentence of death. "But doctor," said he, "is there no other course, nothing else." "Yes," said Dr. Jung, "there is something. There is such a thing as a transforming spiritual experience." "Well," Rowland beamed, "after all I've been a vestryman in the Episcopal Church, I'm a man of faith." "Oh," Dr. Jung said, "that's fine so far as it goes but it has to go a lot deeper. I'm speaking of transforming spiritual experiences." "Where would I find such a thing," asked Rowland. Dr. Jung said, "I don't know, lighting strikes here or there, it strikes any other place. We don't know why or how. You will just have to expose yourself in the religion of your own choice or a spiritual influence as best you can and just try and ask and maybe it will be open to you." So my friend Rowland joined up with the Oxford Groups, the sometime Buchmanites of that day, first in London and then came to New York and lo and behold the lighting did strike and he found himself unaccountably released of his obsession to drink. After a time he heard of a friend of mine, a chap we call Ebby, who sojourned every summer in Vermont, an awful grim case, he had driven his father's bright, shiny new Packard into the side of someone's house. He had bashed into the kitchen, pushing aside the stove and had said to the startled lady there, "How about a cup of coffee." The neighbors thought that this was enough and that he needed to be locked up. He was taken before Judge Graves in Bennington, Vermont, a place not too far from my home, by the way, and there our friend Rowland heard of it and gathering a couple of Oxford Groupers together, one of them an alcoholic the other just a two fisted drinker, they took Ebby in tow and they inoculated him with very simple ideas: that he, Ebby, could not do this job on his own resources, that he had to have help; that he might try the idea of getting honest with himself as he never had before; he might try the idea of making a confession of his defects to someone; he might try the idea of making restitution or harms done; he might try the idea of giving of himself to others with no price tag on it; agnostic he was, he might try the idea of praying to whatever God there was. That was the essence of what my friend Ebby abstracted from the Oxford Groups of that day. True, we later rejected very much of the other things they had to teach us. It is true that these principles might have been found somewhere else but as it happens they were found there. Ebby for a time got the same phenomenon of release and then he remembered me. He was brought to New York and lodged at Calvary Mission and soon called me up while I lay home drinking in Brooklyn. I will never forget that day as suddenly he stood in the areaway, I hadn't seen him for a long time. By this time I knew something of the gravity of my plight. I couldn't put my finger on it but he seemed strangely changed, besides he was sober. He came in and began to talk. I offered him some grog. I remember I had a big jug of gin and pineapple juice there, the pineapple juice was there to convince Lois that I wasn't drinking straight gin. No, he didn't care for a drink. No, he wasn't drinking. "What's got into you," I asked. "Well," he said, "I've got religion." Well, that was rough on me. He's got religion! He had substituted religious insanity for alcoholic insanity. Well, I had to be polite so I asked, "What brand is it." And, he said, "I wouldn't exactly call it a brand. I've come across a group of people who have sold me on getting honest with myself; who sold me on the idea that I am powerless over my problems and have taught me to help others so I'm trying to bring something to you, if you want it. That's it." So, in his turn, he transmitted to me these simple ideas across the kitchen table. Meanwhile, another chain of events had been taking place. In fact, the earliest link in that chain runs back to William James who is sometimes called the father of modern psychology. Another link in the chain was my own Doctor William Duncan Silkworth, who I think will someday be counted as a medical saint. I had the usual struggle with this problem and had met Dr. Silkworth at Towns Hospital. He had explained in very simple terms what my problem was: an obsession that condemned me to drink against my will and increasing physical sensitivity which guaranteed that I would go mad unless I could somehow find release, perhaps through re-education. He taught me the nature of the malady. But here I was, again drinking. But here was my friend talking to me over the kitchen table. Already, you see, the elements which lie today in the foundation of A.A. were already present. The God of science in the persons of Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Jung had said "No" on the matters of psychiatry, psychology and medicine. They can't do it alone. Your will power can't do it alone. So, the rug had been pulled out from under Rowland Hazzard; and Hazzard, an alcoholic, had pulled the rug out from under Ebby; and now he was pulling it out from under me while quoting Dr. Jung and substantiating what Dr. Silkworth had let leak back to me through Lois. So, the stage was really set and it had been some years in the setting before it ever caught up with me. Of course, I had balked at this idea of a power greater than myself, although the rest of the program seemed sensible enough. I was desperate, willing to try anything, but I still did gag on the God business. But at length, I said to myself as has every A.A. member since, "Who am I to say there is no God? Who am I to say how I am going to get well?" Like a cancer patient, I am now ready to do anything, to be dependent upon any kind of a physician and if there is a great physician, I had better seek him out. So, pretty drunk, I went back to Towns Hospital, was put to bed and three days later my friend appears again. One alcoholic talking to another across that strange powerful bond that we can effect with each other. In his one hand and in the hands of the doctor was hopelessness and on the other side was hope. He went through his little list of principles; getting honest, making restitution, working with other people, praying to whatever God there was, then he left. When he had gone, I sunk into a terrific depression, the like of which I had never known and I suppose for a moment the last vestiges of my prideful obstinacy were crushed out at great depth and I cried out like a child, "Now I'll do anything, anything to get well," and with no faith and almost no hope I again cried out, "If there is a God, will he show himself." Immediately the place lit up in a great light. It seemed to me that I was on a mountain top, there was a sudden realization that I was free, utterly free of this thing and as the ecstasy subsided I am again on the bed and now I'm surrounded by a sense of presence and a mighty assurance and a feeling that no matter how wrong things were, ultimately all would be well. I thought to myself, so this is the God of the preachers. From that day to this, I have scarcely been tempted to drink, so instantaneous and terrific was the release from the obsession. At about the time of my release from the hospital, somebody handed me a copy of William James' book Varieties of Religious Experience. Many of us disagree with James' pragmatic philosophy but I think that nearly all will agree that this is a great text in which he examines these mechanisms. And in that book of his, great numbers, the great majority of these experiences took off from a base of utter hopelessness. In some controlling area of the individual's life he had struck a wall and couldn't get under, around or over. That kind of hopelessness was the forerunner of the transforming experience and as I began to read those common denominators stuck out of the cases cited by James. I began to wonder. Yes, I fitted into that pattern but why hadn't more alcoholics fitted into it before now? In other words, what we needed was more deflation at depth to lay hold of this transforming experience. Then comes Dr. Silkworth with the answer, those two little words: the obsession and the allergy. Not such little words, big words, the twin ogres of madness and death, of science pronouncing its verdict of hopelessness so far as our own resources were concerned. Yes, I had had that dose. That had perhaps laid the ground. One alcoholic talking to another had convinced me where no others had brought me any conviction. I began to race around madly trying to help alcoholics and in gratitude I briefly joined the Oxford Group but they were more interested in saving the world than other alcoholics. That didn't last too long and I began to tell people of this sudden mystic experience and I fear that I was preaching a great deal and not one single drunk sobered up for a period of six months. Again, comes the man of medicine, Dr. Silkworth and he said, "Bill, you've got the cart before the horse. Why don't you stop talking about this queer experience of yours and of all this morality? Why don't you pour into these people how medically sick they are and then, maybe coming from you or with the identification you can get with these other fellows, then maybe you'll soften them up so they'll buy this moral psychology." About that time I had been urged to get back into business and quit being a missionary and I hooked onto a business deal which took me to Akron, Ohio. The deal fell through and for the first time I felt tempted to drink. I was in the hotel with about ten dollars in my pocket and my new found friends had disappeared. I thought to myself, gee, you'd better look for another alcoholic to work with. Then I realized as never before how working with other alcoholics had played such a great part in sustaining my original experience. Well, again friends came to the rescue. I went down to the lobby and looked at the Church Directory and absentmindedly drew my finger down the list of names and there appeared a rather odd one, the Reverend Tunks. I said, "Well, I'll call up Tunks" and he turned out to be a wonderful Episcopal clergyman. I said that I was a drunk looking for another drunk to work on and tried to explain why. The good man showed some alarm as it wasn't everyday someone called up with my request but the good man gave me a list of about ten names, some of them Oxford Groupers. I called all of these people up. Well, Sunday was coming and maybe they would see me in Church, some were going out of town. I exhausted that list, all but one. None had time nor cared very much. Something not very strange under the circumstances so I went down and took another look in the bar and something said to me "You had better call her up." Her name was Henrietta Seiberling and I took her to be the wife of a tire tycoon out there who I had once met and I thought that this lady certainly isn't going to want to see me on a Saturday afternoon. But I called and she said, "Come right out, I'm not an alcoholic but I think I understand." This led to the meeting with Dr. Bob, one of my many co-partners in this enterprise, and as Dr. Silkworth had suggested I poured into him how sick we were and that produced his immediate recovery. I went to live in the Smith's house and presently Bob said, "Hadn't we better start working with alcoholics?" I said, "Sure, I think we had." We found an opportunity at City Hospital in Akron, who was being brought in with D.T.'s on a stretcher. He'd been hospitalized six times in four months and couldn't even get home without getting stewed. That was to be A.A. number three, the first man on the bed. Dr. Bob and I went to see him and he said, "I'm too far gone and besides, I'm a man of faith." Nevertheless, we poured it into him, the medical hopelessness of this thing so far as one's own resources are concerned. We explained what had happened to us, we made clear to him his future. And the next morning we came back and he was saying to his wife, "Give me my clothes, were going to get up and get out of here. These are the men, they are the ones who understand." Right then and there was formed the first A.A. group in the summer of 1935. The synthesis in it's main outline was complete. But Lord, we hadn't even started. The struggles of those next few years. A wonderful thing to think about. Terribly slow was our growth. We got way into 1939 before we had produced even a hundred recoveries in Akron and in New York, a few in Cleveland, Ohio. Then, in that year, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran pieces about us of such strength that the few A.A.'s in Cleveland were flooded with hundreds of cases and that added one more needed ingredient. Up to this time it had been deadly slow. Could this thing spread? Could we get into mass production? Well, in a matter of months, twenty Clevelanders had sobered up several hundred newcomers. But that required hospitalization and we were not liked in the hospitals. Now, I come to the subject of this Committee, it's relation with A.A., and the linkage between us. Meanwhile, great events were going on down here (New York), there had been in preparation a book to be called Alcoholics Anonymous. As a precaution we had made mimeograph copies to be passed around and one of these copies was sent to a man who I consider to be one of the greatest friends that this society can ever have, Dr. Harry Tiebout, the onetime Chairman of this Committee. Harry Tiebout was the man who got me before the medical societies and that took great courage. Well, I'm getting ahead of my story. So Harry got one of the mimeographed copies of the A.A. book and he hands it to a certain patient at the Blythewood Sanitarium in Greenwich, Connecticut. The patient was a lady. She read the book and it made her very mad so she threw it out the window and got drunk. That was the first impact of Alcoholics Anonymous. Harry got her sobered up and handed her the book again and a phrase caught her eye, it was a trigger. "We cannot live with resentments," the book said. This time she didn't throw it out the window. Presently she came to our little meeting and you must remember that we were still less than a hundred strong in the early part of 1939 at our little Brooklyn house at 182 Clinton Street. And she came back from that meeting to Greenwich and made a remark that today is a classic in A.A. She said to a fellow patient and sufferer and friend in the sanitarium, "Grennie, we're not alone anymore, this is it." Well, that was the beginning for Marty. Much help by Harry and Mrs. Willey, the proprietor of the place. Marty started the first group on the grounds of the sanitarium. She began to frantically work with alcoholics and became the dean of our women alcoholics. So our society had made two terrific friends in Dr. Harry and Marty. Now, in the intervening years up to 1944, A.A. itself was in a bad turmoil. The Saturday Evening Post piece had been published which caused 6,000 frantic inquiries to hit our post office box here in New York, from all over the country, indeed, all over the world. So then the great question was posed. Could A.A. spread? Could it function? Could it hang together with it's enormous neurotic content that we have. We just did not know. But again, it was do or die. In old Ben Franklin's words, "We would either hang together or hang separately." Out of this group experience there began to evolve Traditions. Traditions which had to do with A.A.'s unity and function and relation with the world outside and our relations to such things as money, property, prestige, all that sort of thing. The Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous you folks, for the most part, are familiar with. Those principles began to take shape, began to gather for us and little by little, order began to come out of this seething mass of drunks in their quest for sobriety. By now, the membership of the movement had run up into the many thousands and as Marty observed, there was now proof that it can be done. But we were still a long way from today. A.A. still needed friends. Friends of medicine, friends of religion, friends of the press. We had a handful but we needed a lot of friends. The public needed to know what sort of malady this was and that something could be done about it. This Committee, much like Alcoholics Anonymous is notable not only for what it has done in its own sphere but for what it has set in motion. I remember very well when this Committee started. It brought me in contact with our great friends at Yale, the courageous Dr. Haggard, the incredible Dr.Jellinek or "Bunky" as we affectionately know him, and Seldon [Bacon] and all those dedicated people. The question arose, could an A.A. member get into education or research or what not? Then ensued a fresh and great controversy in A.A. which was not surprising because you must remember that in that period we were like the people on Rickenbacker's raft. Who would dare to rock us ever so little and precipitate us back into the alcohol sea. So, frankly, we were afraid and as usual we had the radicals and we had the conservatives and we had moderates on this question of whether A.A. members could go into other enterprises in this field. The conservatives said, "No, let's keep it simple, let's mind our own business." The radicals said, "Let's endorse anything that looks like it will do any good, let the A.A. name be used to raise money and to do whatever it can do for the whole field," and the growing body of moderates took the position, "Let any A.A. member who feels the call go into these related fields, for if we are to do less it would be a very antisocial outlook." So that is where the Tradition finally sat and many were called and many were chosen since that day to go into these related fields which has now got to be so large in their promise that we of Alcoholics Anonymous are getting down to our right size and we are only now realizing that we are only a small part of a great big picture. We are realizing again, afresh, that without our friends, not only could we not have existed in the first place but we could not have grown. We are getting a fresh concept in A.A. of what our relations with the world and all of these related enterprises should be. In other words, we are growing up. In fact last year at St. Louis we were bold enough to say we had come of age and that within Alcoholics Anonymous the main outlines of the basis for recovery, of the basis for unity and of the basis for service or function were already evident. At St. Louis I made talks upon each of those subjects which largely concerned themselves about what A.A. had done about these things but here we are in a much wider field and I think that the sky is the limit. I think that I can say without any reservation that what this Committee has done with the aid of it's great friends who are now legion as anyone here can see. I think that this Committee has been responsible for making more friends for Alcoholics Anonymous and of doing a wider service in educating the world on the gravity of this malady and what can be done about it than any other single agency. I'm awfully partial and maybe I'm a little biased because here sits the dean of all our ladies, my close, dear and beloved friend. So speaking out of turn as a founder, I want to convey to her in the presence of all of you the best I can say of my great love and affection is thanks. At the close of things in St. Louis, I remember that I likened A.A. to a cathedral style edifice whose corners now rested across the earth. I remember saying that we can see on its great floor the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and there assembled maybe 150,000 sufferers and their families. We have seen side walls go up, buttressed with the A.A. Tradition and at St. Louis, when the elected Conference took over from our Board of Trustees, the spire of service was put into effect and its beacon light, the beacon light of A.A. shone there beckoning to all the world. I realized as I sat here today that that was not a big enough concept, for on the floor of the cathedral of the spirit there should always be written the formula from whatever source for release from alcoholism, whether it be a drug, whether it be the psychiatric art, whether it be the ministrations of this Committee. In other words, we who deal with this problem are all in the same boat, all standing upon the same floor. So let's bring to this floor the total resources that can be brought to bear upon this problem and let us not think of unity just in terms of the A.A.Tradition. Let us think of unity among all those who work in the field as the kind of unity that befits brotherhood and sisterhood and a kinship in the common suffering. Let us stand together in the spirit of service. If we do these things, only then can we declare ourselves really come of age. And only then, and I think this is a time not far off, I think we can say that the future, our future, the future of this Committee, of A.A. and of the things that people of good will are trying to do in this field will be completely assured. Thank you. _________ An excerpt from "On The Alcoholism Front," written by Bill Wilson for The Grapevine, March 1958: "Then along came Marty. As an early AA she knew public attitudes had to be changed, that people had to know that alcoholism was a disease and alcoholics could be helped. She developed a plan for an organization to conduct a vigorous program of public education and to organize citizens' committees all over the country. She bought her plan to me. I was enthusiastic but felt scientific backing was essential, so the plan was sent to Bunky [Dr. E.M. Jellinek], and he came down to meet with us. He said the plan was sound, the time was ripe, and he agreed with me that Marty was the one to do the job. "Originally financed by the tireless Dr. Haggard and his friends, Marty started her big task. I cannot detail in this space the great accomplishments of Marty and her associates in the present-day National Council on Alcoholism. But I can speak my conviction that no other single agency has done more to educate the public, to open up hospitalization, and to set in motion all manner of constructive projects than this one. Growing pains there have been aplenty, but today the NCA results speak for themselves. ..." [ IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1696. . . . . . . . . . . . More on Marty Mann - Compiled from Previious Posts From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/8/2004 10:25:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII From an article by Bill Wilson in THE GRAPEVINE, October 1944 We are again citizens of the world.... As individuals, we have a responsibility, maybe a double responsibility. It may be that we have a date with destiny. An example: Not long ago Dr. E. M. Jellinek, of Yale University, came to us. He said, "Yale, as you know, is sponsoring a program of public education on alcoholism, entirely noncontroversial in character. So, when the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism [now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence] was formed, an AA member was made its executive director: Marty M., one of our oldest and finest. As a member of AA, she is just as much interested in us as before - AA is still her avocation. But as an officer of the Yale-sponsored National Committee, she is also interested in educating the general public on alcoholism. Her AA training has wonderfully fitted her for this post in a different field. Public education on alcoholism is to be her vocation. Could an AA do such a job? At first, Marty herself wondered. She asked her AA friends, "Will I be regarded as a professional?" Her friends replied: "Had you come to us, Marty, proposing to be a therapist, to sell straight AA to alcoholics at so much a customer, we should certainly have branded that as professionalism. So would everybody else. "But the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism is quite another matter. You will be taking your natural abilities and AA experience into a very different field. We don't see how that can affect your amateur status with us. Suppose you were to become a social worker, a personnel officer, the manager of a state farm for alcoholics, or even a minister of the gospel? Who could possibly say those activities would make you a professional AA? No one, of course." They went on: "Yet we do hope that AA as a whole will never deviate from its sole purpose of helping other alcoholics. As an organization, we should express no opinions save on the recovery of problem drinkers. That very sound national policy has kept us out of much useless trouble already, and will surely forestall untold complications in the future. "Though AA as a whole," they continued, "should have one objective, we believe just as strongly that for the individual there should be no limitations whatever, except his own conscience. He should have the complete right to choose his own opinions and outside activities. If these are good, AAs everywhere will approve. Just so, Marty, do we think it will be in your case. While Yale is your actual sponsor, we feel sure that you are going to have the warm personal support of thousands of AAs wherever you go. We shall all be thinking how much better a break this new generation of potential alcoholic kids will have because of your work, how much it might have meant to us had our own mothers and fathers really understood alcoholism." Personally, I feel that Marty's friends have advised her wisely; that they have clearly distinguished between the limited scope of AA as a whole and the broad horizon. __________ Excerpt from Marty Mann's New Primer on Alcoholism, 1981 (First Owl Book Edition), pp. 83-86. The Test There is a simple test which has been used hundreds of times for this purpose. Even an extremely heavy drinker should have no trouble in passing it, whereas an alcoholic, if able to complete it at all, could do so only under such heavy pressure that his life would be more miserable than he thinks it would be if he stopped drinking altogether. The chances are a hundred to one, how ever, against a true alcoholic's being either willing or able to undertake the test. The Test: Select any time at all for instituting it. Now is the best time. For the next six months at least decide that you will stick to a certain number of drinks a day, that number to be not less than one and not more than three. If you are not a daily drinker, then the test should be the stated number of drinks from one to three, on those days when you do drink. Some heavy drinkers confine their drinking to weekends, but still worry about the amount they consume then. Whatever number you choose must not be exceeded under any circumstances whatever, and this includes weddings, births, funerals, occasions of sudden death and disaster, unexpected or long-awaited inheritance, promotion, or other happy events, reunions or meetings with old friends or good customers, or just sheer boredom. There must also be no special occasions on which you feel justified in adding to your quota of the stated number of drinks, such as a severe emotional upset, or the appointment to close the biggest deal of your career, or the audition you've been waiting for all your life, or the meeting with someone who is crucial to your future and of whom you are terrified. Absolutely no exceptions, or the test has been failed. This is not an easy test, but it has been passed handily by any number of drinkers who wished to show themselves, or their families and friends, that they were not compulsive drinkers. If by any chance they failed the test, showing that they were alcoholics, they showed themselves, too, that they were, whether they were then ready to admit it openly or not. At least it prepared them for such an admission, and for the constructive action which normally follows that admission. It is important to add that observers of such tests should not use them to try to force a flunkee to premature action. This may well backfire and produce a stubborn determination on the part of the one who has been unable to pass the test, to prove that it is not alcoholism that caused the failure. He can and does do this in several ways: by stopping drinking altogether for a self-specified time (when this is over he usually breaks out in even worse form than before, and with an added resentment toward those who "drove" him to it); by instituting a rigid control over his own drinking, which produces a constant irritability that makes him impossible to be with, coupled with periodic outbreaks of devastating nature; or by giving himself a very large quota and insisting that he has remained within it, even when he has obviously been too drunk to remember how many drinks he had. In extreme cases, he may even give himself a quota of so many drinks, and take them straight from the bottle, calling each bottle "the" drink. The backfiring from too great outside pressure may also cause a complete collapse: knowing and admitting that he cannot pass the test and is therefore an alcoholic, he will resist efforts to force him to take action by saying in effect, "So I'm an alcoholic, so I can't control my drinking, so I'll drink as I must," and go all out for perdition. This last, despite the expressed concern of some people (who believe that admitting alcoholism to be a disease, and alcoholic drinking to be uncontrollable drinking, is simply to give alcoholics a good excuse to continue), very rarely happens. Nevertheless the possibility must be taken into account by those who are trying to help an alcoholic to recognize his trouble and take constructive action on it. If he is left alone after failing such a self-taken test, the failure will begin to work on him-it has planted a seed of knowledge which may well grow into action. The "occasional drunk" usually comes from the ranks of heavy drinkers, sometimes social drinkers. Rarely is he an abstainer between his bouts, as is generally the case with periodic alcoholics. Sometimes called "spree drinkers," these are the ones who every now and then deliberately indulge in short periods of drinking to drunkenness, usually at sporadic intervals. They talk of the "good" it does them to have a "purge" once in a while, or to "let down their hair" or to "kick over the traces" and have "all-out fun." Unfortunately for them they sometimes get into trouble during these sprees, and their drinking habits are thus brought to public attention. But they can and do stop such indulgences if they find it is costing them too much, for their sprees are their idea of fun, and not a necessity. "Occasional drunks" are most often found among youthful drinkers, whose ideas of "fun," for one reason or another, have come to center around drinking and the uninhibited behavior which excessive drinking allows. __________ The following was excerpted from a biography-in-progress of Marty Mann, by Sally and David Brown. It has since been published by Hazelden: Marty Mann is scarcely a household word today, yet she is arguably one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Marty's life was like a blazing fire, but was nearly extinguished by personal tragedy and degradation. She rose to a triumphant recovery that powered a historic, unparalleled change in our society. Through her vision and leadership, the attitude of America toward alcoholism was changed from a moral issue to one of public health. This was a tremendous shift, especially considering America's long temperance history which culminated in the Prohibition Amendment of 1920. Marty was able to accomplish these things despite numerous, very difficult setbacks along the way, any one of which might have overcome a lesser person. She would be the first to claim that her sobriety, found through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in its very earliest days, was the most important factor in her success. ... Marty was born into a life of wealth and privilege in Chicago in the early 1900s. Her family sent her to the best private schools. She was blessed with beauty, brains, a powerful will and drive, phenomenal energy and stunning charisma. She traveled extensively. She debuted, then married into a wealthy New Orleans family. Her future seemed ordained to continue on the same patrician track except for one serious setback on the way. When Marty was 14, she was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB). In those days, drugs for treatment were not yet available. However, her family could afford to send her to an expensive private sanitarium in California for a year, and then provide her with a private-duty nurse at home for another year or two. She had one recurrence of the disease several years later, and for the rest of her long life she knew that she was always in remission from this ancient scourge. Marty was no sooner past this hurdle when another disease began to assert itself. When Marty was 17 she could drink as an adult. Moving at a fast pace in an elite social group, she had a "hollow leg." A party girl from the onset, she could outdrink anyone and be the only person left standing to get everybody else home. Later, she was to learn that her unusual capacity was an important early sign of alcoholism. Suddenly her father lost all his wealth, and she had to go to work. Untrained for any specific career, she was nevertheless favored with important moneyed and social connections in this country and abroad. Her natural talents led her into the world of public relations. Marty's drinking was an occupational hazard in her line of work. Within 10 years she went from a bright, assured future to a hideous existence of round-the-clock drinking. She lost one job after another. She became destitute, living off the goodwill of friends, convinced that she was hopelessly insane. Two suicide attempts nearly killed her, and desperate drinking threatened to finish the job. At this point, friends intervened. She was accepted as a charity patient at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, then transferred to Blythewood, an exclusive private psychiatric inpatient center in Connecticut as a charity patient. There were a few patients who were alcoholics, like Marty, whose behavior had become bizarre or unmanageable. It is difficult these days to imagine a world where the term "alcoholism" was virtually unknown and there was no treatment except "drying out." Alcoholics Anonymous didn't exist. The medical profession was as much in the dark as the alcoholics and their baffled families. The concept of alcoholism as a disease -- and a major, treatable one at that -- was scarcely known. Then in 1935, two alcoholics, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, happened to come together to help each other stay sober. Alcoholics Anonymous, probably the most famous grassroots, self-help health movement of all time, was launched on its shaky way. Within four years, Bill and Dr. Bob and a handful of other pioneers had attracted two small groups of men who managed to achieve sobriety; one in Akron, Ohio (Dr. Bob's home), and the other in New York City (Bill W's home). They decided to write down their experiences in the belief and hope that they could thereby broaden their outreach to other suffering alcoholics. The book "Alcoholics Anonymous" was born, and at the heart of it was the famous "12 Steps," which have been adopted and adapted by literally hundreds of other kinds of self-help groups. The year was 1939. The year of 1939 was also a fateful year for Marty. She had been a patient at Blythewood for months, still unable to remain completely sober. Her enlightened psychiatrist, Dr. Harry Tiebout, gave her a manuscript of "Alcoholics Anonymous" to read, convinced that it would help her in a way he could not. This opened the door to her recovery. Eventually she was persuaded by Dr. Tiebout to attend her first AA meeting, held in the home of Bill Wilson and his wife, Lois. This was still during the time that there were only two AA meetings in the whole country. Each little group met just once a week. Many members literally drove over a hundred miles each way to attend the fellowship. Contrast that scene with the thousands and thousands of AA meetings available across America today, the majority a short distance from home. Furthermore, all of the AA members were men. A few women had drifted in and out, but the stigma against women alcoholics was as strong as ever. Women rarely had the courage to seek help, even if they acknowledged they might have a problem. Marty loved and appreciated AA from the beginning. She was immensely relieved to learn she was not incurably insane, but instead had a disease which manifested itself as "an allergy of the body coupled with an obsession of the mind." Scientific research describes this condition as a biochemical abnormality affecting the body and the brain in ways which increasingly limit the predisposed person's ability to function or to stop, despite dire consequences. Marty had three relapses during her first 18 months in AA. Slips, or relapses, while distressing and sometimes tragically fatal, are not uncommon with many of those who come into AA. Later, Marty settled down, and the real healing began as she started to apply the 12 Steps to her life. Five years after she found AA, Marty had a dream. Her vision was to educate the whole country about alcoholism. She was obsessed with eliminating the historic stigma attached to chronic inebriation. She joined forces with the Yale School of Alcohol Studies (now at Rutgers), where early significant scientific research into alcoholism was underway. Eventually her nationwide educational efforts led to the creation of a separate organization, the National Council on Alcoholism (now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence or NCADD). NCADD has been this country's most important educational, referral resource for alcoholics, their families and communities all across the country. Marty was the right person at the right place and time. She was extremely fortunate to find a wealthy donor, Brinkley Smithers, who was committed to her goals and generously supported her organization. Marty was intensely focused on her mission. More than one person said she was like a train coming down the track -- jump on or get out of the way. Her elegant appearance, captivating charm, intellect and breathtaking charisma swept people off their feet. By all accounts, she was one of the most spellbinding speakers this land has ever seen. Even audiences initially skeptical of her message, that an alcoholic is a sick person who can be helped, ended up enthusiastically supporting her. For most of her 24 years as director of NCA, she maintained a speaking schedule of over 200 talks annually. The purpose of Marty's talks was to establish local volunteer groups in every major city. These affiliates of NCA would carry out NCA's mission to provide education, information and referral for their respective communities. Government financial support was minimal to nonexistent. Most of the funding for the affiliates came from local, private donations. By now, one would think Marty had it all. Restored health, sobriety, the realization of her dream. Then, once more, she was felled by a disease beyond her control -- this time it was cancer. Several surgeries were required, and eventually she recovered from the cancer. Doctors were amazed by her medical history: recovery from three major diseases, recurrences of severe chronic depression, plus the physical consequences of her early suicide attempts. When she was 65, Marty retired with some reluctance from active management of NCA. It was not easy for her to relinquish control of her creation and the central focus of her passion for over two decades. As NCA's promoter without peer, she continued a punishing speaking schedule on the organization's behalf for many years, but gave up her personal involvement in day-to-day affairs. In the early 1950s, Edward R. Murrow, distinguished journalist, selected Marty as one of the 10 greatest living Americans. During her lifetime, Marty was extremely well-known in the local, regional and national press. Her appearances before state legislatures and Congress were unforgettable for those present and produced results. She was made an honorary member of prestigious professional groups here and abroad. Marty's last talk was before AA's international convention in New Orleans in 1980. Two weeks later she suffered a stroke at home and died very shortly thereafter. She was 75. The organization and history of NCA after Marty has been mixed. There were some rocky periods, which are to be expected following the retirement and demise of a long-term, extremely dynamic and charismatic leader. The affiliates across the country also experienced some ups and downs. However, the organization persisted, stabilized and continues to be an effective public voice on behalf of alcoholics. Marty's legacy is sparingly reported in the histories of Alcoholics Anonymous, probably because NCA was not an arm of AA. However, AA grew enormously in the decades that Marty was active. Wherever she spoke, she generated extensive publicity, and new AA members appeared in droves. Her appearances were especially important in attracting women alcoholics. They figured that if a person as impressive and inspiring as Marty could admit that she was an alcoholic, they could too. Women like Betty Ford are direct inheritors of Marty's example. _____________ The following is from the 1980 Nov-Dec. Issue of ALCOHOLISM, "Pioneer, Persuader, Inexhaustible Advocate, Marty Mann." Included in the article is a tribute by Susan B. Anthony: (Dr. Susan B. Anthony, author, lecturer, theologian, and counselor, is another long-time friend and colleague of Marty's. The great niece and namesake of the famous suffrage leader, she is currently lecturing on women and alcoholism, and has authored seven books and many articles.) Putting on paper my tributes to Marty helps alleviate the frustration I felt when I could not get up north for her Memorial Services to share with old friends of hers and mine. What I did do when NCA called me to let me know of her death was to put my emotion into prayer, for her and for us. Prayer was a gift that came some years after sobering up in Marty's office on August 22, 1946. I last spoke with Marty just a few weeks before her death, on July 3 when I was visiting my sister. When I called her, she said in her rich, resonant voice, "You just caught me. I am going out the door for the New Orleans AA convention!" She sounded buoyant and happy, her voice as young as the day I first met her 34 years ago. When I told her I had been one of the 500 nominated as public members for the National Commission on Alcoholism and other Alcohol Related Problems, she laughed "It's not 500, my dear, it's 700 or 800 nominees." In July it seemed so natural that she was taking off for a talk. Just three weeks before her death (even as my own great-aunt Susan B.) she was setting forth for one last stint on the road. As her obituary in THE NEW YORK TIMES said on July 24, Marty had averaged 200 lectures, all out of town, of course. I was part of one of those flights, in 1977, en route to Des Moines, Iowa, to keynote a conference commemorating the Council she and local friends had started there. I had just spoken at another NCA conference celebrating her birthday in Pennsylvania, flown home to Florida and was now flying to Des Moines, getting off to be greeted by the program chairman when I saw Marty ahead of me. "Were you on that plane?" she asked. "I was in first class," she said apologetically. "I sometimes splurge on that -- I get so tired." She looked frail and I recalled the millions of miles she had journeyed for alcoholism education, for alcoholics, miles that were marked by broken hips, and illnesses. And that she felt she must apologize for the greater comfort of first class, though she had passed three score years and ten! When I couldn't get to her Memorial Service I wrote her family: "My gratitude to Marty since sobering up in her office in 1946 surpasses even my sympathy for you since we and the world know her work for alcoholics is deathless." I often wonder whether I would be alive and sober today if Marty had not provided a quiet, private office uptown (at the old Academy of Medicine Building, New York City) where a prima donna radio commentator, a woman at that, could seek help for alcoholism. I was not ready at that point for the old clubhouse downtown. Though Marty was not in the office that day of August 22, 1947, her aura dominated the pleasant serene office, and her volunteer AA secretary carried the message to me, as Marty later did by her being as well as by her sharing. Marty provided not only a place in which I could sober up that day, but equally important and seldom mentioned today when even wives of ex-presidents come out of the closet as alcoholics, Marty provided a witness. She was the first and a continual sign, a witness, that an upper middle class lady can also become a low class drunk, and then climb back up from that bottom to new heights. I grew up thinking of my suffragist great aunt Susan B. as "The Mother of Us All," the title Gertrude Stein gave to her opera about Aunt Susan. She was a "mother" to us in the sense of her concern for our rights and our work. Marty, I believe is "The mother of the woman alcoholic" not only the first to stay sober in AA, but the first to carry the message to the outside, non-alcoholic world, women and men, the message that alcoholism is a disease and that it is treatable. As Bill Wilson's (co-founder of AA) biographer, Robert Thomsen says: "Marty was to become one of the pioneers in the field of alcoholism education, but at this point she was primarily one of AA's spectacular recoveries." That was when Marty, an "Attractive intelligent young woman with tremendous charm" attended an early A meeting at Brooklyn. She instantly caught the message and returned to Blythwood Sanitarium in Connecticut to spread the message among other alcoholic patients of Dr. Harry Tiebout, one of the first medical champions of AA. Marty will go down in history as the founder and director in 1944 of the first public health organization on alcoholism in history, the National Council on Alcoholism. Her work finally lifted the nation's consciousness about alcoholism so that the American Medical Association accepted that it is a disease and that it is treatable. She went on to mold public opinion, laying the ground work for the passage of the Hughes Act of 1970, the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, treatment and Rehabilitation Act under which the vast expansion of facilities for treatment has taken place, providing networks of out-and inpatient clinics, detoxification and rehabilitation programs. A years before she died, Marty's 75th birthday was celebrated in advance by our great friend and colleague, Felicia M. who put on a memorable party. It was also her birthday, plus my 33rd anniversary sober. Among the three we totaled 104 years of sobriety! I spent much of my time with Marty that night trying to persuade her to dictate her own autobiography now that she was less on the road. She dodged and demurred. I realized that she had reached that stage I have observed over the years of interviewing some leading men and women. Self as subject bored her. She had become increasingly "unsettled" in her later years. She didn't want to spend the time that was left writing about herself, so that task remains for someone else to do, someone who knew her, or even some younger woman. Marty is a model for the young women of today, not only the model of an "unselfed" sober woman. She is what I hoped to be when I was young, a liberated woman. She became a crusader, reformer, educator, organizer, agitator, lobbyist, a truly great speaker, a lucid writer, a great 12th stepper. She addressed U.S. Congressional committees and joint sessions of state legislatures. She received honorary degrees. She was liberated not only from the disease of alcoholism but liberated from restrictions upon her as a woman back in the 1940s when I was broadcasting on New York radio against those restrictions. Marty transcended the double stigma of being a woman and an alcoholic. In so doing she incurred snubs, distastes and dislike, and controversy. Even her best friends, her A.A. buddies, were critical of her. When I worked for NCA back in Boston in 1949, doing the first radio program that ever broadcast interviews with live alcoholics, I sensed that hostility of local AA's toward Marty's program of educating the public on the disease of alcoholism. NCA was only five years old then, my sobriety was only three years old. Even these friends thought NCA was competitive with AA, that when Marty crusaded for public education and prevention she somehow was detracting from AA. She didn't need enemies among her own, but in those early days she had them. Happily she outlived those misunderstandings. When the history of alcoholism is written, this century will carry three names ahead of the others, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, co-founders of A.A. and Marty Mann, pioneer woman AA member and pioneer alcoholism educator. Marty lived to see her concern for women alcoholics begin to show results in 1976 when Jan du Plain launched NCA's office on women. In rapid succession occurred the first national Congress of Task Forces on women and alcoholism, then came a gathering of the alcohol establishment hosted by NCA and the U.S. Senate subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, a reception in the Senate Caucus room honoring my 30th anniversary sober. Growing out of this the next month, September 1978, the first ever Congressional hearing on Women and alcoholism was held. At lunch a few weeks later, Marty rejoiced at all this headway and said, "Do you realize, Susan, that a the age of sixty you have begun an entirely new career?" I asked what she meant. She said the lecture tour that was launched by massive coverage of the Senate activities. It would in the next four years carry me 35,000 miles in 75 cities, 46 states and to Africa and Alaska speaking on women and alcoholism. Some of those talks were before the great main line women's organizations, ranging from the National Federation of Business and Professional Women to the Junior League. Marty herself had dreamed when first forming NCA that these women's groups would grasp the importance of educating on the disease concept of alcoholism, especially for girls and women. But in the 1940s they were uninterested. Perhaps had they begun their efforts then, they might have helped avert the epidemic of alcoholism among girls and women in the 1980s, what I call the "age of anesthesia" that blankets us. With their women's focus they might have seen as we do today that alcoholism among women is different and distinct, and requires differences in prevention and treatment. Women have problems that men do not have such as stigma, discrimination, child care problems that bar women from residential treatment, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. In November 1979, I added another career, private practice in alcoholism counseling here in South Florida. Marty wrote me in her own hand her encouragement and recommendation for my certification. It is a letter I shall literally have framed. She wrote: "Susan dear -- "Your activities exhaust me, just reading about them! and yet they too -- like Jan's -- are a replica of my own pattern, so I understand and applaud you --"Alcoholism needs people like us: 'dedicated idiots' Selden Bacon once call Yev (Gardner) and me and we lifted it as our banner and proclaimed it good, which wasn't what he had meant! "Anyway - again you are in the pattern by turning to counseling, which is what I do, plus a once weekly lecture at Silver Hill and Yev also, at Freeport Hospital. So we've all come full circle, back to AA's one-on-one. It's good and I love it. So will you." I pray I will continue to be a "dedicated idiot" and as she said "a replica" of her pattern, carrying the message as she did, until the day I die." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1697. . . . . . . . . . . . Texas Oldtimer, Clinton Ferrell, Dead at 93 From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/10/2004 6:55:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII A friend forwarded this to me. I don't know what paper it appeared in. Nancy Clinton Ferrell KERMIT " Clinton Ferrell, a longtime resident of Kermit, Texas, passed away Saturday, March 6, 2004, at the age of 93. He was born on August 3, 1910, in Oklahoma. He married Sally Jones from Como, Texas, on June 17, 1938, in Pecos. They moved to Kermit in 1938 and lived there continuously until Sally’s death on Sept. 25, 1991. Clinton continued to live in Kermit and would consider no other place as home. Clinton is survived by his two sons, Freddie of Tucumcari, N.M., and Robert “Buddy” of Austin, Texas. Clinton touched the lives of many, many people throughout the years with his kindness and generosity. He was well known for his fast cars, gun collections and desire to live life to the fullest, but always with consideration for his fellow man. One of Clinton’s greatest accomplishments was to recognize that he was an alcoholic and to join AA on June 30, 1947, and to be a member for the next 56 years. He would regularly attend the meeting of AA in Kermit three times a week plus several other meeting each week in Monahans, Andrews, Odessa, Midland and other places in the Permian Basin. Clinton had the second-longest number of years of sobriety of anyone living in Texas, and he was rightfully proud of that fact. Clinton worked in the oil fields with his father in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, he worked in the car business, and in the ‘80s he served as constable of Winkler County until he retired (but didn’t slow down). He had many friends in law enforcement and in particular the Texas Rangers. To acknowledge all of the hundreds of friends of Clinton would take the pages of an entire book, but special mention must go to Don and Debbie Turner and their two kids, Derrick and Dessie Lou. In lieu of recounting all the wonderful things Clinton did and the principles for which he stood, it is hoped that everyone that knew him will take a moment to reflect upon some experience they had with him and feel so very fortunate to have known such a great man. Funeral services will be held in Kermit at Cooper Funeral Chapel, Wednesday, March 10, 2004, at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your local AA group, for that is the way Clinton would have wanted it to be. Services entrusted to Cooper Funeral Chapel. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1698. . . . . . . . . . . . Bert Taylor - Compiled From Old Posts From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/11/2004 3:05:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII I am continuing to combine old posts, which are then deleted, in order to make it easier for researchers to search the archives. The following is excerpted from old posts by Charles K. and Rick T. Charles wrote that Bert Taylor was an early AA member who borrowed $1,000.00 from a Mr. Cockran one of his customers and a prohibitionist. "The loan was to help buy some time from the printer until the Liberty Magazine article came out. Once that article came out we sold some books were able to settle with the printer and get the remaining Big Books out of hock, so to speak. He also allowed meetings to be held in the loft in his shop. "Now whether the debt was not repaid on time or Bert just fell on hard times is uncertain, but he did loose ownership of the shop, but was able to keep his business and he died sober. He also was one of the first Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation." Rick responded to Charles' message: "Much of this additional history was gleaned in on-site research through minutes and correspondence at the GSO Archives.... "His $1,000 would have brought him 400 shares in Works Publishing, and I'm sure he was able to cash in the shares, when and if any of the loan was needed to be paid. There are scant records on file of whose and how many shares were eventually traded in to the Alcoholic Foundation. The AF Trustees' ledgers remained pretty thin for many years into the mid-1940s, and only a few shares were probably ever recorded as 'bought back' by the Board of Trustees. Bill wrote in 'AA Comes of Age' about a few buy-backs, which turned out to be traded only at face value." Rick said he did not think Bert was a Trustee, but Charles responded: "I still believe Bert was a member of the Alcoholic Foundation, only from what I have read. "In the August 1947 Grapevine article 'Last Seven Years Have Made AA self-supporting' Bill writes: "'Two of the alcoholic members of our Foundation traveled out among the AA groups to explain the need. They presented their listeners with these ideas: that support of our Central Office was a definite responsibility of the AA groups; that answering written inquiries was a necessary assistance to our Twelfth Step work; that we AAs ought to pay these office expenses ourselves and rely no further upon outside charity or insufficient book sales. The two trustees also suggested that the Alcoholic Foundation be made a regular depository for group funds; that the Foundation would earmark all group monies for Central Office expenses only; that each month the Central Office would bill the Foundation for the straight AA expenses of the place; that all group contributions ought to be entirely voluntary; that every AA group would receive equal service from the New York office, whether it contributed or not. It was estimated that if each group sent the Foundation a sum equal to $1 per member per year, this might eventually carry our office, without other assistance. Under this arrangement the office would ask the groups twice yearly for funds and render, at the same time, a statement of its expenses for the previous period. '"Our two trustees, Horace C. and Bert T., did not come back empty handed. Now clearly understanding the situation, most groups began contributing to the Alcoholic Foundation for Central Office expenses, and have continued to do so ever since. In this practice the AA Tradition of self-support had a firm beginning. Thus we handled the Saturday Evening Post article for which thousands of AAs are today so grateful.' (Reprint of this article can be found in 'Language of The Heart' see pages 64-65) "Also from 'AA Comes Of Age' "Page 186......... "'At about this time our trusteeship began to be enlarged. Mr. Robert Shaw, a lawyer and friend of Uncle Dick's, was elected to the Board. Two New Yorkers, my friends Howard and Bert, were also named. As time passed, these were joined by Tom B. and Dick S. Dick had been one of the original Akronites and was now living in New York. There was also Tom K., a hard-working and conservative Jerseyman. Somewhat later more nonalcoholic, notably Bernard Smith and Leonard Harrison, took up their long season of service with us.' "(FYI: This was around the time of the Rockefeller Dinner Feb. 1940, this also shows the alcoholic members of the Foundation made up of more than just Bill & Dr. Bob. I have a copy of the minutes of the Alcoholic Foundation in July 25, 1949. Dick S., Tom B, and Bernard Smith were already trustees of the Foundation in 1949.) "Page 192: "'We also realized that these increased demands upon the office could not be met out of book income. So for the first time we asked the A.A. groups to help. Following the Post piece. Trustees Howard and Bert went on the road, one to Philadelphia and Washington, the other to Akron and Cleveland. They asked that all A.A. groups contribute to a special fund in the Foundation which would be earmarked 'for AA. office expenses only.' The contributions would be entirely voluntary. As a measuring stick, it was suggested that each group send in one dollar per member per year.' "Please let me repeat myself, I am not sure if this is the same Bert T. that owned the Tailor Shop in New York, but sure sounds like it to me. Rick, maybe on your next trip to the Archives in New York you might look for the name Herbert F. Taylor. Again I am not sure if this is the same person either, but his name and signature appears on Works Publishing Company stock certificates date September 26th 1940 (see 'AA Everywhere-Anywhere' the souvenir book from the 1995 International Convention page 23) and Bert is short for Herbert. I also have a photocopy of the same stock certificate dated June 20th 1940 and his name is on that one too, as president I might add . May have no connection at all, but worth looking into. "Well, I hope this sheds some light on the source for my assumption that Bert the Tailor might have been a Trustee of the Alcoholic Foundation. This has open a whole other question about the early make up of the Alcoholic Foundation and I think I might explore this to find out what I can." The following is from Jim Burwell's memoirs: "It was also in June of this year that we made our first contact with the Rockerfeller Foundation. This was arranged by Bert Taylor, one of the older members, who had known the family for years in a business way. Dr. Richardson, who had long been spiritual advisor for the Rockerfeller family, became very interested and friendly, and Bill and Hank made frequent visits to him, with Hank on one side asking for financial help and Bill on the other insisting on moral support only." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1699. . . . . . . . . . . . International Conventions -- Part One From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/11/2004 1:09:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII A.A. International Convention, Cleveland, 1950: The first A.A. International Convention was held in Cleveland July 28-30, 1950. Prior to the first International Convention, the Cleveland fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous hosted a big meeting in June 1945 to celebrate A.A.’s tenth anniversary. The speakers were Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Twenty-five hundred people were in attendance, from 36 states and two Canadian provinces, and one from Mexico. Obviously, Cleveland wanted to host the first International Convention. A.A. membership was approaching a hundred thousand and there were thirty-five hundred groups worldwide. The decision to hold this first International Convention was a fine example of how Bill Wilson was always able to stay on top of trends that threatened to divide A.A. His enormous personal popularity was the cement that bound A.A. together, but it was also something other members of A.A. thought they would enjoy if they became A.A.'s head man. By 1946 there were more than two thousand AA members in Cleveland, far more than in New York. Chicago had more than twice as many members as New York, and Detroit about as many as New York. Many people in these locations didn't see why A.A. had to be run by Bill Wilson from New York. Many state and regional A.A. conventions were being held, and Texas, among others, was planning to hold its own international convention, independent of New York and the Alcoholic Foundation. Bill Wilson, with "Disraeli-like diplomacy," according to Francis Hartigan, told the Texas AA members he thought it would be all right if they invited whomever they wanted to their planned 1952 convention, but he suggested they not call it an "international" convention because this could inspire other states to do the same. Bill then quickly began to organize an international convention of his own, to be held before the planned Texas convention. Three thousand people attended the first international convention in Cleveland at the end of July 1950. This was the only International Convention attended by Dr. Bob. His wife, Anne, had died the year before, and Bob was very ill with cancer. Bill chose Cleveland for several reasons: (1) It would be possible for Dr. Bob to attend, since it was not far from Akron. (2) It had one of the largest and earliest concentrations of sober alcoholics. (3) It was the home turf of Clarence Snyder (the "Home Brewmeister) who had begun claiming that he was the founder of AA. He based this claim on the fact that when the Cleveland members broke away from the Akron group because priests were refusing to allow Catholics to attend Oxford Group meetings, the Cleveland group was the first group that used the name Alcoholics Anonymous. (4) Convention planning required a lot of cooperation between Cleveland, Akron, and New York, which would help to ameliorate friction between the three groups. To demonstrate the significance of the greater whole to which each group was joined, Bill opened the convention wearing a lei over his right shoulder. He explained that it was a gift to all A.A.s from a group whose members would never attend any A.A. gathering but their own, the A.A. group at the leper colony in Hawaii. Dr. Bob, whose cancer was painfully advanced, spoke only briefly. The experience exhausted him. He left the convention early and was driven home to Akron. He died within six months, November 16, 1950. But during his brief talk he told the assembled members: "My good friends in A.A. and of A.A., I feel I would be very remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to welcome you here to Cleveland, not only to this meeting but those that have already transpired. I hope very much that the presence of so many people and the words that you have heard will prove an inspiration to you -- not only to you, but may you be able to impart that inspiration to the boys and girls back home who were not fortunate enough to be able to come. In other words, we hope that your visit here has been both enjoyable and profitable. "I get a big thrill out of looking over a vast sea of faces like this with a feeling that possibly some small thing I did a number of years ago played an infinitely small part in making this meeting possible. I also get quite a thrill when I think that we all had the same problem. We all did the same things. We all get the same results in proportion to our zeal and enthusiasm and stick-to-itiveness. "If you will pardon the injection of a personal note at this time, let me say that I have been in bed five of the last seven months, and my strength hasn't returned as I would like, so my remarks of necessity will be very brief. "There are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis. One is the simplicity of our program. Let's not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind but have very little to do with our actual A.A. work. Our Twelve Steps, when immersed down to the last, resolve themselves into the words 'love' and 'service.' We understand what love is, and we understand what service is. So let's bear those two things in mind. "Let us also remember to guard that erring member the tongue, and if we must use it, let's use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance. "And one more thing: None of us would be here today if somebody hadn't taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat on the back, to take us to a meeting or two, to do numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get such a degree of smug complacency that we're not willing to extend, or attempt to extend, to our less fortunate brothers that help which has been so beneficial to us. Thank you very much." Bill used his time on the platform to urge that AA unity be emphasized above all else. It was here that he asked AA to approve the AA traditions, and to agree to put into place the AA system of representation known as the AA Conference. The longer form of the traditions had been shortened at the suggestion and with the help of Earl Treat ("He Sold Himself Short) who started AA in Chicago. Among those who were opposing the conference idea was Henrietta Seiberling, the Oxford Group non-alcoholic woman who had introduced Bill and Dr. Bob. Despite Dr. Bob's support for the conference idea, the best that Bill could obtain during the Cleveland convention was approval to try the conference idea on an experimental basis. Nonetheless, the Cleveland Convention was a memorable event. It not only approved the Traditions, but it set precedent for International Conventions to come. Since then, they have been held every five years. Tex Brown was present at this convention, and described it to me at the 2000 International Convention in Minneapolis. I asked him to write it for posting. This is part of what he wrote: "In 1950 I attended the First International A. A. Convention in Cleveland. This was a wonderful thing and a wonderful time. Everyone was excited about everything. Especially getting to see and hear Bill and Dr. Bob. I think that this was where we knew that A.A. was really working and that we were here to stay. "One special memory that I have was seeing an Amish family (my first) all dressed up in their Sunday Meeting clothes, in a horsedrawn buggy on the highway just outside of Cleveland. The next day on the floor of the big meeting at the Convention, there they were. The driver of the buggy (Miles ?), big hat and all, was running up and down the aisles shaking hands. He seemed to know everybody. He was one of our early members. "On Sunday morning the 'Spiritual Meeting' was held. I went much excited by the prospect that I was going to rub elbows with the real heavy hitters in the 'God' department. I do not remember the name of the main speaker, but his topic dealt with the idea that the alcoholic was to be the instrument that God would use to regenerate and save the world. He expounded the idea that alcoholics were God's Chosen People and he was starting to talk about 'The Third Covenant,' (there are two previous covenants with the Jewish people described in the Old Testament and the Christians, described in the New Testament), when he was interrupted by shouted objections from the back of the room. The objector, who turned out to be a small Catholic priest, would not be hushed up. "There was chaos and embarrassment as the meeting was quickly adjourned. I was upset and in full sympathy with the poor speaker. I did not realize it at the time, but I had seen Father Pfau (Fr. Ralph Pfau of Indianapolis) in action and Father Pfau was right. I had heard the group conscience and I rejected it." But this is how Bill Wilson described the 1950 International Convention in a talk he gave later: "On A.A.'s 15th Anniversary everybody knew that we had grown up. There couldn't be any doubt about it. Members, families and friends -- seven thousand of them -- spent three inspiring, almost awesome days with our good hosts at Cleveland. "The theme song of our Conference was gratitude; its keynote was the sure realization that we are now welded as one, the world over. As never before, we dedicated ourselves to the single purpose of carrying good news of A.A. to those millions who still don't know. "As we affirmed the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, we asked that we might remain in perfect unity under the Grace of God for so long as He may need us. "Just what did we do? Well, we had meetings, lots of them. The medical meeting, for instance. Our first and greatest friend Dr. Silkworth couldn't get there. But his associate at Knickerbocker Hospital, New York, Dr. Meyer Texon, most ably filled the gap, telling how best the general hospital could relate itself to us. He clinched his points by a careful description how, during the past four years at Knickerbocker, 5000 drunks had been sponsored, processed and turned loose in A.A.; and this to the great satisfaction of everybody concerned, including the hospital, whose Board was delighted with the results and specially liked the fact that its modest charges were invariably paid, money on the line. Who had ever heard of 5000 drunks who really paid their bills? Then Dr. Texon brought us up to the minute on the malady of alcoholism as they see it at Knickerbocker; he said it was a definite personality disorder hooked to a physical craving. That certainly made sense to most of us. Dr. Texon threw a heavy scare into prospective 'slippees.' It was that little matter of one's liver. This patient organ, he said, would surely develop hob nails or maybe galloping cirrhosis, if more guzzling went on. He had a brand new one too, about salt water, claiming that every alcoholic on the loose had a big salt deficiency. Fill the victim with salt water, he said, and you'd quiet him right down. Of course we thought, 'Why not put all drunks on salt water instead of gin? Then the world alcohol problem might be solved overnight.' But that was our idea, not Dr. Texon's. To him, many thanks. "About the industrial meeting: Jake H., U.S. Steel, and Dave M., Dupont, both A.A.s, led it. Mr. Louis Selser, Editor of the Cleveland Press, rounded out the session and brought down the house. Jake, as an officer of Steel, told what the company really thought about A.A. - and it was all good. Jake noted A.A.'s huge collective earning power - somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 billion of dollars annually. Instead of being a nerve-wracking drag on society's collective pocket book, we were now, for the most part, top grade employables who could contribute a yearly average of $4,000 apiece to our country's well being. Dave M., personnel man at Dupont who has a special eye to the company's alcohol problem, related what the 'New Look' on serious drinking had meant to Dupont and its workers of all grades. According to Dave, his company believes mightily in A.A. "By all odds the most stirring testimony at the industrial seminar was given by Editor Louis Selser. Mr. Selser spoke to us from the viewpoint of an employer, citizen and veteran newspaper man. It was about the most moving expression of utter confidence in Alcoholics Anonymous we had ever heard. It was almost too good; its implications brought us a little dismay. How could we fallible A.A.'s ever measure up to Mr. Selser's high hope for our future? We began to wonder if the A.A. reputation wasn't getting far better than its actual character. "Next came that wonderful session on prisons. Our great friend, Warden Duffy told the startling story of our original group at San Quentin. His account of A.A.'s 5-year history there had a moving prelude. We heard a recording, soon for radio release, that thrillingly dramatized an actual incident of A.A. life within the walls. An alcoholic prisoner reacts bitterly to his confinement and develops amazing ingenuity in finding and drinking alcohol. Soon he becomes too ingenious. In the prison paint shop he discovers a promising fluid which he shares with his fellow alcoholics. It was deadly poison. Harrowing hours followed, during which several of them died. The whole prison was tense as the fatalities continued to mount. Nothing but quick blood transfusions could save those still living. The San Quentin A.A. Group volunteered instantly and spent the rest of that long night giving of themselves as they had never given before. A.A. hadn't been any too popular, but now prison morale hit an all time high and stayed there. Many of the survivors joined up. The first Prison Group had made its mark; A.A. had come to San Quentin to stay. "Warden Duffy then spoke. Apparently we folks on the outside know nothing of prison sales resistance. The skepticism of San Quentin prisoners and keepers alike had been tremendous. They thought A.A. must be a racket. Or maybe a crackpot religion. Then, objected the prison board, why tempt providence by freely mixing prisoners with outsiders, alcoholic women especially. Bedlam would be unloosed. But our friend the Warden, somehow deeply convinced, insisted on A.A. To this day, he said, not a single prison rule has ever been broken at an A.A. meeting though hundreds of gatherings have been attended by hundreds of prisoners with almost no watching at all. Hardly needed is that solitary, sympathetic guard who sits in the back row. "The Warden added that most prison authorities throughout the United States and Canada today share his views of Alcoholics Anonymous. Hitherto 8O% of paroled alcoholic prisoners had to be scooped up and taken back to jail. Many institutions now report that this percentage has dropped to one-half, even one-third of what it used to be. Warden Duffy had traveled 2000 miles to be with us at Cleveland. We soon saw why. He came because he is a great human being. Once again, we A.A.'s sat and wondered how far our reputation had got ahead of our character. "Naturally we men folk couldn't go to the meeting of the alcoholic ladies. But we have no doubt they devised ways to combat the crushing stigma that still rests on those poor gals who hit the bottle. Perhaps, too, our ladies had debated how to keep the big bad wolf at a respectful distance. But no, the A.A. sister transcribing this piece crisply assures me nothing of the sort was discussed. A wonderfully constructive meeting, she says it was. And about 500 girls attended. Just think of it, A.A. was four years old before we could sober up even one. Life for the alcoholic woman is no sinecure. "Nor were other special sufferers overlooked, such as paid Intergroup secretaries, plain everyday secretaries, our newspaper editors and the wives and husbands of alcoholics, sometimes known as our 'forgotten people.' I'm sure the secretaries concluded that though sometimes unappreciated, they still love every moment of their work. "What the editors decided, I haven't learned. Judging from their telling efforts over the years, it is altogether possible they came up with many an ingenious idea. "Everybody agreed that the wives (and husbands) meeting was an eye opener. Some recalled how Anne S. in the Akron early days, had been boon companion and advisor to distraught wives. She clearly saw alcoholism as a family problem. "Meanwhile we A.A.'s went all out on the work of sobering up incoming alkies by the thousands. Our good wives seemed entirely lost in that prodigious shuffle. Lots of the newer localities held closed meetings only, it looked like A.A. was going exclusive. But of late this trend has whipped about. More and more our partners have been taking the Twelve Steps into their own lives. As proof of this, witness the 12th step work they are doing with the wives and husbands of newcomers, and note well those wives' meetings now springing up everywhere. "At their Cleveland gathering they invited us alcoholics to listen. Many an A.A. skeptic left that session convinced that our 'forgotten ones' really had something. As one alkie put it - 'The deep understanding and spirituality I felt in that wives' meeting was something out of the world.' "Far from it, the Cleveland Conference wasn't all meetings. Take that banquet, for example. Or should I say banquets? The original blueprint called for enough diners to fill the Rainbow Room of Hotel Carter. But the diners did much better. Gay banqueters quickly overflowed the Ballroom. Finally the Carter Coffee Shop and Petit Cafe had to be cleared for the surging celebrants. Two orchestras were drafted and our fine entertainers found they had to play their acts twice, both upstairs and down. "Though nobody turned up tight, you should have heard those A.A.'s sing. Slap-happy, they were. And why not? Yet a serious undertone crept in as we toasted the absent ones. We were first reminded of the absent by that A.A. from the Marshall Islands who, though all alone out there, still claimed his group had three members, to wit: 'God, the book Alcoholics Anonymous and me.' The first leg of his 7,000 mile journey to Cleveland had finished at Hawaii whence with great care and refrigeration he had brought in a cluster of floral tributes, those leis for which the Islands are famous. One of these was sent by the A.A. lepers at Molokai - those isolated A.A.'s who will always be of us, yet never with us. We swallowed hard, too, when we thought of Dr. Bob, alone at home, gravely ill. "Another toast of the evening was to that A.A. who, more than anything, wanted to be at Cleveland when we came of age. Unhappily he never got to the Tradition meeting, he had been carried off by a heart attack. His widow came in his place and she cheerfully sat out that great event with us. How well her quiet courage will be remembered. But at length gaiety took over; we danced till midnight. We knew the absent ones would want it that way. "Several thousand of us crowded into the Cleveland Music Hall for the Tradition meeting, which was thought by most A.A.'s to be the high point of our Conference. Six old time stalwarts, coming from places as far flung as Boston and San Diego, beautifully reviewed the years of A.A. experience which had led to the writing of our Traditions. Then I was asked to sum up, which I did, saying: 'That, touching all matters affecting A.A. unity, our common welfare should come first; that A.A. has no human authority - only God as He may speak in our Group Conscience; that our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern; that any alcoholic may become an A.A. member if he says so -- we exclude no one; that every A.A. Group may manage its own affairs as it likes, provided surrounding groups are not harmed thereby; that we A.A.'s have but a single aim -- the carrying of our message to the alcoholic who still suffers; that in consequence we cannot finance, endorse or otherwise lend the name 'Alcoholics Anonymous' to any other enterprise, however worthy; that A.A., as such, ought to remain poor, lest problems of property, management and money divert us from our sole aim; that we ought to be self-supporting, gladly paying our small expenses ourselves; that A.A. should forever remain non-professional, ordinary 12th step work never to be paid for; that, as a Fellowship, we should never be organized but may nevertheless create responsible Service Boards or Committees to insure us better propagation and sponsorship and that these agencies may engage full time workers for special tasks; that our public relations ought to proceed upon the principle of attraction rather than promotion, it being better to let our friends recommend us; that personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and pictures ought to be strictly maintained as our best protection against the temptations of power or personal ambition; and finally, that anonymity before the general public is the spiritual key to all our traditions, ever reminding us we are always to place principles before personalities, that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all. "So summing up, I then inquired if those present had any objections to the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous as they stood. Hearing none, I offered our Traditions for adoption. Impressively unanimous, the crowd stood up. So ended that fine hour in which we of Alcoholics Anonymous took our destiny by the hand. "On Sunday morning we listened to a panel of four A.A.'s who portrayed the spiritual side of Alcoholics Anonymous -- as they understood it. What with churchgoers and late-rising banqueters, the Conference Committee had never guessed this would be a heavy duty session. But churchgoers had already returned from their devotions and hardly a soul stayed abed. Hotel Cleveland's ballroom was filled an hour before hand. People who have fear that A.A. is losing interest in things of the spirit should have been there. "A hush fell upon the crowd as we paused for a moment of silence. Then came the speakers, earnest and carefully prepared, all of them. I cannot recall an A.A. gathering where the attention was more complete, or the devotion deeper. "Yet some thought that those truly excellent speakers had, in their enthusiasm, unintentionally created a bit of a problem. It was felt the meeting had gone over far in the direction of religious comparison, philosophy and interpretation, when by firm long standing tradition we A.A.'s had always left such questions strictly to the chosen faith of each individual. "One member [Fr. Ralph Pfau] rose with a word of caution. As I heard him, I thought, 'What a fortunate occurrence. How well we shall always remember that A.A. is never to be thought of as a religion. How firmly we shall insist that A.A. membership cannot depend upon any particular belief whatever; that our twelve steps contain no article of religious faith except faith in God -- as each of us understands Him. How carefully we shall henceforth avoid any situation which could possibly lead us to debate matters of personal religious belief. It was, we felt, a great Sunday morning. "That afternoon we filed into the Cleveland Auditorium. The big event was the appearance of Dr. Bob. Earlier we thought he'd never make it, his illness had continued so severe. Seeing him once again was an experience we seven thousand shall always treasure. He spoke in a strong, sure voice for ten minutes, and he left us a great heritage, a heritage by which we A.A.'s can surely grow. It was the legacy of one who had been sober since June 10, 1935, who saw our first Group to success, and one who, in the fifteen years since, had given both medical help and vital A.A. to 4,000 of our afflicted ones at good St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous. Simplicity, devotion, steadfastness and loyalty; these, we remembered, were the hallmarks of that character which Dr. Bob had well implanted in so many of us. I, too, could gratefully recall that in all the years of our association there had never been an angry word between us. Such were our thoughts as we looked at Dr. Bob. "Then for an hour I tried to sum up. Yet how could one add much to what we had all seen, heard and felt in those three wonderful days? With relief and certainty we had seen that A.A. could never become exhibitionistic or big business; that its early humility and simplicity is very much with us, that we are still mindful our beloved Fellowship is really God's success - not ours. As evidence I shared a vision of A.A. as Lois and I saw it unfold on a distant beach head in far Norway. The vision began with one A.A. who listened to a voice in his conscience, and then said all he had. "George, a Norwegian-American, came to us at Greenwich, Connecticut, five years ago. His parents back home hadn't heard from him in twenty years. He began to send letters telling them of his new freedom. Back came very disquieting news. The family reported his only brother in desperate condition, about to lose all through alcohol. What could be done? The A.A. from Greenwich had a long talk with his wife. Together they took a decision to sell their little restaurant, all they had. They would go to Norway to help the brother. A few weeks later an airliner landed them at Oslo. They hastened from field to town and thence 25 mile down the fjord where the ailing brother lived. He was in a bad state all right. Unfortunately, though, everybody saw it but him. He'd have no A.A., no American nonsense. He an alcoholic? Why certainly not! Of course the man from Greenwich had heard such objections before. But now this familiar argument was hard to take. Maybe he had sold all he had for no profit to anybody. George persisted every bit he dared, but finally surmised it was no use. Determined to start an A.A. Group in Norway, anyhow, he began a round of Oslo's clergy and physicians. Nothing happened, not one of them offered him a single prospect. Greatly cast down, he and his wife thought it high time they got back to Connecticut. "But Providence took a hand. The rebellious Norwegian obligingly tore off on one of his fantastic periodics. In the final anguish of his hangover he cried out to the man from Greenwich, 'Tell me again of the Alcoholics Anonymous, what, oh my brother, shall I do?' With perfect simplicity George retold the A.A. story. When he had done, he wrote out, in his all but forgotten Norwegian, a longhand translation of a little pamphlet published by the White Plains, N.Y. Group. It contained, of course, our Twelve Steps of recovery. The family from Connecticut then flew away home. The Norwegian brother, himself a typesetter, commenced to place tiny ads in the Oslo newspapers. He explained he was a recovered alcoholic who wished to help others. At last a prospect appeared. When the newcomer was told the story and shown the White Plains pamphlet, he, too, sobered instantly. The founders to be then placed more ads. "Three years after, Lois and I alighted upon that same airfield. We then learned that Norway has hundreds of A.A.'s. And good ones. The men of Oslo had already carried the life -- giving news to other Norwegian cities and these beacons burned brightly. It had all been just as simple, but just as mysterious as that. "In the final moments of our historic Conference it seemed fitting to read from the last chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. These were the words we took home with us: 'Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find, and join us. We shall be with you, in the Fellowship of The Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you -- until then.'" Sources: Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age Pass It On Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers Bill W., by Francis Hartigan Getting Better, Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, by Nan Robertson Communications from Tex Brown. An undated talk by Bill Wilson. Sarah P " GAO staff __________ A.A. International Convention, St. Louis, 1955. The second International Convention was held in St. Louis in 1955, and perhaps the most important one ever held. It was the convention at which Bill announced that A.A. had now "come of age." The five-year trial period for the General Service Conference plan was over, and this time Bill received no opposition to his plan. There were five thousand members with their families and friends in the audience. For three days they met to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. St. Louis was another centrally located city, and for Bill personally had the advantage that it was the hometown of Fr. Ed Dowling, his spiritual sponsor. In addition to Fr. Dowling, many other persons important to AA history were there: Rev. Sam Shoemaker; Dr. W.W. Bauer of the American Medical Association; Bernard Smith, then chairman of the General Service Board; penologist Austin MacCormick (between his two terms as trustee); Henry Mielcarek, corporate personnel expert, Dr. Jack Norris; and Dr. Harry Tiebout. Many of them addressed the convention and their talks are included in "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age." Dr. Leonard Strong, Bill's brother-in-law, couldn't make it to St. Louis, which disappointed Bill. Bernard Smith chaired the convention. Nell Wing wrote: "When Bill was trying to push through the idea of the conference, Bern Smith was the only trustee -- or, anybody -- supporting him, and it was he who finally brought a majority of the other trustees around to accept the conference on a trial basis. He also helped Bill put together the proposed General Service Conference structure; Bill called him 'the architect of the conference.' Stocky in build, quick of wit and mind, perceptive, he also relished a few drinks. He sometimes referred to himself as a 'so-called nonalcoholic.' He was devoted to Bill and to A.A. until his untimely death a month after substituting for Bill at the 35th Anniversary Convention in Miami." Ebby Thatcher, whom Bill always called his sponsor, was there as Bill's special guest, brought up from Texas, where he had moved the year before. Another special guest in St. Louis was Bill's mother, Dr. Emily Strobell. She had divorced his father and left Bill with her parents when he was eleven years old, and, according to Nell, "Bill seemed desperate to seek his mother's approval all his life. ... He particularly wanted to have her with him at this special convention to hear him speak and see how the members and friends reacted to his contributions. Bill said it was 'the icing on the cake' for him." Nell added: "At the convention, I didn't see how Dr. Emily could have helped but be impressed with her son, but she didn't show too much reaction one way or the other." Lois, of course, was also there contributing her ideas, enthusiasm and energy, primarily concentrating on her Al-Anon Family Groups. On the Sunday afternoon of the closing "coming of age" part of the program, she was the first speaker in Kiel Auditorium after the vote to turn over leadership to the Fellowship had been taken. The second edition of the Big Book was published just in time for the St. Louis convention, and was designed to show the broader range of the membership. The original text of the first 11 chapters was essentially unchanged, but Bill had worked hard to get new stories, often going to a group with the express purpose of taping the stories of various oldtimers. In addition to Bill's story and that of Dr. Bob, six others were carried over from the first edition; 30 new stories were included; and the present division of the story section into three parts was instituted. Bill gave three major talks. On the first night Bill talked of what he called the first of the three legacies: "How We Learned to Recover." His second talk dealt with the second legacy "How We Learned to Stay Together." His third talk was on the third legacy: "How We Learned to Serve." Four o'clock Sunday afternoon was reserved for the final meeting of the 1955 General Service Conference. This was the occasion on which Bill formally turned over the stewardship of A.A. to the General Service Conference, giving up his own official leadership and acknowledging that AA was responsible for its own affairs. He would later say: "Clearly my job henceforth was to let go and let God. Alcoholics Anonymous was at last safe -- even from me." Robert Thomsen wrote: "No one in Kiel Auditorium on the last afternoon of the '55 convention would ever forget the sense of expectancy when Bill again stood before them and they waited for him to speak. He seemed to have grown, to be somehow a little larger than life, a man who just naturally created memories. If Bill W. had engaged a Madison Avenue, PR firm, one old-timer recalled, and if this firm had worked around the clock on his account, they could never have done for him what he without even trying did for himself that afternoon. There had always been a powerful affinity between Bill and the imagination of alcoholics, and now this could be felt in the farthest corners of Kiel Auditorium. Even at a distance one got the impression of a tall, thin, completely relaxed man, yet with a tremendous inner energy; a personality that carried over big spaces -- that indeed seemed to expand when confronted with bigness. A warm light played over his face as he squared his shoulders and then leaned slightly forward across the lectern like some old backwoods statesman who'd stopped by for a chat. He was imposing, yet friendly, radiant but homespun." Bill wrote his history of this convention because he wanted to make sure that nobody misunderstood what had happened at St. Louis. "Pass It On," p. 359 says: "In many ways, 'Alcoholic Anonymous Comes of Age' is a masterpiece. Deceptively simple in its guise as a log of the three-day proceedings, it is actually an entire history of the Fellowship and its place in society, with whole sections given over to the vision of A.A. as held by those in society at large -- men of industry, doctors, minister, and trustees -- who lived in close relationship to the Fellowship. Published in 1957, it is Bill's penultimate book." While Bill had stepped down at St. Louis, Dennis Manders, longtime controller at the General Service Office said "Bill would spend the next 15 years stepping down." Everybody -- including Bill -- was having difficulty letting go. Bill continued to write, multitudinous letters, plus "AA's Twelve Concepts of Service" and the "AA General Service Manual," which together form a kind of constitution and a governmental structure of A.A. The AA Concepts don't have the elegance of AA's Twelve Steps or its Twelve Traditions, nor are they well known to many AA members. The Twelve Concepts represent a unique and fascinating set of principles that describe the right of AA's leaders to speak and act for the fellowship while establishing written guaranties for individual freedom and minority rights. The Concepts were conceived to protect the fellowship from becoming a top-down rather than a bottom-up organization. In June of 1958 Bill wrote to Sam Shoemaker: "St. Louis was a major step toward my own withdrawal [but] I understand that the father symbol will always be hitched to me. Therefore, the problem is not how to get rid of parenthood, it is how to discharge mature parenthood properly. A dictatorship always refuses to do this, and so do the hierarchical churches. They sincerely feel that their several families can never be enough educated (or spiritualized) to properly rid their own destinies. Therefore, people who have to live within the structure of dictatorships and hierarchies must lose, to a greater or lesser degree, the opportunity of really growing up. I think A.A. can avoid this temptation to concentrate its power, and I truly believe that it is going to be intelligent enough and spiritualized enough to rely on our group conscience. I feel a complete withdrawal on my part should be tried. Were any major structural flaws to develop later that I might help to repair, of course I would return. Otherwise, I think I should resolutely stay away. There are few, if any, historical precedents to go by; one can only see what happens. "This is going to leave me in a state of considerable isolation. Experience already tells me that if I'm within range of A.A. requests or demands, there are almost impossible to refuse. Could I achieve enough personal freedom, my main interest would almost surely become these: "(1) To bring into the field of the general neurosis which today afflicts nearly everybody, such experience as A.A. has had. This could be of value to many groups working in this field. "(2) Throughout A.A., we find a large amount of psychic phenomena, nearly all of it spontaneous. Alcoholic after alcoholic tells me of such experiences and ask if these denote lunacy -- or do they have real meaning? These psychic experiences have run nearly the full gamut of everything we see in the books. In addition to my original mystic experience, I've had a lot of such phenomenalism myself." The letter goes on to discuss this second item in great detail. The complete letter can be found on pages 373-376 of "Pass It On." Bill and Dr. Jack Norris had some correspondence on the subject of Bill's responsibility as a living founder. Dr. Jack wrote: "You cannot escape being 'Bill W.' -- nor would you, really, even though at times you will rebel. The best bets are made with all possible information in hand and considered. I am reminded of a poem written by the mother of a small child, in which she says, 'I am tied down' and goes on to list the ways she is captive, ending with the phrase 'Thank God I am tied down.' To few men has it ever been given to be the 'father image' in so constructive a way to so many; fewer have kept their stability and humility, and for this you are greatly honored. But you are human, and you still carry the scars of alcoholism and need, as I do, to live A.A. The greatest danger that I sense to the Fellowship is that you might lose A.A. as it applies to you." Sources: Pass It On Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age Grateful To Have Been There, by Nell Wing Bill W., by Francis Hartigan __________ A.A. International Convention, Long Beach, 1960. The third A.A. International Convention was held in Long Beach, California, in 1960. There were twice as many people at Long Beach as at St. Louis, but the convention seemed to be fraught with problems from the beginning. Hank G., who was then manager of the General Service Office, was handling the preparation for this convention, but while visiting Las Vegas with his wife on his way to California he was stricken with appendicitis and ended up in a hospital. Then Herb M., the chairman of the trustees' General Services Committee, who was probably the next best person for the job, took over, but he was suddenly stricken with a heart attack in upstate New York. So at the very last moment another trustee, Allen B., stepped in to handle the planning. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary, said that Allen was "a good administrator, extremely capable and well-liked." He was assisted by an Al S. Bill, accompanied by Allen, someone named Dennis Manders (whom I haven't identified), and a staff secretary named Hazel R., went out to California several days early to help prepare. Lois and Nell Wing followed on the flight on which Bill had originally been scheduled. When they landed, they were met by members of the hospitality committee. After greeting Lois the committee members continued to wait around until Lois asked if they were ready to leave. They replied, "We're waiting for Bill's Chinese secretary." Lois laughed and said, "This is Nell Wing right here," pointing to the obviously Caucasian Nell. Nell said that "Bill planned to make a major talk on Saturday night. He wanted it to be the definitive story of the how and why of the Twelve Traditions. But because of the many distractions resulting from Hank's illness, Bill hadn't had the time to prepare for this important talk. Nell spent the whole day Saturday with him going over and over the outline and notes for the speech. "I typed and retyped them as he changed and added," she wrote. "Finally, we left for the open-air stadium on the ocean where the huge crowd had gathered." A record cold spell hit Long Beach, which is extremely rare for July in that part of the world. Nobody had brought any warm clothes, so in contrast to St. Louis where Nell says they "almost melted," they almost froze. Bill was very long winded that night. (It's always easier to give a shorter talk if you have adequate time to prepare.) He went on and on for more than two hours. Nell said it was the longest talk he ever made. To make matters worse, the public address system did not work well and Lois and the trustees, who were seated on the stage behind the podium, couldn't hear a word for the entire two hours. Bill later was often teased about his "Deepfreeze Talk" -- as he himself described it. Amazingly, according to Nell, almost everyone stayed until the end, shivering and shaking. On Sunday, in the same stadium, the people who attended the conference were treated to a spectacular show featuring a popular orchestra and some of Hollywood's brightest stars including Buster Keaton, Jane Mansfield, Dennis Day, and Peggy Lee -- all of whom donated their talent without charge. Bill B., an entertainer who was the Master of Ceremonies, kidded Bill lovingly about the length of the talk. Nell said that Bill laughed, too, and took it all in good humor. I'm sure everyone fortunate enough to be able to attend this convention came away greatly edified. Nonetheless, there were problems. At least one oldtimer felt hurt that he wasn't given recognition. Jim Burwell, an early New York member (then living in California), whose story "The Vicious Cycle" appears in the Big Book, apparently had written Bill asking for some role at the convention. I assume this from a letter Bill wrote Jim on July 1, 1958. It said in part: "I note that what you say about the upcoming 1960 Conference and will suggest your name to the committee. They tell me there is still some question whether Long Beach will be big enough to accommodate the crowd. Judging, however, by the action of the Conference, I think we shall make the best of what is there. It is certainly the largest center of population and this would guarantee the gate at once." Jim must have written again asking for recognition of "oldtimers" because Bill wrote him on May 24, 1960: "I wish we had thought of an oldtimers meeting earlier. I'm taking this up with the office, but I imagine the schedule is pretty tight, as matters now stand. I don't know how we would go about getting such a crowd together - where and how we would find them and so forth. But I'll inquire." Jim must have complained bitterly again to Bill about the convention because Bill wrote a very tactful letter to him on August 8, 1960, just a short time after the convention ended. In it he said in part: "Very sincerely I feel not a little badly that the convention gave you and perhaps other very old timers, an unhappy experience because of the lack of recognition. When you wrote me, not too long before the Convention, about the possibility of an old timers meeting, I did check this up. The schedule was then in pretty air-tight shape, so far as the official sessions went. Perhaps I should have followed this thing through more fully, trying to get some sort of informal meeting together. "As you know, Hank got awfully sick just prior to the Convention. This threw added burdens on me. I must confess to neglect and forgetfulness -- at least to some extent. As a matter of fact, the Convention ran a little bit behind several thousands, we don't know just how much yet. There was always a question of how many people we could bring long distances pre-paid, and on what ground we could fetch them. In this connection, I did [not] give you and Rosa much thought because you [live] near by. But I did think a good deal about Henrietta Seiberling and Bob Oviatt in Akron, both of whom preceded you, I think, A.A.-wise. "Admittedly, I did not think of Clarence. Probably this is because he has always disapproved of conventions and all of the doings of the New York headquarters -- off and on he has had us under bitter attack for years. I didn't mean to let that affect me, but subconsciously maybe it did. In any case, you will surely remember that I tried to give all possible credit in 'A.A. Comes of Age' to you, Bert, Dorothy, Clarence, and a great many others. "Considering the time at my disposal, I did not see how you people could have been introduced in either of my talks. In the first one I could only show the bare beginnings of A.A. In the second one - which was altogether too long - I had to dwell on the development of the Traditions. I really don't see where you folks would have fitted in - at least to the satisfaction of the audience - in that respect. Naturally I had to bring in Ebby because, despite his lack of sobriety since, he was at the very beginning. Sister Ignatia was certainly due for a bow after all these years. After all, she and Smith ministered to 5,000 drunks - a number far greater than you and I ever thought of touching ourselves. "In this connection I also felt not a little sorry that Henrietta wasn't invited. There was not only the question of cost. Though she has been extremely friendly during the last two or three years, it must be remembered that she has never cared for the convention idea and indeed, was against the whole New York headquarters operation for many years. For several reasons she wasn't invited. "Maybe that was a mistake. I know that, for one, I was damn sorry she wasn't there. However, I wasn't the entire boss of this whole undertaking, by any means. "I don't know whether you and Dorothy got to say anything at those Alkathon meetings. Some of them were very outstanding indeed, and apparently rated much higher in many A.A. minds than any of my efforts. If you were not invited, this [is] surprising indeed, considering how prominent you, especially, have been out on the Coast, well known to everybody. If this was an omission, it certainly gives me cause for wonder, as doubtless it does you. However, those arrangements were all made by the Coast people. "Nevertheless I suppose if I had been thoughtful enough about it - which I wasn't - I might have taken particular pains. "I guess the upshot of it is that life never gives quite the deal we would like. On one hand, you say that you suffer from lack of recognition, and I say with certain equal fervor that I greatly suffer from far too much." One can feel some pain for Bill in his efforts to keep so very many alcoholics -- most of us with oversized egos -- happy and working together. Sources: Grateful To Have Been There, by Nell Wing Bill W. correspondence. __________ A.A. International Convention, Toronto, 1965. The fourth International Convention was held in Toronto, Canada, in July 1965. Bill and Lois were, of course, prominent on the program, and at that time many of the old-timers were still active and at the convention. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary, particularly remembered Clarence Snyder, who started A.A. in Cleveland. She said that Bill spent "a couple of hours" in Clarence's hotel suite reminiscing about the early days. This surprised Nell, who pointed out: "He started a group in Cleveland in May 1939, the first group, as far as we know, to use the A.A. initials. (Bill had been using the full name since 1938 in letters and a pamphlet.) On this slender basis, Clarence forever claimed to have founded A.A." "As long as Bill was alive," Nell notes, "Clarence was antagonistic and hostile toward him. He was a leader of a small group of dissidents, who were anti-Conference and anti-G.S.O., and who bad-mouthed Bill for many years. And here was Bill in Toronto, chatting and chuckling with his bête noire and enjoying it all. I believe that was the last time they met together." Nell adds that a "feisty priest who had threatened to disrupt the 'Coming of Age' ceremony in St. Louis, was at this convention also, but now he was loving and kind to Bill and Lois and everyone else. He had just returned from an audience with the Pope in Rome, bearing a citation for Bill. It hangs now on the wall at Stepping Stones." [Was this Ralph Pfau?] The film "Bill's Own Story," which Nell had watched being made at Stepping Stones, was shown for the first time in Toronto. It was well received and has been reproduced in several languages since then. One person who made Toronto such a significant convention: Al S.. Al, an advertising and film man in New York, had joined the fellowship in March 1944. "Within a month," Nell Wing reports, "he was 'into action,' as the Big Book says. Among his many contributions to A.A., he helped re-form the Manhattan group, and also helped organize another club for A.A.s on Forty-first Street. He helped structure the New York Intergroup, for which he served as secretary and director. While there, he and another member, George B., were instrumental in persuading Knickerbocker Hospital to set aside a ward just for alcoholics under the sponsorship of A.A. -- the first such general hospital in New York to do so." Nell notes that by late 1948, Al had become editor of the Grapevine. During the time he worked on the Grapevine, he also served as a director of A.A. Publishing, Inc. (an earlier name of AA World Services, Inc. From 1958 to 1961, he was a director of the A.A. Grapevine, Inc., and a trustee on the General Service Board. He attended, until his death, every International Convention and contributed to the success of them all. He was a valued friend of Bill's, according to Nell, and Bill solicited Al's views and comments on all his books and other writings. Nell adds: "Lois put it succinctly: 'Bill and Al were buddies.'" It was also Al S. who composed the "I am Responsible" pledge for the convention in Toronto. Nell writes: "I will never forget -- nor will anyone who was there -- the moving ceremony of rededication on Saturday evening in the Maple Leaf Gardens auditorium. The crowd of more than 10,000 rose and joined the conference delegates, trustees, and A.A. representatives from 21 countries up on the stage in repeating the declaration. They clasped hands and loudly pronounced in one tremendous, strong voice: 'I am responsible when anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.' "There was a special spirit about the Toronto Convention. Many people say it was the best ever." Source: Grateful To Have Been There, by Nell Wing __________ A.A. International Convention, Miami, 1970. The fifth AA International Convention was held in Miami in 1970. It was the first one that I attended. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary, wrote: "More than 13,000 members and their families came from all over the world to see the cofounder and hear him speak, as he had at all previous conventions, and to participate in the wide-ranging program." Arriving at the Fountainbleu Hotel, where the convention was held, I was thrilled to meet members from many countries. Nell said there were many from Latin America. I also was delighted -- typical A.A. member that I am -- to see that free coffee was being offered in the lobby. But when I looked for some later it was all gone. Nell explained that the host committee in Miami, chaired by Wes P., "one of the more colorful members," had raised about $10,000 from local groups to provide complimentary coffee. But $10,000 worth of coffee doesn't last long, especially at hotel prices, with that many A.A. members hanging around. It may have been Wes P. who drove me around Miami one day. When I noticed people on the street pointing at the car and smiling, he explained that the license plate on the front of the car read "Alcoholism is a Treatable Disease." He gave me one of these license plates to take back to Washington as a gift for Senator Harold Hughes, an AA member. On another occasion, a taxi driver taking me to the Fountainbleu, asked if I were there for the AA convention. I told him I was. He admitted his worry about his own drinking, and I wound up spending considerable time doing 12th step work. Other memories of the convention include the wonderful entertainment. An A.A. member who was a professional comedian did an act in which he pretended to be drunk. He pretended he was doing live commercial breaks during a movie being shown on TV. During each pretended commercial break he would take a drink of the alcoholic product, talking about it's fine bouquet, excellent flavor, etc. Each time he did the live commercial, of course, he was a little more drunk. He said at the end "I can't tell you how many thousands of dollars it cost me to learn that routine." A Florida A.A. member told me a few years ago that she thinks it was Foster Brooks, "who always did a drunken skit, even though he was a very sober member of AA at the time." He often appeared on the Dean Martin show, and was also appeared with Rowan and Martin. He, like Bill Wilson, died as a result of his addiction to cigarettes. I also remember the "Alkathons," AA meetings going on constantly 24 hours a day. I had been invited by GSO to speak at one of them. (Senator Hughes had been invited to speak at one of the big meetings, but declined because of the legislative schedule at the time. Well, that was his excuse anyway. I think he really declined because he knew he had been invited because of the celebrity he was then receiving as the leading "dark horse" for the Presidential Democratic nomination. He hated being invited to speak at A.A. functions because he was a "big name." At the opening session, we were disappointed not to see Bill. As Nell wrote: "His life long cigarette habit had caught up with him in the form of emphysema, even though he had given up smoking the year before." He had suffered a fall in the spring of 1969, from which according to Nell, he had never fully recovered. (However, when he came to Washington to testify before Senator Hughes' Subcommittee in July of 1969, he seemed in good health. I don't remember whether he was smoking, but if he had already given it up because of his emphysema, it must have grieved him to see Senator Hughes -- who also died of emphysema -- chain smoking the entire time.) But a year later, at the time of this convention, Bill's health had deteriorated greatly. That April he was unable to complete his opening talk at the annual General Service Conference. Despite his ill health, he had flown to Miami with Lois and Nell a few days before the convention. But it became clear that he was not going to be able to keep his scheduled appearances. Once or twice a day he was taken back and forth to the Miami Health Clinic. Nell reported that: "Lois, Bob H., general manager of A.A.'s General Service Office, and Dr. Jack were spread pretty thin trying to cope, trying to keep the huge convention going and easing anxiety caused by Bill's failure to appear. I was caring for Bill in their suite upstairs at the hotel. It was during that week that he began hallucinating, imagining he had made a long-distance call. It was terribly distressing for Lois." She remembers Lois's courage and determination to carry on with the Al-Anon programs. Nell thinks that Al-Anon more than ever "came of age" at this convention, with its own program of events and big crowds in its own headquarters hotel, the Eden Roc, next to the Fountainbleu. When the press conference was held the Wednesday afternoon before the convention began, Marty Mann and Dr. Jack Norris substituted for Bill. Bernard Smith, a past chairman of the GSO Board, substituted for Bill at the opening session. Nell said that Bernie Smith was a "little disgruntled" to be called down from New York on short notice, and asked her to help him adapt a talk from a previous conference. They finished the talk by one or two o'clock, after which he got in some golf. On Sunday, he apologized to Nell for his irritability the day before. Poor Nell was so exhausted that she slept in Sunday morning and missed the program. But I was there, with the thousands of others. And I was not disappointed. Late in the morning, a wheelchair appeared from the back of the stage, and there was Bill. He was hooked up with tubes to an oxygen tank, and had insisted on wearing one of the orange-colored blazers that identified the Miami host committee. When we realized it was Bill, we rose as one and exploded with applause and cheers. Bill was wheeled to the front of the stage and pulled himself up to his full height at the rostrum. He spoke for only a few minutes, but his voice was strong and clear. He seemed almost like the old Bill so many of us remembered. He talked of how happy he was about the large attendance, especially the members from other countries, and about how much it meant to him to see A.A.'s enormous growth and to have been a part of it. And then he ended by saying: "As I look out this morning on this vast crowd, I know in my heart that Alcoholics Anonymous will surely last a thousand years -- if it is God's will!" When he lowered himself into his wheelchair we all jumped to our feet in thunderous applause. Nell says "Many times since I've thought about the coincidence, the similarity of the final exit of the two cofounders twenty years apart." Later that day, Bill returned to the hospital. He and Lois remained in Miami until August, when they returned home to Stepping Stones. Bill's health steadily declined. He required oxygen constantly and his hallucinations were much worse. Soon he needed nurses around the clock. Bill was returned to a Miami hospital for treatment, and died in Miami less than six months after this convention. One of my many regrets is that I did not save a copy of the last message he wrote Senator Hughes. It was a post card which he and another AA member at the hospital both signed. They wrote: "We only hope we live long enough to see you become President." Sources: "Grateful to Have Been There," by Nell Wing Unpublished diary of Nancy Olson. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1700. . . . . . . . . . . . A.A. International Conventions -- Part Two From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/11/2004 3:19:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII A.A. International Convention, Denver, 1975. The sixth AA International Convention was held in Denver in 1975. It was the first at which neither Dr. Bob nor Bill was present. But to remind everyone that they were still there in spirit, the platform of Currigan Hall was decorated with portraits of them, with a 30-foot replica of the Big Book between them. Lois, of course, was there, and as active as ever. Al S., Bill's good friend of whom I wrote in my post on the 1965 convention in Toronto, led the huge "spiritual meeting" and Lois gave a very moving talk. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary, said that her predominant impression of the Denver convention was "crowds, crowds, crowds." GSO had planned for 12,000 and about 20,000 showed up. The workshops and panel meeting rooms were "hopelessly jammed," and at the big meetings the crowds overflowed Currigan Hall into a sports arena across the street where the talks were carried on a closed-circuit TV screen. Nell remembers that the fire department was a bit alarmed at the overcrowding of the halls. Nell attended this time, not as Bill's assistant, but as the A.A. archivist, working with George G., chairman of the Trustees' Archives Committee. As of 1992, when Nell's book was published, George was still serving as a consultant to the Trustees' Archives Committee. Nell was grateful for his "contributions to the organizing and supervision in the earliest days of the archives," and for his friendship. Nell and George spent most of their time in Denver seeking out the early members and interviewing them on tape. Nell said it was a heart-warming experience, and she kept up with these old-timers by mail. Anticipating the great demand for coffee, an "entrepreneur" rigged the world's largest coffee maker with servers on both sides of the balcony at the convention hall. Nell reports that "It had a capacity of 50,000 cups a day. The coffee was brewed in huge tanks or vats and piped to a bank of dozens of spigots where we helped ourselves after paying a quarter a cup. It worked fine and was the talk of the convention, but the coffee itself -- well, I've tasted better!" The opening session on Friday night began with a flag ceremony. As the name of each country was called over the public address system, spotlights shown on the flag, and, with music from the country (perhaps its national anthem) being played, its flag was carried down the aisle and onto the stage. A.A.s from 29 countries paraded their flags. When they arrived on the stage, each flag bearer stepped up to the microphone and repeated the conference theme, "Let It Begin With Me," in his or her native language. Alkathon meetings ran each day. One such meeting, the "drum and dance meeting" was presented by Indian A.A. groups. Ernest Kurtz reports that between each talk, "the huge drum spoke in tribute to the Higher Power that the leader chose to call the Great Spirit, and A.A.s in the regalia of many tribes went on to the Arena floor to dance -- but not alone. They reached out their hands, and soon white A.A.s and black A.A.s were on the floor with them." Source: Grateful To Have Been There, by Nell Wing. Not God, by Ernest Kurtz __________ A.A. International Convention, New Orleans, 1980. The seventh AA International Convention was held in New Orleans, LA, in 1980. The big meetings were held in the immense, air-conditioned Superdome. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary and now A.A. archivist, said that the Superdome was comfortably chilled and acoustically perfect. A mock Mardi Gras parade was held on Thursday night, and "famed Bourbon Street turned into ice-cream and coffee street," according to Nell, with mobs of A.A.s taking over. There were signs in the windows of the jazz establishments welcoming A.A.s. On Friday night, at the opening session, there was a 30 foot-high world map outlined on a blue background behind the stage. The theme of this conference was "Joy of Living," and during the flag ceremony, as each flag bearer spoke these words in his or her native tongue, the country represented was lit up on the map. An archives workshop -- the first at an international convention -- was held and a large, enthusiastic crowd attended. The films "Bill's Own Story" and "Bill Discusses the Traditions" were shown continuously throughout the convention. Also shown continuously was a recently completed film strip of the archives called "Markings on a Journey." This was the idea of Mike R., a pioneer member from Oklahoma who was also chairman of the Trustees' Archives Committee. He noted the fact that some 2,000 members visited the archives in New York every year to gain an awareness of how it all began. "But Mike felt that since it was impossible to bring all the fellowship in to see the archives, we should in some way take the archives to the fellowship," Nell wrote. "Markings on a Journey" was their attempt to accomplish that. There were also meetings of archivists after the workshop to discuss the value of circulating a newsletter among the archivists. Presentations were made by non-A.A. members, including judges, physicians, psychiatrists, clergymen, educators, prison officials, media specialists, government officials, a labor leader, an industrialist and alcoholism agency officials. Special workshops were scheduled for gay members and for young people as well as for doctors, lawyers, and women. This convention also was the first to have a marathon meeting running continuously, day and night, from Thursday midnight to Sunday morning. According to Nell, "A man who had sobered up just two days before in the marathon meeting was introduced before the crowd of 23,000." On Sunday morning Lois gave a brief talk and was presented with the first Big Book in Italian, by Roberto C., who had done the translation. He told how A.A. was growing in Italy. Then a surprise guest came to the microphone and introduced himself as Bob S., a member of Al-Anon. He explained that he was probably the only person there who had been present when Bill W. met Dr. Bob first met. He was the only son of Dr. Bob Smith. Bob Smith, "Smitty," shared some of his early memories of Bill's living in their Akron home that summer in 1935. The 1980 convention was the first to feature women, and Marty Mann, of course, was the keynote speaker. She, like Dr. Bob and Bill before her, was very ill when she gave this last major talk to A.A. Like Bill in 1970, she arrived in a wheelchair. But when she was introduced she rose from the wheelchair and walked slowly to the podium as a prolonged ovation shook the rafters. She stood tall and the old gleam came back in her eye. When the ovation finally ended, Marty looked out over the thousands of women (and many men, as well) and said: "Talk about tears -- I can't tell you what it feels like to be a great-great-great-great grandmother to so many women. Because that's what you are, all of you. You're my children, and I'm so, so proud of you." The hall erupted with a roar and gave her a long ovation. Marty Mann was not only the first woman to achieve long-term sobriety in A.A. (see her story: "Women Suffer Too" in the Big Book), she was the person most responsible for removing the stigma from the disease of alcoholism by educating the public. She told a U.S. Senate subcommittee in 1969: "I had discovered the strength of the stigma that lay on alcoholism. I had discovered the conspiracy of silence that existed about it. I had discovered that families were inclined to protect their alcoholic and that they were totally unaware of the fact that this protection was actually preventing their alcoholic from getting help." Marty had gained the support and backing of two eminent scientists at Yale University, Dr. Howard W. Haggard and Dr. E. M. Jellinek, who had been working on this problem for some years. And they gave her the support and encouragement - as did Bill Wilson - to start an organization originally called the "National Committee for Education on Alcoholism," which later became the National Council on Alcoholism (now NCADD). Marty Mann died just two weeks after she returned from New Orleans, July 22, 1980, having survived three of the most-often stigmatized health problems of the 20th century: alcoholism, tuberculosis, and cancer. She died suddenly from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Sources: Slaying the Dragon, the History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, by William White. Grateful to Have Been There, by Nell Wing. __________ A.A. International Convention, Montreal, 1985. The eighth AA International Convention was held in Montreal in 1985. The was the second to be held outside the United States, both in Canada. It drew more than 44,000, representing fifty-four countries, and began again, with a flag ceremony. Nell Wing wrote that "Because the emphasis of the whole event was Alcoholics Anonymous history, but mostly, I think, because I was accompanying Lois, I was on the platform in the middle of the vast Olympic Stadium Friday night for the opening ceremonies." "Lois Wilson, a tiny, stooped figure now at age 94, was assisted by her secretary, Francis H., to the microphone, where she delivered a short but touching speech in a strong voice with her sense of humor evident," according to Nell. Ruth Hock, Bill's first secretary who typed the original manuscript of the Big Book in 1938, was there and was presented with the five-millionth copy of the Big Book. Nell wrote that Ruth "was much more than a gifted secretary, she was a major factor in the stability and functioning of that early office. In fact, she was a balancing factor in the debate between Jim B[urwell] the former atheist, and Fritz M[ayo], who was strongly religious, that resulted in the use of the phrase 'God as we understood Him' in the Steps -- certainly one of the most significant decisions ever made in A.A." Nell adds "What would later be called the 'Serenity Prayer' was brought to her attention in June 1941. She sent it to an A.A. member (who was a printer) in Washington, D.C., and he printed it on small cards for distribution from G.S.O. to interested members." Ruth died in the spring of 1986. Dave B. ("Gratitude in Action" in the 4th edition of the Big Book), the founder of A.A. in Montreal, was to have been honored at the convention, but he died only a few weeks before and was represented by nonalcoholic past trustee Dr. Travis Dancey, who had first tried to bring the A.A. message to Dave. Dr. Jack Norris, Dr. Milton Maxwell, and Dr. Bob's son and daughter and Bob's wife Betty were at this convention. And among the attendees was 89-year-old Ken S., a "long-timer" from Kansas, and Sybil C., the first woman member in Los Angeles. Workshops were held on archives, and there were "old-timers' meetings and pioneers' meetings. The closing talk Sunday morning was by Joe McQ., the first black member in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1962. Joe McQ has joined with Charlie P. to participate in Big Book seminars in the USA, Canada, and overseas. "His was a stirring and moving story," says Nell. Several hundreds of A.A. members and their families could not find rooms. Every hotel room within eighty miles of Montreal was booked, and some were housed as far away as Burlington, Vermont. Many who found themselves without a room left early or slept on the floors of rooms of friends. One reporter noted that few chose to sleep in parks or other public places, which seemed to surprise the reporter. On Friday night historic figures were introduced, including Lois Wilson and Ruth Hock Crecelius, who was presented with the five-millionth copy of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. As secretary to Bill Wilson and Hank Parkhurst ("The Unbeliever" in the 1st edition), Ruth had typed the original manuscript." Many laughed that the House of Seagram paid tribute to Alcoholics Anonymous by lowering the three flags adorning its Montreal headquarters to half-staff for the duration of the convention. Ernest Kurtz wrote: "Overall, the centrality of A.A.'s own story suffused the whole convention and became permanently enshrined in the 'Family Album and Souvenir,' Fifty Years With Gratitude, which in its reproduction of over a hundred newspaper clippings and old photographs recalled their history to A.A.s and A.A.s to their history." Sources: "Not God," by Ernest Kurtz "Grateful to Have Been There," by Nell Wing. Shortly after I originally posted this I received this message from Ruth Hock's daughter: "Just read the posting - what a wonderful memory of that convention!! It was my first, and I went with my mother, Ruth Hock Crecelius. She could hardly believe how large our fellowship had grown, and had just begun to "accept" what her role in it's survival meant to us all. I had about 9 years in the fellowship then. Thought I'd add a couple of cute things about that convention that you all probably didn't know: I asked her that night what went through her mind as she accepted the book and watched those thousands of people give her a standing ovation, Her reply was: "I looked up and asked 'What do you think of this Willie?'" Also, the 5 millionth copy of the Big Book was NOT given to her that night. Everyone was up on the stage and suddenly someone remembered that the book had not been returned from the binders (special leather cover). A representative "snuck" (almost literally) from the stage to find a book. Someone in the crowd (of course) had a Big Book with them, which was promptly borrowed for the presentation!! Mom thought it was quite funny and typical of the resources we alcoholics have! That book was signed by Mom and returned to its owner. She got the leather bound volume soon after returning to Ohio. It is currently in my home - a wonderful memory of her legacy to me and all alcoholics! Sybil C. was the speaker that night - I have wonderful memories of her family and Bob Smith's during the meeting - each of us crying as his/her family member was introduced and gave a talk. As Bob Corwin so profoundly put it in a letter to me later: "we proudly sat in humility row basking in reflected glory"! What a wonderful time in my recovering life in AA. Thanks for all you do in helping keep our history alive! Laurie L. __________ A.A. International Convention, Seattle, 1990. The ninth AA International Convention was held in Seattle, in 1990. This convention drew 48,000 people from 75 countries. Dr. Bob's son and daughter, Bob Smith and Sue Windows, and Bob's wife Betty were all in attendance. It began, as had become the custom, with the Friday night flag ceremony. Nell Wing, Bill's secretary and later AA archivist, wrote that: "The hall really let go when the Soviet, Bulgarian, and Romanian flags were carried to the front of the platform." Nell told an interest anecdote about herself: "It was also a homecoming of sorts for me. I had spent 1944-46 in Seattle (the 13th naval district) as a member of SPARS, the Women's Coast Guard Reserve, In the basement of the Olympic Hotel (now affiliated with the Four Seasons chain) there was a large bar and dining room which we called the "snake pit" and where many of us, along with the Coast Guard and Navy guys, did a bit of off-duty drinking. One night I got involved in an all-night drinking spree and next morning, up before my executive officer, was 'awarded' a captain's mast and sentenced to a brief confinement in my quarters (the 'brig' was full). I was allowed out once a day, accompanied by a shore patrol. "Now, 44 years later, here I was in Seattle again and the recipient of the 10 millionth copy of the Big Book. No words can adequately express my deep gratitude to this beloved Fellowship and my cherished friends therein." So now we have some insight into why Nell Wing, who was not an alcoholic, could be so comfortable with and dedicated to the many members of AA. Source; "Grateful to Have Been There" by Nell Wing. __________ A.A. International Convention, San Diego, 1995. The 10th A.A. International Convention was held in San Diego in 1995. I could find little written about it, but got this, if my memory serves me, from Tex Brown whom I met at the International Convention in Minneapolis in 2000. The Oldtimers Meeting At San Diego The crowd was chanting, "Ruth... Ruth... Ruth..." This chant will probably become the way the International Convention in San Diego will be remembered. Forty-three years sober, Ruth O 'N., from New York City was the first of fifteen speakers chosen at random (to place principles before personalities) from the one hundred and twenty-two Oldtimers with forty years or more sobriety (a total of 5318 years) who were present at the Saturday night Oldtimers Meeting at Jack Murphy Stadium. Ruth was delightful, and had completely won the hearts of the crowd of 42,000 by the time her allotted five minutes were up. They wanted her to finish even if it took all night. [She kept on talking for a very long time.] It became the background chant between each of the fourteen remaining speakers (and in one case, during). The chant "Ruth, Ruth...." caught on and it was being heard Sunday morning and later in the week at meetings in San Diego as a celebration of A. A. itself. The loving acceptance of the oldtimers by a much younger crowd, while lauding their individual sobriety, was at a deeper level a celebration of the force and power of the A.A. program that had kept them sober for as much as fifty-five years. The Steps, written in December 1938 when there were less than one hundred men (and no women, yet) who were sober, proved to be exactly what was needed by all of us to get sober, and most importantly to stay sober. In the next fifty-seven years many people have attempted to make changes in them. There were proposals to add things to and proposals to take things out of the Steps, but none of them worked. The oldtimers assembled in front of the podium were the living proof that the 12 Steps to the A.A. way of life was exactly what they (and we) needed. How does this way of life work in the long run? I would like to tell you one oldtimer's story. Shep became a member of the Glenbard Group about 1950. The old Glenbard Group covered all of what is now District 40 and part of District 61. Starting out as an atheist, Shep was sober from the very start and gradually became a pillar of the group. After about 20 years of good sobriety, Shep fell victim to a severe form of Alzheimer's disease. He became helpless and was placed in a nursing home. It was the custom of this facility to have a gathering of the patients in the common room every Saturday evening. The residents were then rewarded for their good behavior with a glass of wine. It was the high point of the week. Shep would not drink the wine. He didn't know where he was or what he was doing there. He didn't even know his own name. He did not know why, but he did know that he did not drink. Everything else was gone, but Shep still knew how to stay sober. Can you imagine a deeper and more fundamental change in the personality than this? Many thought the Oldtimer's Meeting the high point of the Convention, a demonstration that all of us can successfully live our entire lives as sober, happy and fulfilled members of Alcoholics Anonymous. P.S. SAN DIEGO SHORTAGE! Past experience with A. A.'s amazing ability to consume vast quantities of coffee was duly noted by the planners of this International Convention. They did not run out of coffee, but the San Diego ATM's ran out of money! (From the Fall, 1995 issue of N. I. A. Concepts, Area 20 Service Letter) __________ A.A. International Convention, Minneapolis, 2000. The theme of the International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous was Pass It On into the 21st Century. According to Valerie, the Convention coordinator at GSO, 48,000 people attended the convention held in Minneapolis, Minnesota between June 29-July 2, 2000. The Minneapolis Convention Center housed registration, hospitality, Archives displays, and meeting rooms. Big Meetings of all those who attended where held in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome under 10 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass held up only by air like a giant balloon. These meetings included the kick-off ceremony on Friday night, the Old Timers Meeting on Saturday night, and the closing (Spiritual Meeting) on Sunday. Minneapolis has air conditioned SKYWAYS, a unique 5 mile system of elevated walkways going from building to building that connects most of the downtown area and downtown convention hotels. But most convention members Walked the Walk to the Metrodome each day. A special Big Book Blue Line was painted onto the sidewalks of Minneapolis from the Convention Center to Metrodome stadium. Like most things in A.A., none of us had to walk-the-walk alone. Volunteers from the Host Committee were strung along the entire route to guide us along and cheer us on. After the Big Meetings in the Metrodome, we were able to Dance-the-Dance in the Dome on Friday and Saturday nights. I flew to Minneapolis on Thursday, June 29. My plane left from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport in Pennsylvania. When I went to catch my connecting flight in Pittsburgh, the long line of people waiting to board looked, somehow, like A.A. members. Why did I think so? Because they all looked happy and cheerful and excited, not a bit bored or irritable like many travelers. When I walked up to the end of the line I said "This looks like a bunch of drunks." The howls of laughter which greeted my remark made me feel that I was immediately in the right place. I got smiles, and hand shakes, and yes even hugs. I was immediately at home with a group of people I had never laid eyes on before. And that is the way it was for the next four days. I met no strangers, only good friends I had not previously met. After checking into the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, I went immediately to the Convention Center to register, traveling there on one of the shuffle buses which had been arranged to take us back and forth during the convention. Getting into the convention center to register took a bit of time. One could not get through the door without shaking hands with the official greeters. Their enthusiasm never died. They were shaking hands after the closing meeting as if it was the first day of the convention. Friday morning meetings were held on: Young, Sober and Responsible; Pioneers in A.A.; Peace and Serenity; Progress Through Pain; AA and Treatment Facilities; Let's be Friendly with Our Friends; Is AA Reaching Minorities?; Tolerance and Trust; Let It Begin With Me; First things First; Courage to Change; Letting Go of Old Ideas; Fear as a Stepping Stone; AA Meeting in Japanese; Ego Deflation in Depth; The Joy of Living; A.A. and the Clergy; AA/All-Anon/Alateen Meetings; Doctors in AA; Carrying the Message into Correctional Facilities; General Service: AA Politics?; Faith in Action; Pacific U.S. Regional - Meet Your AA Neighbors; Feliz, Alegre y Sobrio; AA Around the World Call Up - I; Partners in A.A.; At the Turning Point; Le Language du Coeur; Sobriety is Progressive Too; Victory in Defeat; One Day at a Time; A New Freedom; How It Works; Easy Does It - But Do It; Freedom Through acceptance; Emotional Sobriety; Let Go and Let God; AA Meeting in Japanese; Gratitudine in Azione; Freunde in Aller Welt; There is a Solution; Sober Awhile - Now What; Carrying the Message Through Public Information; AA Grapevine: Our Meeting in Print; Southeast U.S. regional - Meet Your AA Neighbors; Working With Others; Time to Start Living; una Neuva Libertad; Reaching the Alcoholic with Special Needs. Because of my interest in AA history I chose "Pioneers in AA." Bob P. chaired the meeting. He was at one time the head of GSO. His story is the last one in the Big Book: "AA Taught Him to Handle Sobriety." Bob told us he had an extremely serious operation 18 months ago. He was not expected to live. The doctors told his wife that his survival was a miracle and that it was because of his great attitude. The doctors asked his wife where he got that great attitude. We know the answer to that. He told us that at the 1985 convention in Montreal, he was supposed to present Ruth Hock (Bill's first secretary who typed the Big Book) with the five-millionth copy of the book. He discovered he did not have it with him. So they looked all over for a Big Book to borrow. They finally found one and he presented it to her with the assurance she would get the real one later. Bob said Ruth loved that. She said "Oh that's soooo alcoholic." The speakers were: Ruth O. of New Jersey, Jules P. of California, and Bob S. of Texas, a member of Al-Anon. Bob S. spoke first. He said he was the only person still alive who was present when Doctor Bob and Bill Wilson first met. It was Dr. Bob's son, Smitty. He was 17 at the time. He went with his parents to Henrietta Sieberling's house for his father's first meeting with Bill. In the car his father said "I'm giving this bird 15 minutes." His mother did not say to Bill, "will you come to dinner next Tuesday?" She said "why don't you come live with us?" Bill said without hesitation "OK!" Smitty said that there were never two people as different as Bill and his father. If it had been up to Dr. Bob AA would never have got beyond Akron. If it were up to Bill they would have sold franchises. But they had two important things in common. They were both open minded about spirituality, and they both had a desire to be of service to others. Smitty talked about how his parents brought alcoholics to live in their home. Dr. Bob would take them up to the bedroom and then give them some medicine. It was paraldehyde. "When my teenage sister and I opened the front door and smelled paraldehyde we would say 'Oh, oh, we've lost our beds again.'" He told about the first man they tried to sober up. His name was Eddie Riley and he moved in, I think he said with his wife and kids. One day he chased Anne Smith around with a knife. Dr. Bob considered Eddie his first failure. But at Dr. Bob's funeral a man walked up to Smitty and said "Do you remember me?" It was Eddie. He was living in Youngstown, Ohio, and was sober one year. Smitty said his father had a wonderful sense of humor. When Smitty took the woman he married to meet his parents for the first time, Dr. Bob looked her up and down and said of this tall, slender woman, "She's built for speed and light housekeeping." Smitty said his wife was sober 19 years when she died. One day Dr. Bob told his son "Flies carry germs. So young man, keep yours buttoned." Smitty said the Oxford Group members communicated with each other all the time. His mother was always on the phone with one or another of them. And that, of course, was true of the alcoholics in the Oxford Group as well. But things were not always sunshine and joy. There were people in A.A. in the early days with big egos. "Can you imagine?" he asked. "There were actually alcoholics with big egos in the early days?" Smitty ended his talk with a big plug for the traditions. "I say thank God for those traditions." He got a standing ovation. I don't remember much of what Jules P said, but he was very enjoyable. The last speaker was Ruth O. When Bob P. introduced her he said that in planning the convention in 1995 he had a bright idea. "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time." They would let every alcoholic with 40 years put their names and sobriety dates in a big bucket, and the first 15 called could get up and talk for five minutes. When Ruth O. got up to talk she talked on, and on, and on. She joked that they had told her that this time they were going to have a trap door to use if she talked too long. But she was a fascinating speaker, sober 52 years. She lived in the Bronx when she came into A.A. and was the only woman in her group for a long time. The men were apparently not too kind to her. They were rather gruff. One of them asked her one day how long it had been since she had a drink. She said proudly: "50 days tomorrow." The man sitting behind her hit her on the shoulder and said gruffly, "It's 49!" She must have told that story often because the day before she celebrated her 50th anniversary the phone kept ringing. When she answered a gruff voice would say "It's 49! It's 49!" But Bill Wilson was kinder. The first time she met Bill he kissed her on the cheek. "I haven't washed that cheek since," she said. And somehow I believed her. Our choices for the early afternoon meetings were: Lesbians/Gays in AA; Women in AA; Humility: A Power Greater; Turning It Over; La Consicence de Groupe, Informee; Living Sober; AA and Native Peoples; Sponsorship: Leading by Example; Young & successful - Who Needs Meetings?; Tools for Sobriety; Twelfth Step: Love in Action; Estructuras de Servicio General; AA Meeting in Japanese; Solo per Oggi; AA Traditions and AA Events; Die Zwf Schritte; Unity Through Humility; Willingness: The Essence of Growth; AA's History of Love; A Daily Reprieve; East Central U.S. Regional - Meet Your AA Neighbors; In All our Affairs; Twelve Concepts: The Structural Framework; and Twelfth-Stepping the Old Fashioned Way. I had no problem choosing. My old friend, Mel S, was speaking at the Twelfh-Stepping the Old Fashioned Way meeting. I hadn't seen Mel in years. Mel had his last drink on May 23, 1965, in a bar at an officer's club in Virginia. He had entered the Army Air Corps in 1939 as a private. He wanted to be a pilot. He retired 27 years later as a full Colonel. He told of the many escapades involving crashing air planes when he was drunk. But he always somehow managed to get out of trouble. But finally, in 1965, he was ordered to fly his plane to Washington to deliver some top secret papers to the Pentagon. He drank and was in a blackout. He got a call saying that the papers had not arrived at the Pentagon. Where were they? Mel couldn't remember. He had no idea what had happened. He was desperate. This meant the end of his career. He would be court marshaled, he might serve time in prison. In desperation he called the chaplain and told him his predicament. The chaplain told him to stay where he was, he was sending someone to get him. Two men showed up, one of them an Army Warrant Officer. They took Mel in tow. The warrant officer took him to stay in his home. It was a small, modest home and they didn't have a guest room, but they had an unfinished basement and they put a cot in the basement for Mel. He lay there detoxing, and in terror of what the future would bring, Then he heard a noise on the stairs, and his host came down carrying a big roll under his arm. He spread the roll on the floor next to Mel's cot and said "I'm going to sleep here tonight. I know how you feel." Mel had trouble telling the story, he was so filled with emotion. Mel was madly trying to think of excuses to make up to get out of this very serious trouble. But the two A.A. members told him that he had to do two things: don't drink, and tell the truth. So Mel told his superiors the truth. He had been drunk and he had no idea what had happened to the top secret papers. An investigation was begun, and Mel tried -- on the advice of his A.A. sponsors -- to leave the matter in God's hands. Then one day he got a call. It seems someone at the Pentagon had found the papers. They had been locked away in a safe the whole time. So Mel's superiors told him that since he had, indeed, delivered the papers to the Pentagon as he had been ordered to do, all charges against him would be dropped. In all the years I had known Mel I had not heard his story before. I was deeply moved. Our choices for the late afternoon meetings were "Young People in AA; Gratitude in Your Attitude; AA Loners and Internationalists; AA and Court Programs; Carrying the Message Into Treatment Facilities; El Anonimato al Nivel Pblico; Archives: A Collective Vision; Intergrupos y Oficinas Centrales; Freedom to Choose; History of the Big Book; Spiritual Journey; Resentment - the Number One Offender; AA and Cyberspace; Carrying the Message to Older Alcoholics; Notre Methode; AA Meeting in Korean; AA Meeting for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; AA in Western Europe/Scandinavia; AA in Central/South America; Viviendo Sobrio; AA in Asia/Oceania Zone; Western Canada Regional - Meet Your AA Neighbors; This Matter of Honesty; Prayer Under Pressure; and A Daily Inventory. Again I had no problem choosing; a friend from the Washington, D.C. area whom I hadn't seen in 20 years, Hal Marley, was speaking at the meeting on gratitude. I am very glad I had that last opportunity to see Hal. He died not long after. The highlight of the opening meeting that night was the flag ceremony. The first flag to appear was carried by a Native American in full traditional dress and carrying a large pole covered with feathers. Then, as the name of each nation was called, an A.A. member from that country entered carrying the country's flag. They were called in alphabetical order, ending with Zambia, followed by the flags of the host countries: Canada and the United States. Over 75 countries were represented. As each country name was called the members from those countries rose and cheered loudly. But many of us cheered along with them. Especially when the Russian flag appeared. The flags were lined up in front of the stage and remained there throughout the convention. Saturday turned out to be a day for miracles. Miracles were happening all over Minneapolis from the beginning, but I first began being acutely aware of them on Saturday. The trip was costing me much more than I could afford, so I wanted to save money where I could. I had hoped to save some money by having my coffee in my room each morning. But the coffee pot didn't work. I told them at the desk Friday and they said they would put a new one in. They did bring up a new one. But it, too, wouldn't work. So I bought a $1.50 cup of coffee in the lobby, as I had the day before. The man selling the coffee was reading a book by Dr. Abraham Twersky, so I said "Oh, are you in the program?" He said he was not but he was staying sober by another method. I then started telling him that I knew Rabbi Twersky, the alcoholism treatment specialist. A man was also buying a cup of coffee. He was not wearing a badge and at first I didn't even know he was there for the convention. He had just come down for coffee -- perhaps his coffee maker wasn't working either -- and had not bothered with his badge or anything else. But he was carrying a large file of papers. He, too, was an A.A. member. We sat down to drink our coffee together in the lobby and I started telling him about A.A. History Buffs. He said "I feel there is something I should say to you." Then he opened his file of papers and pulled out all sorts of wonderful historical documents. He gave me a copy of Ruth Hock's letter to Bill Wilson, recalling the early days of A.A. Our choices of meetings Saturday morning included the same wide variety of meetings, but I wanted to go to the one called "Archives: A Collective Vision," because I knew that Charles K. would be speaking there and I wanted to meet him and, Doug B., both on-line friends. Afterward, I went off to try to hear Clancy I. of California. Clancy's meeting was too crowded and I couldn't get in, so I went back to the Convention Center and wandered into the first meeting that I came upon. The meeting was already in progress. I soon discovered that it was a Gay and Lesbian meeting, and a woman from San Francisco was speaking. Her name was "Peacock." Another of those little "coincidences." I had recently befriended a lesbian woman alcoholic in Pennsylvania. When I heard "Peacock" I immediately knew I must buy her tape for my friend. She gave a magnificent talk. I was not taking notes but I remember a few things she said. She said that Clancy I. was her sponsor. She called him to ask his permission to speak at a Gay/Lesbian meeting and he responded "Now, you know how I feel about special interest groups." "But I really want to do this, Clancy," she replied. There was a very long pause and then he said: "I have good news and bad. The good news is that you may speak at the convention. The bad news is that I will be speaking at the same time." She responded "That's OK, honey, we won't attract the same crowd." Her audience roared with laughter. After hearing Peacock I wanted to catch the 3:30 meeting "Pass It On - Into the 21st Century." Searcy W. of Texas was speaking at this meeting. He was Ebby's sponsor. Bill had sent Ebby to Searcy in Texas and Ebby stayed sober there for some time. But first I needed some food. After I had some food I decided to go back to my hotel to rest. I totally forgot that I wanted to hear Searcy. Another of those little coincidences? Back in my room I found I couldn't nap, I was too restless. So I decided to try to reach another of the history buffs who was staying in the same hotel, Tex Brown of Illinois. I phoned him and asked if he would join me in the lobby. The inspiration to call Tex lead to the most exciting part of the convention for me. Tex was then 83 years old and sober 53 years. He had written me before the convention saying "I just happened to stumble into the history forum. I read the post saying that you will be staying at the Radisson Plaza. So will my wife, Barb, and I. ... I thought that I might like historians better than archivists. I guess I need to see what the big boys are like." Tex got sober Feb. 6, 1947, in Skokie, IL. He was then the editor of the Area 20 (Northern Illinois Area) service letter, "NIA Concepts." His delightful wife, Barb, has been sober 21 years. I found Tex a charming, humble, serene, humorous fellow. He told me some wonderful stories about the early days in the Chicago area. Then he scooped me up and took me along with them to sit in the oldtimers section for the oldtimers meeting at the Metrodome Saturday night. He seemed to know everybody and made sure that he introduced me to them all. Among those I met was Mel B. who has written so much wonderful AA history, and Dr. Jack Norris's widow. And what an inspiration all the oldtimers were. Those with more than 40 years sobriety had been asked to put their names and sobriety date in a Fishing Hat located at the Convention Center before 1 p.m. on Saturday. All the meetings in the Metrodome were simultaneously translated into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish and Swedish. Special arrangements were also made for the hearing impaired. And the HP made sure that the oldtimers meeting would be truly international. Among the names pulled from the hat were Mosku from Finland, sober 46 years; Collin from Australia, sober 54 years; and Manual M. from France, sober 40 years. A little extra time was allowed for the oldtimers from Finland and France because they were accompanied by interpreters who repeated in English what they had said. Collin from Australia complained that they hadn't supplied him with an interpreter, and there were moments when I wished they had. His Australian accent was sometimes hard to understand. (Collin visited the U.S. in 2004 and phoned me from New York. He planned to come to Virginia, where I am now living, to meet me. But alas I was not available the only day that he could come to Virginia. It was not until his phone call that I realized he was the man who had spoken at the convention.) Shortly before they started drawing names out of the hat, I was puzzled to see a procession of about 30 members of the hospitality committee, wearing their distinctive white caps, march down the center isle. They then stood in front of the line of flags below the stage. They drew 15 names out of the hat, and as each name was called, two of these host committee people would get on each side of the oldtimer and help him or her onto the stage. All of this could be seen very clearly on the large screens around the Metrodome and it was such fun watching them being escorted up. One of them was wearing a white tuxedo. Another, whose escorts were two young women, started swinging them around and dancing with them on the way up. To make sure that they didn't have another Ruth among these oldtimers, a man sat on the stage with a large rectangular sign that said APPLAUSE. When three minutes were up, if they hadn't stopped speaking, he would walk up behind them with the sign and the entire convention would break into applause. The first called to speak was Otto W., 40 years and two months sober. Otto told how he was visited by two A.A. members while he was locked up in a mental ward. "They had something I wanted and I was willing to go to any lengths to get it: MATCHES!" All of the oldtimers showed this kind of humor. Marie M., sober 44 years, four months, said a woman had called her and said she was an alcoholic from A.A. and asked if she could visit her. "Well, I did not want any alcoholics coming to MY house." So she said she would go to the A.A.'s house instead. She rang the door bell and when the A.A. contact opened the door she announced: "I have two black eyes (as if she couldn't see)." One of the most inspirational, to my mind (and not because her name was Nancy and she was from Pennsylvania) was Nancy F. Nancy, sober 55 years, said there isn't anything you can't do if you want to after you get sober. "I went to college at 70 ... and graduated at 80 ... cum laude!" David Mc. M, sober 43 years, who followed Nancy, said he was 21 when he got sober and was told he was too young to be an alcoholic. He said he hasn't grown up yet, "but when I do I want to be just like her," pointing to Nancy. The last speaker was a tall, handsome black woman, Louise R., sober 40 years, who said that they told her if she kept coming around she would get what they had. So she kept going to meetings and waiting for them to give her whatever it was they had. Finally she asked "When are you going to give me what you have?" They asked her how long she had been coming to meetings, and if she had a drink during that period. She had not. "So you have what we have." "Here I was walking around with it," she said, "and I didn't know I had it." She said they also kept talking at meetings about how anybody who didn't have one should buy the Big Book. It cost $3.50. Well, she didn't WANT to buy no BIG Book. She didn't want to READ no BIG book. Finally they announced at a meeting that anyone who didn't have a Big Book could have one and pay for it when they could. "They think I can't AFFORD the Big Book." So after the meeting she walked up to the man and said she wanted the Big Book. She slapped down a five dollar bill and said "Keep the change." All of the oldtimers were very inspiring. They wasn't a dull one in the lot. Murray M., our history buff from Dublin wrote: "The old-timers meeting was very special. You could not but be moved by their expressions of love and gratitude. The humour was unequaled and I think the entire 15 would have stayed there sharing for hours if time allowed. The member in the white tuxedo might have summed it all up when the occasion got to him." Sunday morning my coffee pot worked just fine. Guess there was no special reason God wanted me down in the lobby for my coffee. I scooped up my new friend, Rich (who had given me Ruth Hock's letter to Bill) and his roommate and took them with me to the handicapped second on the Metrodome floor. This was near where I had been sitting with Tex the night before. I wanted to take Rich to that section because I wanted to see Tex again and introduce Rich to him. But we didn't find Tex. He told me in an e-mail that he and his wife had been late arriving. He had looked for me, too, because he wanted to give me some newsletters from his area. At this closing meeting the 20 millionth copy of the Big Book was presented to the fellowship of Al-Anon. There are 30,000 Al-Anon groups world wide. There were three very inspirational speakers. One of them was Nancy K, the lead singer for a group called "Sweet Water" in the '60s. Sweet Water was the first group to take the stage at Woodstock. "But they cut us out of the movie," she sighed. We roared with laughter. "You know, only A.A.s laugh when I tell them that. Everyone else says Ahhhhh, poor thing." Nancy got sober in 1976 in Los Angeles. "I wore a bikini to my first meeting," she said. But someone told her she would look better if she were wearing a towel. If I remember correctly, she had a bad accident, her vocal cords were damaged, and she lost her ability to sing. She later became an English teacher. But eventually her voice returned and she was reunited with some of the Sweet Water group. There are three still alive, "fatter and with less hair." They entertained outdoors at the 1995 convention, but they forgot to advertise, so there wasn't the kind of crowd they'd hoped for. I think it was Nancy who said AA is like taking wedding vows. "For better or worse, in sickness or in health, till death do us part, I am a part of AA." John K. got sober on St. Patrick's Day. (How's that for a miracle. An Irishman getting sober on St. Patrick's Day?) He told us of attending a funeral of a boy who had died and the preacher said "the only way we can change the world is to change ourselves, and now is the time, because for the boy in the box it is too late." John's daughter smashed up his new car. She hit a Mercedes. John's sponsor drove him to the scene of the accident and all he could think of was himself. Why did she have to smash MY car? How will I get to work, etc. His daughter was still in the car, and his sponsor said, "Aren't you going to check on her?" He went over to the car and his daughter said "Oh, daddy, give me a hug." "I had to be prompted by my sponsor to hug my daughter," he said. John asked us to remember that each alcoholic is a multifaceted, wonderful person. And the only one that doesn't seem to recognize it is himself. ______ One of the highlights for me Sunday morning was the sobriety countdown. They said this was our 65th anniversary, and asked any one who had been sober more than 65 years to stand. "Has anyone been sober longer than Bill?" No one stood. "Has anyone been sober 65 years? Please stand -- it you still can." Sixty-four years? Sixty-three? When they called "Fifty-five years?" One or more stood. "Keep coming back," everyone shouted. The persons with the longest sobriety at the convention had 55. When they got down to 24 hours, two or more stood. I'm not one who cries easily, but there were many times during the convention when I fought back tears. But as we concluded, and the children of Minneapolis came up and sang for us We Are Family I began to cry. And then when we stood and joined hands to say the Serenity Prayer, I broke down completely. ___________ Postscript: We were coming back from the Sunday meeting and Rich and his roommate asked me to join them for lunch. We walked around looking for a restaurant but they were all mobbed, with hundreds of people lined up outside to get in, so we went back to our hotel to have lunch. While we were strolling around we ran into a man who had a bunch of pheasant feathers sticking out of a sack. Rich started chatting with him, and this man gave us each a feather. I did not want a feather, took it to be polite, and planned to throw it away as soon as I got back to my room. I stuck into the opening in my handbag. Then we had lunch at our hotel and Rich stuck his feather in the vase of flowers on the table. At one point the waiter came over and started to take the feather away. I said "Don't take that. it belongs to my friend." Shortly after lunch, Rich and his roommate left for the airport to return home. But I was not leaving until Monday morning. I was tired and decided to spend the rest of the day in my room reading. But I began feeling strangely restless, so I decided to go down to the lobby and find a comfortable chair in which to sit and read. So I was sitting in the lobby and I got chatting with a woman who is in Al-Anon. She and her husband, an A.A. member, were both at the convention. She asked me where I got the feather, which was still sticking out of my handbag. I had "forgotten" to throw it away. I told her that some man we met on the street had given them to us. Then she showed me her feather. I said "Oh, you must have met the same man we did." "No, I did not," she answered, with tears in her eyes. Then she told me the following story. Her son, who was also in A.A., died suddenly about six months earlier. The day I met her would have been his A.A. anniversary. When she and her husband came to the convention they felt they were bringing him with them. And she saw many signs that his spirit indeed was with them. After sobering up he had become a nurse. He worked as a "traveling nurse" and worked at one point in New Mexico with Native Americans. At the convention the first night they were sitting in the handicapped section and a group of kids came by with signs saying they were from New Mexico and smiled and waved at her and her husband. She thought it was a sign from her son. Then the flag ceremony began and the Indian appeared with his big staff covered with feathers. She thought of how her son had loved Native Americans, worked with them, and had at one time called his Dad to say "They don't have an AA group here. How do I start one for them?" Her son (whom she described as a very spiritual, gentle, and artistic young man) loved feathers, collected them, and made things from them. "Then today," she said, "we went up to the third floor for lunch and in the vase of flowers on the table was this feather. We knew it was another sign from our son." Well, I never did throw away my feather. On my computer desk, as I write, stands a small vase of flowers. A pheasant feather shoots up from the center. I am reminded daily of the little anonymous way God works miracles in our lives. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1701. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Bert Taylor - Compiled From Old Posts From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/11/2004 8:19:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Everybody, As I understand it, Bert closed his tailor shop and later worked for Saks Fifth Avenue, which suggests that he must have been a first class tailor. Mel Barger ~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com ----- Original Message ----- From: NMOlson@aol.com To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 8:05 AM Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Bert Taylor - Compiled From Old Posts I am continuing to combine old posts, which are then deleted, in order to make it easier for researchers to search the archives. The following is excerpted from old posts by Charles K. and Rick T. Charles wrote that Bert Taylor was an early AA member who borrowed $1,000.00 from a Mr. Cockran one of his customers and a prohibitionist. "The loan was to help buy some time from the printer until the Liberty Magazine article came out. Once that article came out we sold some books were able to settle with the printer and get the remaining Big Books out of hock, so to speak. He also allowed meetings to be held in the loft in his shop. "Now whether the debt was not repaid on time or Bert just fell on hard times is uncertain, but he did loose ownership of the shop, but was able to keep his business and he died sober. He also was one of the first Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation." Rick responded to Charles' message: "Much of this additional history was gleaned in on-site research through minutes and correspondence at the GSO Archives.... "His $1,000 would have brought him 400 shares in Works Publishing, and I'm sure he was able to cash in the shares, when and if any of the loan was needed to be paid. There are scant records on file of whose and how many shares were eventually traded in to the Alcoholic Foundation. The AF Trustees' ledgers remained pretty thin for many years into the mid-1940s, and only a few shares were probably ever recorded as 'bought back' by the Board of Trustees. Bill wrote in 'AA Comes of Age' about a few buy-backs, which turned out to be traded only at face value." Rick said he did not think Bert was a Trustee, but Charles responded: "I still believe Bert was a member of the Alcoholic Foundation, only from what I have read. "In the August 1947 Grapevine article 'Last Seven Years Have Made AA self-supporting' Bill writes: "'Two of the alcoholic members of our Foundation traveled out among the AA groups to explain the need. They presented their listeners with these ideas: that support of our Central Office was a definite responsibility of the AA groups; that answering written inquiries was a necessary assistance to our Twelfth Step work; that we AAs ought to pay these office expenses ourselves and rely no further upon outside charity or insufficient book sales. The two trustees also suggested that the Alcoholic Foundation be made a regular depository for group funds; that the Foundation would earmark all group monies for Central Office expenses only; that each month the Central Office would bill the Foundation for the straight AA expenses of the place; that all group contributions ought to be entirely voluntary; that every AA group would receive equal service from the New York office, whether it contributed or not. It was estimated that if each group sent the Foundation a sum equal to $1 per member per year, this might eventually carry our office, without other assistance. Under this arrangement the office would ask the groups twice yearly for funds and render, at the same time, a statement of its expenses for the previous period. '"Our two trustees, Horace C. and Bert T., did not come back empty handed. Now clearly understanding the situation, most groups began contributing to the Alcoholic Foundation for Central Office expenses, and have continued to do so ever since. In this practice the AA Tradition of self-support had a firm beginning. Thus we handled the Saturday Evening Post article for which thousands of AAs are today so grateful.' (Reprint of this article can be found in 'Language of The Heart' see pages 64-65) "Also from 'AA Comes Of Age' "Page 186......... "'At about this time our trusteeship began to be enlarged. Mr. Robert Shaw, a lawyer and friend of Uncle Dick's, was elected to the Board. Two New Yorkers, my friends Howard and Bert, were also named. As time passed, these were joined by Tom B. and Dick S. Dick had been one of the original Akronites and was now living in New York. There was also Tom K., a hard-working and conservative Jerseyman. Somewhat later more nonalcoholic, notably Bernard Smith and Leonard Harrison, took up their long season of service with us.' "(FYI: This was around the time of the Rockefeller Dinner Feb. 1940, this also shows the alcoholic members of the Foundation made up of more than just Bill & Dr. Bob. I have a copy of the minutes of the Alcoholic Foundation in July 25, 1949. Dick S., Tom B, and Bernard Smith were already trustees of the Foundation in 1949.) "Page 192: "'We also realized that these increased demands upon the office could not be met out of book income. So for the first time we asked the A.A. groups to help. Following the Post piece. Trustees Howard and Bert went on the road, one to Philadelphia and Washington, the other to Akron and Cleveland. They asked that all A.A. groups contribute to a special fund in the Foundation which would be earmarked 'for AA. office expenses only.' The contributions would be entirely voluntary. As a measuring stick, it was suggested that each group send in one dollar per member per year.' "Please let me repeat myself, I am not sure if this is the same Bert T. that owned the Tailor Shop in New York, but sure sounds like it to me. Rick, maybe on your next trip to the Archives in New York you might look for the name Herbert F. Taylor. Again I am not sure if this is the same person either, but his name and signature appears on Works Publishing Company stock certificates date September 26th 1940 (see 'AA Everywhere-Anywhere' the souvenir book from the 1995 International Convention page 23) and Bert is short for Herbert. I also have a photocopy of the same stock certificate dated June 20th 1940 and his name is on that one too, as president I might add . May have no connection at all, but worth looking into. "Well, I hope this sheds some light on the source for my assumption that Bert the Tailor might have been a Trustee of the Alcoholic Foundation. This has open a whole other question about the early make up of the Alcoholic Foundation and I think I might explore this to find out what I can." The following is from Jim Burwell's memoirs: "It was also in June of this year that we made our first contact with the Rockerfeller Foundation. This was arranged by Bert Taylor, one of the older members, who had known the family for years in a business way. Dr. Richardson, who had long been spiritual advisor for the Rockerfeller family, became very interested and friendly, and Bill and Hank made frequent visits to him, with Hank on one side asking for financial help and Bill on the other insisting on moral support only." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ This message was scanned by GatewayDefender [4] 8:33:05 AM ET - 3/11/2004 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1702. . . . . . . . . . . . Living Sober From: Arthur . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/12/2004 7:47:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Joanna and a warm welcome back As Mel B noted, the booklet Living Sober was written by NY member Barry Leach. I could not find a Conference advisory action (in publication M-39) that explicitly approved it. However, the 1974 Conference passed an advisory action that stated: "the partial draft of the new booklet 'Staying Sober' be reviewed by the committee and returned with comments and suggestions to GSO by June 1, 1974." AA Comes of Age (pg xi) states: "1975 - Publication of booklet Living Sober, detailing some practical methods AA members have used for not drinking." The 1974 advisory action infers that the booklet's title originally was planned as 'Staying Sober'' instead of 'Living Sober'' (its opening narrative "About that title" seems to address this). The first printing occurred in 1975 and based on the mention in AA Comes of Age, 1975 also appears to be its Conference approval year. The booklet's author, Barry L, is historically prominent in two other areas. He was among the earliest homosexual members of the AA Fellowship. Barry also was the individual who (in 1945) called Bill W from the 41st St clubhouse concerning a black man who was described as an ex-convict with bleach-blond hair, wearing women's clothing and makeup (re 'Pass It On'' pgs 317-318). The black man also admitted to being a "dope fiend." He is reported (in Pass It On) to have disappeared shortly after yet anecdotal accounts (at least here in Texas) often erroneously say that he went on to become one of the best 12th Steppers in NY. The booklet 'Living Sober'' is reputed to be the second highest selling publication in AA today. 10.0pt;font-family:Tahoma;color:black;">Cheers Arthur ----- *From:* Joanna Whitney [mailto:joannagw@earthlink.net] *Sent:* Wednesday, March 03, 2004 8:31 AM *To:* AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com *Subject:* [AAHistoryLovers] Living Sober Hi Group -- I am newly returning after a long stay away and glad to see you are all still here. I am "Courier New";color:black;">really curious about the origins of the publication Living Sober and what conference approved "Courier New";color:black;"> it. Anybody? "Courier New";color:black;"> Thanks, "Courier New";color:black;"> Joanna IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1704. . . . . . . . . . . . AA Historic Sites Near N.Y.C. From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/12/2004 10:02:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII General Service Offices of AA (World Service, originally called the Alcoholic Foundation): 1) 17 Williams Street in Newark, NJ, 'Honor Dealers'' Office; Hank Parkhurst & Bill Wilson set up the first 'Headquarters'' office. Most of the Big Book is written here & Ruth Hock (secretary) is the first non-alcoholic employee. 2) 30 Vesey Street, N.Y.C., the second office, Bill splits with Hank. (1938-1940) 3) 415 Lexington; office moves to Grand Central area after Bill gets Bedford Hills home. (1940-1944) 4) 141 East 4th Street. More space. (1950-1960) 5) 315 east 45th Street; larger quarters in Grand Central Area. (1960-1970) 6) 468 Park Avenue South, finally occupying 5 floors in two buildings (including 470 Park Avenue South). (1970-1992) 7) 475 Riverside Drive; all of 11th Floor & half of the 10th Floor. (1992-present) Town's Hospital, 293 Central Park West. Bill had many trips to this hospital & ultimately has a spiritual experience here. Dr. William D. Silkworth (author of most of the Big Book's 'Doctor's Opinion''), Medical Superintendent, treated 40,000 alcoholics here. Calvery Church/House, 21st Street & Park Avenue South. Where Bill attended Oxford Group meetings & got sober along with Ebby T., Rowland H., Cebra G., Hank P. and all the gang. Sam Shoemaker, source of 'the Steps & all the spiritual principles via the Oxford Group'' was the pastor here. 38 Livingston Street, Brooklyn. Bill's home during the high-flying years working on Wall Street. They were so rich that they combined two apartments here. 182 Clinton Street, Brooklyn. Bill's home when he got sober. A gift of Lois's father. Lost the house during the Depression (sober). 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Where Bill met 'Uncle Dick'' Richardson, conduit to John D. Rockefeller. Bill sat in Rockefeller's chair on the 66th Floor office of John D. Roosevelt Hotel, Madison Avenue & 44th Street. Site of over 35 General Service Conferences. Park Omni, Seventh Avenue & 56th Street. Site of General Service Conferences. New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Americas. Site of the Bill W. Dinner, put on every year by the New York Intergroup since 1945. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1705. . . . . . . . . . . . Burwell Correspondence and Memoirs From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/13/2004 2:30:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII In an effort to reduce the large number of posts which must be searched to find information, I am combining many that we previously posted singly. This is a compilation of the letters to and from Jim Burwell, plus his memoirs. The Philadelphia letters and the memoirs were originally posted by Bill L. (Barefoot Bill), and the other letters were mailed to me a few years ago by Cliff B. in Texas. My thanks to them both. Nancy __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N.Y. March 1, 1940 Dear Jimmy: I hear Fitz came to join you at the first meeting of A.A. in Philadelphia - how was the meeting? It seems impossible to dig up any bona fide requests for assistance in the territory around Philadelphia. Here is one though that might (undoubtedly will) cause some inconvenience, but sounds like it might turn out to be something. Mrs. Arthur W. Corning, Apt. G-41, Blind Brook Lodge, N.Y. wrote to us concerning her brother - Joseph Hoopes - who is now in the state hospital at Delaware. She sent him the book and wanted to know if any of our members could contact him while he was there. Can you do anything on this? Will you let me know either way? Thanks. Sincerely, /s/ Bill __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N.Y. March 4, 1940 Dear Jim: Will you let me know with all speed at post office box #658, Church Street Annex, New York City, just what time, and just where, and how to get to your Philadelphia meeting Thursday P.M. It seems a great movement towards Philadelphia is welling up here amongst the brethren. At least one automobile load will put in an appearance, and perhaps two. It never rains - it pours! Twenty five dollars, coin of the realm has just come into my hands and I am endorsing it over to you as per enclosed. Once more Jim, a lot of thanks for the automobile. We appreciate what you did so much. Now a final burst of generosity comes from Ruth Hock who is sending you one returned book and one new one, partly in consideration for the big business done at Wanamakers, partly for the use of the Philadelphia brethren, but mostly, I suspect, because she likes you so well. Yours, /s/ Bill __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N.Y. December 9, 1940 Dear Jimmy, Sorry you couldn't get up. I was away and so missed Bill Wells. Jack Alexander expects to be in Philadelphia all day next Sunday. He would like to see Drs. Hammer and Saul and also the man in charge of alcoholics at the Philadelphia General Hospital. Will let you know just when he will arrive and may come down myself, proceeding with him, Sunday night to Akron where he will also take in the Cleveland group, going from there to Chicago and finally writing his article at St. Louis, which is his home town. This schedule is still tentative so will keep you posted. Wes Northridge tells me there is another opening in your out-fit and he expects to interview your Mr. Carns (?) about it within a day or two. If you feel you can, I wish you would write this gentleman and put in a good word for Wesley with your boss. Some months ago I would not have done this for I have learned to be careful about pushing people too hard for jobs under some conditions. But in this case I feel very different. There has been a really miraculous transformation in Wes. It is one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen and I am positive that it is going to stick. Lois and I rode with him over to the Rockland meeting the other night when we had a good chance to talk for a long time. All of the cockiness and disagreeable egotism is a thing of the past. Moreover, he had laid hold of the spiritual angle in a big way. So I am willing to bet on him without any reservation whatever. As you know he has held some swell jobs and is usually competent to make the kind of industrial survey you are selling. Please find enclosed a copy of my report to the Trustees. Ruth is away in Cleveland and I can't give you Kathleen Parkhurst's address. Give all the boys my best together with greetings from the whole New York group who appreciated the telegram from the Philadelphia group. Though we haven't framed the telegram, it hangs on the bulletin board big as life. Be seeing you soon. As ever, /s/ Bill __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N.Y. January 11, 1941 Deal Jim: First of all please thank Art McMasters and all of the Philadelphia group for their telegram of Christmas greeting to Lois and me. An avalanche of cards, letters, etc. came in from all over the country and it gives us both a great thrill to realize how many true friends we have. Your detailed description of operations at the Research Council was most gratifying. I have followed up the Foster Kennedy situation to the point where Blaisdell, although he won't read the paper himself, states he will request Dr. Smith to prepare and read one at the New York Academy of Medicine. And as you know, Dr. Foster Kennedy will speak on the paper and the entire proceedings will be published in the Academy Quarterly. This will, of course, validate our work all over the world and will, in one grand short cut, make it possible to sell any doctor the program immediately. Some of the follow-ups you suggested I can make myself when Lois and I come down to Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, which will be some time within the next two weeks. The rest of them I think ought to wait on publication of the Post article which is so powerful (we have just seen the manuscript) that it alone ought to push almost any doctor over because of its clear description and such convincing statistical data. Sommers, the Post editor, wrote us a nice letter saying that he believes the article will prove a great one both for the Post and for us; and after reading the article there can be no doubt of that. As a model A.A. group I know all you Philadelphians will be set for the new grist of prospects when they appear. With best to Mary, yourself, and all our friends, As ever, /s/ Bill __________ January 23, 1941 Dear Jimmy: Just sort of a note to send along a copy of the second effort at a bulletin. It doesn't contain very much and I'm full of ideas for it and such, but you can realize how difficult it is to get very much of anything on one page. And it is just out of the question to put out a lengthy bulletin right now. So this will have to do for the present. I've sent a few along to Art McMaster. Bill won't be down for another week or two though he definitely has the trip in mind. Finley Shepard is working on the Foundation money angle right now and Bill wants to be handy. Besides which Lois has the grippe and won't be set to go anywhere for another week. She is feeling much better now and is on the upgrade but needs rest and quiet. As you have perhaps already heard, the article will have the first three pages of that issue of the Post. We don't know yet whether the cover will carry an announcement of it or not, but it may. There has been some confusion about pictures, but they now have an assortment and what they will use only the Lord knows. They have club pictures, hospital pictures, office pictures, large group pictures and what have you. The big group picture taken in Cleveland was a floparoo. After they went to all the trouble to get four or five hundred people together, and hired a commercial photographer, he let them down for the picture, for some unknown reason, just didn't come out. They had to get another group together, about a hundred and take that. Did the Post get in touch with any of you down there for some splash picture of some kind. They wanted something hair raising like a man being carried into a hospital on a stretcher or something. Will you let me know if they did? I hope not! No other news - my best to Mary - be seeing you - /s/ Ruth [Hock] __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N.Y. December 11, 1947 Dear Jimmy: Well, it's been a long time. But you know me. More than usually delinquent, I realize I never answered your request for a financial lift. Nor have I thanked you for that history of A.A. The first came when I was feeling pretty low myself and had already committed the dough the Foundation set aside for us to improvements on the house. So, actually I wasn't in a position to help. Later on George Hood, I believe, brought me the history. That history I did read with tremendous interest, as have several others who have since been to the house. I think several of the oldtimers ought to wright [sic] up their impressions just as you have done. If we had a dozen such accounts, I think it would be possible to piece together, after referring to the office files, an extremely accurate account of just what happened and who did what. Personally I don't care a rap who did what. But I suppose there will be a lot of debate about it later on. So the material should be assembled from different points of view and the best possible record made. I don't think it would be possible for me ever to write a detailed history of A.A. I could only tell the story in a very general way. But if this thing keeps growing and making a stir, I suppose some historian will want to know the real facts by and by. If we don't assemble them now, the record never will be anywhere near straight. And lots of interesting detail and incidents will be forever lost. So your effort in this direction is tremendously appreciated, Jim. Don't let my negligence of correspondence make you think it isn't. Lois and I expect to get out on the road a great deal after the first of the year. It looks like we might hit the Coast beginning at Vancouver and, say about the middle of March. Thereafter we should work southward, arriving two or three weeks later at San Diego. This however, is tentative -- only a guess. The idea of the trip would be to help explain and consolidate the Traditional material I have been publishing in the Grapevine. The planks of our recovery platform seem pretty solid. The sidewalls of the structure are now going up. They are the Traditions. And too, we shall have to do something further about the New York Headquarters. A self-perpetuating Board of Trustees, unkown [sic] to most A.A. members, could never stand up over the long future. So we shall have to have some kind of annual conference in which out-of-towners delegated for the purpose would sit down and talk things over with the Trustees, the office, and the Grapevine, and make a joint annual report to the Groups. But how in the hell to choose this conference without politics and uproar has always been a puzzle. After a lot of thought, I am beginning to think we have an answer -- at least a partial one. The conference can't be too big, it cant be too small. It can't ever be a political or governing body. Just a bunch of sane AA's who will sit down and see whether things are going all right in New York and make a report on it. I think that's all we shall ever need. But how shall we make the assembly of the conference simple, fair, and not political? That's the burning question. What do you think about this? Why not divide the country, including Canada, into four equal quarants. [sic] Suppose we take latitudes and longitude line already on the map. Say 40 [appears that it said 10 and was corrected by ink to 40] degrees latitude and 95 degrees longitude. The north and south line would pass just west of Chicago, the east and west line just above San Francisco and Washington. Then why not build the conference up a little at a time. The first year a panel of twelve, the next, twelve more, and the third year another batch of twelve. At the end of three years the total of out-oftowners [sic] would be thirty-six. Which, plus the Headquarters people, would make a conference of about fifty. To get the first panel of twelve, we would go to the three largest groups in each area. These twelve would be delegated for a three-year term, and each would have an alternate. The second year we would do exactly the same thing. We would then have six people from each quadrant. But this would still leave a serious inequality. As matters stand to-day [sic] the northeast quadrant would contain fifty per-cent [sic] of all the A.A. members. So I suggest that the third panel of twelve be selected on the size of the town only. No matter in which quadrant the cities happen to be. This would weight matters up a little in favor of the northeast quadrant, where so many AA's are to-day. [sic] If things change later the composition of the conference would shift accordingly. We might even include foreign centers in this list of twelve, or we might create, later years, a special foreign panel. Having thus designated the conference cities mechanically, why shouldn't we suggest to them that they do the same in picking out a delegate. Otherwise we shall have thirty-six political brawls every year at the designated point. Why couldn't central committees, or in case it is where there is no strong central committee, why couldn't the groups themselves each nominate their choices. And it ought to avoid politics or hand picking from here. Even though some hand picking might be done at the present time, it surely couldn't be done later on when the present old-timers are gone. I'm convinced the whole process will have to be pretty much mechanical. What do you think about all this? Please write me and tell me about all the news, especially about yourself and that good wife of yours. Lois and I hope you both prosper and we shall look forward so much to seeing you when we come. As ever, /s/ Bill __________ 3943 Louisiana Street San Diego 4, Calif. January, 16th 1948 Dear Lois and Bill It was swell hearing rom [sic] you at last, especially to hear you all are coming out our way this spring. I think you will be very agreeably surprised at the real progress of AA on the Coast. They seem to go to many more meetings than the Eastern groups and all the groups seem to be shaping up beautifully, especially in the last year or so. One of the things I do especially like out here in [sic] that they read the Fifth Chapter of the Book before the meetings. This seems to have more meaning to the new fellows than the reading of the Steps alone. The business deal I wrote you about did not materialize so no harm was done. I left the Government (War Assets) in August and played around with a couple of things. Now I hope I have a sales job that might work out for the long pull but will not mention it until you come out. January 8th was my tenth year in AA but 10th year of sobriety will not be completed until June 15th, so hope you will be here for it. Bill, your plans for an annual national conference with rotating representation from the country at large is the best news I have heard from NY since the Grapevine was started. In my opinion it will be the big step in making AA solid for the future - it will help AA groups to understand each other better and it will do more to sell, consolidate and perpetuate the AA traditions than anything else possible. It will also save many new groups much of trial and error that has been necessary in the past, and I think you will be very agreeably surprised to see how well they will all get along together in conference. Your idea of dividing the country into quadrants sounds fine. However, I would suggest, first, that you have a preliminary meeting of about twelve or fourteen AA's from the heavy membership area. You can then present your conference ideas to them and they can polish them up - then they will go back to their own groups and present the ideas as their own. This, I believe, would make for better acceptance of the plans nationally and will make all feel part of the planning. My thought would be to have each of the following areas send a representative to New York for a round table discussion of a national conference and rotating board: New York - Atlanata [sic] - Seattle Boston - St. Louis -San Francisco Philadelphia - Denver - Los Angeles Washington, DC - Dallas - Cleveland Chicago - Detroit Would suggest that each area pick their representative from among their five oldest and most active AA's and that their sobriety shoud [sic] at least be five years wherever possible. The area should finance the trip and the men chosen should be in a position to take time off and be willing to circulate among their local groups on their return and put the idea over to them. Of course all this could be suggested and sold to the groups gradually through the Grapevine and special letters to the groups at large. I would do everything to make the groups feel that this was their party and that all the constructive ideas would be considered. It has always been my idea that the drunk will support anything in which he is given an active part. So much for that. Rosa and I do love it out here. Everyone has been grand to us and we feel a real part of the community and the local AA. Rosa has been very active and helpful in the Women's Group and I am really trying hard to stay out of the middle of things. I am a great believer in the oldtimers getting on the sidelines and letting the two and three year boys and girls do the dirty work. Us oldsters got to know to [sic] much! I'm so glad George Hood was able to give you the "History" and that you hope to assemble similar material in order that a factual story may be written up - you are so right that with the passage of time so much is apt to be lost or forgotten. We have had a great deal of fun with your mother - we were all together for Thanksgiving and Christmas both this year and last. She is one grand fellow and is now a real AA - that's what she says. Well, all here are looking forward to your visit and are so glad to hear all the good reports on how well you and Lois are. Best to you both, /s/ Jim __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N.Y August 23, 1949 Dear Jimmy and Rosa, Thanks so much for all the up-to-the-minute news. Just got a letter from mother saying she nearly took the plane East. Better luck next time, though I doubt she will come down in winter weather. Lois and I devoutly hope she will make it just for once before it is too late. I note with a lot of interest that you saw Dick Stanley. What you say is not surprising for we oldtimers, nearly all of us, are getting frightfully stale. I know that's very true of me. I have lived and worked far too long in the trouble department of AA. Anybody who does enough of that will finally go sour or crack up entirely. It is so everywhere. The oldtimer situation is getting to be a real problem. In a sense it means we all have to start over again and get back to first principles. I am glad to see at the group and intergroup levels that our service affairs are in the hands of two or five year old people. Moreover these folks were not so badly burned as we oldsters. As a class they are not so screwy. As you have probably gathered form Dick, neither he nor Dr. Bob are for a conference. They seem sincerely persuaded that it would cause more trouble than cure. Naturally this pits [sic] me in a hard spot. It is most difficult to oppose Smithy under any circumstances and especially now on account of his health. Therefore I suppose I expect I shall just have to wait until experience makes it painfully clear to everybody that the groups must participate or the Foundation, the Office, and the Grapevine will go under. We always learn the hard way anyway. Even if a conference proved a flop, and I could know that before hand, I would still be for trying out the idea. Basically these central assets belong to the AA movement. Nobody has the right to withhold from the group their opportunity to participate in the management of their own affairs. However, time will tell the story. Meanwhile I'm withdrawing as much as possible from any special activity hoping to be able to put some of the last ten years experience on paper. Whether I shall find the energy and the enthusiasm to see the job through, I frankly don't know, but at least I can try. Mother always writes so enthusiastically about your helpfulness, I know it means so much to her, so please know of my great thanks. /s/ Bill __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N.Y. December 15, 1950 Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 3611 Park Blvd. San Diego, california [sic] Dear Jim and Rosa: Thanks for your letter of November 10th. Plenty certainly happened since you penned that one. It is hard to get used to the idea that Dr. Bob is gone. But his job was well finished. No more could have been ask [sic] of him. Yet it will take a log time to get used to his absence. Much obliged for all you say about A.A. on the coast. I suppose that by now you have seen the Conference Plan. I would very much like your view of it, though I guess you did not see the preliminary draft. There wasn't too much time for consultation because final approval came only at the October Trustees meeting. We have to hold the first session in April or put it off a whole year. The Foundation Annual Reports would be too cold if held at any other date. With much interest I note what you saw about Hal Silverton. I fully agree, too, that Hal's part in the early days on the Coast has been persistently overlooked. The first time I ever went to L.A., he seemed noticeably not included in the festivities. Maybe I am wrong about that, but such was the appearance. Personally, I have always liked him a lot. These considerations would all make me look favorably on him for the post you suggest. But, are there not other considerations too? Around Los Angels, there is the largest aggregation in all A.A. Today, not one in a hundred of them know Hal. I don't believe he has been active in that area for years. These facts, would of course, suggest some old-timer in L.A. who has continued to be active and who is still favorably well-known. Besides, I understand Hal's health is very dubious; that he is often on the sick list. These are the facts which give me pause when I consider your suggestion. At best, the Trusteeship on the Coast is a ticklish business. So many oldtimers are in each other's hair or are so little known that we may have to ask a Group Representativies [sic] assembly to pick one out for us. This hand-picked business gets more full of dynamite each year A.A. grows older. So think it all over again and let me have your reaction. Meanwhile, Lois joins in Christmas best to you both. Devotedly, /s/ Bill WGW/hgb __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. August, 31, 1951 Dear Jim and Rosa, Thanks greatly for your good letter, containing fine news of you, also the sad news concerning Earl Ryan, to whom I have just written. As you say, the Conference did come off very well. The results upon offices finances has already been excellent. We have taken in enoufg [sic] money during the past seven months to finance the Office for six months. Meanwhile, the Grapevine deficit has dropped from one thousand a month to the break-even point. The books in Works Publishing are also doing much better. So we won't use up any more reserve for 1951, and if things continue this way, we may add ten thousand dollars to it at the end of the year. Respecting a name for the Family Groups. Lois and Ann Bingham, a neighbor, have opened a Post Office Box for these groups. Right now, they are corresponding with many of them, the question of the name still being up in the air. To date, their correspondence suggests that the name may turnout to be Alanon Family Group or the Alanon Group. Only a few seem to like the word "Associate". This is because, I suppose, there is still a good deal of hostility toward them in some quarters. So they do not wish to use any word which would indicate an alliance with A.A. As you may have heard, Alcoholic Anonymous is receiving the so-called Lasker Award for meritorious service in the public health, to be awarded at the San Francisco Opera House October 30th. I shall probably come to San Diego to see Mother prior to that time. Meanwhile, best luck-and congratulations. As always, /s/ Bill WGW/nw Jim and Rosa Burwell 4193 Georgia Street San Diego, California __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N.Y. November 24, 1953 Dear Folks, You two have certainly received tough assignments lately. And this is to tell you how often Lois and I regret your illness, think of you, and pray for you. We do hope this letter finds you on the up and up both physically and in spirit. We need hardly question the latter for knowing you as we do, you are bound to have a lot of what it takes. Please do write and tell us just how things are with you and don't forget to let us know if we can do anything. Also, if you are up to it, what about A.A. and the news out there. Back here, there isn't a lot to report. Group contributions for the office are coming in pretty well and will, we think, meet the year's budget all right. Slowly and surely, the general idea seems to be sinking in with the groups. In many spots, the realization that A.A. has to function as a whole, as well as in parts, is taking hold nicely. The new book has gone mighty well, also - about 30,000 copies will be sold this year, about 10% of these by Harpers. However, the sales of the big book has slowed down some 30%. Whether this means the new book will cut into the old one permanently, we can't say. It may be that the new line of pamphlets will slow the sales of the both books down eventually. Only time will tell that. It won't matter too much anyway, so long as people get the message. Speaking about the new book, I suddenly realized I do not think I sent you folks one. I really meant to do this and so you will soon find one in the mail, with all my affection and thanks. So, good friends, hold fast. May God bless you. Write soon. Devotedly, /s/ Bill WGW/nw Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 4193 Georgia, Street San Diego, California __________ January 27th 1957 Dear Bill, Many thanks for the copy of the A.A. story - and the grand recognition you gave me. It's much more than I deserve except that I did prove to the original crowd that a "nonconformist" had to change to get well. So maybe that was good. Bill, this history is the very finest thing you have done, and especially for those who come to A.A. future. It is important that they know how and why we came to be what we are, and why we should continue on our present lines. Too, the way you brought all contributors in is splendid - it must have been hard, painstaking job. I don't see how any of the originals can kick-back or complain. I was particularly pleased at the way you handled poor old Hank - even Caroline Parkhurst was happy about it! I have absolutely no suggested changes. It does seem to me that I saw a copy of a letter from you and Hank to Sam Shoemaker, resigning from the Oxford group and dated Sept. 1937. In the book you say 1936 - am I wrong? Is there any way to bring in Jackie Williams' Bellevue episode as an early tragedy? The only other addition I might suggest is the Dr. Fishbein deal - where he got five of the first books and then wrote that deathless review for the A.M.A. journal. Am attaching a copy of the review in case yours is not available. And that's absolutely all I can think of. I can certainly see why this book has taken a long time to put together - it's a grand job, Bil. [sic] You know that you have my deepest thanks for all you and Lois has done for me - it's great to feel that by trying to live A.A. I have contributed a little to the world and a little to help the future drunk coming to A.A. and your tolerance in those early days made it possible. Rosa is going to conclude this with a suggestion for the Tradition section of the book. Hi, you dear people; Is there any place for a brief mention of non-A.A.books, pamphlets, records, etc. offered to members, secretaries, and those listed in the directory, especially the kind directed or of interest to A.A.'s only with discounts for group purchases, etc? There are many complaints and questions about such material. For instance, the local Community 7 Family Welfare sell and recommend "I Was a Very Sick Man" etc; then the new people ask us for them and create the problem of trying to play them down without sounding prejudiced. An offical [sic] pronouncement on this would be very useful. And THANKS very specially for the word "compulsory" in re "There are no dues ..etc." This one word will make a tremendous difference in the collection approach at group level! It's terrific! We both send you our very best love and appreciation. /s/ Jim 4193 Georgia Street San Diego, Calif. __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. March 20, 1957 Dear folks, Forgive this rather long delay. I have been awful busy with both the book and the television project. A contract for the latter will probably be signed soon. NBC has purchased the story treatment. So I suppose that we shall begin to try to dialogue it presently. Meanwhile I have received about a hundred favorable replies on "A.A. Comes of Age." Like your own, they are extremely favorable. I'm really delighted that you folks like the book and can see so few changes. I'm especially glad to have that early review in the A.M.A. Journal. I have ransacked our files, but couldn't find it. We will try to put this in the Appendix of the book, provided that Dr. Bauer of the A.M.A. will be all right. And I'm sure he will; he is a grand chap. I have heard from Dorothy and, as you say, she likes the book very much, also. It was good to know that Caroline approved the way Hank was treated. You are dead right about 1937 being the date we parted from the Oxford Groups. Somebody else picked this up, too. I'm also putting in a little bit about Jackie Williams, how, in spite of the fact he didn't make it, he did us a lot of good. Also, the discription [sic] of his funeral and the great faith that was felt by everybody there. It was a very affecting incident which ought to be recorded. Meanwhile, I've got to fly. A million thanks to you both. Ever, /s/ Bill WGW/nw Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 4193 Georgia Street San Diego, california [sic] __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. April 3, 1958 Dear Folks, Thanks for your last, so full of good news. Be sure, Jim, to take it very easy for that first year after your coronary. Lois did this and she's now good for anything - she can walk two or three miles without fatigue, up hill and down. Like yourself, she's had no recurrence. But the big trick is to let the job thoroughly heal and get a fresh circulation established during the first year. It's the folks who go tearing round that get in trouble. I guess I've said this three times already, but it can't be emphasized too much. Thanks again for all you have put into A.A. The race has been well run and I hope that things will ease for you both on all fronts. It was good to hear of the prospect of clearing up the debt on the house. The TV business has come to life again. NBC backed away because they had a big management row over there. Fred Coe, the noted producer, was interested while with NBC. He has now moved to CBS. He has recently eviced [sic] an interest. This he would have done before, but he supposed that NBC owned the story outline. As a matter of fact, we kept the property ourselves and only offered the use of it. We let Coe know this recently, and he says he wants it for fall production. But seeing is believing! Everybody sends all the best. Ever yours, /s/ Bill WGW/nw Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 4193 Georgia Street San Diego 3, California __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. July 1, 1958 My dear Jim, Thanks for your last letter, telling me all the good news of yourself and reminding me of your approaching anniversary* I do wish I could share it with you, but the press of affairs here is so great that I don't believe there is a chance. But please know how deeply appreciative I am for all that you did in the early days and ever since, to make A.A. what it now is ... it is a record in our annals that will never be forgotten. I note that what you say about the upcoming 1960 Conference and will suggest your name to the committee. They tell me there is still some question whether Long Beach will be big enough to accommodate the crowd. Judging, however, by the action of the Conference, I think we shall make the best of what is there. It is certainly the largest center of population and this would guarantee the gate at once. Probably you have heard by now that Lois's sister Kitty died. She contracted lung cancer a couple of years ago, had an operation, but it finally caught up with her. She made a great job of the whole business -- it was vastly inspiring. I hope I can do half as well when the clock strikes. Meanwhile, please have all the best and the same to your good lady. Wish I could make this longer, but am piled high. Devotedly, /s/ Bill WGW/nw Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 4193 Georgia Street San Diego 3, California *Jim - Bill just gave this record recently, to transcribe, so your anniversary has been past these many days! Sorry to be so late. Nell Wing. __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. May 24, 1960 Dear Folks Memories of your visit here are still green and most enjoyable to think on. My hopper is pretty full just now. Founders Day is coming up, I'm trying to finish those Twelve Concepts, and Long Beach is just in the offing. I haven't begun to get ready for that, at least so far as what I am to say is concerned. However, I have very little luck in preparing that kind of thing in advance. I wish we had thought of an old timers meeting earlier. I'm taking this up with the office, but I imagine the schedule is pretty tight, as matters now stand. I don't [know] how we would go about getting such a crowd together - where and how we would find them and so forth. But I'll inquire. Meanwhile, all the best, Ever devotedly, /s/ Bill MGW/nw Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 4193 Georgia Street San Diego, California __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. August 8, 1960 Dear Rosa and Jim, Very sincerely I feel not a little badly that the Convention gave you, and perhaps other very old timers, an unhappy experience because of the lack of recognition. When you wrote me, not too long before the Convention, about the possibility of an old timers meeting, I did check this up. The schedule was then in pretty air-tight shape, so far as the official sessions went. Perhaps I should have followed this thing through more fully, trying to get some sort of informal meeting together. As you know, Hank got awfully sick just prior to the Convention. This threw added burdens on me. I must confess to neglect and forgetfulness - at least to some extent. As a matter of fact the Convention ran a little bit behind several thousands, we don't know just how much yet. There was always a question of how many people we could bring long distances pre-paid, and on what ground we could fetch them. In this connection, I did [not] give you and Rosa much thought because you near by. But I did think a good deal about Henrietta Seiberling and Bob Oviatt in Akron, both of whom preceded you, I think A.A.-wise. Admittedly, I did not think of Clarence. Probably this is because he has always disapproved of conventions and all of the doings of the New York headquarters - off and on he has had us under bitter attack for years. I didn't mean to let that effect [sic] me, but subconsciously maybe it did. In any case, you will surely remember that I tried to give all possible credit in "A.A. Comes of Age" to you, Bert, Dorothy, Clarence, and a great many others. Considering the time at my disposal, I did not see how you people could have been introduced in either of my talks. In the first one I could only show the bare beginnings of A.A. In the second one - which was altogether too long - I had to dwell on the development of the Traditions. I really don't see where you folks would have fitted in - at least to the satisfaction of the audience in that respect. Naturally I had to bring in Ebby because despite his lack of soberiety [sic] he was at the very beginning. Sister Ignatia was certainly due for a bow after all these years. After all, she and Smith ministered to 5,000 drunks - a number far greater than you and I ever thought of touching ourselves. In this connection I also felt not a little sorry that Henrietta wasn't invited. There was not only the question of cost. Though she has been extremely friendly during the last two or three years, it must be remembered that she has never cared for the convention idea and indeed, was against the whole New York headquarters operation for many years. For several reasons she wasn't invited. Maybe that was a mistake. I know that, for one, I was damn sorry she wasn't there. However, I wasn't the entire boss of this whole undertaking, by any means. I don't know whether you and Dorothy got to say anything at those Alkathon meetings. Some of them were very outstanding indeed, and apparently rated much higher in many A.A. minds than any of my efforts. If you were not invited this [is] surprising indeed, considering how prominent you, especially, have been out on the Coast, well known to everybody. If this was an omission, it certainly gives me cause for wonder, as doubtless it does you. However, those arrangements were all made by the Coast people. Nevertheless I suppose if I had been thoughtful enough about it - which I wasn't - I might have taken pains. I guess the upshot of it is that life never gives quite the deal we would like. On one hand, you say that you suffer from lack of recognition, and I can say with certainly equal fervor that I greatly suffer from far too much. Ever devotedly yours, /s/ Bill WGW:nw Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 4193 Georgia Street San Diego, California __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. August 2, 1961 Dear Folks, Thanks so much for that last news of you both. It's good to read on and between the lines that you both are well and happy. We can say the same. Haven't had better health in years. Am progressively detaching myself from active management of A.A. affairs, just as I probably should have done before this. The November Grapevine will carry a piece to the effect that I can no longer get around speaking, nor participate in active management of the office. Of course I shall be glad to help put on blow-out patches, if anything serious turns up. But I do hope to keep up some writing. This seems to be about the only channel left. My present series in the Grapevine is a trial run to see if I can do a larger book on "Practicing These Principles in all our Affairs". About those Twelve Step Houses. Well, honestly, I don't know. Like the clubs, some appear to be good and others bad. Are most of the Twelve Step Houses on the Coast those famous "boarding houses"? Lois and I are just now taking off for a month - the most of it probably to be spent at the old home town in Vermont, that is if we can hide out up there! Meanwhile, all goes well at General Headquarters. The contributions and book sales are fine. And the reserve fund continues to grow slowly. So we could stand quite a lot of hard times, if necessary. Do you like the Grapevine any better nowadays? We have been trying hard to improve it and have depended on improvement for increased sales, which are now up about 2,000 from the low point of a year or so ago. Meanwhile, Lois joins me in all affection, and I'll ask her to send you an Al-Anon book. Always devotedly, /s/ Bill WGW/nw Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 4193 Georgia Street San Diego, California __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. November 14, 1961 Dear Jim, First, all the best to you both. And thanks for your remembrance of mother - she die [sic] May 15th last. When, during the last few months she realized she could not get out of bed alone, she began to quit eating. This was quite deliberate, and it finally did her in. That was the way she wanted it, and she made a swell job of passing away - in fact, was mighty cheerful about it. You may have noticed my article in the Grapevine, which indicates that I have taken another several steps toward the sidelines. For many years I meant business on this, and at last the time is now here. I think there are a few situations in which I can still help. Our trusteeship needs several more out of town members, and perhaps a better method of selection. Eventually I expect we shall have to shift the ratio and install an A.A. Chairman of the Board. If we fail to do this, we shall be denying our present-day capabilities. And whether this is a good idea or not, we shall never know unless we try. As to the Twelve Step Houses - well, there you've got me. I haven't actually seen one of these operations in a very long time. I think the impression at the office is that some seem good, some seem fair, and others practically no good. About the best that can be done is to restrain them from soliciting money at the top public level or busting anonymity for publicity and the like. From this end we try to hold the line at this top level. Beyond that there isn't a thing that we can really do except to leave these situations to the areas concerned. It's like the trouble we used to have with the clubhouses in the old days. Some were damn good, some were damn bad. But these things do have a way [of] working around, after enough experience. What the outcome of the Twelfth Step Houses will finally be, I'm less qualified to predict than anybody I know. I'm getting like Rip Van Winkle, just waking up in the Adirondacks! Meanwhile, the old desk gets piled pretty high, in spite of my supposed retirement. I could make a full-time job of answering mail; another full-time job looking after all my old friends in trouble; a full-time job of traveling and speaking; a full-time job of messing around the office. But I don't think these are the most effective things that I could do from herein. I shall continue to do a little of all of them, but the assignment has gotten so big that it couldn't be handled anyway. So I'm beginning to get out from under a great many of these things which may often be desirable to do, but which are becoming impossible. Once again the old desk is piled up - so I have to fly. I know you'll understand. In affection, /s/ Bill WGW/nw __________ W.G.W. Box 459 Grand Central Annex New York 17, N. Y. August 29, 1962 Dear Folks, Your letter reached us while on vacation in East Dorset, Vermont, the old home town. Sometimes I wish I could resettle up here. Thanks for all the news and views. As you imply, we are not so young as we used to be. I'm beginning to feel this also, as is Lois. However, we are still doing okay, thank God. About the late lamented April Conference. There, I think we made some A.A. history, but I question just the right kind. I do think that my recommendations for strengthening the General Service Board would have bucked up our situation a good deal against a future time of real trouble. Routinely, things would go along nicely with present setup. But if the heat really came on in a big way, I would rather see a stronger situation to handle it, so I'm sure we ought to experiment in this direction -- something that the Conference and trustees seemed very adverse to doing. It wasn't [so] much that I was surprised or disappointed by the Conference decision -- the thing I deplored was the haste and even recklessness in which it was taken. At the very least I think I might have been aloud [sic] to get my recommendations printed as an Appendix to the Third Legacy Manual, along with the Concepts. But evidently the Conference and the Trustees thought the material to be of so little merit that it should not be put on permanent record in this fashion. In a way, this attitude amounted to censorship, something I can't exactly relish. I hope future Conferences will allow me the courtesy of being printed permanently. After all, the recommendations might prove to be some use later on. But one good thing did come of it. Future responsibility was so completely and eagerly taken away from me that my trip to the sidelines has been greatly facilitated. It's now strictly up to the Trustees and to the Conference and on their own say-so. In a sense, this is a great relief, because, as you know, I have been backing away for along [sic] time. So the job is now complete. All the best now, and God bless you both. In this Lois joins, Affectionately, /s/ Bill WGW/nw Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell 4193 Georgia Street San Diego, California __________ May 15, 1965 4193 Georgia Street San Diego, California Dear Bill, Just received a letter from Hazel Rice, saying G.S.O. could not invite me to Toronto, for it would break a precedent. First, I did not ask anyone in G.S.O. for an invitation. I did mention to Hazel down in Washington, D.C., that I was retired and could not afford the trip and that I was going to talk it over with you at Bedford Hills, which I did, explaining my circumstances. But, since this has now come up in G.S.O., I do feel quite hurt and slighted and unappreciated. I do feel a special exception can be made as with Ebby at two conventions. This is really a hard letter to write. Am listing a few unusual contributions I have made over these 27 years as follows: Am oldest active AA member at group level. Did contribute materially in all three of our A.A. books, with phrases "God as you understand Him" and "Only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking," plus my own story. In 1939-40 period did sell more books to stores, doctors, etc. than anyone. Did help in 1940, finance (200.00 stock) to keep Vesey Street going. Carried the message to and help organize original groups in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, and Harrisburg; plus half a dozen neighborhood and hospital groups in Philadelphia and San Diego. The Philly group was the first to contribute to New York. Initiated the plan for Judge Bok to get us inside The Saturday Evening Post, And Bill, I am the only one of the original members that has never bucked publicly on any of your projects. Especially in 1948-49, I stumped the state for your conference. I do hope this does not sound braggadocious, [sic] but these are facts as I see them. In all these years, this is the very first favor I have ever asked you or the N.Y. office. Am now 68 and feel positive I will not make the next convention. Also, this is the first convention I have ever been asked to speak or participate, so do hope you will find ways and means to get me there. After all, A.A. has only given me life and peace of mind. Maybe I should not expect more, but have only done it this once in 27 years. Our love to both you and Lois as ever appreciated, /s/ Jim __________ This is the "history" that Bill refers to in his December 11, 1947, letter to Jim. It was supplied by Bill L, whose editorial comments are included: (Jim Burwell was among the first members of A.A. to get sober in New York. His sobriety date is 6/16/38 and his story can be found in the Big Book called "The Vicious Cycle". Please keep in mind when reading this that his recollection of some of the specific facts around the first meeting of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith are inconsistent with more reliable versions of the same story.) MEMOIRS OF JIMMY THE EVOLUTION OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS By Jim Burwell The spark of Alcoholics Anonymous was ignited about the middle of November 1934 in a kitchen on a second floor at 182 Clinton Street, Brooklyn. This was Bill Wilson's home. The occasion was the visit of a schoolboy friend of his from Vermont, Ebby Thacher. Bill was in the middle of a binge, which had started on Armistice Day. His friend Ebby had heard of Bill's trouble with alcohol. Ebby was sober and Bill said later that this was the first time he had seen him in that condition for many years, for he always thought that Ebby was a hopeless drunk. He greeted Bill on this visit with the words, "I've got religion." Bill says at the time he thought poor Ebby had probably gotten sober only to become balmy on religion. While still drinking, he listened to Ebby's story about being converted some six months previously by the New York Oxford Group. He told Bill about the main idea of this group being one person helping another, and their other formulas. Bill said he listened to all this talk while he was in the process of keeping the jitters down by continuously drinking and probably smiling cynically to himself. When Ebby left a few hours later he practically dismissed the incident, but he later found that this was not the case. Within five days he found himself wheeled into his refuge, Towne's Hospital on Central Park West in New York, for the third time that year. On his arrival at the hospital with his wife Lois, he was greeted and put to bed immediately by his old friend, Dr. Silkworth, the Director. Bill said that after he had been in bed a short while he heard the doctor talking to Lois by the door, saying that if her husband came out of this episode and did drink again, he did not honestly believe he would live six months. [This was during an earlier hospitalization.] Bill states that when he heard these words he was immediately carried back to his talk with his friend and could not dismiss the idea that although Ebby might be batty with religion, he was sober and he was happy. He kept turning this over in his mind, in a mild delirium, and came to a vague conclusion that maybe Ebby did have something in a man's helping others in order to get away from his own obsessions and problems. A few hours later when the doctor came in, he felt a tremendous elation and said, "Doc, I've got it." At the same time he felt that he was on a high mountain and that a very swift wind was blowing through him, and despite the several weeks of drinking, he found he was completely relaxed and quiet. He asked Dr. Silkworth, "Am I going crazy with this sudden elation I have?" The doctor's answer was, "seriously, I don't know Bill, but I think you had better hold on to whatever you have." While he was in the hospital Ebby and the other Oxford Group people visited Bill and told him of their activities, particularly in the Calvary Mission. On Bill's release, while still shaky, he visited Dr. Shoemaker at Calvary Mission and made a decision to become very active in the Mission's work and to try and bring other alcoholics from Towne's to the Group. This resolution he put into effect, visiting the Mission and Towne's almost daily for four or five months, and bringing some of the drunks to his home for rehabilitation. During this time he was also trying to make another comeback in his Wall Street activities, for Bill, like many others, had built up tremendous paper profits in the roaring twenties, only to go broke in the '29 crash. However, he did make a temporary comeback in the depression years of '32 and '33 as a syndicate man, only to have John Barleycorn wipe him out more completely than ever in his worst drinking year of 1934. Through hard work and a little good luck, by May 1st, 1935, he managed to become a leader of a minority group of a small corporation, and obtained quite a few proxies from others. This group sent him out to Akron, Ohio, hoping to get control of the corporation. Bill said later that if this had happened, he would probably have been financially independent for life, but when he attended the stockholders meeting he found himself snowed under by the other faction. So around the middle of May, there he was in the Portage Hotel in Akron [Mayflower Hotel; Portage was the name of the country club at which Henrietta Sieberling put Bill up for a few days, after which he moved into Dr. Bob's home.] without even return fare home and completely at the end of his rope. Bill's story goes that he found himself pacing the lobby, backwards and forwards, trying to decide whether to forget it all in the hotel bar, when he noticed the Directory of Churches at the other end of the room. The thought struck him that if he could talk to another alcoholic he might regain his composure, for that had been effective back in New York. Although he had worked consistently with drunks for over six months he had not been able to save anyone, with the possible exception of himself. He telephoned several of the churches listed, and was finally directed to one of the Oxford Group's leaders in town, Henrietta Seiberling. Bill tells of calling Henrietta and being so shaky that he could hardly get the coin in the slot. The first thing he asked her was, "Where can I find another alcoholic to talk to?" Henrietta's answer was, "You stay right where you are until I get there, for I think I can take you to the very man you are looking for." This she did, and the man she took Bill to see was Dr. Bob Smith, who later became the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. When Henrietta and Bill got to Dr. Bob's they found his wife, Annie, alone. She was in a mental uproar herself because her husband had been on the loose for several days. After Bill and Henrietta had waited and chatted on the Oxford Group policies, in popped the good doctor himself, quite potted and with a potted lily in his arms for his wife's Mothers Day gift. When Bob had been bedded Annie insisted that Bill stay and try to straighten her husband out. Bill did this and his stay lengthened into months. During the next few days Bill and Bob talked for hours and decided to pool their resources to help other drunks. When Bob had been dry only a few weeks, a new hurdle arose, for Bob found it was imperative for him to go to a medical convention in Atlantic City. Bob did make the convention, but suddenly found himself drunk on the train going back to Akron. However, this turned out to be his last spree, for he dates his last drink June 15, 1935. [Note that Jim's memory of the date differs from official version of June 10.] This apparent calamity was probably one of the greatest blessings in disguise for us later members, for it did cement Bob in this new fellowship they were launching. Bill stayed on with the Smiths until the 1st of October and during that time Bob and he managed to secure two more converts to the fold. Bill then returned to New York where he continued his previous activities, with daily visits to Towne's and Calvary Mission. During the latter part of October, Bill got his first real New York convert, Hank Parkhurst. Hank later became one of the genuine inspirations of Alcoholics Anonymous, for he was a red-haired, high-pressure human dynamo. Before his last trip to Towne's, where Bill found him, Hank had been sales manager for Standard Oil of New Jersey. From the time of their meeting and during the latter part of 1935 it was Hank and Bill who did all the ground work, but even then they had but indifferent success until their next real convert, Paul Rudell came in about April 1936. The next man to be pulled out of the mire, through Towne's, was dear old Fitz Mayo who joined the others about November 1936. From this time on the duet became a trio, Bill, Hank and Fitz and they were the spearheads in drunk-saving for the Oxford Group in the New York area. However, they discovered in September 1937, that despite all the wet-nursing, praying and rehabilitation work done at Bill's house on Clinton Street, of approximately thirty-five or forty drunks, they were the only three men to come clear in almost two years. During this period many things happened, some quite tragic, with even an alcoholic suicide in Bill's home. In September 1937 the three concluded that perhaps their technique would be better if they would do their work with drunks outside of an affiliation with a religious organization. Having arrived at this decision, the trio formally resigned from the Oxford Group and concentrated all their efforts on working with alcoholics in Towne's Hospital, using Bill's home as a de-fogging station. About this time the first completely alcoholic meetings were held in Bill's home on Tuesday evenings and average attendance ran about fifteen, including the drunks' families. Even though the trio had separated from the Oxford Group, they still retained a lot of their principles and utilized them in the discussions at these weekly meetings, but at the same time more emphasis was placed on the disease of alcoholism as a psychological sickness. At the same time they stressed spiritual regeneration and the understanding of one alcoholic for another. A few months after the break with the Oxford Group, January 1938, I was brought into the New York fellowship from Washington by Fitz Mayo, whom I had known since boyhood. I was enticed to New York by the existence of this new group and a small job that Hank Parkhurst gave me in a little business he and Bill had gone into on the side. [Honor Dealers] When I arrived in New York I found myself thrust into this new group of three or four actively dry alcoholics, who at that time had no group name, or real creed or formula. Within the next two or three months, things really started popping. Hank, with his promotional ideas, started to push Bill into writing a formula, the trio finally decided a book should be written on our activities and this was in June 1938. Bill was naturally given the job of writing the book for he was the only one who had made any real conclusive study of our problem. From what I can remember, Bill's only special preparation for this was confined to the reading of four very well known books, the influence of which can clearly be seen in the AA Book. Bill probably got most of his ideas from one of these books, namely James' "Varieties of Religious Experience." I have always felt this was because Bill himself had undergone such a violent spiritual experience. He also gained a fine basic insight of spirituality through Emmet Fox's "Sermon on the Mount," and a good portion of the psychological approach of AA from Dick Peabody's "Common Sense of Drinking." It is my opinion that a great deal of Bill's traditions came from the fourth book. Lewis Browne's "This Believing World." From this book, I believe Bill attained a remarkable perception of possible future pitfalls for groups of our kind for it clearly shows that the major failures of religions and cults in the past have been due to one of three things: Too much organization, too much politics, and too much money or power. Bill started his actual writing of our book in the later part of June 1938 in Hank Parkhurst's office in Newark, with Hank's secretary, Ruth Hock, taking dictation. About a month later Bill had completed two chapters. Each had been brought up at the Clinton Street Tuesday night meetings. Bill would read what had been written to the group as a whole and then pull apart and suggestions added by all those present. When these two chapters were rewritten, we were all very elated because we felt we were well on our way to saving all drunks everywhere. With these two chapters in hand, and without any introduction of any kind, Bill went to see the editors of Harper's Publishing Company. Harpers immediately caught fire and offered Bill, on the strength of this one visit, a $1,500 advance payment to finish the book, plus regular author's royalties. Bill said later that he almost succumbed to this offer because that was big money in those days and we were all broke. When Bill returned and reported this offer, Hank said, "If it's worth that much for just two chapters from an unknown author, it's worth easily a million to us," and the trio immediately determined that Bill would finish writing the book and our Group would do the publishing. In August, promotion minded Hank formed our first corporation for handling this book, to be named "100 Men Corporation" and he provided that two-thirds of the corporation would belong to him and Bill, the other third to be sold on shares at $25 par to friends and members. He announced that this third should easily bring us in $10,000, which was to see us through publication. Our idea at this time was that the book alone would save the drunks in the majority of cases, by self-education. Then it was decided that there would be some that the book alone would not do the job for, so another corporation was founded at the same time called, "The Alcoholic Foundation." The Foundation's function would be the disbursement of funds and the establishment of alcoholic "farms" all over the country. The money for this, of course, we would get after the sale of the first million books. Then we were faced with the problem of who was to go on this new foundation. At this time, August 1938, we had only four men dry over a year in New York. These were Bill, Hank, Fitz and Paul Rudell, so to these four Dr. Bob Smith of Akron was added. During this time of promotion, corporations and other such activities, Bill continued his writing of the book, averaging about a chapter a week. These were made up in triplicates, one copy going to Akron, one to the Clinton Street meetings and the third reserved as an office copy. These chapters, as completed, would be ranked and mauled over in the two group meetings, changes were noted in the margins and returned weekly to the Newark office. About the middle of October 1938 the manuscript of the book was finished and the personal stories that appear in the AA book, in its present form, were contributed by individual members from Akron and New York. As previously mentioned, the name of the book at this time was "100 Men" and the new corporation had finally raised, through forty-nine members in New York and Akron, about $3,000. We then submitted the book to Dr. Yussel, well-known critic of New York University, this was about the 1st of November and he was paid $300 to edit the book. Practically nothing was done to the personal stories of the individual members and there was less than 20% deletion from the original manuscript. When Yussel returned the book we found our "100 Men Corporation" broke, the $3,000 gone. The only concrete assets we had besides the manuscript were some blank copper plates to be used in printing. We also found our name "100 Men" inadequate for we had forgotten the ladies and we already had one girl, Florence Rankin, on the ball. In one or our discussion meetings at Clinton Street other names were brought up for consideration. Most prominent of these were "This Way Out," "Exit," "The End of the Road" and several others. Finally we hit on our present name. Nobody is too sure exactly where it came from but it is my opinion that it was suggested by one of our newer members, Joe Worden, who had at one time been considered quite a magazine promotion genius, and who had been given credit for starting the New Yorker magazine. Hank and Bill finally decided on the name "Alcoholics Anonymous" in the latter part of November 1938. About this time we almost had a disaster in our still wobbly group but it later turned out to be a Godsend. Bill and Hank had distributed quite a few copies of the original manuscript to doctors, psychiatrists and ministers to get a last minute reaction. One of these went to Dr. Howard, Chief psychiatrist for the State of New Jersey. He became greatly interested and enthusiastic, but was highly critical of several things in the book, for after reading it he told us there was entirely too much "Oxfordism" and that it was too demanding. This is where the disaster nearly overtook us, for it nearly threw Bill into a terrific mental uproar to have his "baby" pulled apart by an outside "screwball" psychiatrist, who in our opinion knew nothing about alcoholism. After days of wrangling between Bill, Hank, Fitz and myself, Bill was finally convinced that all positive and "must" statements should be eliminated and in their place to use the word "suggest" and the expression "we found we had to." Another thing changed in this last rewriting was qualifying the word "God" with the phrase "as we understand Him." (This was one of my few contributions to the book.) In the final finishing the fellowship angle was enlarged and emphasized. After many arguments and uproars, the manuscript was finally finished, complete, in December 1938. We now had one real problem - no money. It was about this time that the "100 Men Corporation" was closed out and a new one started named "Works Publishing Company." This name derived from a common expression, used in the group, "It works!!" Those that had stock or interest in the old corporation maintained the same priority in the new one. (Editor's Note: Three years later the original stock subscribers returned all their shares and interest in "Works Publishing Company" to "The Alcoholic Foundation." Today no individual has any financial interest in either the Alcoholic Foundation or in Alcoholics Anonymous.) Then a new wrinkle was devised by our master-minds, we would make a couple of hundred multilith copies of the finished manuscript and these we would use as a promotion for more stock selling and at the same time to get possible endorsement of well-known people, particularly, in the fields of religion and medicine. These copies were distributed to the Works Publishing Company shareholders and possible prospective stockholders. With these multilith copies we sent out a prospectus for our corporation and a note saying that the copy could be purchased for $3.50 and a copy of the book, if when printed, would be sent gratis to each purchaser. From this venture, we did not get one new stockholder. However, the copies did get into all sections of the country. One created quite an amusing incident for it got into the hands of a patient in a psychopathic hospital in California. This man immediately caught fire and religion all in one fell swoop. He wrote and told us about the wonderful release he had from alcohol through our new Alcoholics Anonymous multilith. Of course all of us in New York became highly excited and wires bounced back and forth between us and our new convert regarding this miracle that happened 3,000 miles away. This man wrote the last personal history in the book while he was still in California called the "Lone Endeavor". Our New York Groups were so impressed by his recovery that we passed the hat and sent for him to come East as an example. This he did, but when the boys met him at the bus station the delusion faded, for he arrived stone drunk and as far as I know, never came out of it. The major result of the multilith was our first important endorsement outside of our group and friends. It came from Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, pastor of the Riverside Baptist Church in New York and a nationally-known speaker and writer. So here we were again, broke, only more so! Bill came to our rescue, as usual, by floating a $2,500 loan from Dr. Towne, who already had a good slice in the original corporation. With the blank copper plates and Dr. Towne's loan, Hank prevailed on the Cornwall Press, in February 1939, to make 8,000 copies for our first edition. The book was purposely made to look bulky for two reasons -- to give it an air of intellectual authority and to make it look like a lot for the money. The dust jacket, with its familiar red, black, yellow and white, was designed by one of our artist members, Ray Campbell, whose story in the book is called "An Artists Concept". Although Cornwall did print these 5,000 books in April 1939, they still felt that we were quite short in our down payment and insisted that the books be kept in a bonded warehouse and withdrawn only on the payment of $2.00 per copy. Our method of distributing the books was to get possibly ten copies out at a time, and the members would individually buttonhole libraries, doctors and others for sales. Funds received from these purchasers were in turn used to buy additional copies, which in their turn were sold in the same way. About the only bookstores we could interest at the start was Brentano's in New York, who did gamble on a half a dozen copies. Five of the very first books were presented to Dr. Fishbein, editor of the American Medical Journal to whom Dr. Towne had lauded AA. Dr. Fishbein had promised to give us a real buildup in the Journal but when his review appeared, it merely said that AA was nothing new and had no real significance to the medical profession. So another balloon busted. In June, Bill and Hank decided to try another promotion stunt - this was to put a 2" x 3" advertisement in the New York Times Book Review. This cost us $250 and I have often wondered where the money came from. We thought we had the real answer to publicity this time, and we all sat back and started guessing and betting among ourselves on the number of requests we would get for our million-dollar book. The estimates ranged from 2,000 to 20,000 copies, but we were due for another disappointment, as only two copies of the book were sold in spite of our seven-day free trial offer. It was about this time that we got our first really active girl member, Marty Mann, who took the AA program while under restraint at Blythwood Sanitarium. Marty's efforts on behalf of women alcoholics in the early days were of inestimable value and today she is one of the most indefatigable workers on behalf of AA in the country. It was also in June of this year that we made our first contact with the Rockerfeller Foundation. This was arranged by Bert Taylor, one of the older members, who had known the family for years in a business way. Dr. Richardson, who had long been spiritual advisor for the Rockerfeller family, became very interested and friendly, and Bill and Hank made frequent visits to him, with Hank on one side asking for financial help and Bill on the other insisting on moral support only. Our first national publicity was arranged through one of our new members, Morgan Ryan in August 1939. This was a spot on the "We The People" radio program, which was then very popular. Again we were disappointed, for this publicity brought us only a dozen inquiries and one book sale. This was despite the fact that we sent out 10,000 post cards to doctors and ministers in the New York area announcing the broadcast. It was also in August that a real calamity befell Bill, for he and Lois were evicted from their home on Clinton Street. This had once been Lois' girlhood home and was AA's first home. Little did Bill and Lois know that for the next two years they would be homeless, dependent on the hospitality of other AA's. About this time, too, another AA Group was launched in Cleveland, Ohio. The founder was Clarence Snyder who had received his AA Indoctrination with Dr. Bob in Akron. Clarence and his wife, Dorothy, obtained our first newspaper publicity, which was in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in September 1939. As a result of this publicity the Cleveland Group, within thirty days, became temporarily the largest group in the country. Our first medical endorsement also came in September from Dr. Richard Smith, Superintendent of Rockland State Hospital in New York. His praise was the result of our work with alcoholics in the hospital there over a period of approximately six months. The first national magazine to give us a break was Liberty, in October 1939, with a two-page article labeled "Alcoholics and God". This article brought in about a thousand inquiries and sold possibly one hundred books. My guess would be that as a summary for the year 1939, we had three active groups with a total membership of less than 200 and a gross book sale for eight months of less than 500. By the end of 1939 also, AA was beginning to get some real recognition. At the end of December that year John D. Rockerfeller, Jr. issued invitations to some 200 of his closest associates and friends to a dinner to be held February 8th 1940 at the Union League Club in New York. The invitations stated that the purpose of the dinner was to have these people meet a group of people on whom Rockerfeller had become interested, no name announced. The dinner and the publicity were arranged by Rockerfeller's personal publicity man, Ivy Lee. Sixty actually attended this dinner, some of the more prominent being Dr. Fosdick, Owen Young, Wendell Wilkie, Sorenson of the Ford interests and Dr. Foster Kennedy, President of the Psychiatric Association. Before this dinner we felt it would solve all our problems, especially the financial ones, for Ivy Lee himself estimated the personal wealth of those present to be well over two billion dollars. Fate was against us again despite glowing talks by Dr. Fosdick, Kennedy, Nelson Rockerfeller and Bill, the total contributions to Alcoholics Anonymous were less than $1,500, $1,000 of which came from the Rockerfeller Foundation. (All of these contributions were later returned in full.) Still we learned later that we had gained a great deal more than money from this dinner, for thereafter the Rockerfellers allowed their name to be publicly used in connection with AA. It has always been my contention that this was the real turning point in the history of AA. During the next six months practically the whole country was spotted with AA groups. Between February and June 1940 Fitz and myself started groups in Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore. About the same time Earl Treat migrated from the Akron Group to start one in Chicago, and Arch Trowbridge also went from Akron to Detroit. It was also during these months that Larry Jewell left Cleveland and organized a group in Houston, Texas. Kay Miller, a non-alcoholic but the wife of one of the early Akron members moved into Los Angeles and started their group. In the Fall of 1940 a Jewish member named Meyerson, a traveling salesman, started AA groups in Atlanta, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. The next outstanding event in Alcoholics Anonymous growth was the publication of the Saturday Evening Post article. This was mostly arranged through the efforts of two well-known Philadelphia physicians, Dr. C. Dudly Saul and Dr. A. Wiese Hammer. They had gained the interest of Judge Curtis Bok, one of the owners of the Saturday Evening Post and in the early days of Philadelphia AA, Judge Bok had been a constant visitor to the group. It was in a large part due to his interest that Jack Alexander was assigned to do a feature article on Alcoholics Anonymous in August 1940. We were later told that the editors also thought Alexander would be a good man to possibly "expose" this new "screwball" organization. However, Alexander did promise that he would not write his article until he had visited groups and seen AA in action. He traveled from New York and Philadelphia as far West as St, Louis and attended AA meetings. His experience with these groups made him so enthusiastic over the AA setup that the article he wrote was responsible for the largest sale of a single issue of the Post in its history. The Alcoholic Foundation office in New York reports that over 10,000 inquiries were received from this one article. Even today people coming into AA groups in various parts of the country tell us that their first knowledge of Alcoholics Anonymous was the Saturday Evening Post article by Jack Alexander. It is my guess that in March 1941 there were less than 1,000 active AA members in the Country and the following year we added at least seven or eight thousand members. (Editors Note: From this point on there is little the writer can add to add to the all over picture of AA's progress for this can be seen more clearly through the eyes of the New York office and the original group.) IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1707. . . . . . . . . . . . SOBRIETY TIME From: ralpw2000 . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/14/2004 5:53:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII RECENTLY ONE OUR MEMBERS IN AUSTRALIA DIED AFTER 52 YEARS OF SOBRIETY. LAST YEAR HIS WIFE DIED AFTER 53 YEARS OF SOBRIETY. DOES ANYONE KNOW OF ANY MARRIED COUPLE WHO HAD MORE THAN 105 YEARS OF SOBRIETY BETWEEN THEM. RALPH W. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1710. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Rowland Hazard From: Roger Dowdy . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/13/2004 7:05:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Several questions/myths regarding Rowland Hazard recently came up at our District meeting. I'm hoping the more knowledgable folks in AAHistoryLovers can help to clarify/dubunk them... 1. Did Rowland initially want to work with Freud and then Adler before going to Jung? 2. Is it true Rowland got drunk on the return voyage after working with Dr. Jung and he simply turned right around, making it a round trip? or was he sober in the States for a short period of time prior to returning? 3. Also, what was the name of the ship? Many thanks in advance, Roger _________________________________________________________________ Fast. Reliable. Get MSN 9 Dial-up - 3 months for the price of 1! (Limited-time Offer) http://click.atdmt.com/AVE/go/onm00200361ave/direct/01/ IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1712. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Re: Rowland Hazard From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/15/2004 9:00:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hi Roger and Group, Re Rowland Hazard, I may be the culprit responsible for suggesting that Rowland wanted to see Freud before consulting Jung. In "New Wine," page 14, I mentioned that a Howard T. in Detroit used to say that. It's mere speculation, but it is reasonable to believe that Freud would have been first choice with most Americans at that time. But 1931 was a bad year for Freud as he suffered terribly from cancer and would have had trouble seeing patients. Rowland's son told me they traveled to Europe on the Isle de France, but this is not for certain either. Mel Barger ~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com ----- Original Message ----- From: "Roger Dowdy" To: Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2004 7:05 PM Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Re: Rowland Hazard > Several questions/myths regarding Rowland Hazard recently came up at our > District meeting. I'm hoping the more knowledgable folks in AAHistoryLovers > can help to clarify/dubunk them... > > 1. Did Rowland initially want to work with Freud and then Adler before going > to Jung? > > 2. Is it true Rowland got drunk on the return voyage after working with Dr. > Jung and he simply turned right around, making it a round trip? or was he > sober in the States for a short period of time prior to returning? > > 3. Also, what was the name of the ship? > > Many thanks in advance, > Roger > > _________________________________________________________________ > Fast. Reliable. Get MSN 9 Dial-up - 3 months for the price of 1! > (Limited-time Offer) http://click.atdmt.com/AVE/go/onm00200361ave/direct/01/ > > > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links > > > > > > > > > __________________________________________________________ > This message was scanned by GatewayDefender > 7:23:37 AM ET - 3/15/2004 > IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1713. . . . . . . . . . . . The AA Grapevine Digital Archive From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/15/2004 12:41:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII In June 2004, coinciding with the sixtieth anniversary of the magazine, the new AA Grapevine Digital Archive will be up and running, and you'll be able to go online and access every Grapevine article and letter ever published (all 12,000 of them), including the 150 articles Bill W. wrote for the magazine. FREE UNLIMITED ACCESS for ALL for the entire month of June 2004. With the AA Grapevine Digital Archive's search engine, you'll be able to locate not just an individual article but a group of articles related by topic. Just type in a key word, such as 'meditation'' or 'anonymity,'' and you'll have a wealth of articles on the subject at your fingertips. You'll be able to find articles by departments, such as Around AA or Ham On Wry, as well as by author, geographic location, or issue. If you just want to browse, you'll be able to scroll through topics to see what the Fellowship and its friends have had to say about spirituality, twelfth-stepping, or the Concepts. The subscription process will begin July 1, 2004. Starting then, you will be able to subscribe to the AA Grapevine Digital Archive in the following ways: 1) Thirty-day access - $2.00 2) One-year access for Grapevine subscribers - $10.00 (until October 31, 2004 only, a special introductory rate is available for current and new Grapevine subscribers - $5.00 for one-year access). 3) One-year access for non-Grapevine subscribers - $15.00 You must go online to subscribe, and you'll be able to link directly to the Digital Archive from the Home Page: www.aagrapevine.org IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1714. . . . . . . . . . . . In Memory of Bobbie (1953) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/15/2004 12:44:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII April 1953 AA Grapevine IN MEMORY OF BOBBIE By Bill MARGARET B., affectionately known throughout AA as "Bobbie," passed away in her sleep on February 17th of an unforeseen heart ailment. She had headed our General Service Office at New York in all the years of AA's adolescence - that exciting but fearsome period when no one could tell for sure whether our fledgling society would survive or not. Across her desk came thousands of pleas for help from individuals and hundreds from growing but anxious groups who wanted to be advised of the latest AA experience in meeting the problems that assailed them. It was out of this experience that AA's tradition was formed. And upon our tradition her devoted labor set a mark which will endure so long as God will have our society last. Her pioneering work has proved an inspiring precedent for every Intergroup and Foundation secretary, and her departure creates in the heart of each of her friends a void which can only be filled by the memory of what she left us and the assurance that her destiny is happy and secure. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1715. . . . . . . . . . . . Recovery, Unity, Service - Worldwide (1978) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/17/2004 2:12:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The theme of the Fifth World Service Meeting (1978) was 'Recovery, Unity, Service - Worldwide.'' The keynote address on this theme by David P., delegate from Columbia, was so brilliant it was not only acclaimed by his immediate audience in Helsinki, Finland, it became a kind of minor classic as it was reproduced and distributed widely in the Fellowship. It is reproduced in full here: 'The event we now open is indeed wonderful. We have gathered because, in spite of all our differences, we have something in common that binds us together with strong ties. We have known the process of a painful sickness. We have achieved, by the grace of God, a recovery which now allows us to live and to love again. We are involved in the spirit of unity that gives us strength. We are impelled by a desire to give service. We are the inheritors of the Legacies of A.A. 'The astronomers speak about certain bodies in outer space which, having lost their generating function, shrink slowly and inexorably, concentrating themselves in such a way that they shrink to infinitesimal size, but acquire an impressive gravity. They are the so-called 'black holes,'' of very small volume, with terrific weight. Their density becomes so concentrated that a gravitational vortex is formed around them, a ghostly and catastrophic hole that devours everything that passes by; light and radio and energy waves are absorbed and drawn by that irresistible whirlpool. 'The same thing happened in our alcoholic life. Emotional overload led to a shrinking of our mentality. A gloomy emptiness surrounded us. A tremendous storage of negative energy took place, aided by our own guilt and suffering. The greater our emotional load, the smaller our spiritual dimension. The greater the density of our selfishness, the shorter the scope of our horizons. Black holes in the space of our lives were sinking and paralyzing our willpower, our capacities, our dreams, our ambitions, goals, and outlooks. 'Unlike those surreal bodies, we did have a way out of our condition. The lifesaving message of A.A. came to us. And the tiny universe that confined us started to expand again. We began to untie our imagination, our mind, and our good will. We were ready to live and let live. Spiritual life was reborn. We found harmony with brothers, God, and ourselves. And we called that Recovery. 'What, then is Recovery for me? 'It is not perfection, but the search for it. It is not lethargy, but a state of awareness. It is realizing that there is a place for us in the world. It is acknowledging that we, alone, cannot do anything, but with the help of God we can accomplish everything. It is being sure that we walk along the path, even though we make our path as we walk. It is living today as we would like to have lived yesterday, and as we wish to live tomorrow. It is knowing that our journey has a meaning, a reason for being. It is a constant spiritual awakening. And, above all, recovery is a working faith. 'We alcoholics have already suffered at the hands of a powerful enemy. We do not wish to fight against anybody, not even against alcohol. We have endured our illness physically, mentally, and morally. When we awoke to reality, we stood amidst the ruins of a shattered life, a destroyed morality, and a smashed dignity. 'Through the grace of God, however, we have survived by joining a society of equals. We need each other in a harmonious environment in order to survive. We needed Unity. 'What is Unity for me? 'It is not a monody, but a symphony of individual voices. It is not a compact law, but a mixture of different opinions. It is knowing that our alcoholic brother or sister has the same right to life, happiness, and peace as we have. It is feeling that the word 'we'' stands before the word 'I.'' It is admitting that we are all equal before God. It is acceptance that different paths can lead us toward our final destiny. It is a stripping of our pride, so we won't feel greater or lesser than our fellows. It is not doing to our neighbor what we wouldn't like done to us. And, above all, unity is a working humility - humility to accept the ultimate authority that expresses itself in our group conscience; humility to welcome anybody who wishes A.A. membership; humility to understand that our service tasks do not grant us power, command, or authority; humility to keep anonymity that reminds us to place principles before personalities. 'In our drinking days, when the world was only a large 'nobody's land'' we had selfishness as compass and our own fulfillment as schedule. Money, intelligence, imagination, and initiative were used only as tools for constructing a universe fitted to our size. When our castle made out of cards fell down on our own heads, someone else came to rescue us, understood us, and delivered the message that saved us. So much was put at our disposal - literature to read, experience freely and gladly given, and a meeting place where a cup of coffee was waiting for us. 'At first we received and used these services, taking them for granted. But gradually we began to feel that a treasure, which we had no right to hide away, was being placed in our hands. We had to give to someone else the light of hope that had illuminated our darkness. It was unfair to let the fruits we had harvested rot in the barns of our laziness. And so we turned to Service. 'What is Service for me? 'It is not altruism, but a need for survival. It is not charity, but an expression of gratitude. It is the responsibility of lending a hand to our brother or sister who is drowning. It is recognizing that, by giving ourselves to others, we will find our own souls. It is learning that they who give the most, receive the most. It is extending to other alcoholics the sobriety that was bestowed on us. It is working so that others get a permanent place in the new world we have discovered. It is remembering the words of Bill W.: 'We must carry A.A.'s message; otherwise we ourselves may fall into decay and those who have not yet been given the truth may die.'' And, above all, service is a working love. 'It is love that works - unselfish, patient, tolerant, anonymous love, love that doesn't have a price tag on it. Love that has no envy and that endures everything. 'In the name of John my fellow delegate, and all the A.A.`s of Colombia, I would like to thank you for your kind invitation to address you. May God help all the participants in this meeting, so that we may be able to find new and better approaches to bringing to all alcoholics in the world our Legacies of Recovery with Unity through Service. 'Finally, we should like to congratulate our Finnish brethren for having undertaken, in such a brilliant, responsible, and effective way, the organization of this meeting. 'Thank you very much." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1716. . . . . . . . . . . . Shep Cornell - Compiled From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/17/2004 4:52:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The following is compiled from previous messages which have been deleted. Nancy Hello Group, I had someone ask me a good question that I could answer or could not find any additional information. So I thought I would ask the HISTORYLOVERS "What ever happened to Shep Cornwell?" Thanks for your help Charles from California __________ Hello Charles and Group: Charles, I think you have Shep Cornell in mind--no "w" in the name. I talked with Shep by phone in 1980. He was then retired and living in Earlysville, VA, right next to Charlottesville. It must not be very large, because I don't find it in my Rand McNally Road Atlas. Shep knew Bill, Lois, and Ebby from the 1920s days in Manchester. He was a successful investor and even owned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. I don't know what circumstances led him into the Oxford Group, but he was a member in 1934 and conspired with Cebra Graves to call on Ebby, who was having lots of trouble right there in Manchester. Rowland Hazard joined them, and became the key person in sponsoring Ebby. Shep had an apartment in Manhattan and Ebby, after being taken there (presumably by Rowland), soon moved to Calvary Mission, which was way over on the East Side from Calvary Church. Shep was involved with Bill's early attempts to fit in with the Oxford Group and apparently didn't think Bill was very sincere at the time. He was well-heeled enough to take all of them to dinner at a time when Bill and Ebby were both flat broke. Shep was not an alcoholic, although he was abstaining at that time--much in keeping with Oxford Group practice. (My belief is that most of the Groupers didn't understand the crucial difference between normal drinkers and alcoholics.) He told me that he drank moderately on occasions and had no problem. I have the impression that Shep didn't stay with the Oxford Group as the years rolled on. He served in the Army during World War II, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war, he eventually joined a large manufacturing firm in Milwaukee and became general manager. (I can't remember the name of the company, but it was a large producer of automobile frames and farm silos.) He was comfortably retired when I talked with him, and spent his days golfing and, I assume, looking after his investments. Lois remembered him as a fine golfer, and it's even possible that Bill played a few rounds with him in 1929, when Bill was still flying high on Wall Street. I heard some years ago that Shep had passed on, but I don't know the year. It's possible that his name is in the Social Security Death Index. I believe his full name was Shepard or Sheppard. Perhaps other History Lovers can do due diligence and track this down.~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger __________ [18] Check Francis Cornell 1899-1985 in SSDI -- I think he's the one. (I believe it was Francis Shepard Cornell.) -- Jared Lobdell __________ The info below was culled from the sources noted. SOURCE REFERENCES: AABB Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book, AAWS AACOA AA Comes of Age, AAWS AGAA The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Dick B (soft cover) BW-RT Bill W by Robert Thompson (soft cover) BW-FH Bill W by Francis Hartigan (hard cover) BW-40 Bill W My First 40 Years, autobiography (hard cover) EBBY Ebby the Man Who Sponsored Bill W by Mel B (soft cover) GB Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous by Nan Robertson (soft cover) LR Lois Remembers, by Lois Wilson MSBW My Search for Bill W, by Mel B. (soft cover) NG Not God, by Ernest Kurtz (expanded edition, soft cover) NW New Wine, by Mel B (soft cover) PIO Pass It On, AAWS 1934 July, Ebby Thacher was approached in Manchester, VT by his friends Cebra Graves (an attorney) and F Sheppard (Shep) Cornell (a NY stockbroker). Both were Oxford Group members who had done considerable drinking with Ebby and were abstaining from drinking. They informed Ebby of the OG in VT but Ebby was not quite ready yet to stop drinking. (EBBY 51-55, PIO 113) August, Cebra G and Shep C vacationed at Rowland Hazard’s house in Bennington, VT. Cebra learned that Ebby T was about to be committed to Brattleboro Asylum. Cebra, Shep and Rowland decided to make Ebby “a project.” (NG 309) November (late), Ebby T (who was staying at the Calvary Mission in NYC) visited Bill W at 182 Clinton St and shared his recovery experience "one alcoholic talking to another.” (AACOA vii, 58-59) A few days later, Ebby returned with Shep C. They spoke to Bill about the Oxford Group. Bill did not think too highly of Shep. Lois recalled that Ebby visited several times, once even staying for dinner. (AACOA vii, NG 17-18, 31`, BW-FH 57-58, NW 22-23, PIO 111-116, BW-RT 187-192) December 18, Bill W left Towns Hospital and began working with drunks. He and Lois attended Oxford Group meetings with Ebby T and Shep C at Calvary House. The Rev Sam Shoemaker was the rector at the Calvary Church (the OG’s US headquarters). The church was on 4th Ave (now Park Ave) and 21st St. Calvary House (where OG meetings were usually held) was at 61 Gramercy Park. Calvary Mission was located at 346 E 23rd St. (AABB 14-16, AACOA vii, LR 197, BW-40 155-160, NG 24-25, PIO 127, GB 32-33, AGAA 144) Arthur S. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1717. . . . . . . . . . . . Harry Tiebout Obituary (1966) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/21/2004 5:30:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII July 1966 AA Grapevine In Memory of HARRY BY the time this issue of the Grapevine reaches its readers, the whole world of AA will have heard of the passing of our well-beloved friend, Dr. Harry M. Tiebout, the first psychiatrist ever to hold up the hands of our Fellowship for all to see. His gifts of courageous example, deep perception of our needs, and constant labor in our behalf have been - and always will be - values quite beyond our reckoning. It began like this: The year was early 1939, and the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was about to hit the press. To help with the final edit of that volume we had made prepublication copies in multilith form. One of them fell into Harry's hands. Though much of the content was then alien to his own views, he read our up-coming book with deep interest. Far more significantly, he at once resolved to show the new volume to a couple of his patients, since known to us as "Marty" and "Grenny." These were the toughest kind of customers, and seemingly hopeless. At first, the book made little impression on this pair. Indeed, its heavy larding with the word "God," so angered Marty that she threw it out her window, flounced off the grounds of the swank sanitarium where she was, and proceeded to tie on a big bender. Grenny didn't carry a rebellion quite so far; he played it cool. When Marty finally turned up, shaking badly, and asked Dr. Harry what next to do, he simply grinned and said, "You'd better read that book again!" Back in her quarters, Marty finally brought herself to leaf through its pages once more. A single phrase caught her eye and it read, "We cannot live with resentment." The moment she admitted this to herself, she was filled with a "transforming spiritual experience." Forthwith she attended a meeting. It was at Clinton Street, Brooklyn, where Lois and I lived. Returning to "Blythewood" she found Grenny intensely curious. Her first words to him were these: "Grenny, we are not alone any more!" This was the beginning of recovery for both - recoveries that have lasted until this day. Watching their unfoldment, Harry was electrified. Only a week before they had both presented stone walls of obstinate resistance to his every approach. Now they talked, and freely. To Harry these were the facts - and brand new facts. Scientist and man of courage that he was, Harry did not for a moment look the other way. Setting aside his own convictions about alcoholism and its neurotic manifestations, he soon became convinced that AA had something, perhaps something big. All the years afterwards, and often at very considerable risk to his professional standing, Harry continued to endorse AA. Considering Harry's professional standing, this required courage of the highest order. Let me share some concrete examples. In one of his early medical papers - that noted one on 'surrender'' (Reprinted from the "Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol," Dec., 1954, pp. 610-621, available from the National Council on Alcoholism) - he had declared this ego-reducing practice to be not only basic to AA, but also absolutely fundamental to his own practice of psychiatry. This took humility as well as fortitude. It will always be a bright example for us all. Nevertheless this much was but a bare beginning. In 1944, helped by Dr. Kirby Collier of Rochester and Dwight Anderson of New York, Harry had persuaded the American Medical Society of the State of New York to let me, a layman, read a paper about AA, at their annual gathering. Five years later this same trio, again spear-headed by Harry, persuaded the American Psychiatric Association to invite the reading of another paper by me - this time in their 1949 Annual Meeting at Montreal. By then, AA had about 100,000 members, and many psychiatrists had already seen at close range our impact on their patients. For us of AA who were present at that gathering it was a breathtaking hour. My presentation would be "the spiritual experience," as we AAs understood it. Surely we could never get away with this! To our astonishment the paper was extremely well received - judging, at least, from the sustained applause. Immediately afterwards, I was approached by a most distinguished old gentleman. He introduced himself as an early president of the American Psychiatric Association. Beaming he said, "Mr. W., it is very possible that I am the only one of my colleagues here today who really believes in 'spiritual experience' as you do. Once upon a time, I myself had an awakening much akin to your own, an experience that I shared in common with two close friends, Bucke and Whitman." Naturally I inquired, "But why did your colleagues seem to like the paper?" His reply went like this: "You see, we psychiatrists deeply know what very difficult people you alcoholics really are. It was not the claims of your paper that stirred my friends, it was the fact that AA can sober up alcoholics wholesale." Seen in this light, I was the more deeply moved by the generous and magnificent tribute that had been paid to us of AA. My paper was soon published in the American Psychiatric Journal and our New York headquarters was authorized by the Association to make all the reprints we wished for distribution (Excerpts from this talk are contained in Alcoholism The Illness, by Bill W., a pamphlet available from AA World Services). By then the trek of AA overseas had well begun. Heaven only knows what this invaluable reprint accomplished when it was presented to psychiatrists in distant places by the fledgling AA groups. It vastly hastened the worldwide acceptance of AA. I could go on and on about Harry, telling you of his activities in the general field of alcoholism, of his signal service on our AA Board of Trustees. I could tell stories of my own delightful friendship with him, especially remembering his great good humor and infectious laugh. But the space allotted me is too limited. So in conclusion, I would have Harry speak for himself. Our AA Grapevine of November, 1963, carried a piece by him that, between its lines, unconsciously reveals to us a wonderful self portrait of our friend. Again, we feel his fine perception, again we see him at work for AA. No epitaph could be better than this. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1718. . . . . . . . . . . . An Historical Announcement From: ricktompkins@sbcglobal.net> . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/21/2004 10:27:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hello group, This is your invitation to examine the Second Issue of An Alcoholics Anonymous History In Northern Illinois Area 20, copyright 1996, 2003 by NIA, Ltd. Posted online at http://www.aa-nia.org this expanded monograph represents an additional six years of research and discovery. Where the First Issue spanned 104 pages of text, this rewritten work, its Second Issue, goes to 152 pages. My Assembly will soon vote on a limited printing for distribution to District Archives and East Central Region Area Archives, to share its 'hard' copies in their lending libraries. This work is an effective result of the AA committee system, with full trust and procedural approval from the Area 20 Assembly. Meanwhile, online, enjoy it in the same spirit of discovery that was given to me as its author! Yours in serenity and in fellowship, Rick T., Area 20 past Historian Algonquin, Illinois IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1719. . . . . . . . . . . . Sparky H. From: Victor A. Farinelli . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/22/2004 9:26:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hello Group, I am looking for some information on Sparky H. from the Chicago Il area. He passed away in the mid-80's. Thanks, Victor F. __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Finance Tax Center - File online. File on time. http://taxes.yahoo.com/filing.html IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1720. . . . . . . . . . . . June 5, multi-district history & archives gathering From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/24/2004 3:02:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII JUNE 5, 2004 MULTI-DISTRICT HISTORY & ARCHIVES GATHERING: District 36 of Area 59 (Eastern PA) will host a free one-day History & Archives Gathering Saturday, June 5, 2004 at the Friendship Fire Co. at 171 N. Mt Joy Street, Elizabethtown, PA. Full directions will be available to those planning to come. Contact Jared Lobdell at jaredlobdell@comcast.net or jaredlobdell@aol.com or by phone at 717-367-4985 (not after 9:30 p.m. Eastern time). Registration 8-9 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, and the Gathering will open at 9 a.m. and run till about 5 p.m. The nearest motels are the Red Rose Motel on Route 230 (Market St.) on the edge of Elizabethtown and the Holiday Inn Express just off Route 283 on the edge of Elizabethtown. Please let us know if you're coming. The Gathering will be looking at forming archives for history and using archives for history, and there will be a concentration on three times in AA history esp. in Eastern PA, in and around 1954 (we have invited for local oldtimers with at least 50 years sobriety), in and around 1937 (looking particularly at some of the Eastern PA founders, including Fitz M.), and in and around 1971 -- so 67, 50, and 33 years ago. The oldtimers are scheduled for the morning, the archives/history panels in the early afternoon, ending with history presentations and a roundtable. As with last year's Gathering we hope there will be archives exhibits at least from MD, Eastern PA, North Jersey, the Clarence S. Archive, and local archives. Lunch will be served. More to follow, but be in touch if you're intending to come. -- Jared lobdell Please send all replies to jaredlobdell@comcast.net IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1721. . . . . . . . . . . . Jerseyites Buy Big Sociable Clubhouse (1944) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/23/2004 11:14:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII November 1944 AA Grapevine JERSEYITES BUY BIG SOCIABLE CLUBHOUSE To the A.A.s of North Jersey goes the honor of being the original contributors to one phase of A.A. history, geographically speaking. They are the first of the "Along the Metropolitan Circuit" groups to buy a clubhouse of their own. Members of a dozen North Jersey groups, forming a company called Alanon Association (Joe B. is their counsel), participated in the deal that ended, in October, in the purchase of the three-story brick building at 8th Ave. and North 7th St., Newark, N.J., known as the Roseville Athletic Association. The purchase price of $22,000 includes furniture and equipment, which in turn includes such things as billiard tables and bowling alleys. The transaction involved a first mortgage of $15,000.00 with a non-alcoholic A.A. supporter, the remainder (a large portion of which has already been subscribed) to be pledged by individual A.A.'s. Certificates of indebtedness are to be issued to all contributors, bearing interest, and redeemable in five to ten years. The plan is, however, to clear off all indebtedness as quickly as possible, including the mortgage. (Up to the time of purchase the building had sustained itself financially with revenues from bowling, pool, billiards, and tobacco.) The dues system will be voluntary weekly contributions - the amounts kept a strictly confidential matter - with $1.00 as tops. Participation of the A.A. men and women in Alanon, Inc., is entirely as individuals. There were no group commitments, and care was taken to avoid involving Alcoholics Anonymous in any way. The Board of Trustees of the Corporation are: Chairman, Tom M.; Secretary, Jim G.; Treasurer, Herman G.; Recording Secretary (handling dues), Hal R.; Stuart S., Dr. Arthur S., Pete O'T., Oscar O., Helen D., Bea W., Ed M., and Leo D. The Newark Group, who have been holding their meetings at the Roseville A.A. for three years will continue to do so. Maintained for 58 years as a conservative gentlemen's club, there has never been a bar in the club. However, food facilities, which also do not exist at present, will be installed pronto. The big building is located one block from the Roseville Avenue station of the Lackawanna R.R., about 20 minutes from New York. It is expected that the clubhouse will develop into a clinical center for new people, and a social haven for all A.A. men and women, irrespective of their group membership. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1722. . . . . . . . . . . . AA 2004 Founders'' Day Celebrations (N.Y., VT., OH.) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/24/2004 12:11:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Saturday, June 5, 2004 Stepping Stones (where Bill & Lois Wilson lived from 1941 until they died) 62 Oak Road, Bedford Hills (Katonah), NY 914-232-7368 House & Wit's End is open for viewing at 12NOON, AA (someone who knew Bill Wilson)/Alanon/Alateen speakers meeting begins at 2PM. Coffee, soda, & dessert served only. Sunday, June 6, 2004 The Wilson House (where Bill Wilson was born & lived as a child, & where Bill & Lois are buried) Village St., East Dorset, VT. 802-362-5524 Gravesite ceremony at 1PM, speaker meeting (someone who knew Bill Wilson) at 2PM. BBQ 3PM Friday - Sunday, June 11-13, 2004 Akron, OH. (where Dr. Bob's house is, where Dr. Bob & Anne Smith are buried, where AA meeting #1 is, where St. Thomas Hospital is, where Henrietta Sieberling's gatehouse is, where the Mayflower Hotel is, etc.) http://www.akronaa.org/FoundersDay/foundersdayindex.html IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1723. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Susan B. Anthony II From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/26/2004 3:34:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Since starting the AA History Buffs/Lovers four years ago, I have intended to write a piece on my good friend and spiritual mentor Dr. Susan B. Anthony II. Susan sobered up in Marty Mann's office on August 22, 1946. Today I discovered this biography on the website of the University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries, where Susan's papers are archived. Nancy __________ Dr. Susan B. Anthony (also referred to as Susan B. Anthony II), the great-niece and namesake of the women's rights leader Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), was born in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1916. Her father Luther Burt Anthony was the son of the suffragist's younger brother Jacob Merritt Anthony. Anthony attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 1938. In 1938-39 she worked as a research assistant in the office of the National Youth Administration in Washington, DC. While an undergraduate she was involved in the peace movement, but learning of the plight of anti-fascists forces in the Spanish Civil War, she lobbied in 1938 to lift the arms embargo against the Spanish Republic. During this same period she was involved in the civil rights movement, becoming a sponsor of the National Negro congress. In 1941 she received a master of arts degree in Political science from American University. Anthony was a city desk editor for the Washington Star from 1939 to 1944. She also published articles on women's issues and migrants in The New York Times Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and other periodicals. Her first book, Out of the Kitchen-Into the War was published in 1943. In 1940 Anthony married political activist Henry Hill Collins, Jr., (1904-1961). During the war, she worked with Ann Shyne at Bryn Mawr College to compile a comprehensive study of "Women During the War and After." A summary of the results were published by the U.S. Women's Bureau and provided Anthony with material for several articles and lectures. In 1946 she hosted five times a week a radio program, "This Woman's World," over New York station WMCA. After nine months it was canceled for being "too controversial to be commercially feasible." The program was picked up by the New York Post station WLIB, but canceled six weeks later. In 1948, she and Henry Collins were divorced. In 1945 she co-founded with Helen Snow the Congress of American Women. Anthony represented the Congress and its affiliate, the Women's International Democratic Federation, at the United Nations Status of Women Commission in 1948. In 1949 or 1950, Anthony married Clifford Thomas McAvoy (1904-1957). McAvoy had been the deputy commissioner of Welfare in New York City from 1938 to 1941. In 1941 he was appointed legislative and political action director of the Greater New York Congress of Industrial Organizations Council, and in 1944 became the legislative representative in Washington for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. At the time of their marriage he was the New England Director of the Progressive Party Labor Committee, an organization he had founded to support the Presidential bid of Progressive Party candidate, Henry A. Wallace. Now living in Boston, Anthony broadcast a radio program on which she discussed the problems of alcoholism and interviewed alcoholics. Because of her husband's associates, she was mentioned as a "fellow traveler" in a Life magazine article. In 1951 she divorced Clifford McAvoy and moved to Key West, Florida where she became a newspaper reporter for the Citizen. In 1954 she married Aubrey John Lewis, a British citizen living in Jamaica. Lewis was a Religious Science practitioner and owner of an allspice plantation. In Jamaica Anthony became a reporter for The Gleaner, writing several articles on celebrities who visited the island. Beginning in the early 1950s, Anthony's espousal of liberal causes brought her to the attention of the U. S. Justice Department, who requested her to come to Washington, D.C. to testify before a Congressional committee investigating communism. When, for health reasons, she refused to return to the United States, she became subject to extradition. After being served a subpoena in December, 1954, she took out British citizenship. Her lawyers advised her that this action would give her dual citizenship, and not jeopardize her American citizenship. This proved not to be the case. In 1960 Anthony divorced John Lewis and left Jamaica. She arrived in the United States on a visitor's visa, her passport having been confiscated by the U. S. Consul in Kingston. In 1967 Congressman John Bardemas introduced a bill to restore her citizenship. It was voted down by the House Immigration Subcommittee, who ordered her immediate deportation. She won a stay of deportation, and the case was reheard before the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals in 1969. The Board reversed all former Immigration and Naturalization Service and Justice Department actions against her and restored her citizenship. In 1960 Anthony underwent a religious conversion and was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church in 1961. She entered St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, and in 1965 received a Ph.D. in theology. She was one of the first fifteen Catholic laywomen to receive this degree. She taught theology at Marymount College in Boca Raton, Florida from 1965 to 1969. A recovered alcoholic, Anthony dedicated much of her professional and personal life to helping others overcome alcoholism. She wrote articles and traveled extensively giving presentations on the issue. In 1973 she was a substance abuse coordinator at South County Mental Health Center in Florida. In 1975 she founded Wayside House, a rehabilitation center for chemically dependent women, in Delray Beach, Florida. The United States Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drugs honored Anthony for her work with alcoholics at a reception in 1976. Having found strength in contemplation and prayer, Anthony often wrote and lectured on these subjects. For nine months in 1976 she was a novice at a Cenacle convent drawn by their emphasis on prayer and teaching. In 1978 Anthony appeared on the television game show, "$124,000 Question" as a women's rights expert. In five appearances she won $16,000. The publicity helped launch her national lecture tour. Her topics included women, alcoholism, feminism, and prayer. In 1977 she attended the National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas, where she endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment. When the Susan B. Anthony dollar was issued in 1979, Anthony participated in many of the celebrations, culminating in a reception at the White House hosted by Rosalyn Carter. During the 1980s, Anthony traveled throughout the country giving lectures on substance abuse, feminist issues, and prayer. In 1983 she participated in the Seneca Falls Women's Peace Encampment marching in the protest against nuclear weapons stored in the Seneca Falls army depot. In 1971, Anthony published her autobiography The Ghost in My Life (New York: Chosen Books). It was reprinted by Bantam Books in 1973. Her other books include Survival Kit (New York: New American Library, 1972), and Sidewalk Contemplatives (New York: Crossroad, 1987). Dr. Anthony died in 1991. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1724. . . . . . . . . . . . The Man Behind the A.A. Revolution From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/26/2004 11:03:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The Man Behind the A.A. Revolution Susan Cheever talks about her new biography of Bill Wilson, the man she says was made to found Alcoholics Anonymous Interview by Paul O'Donnell There have been several books and memoirs written about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith in the 1940s. But as Susan Cheever found when she was asked to write a profile of Wilson, there has not been an authoritative biography, until now. Cheever, the daughter of novelist John Cheever and the author of two memoirs of her own drinking life, has written a very personal portrait of Wilson, portraying him as a restless thinker who created A.A. the way an inventor might stumble on a revolutionary technology. We talked to her recently about her book and her subject. Bill Wilson was a complicated person with an amazing story. How did you go about getting a handle on him? There were a number of books about Bill Wilson, and by him, but a lot of the basic biographical tasks had not been done. I used everything that had been written, and I went to the archives at Stepping Stones [Wilson's home, now a museum], where I had the amazing luck of getting there before it had been indexed, so I could watch the process of archiving. There are a ton of letters. Bill and [his wife] Lois were great letter writers, and much of the early part of the book, when he's still drinking, are from their letters. Whenever you're inside someone's mind in the book, whether it's Emily Wilson's in the opening scene or Bill Wilson's in the Mayfair hotel, it's from their letters. I also went to [Wilson's birthplace] in Vermont. The more I hung out in East Dorset, the more I saw how important Yankee free-thinking and pure democracy and stubbornness is to the program of A.A. Dr. Robert Smith [A.A. co-founder] was also from Vermont. What was it about that Yankee mindset that led to AA? Well, a lot of threads start in Vermont that end up in the 12 steps and the 12 traditions of A.A. One is the idea that each person has an equal voice. That's enshrined in the bylaws. A.A. actually belongs to and is run by it's own member. That whole idea of pure democracy comes right out of the Vermont town meeting. Another thing is that alot of New England was dry when Bill Wilson was growing up. They taught temperance in the schools. Bill Wilson actually had an education in how to stay sober and how not to stay sober. And of course there is the rampant spiritualism of the turn of the century in Vermont and New Hampshire and upstate New York. People were reaching out for a different kind of God, throwing over the Calvinistic, British Puritan God. Not just of humanism, but transcendentalism, which is also enshrined in the 12 steps. Where do you find that in A.A.? Well, "God as we understand him." That's Thoreau. That's Emerson. It seems to me that he took all these different strands--the religious, pure democracy, temperance, the transcendentalist-humanist strand, which was buttressed when he married a Swedenborgian--and wove them all into this astonishing program which has changed the way we think about addiction. When I look at his life, I think, 'Wow, this was a machine designed for this job.' He came out of this weird stew of educational and spiritual tenets that ended up being the best treatment for alcoholism. The temperance movement plays a crucial role. As a child, he refuses to take the temperance pledge and rejects religion altogether. How does he get from there to seeing a higher power as a central part of a sober life as an adult? Well, I think that's the story. For him, God took the form of a specific entity. He flirted and maybe even slept with Catholicism in his later years. But he had learned that God was an extremely personal concept, and that you can never say to anyone, this is the kind of God you must have. Part of his genius was understanding that there are things no one person can prescribe for another if the person wants to help the other. This is where he really shifted the way we think. He understood that being drunk wasn't a lack of willpower or discipline. He understood that the way to treat addiction is to court a change of heart with the utmost gentleness. That is a really revolutionary idea. That understanding came from his own desperate attempt to get sober, through trial and error--mostly error. He became, as his friend Aldous Huxley called him, "The Greatest Social Architect of the 20th century." His insight was that drinking was not a moral problem? Absolutely. He took the idea that alcoholics were bad people and changed it to the idea that alcoholics are sick people. It changed the way we view addiction. It changed the way we see human nature. He changed the way we see each other as much as Freud did, I think. Bill led us to see that what we think of as a failure of willpower is not that at all. It's a disease. He wasn't saying that you're not responsible for the things that you do when you're drinking. He was just saying that the way to stop drinking requires a change of heart. How did he change his own heart? As you watch his story unfold, you see all the pieces of his program fall into place. He would get one piece from talking to another drunk who had gotten sober. Then when he was in a group of people who didn't want to drink, he saw that the power of the group was a piece of it. Then he was able to think in terms of surrendering his power rather than in terms of getting more. It was as if he was always traveling further from or closer to a drink. Slowly he began to understand the things that brought him closer and the things that took him further away. It's often called a religious program, and specifically Christian. It even makes forgiveness one of its paragons. The program of A.A., as written by Bill Wilson and Dr. Smith, only has one purpose: to get you sober. That's it. To make you a better person, forget it. That was one of the things he came to understand in those years of trial and error. It has to be about only one thing. So within the context of that primary purpose, forgiveness is a way to ready the heart for the change. Bill himself had a different view of forgiveness. One thing that's so moving about him is how he treated people who abandoned him with incredible courtesy and generosity. His parents abandoned him, financially, emotionally and physically, and they did it with incredible self-righteousness. Yet he was constantly writing them letters, sending them checks when he had no money, and inviting them to come and live with him. That's forgiveness. So as a person, and I guess we can say as a Christian, he was extremely forgiving, but in the steps of A.A., forgiveness is not meant to improve your soul, it's meant to get you sober. But it is in a sense a faith-based program, and one the courts often order people into. Well, they do that because it works. It's sort of the best thing we have by far. In some parts of the country, it's more Christian, because each A.A. meeting governs itself. So there are some A.A. meetings that are emphatically anti-Christian and there are some that are emphatically Christian. But you don't object to it being called religious. Well, that's another question. I object to that because they object to that. But I don't represent AA. I'm not an expert. And I would have trouble defining religion. Some criticize AA for proclaiming it's the only way to get sober. But it doesn't. It's like the Christianity charge. It's just not there. In addition to his work with alcohol, Wilson left his mark on Wall Street. He essentially invented market research, didn't he? That's true. While he was drinking. Did his knack for business continue after he quit drinking? His business skills were applied to try to make A.A. a going concern. He quit drinking in 1934, but it really wasn't until 1944 that it was clear that A.A. was a go. He spent ten years pouring all those skills, the endurance, the salesmanship, into making A.A. go forward. And even after he turned it over to its membership, he kept on searching for some kind of help for alcoholics, looking for a magic bullet. A lot of his friendship with Aldous Huxley was about what we now call psychopharmacology. He took LSD, which at the time was not a street drug, but he thought maybe it could help alcoholics. He thought vitamin B could help. So he continued to do a lot of searching and experimenting. Which brings us back to how he viewed alcoholism. He said it was a disease, and he even looked for pharmacological solutions. But the only remedy he found was a spiritual one. How many diseases can you say that about? The relationship with the body and the mind is complicated and mysterious. You say most diseases aren't spiritual, but many people believe they are. The question of where does disease leave the body and enter the spirit, or enter the mind or the brain--that's a question I am not able to answer. We're living in a 12-Step world now. Yet part of this story is how Wilson's program was once regarded with suspicion. When AA was starting, it was thought of in many weird ways. There were years and years when it looked as if Bill Wilson was going to be the only successful recovering alcoholic. There's that famous scene where he complains to his wife, "You know, I've had 40 people get sober and they're all drinking again. This doesn't work." And she said, "Well it worked for one person--you." There were years were AA was lucky to be regarded as anything by anyone. I don't think Bill Wilson could have possibly have envisioned what's happened with those 12 steps of his. There hundreds of 12-Step programs saving millions of lives and millions of families in ways that I don't think he envisioned. Paul O'Donnell is Beliefnet's Culture editor. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1725. . . . . . . . . . . . Sister Ignatia Obituary (1966) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/27/2004 8:09:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII August 1966 AA Grapevine For Sister Ignatia: our everlasting gratitude SISTER MARY IGNATIA, one of the finest friends that we of AA shall ever know, went to her reward Friday morning, April first, nineteen hundred sixty-six. Next day, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine opened their Mother House to visitors. More than one thousand of them signed the guest book in the first two hours. These were the first of many who during the two days following came to pay their respects to Sister. On Monday at high noon the Cathedral at Cleveland could barely seat its congregation. Friends in the city and from afar attended the service. The Sisters of Charity themselves were seen to be seated in a body, radiant in their faith. Together with families and friends, we of AA had come there in expression of our gratitude for the life and works of our well-loved Sister. It was not really a time for mourning, it was instead a time to thank God for His great goodness to us all. In its affirmation of the faith, the Mass was of singular beauty; the more so to many, since it was spoken in English. The eulogy, written and read by a close friend of Sister's, was a graphic and stirring portrayal of her character, and of her deeds. There was a most special emphasis upon the merits of AA, and upon the part co-founder Dr. Bob had played in Sister's great adventure among us. We were assured as seldom before that those who dwell in the fellowship of the Spirit need never be concerned with barriers, or with boundaries. For those thousands of men, women and children whose lives had been directly touched and illumined by Sister, it would perhaps not be needful to write this account of her. Of Sister, and of the Grace she brought to all these, they already know better than anyone else. But to the many others who have never felt her presence and her love, it is hoped this narrative may be something for their special inspiration. Born in 1889 of devout and liberty-loving parents, Sister entered into this world at Shanvilly, County Mayo, of the Emerald Isle. The famed poet Yeats, born nearby, once remarked that the strange beauty of County Mayo had been specially designed to raise up poets, artists, heroes and saints. We can little doubt that even when Ignatia was aged six, and her parents had emigrated from Ireland to Cleveland, she was already beginning to manifest many a sterling virtue. Soon the child began to reveal unusual musical talents, both of piano and voice. A few years later she was seen giving lessons at the home of her parents. During 1914, she became possessed of a great desire to become a religious. In this year she joined the Community that many of us AAs know so well - the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. There she continued her musical education and her teaching. But even then, as ever since, Sister was frail, exceeding frail. By 1933 the rigors of her music teaching had become too great. She had a really serious physical breakdown. Her doctor put to her this choice: "You will have to take it easy. You can either be a dead music teacher or a live Sister. Which is it going to be?" With great good cheer, so her Community says, Mary Ignatia accepted a much quieter and less distinguished assignment. She became the registrar at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio - an institution administered by her Order. At the time it was wondered if she could manage even this much. That she would live to the age of seventy-seven was not believable; that she was destined to minister to 15,000 alcoholics and their families in the years to come was known only to God. For a considerable time Sister serenely carried on at the admissions desk in St. Thomas. It was not then certain she had ever heard of AA. Though Group One at Akron, and Group Two in New York had been in slow and fitful growth since 1935, neither had come to public notice. AA's sudden growth However in 1939 the scene changed abruptly. In the spring of that year the AA book was first printed, and Liberty magazine came up with an article about our society in the early fall. This was quickly followed by a whole series of remarkable pieces which were carried by The Cleveland Plain Dealer on its editorial page. The newspaper and the mere two dozen AAs then in town were swamped by frantic pleas for help. Despite this rather chaotic situation, the Cleveland membership burgeoned into several hundreds in a few months. Nevertheless the implications of this AA population explosion were in some ways disturbing, especially the lack of proper hospital facilities. Though the Cleveland hospitals had rallied gallantly to this one emergency, their interest naturally waned when bills often went unpaid, and when ex-drunks trooped through the corridors to do what they called "Twelfth Step" work on sometimes noisy victims just arrived. Even the City Hospital at Akron, where Dr. Bob had attended numerous cases, was showing signs of weariness. In New York we had temporarily got off to a better start. There we had dear old Dr. Silkworth and, after awhile, his wonderful AA nurse "Teddy." This pair were to "process" some 12,000 New York area drunks in the years ahead, and so they became, as it were, the "opposite numbers" to the partnership of co-founder Dr. Bob and Sister Ignatia at Akron. Much concerned that, hospital-wise, his area might be caught quite unprepared to cope with a great new flood of publicity about AA, Dr. Bob in 1940 decided to visit St. Thomas and explain the great need for a hospital connection that could prove permanently effective. Since St. Thomas was a church institution, he thought the people there might vision a fine opportunity for service where the others had not. And how right he was! Sister Ignatia learns of AA But Bob knew no one in authority at the hospital. So he simply betook himself to "Admissions" and told the diminutive nun in charge the story of AA, including that of his own recovery. As this tale unfolded, the little sister glowed. Her compassion was deeply touched and perhaps her amazing intuition had already begun to say, "This is it." Of course Sister would try to help, but what could one small nun do? After all, there were certain attitudes and regulations. Alcoholism had not been reckoned as an illness; it was just a dire form of gluttony! Dr. Bob then told Sister about an alcoholic who then was in a most serious condition. A bed would simply have to be found for him. Said Mary Ignatia, "I'm sure your friend must be very sick. You know, Doctor, this sounds to me like a terrible case of indigestion." Trying to keep a straight face, Dr. Bob replied, "How right you are - his indigestion is most terrible." Twinkling, Sister immediately said, "Why don't you bring him in right away?" The two benign conspirators were soon faced with yet another dilemma. The victim proved to be distressingly intoxicated. It would soon be clear to all and sundry that his "indigestion" was quite incidental. Obviously a ward wouldn't do. There would have to be a private room. But all the single ones were filled. What on earth could they do? Sister pursed her lips, and then broke into a broad smile. Forthwith he declared, "I'11 have a bed moved into our flower room. In there he can't disturb anyone." This was hurriedly done, and the "indigestion" sufferer was already on his way to sobriety and health. Of course the conspirators were conscience-stricken by their subterfuge of the flower room. And anyhow, the "indigestion" pretense simply couldn't last. Somebody in authority would have to be told, and that somebody was the hospital's Superior. With great trepidation Sister and Dr. Bob waited upon this good lady, and explained themselves. To their immense delight she went along, and a little later, she boldly unfolded the new project before the St. Thomas trustees. To their everlasting credit they went along too - so much so that it was not a great while before Dr. Bob himself was invited to become a staff physician at St. Thomas, a bright example indeed of the ecumenical spirit. Presently a whole ward was devoted to the rehabilitation of alcoholics, and Sister Ignatia was of course placed in immediate charge. Dr. Bob sponsored the new cases into the hospital and medically treated each, never sending a bill to any. The hospital fees were very moderate and Sister often insisted on taking in patients on a "pay later" basis, sometimes to the mild consternation of the trustees. Together Ignatia and Dr. Bob indoctrinated all who cared to listen to the AA approach as portrayed by the book Alcoholics Anonymous, lately come off the press. The ward was open to visiting AAs from surrounding groups who, morning to night, told their stories of drinking and of recovery. There were never any barriers of race or creed; neither was AA nor Church teaching pressed upon any. With infinite tenderness Since nearly all her strenuous hours were spent there, Sister became a central figure on the ward. She would alternately listen and talk, with infinite tenderness and understanding. The alcoholic's family and friends received the very same treatment. It was this most compassionate caring that was a chief ingredient of her unique Grace; it magnetically drew everyone to her, even the most rough and obstinate. Yet she would not always stand still for arrant nonsense. When the occasion required, she could really put her foot down. Then to ease the hurt, she would turn on her delightful humor. Once, when a recalcitrant drunk boasted he'd never again be seen at the hospital, Sister shot back, "Well, let's hope not. But just in case you do show up, please remember that we already have your size of pajamas. They will be ready and waiting for you!" As the fame of St. Thomas grew, alcoholics flocked in from distant places. After their hospitalization they often remained for a time in Akron to get more first-hand AA from Dr. Bob, and from Akron's Group Number One. On their return home, Sister would carry on an ever mounting correspondence with them. We AAs are often heard to say that our Fellowship is founded upon resources that we have drawn from medicine, from religion and from our own experience of drinking and of recovery. Never before nor since those Akron early days have we witnessed a more perfect synthesis of all these healing forces. Dr. Bob exemplified both medicine and AA; Ignatia and the Sisters of St. Augustine also practiced applied medicine, and their practice was supremely well animated by the wonderful spirit of their Community. A more perfect blending of Grace and talent cannot be imagined. It should never be necessary to dwell, one by one, upon the virtues of these magnificent friends of AA's early time - Sister Ignatia and co-founder Dr. Bob. We need only recollect that "by their fruits we shall always know them." Passing of Dr. Bob Standing before the Cleveland International Convention of 1950, Dr. Bob looked upon us of AA for the last time. His good wife Anne had passed on before, and his own rendezvous with the new life to come was not many months away. Ten years had slipped by since the day when he and Sister had bedded down that first sufferer in the St. Thomas flower room. In this marvelous decade Sister and Dr. Bob had medically treated, and had spiritually infused, five thousand alcoholics. The greater part of these had found their freedom under God. In thankful recollection of this great work, we of AA presented to the Sisters of Charity -of St. Augustine and to the Staff of the St. Thomas Hospital a bronze plaque, ever since to be seen in the ward where Sister and Dr. Bob had wrought their wonders. The plaque reads as follows: IN GRATITUDE THE FRIENDS OF DR. BOB AND ANNE S. AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATE THIS MEMORIAL TO THE SISTERS AND STAFF OF ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL AT AKRON. BIRTHPLACE OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL BECAME THE FIRST RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION EVER TO OPEN ITS DOORS TO OUR SOCIETY. MAY THE LOVING DEVOTION OF THOSE WHO LABORED HERE IN OUR PIONEERING TIME BE A BRIGHT AND WONDROUS EXAMPLE OF GOD'S GRACE EVERLASTINGLY SET BEFORE US ALL. Visitors at St. Thomas today often wonder why this inscription says not a word about Sister Ignatia. Well, the fact was, she wouldn't allow her name to be used. She had flatly refused; it was one of those times when she had put her foot down! This was of course a glowing example of her innate and absolutely genuine humility. Sister truly believed that she deserved no particular notice; that such Grace as she might have could only be credited to God and to the community of her sisters. This was indeed the ultimate spirit of anonymity. We who had then seen this quality in her were deeply affected, especially Dr. Bob and myself. Hers came to be the influence that persuaded us both never to accept public honors of any sort. Sister's example taught that a mere observance of the form of AA anonymity should never become the slightest excuse for ignoring its spiritual substance. Following Dr. Bob's death, there was great concern lest Sister might not be allowed to continue her work. As in other orders of the church, service assignments among the Sisters of Charity were rather frequently rotated. This was the ancient custom. However, nothing happened for a time. Assisted by surrounding AA groups, Sister continued to carry on at St. Thomas. Then suddenly in 1952, she was transferred to St. Vincent Charity Hospital at Cleveland, where, to the delight of us all, she was placed in charge of its alcoholic ward. At Akron a fine successor was named to succeed her; the work there would continue. The ward at "Charity" occupied part of a dilapidated wing, and it was in great need of repair and rejuvenation. To those who knew and loved Sister, this opportunity proved a most stimulating challenge. The Charity trustees also agreed that something should be done. Substantial contributions flowed in. In their spare hours, AA carpenters, plumbers and electricians set about redoing the old wing - no charge for their services. The beautiful result of these labors of love is now known as Rosary Hall. Again the miracles of recovery from alcoholism commenced to multiply. During the following fourteen years, an astonishing 10,000 alcoholics passed through the portals of "Rosary Hall" there to fall under the spell of Mary Ignatia, and of AA. More than two-thirds of all these recovered from their dire malady, and again became citizens of the world. From dawn to dark Sister offered her unique Grace to that endless procession of stricken sufferers. Moreover, she still found time to minister widely to their families and this very fruitful part of her work became a prime inspiration to the Al-Anon Family Groups of the whole region. Notwithstanding her wonderful workers within the hospital, and help from AAs without, this must have been a most exacting and exhausting vocation for the increasingly frail Sister. That she was providentially enabled to be with us for so many years is something for our great wonder. To hundreds of friends it became worth a day's journey to witness her supreme and constant demonstration. Toward the close of her long stewardship there were brushes with death. Sometimes I came to Cleveland and was allowed to sit by her bedside. Then I saw her at her best. Her perfect faith, and her complete acceptance of whatever God might will was somehow implicit in all she said, be our conversation gay, or serious. Fear and uncertainty seemed entire strangers to her. On my leave-taking, there was always that smiling radiance; always her prayerful hope that God might still allow her a bit more time at Rosary Hall. Then a few days later I would learn that she was back at her desk. This superb drama would be re-enacted time after time. She was quite unconscious that there was anything at all unusual about it. Realizing there would come the day which would be her last, it seemed right that we of AA should privately present Sister with some tangible token that could, even a little, communicate to her the depth of our love. Remembering her insistence, in respect of the Akron plaque, that she would not really like any public attention, I simply sent word that I'd like to come to Cleveland for a visit, and casually added that should her health permit, we might take supper together in the company of a few of her stalwart AA friends and co-workers. Besides, it was her fiftieth year of service in her community. On the appointed evening, we foregathered in one of the small dining rooms at Charity Hospital. Plainly delighted, Sister arrived. She was barely able to walk. Being old-timers all, the dinner hour was spent in telling tales of other days. For, her part, Sister regaled us with stories of St. Thomas and with cherished recollections of Anne and co-founder Dr. Bob. It was unforgettable. Before Sister became too tired we addressed ourselves to our main project. From New York, I had brought an illuminated scroll. Its wording was in the form of a letter addressed by me to Sister, and it was written on behalf of our AA Fellowship worldwide. I stood up, read the scroll aloud, and then held the parchment for her to see. She was taken by complete surprise and could scarcely speak for a time. In a low voice she finally said, "Oh, but this is too much - this is too good for me." Our richest reward of the evening was of course Ignatia's delight; a joy unbounded the moment we assured her that our gift need not be publicized; that if she wished to stow it away in her trunk we would quite understand. It then seemed that this most memorable and moving evening was over. But there was to be another inspiring experience. Making light of her great fatigue, Sister insisted that we all go up to Rosary Hall, there to make a late round of the AA ward. This we did, wondering if any of us would ever again see her at work in the divine vocation to which she had given her all. For each of us this was the end of an epoch; I could think only of her poignant and oft-repeated saying, "Eternity is now." The scroll given to Sister may now be seen at Rosary Hall. This is the inscription: IN GRATITUDE FOR SISTER MARY IGNATIA ON THE OCCASION OF HER GOLDEN JUBILEE Dear Sister, W e of Alcoholics Anonymous look upon you as the finest friend and the greatest spirit we may ever know. We remember your tender ministrations to us in the days when AA was very young. Your partnership with Dr. Bob in that early time has created for us a spiritual heritage of incomparable worth. In all the years since, we have watched you at the bedside of thousands. So watching, we have perceived ourselves to be the beneficiaries of that wondrous light which God has always sent through you to illumine our darkness. You have tirelessly tended our wounds; you have nourished us with your unique understanding and your matchless love. No greater gifts of Grace than these shall we ever have. Speaking for AA members throughout the world, I say: "May God abundantly reward you according to your blessed works - now and forever!' In devotion, March 25,1964 Bill W. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1726. . . . . . . . . . . . In Memory of Helen (1955) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/31/2004 2:09:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII November 1955 AA Grapevine In Memory of Helen JUST six years ago last month, a girl named Helen made a journey from Boston to New York. She came to this city to join the staff of AA's General Service Headquarters. Her decision to leave Boston's Central Office, where she had for three years been much loved as its first Secretary, was to result in benefits beyond measure to worldwide AA. But for her, this decision proved to be a fateful one. Helen died in my home at Bedford Hills September 28, 1955. Her death was the climax of a long period of severe exhaustion and of many difficulties. She had come to stay with Lois and me to recuperate for the fresh start about which she had eagerly written to friends only one day before the unexpected attack of illness that did, in a matter of minutes, carry her away from us. All the countless AAs who knew Helen will surely declare her to have been one of the finest servants that we have ever had. Speaking for ourselves here at Headquarters we feel that a void has been left in our lives of the kind which can never quite be filled. With Lois and me, Helen always stood high among our most devoted and treasured friends. One more unforgettable thing: When the crucial decisions were made in 1951 that a Conference of elected AAs should be called to meet yearly with our Trustees, that this Conference should ultimately become the guide and conscience for our entire Society, and the successor to its founders, a most difficult problem had to be faced. Anxiously we asked ourselves, "How can this be done?" Because of her keen sense of AA feeling and reaction, her inborn flair for sound diplomacy, Helen was assigned to help me in the preparation of the Third Legacy. This document, on which the future of AA so much depends, and of which so many of us recently became conscious at St. Louis, will ever bear the stamp of Helen's great perception and devotion. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Bill W. Helen B. was buried in Rockland, Massachusetts on Saturday, October 1, following a Solemn High Mass of Requiem at the Church of the Holy Family in Rockland. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1727. . . . . . . . . . . . Traditions Question From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/31/2004 2:35:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Does anyone know why the Twelve Traditions are in the order that they are in? Thanks! Just Love, Barefoot Bill IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1728. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Traditions Question From: Cloydg . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/1/2004 1:25:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII A.A. Traditions *************** During its first decade, A.A. as a fellowship accumulated substantial experience which indicated that certain group attitudes and principles were particularly valuable in assuring survival of the informal structure of the Fellowship. In 1946, in the Fellowship's international journal, the A.A. Grapevine, these principles were reduced to writing by the founders and early members as the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. They were accepted and endorsed by the membership as a whole at the International Convention of A.A., at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1950. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1729. . . . . . . . . . . . Harper Brothers From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/1/2004 1:36:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The following is a compilation of earlier posts which have been deleted: Nancy From: John Wikelius Date: Sun Oct 13, 2002 11:32 pm Subject: Harper Brothers In 1953 Harper printed the 12&12 because I believe Bill did not want the controversy associated with getting this book into prints like he went through on the Big Book. If this is true, why did Harper do two more printings since AA published their first printing in 1953 as well. The AA Publishing was established at that time. Was it a contract issue per chance? In 1957 Harper printed the first printing of AA Comes of Age along with AA. Does anyone know why they got involved in printing this book. The answer may be obvious to some but I cannot find any reference to this information to date. From: "tcumming" Date: Mon Oct 14, 2002 10:05 pm Subject: re: Harper Brothers Pass It On has nice fairly succinct history of the writing of our "Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions" on pages 352-56. Far too much for this lazy alcoholic to type out the whole thing for you. But on pages 355-6 you can read: "'Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions' was first published in two editions -- one for distribution through AA groups, and the second edition, costing 50 cents more ($2.75 instead of $2.25), intended for sale in commercial bookstores and distributed through Harper & Brothers (by arrangement with AA's old friend Eugene Exman). AA made a contract with Harper that enabled the Fellowship to retain full control and copyright ownership of both editions." AA Comes of Age, page 219, also has a bit on this: "One more noteworthy event marked this period of quiet; the publication of AA's 'Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions' in 1953. This small volume is strictly a textbook which explains AA's twenty-four basic principles and their application, in detail and with great care. "Helped by my editorial team, Betty L. and Tom P., I had begun work on this project in early 1952. The final draft was widely circulated among our friends of medicine and religion and also among many old-time AA's. This rigorous checkup was topped off by none other than Jack Alexander, who had added the final editorial touch. For group distribution we published the volume ourselves, and our old friend Gene Exman of Harper offered favorable terms for distribution through his firm to bookstores." I'll also include a quote from earlier in AA Comes of Age, pertaining to the publishing of the Big Book, which may well have had an influence on this volume as well. On page 158: "... But Henry was not discouraged. He still had ideas. 'Bill,' he said, 'you and I know this book is going to sell. And Harper thinks it will sell. But these New York drunks just do not believe it. Some take it as a joke, and the rest talk high and holy about mixing a spiritual enterprise with money and promotion. ... .'" Other references pertaining to Harpers include: AA Comes of Age - 153, 156, 158, 219 Language of the Heart - 143-4 Pass It On - 193, 194, 195, 356 (BTW, it is not too difficult to look these up in the index at the back of the books) That's the official word. Now with salt shaker in hand: What I think I remember being told about Harper publishing the 'Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions' is that it was set up that way to soothe some of those complaints. Where GSO would publish and distribute copies for the fellowship, and Harpers would handle it for those outside the fellowship. That way GSO wouldn't have to engage in promoting the book to bookstores, and money from outside sources wouldn't get mixed in with our self support funds (Traditions 11 & 7). It seemed like a good plan, but in reality it just didn't work. At first Harpers did OK with the book, but eventually some bookstores and institutions outside AA found they could get the book cheaper through GSO than through their regular channels. Printing, distribution and publicity costs may also have gone up. In the end, what I remember being told, Harper's sales were down, costs were up and they knew they had to raise the price to make a profit. They also knew that GSO wasn't going to raise the price. They made the simple business decision that it wasn't profitable to publish the book anymore and they stopped. And so ended our experiment with split distribution, 'within the fellowship' vs. outside the fellowship. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1730. . . . . . . . . . . . Periodical Literature From: Jim Blair . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/1/2004 9:45:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII I have aquired 13 more articles and with post them on successive days ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---- Alcoholics take steps to cure themselves..... Alcoholics Anonymous From The Illinois Medical Journal, Oak Park, Ill. A new approach to the problem of chronic alcoholism has been taken by the alcoholics themselves. Calling their group "Alcoholics Anonymous," they first realized the utter hopelessness of their condition and then set out to do something about it. All of them had been in sanitoria, and many of them had been confined to institutions for the insane. They recognized their addiction to be a disease which medicines alone were unable to cure. They also realized that by themselves they were unable to break the hold alcohol had upon them. The chronic alcoholic has lost his friends by his drinking. He feels that no one-not even his family-understands his plight. He is truly alone-and finds solace and companionship only in his bottle. Most chronic alcoholics really want to stop. When they openly admit this, and are willing to let others help, then the members of Alcoholics Anonymous can enter the picture. The chronic alcoholic in talking to a member of the group finds a person who understands" - who has had the same experiences. The new member is introduced to the fellowship of the group. "Business" gatherings are held weekly to talk over common problems. "Social" gatherings are held several other nights of the week where companionship is sincere and bridge, poker and conversation abound. There are no officers in the group. Each member has equal standing. There are no fees, dues, nor expenses whatsoever. When a new member has become thoroughly acquainted with the meaning of his new life he should go out himself and work with other unfortunates. This giving of himself, without thought of remuneration gives him strength to combat his own desire. It is indeed a miracle when a person who for years has been more or less constantly under the influence of alcohol and in whom his friends have lost all confidence, will sit up all night with a "drunk" and at stated intervals administer a small amount of liquor in accordance with a doctor's order without taking a drop himself. Full co-operation is given to the medical profession. In dealing with patients who are ill the family physician is called in who assumes charge until the patient has recovered. About six years ago "Alcoholics Anonymous" was started in New York. The group gained headway slowly, but now there are about a thousand members with groups in nearly every large city. The first member in Chicago joined the group on Akron, Ohio, about three years ago. One year ago Chicago had eight members; now there are 150 and the group grows daily. Of alcoholics who are contacted about 80% join "Alcoholics Anonymous." Of the first 40 to join the Chicago group 23 have not tasted alcohol since being admitted. This covers a period of time of from six months to three years. Eleven have had one "slip." Three have had from two to four "slips" and three have been lost. A new member may feel so well physically and so strong mentally that in his new condition he may believe he can drink moderately as many people do. In trying to do so he re-discovers his complete lack of power to combat this disease. After such an experience he usually remains firmly attached to his new found heaven. It seems unbelievable, when one considers that in people who were "hopeless alcoholics" 58% have attained complete sobriety and 92% practical sobriety. Broken minds and bodies that have been a weight on society have been rehabilitated. Broken homes have been restored-innocent families no longer suffer. A movement that is strong enough to make rehabilitated men, some of high position and great wealth, give themselves to help restore other broken lives without thought of remuneration, is indeed a powerful thing, worthy of our attention. Source: Current Digest, April 1941 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1731. . . . . . . . . . . . Fr. Ed Dowling Obituary (1960) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/1/2004 1:30:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII AA Grapevine June 1960 To Father Ed - Godspeed! By Bill W. EARLY Sunday morning, April 3rd, Father Edward Dowling died peacefully in his sleep. The place was Memphis, Tennessee. Cheerfully unmindful of his ebbing health, he had been visiting one of his "Cana'' groups (a favorite undertaking which he founded, Father Ed's Cana groups are dedicated, under Church auspices, to the solution of difficult family problems through the practice o f AA's Twelve Steps.). Never was there a gayer evening than in the hours before. He would have wanted to take his leave of us in just that way. This was one of the most gentle souls and finest friends we AAs may ever know. He left a heritage of inspiration and grace which will be with us always. Father Ed had planned to be at our 1960 Long Beach Convention, come July. This prospect, now to be unfulfilled, brings a moving recollection of his appearance at AA's St. Louis International Convention of 1955. It seems altogether fitting that I repeat the introduction I then made of him, together with an account of the unforgettable impression he left upon me the very first time we met - a fragment of history recorded years afterward in AA Comes o f Age: "With deep joy, I present to you Father Ed Dowling who lives at the Jesuit House right here in St. Louis. Father Ed, knowing whence comes his strength, is definitely allergic to praise. Nonetheless I think that certain facts about him should be put into our record - facts that new generations of AAs ought to hear, read, and know. "Father Ed helped to start the first AA group in this town; he was the first clergyman of his faith to note the surprising resemblance between the spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuit order) and the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. As a result, he was quick to write in 1940 the first Catholic recommendation of AA of which we have any knowledge. "Since then, his labor for us has been a prodigy. Not only have his recommendations been heard worldwide, but he has himself worked at AA and for AA. Travels, AA meetings, wise and tender counsel - these works of his can be measured in thousands of miles and thousands of hours. "In my entire acquaintance, our friend Father Ed is the only one from whom I have never heard a resentful word and of whom I have never heard a single criticism. In my own life he has been a friend, adviser, great example, and the source of more inspiration than I can say. "Father Ed is made of the stuff of the saints. * * * 'A great cheer of welcome greeted Father Ed Dowling as, indifferent to his grievous lameness, he made his way to the lectern. Father Dowling of the Jesuit order in St. Louis is intimately known to AAs for a thousand miles and more around. Many in the Convention audience remembered with gratitude his ministry to their spiritual needs. St. Louis old-timers recalled how he helped start their group; it had turned out to be largely Protestant, but this fazed him not a bit. Some of us could remember his first piece about us in The Queen's Work, the Sodality's magazine. He had been the first to note how closely in principle AA's Twelve Steps paralleled a part of the Exercises of St. Ignatius, a basic spiritual discipline of the Jesuit order. He had boldly written in effect to a11 alcoholics and especially to those of his own faith: 'Folks, AA is good. Come and get it.' And this they certainly had done. His first written words were the beginning of a wonderfully benign influence in favor of our fellowship, the total of which no one will ever be able to compute. "Father Ed's talk to us at the Convention that Sunday morning flashed with humor and deep insight. As he spoke, the memory of his first appearance in my own life came back to me as fresh as though it were yesterday: One wintry night in 1940 in AA's Old Twenty-Fourth Street Club in New York I had gone to bed at about ten o'clock with a severe dose of self-pity and my imaginary ulcer. Lois was out somewhere. Hail and sleet beat on the tin roof over my head; it was a wild night. The Club was deserted except for old Tom, the retired fireman, that diamond in the rough lately salvaged from Rockland asylum. The front doorbell clanged, and a moment later Toni pushed open my bedroom door. 'Some bum,' said he, 'from St. Louis is down there and wants to see you.' 'Oh, Lord!' I said. 'Not another one! And at this time of night. Oh, well, bring him up.' "I heard labored steps on the stairs. Then, balanced precariously on his cane, he came into the room, carrying a battered black hat that was shapeless as a cabbage leaf and plastered with sleet. He lowered himself into my solitary chair, and when he opened his overcoat I saw his clerical collar. He brushed back a shock of white hair and looked at me through the most remarkable pair of eyes I have ever seen. We talked about a lot of things, and my spirits kept on rising, and presently I began to realize that this man radiated a grace that filled the room with a sense of presence. I felt this with great intensity; it was a moving and mysterious experience. In years since I have seen much of this great friend, and whether I was in joy or in pain he always brought to me the same sense of grace and the presence of God. My case is no exception. Many who meet Father Ed experience this touch of the eternal. It is no wonder that he, was able to fill all of us there in the Kiel Auditorium with his inimitable spirit on that wonderful Sunday morning." Everyone then present will remember this famous quote from Father Ed's St. Louis talk: "There is a negative approach from agnosticism. This was the approach of Peter the Apostle. 'Lord, to whom shall we go'?" doubt if there is anybody in this hall who really ever sought sobriety. I think we were trying to get away from drunkenness. I don't think we should despise the negative. I have a feeling that if I ever find myself in Heaven, it will be from backing away from Hell." (End) Just before his death, Father Ed had completed the article he wrote for AA TODAY, the twenty-fifth anniversary commemorative book prepared by the Grapevine. The article will appear in the book under the title, "AA's Steps for the Underprivileged Non-AA." - THE EDITORS. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1732. . . . . . . . . . . . Eddie Shill From: Carter Elliott . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/2/2004 8:01:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII When I joined the Fellowship in 1969 (in North Jersey), one of my first assigned service tasks was that of chauffeuring an old timer to meetings. A stroke had rendered Eddie Shill physically disabled but his mind was razor sharp. His personal recollections of those folks we now call pioneers makes me wonder if his name pops up in any of our archive data bases. Thanks, Carter Elliott ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Small Business $15K Web Design Giveaway [21] - Enter today IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1735. . . . . . . . . . . . Periodixal Lit., Your Life, November 1944 From: Jim Blair . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/2/2004 9:42:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Miracles at Work for Alcoholics What is the secret of the success of Alcoholics Anonymous? A famous writer gives you his answer By Arthur Hopkins In Tagore's Memories he tells of walking along a country road with his mother when he was a small child. They passed a grotesque drunkard. The boy laughed. The mother said: "Don't laugh. He, too, is on his way to God." I had read and heard of the work being done by Alcoholics Anonymous. I vaguely knew that the helpful service was being offered by former victims of alcohol who had found a way out. Marcie, a friend of mine, told me of having lunch with a bank executive friend and was startled when the strong man told him, with no concealment, that he had been an alcoholic and had come close to wrecking his career. He was one of the workers in the Alcoholics Anonymous movement and asked Marcie if he would like to attend a monthly meeting of the workers. Marcie, having a lively interest in human service, accepted and later asked me if I would like to go along. Thus I shall always be indebted to Marcie for a strongly revealing and rewarding experience. The prologue had a pleasant but conventional aspect. The host had us to dinner at the Yale Club. He was an athletic, beaming man who showed no marks of gutter bruises. He spoke of three ladies joining us for the evening. Presently they came-three gracious and cultured women, probably in the thirties. It looked more and more like a patronizing expedition of the Upper Ten to the Lower Five. Soon the conversation revealed that the ladies, also free of telltale ravages, had likewise taken a pounding from John Barleycorn, but had managed to come up for the final count with John left sprawling and were now prepared to step back into the ring to second anyone who was ready to give John a battle. Before the entre the slumming aspect had disappeared. Here were the privileged seeking the privilege of helping their own, and their own were alcoholics. More revealing than their willingness to discuss openly with strangers their alcoholic ordeal, was the complete absence of any desire to conceal what others would think shameful. This unusual freedom from the personal, I was later to learn at the meeting, is one of the key causes of the great success of the movement. On entering the hall where there were several hundred men and women, mostly graduate alcoholics and aspirants, I looked for the derelicts and defeated and found none. There was gaiety and loud laughter, which had suffered nothing from the absence of libations. A little man, with considerable dental jubilation, called the meeting to order. After a sullen, disapproving phonograph was prodded into action the assembly sang the national anthem. The little man then unwrapped his gleaming teeth from the package of his lips and asked how many had remained abstinent for three months or longer. A number raised their hands. The teeth gleamed. Then the little man told his experience in his life's battle with alcohol. There was nothing sad, self-pitying or exhibitionist about his recital. It was rather the report of a persistent and hopeless experiment. The one thing that he always knew after painful recovery from a devastating bout was that when he got in shape he would know how to handle liquor like sane people. Liquor wasn't going to lick him. No, sir! His cure began on the day he was taken to the AA house and became convinced that he was an alcoholic and the seductive opponent would best him every time. It was a fight in which there was no compromise, a fight where the decision was already in. He was talked to by people who knew his whole experience. They had lived the scenario from beginning to end. The little man, with AA guidance, gained his freedom and then became a worker himself. He found he gained new strength by helping others. "I never need to take an inventory of myself," he said. "I see myself in every one I try to help. There it is looking right at me, all my liabilities and my assets. I was never a religious man. Of course, I believed in God, I suppose, but I never thought he could do anything about me. Now I know that I never could have come through without Him. I had to have God's help. I kept asking for it and got it." Shade of Tagore's mother. There was a good deal of laughter through the little man's talk. It was the comedy of identical experience. His hearers understood perfectly. He then introduced a real estate operator from New Rochelle. Like the little man he opened his talk by saying: "I am an alcoholic." It was a recital of years of trying hopelessly to become a moderate drinker. There was obviously an element of pride involved. He could never admit to himself that alcohol was his master. As soon as he got into shape he would show alcohol how it ought to be handled. He must be a good businessman because he managed to survive for years with banks continuing to trust him. "Finally," he said, "I wasn't invited to leave my home as some here have put it. I was kicked out. I put a cot in the back of the office. I used to lie down about twelve at night so I could wake up before three and knock over a couple before the bar closed. Then I was awake at eight to be in time for the bar opening up. He tried cures. He tried will power, but always ended up seeing himself in the bar mirror. He found AA. He knew for the first time that he was an alcoholic and could never beat it. It was the end of alcohol or the end of him. New challenge and new pride were awakened. "Of course when I got off the stuff I began looking at myself to try and find out what was wrong with me. It must have been more than appetite. Then I discovered one of my troubles was intolerance. I couldn't bear to be crossed by anyone. If, in putting through a deal, I thought someone was trying to pull something I got mad and told them to go to hell, and, of course, I was so mad I had to have a drink and then I was off again-once for five weeks in a hospital with a fractured hip. "One time, after I had been going fine, I blew up again, tore up the contract, threw it on the floor. There was four hundred bucks in it for me, but to hell with it. Nobody was going to make a monkey out of me. I stormed out of the place, but this time I didn't go to a bar. I thought it over and wondered how I could straighten myself out. I always hated to apologize to anyone-knowing I'd been wrong only made it harder. But finally I had to get square with myself, so I called the fellow up. I said to him: `I'm sorry about that blow-up. I'm an alcoholic and sometimes I lose my head. I don't want you to think I care about the money. That's not why I'm calling you. I want you to forgive me.' The man said: `You know, I've been trying to figure out why I blew up. Come on over and let's straighten it out.' We did. My fee wasn't due for thirty days, but he gave me the check then. In the old days it would have ended that way. I'd have tied the bag on good. "Soon after AA got hold of me my wife came to me and said: `Why don't you come home?' I said: `Do you mean it?' `Of course, come on.' "When I got home, I said: `I don't suppose I could get a drink around here.' My wife said: `Sure.' She brought me a bottle of beer. The next day I had a bottle of beer. That night I slept for the first time without drugs. I slept because I was at peace. "They tell us around here we can call it anything we like-God, Divine Power or-well, I call it God. I never believed much, but I know that without God I'm nothing. That time I blew up I knew I wasn't going to drink because I had asked God that morning to help me." Shade of Tagore's mother. I am an alcoholic," began the next speaker. He looked like a football coach. He was a merchant from New Jersey. His drinking began young and industriously in the West. As a traveling man he found it convenient to have supplies constantly at hand by carrying three or four spares in his bag. His experience was much as the others-releases and relapses, treatments, sanitariums, lost money, lost business, lost home, lost family. "In one hospital there was a bottle of rubbing alcohol in the closet. I drank it to within one inch of the bottom, then turned on my face. When the nurse came in I asked her to rub my back as I was in such pain. She found the nearly empty bottle, refilled it and rubbed my back. When she had gone I helped myself from the refill. Later she told me I had been drinking refuse. Doctors and nurses had washed their hands in it. Wounds had been cleaned with it. "After AA I got my family back and am in business again. I then tried helping others, but I didn't have much success until I finally realized that I was looking down on them. Now I know that I am only made strong by what I can give others. I need them as much as they need me. Like the others I wasn't religious, but I now say boldly and reverently it was God and only God. Without Him I was helpless." Shade of Tagore's mother. For a time, the writer was disturbed by people who had obviously been freed saying emphatically: "I am an alcoholic." It seemed a false and harmful affirmation. Thinking back on what the traveling man had said about his feeling of superiority once he had progressed beyond the other victims, it occurred to me that a professed alcoholic might easily be more helpful than one who thinks of himself only as a former alcoholic. Maybe it is better to stay right in the lodge with the others with never a suggestion of superiority. Perhaps negative affirmations for the purpose of closer brotherhood have a positive effect with no injury to the affirmer. And now the little chairman got up to introduce a product of his own helpfulness. One day a telephone call had come from the AA office for him to go to a Long Island address from which a call for help had come. It was for a woman, so the little man made sure first that her husband was at home. He called and the good work was begun. And now, with pride, he presented her. She was Mary, a darling woman in her late twenties, with shining face, scoffing eyes and the wide, warm smile of Erin. She looked at the microphone and laughed. "When I used to see one of those things I thought I was Lily Pons." So Mary was off to a great howl. She told the list of almost identical steps of disintegration. She had two children. Her husband had helped her try everything-sessions with priests, promises, pledges, treatments. "But I hid bottles all over the house, even on the roof. Once when I needed it real bad the bottle on the roof was gone. Maybe some poor devil needed it worse than I did, but it was hard to see it that way at the time. "I went to Sanitarium, too." The place had been mentioned twice before and each time had raised a great laugh. "And, of course, like the others I tried a psychiatrist. After he talked for some time I asked him if he drank. He said that if he took two drinks it made him sick to his stomach. He couldn't take two drinks without losing his stomach and there he was trying to tell me how to handle liquor." Perhaps Mary there touched one of the cardinal reasons for the success of the AA movement. Their applicants soon learn that they have nothing to explain. They are talking to experts who have gone all the way down the road, have lain in every pitfall and tried every false exit. They cannot be shocked or deceived. "Finally," said Mary, "I landed in that lovely resort on the river, Bellevue, and what I saw there in two days left nothing but the bottle. "At last my husband gave up. He said there was nothing for us but a divorce. When we were in court someone asked us why we didn't try AA. So we telephoned, and the little man came. They asked me to the house on Twenty-fourth Street. I went and as soon as I was in the place I knew this was it. They talked to me some about God. I was raised in a convent school and that wasn't hard to take. Well, it worked. There's nothing more to say except that five weeks ago I had a baby." There were applause and cheers for Mary. "When I came out of the ether the doctor said to me: `Never lose your sense of humor, Mary. When you were still under you said: "What's all this talk about no atheists in foxholes? I guess you won't find any in delivery rooms, either."' From what my husband tells me you won't find any in the corridor." Mary was a joyful benediction. She filled the place with a sense of blessing. I doubt if there were any atheists there either. The words of a sainted woman spoken nearly a hundred years ago had come true. Drunkards, with the help of fellow victims, had found God. Whatever the pain to themselves and their loved ones the journey was worth it. Perhaps in no other way would they have found God. It seemed to one present that God was nearer in that hall than He had ever been before, that the God long accepted by the head had moved into the heart and only there can God's banners truly fly. Source: Your Life, November 1944 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1736. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Traditions Question From: Arthur . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/2/2004 1:12:00 PM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII The data below is historical info on the development of the Traditions. I could not find anything to spell out what went into determining their sequence. Arthur *The history of the Twelve Traditions constructed from the following sources* 12&12 Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions AACOA AA Comes of Age BW-FH Bill W by Francis Hartigan BW-RT Bill W by Robert Thompson DBGO Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers GSC General Service Conference (report) GTBT Grateful to Have Been There by Nell Wing Gv Grapevine LOH The Language of the Heart PIO Pass It On SM AA Service Manual and Twelve Concepts for World Service *1942:* Correspondence from groups gave early signals of a need to develop guidelines to help with group problems that occurred repeatedly. Basic ideas for the Twelve Traditions emerged from this correspondence and the principles defined in the Foreword to the 1st Ed. Big Book. (AACOA 187, 192-193, 198, 204, PIO 305-306, LOH 154) *1945: *Apr, Earl T, pioneer member and founder of AA in Chicago (whose story is _He Sold Himself Short_), suggested that Bill codify the Traditions and write essays on them for the Gv. Initially, the Twelve Traditions were qualified as _Twelve Points to Assure Our Future_. (AACOA 22, 203, GTBT 54-55, 77, SM S8, PIO 306, LOH 20-24) Aug, the Gv carried Bill's first Traditions article (titled _Modesty One Plank for Good Public Relations_) setting the ground work for his campaign for the Traditions. The July Gv had an article by member C.H.K. of Lansing, MI about the Washingtonians. Bill used this article to begin his essay commentaries. *1946: *Apr, the Gv carried the article _Twelve Suggested Points for AA Tradition_. These would later be called the long form of the Traditions. (AACOA viii, 96, 203, LOH 20, 154, Gv) *1947: *Jun, the _AA Preamble_ first appeared in the Gv. It was written by Tom Y, Grapevine's first editor. Aug, in his Gv Traditions essay _Last Seven Years Have Made AA Self-Supporting_, Bill wrote 'Two years ago the trustees set aside, out of AA book funds, a sum which enabled my wife and me to pay off the mortgage on our home and make some needed improvements. The Foundation also granted Dr. Bob and me each a royalty of 10% on the book Alcoholics Anonymous, our only income from AA sources. We are both very comfortable and deeply grateful.'' Dec, the Gv carried a notice that an important new 48 page pamphlet _AA Traditions_ was sent to each group and that enough copies were available for each member to have one free of charge. *1949: *As plans for the 1st Int'l Convention were under way, Earl T suggested to Bill that the _Twelve Suggested Points for AA Tradition_ would benefit from revision and shortening. (AACOA says 1947). Bill, with Earl's help, set out to develop the short form of the Traditions. (AACOA 213, GTBT 55, 77, PIO 334) Nov, the short form of the Twelve Traditions was first printed in the Gv. The entire issue was dedicated to the Traditions in preparation for the forthcoming Cleveland Convention. Two wording changes were subsequently made to the initial version: 'primary spiritual aim'' was changed to 'primary purpose'' in Tradition Six, and 'principles above personalities'' was changed to 'principles before personalities'' in Tradition Twelve. (LOH 96) *1950: *Jul, AA's 15th anniversary and 1st Int'l Convention at Cleveland, OH (est. 3,000 attendees). Registration was $1.50 per person. (AACOA 213, BW-RT 308, PIO 338). The Twelve Traditions were adopted unanimously by the attendees by standing vote. (AACOA 43, LOH 121, PIO 338) *1953: *Jun, the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions was published. Bill W. described the work as 'This small volume is strictly a textbook which explains AA's 24 basic principles and their application, in detail and with great care.'' Bill was helped in its writing by Betty L and Tom P. Jack Alexander also helped with editing. It was published in two editions: one for $2.25 for distribution through AA groups, and a $2.75 edition distributed through Harper & Brothers for sale in commercial bookstores. (AACOA ix, 219, PIO 354-356) *1955:* AA's 15th anniversary and 2nd Int'l Convention at St Louis, MO. On Jul 3, by resolution, Bill W and its old-timers turned over the stewardship of the AA society to the movement. The Conference became the Guardian of the Traditions and voice of the group conscience of the entire Fellowship. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the Convention by acclamation and by the GSC by formal resolution and vote. (AACOA ix, 47-48, 223-228) *1957:* the GSC passed an advisory action that 'No change in Article 12 of the [Conference] Charter or in AA Tradition or in the Twelve Steps of AA may be made with less than the written consent of three-quarters of the AA groups.'' (SM S87) *1958:* the GSC passed an advisory action 'the GSC recognize the original use of the word `honest' before `desire to stop drinking' and its deletion from the Traditions as part of the evolution of the AA movement. Any change to be left to the discretion of AA Publishing, Inc.'' This advisory action is worded in a manner that can give the erroneous impression of a change to the wording of Tradition Three. It actually involved removing the word 'honest'' from 'honest desire to stop drinking'' in the AA Preamble in the Gv_. _It also led to changing the wording of the Preamble from 'AA has no dues or fees'' to 'There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.'' The changes were approved by the General Service Board in the summer of 1958 (www.aagrapevine.org also _Best of the Grapevine_, vol.1, 274-275) *Third Tradition Story (Two items that often are erroneously intermingled)* *1937: *On the AA calendar of 'year two,'' the spirit of Tradition Three emerged. A member asked to be admitted who frankly described himself to the 'oldest'' member as 'the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism.'' The 'addiction'' was 'sex deviate.'' (Note: info provided by David S from an audiotape of Bill W at an open meeting of the 1968 GSC. See also the pamphlet _The Co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous_, P-53, pg 30). Guidance came form Dr Bob (the oldest member in Akron) asking, 'What would the Master do?'' The member was admitted and plunged into 12th Step work. (DBGO 240-241 12&12 141-142) Note: this story is often erroneously intermingled with an incident that occurred eight years later in 1945 at the 41st St clubhouse in NYC (described next). *1945:* Bill W was called by Barry L (who would later author _Living Sober_) from the 41st St clubhouse. Bill persuaded the group to take in a black man who was an ex-convict with bleach-blond hair, wearing women's clothing and makeup. The man also admitted to being a 'dope fiend.'' When asked what to do about it, Bill posed the question, 'did you say he was a drunk?'' When answered, 'yes'' Bill replied, 'well I think that's all we can ask.'' The man disappeared shortly after. (BW-FH 8, PIO 317-318) Anecdotal accounts erroneously say that this individual went on to become one of the best 12th Steppers in NY. This story is often erroneously intermingled with that of a 1937 incident ('year two'' on the AA calendar) involving an Akron member that is discussed in the Tradition Three essay in the 12&12 (pgs 141-142). *The Order of the Traditions* The order of the Traditions was defined in April 1946 and I cannot find anything that influenced the sequence in which they were written. The April 1946 Grapevine article states: Almost any A.A. can tell you what our group problems are. Fundamentally they have to do with our relations, one with the other, and with the world outside. They involve relations of the A.A. to his group, the relation of his group to Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole, and the place of Alcoholics Anonymous in that troubled sea called Modern Society, where all of humankind must presently shipwreck or find haven. Terribly relevant is the problem of our basic structure and our attitude toward those ever pressing questions of leadership, money and authority. The future may well depend on how we feel and act about things that are controversial and how we regard our public relations. Our final destiny will surely hang upon what we presently decide to do with these danger-fraught issues! Now comes the crux of our discussion. It is this: Have we yet acquired sufficient experience to state clear-cut policies on these, our chief concerns? Can we now declare general principles which could grow into vital traditions--traditions sustained in the heart of each A.A. by his own deep conviction and by the common consent of his fellows? That is the question. Though full answer to all our perplexities may never be found, I'm sure we have come at last to a vantage point whence we can discern the main outlines of a body of tradition; which, God willing, can stand as an effective guard against all the ravages of time and circumstance. Acting upon the persistent urge of old A.A. friends, and upon the conviction that general agreement and consent between our members is now possible, I shall venture to place in words these suggestions for _An Alcoholics Anonymous Tradition of Relations_--_Twelve Points to Assure Our Future._ The sequence of the Gv essays that Bill wrote do not follow the sequence of the Traditions until December 1947 through November 1948 when he wrote an essay for each Tradition in numerical sequence (later incorporated into the 12&12 and AA Comes of Age). His essays from August 1945 to November 1947 were: Modesty One Plank for Good Public Relations - Aug 1945 'Rules'' Dangerous but Unity Vital - Sep 1945 The Book Is Born - Oct 1945 A Tradition Born of Our Anonymity - Jan 1946 Our Anonymity Is Both Inspiration and Safety - Mar 1946 Twelve Suggested Points for AA Tradition - Apr 1946 Safe Use of Money - May 1946 Policy on Gift Funds - Jun 1946 The Individual in Relation to AA as a Group - Jul 1946 Who Is a Member of Alcoholics Anonymous - Aug 1946 Will AA Ever Have a Personal Government - Jan 1947 Dangers in Linking AA to Other Projects - Mar 1947 Clubs in AA - Apr 1947 Adequate Hospitalization: One Great Need - May 1947 Lack of Money Proved AA Boon - Jun 1947 Last Seven Years Have Made AA Self-Supporting - Aug 1947 Traditions Stressed in Memphis Talk - Oct 1947 Incorporations: Their Use and Misuse - Nov 1947 The above period of time was also when Bill was going through some of the worst of his episodes of depression. 10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy;"> 10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy;"> ----- *From:* Lash, William (Bill) [mailto:wlash@avaya.com] *Sent:* Wednesday, March 31, 2004 1:35 PM *To:* AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com *Subject:* [AAHistoryLovers] Traditions Question 12.0pt;"> Does anyone know why the Twelve Traditions are in the order that they are in? Thanks! 12.0pt;"> Just Love, Barefoot Bill 12.0pt;"> IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1737. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Alan Guiness/A Members Eye View of AA From: mlibby . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/3/2004 1:06:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII His name was Allen McGuiness (deceased) and I believe he was from Southern California. I love the pamphlet and have memorized a large chunk of it because it is, in my opinion, the most beautiful expression of what AA is that I have ever read. I'll send you separately a 15 minute excerpt from the pamphlet that I recite daily on my way to work. You can go to xa-speakers.org and search for "Allen" and you'll find a series of five talks he gave in Brentwood, California back in 1968 called "AA Workshop" or something to that effect. Tremendous....very much in line with A Member's Eye View. You can download those and learn a significant amount more about this man through his sharing... He got sober in the early 1950's, went out shortly thereafter, but came back. Thank God. Mike ----- Original Message ----- From: burt reynolds To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, February 06, 2004 5:05 PM Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Alan Guiness/A Members Eye View of AA Does anyone know anything about the man whose speech became the pamphlet "A Member's Eye View of AA"? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Finance: Get your refund fast by filing online [5] IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ++++Message 1738. . . . . . . . . . . . Sam Shoemaker Obituary (1964) From: Lash, William (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5/2004 8:08:00 AM IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII January 1964 AA Grapevine In Memory of Dr. Sam by Bill ON Thursday, October 31, 1963 Dr. Sam Shoemaker, the great Episcopal clergyman and first friend of AA, passed from our sight and hearing. He was one of those few without whose ministration AA could never have been born in the first place - nor prospered since. From his teaching, Dr. Bob and I absorbed most of the principles that were later embodied i