From the BlogMeet Ron

MOMENTS OF CLARITY

Like a wrench to fit every “NUT”

Like a wrench to fit every “NUT”
Tools For Life – There’s one for every problem that comes along

I grew up without tools that showed me how to live. When I was a teenager, I started getting drunk. This gave me immense relief from a lot of bad feelings and made me feel I needed only one tool: alcohol. Alcohol solved all my problems.

My friends, many of them, went on to college or into various businesses, married, and had families. Grew up. Learned how to deal with the real world. I stayed focused on drinking, which I did as often as possible, and my world got smaller and smaller. After a while, all I thought about was the next drink and where it was coming from. My relationships with other people deteriorated and disappeared. People and their reactions to my drinking were inconvenient and unpleasant anyway.

I stopped showing up for work on a daily basis and came close to losing my apartment. Drinking in a bar became too expensive and entailed talking to people, so I drank out of pint bottles of scotch while sitting in public bathroom stalls, sitting on a toilet reading the graffiti scratched onto the back of the stall door.

I felt there were two ways to solve my problems. One, kill myself. Two, somehow, magically, be rescued by kind people who would take me in and take care of me.

As it happened, I was rescued and directed to Alcoholics Anonymous. I immediately experienced the “love that has no price tag” that Bill W. talks about in the Twelfth Step essay in the “Twelve and Twelve.” It wasn’t what I expected or even wanted.

These AA people kept harping on the theme of not drinking. Nobody offered me money or a place to live. They talked about “tools of sobriety” and incessantly prescribed actions I could take, like getting a home group, asking someone to be my sponsor, or asking somebody else how they were feeling that day. I didn’t feel like doing anything, and no one seemed to realize that. I took very few suggestions and nothing changed. I continued to drink periodically and think about suicide.

About a year later, I attempted suicide by overdosing on some pills I’d been hoarding. I went into a coma, had convulsions, and finally came to on my mattress seventy-two hours later. I felt awful, but there was nothing unusual about waking up feeling awful. I was relieved I hadn’t died and couldn’t blame anyone for what I had done to myself.

I realized something else: I didn’t know how to live without alcohol. I realized that I should go back and ask those AA people how they did it.

That began my real AA journey. One by one, AAs offered me tools I learned to use, tools that solved every problem that came along.

The first tool I acquired was “act as if.” It didn’t matter how I felt as long as I did something. I had it backwards all along, thinking that I had to feel like doing something before I actually did it. I started, tentatively at first, to “act my way into right thinking.”

“Stay in the now,” someone suggested, “in the moment, on the twenty-four hour plan. One day at a time.” Whenever I am gripped by fear of an unknown future and all my projections are negative, I do what my sponsor directed me to do. I wriggle my toes and come back into the safety of the moment.

Writing down all the things I’m grateful for has been a helpful suggestion. Drinking is no longer a problem, but my thinking sure is. Writing a gratitude list puts the brakes on negative thoughts, turns me back toward the light, and helps me to see the beauty in everyday life.

Try to help somebody else, my fellow AAs suggested. So-and-so is homesick, why don’t you send him a card? Turn to the person next to you at a meeting and ask how they are. Call a member of your home group and see how their job interview went. I discovered that when I stopped thinking about myself all the time, I felt better.

However, being told to find a power greater than my own thinking and greater than alcohol, a power that could solve all my problems, was the best suggestion I’ve received. This is the purpose of the Twelve Steps, and I was fortunate to find a sponsor who took me through the process outlined in the Big Book.

I asked how to begin and was told, “Get down on your knees in the morning when you get out of bed and say, ‘Please.’ Before you get into bed at night, get down on your knees again and say, ‘Thank you.’ Turn toward that power and ask for help whenever you feel disturbed, or afraid, the way a plant turns toward the light.” I did these things and found that life could be faced, day-by-day, without a drink and with the sure knowledge that my Higher Power is here to help me through everything.

I’ve been fired in sobriety and offered a job I really wanted. I’ve fallen in love, had a good marriage, and buried my dear husband. Once I became ill, received an abundance of help, and now am completely well. Precious friends have moved away; new friends have come along. Every day I discover ways to be useful and things to be grateful for. I’m a long way from the person who thought the only solution was to destroy my life. My toolkit is full today and my cup runneth over.

— Anonymous
New York, New York

Leaving the City of Regret (author unknown)

Leaving the City of Regret (author unknown)

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I’m talking about my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on “Wish I Had” airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I would not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the town’s leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol’ Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday’s. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.

Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don’t Blame Me and I Couldn’t Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent “pity party” could be cancelled by “Me!” I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I can’t change yesterday, but I do have the power to make today a wonderful day. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? Yes! But there is no physical way to undo them.

So, if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. God bless you in finding this great town. If you can find it — it’s in your own heart — please look me up. I live on “I Can Do It” street. (Author unknown)

Twelve Suggested Points of AA Tradition by Bill W. Grapevine, April 1946

Twelve Suggested Points of AA Tradition 
by Bill W. Grapevine, April 1946 
[Bill’s first General Presentation of the Traditions to the Groups]
 
Nobody invented Alcoholics Anonymous. It grew. Trial and error has produced a rich experience. Little by little we have been adopting the lessons of that experience, first as policy and then as Tradition. That process still goes on and we hope it never stops. Should we ever harden too much, the letter might crush the spirit. We could victimize ourselves by petty rules and prohibitions; we could imagine that we had said the last word. We might even be asking alcoholics to accept our rigid ideas or stay away. We never stifle progress like that! 
 
Yet the lessons of our experience count for a great deal — a very great deal, we are each convinced. The first written record of AA experience was the book “Alcoholics Anonymous.” It was addressed to the heart of our foremost problem — release from the alcohol obsession. It contained personal experiences of drinking and recovery and a statement of those divine but ancient principles, which have brought us a miraculous regeneration. Since publication of “Alcoholics Anonymous” in 1939 we have grown from 100 to 24,000 members. Seven years have passed; seven years, of vast experience with our next greatest undertaking — the problem of living and working together. This is today our main concern. If we can succeed in this adventure — and keep succeeding — then, and only then, will our future be secure. 
 
Since personal calamity holds us in bondage no more, our most challenging concern has become the future of Alcoholics Anonymous; how to preserve among us AAs such a powerful unity that neither weakness of persons not the strain and strife of these troubled times can harm our common cause. We know that Alcoholics Anonymous must continue to live. Else, save few exceptions, we and our fellow alcoholics throughout the world will surely resume the hopeless journey to oblivion. 
 
Almost any AA 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 AA to the group, the relation of the 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 way 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 AA by his own deep conviction and by the common consent of his fellows? That is the question. Though full answers to all our perplexities may never be found, I’m sure we have come at least 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 AA friends,(Ed. Note – Particularly Earl T. from Chicago) 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. 
 
Our AA experience has taught us that: 
 
1. Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. AA must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward. 
 
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as he may express himself in our group conscience. 
 
3. Our membership ought to include all who suffer alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought AA membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA group. 
 
4. With respect to its own affairs, each AA group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect AA as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation [now the General Service Board]. On such issues our common welfare is paramount. 
 
5. Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose — that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. 
 
6. Problems of money, property and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to AA should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An AA group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to AA such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. The management of these special facilities should be the sole responsibility of those people, whether AAs or not, who financially support them. For our clubs, we prefer AA managers. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside AA — and medically supervised. An AA group may cooperate with anyone, but should bind itself to no one. 
 
7. The AA groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous; that acceptance of large gifts from any source or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever is usually unwise. Then, too, we view with much concern those AA treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated AA purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority. 
 
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional. We define professionalism as the occupation of counseling alcoholics for fee or hire. But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those full-time services for which we might otherwise have to engage nonalcoholics. Such special services may be well recompensed. But personal Twelfth Step work is never to be paid for. 
 
9. Each AA group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is usually the best. The small group may elect its secretary, the larger group its rotating committee, and the groups of a large metropolitan area their central committee, which often employs a full time secretary. The trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation are, in effect, our general service committee. They are the custodians of our AA Tradition and the receivers of voluntary AA contributions by which they maintain AA general Headquarters and our general secretary at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our overall public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principal publication, the AA Grapevine. All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in AA are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness. 
 
10. No AA group or members should ever, in such a way as to implicate AA, express any opinion on outside controversial issues — particularly those of politics, alcohol reform or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever. 
 
11. Our relations with the outside world should be characterized by modesty and anonymity. We think AA ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us. 
 
12. And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a truly humble modesty. 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. 
 
May it be urged that while these principles have been stated in rather positive language they are still only suggestions for our future. We of Alcoholics Anonymous have never enthusiastically responded to any assumption of personal authority. Perhaps it is well for AA that this is true. So I offer these suggestions neither as one man’s dictum nor as a creed of any kind, but rather as a first attempt to portray that group ideal toward which we have assuredly been led by a Higher Power these ten years past. 
 
Bill W. Grapevine, April, 1946

AA Grapevine  November 1961  Again at the Crossroads

AA Grapevine  November 1961 

Again at the Crossroads

The substance of Bill’s remarks at the closing session of AA’s 1961 General Service Conference

WE AAs are everywhere developing a keener sense of our history and the meaning of its turning points. Moreover, I believe that we are getting a right sense of our history; something of the utmost importance indeed. The world’s past reveals that many societies and nations have fallen victims to fear and pride, or to their aggressive designs. Thus they lost their sense of meaning, purpose and right destiny, and so they disintegrated and vanished. Neither power nor glory nor wealth could in the least guarantee their long-time survival.

There is little on the record of AA’s first quarter-century to suggest such a fate for us. In our personal lives, and therefore in our Fellowship itself, we have steadily striven to lay aside all those vainglorious clamors for prestige, power and possessions which had ruined so many of us in the drinking days. With those fearful experiences vividly before us, it is not strange that AA’s Twelve Steps continually remind us of the stark need for ego reduction; that our Twelve Traditions warn heavily against the perils of concentrated wealth, the vain pursuit of fame and the ever-present temptation to controversy and attack.

We did not come to such wisdom by reason of our virtues; our better understanding is rooted in our former follies. In the nick of time, and by God’s Grace, each of us has been enabled to develop a growing sense of the meaning and purpose of his own life. Because this has been the essence of our individual experience, it is also the essence of our experience as a Fellowship. We have suffered enough to learn something of the love of God and of each other. Thus we have been taught to choose those principles and practices by which we can surely survive and grow. This is the spiritual climate in which we AAs are today privileged to live.

Even our sometimes erratic behavior since sobriety has never changed this all-pervading climate of humility and love. This, we think, is the spiritual condition which has invited into our midst so much wise and Providential guidance. We say this in no conceit; it is an obvious fact of our experience. We only need to ponder the long series of apparently correct choices that we have been enabled to make over the past twenty-six years; choices respecting our principles and right methods of communicating them. Not a single one of these major decisions has yet shown the slightest sign of being a mistake. Up to now AA seems to have taken the right turning at each new crossroad. This could scarcely have been our doing alone. Our Fellowship has afforded a convincing proof of that wise old adage which declares that “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” This being our record, we can surely face the next hour of decision in confident faith.

The fact is that AA does now stand at a new turning point in its affairs. This has to do with the future World Service leadership of AA as a whole. Therefore, we shall have to take a new look at the shape of things to come. At this particular crossroad a crucial decision is required of me. And here it is:

It is my conviction that I should now retire from all active management of AA World Service affairs, and that my leadership in these matters should be fully transferred to the Trustees of AA’s General Service Board.

This is not at all a new concept; it is simply the last step in a plan which has been in development for more than ten years. It was in mind when, in 1948, Dr. Bob and I jointly wrote an article for the Grapevine which was called, “Why Can’t We Join AA Too?” It was even more in mind when our first General Service Conference was experimentally assembled in 1951. And when, at St. Louis in 1955, the full authority and responsibility for the maintenance of World Services was transferred to our Conference, my retirement from active service leadership was definitely foreshadowed.

Yet a vestige of my old-time status remains, and this should be explained. Following the St. Louis transference there were a few tasks that still required my full attention. But these are now virtually completed. During the last six years I have, respecting these particular matters, exercised a joint leadership with our Trustees. This sustained activity has no doubt tended to confirm me, in the minds of many AAs, as a continuing fact and symbol of AA leadership world-wide. This is the last remainder of my service leadership.

For this action there are excellent and even compelling reasons. The basic one is the present need to strictly apply AA’s Tradition Two to every area of our World Service operation. This means that I should no longer act in service leadership for the group conscience of AA. This must now become fully the function of our Trustees, as guided by the Conference Delegates. Consider, too, AA’s very healthy tradition of rotating leadership. Everywhere today this is a strictly applied principle–excepting to me. This is a left-over inconsistency that ought to be eliminated by my own retirement to the sidelines, where practically all of AA’s old-timers now are.

But this is not all. My continued activity at AA’s Headquarters may be covering up unforeseen flaws in our organizational structure. These should be given an opportunity to reveal themselves, if they exist. Moreover, the excellent leadership that we now have among the Trustees and in the Headquarters should be allowed to operate without further collaboration with me. We know that, in the long run, double-headed management is highly unsound. My retirement from active service would cure this defect.

There are also psychological reasons of the deepest import. AA is very much a family, of which we elders have surely been the spiritual parents. Now the parent who quits before his family has arrived at the age of responsibility, has unquestionably forsaken his trust. But the parent who far overstays his time can be extremely damaging, too. If he insists on continuing his parental authority and the protective custody of his wards well after they have reached the age of responsibility, he is simply robbing them of the priceless privilege of facing life on their own. What was perfectly right for their infancy and adolescence becomes strictly no good for their maturity. So the wise parent always changes his status accordingly. Of course he is still one who, if asked, will lend a hand in serious emergencies. But he knows that he simply must let his heirs make and repair most of their own mistakes, live their own lives, and grow up. Tradition Two of the AA program deeply recognizes this universal truth when it declares “There is but one ultimate authority. . .a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.”

Of course I am not suggesting a complete withdrawal; I propose only to change my relationship with AA. For example, I expect to be available at Trustee and Conference meetings. Should marked defects appear in our present service structure, I shall, if asked, be very happy to aid in the work of repair. In short, I expect to be “on tap” but never again “on top,” this being precisely the stance that AA hopes all its old-timers will take.

My coming shift to the sidelines will necessarily involve other changes. Save for the possibility of a future visit or two overseas, and my attendance at whatever international conventions there may be, I think that my days of traveling and speaking are over. Practically speaking, it is no longer possible for me to respond to the hundreds of invitations that now come in. It is very clear, too, that continued appearances would increase my prominence in AA at the very time when this should greatly diminish. There is much the same situation respecting my very large correspondence which has grown so far out of hand that I can no longer do it justice.

Nevertheless, one primary channel of communication still stands wide open–my writing for the Grapevine. This I would certainly like to continue. Just now, for example, I’m doing a series of articles entitled “Practicing These Principles in All Our Affairs.” Maybe these pieces can later be expanded into a full-sized book which would try to deal with the whole problem of living, as seen by us AAs. If it turns out that I can write it, such a volume might be of permanent value.

There is another factor that bears upon my decision. Like every AA member I have a definite responsibility to become a citizen of the world around me; to channel into it the experience of living and working which has been mine in our Fellowship. Therefore, I’m already exploring certain areas of outside activity in which I may be able to make a helpful, and possibly a meaningful, contribution. For the first time, I now feel at liberty to follow the constructive example already set by uncounted numbers of my fellow members. But of course my principal reason for taking this new direction is the deep and confident belief that this will prove to be in the best long-time interest of Alcoholics Anonymous.

It scarce needs be said that I approach this new crossroad for AA and for me with a lump in my throat, and with a heart very full of gratitude for all those unexampled privileges and gifts with which I have so long been blessed.

Bill W.


Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813
iamronrichey@gmail.com
www.melloron.com

Ebby September 1999 

September 1999 
 
Ebby 
Ebby had been enabled to bring me the gift of grace because he could reach me at depth through the language of the heart. He had pushed ajar that great gate through which all in AA have since passed to find their freedom under God.”–Bill W., AA Grapevine
 
While attending the annual Bill W. dinner in New York in October 1963, I noticed a man with a sad expression seated at the table that Bill and Lois shared with close friends. Since the general atmosphere in the large banquet room was festive, his sadness seemed out of place. Someone told me he was Ebby T., the friend who had called on Bill in late 1934 to bring him the Oxford Group’s spiritual message that helped Bill get sober and helped form AA.
 
Several months later, during one of the last discussions I ever had with Bill, he told me that he had been able to place Ebby in a country rest home in upstate New York. Ebby died two years later from emphysema, the same affliction that would claim Bill’s life in 1971.
 
Ebby’s physical problems had been compounded by his frequent bouts with alcohol during the years since he had carried the message to Bill. His was the kind of story that causes continuing anguish in AA: a wonderful burst of initial sobriety followed by a devastating slip and then a pattern of repeated binges despite his best efforts and those of his friends. He had a tortured life, and yet there were times when he struggled valiantly to put his demons to rest.
 
I never actually met Ebby, but I kept learning more about him as the years passed. While serving as a contributing writer to Pass It On in 1980 and 1981, I had access to the correspondence that flowed between him and Bill. There was also an opportunity to spend a day with Margaret, the kindly nurse who cared for Ebby during his last two years of life.
 
In Albany, New York’s capital city, there is archival information in the state library about Ebby’s distinguished family members and their achievements in politics and business. Three members of the T. family were Albany mayors, and one lost a gubernatorial nomination by a very narrow margin. Ebby’s parents were also prominent in social and church affairs. An assistant to the mayor at that time told me “you couldn’t find a better family than the T.s” and put me in touch with Ebby’s nephew, Ken T., Jr. When I returned to Albany some years later, Ken took me to visit Ebby’s grave in the Albany Rural Cemetery, just north of the city.
 
There’s no denying that Ebby was the “lost sheep” of the family, but it never completely rejected him or lost hope that he might someday recover. His last surviving brother, Ken T., Sr., stayed loyal to him right up to the time of his own death, just a few months before Ebby’s passing.
 
But if Ebby had a friend who was unfailingly loyal and devoted, it was Bill W., who always called Ebby his sponsor and seemingly moved heaven and earth in trying to help Ebby regain sobriety. Indeed, it almost seemed that Bill threw his own good judgement out the window and became an “enabler” when Ebby was involved. The late Yev G., a member of the Manhattan Group since 1941, told me in 1980 that Bill seemed to lose all perspective when Ebby went off on another drunk. Yev recalled it this way:
 
“Bill was so definitely concerned about Ebby and so fond of him and felt so grateful and indebted to him that he would do anything rather than have anything happen to Ebby. Some of us were Bill’s selected emissaries to find Ebby when he went out on one of his episodes. We knew his watering holes, the rooming houses, and the places where he went. So we’d get him and bring him back in the group, and he’d go along very well. But we had to observe, really, that Bill did not treat Ebby with the same kind of approach that he realistically would with the average kind of alcoholic member we had in those days in New York.”
 
But even Bill became exasperated with Ebby at times, and this is revealed in some of his correspondence with and about Ebby. But he never lost hope that Ebby would recover, and years after his own recovery he would tell Ebby of his gratitude. It was an astonishing friendship, and one early AA told me that Bill and Ebby were almost like brothers.
 
A brief outline of Ebby’s life goes this way: he was born in Albany in 1896, the youngest of five brothers. His father headed a family-owned foundry that manufactured railroad-car wheels, and Ebby entered life with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. Like his brothers, he attended Albany Academy, a prestigious private school that is highly regarded and whose graduates usually go on to college. But though his brothers excelled at the academy, Ebby was a lackluster student and did not graduate.
 
The family spent their summers in the resort town of Manchester, Vermont, seven miles south of Bill’s hometown, East Dorset. Ebby’s father was a golfing partner of Robert Todd Lincoln, a wealthy industrialist and the only son of Abraham Lincoln to reach adulthood. Lois’s family was also a member of this social group, the “summer people” who awed Bill as he was growing up. Although Bill felt inferior in status to Ebby’s family and Lois’s family, he was something of a hero to other boys in Manchester because of his skill as a baseball pitcher. Ebby remembered meeting him in 1910 or ’11 and perhaps watched him play.
 
Ebby may have sipped a little wine on family occasions, but he didn’t have his real first drink until 1915, at age nineteen, when he walked into Albany’s Hotel Ten Eyck and ordered a glass of beer. At about the same time, he went to work in the family business. By the time the firm closed in 1922, Ebby was getting drunk frequently. Later on in the nineteen-twenties he worked in the Albany office of a brokerage firm, but there’s reason to believe he was never a real producer. In the meantime, Bill W. had become a New York stockbroker and was soaring with the surging market on Wall Street.
 
In January 1929, Bill stopped in Albany on his way to visit friends in Vermont, and he gave Ebby a call. He and Ebby spent the evening drinking and then agreed on a daring way to arrive in Manchester: by air, a risky action in those early days of aviation. They hired a barnstorming pilot to fly them to Manchester, which had just built an airfield, and they arrived, very drunk, the next day. Bill recalled (as quoted in Pass It On): “We somehow slid out of the cockpit, fell on the ground, and there we lay, immobile. Such was the history-making episode of the first airplane ever to light at Manchester, Vermont.” Their drunken venture may have created an odd bond between Ebby and Bill that would be among the reasons Ebby would call on him in 1934.
 
Ebby’s drinking worsened, and by late 1932 he had become such an embarrassment to his family that he slunk off to Manchester, and moved back into his family’s summer home. He had periods of sobriety, but by mid-1934 his drinking had led to troubles and arrests in Manchester. While his brothers were still actively employed or in business, the family money supporting Ebby had largely run out. According to some tales circulated later, he sold some of the family furniture to buy booze.
 
About this time, several Oxford Group members in the area chose Ebby as a likely prospect for their spiritual message. They were Rowland H., Shep C., and Cebra G. He resisted their approach, but became more receptive when another drunken incident brought him before a judge in Bennington. He expected to be jailed for the weekend, but was permitted to go home on the promise that he would return–sober–on Monday.
 
And it was at this point, I think, that Ebby won a battle that became important for all of us. Waiting for him in the cellar at home were several bottles of his favorite ale, which he planned to drink immediately after the local constable let him off at the house. He was in agony when he raced down the stairs to get them. But then his promise to the judge stopped him cold, and he began to wrestle with his conscience. After a fierce struggle he took the bottles over to a neighbor. The action gave him peace. That was his last attempt to drink for two years and seven months.
 
I like to think of this moment as Ebby’s Magnificent Victory. I’ve wondered whether, if he’d lost this struggle, he might not have stayed sober and been able to carry the message to Bill. In any case, he returned to court sober and was released to the custody of Rowland H., who then became what we AAs would call a sponsor. Along with giving Ebby a grounding in Oxford Group principles, Rowland took him to New York City. After staying with Shep for a short time, Ebby moved to Calvary Mission, run by Dr. Sam Shoemaker’s Calvary Church on Gramercy Park.
 
One November night in 1934, Ebby came to see Bill, who was then living in Brooklyn with his wife, Lois. Ebby told Bill, “I’ve got religion,” and while Bill drank gin and pineapple juice, Ebby recounted his friendship with Rowland, described the principles of the Oxford Group (like the importance of absolute honesty when dealing with defects), and talked about his growing belief in God and the efficacy of prayer. Ebby’s words, and his sober demeanor, stayed with Bill, who later recalled, “The good of what he said stuck so well that in no waking moment thereafter could I get that man and his message out of my head.” Bill kept drinking, but he decided to pay a visit to the mission, which he did after stopping at a number of bars on the way and hooking up with a drunk Finnish fisherman. When he arrived at the mission, he ended up giving a kind of drunken monologue at the evening meeting where the derelict men gave testimonials about not drinking. On December 11, Bill checked himself back into Towns Hospital, where he’d previously been treated. Ebby visited him there, and a few days later, Bill had his “white light” experience and never took another drink.
 
Ebby stayed on in New York, continued to work with Bill, and moved in with Bill and Lois after Calvary Mission closed in 1936. But by 1937 he was back in Albany, working in a Ford factory. While he still worked with alcoholics and apparently kept up his Oxford Group connections, tensions were building up in his personal life. Finally, on a trip to New York City, he drank again, after two years and seven months of sobriety.
 
His life then became a nightmarish succession of binges followed by short periods of sobriety. He held jobs briefly and sometimes performed well for short periods of time. During World War II, for example, he worked as a Navy civilian employee and was well-liked by his superiors. He was given opportunities by other AA members, and both Bill W. and his older brother Jack sought ways to help him back to continuous sobriety and well-being. In the following years, he often lived with Bill and Lois for months at a time–something Lois tolerated for Bill’s sake.
It also became a sort of a game by AA members to become the person who helped Ebby recover. In 1953, a New York member named Charlie M. collaborated with AA members in Dallas, Texas, to take Ebby to the Lone Star state for treatment at a clinic run by Searcy W., an early member who still recalls his years with Ebby. After initial troubles, Ebby found sobriety in Texas and stayed there for eight years. He also found steady employment for several years.
 
It’s clear that Ebby’s Texas interlude was the best period of his adult life. He was lionized by grateful Texas people who went out of their way to meet him or hear him speak. In 1954, Ralph J. and his wife Mary Lee even invited Ebby for a two-month stay at their sheep ranch near Ozona, Texas, and loved every minute of his visit. Two members, Olie L. and Icky S., virtually adopted him, and Searcy became Ebby’s Texas sponsor.
 
But one of Ebby’s obsessions had been the belief that “finding the right woman” would be his salvation. He did find a woman in Texas who seemed to be the love of his life, but when she died suddenly, he began taking mood-changing pills and soon was drinking again. He returned to the New York area in late 1961 and stayed for a time with his brother Ken.
 
Bill W. had continued to help Ebby with occasional checks, and now he came forward again to manage Ebby’s life more closely, partly because of Ebby’s declining physical condition. With help from others, Bill had created a fund for Ebby to cover his expenses at a treatment-type facility. Health problems were closing in on Ebby, however, and it was clear that he could no longer live independently. And that’s probably why Ebby appeared so sad when I saw him at Bill’s banquet in 1963. He was in very poor health, to say nothing of the other demons that plagued him.
 
But there was a miracle of sorts waiting for Ebby. In the final two years of his life, he would find peace, sobriety, and tender loving care given by Margaret M. and her husband Mickey at their rest farm in Galway, near Saratoga Springs, New York. Symbolically enough, the farm was on a road named Peaceable Street!
Bill had met the M.s and when he learned that Margaret was in New York attending a nurse’s convention, he asked her to come over to talk with him at GSO. She agreed to give Ebby care at the farm for seventy-five dollars a week–a cost Bill could easily manage with the fund and Ebby’s Social Security payments.
Bill drove Ebby up to the rest farm in May 1964, and turned him over to Margaret and Mickey. Ebby was angry and defensive at first, but soon responded to their attempts to help him. Usually a likable person, Ebby even became popular with the other residents and awed them by his ability to work The New York Times crossword puzzles. The farm was only twenty-five miles from Albany, so he also had visits from his brother Ken and other friends and relatives. There couldn’t have been a better place for Ebby’s last years. Bill, writing to Ebby’s old friends in Texas, would comment on the fine care Margaret was giving Ebby, and would also note that she had a good doctor on call.
 
When Ebby’s brother Ken died in January 1966, Ebby was too weak to travel the twenty-five miles to Albany for the funeral. He seemed to lose the will to live after that, and one morning in March the housekeeper told Margaret that Ebby couldn’t come down for breakfast. He was rushed to the nearby Ballston Spa hospital, where he died early in the morning on March 21.
 
Bill and Lois were on a trip to Mexico, but returned quickly for the funeral in Albany. It was a small funeral, and one woman who attended thought it symbolic that twelve persons were there to see him off. A brief notice in the local newspaper mentioned that Ebby was the brother of a former prominent mayor.
In death, Ebby rejoined his prominent family at the Albany Rural Cemetery, where he lies next to his brother Ken. The large plot is defined by the monument of his grandfather, who launched the family business and also served as Albany’s mayor during the Civil War. (Ken, Jr., who was so generous in supplying information about Ebby and the family, passed away two months after showing me Ebby’s grave. He is also buried nearby.)
 
I felt some of that gratitude myself when I visited the old farmhouse with Margaret in 1980. She had operated it after Mickey’s death but finally closed it in 1979.
When AA members learn that I’ve become a student of Ebby’s life, their first question is usually, “Did he die sober?” I believe, as did Ebby’s Texas sponsor, Searcy W., that Ebby was sober two-and-a-half years when he died. This may have taken lots of supervision by Bill and Margaret, but he did put this much together in his final years. We should give him credit for that, because he gave us so much–particularly when he won the battle with ale that weekend in 1934. Without that magnificent victory, the outcome could have been much different for all of us.
 
Mel B.
Toledo, Ohio
 


Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813
iamronrichey@gmail.com
www.melloron.com

Twelve Qualities of Sponsorship/WHAT IS A SPONSOR?/Sponsorship Vs Friendship /TAKING THE STEPS BY THE BOOK

Twelve Qualities of Sponsorship

This was written by a woman in recovery who prefers to remain anonymous.

Well worth reading and is a good agreement between a sponsor and a sponsee.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Twelve Qualities of Sponsorship

1.  I will not help you to stay and wallow in limbo.

2.  I will help you to grow, to become more productive, by your definition.

3.  I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself, more

excited, less sensitive, more free to become the authority for your own

living.

4.  I can not give you dreams or “fix you up” simply because I can not.

5.  I can not give you growth, or grow for you.  You must grow for yourself

by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.

6.  I can not take away your loneliness or your pain.

7.  I can not sense your world for you, evaluate your goals for you, tell

you what is best for your world;  because you have your own world in which

you must live.

8.  I can not convince you of the necessity to make the vital decision of

choosing the frightening uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of

remaining static.

9.  I want to be with you and know you as a rich and growing friend;  yet I

can not get close to you when you choose not to grow.

10.  When I begin to care for you out of pity or when I begin to lose faith

in you, then I am inhibiting both for you and for me.

11.  You must know and understand my help is conditional.  I will be with

you and “hang in there” with you so long as I continue to get even the

slightest hint that you are still trying to grow.

=====================================
WHAT IS A SPONSOR?

 SPONSOR – “One who assumes, or one to whom is delegated, responsibility for some other person.” or –

                    “One who at the baptism of an infant professes the Christian faith in its name, and guarantees its religious {spiritual} education.”

                   (“We were reborn.”  AA, pg. 63)

Webster, circa – 1936

 Step Twelve reads, “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.”

 That, of course, is what a Sponsor is.  An alcoholic who has taken these Steps and had a spiritual awakening or spiritual experience or an entire psychic change.  That is described on pages 83 and 84 in our Basic Text, Alcoholics Anonymous.

 Let’s see what that Book has to say about a Sponsor (a recovered alcoholic):

  “But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed      with facts about himself, can generally win the confidence of another alcoholic in     a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.”  (Pg. 18)

 How does he do that?  Well, the effective sponsor has studied Chapter Seven, “Working With Others”. 

 1. His first job then is to see if the prospect appears to be willing to go to any length to achieve victory over alcohol, (AA, pg. 90). 

 2.       His second job is to see if he has a REAL ALCOHOLIC to work with, (AA, pg. 92).  If he is not, try to help them find the fellowship that deals with their problem.

 3. His third job is to give the prospect a killer case of alcoholism so he will feel totally hopeless and helpless,
(AA, pg. 92). 

4. Then, his fourth job is to give the prospect hope, (AA, pg. 93).

 

5.His fifth job is to see if the prospect is, in fact, willing to go to any length (AA, pg. 94 – 96) to achieve victory over alcohol. (That is to see they have a copy of the Big Book and are willing to carefully read it to determine if they are willing to adopt the Program as a way of life)

 6.If he is, then his sixth job is to start the protégé on his journey to sobriety by taking Steps Three, Four and Five, (AA, pg. 96).

 

7.His seventh job is to walk with his protégé in putting the remaining Steps to work until he is solid in living our Program, one day at a time (AA, pg. 96 – 103).

 8.Once the protégé has found a newcomer and has effectively passed this on to another suffering alcoholic, you will have done your job and know joy of living, which is giving that others may live.  (AA, pg. 163 – 164)

 9.Continue to look for the next prospect.Is Sponsorship important?  Let’s see what the Big Book reports.

 “For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead”,
(AA, pg. 14 & 15).

 “Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.”  (AA, pg. 20)

 “Practical experience shows nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.  It works when other activities fail.”  (AA, pg. 89)

 And as Dr. Bob reported: 

“I spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned to others who want and need it badly.  I do it for four reasons:

1.Sense of duty.        

2.It is a pleasure.

3. Because in doing so I am paying my debt to the man who          took time to pass it on to me.

 4.Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for myself against a possible slip.”
(AA, pg. 180 – 181)

 Dr. Bob did take the matter of Sponsorship very seriously.  History shows that he helped approximately 5,000 alcoholics experience the Promises of the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous over a 10 year period.  That turns out to average 1 1/2 new alcoholics every day over that 10 year period.  That would certainly qualify as “intensive” work with other alcoholics.

 So, it would appear to make sense, if we have been restored to sanity where alcohol is concerned, to follow the directions the 1st 100 laid down for us in our Basic Text, “ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS” and apply the Twelfth Step Prayer as directed, which is:

 “Ask Him in you morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick.  The answers will come, IF your own house is in order.  But you obviously cannot transmit something you haven’t got.  See to it that your relationship with Him is right and great events will come to pass for you and countless others.  This is the Great Fact for us.”  (AA, pg. 164)

 The Program of Alcoholics Anonymous works if we work it!  We die if we don’t!!

So WORK it!!!

(But that is only a suggestion)

 We recover by the Steps we take, not the meetings we make!
=====================================
Sponsorship Vs Friendship – The difference between having a friend and having a sponsor

A friend will help you cipher through your unique special qualities and sensitivities by the process of general non-observable explanations to specific observable actions, consequences, or conclusions and the scientific methods of personal deductive reasoning to determine the specific observations, or other data that will support feeling hypothesis.

Whereas a Sponsor will just tell you, “You’re not unique, you’re screwed – SURRENDER and help a newcomer!”

I need a sponsor NOT a friend! A friend will not and is not obligated to tell me the truth even if it hurts my feelings. A sponsor cares more about what I’m doing than how I’m feeling (a friend is exactly the opposite) I hold my sponsor in the highest esteem and surrender my ego’s ceaseless chattering to my sponsor’s direction. If anyone has a sponsor they do not feel this way about, believe me, they are missing out of the greatest benefits of our program. There is an art form that a good sponsor will have perfected by which he can be very firm and abrupt with a guy but you never doubt that he loves you and is on your side. A good sponsor comforts you when you’re afflicted and afflicts you when you’re comfortable. 

“In all work with a newcomer, the sponsor underscores the fact that it is the A.A. recovery program – not the sponsor’s personality or position – that is important. Thus, the newcomer learns to lean on the program, not on the sponsor.”– Alcoholics Anonymous, Questions and Answers on Sponsorship –

“Certainly we need leaders, but we must regard them as the human agents of the Higher Power and not with undue adulation as individuals. The Fourth and Tenth Steps cannot be too strongly emphasized here. There is your perfect antidote for halo-poisoning.”
— Dr. Bob, AA Grapevine 20th Anniversary Edition

====================================
Chuck S. Sponsorship

TAKING THE STEPS BY THE BOOK

The contents of this booklet are taken directly for the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. This booklet is intended for sponsorship use, to help the sponsor take someone through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is absolutely not intended as a guide to take the steps on your own.

First ask these questions:

Do you want to be done for good and for all? (Dr. Bob’s Nightmare page 181 last paragraph- “If you think you are an atheist, and agnostic, a skeptic or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you. If you still think you are strong enough to beat the game alone, that is your affair. But if you really and truly want to quit drinking liquor for good and all, and sincerely feel that you must have some help, we know that we have an answer for you. It never fails, if you go about it with one-half the zeal you have been in the habit of showing when you were getting another drink. Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!”)

Are you willing too go to any lengths for victory over alcohol?

If they cannot answer these two questions in the affirmative then stop. Tell them when they arrive at that point to call you.

START READING- with the spine of the book!!  Then the front cover, the blank pages, then the page III (Roman numeral 3). The first promise in the book is on this page:

MANY THOUSANDS OF MEN AND WOMEN HAVE RECOVERED FROM ALCOHOLISM.

Underline and highlight this sentence. Have them continue to read through page 25 about ½ through the page to the * then note at the bottom- read page 567-568. Then go back to page 25, take up where you left off and read to 27 where you will come to an * note at the bottom of the page- read page 567-568. After reading 567-568 continue reading 27-47 where you will come to a third *, again note at the bottom of the page- read 567-568. After reading the Spiritual Experience for the third time continue reading on 47 through 57. Write “Call Me” at the end of 7. Have them underline, highlight, and write down anything they want to discuss. If they don’t call you, your done- they are not serious- they are not willing to take the necessary steps to stay sober. Don’t call them. Let them call you. It should not take them more than two days. Now they have called. Go over questions they have regarding the first 57 pages. Don’t go in depth on anything past the first step. 

WE ADMITTED WE WERE POWERLESS OVER ALCOHOL- THAT OUR LIVES HAD BECOME UNMANAGEABLE

1ST Step- Page 30 “We learned that we had to fully concede to our inner most selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step of recovery. Page 33 “If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.”

1st Step- second half- page 52- “We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn’t apply to our human problems the same readiness to change our point of view. We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn’t seem to be of real help to other people- was not a basic solution of these bedevilments more important than whether we should see newsreels of lunar flight? Of course it was.”

“When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.”

CAME TO BELIEVE THAT A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES COULD RESTORE US TO SANITY.

2ND Step- page 47 “We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?”

If they can’t say yes- you’re done.

If they say yes- continue “As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way!”—Congratulate them!

Have them read pages 58-63 to “We were reborn.” There write 

“call me”. If they don’t call you’re done.

If they call- great! Go over everything they read and answer any questions. When you get to page 63 ask them if they are ready for their third step decision. Are you ready to do the deal? The third step decision is an outward commitment to go on with the program. Suggested to do this on your knees, took them dead in the eyes, the sponsor and sponsee together recite:

“God, I offer myself to Thee- to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always.”

Steps 4-5-6-7-8-9 are the ACTION taken on the 3rd step decision.

MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES

NEXT- 4th Step- Have them  read out loud to you pages 63-64. They are going to start making their “grudge list”. 

  Resentful at_______The Cause_______Affects my (fear)_____My Part

Start with today, last week, last month, and last year. Sit down and do this all at once. Write it like you are the only human that will ever see it. Fill out all your resentments first (first column), the cause (second column), then affects (third column).

4th Column- Page 67 tells you to add the fourth column. Have them read this out loud. Label this column “My Part”. (Where I was selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, where I was frightened, where I was to blame). Fill this column out last. 

Fears list. Read bottom of 67-68 out loud. Two columns.

What I’m Afraid Of_____Why I Have This Fear

Sex Inventory. Read Page 68-71 out loud. Three columns.

Who I Hurt___Where I Was At Fault___What I Should Have Done Instead

Then send them off to do this with the instructions to call when it is complete. Instruct them to sit down and do this in one sitting. This should not take more than one sitting. Call me when complete. If they don’t call you’re done.

ADMITTED TO GOD, TO OURSELVES, AND TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THE EXACT NATURE OF OUR WRONGS.

When they have called- do 5th step with them. They have told everything to you. (Page 75) Tell them the book says “…now we begin to have a spiritual experience.” Show them the 12 things to do after the 5th step. (Page 75)

Return home.

Find a place where we can be quiet for an hour.

Carefully reviewing what we have done.

Thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better.

Taking this book (Alcoholics Anonymous) down from our shelf.

Turn to the page which contains the twelve steps (page 59-60)

Carefully reading the first five proposals.

We ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at ask.

Is our work sold so far?

Are the stones properly in place?

Have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation?

Have we tried to make mortar without sand?

Turn to page 59 and read the 6th step.

Page 76 “If we can answer to our satisfaction, we then look at Step Six”

Turn to page 59 and read the 6th step again.

WERE ENTIRELY READY TO HAVE GOD REMOVE ALL THESE DEFECTS OF CHARACTER”

Turn back to page 76 top and continue with 6th step

Are we now ready to let God remove from us the things which we have admitted are objectionable? Can He now take them all- Every one? If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.

WHEN READY, ( and only when ready) we take the 7th step.

HUMBLY ASKED HIM TO REMOVE OUR SHORTCOMINGS

“My Creator, I am now will that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of my character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding. Amen”.

The 7th step is complete!

MADE A LIST OF ALL PERSONS WE HAD HARMED, AND BECAME WILLING TO MAKE AMENDS TO THEM ALL.

Simply take your 4th step inventory, make a list and become willing to make amends. Start with the one you feel will be the most difficult.

Read 76-83 Point out to them especially page 83, bottom paragraph, “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

MADE DIRECT AMENDS TO SUCH PEOPLE WHEREVER POSSIBLE, EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD INJURE THEM OR OTHERS.

At this point remind them they said they would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol! Have them write down the “what, “when”, and “where” beside the “who” they did in step 8. (Who they harmed, what kind of amends- financial or emotional, and action to be taken.) Go over this with them before they make any amends. Don’t over do this step but make sure they cover what needs to be covered. 

Read page 83-84 – the promises and step 10

CONTINUE TO TAKE PERSONAL INVENTORY AND WHEN WE WERE WRONG PROMPTLY ADMITTED IT.

This is our new mistakes. We have cleaned up our past. If past mistakes that we forgot on our 4th & 5th step come up use the 10th step to clear them up also. Page 84 “Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonest, resentment, and fear. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.” This is not connected to step 11. Make sure they understand that.

BEWARE! Page 85 “It is easy ato let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee- Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly…If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us…But we must go further and that means more action.”

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.

1st half of step 11- page 86 1st full paragraph ‘When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe and apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once. Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better?

Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others or what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken?

2nd half of this step page 86 “On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance for after all, God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plan when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.” Continue to read through page 88.

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.

12th step- Go get a sponsee as soon as possible. Take them through the steps.

Suggestions  & miscellaneous notes

TAKE the steps not WORK the steps

Only one sponsee at a time, give them all the time they need

It should not take much over a week if they are serious

Aaprimarypurpose.org/notinbook.htm—That Ain’t In The Book

Alcoholic to Alcoholic, Drug addict to Drug addict

“Strenuous work, one alcoholic with another, was vital to permanent recovery.” (Page XVII)

Pages that the word RECOVERED are mentioned in the book

III- “The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism”

XIII- “We of Alcoholics Anonymous” are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.”

XV- “Sixteen years have elapsed between our first printing of this book and the presentation in 1995 of our second edition. In that brief space, Alcoholics Anonymous has mushroomed into nearly 6,000 groups whose membership is far above 150,000 recovered alcoholics.”

XVII- “This seemed to prove that one alcoholic could affect another as no nonalcoholic could. It also indicated that strenuous work, one alcoholic with another, was vital to permanent recovery.”

XXIII- “As the message of recovery has reached larger numbers of people, it has also touched the lives of a vastly greater variety of suffering alcoholics.”

17- “We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.”

20- “Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.”

29- “Clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.”

44- “If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago.

90- “Let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to a person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, tries to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.”

96- “We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man, who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself.’

113- “He knows that thousands of men, much like himself, have recovered.

132- “We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”

133- “Now about health: A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight nor do twisted thinking and depression vanish in a twinkling. We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health.”

146-“An alcoholic who has recovered, but holds a relatively unimportant job, can talk to a man with a better position.”

165- PERSONAL STORIES—“How Forty-Two Alcoholics Recovered From Their Malady”

==================================
DEPEND ON PROGRAM, NOT SPONSOR

In all work with a newcomer, the sponsor underscores the fact that it is the A.A. recovery program, not the sponsor’s personality or position that is important.  Thus the newcomer learns to lean on the program, not on the sponsor.  A sponsor who has truly been putting the program first will not take it as a personal insult if the newcomer decides to change sponsors or go to other A.A.s for additional guidance.
— Alcoholics Anonymous, Questions & Answers on Sponsorship

Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813
iamronrichey@gmail.com
www.melloron.com

Twelve Warnings

Twelve Warnings

The book Alcoholics Anonymous contains a series of propositions and proposals, the successful outcome of these depends upon the actions of the reader.
The book directs us as to what we must start doing, what we must stop doing, what happens when we fulfill the propositions and proposals and what will happen if we fail to fulfill them.
These are the Twelve Warnings as to what will happen if we fail to heed the directions.

1. For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. (p14)

2. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. (p17)

3. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness, we must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. (p62)

4. Though our decision (Step 3) was a vital and crucial Step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face and be rid of, the things in our lives which had been blocking us. (p64)

5. It is plain that a life, which includes deep resentment, leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and with us to drink is to die. (p66)

6. Concerning sex. Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk? Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned a lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts about our experience. (p70)

7. If we skip this vital Step (5), we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk. (p.72)

8. We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them. (p78)

9. We feel that a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. (p.82)

10. It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. (p.85)

11. Our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there. That includes bars, nightclubs, dances, receptions, weddings, even plain ordinary whoopee parties. To a person who has had experience with an alcoholic, this may seem like tempting Providence, but it isn’t. You will note that we made an important qualification. Therefore, ask yourself on each occasion, “Have I a good social, business, or personal reason for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere of such places?” If you have answered these questions satisfactorily, you need have no apprehension. Go or stay away, whichever seems best. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it. But if you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead! (p.101)

12. The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly to blame for what befell his home. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime. But he must see the danger of over-concentration on financial success. Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place money first. For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress, it never preceded. (p127)

Grapevine September 1947 A.A. Holds Key to Powers

Grapevine

September 1947

A.A. Holds Key to Powers

I hadn’t been on the program very long before very gradually the idea began to sink in to the recesses of my mind that self betterment was one of the basic pillars on which our program is based, and is indeed a primary essential if we wish continued sobriety. What I wanted on the program was sobriety and I could look the other members of the group in the eye and tell them that all my troubles could be summed up in one word–booze. Actually, however, there were many defects in my personality and character and I didn’t realize how many until I had been on the program for a considerable period.

According to many psychologists and psychiatrists, most alcoholics take to drink as a means of escape. However, by a rigid application of the 12 Steps it is possible for us to lead lives in which the need for escape is eliminated and in effecting this miracle we act as our own psychiatrists.

If it will make this idea more clear, it is my experience that a psychiatrist tries to locate some frustration or troublesome matter in a person’s background, then brings it out in the open for the patient to recognize and handle in a normal fashion instead of trying to run away from it. Using the 12 Steps as our tools, we A.A. members gradually eliminate these things in our own way and create for ourselves a way of life in which we are happily dry.

This is, of course, closely related to our 8th and 10th Steps wherein we “made a list of persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all” and wherein we “continued to take personal inventory and when wrong promptly admitted it.” Since we are to be alcoholics all of our lives and must be everlastingly on guard, we have in reality assumed a lifetime job. Our quiet time is closely interrelated with the application of these two particular Steps and their importance in planning our sobriety and new way of life cannot be overlooked. Most of us plan our work after a fashion once we get to the office. If a motor trip or a vacation is in view many pleasurable moments are attained in planning each particular leg of the journey, maps are brought out and equipment is renovated and cleaned. Some of us, particularly when going hunting or fishing, even plan for unforeseen contingencies and alternative routes. This is a technique which I believe fits very well into our A.A. quiet times. Let us during this period practice providing for unforeseen contingencies and alternative routes in our daily A.A. way of life. There is much pleasure that can be obtained from this procedure and it will reinsure our final objective of continued sobriety.

The word “power” comes into our A.A. talk and literature with regularity. There is the “Power greater than ourselves” referred to in our 2nd Step. There is also the power of the group and we often think of the power of the grip John Barleycorn had over us as individuals. A power that we hear of all too little and the importance of which ofttimes escapes our attention is the power of example. We seldom realize or comprehend the power of our own individual examples on other members of our group. Do you think that if the founders and earlier members of the group had practiced erratic behavior with continuous slips that our organization would have grown to a membership of 40,000 to 45,000 within a period of twelve years, or that if E.T., C.L. or L.H.’s handling of their application of the A.A. program had been less consistent that our Chicago Group would have enjoyed its phenomenal growth and success? Most of us would be surprised and pleased if we realized the importance of the power of our example in our own groups–it is a power we should jealously guard and treasure.

The transition between power of example and slips is not difficult. They are closely related as the chronic slipper has a negative effect on the group as a whole. For lack of better name we call the following a slip. As the case may be, this person gets into his car or takes the elevator down from his office and makes for the saloon of his choice. He opens the door, goes in, and deposits himself within arm reach of the bar. When the bartender says, “What will you have?” he lays his money on the bar and replies in a distinct voice, “Bourbon and soda.” The bartender puts a shot glass down, gets the soda and reaches to the back bar for the bourbon which in good time is poured and in turn gulped down. This describes what, with some minor variations, is called a slip. To most other people, however, it would appear simply that here is a fellow who wanted a drink and stepped out and got it. Perhaps slips aren’t slips at all but wilful deviations from the program–shall we say vacations from A.A.? Our program has never failed–but there have been many misapplications, on the part of aspiring A.A.s, of the program to their daily lives.

Progress in my personal transition from lying, cheating and general dishonesty was effected because there seems to be a line of demarcation which my conscience readily recognized between truth and lies and honesty and cheating. However, the gradual change from arrogance and conceit to tolerance and humility is a fine line not easily discernible and my program has been difficult and slow. As to those virtues of tolerance and humility, both you and I can hear the world crying for them; but as A.A.s and individuals, how many of us actually view them as vital ingredients for our personal success? And how difficult it was for me to realize that a tolerant attitude is no favor to be condescendingly granted to my wife and friends, but is vastly more beneficial to the person who adopts it, than to the person who is being tolerated. I, for one, must develop tolerance for others so that I can retain and tolerate myself.

A.A. asks an answer to but one question, “Are you ready?” The answer must be categorically yes or no. When the question is asked, our newcomer is at the fork of the road; to the left is continued alcoholic excesses and to the right the A.A. way of life with its attendant happiness and peace of mind. It requires no exercise of the will to answer this question. All that is required is an election freely made between two choices–and any alcoholic may be free. Don’t be mistaken–this is not high-faluting philosophy–this is the record of A.A.

Since I was first introduced to A.A. many things have happened. The war has been brought to a successful conclusion. My personal war with alcohol has, at least, reached the armistice stage. Peace with all its ramifications has gained access to my life and home.

I have discovered I am not a “big shot” but only a small cog in a big wheel. I have learned that yesterday cannot be recalled and that tomorrow is an unknown quality and that today–this present 24-hour period–is the time to practice the principles of A.A.

H.B. Chicago, Illinois

Grapevine Editorial: On the 12th Step. . .Faith without Works and the Body without the Spirit

October 1946 
Faith without Works and the Body without the Spirit
 
Editorial:
On the 12th Step. . .
 
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of those steps we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”
 
The 12th Step is the climax of the other 11. Without the 12th Step, the conception formulated in the other 11 would be like faith without works and the body without the spirit.
 
Here is the plan put into action, and it is a two-way action. Through the 12th Step, one receives as he gives. He gives to another what he has learned and in so doing receives new strength for himself. And it is through this two-way action that A.A. grows not only larger but stronger, for it is through the 12th Step that new members are made and old members extend the length and the quality of their sobriety.
 
When the 12th Step operates as it is intended to it precludes the development of the stultifying results of the ordinary debtor-creditor relationship. Although the A.A. engaged on a 12th Step mission may appear to be the donor–donor of a priceless gift which has helped thousands of others–and though the distraught recipient may feel grateful either then or subsequently, there is a powerfully restraining factor in the transaction. The A.A. cannot feel smugly virtuous as bearer of this gift when he knows that by giving it he keeps it and that 12th Step work is the way he helps to preserve his own sobriety. He is not likely to get a fatally righteous and inflated estimation of himself when he remembers that in 12th Step work one receives at least as much and usually much more than he gives. He cannot well fancy himself becoming a saint when he remembers that through 12th Step work he helps to keep himself from becoming a drunk again.
 
Even for the newcomer who discovers A.A. by way of some member applying the 12th Step in his behalf, there is an equalizer. He may always feel grateful, but as he learns more about A.A. he realizes the necessity of the 12th Step work to the do-er as well as the receiver and thus is relieved of any sense of imposed obligation. And he in turn can embark on 12th Step work knowing that he is doing it for himself more even than for others and certainly without the duress of paying off a debt.
 
By virtue of these factors, 12th Step work is both inspirational and practical, often the spark that rekindles the fires of shining hope, and at the same time a completely realistic approach to a very tough problem. Few situations arise anywhere that offer a greater challenge to one’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, perseverance and the best of his brains than those which arise commonly in 12th Step work. Nor, it should be added, are there many things which man does that require more hard work than is so often needed in the completion of a 12th Step task.
 
In 12th Step work, one is dealing with the most exasperating, stubborn, conniving, prevaricating, baffling, unpredictable, twisted and messed-up human being at large –the drunk. Successful 12th Step work calls for practically all of the virtues and talents given man, and often, even if any A.A. had all of the virtues and all of the talents, they would not be enough.
 
Yet, 12th Step work also offers more drama, more comedy, suspense, thrills and excitement than one will ever find on any movie screen. And it is real. It is life in the raw. It takes care of any idle time that may have been dragging heavily. And it has given to many an A.A. experiences that yield the greatest happiness of a lifetime.
Finally, of course, 12th Step work is certainly one of the surest, if not the surest, way of keeping sober. The reason it is so effective is that it almost compels one engaging in it to keep thinking in the direction that preserves sobriety. It is, at the same time, a reminder of what has been and a warning of what could be again.
But, more even than its value as both a reminder and a warning, 12th Step work is the practice of the basic principle of a way of life. The principle has been voiced in many different phrases –as “Do unto others. . .” and “My brother’s keeper,” or “Brotherhood of man,” and simply, “Helping others.” So, likewise, is 12th Step work helping others, keeping the brother, doing unto others as we have been done unto. And doing it without expectancy of repayment or bouquets.
 
The Grapevine October 1946
 


Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813
iamronrichey@gmail.com
www.melloron.com

Ours Is Not To Judge (by Bill W.)Grapevine August 1946 plus two others

Grapevine August 1946 
 
Ours Is Not To Judge (by Bill W.)
 
 
The first edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous makes this brief statement about membership: “The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect or denomination nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted.” This expressed our feeling as of 1939, the year our book was published.
Since that day all kinds of experiments with membership have been tried. The number of membership rules which have been made (and mostly broken!) are legion. Two or three years ago the Central Office asked the groups to list their membership rules and send them in. After they arrived we set them all down. They took a great many sheets of paper. A little reflection upon these many rules brought us to an astonishing conclusion. If all of these edicts had been in force everywhere at once it would have been practically impossible for any alcoholic to have ever joined Alcoholics Anonymous. About nine-tenths of our oldest and best members could never have got by!
 
Who’d Have Lasted?
 
In some cases we would have been too discouraged by the demands made upon us. Most of the early members of A.A. would have been thrown out because they slipped too much, because their morals were too bad, because they had mental as well as alcoholic difficulties. Or, believe it or not, because they did not come from the so-called better classes of society. We oldsters could have been excluded for our failure to read the book Alcoholics Anonymous or the refusal of our sponsor to vouch for us as a candidate. And so on ad infinitum. The way our “worthy” alcoholics have sometime tried to judge the “less worthy” is, as we look back on it, rather comical. Imagine, if you can, one alcoholic judging another!
 
At one time or another most A.A. Groups go on rule-making benders. Naturally enough, too, as a Group commences to grow rapidly it is confronted with many alarming problems. Panhandlers begin to pan-handle. Members get drunk and sometimes get others drunk with them. Those with mental difficulties throw depressions or break out into paranoid denunciations of fellow members. Gossips gossip, and righteously denounce the local Wolves and Red Riding Hoods. Newcomers argue that they aren’t alcoholics at all, but keep coming around anyway. “Slipees” trade on the fair name of A.A., in order to get themselves jobs. Others refuse to accept all the 12 Steps of the Recovery Program. Some go still further, saying that, the “God business” is bunk and quite unnecessary. Under these conditions our conservative program-abiding members get scared. These appalling conditions must be controlled, they think. Else A.A. will surely go to rack and ruin. They view with alarm for the good of the Movement!
 
At this point the Group enters the rule and regulation phase. Charters, by-laws and membership rules are excitedly passed and authority is granted committees to filter out undesirables and discipline the evil doers. Then the Group Elders, now clothed with authority, commence to get busy. Recalcitrants are cast into the outer darkness, respectable busybodies throw stones at the sinners. As for the so-called sinners, they either insist on staying around, or else they form a new Group of their own. Or maybe they join a more congenial and less intolerant crowd in their neighborhood. The Elders soon discover that the rules and regulations aren’t working very well. Most attempts at enforcement generate such waves of dissension and intolerance in the Group that this condition is presently recognized to be worse for the Group life than the very worst that the worst ever did.
 
After a time fear and intolerance subside. The Group survives unscathed. Everybody has learned a great deal. So it is, that few of us are any longer afraid of what any newcomer can do to our A.A. reputation or effectiveness. Those who slip, those who pan-handle, those who scandalize, those with mental twists, those who rebel at the program, those who trade on the A.A. reputation –all such persons seldom harm an A.A. Group for long. Some of these have become our most respected and best loved. Some have remained to try our patience, sober nevertheless. Others have drifted away. We have begun to regard these ones not as menaces, but rather as our teachers. They oblige us to cultivate patience, tolerance and humility. We finally see that they are only people sicker than the rest of us, that we who condemn them are the Pharisees whose false righteousness does our Group the deeper spiritual damage.
 
Ours Not to Judge
 
Every older A.A. shudders when he remembers the names of persons he once condemned; people he confidently predicted would never sober up; persons he was sure ought to be thrown out of A.A. for the good of the movement. Now that some of these very persons have been sober for years, and may be numbered among his best friends, the oldtimer thinks to himself “What if everybody had judged these people as I once did? What if A.A. had slammed its door in their faces? Where would they be now?”
 
That is why we all judge the newcomer less and less. If alcohol is an uncontrollable problem to him and he wishes to do something about it, that is enough for us. We care not whether his case is severe or light, whether his morals are good or bad, whether he has other complications or not. Our A.A. door stands wide open, and if he passes through it and commences to do anything at all about his problem, he is considered a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He signs nothing, agrees to nothing, promises nothing. We demand nothing. He joins us on his own say so. Nowadays, in most Groups, he doesn’t even have to admit he is an alcoholic. He can join A.A. on the mere suspicion that he may be one, that he may already show the fatal symptoms of our malady.
 
Of course this is not the universal state of affairs throughout A.A. Membership rules still exist. If a member persists in coming to meetings drunk he may be led outside; we may ask someone to take him away. But in most Groups he can come back next day, if sober. Though he may be thrown out of a club, nobody thinks of throwing him out of A.A. He is a member as long as he says he is. While this broad concept of A.A. membership is not yet unanimous, it does represent the main current of A.A. thought today. We do not wish to deny anyone his chance to recover from alcoholism. We wish to be just as inclusive as we can, never exclusive.
 
Perhaps this trend signifies something much deeper than a mere change of attitude on the question of membership. Perhaps it means that we are losing all fear of those violent emotional storms which sometimes cross our alcoholic world; perhaps it bespeaks our confidence that every storm will be followed by a calm; a calm which is more understanding, more compassionate, more tolerant than any we ever knew before.
===========================
Listen to Your Inner Voice

Our inner voice, that quiet guide within, will lead us along our path, will help us create our destiny, will keep us in harmony.

So much stress comes from not listening, not trusting our inner voice. So much confusion comes from trying to act before we have heard, before we are guided. So much pain comes when we deny what that voice is saying, when we try to run from it or make it go away. We wonder how we can trust ourselves. The better question is, How can we not trust ourselves?

Our rage, anger, and most bitter resentments occur when we trust others rather than ourselves. Yes, sometimes promptings come from outside ourselves. The universe is alive, magical, responsive, and will guide us on our way. But the answer must always resonate, must always ultimately come from that place within our heart, our soul, our inner voice. Sometimes, we need to listen to others until we become impassioned enough to hear and trust ourselves.

It takes practice, the quiet practice of listening, until we learn how to hear ourselves, then interpret what we hear. It is neither wasted time nor incidental to our lives to learn to hear ourselves, to learn to tune into our hearts and souls. That’s part of the reason we’re here– part of our destiny, our mission, our purpose.

Our best work, our finest moments, our joy happen when we’re centered, listening to and trusting ourselves, allowing our hearts and souls to guide us. They happen when we allow ourselves to fully, completely, and in love, be who we are
=====================================

Right attitudes Toward Anonymity.
Traditions.
At both the practical and spiritual levels, anonymity is a great blessing for the AA fellowship. There is much wisdom behind Traditions Eleven and Twelve.
Yet it is possible to use anonymity as a cloak for pride and fear. This might be the case with alcoholics who insist on concealing their AA membership from fellow workers, neighbors, and friends. They defend this zealous protection of their anonymity by pointing to the traditions. However, this could reveal a lack of understanding and perhaps a lack of commitment to the program.
Why is it useful to let others know we belong to AA? Our best opportunities to help others may come from people who watched us in sobriety and were inspired by our example.
However, we must maintain anonymity at the public media level, and nobody has the right to violate another person’s anonymity. Nor is it wise to be critical of the AA member who prefers anonymity at every level. We have no right to pass judgment on such decisions. Above all, we never have a right to break another’s anonymity.
I’ll try to set a good example for others who may be seeking sobriety. I can find guidance about anonymity.


Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813
iamronrichey@gmail.com
www.melloron.com

History of the Little Red Book 

History of the Little Red Book 

ED WEBSTER wrote The Little Red Book, which had a chapter explaining how to work each of the twelve steps. Dr. Bob thought it was the best description of how to work the steps that had ever been written. He sent copies of it all over the U.S. and Canada with his recommendation. Until Dr. Bob’s death in 1950, he insisted that the New York A.A. office make copies of this book available for sale through their office.

The Little Red book went through a series of editions: the most important are the first edition which came out in 1946, followed by the two 1947 editions, a 1948 edition, and a 1949 edition which had two printings. At every step in the process, Dr. Bob was putting handwritten notes on the books and manuscripts, giving Ed his suggestions for changes and revisions, all of which Ed incorporated. Dr. Bob (unlike Bill W.) was not a writer, so The Little Red Book is the closest thing we have to knowing how Dr. Bob taught newcomers, and what he thought they ought to know about the twelve steps and how to work them in order to get sober and stay sober for the rest of your life.

Ed Webster got sober in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on December 13, 1941. He and his A.A. friend Barry Collins formed their own little A.A. publishing company, called the Coll-Webb Co., where they printed and distributed copies of this book under the sponsorship of the Nicollet Group in Minneapolis until Ed’s death in 1971.

After Dr. Bob’s death in 1950, Bill W. wanted to write his own, more highly philosophical discussion of the steps, which would be very different from The Little Red Book (going at it in a way which Dr. Bob would undoubtedly have been suspicious of). Bill W. published this in 1952-3 as the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. He had grave difficulties obtaining the money to print that book, and after it was published, he insisted that the New York A.A. office put its full weight into pushing his book over The Little Red Book, so they would not have a warehouse full of his own unsold books.

Nevertheless, there are many good old timers who will tell you that they would never have gotten sober if they had tried to deal with the 12 & 12 right away, when they first came in. It was too complicated, and their minds were still befuddled and confused with the aftereffects of too many years of drinking. They will tell you that they got sober on two books basically — the Big Book and the 24 Hour book — followed by a study of the steps in The Little Red Book and the little early A.A. pamphlet called the Tablemate.

Thank You Norman for your work..

Forwarded by Rod Miller a “Little Red Book Thumper”..

If you were born in the 1930’s and early 40’s, we exist as a very special age group.

If you were born in the 1930’s and early 40’s, we exist as a very special
age group.
We are the smallest group of children born since the early 1900’s.
We are the last generation, climbing out of the depression,
who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world
at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years.
We are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves.
We saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.
We saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available.
I remember having to but a “boot…a large piece of leather” inside the automobile tire when a hole wore through the outer tread.
We also painted the top part of the car’s headlight black so the enemy (Germans) would not see them if we had an air raid at night.
We can remember milk being delivered to our house early in the
morning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.
We didn’t have butter. We had nucoh (check the spelling), some oil byproduct that came in a pouch with a bead of coloring in the pouch. You broke the bead and massaged it into the goo, which turned yellow and looked lime butter.
We are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of our
grieving neighbors whose sons died in the War.
We saw the ‘boys’ home from the war, build their little houses.
We are the last generation who spent childhood without television; instead, we imagined what we heard on the radio.
As we all like to brag, with no TV, we spent our childhood “playing outside”.
There was no little league.
There was no city playground for kids.
The lack of television in our early years meant, for most of us, that we had little real understanding of what the world was like.
On Saturday afternoons, the movies, gave us newsreels sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.
Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party Lines)
and hung on the wall in the kitchen (no cares about privacy).
Computers were called calculators, they were hand cranked; typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage, and changing the ribbon.
The ‘INTERNET’ and ‘GOOGLE’ were words that did not exist.
Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on our radio in the evening by Gabriel Heatter and later Paul Harvey.
As we grew up, the country was exploding with growth.
The G.I. Bill gave returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow.
VA loans fanned a housing boom.
Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans opened many factories for work.
New highways would bring jobs and mobility.
The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.
The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands.
Our parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression
and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities
they had never imagined.
We weren’t neglected, but we weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus.
They were glad we played by ourselves until the street lights came on.
They were busy discovering the post war world.
We entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where we were welcomed, enjoyed ourselves and felt secure in our future.
Although depression poverty was deeply remembered.
Polio was still a crippler.
There were TB (tuberculosis) clinics scatter around.
We came of age in the 50’s and 60’s.
The Korean War was a dark passage in the early 50’s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks for Air-Raid training.
Russia built the “Iron Curtain” and China became Red China ..
Eisenhower sent the first ‘Army Advisers’ to Vietnam.
Castro took over in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.
We are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, “global warming”, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease.
Only our generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty. lived through both.
We grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better. not worse.
We are “The Last Ones”
More than 99 % of us are either retired or deceased, and we feel privileged to have “lived in the best of times”!

And, despite many, many affiliated-to-war & poverty degradations, we were a lucky and happy bunch. Most of us can still smile about it. – –

Have yourself a Wonderful Day! *:-h wave
Gilbert Eugene

What Do I Do Next to Stay Sober? Grapevine September 1968 

What Do I Do Next to Stay Sober? 
AA Grapevine September 1968 
 
Stay cheerful; stick with the winners; get busy; take the Twelve Steps
 
ALL RIGHT; tonight I’m (hopefully) assuming there’s one person in this room who for good reason has been exploring AA lately; someone who has been having trouble with his drinking and to whom the AA message has been carried; who is over the worst of the withdrawal whimwhams and has begun to look around him and wonder what he’s getting into. And who has begun to ask questions, like “What is an alcoholic, anyway?” and “What is this thing called AA?”
 
As he thinks about the answers he has received, with his mind made up that there’s a pretty good chance he belongs here, naturally at this point he wants to know what he does next in order to put this thing to work for him all the way.
The customary initial suggestions have been made to him, and again I’m assuming that he is following them: meetings, meetings, and more meetings; staying away from one drink one day at a time; using the AA tools–the 24-hour plan, the Slogans, the telephone therapy, the Serenity Prayer.
 
What our beginner does now is more of the same. These are the things he has done and the tools he has used to keep him sober today, thus far, and with us it’s always today. I’d like to add one heartfelt recommendation of my own, and that’s to do a little realistic thinking along about now, and adopt and latch on to a healthy set of attitudes in relation to the entire situation.
 
I often quote the politician who with equal facility could either “anticipate with delight” or “view with alarm.” Which approach is the beginner bringing to his new life in AA? His choice will make all the difference in how much or how little he gets out of AA above and beyond physical sobriety. The positive attitude in any endeavor is the one that gets results. The negative attitude never gets off the ground–nor, sometimes, does the alcoholic who persists in “viewing with alarm.”
The negative approach says, “Poor me. Why me? So I’m sober, but I don’t have to like it.” The negative type, to be sure, does look around him, but not at the living good examples in an AA meeting, He looks back over his shoulder, out yonder, and thinks: “Joe Bloke can drink and! can’t. I’m as good a man as Joe Bloke ever was. It’s a damned shame I can’t drink like Joe Bloke can. . . . Who says I can’t? I’ll show them!” And he sure does.
 
The positive approach to AA might go something like this. . . .
 
Admitted: I have a problem with drinking.
 
There is a place where I can get help for my problem. That place is AA. I’m a lucky guy (or gal) that there is an AA.
 
AA teaches me that I cannot safely drink, since I am an alcoholic. There are lots of things worse than being an alcoholic. There are many diseases I definitely would not exchange my alcoholism for. Not all of them can be arrested; mine can. I’m lucky I’m only an alcoholic. For me there is hope. I accept.
 
I realize I’m giving up nothing that’s doing me any good; I’m getting rid of something I can no longer live with, and these people tell me I can very well live without. They will even tell me how to do it.
 
I have a lot to learn, so I’d better listen good.
 
I see around me in AA people who are apparently very well adjusted to getting along without drinking. Most of them even seem to prefer it this way. They look fine; they’re cheerful, lively, busy, happy. I want some of that, too, along with just merely keeping out of trouble.
 
I’ll stand on my head at high noon every day, if they tell me that’s what they did to get this thing. . . .
 
What else can our beginner do now to help along the quality as well as the quantity of his sobriety?
 
You can “stick with the winners,” whose sobriety is the kind you want. Stay away as much as possible–perhaps altogether, for a while, until you’re on more solid ground–from old drinking pals who can’t be expected to take your present effort as seriously as you do, and whose drinking can set up a resentment in you against your “lot.” Resentments can set anyone off again. They’re one luxury alcoholics absolutely cannot afford.
 
Don’t push your luck. Meals can be found in coffee shops, telephones in drugstores. There’s no valid need to go on patronizing your neighborhood bar for commodities such as these. And don’t be afraid you’ll miss seeing the “kindred souls” in that bar. They may be our beginners of tomorrow! We who are here tonight are the alumni of many bars; we’re your kindred spirits, too. You may even get to like us better this way than as the kind of barroom companions we used to be.
 
Do you like to read? We have a magazine, the Grapevine, that’s delightful. We have books you’ll get to love. There is also the “little black book,” 24 Hours a Day; spend five minutes with it every morning–it will start your day out right.
 
Get busy around the group of your choice. First, of course, join a group. Put down roots, so that you’ll become known and will be around and available where the activity is. It’s true there are no formal “musts” in AA, but you’ll find there are any number of “You’ll be better off if you do’s,” and this is one of them.
 
Count your blessings often. There arc more of them than you perhaps realize, already, and they’ll increase with every twenty-four hours of sobriety. Count them especially if you should feel a little self-pity or depression creeping in; force yourself to; see how long your self-pity lasts under that treatment. Counting your blessings will help you stay grateful, and gratitude will help you stay sober.
 
Never say “Never” to anything that comes along in AA. Say “Not today,” if you must, but don’t set up blocks in your mind that can later become roadblocks in the path to the kind of sobriety you want. At the same time, keep your expectations simple, and watch your natural impatience. Not all of your problems will clear up overnight; they didn’t accumulate overnight. Nor is AA going to solve all your problems. It can and will take care of your Number One problem, drinking. And indirectly, through your own sobriety, it will help you solve the others. But this will take a little time; just remember that, in adding one day’s sobriety to another, you’re gaining on your other objectives.
 
As for the horrible past and the remorse that sometimes threatens to swamp you–don’t be too hard on yourself. You have been a very sick person; you’re just beginning to recover. The Twelve Steps will enable you, when you’re ready to tackle them, to do all that needs to be done about that past, so that “you can finally let it go; until you are strong enough and ready to deal with it, it will keep. Meantime, this is today, and this is the time in your life that counts–right now.
 
Bob N.
Scarsdale, New York
Virus-free. www.avg.com

Dr. Silkworth’s Rx for Sobriety

Dr. Silkworth’s Rx for Sobriety

http://silkworth.net/silkworth/rxsobriety.html

Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., June 1945

Anyone who tried to impress a drinking alcoholic with the approach, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” would probably draw a scornful, “So what! Who wants any cake? Tony, make it a double this time.”

The same idea expressed as, “You can’t have your bottle and drink it, too,” might get his attention because to a drinking alcoholic a fresh unopened bottle, brimming brightly with abundance, is a symbol of good things to come. He knows well enough, of course, that he can’t drink it and still have it, but he blocks his mind to the inevitability of that horrible moment when the last bottle will be empty.

The untapped bottle remains a symbol to the non-drinking alcoholic, at least to the alcoholic who has dried up in A.A. So long as it stands unopened it represents drinks he has not taken, and the good things of life he has found by not drinking.

Yet now and then a persevering soul tries to have both the figurative and the liquid contents of the bottle. He tries to make an impossible compromise.

In the opinion of a man who has administered personally to at least 10,000 alcoholics, the attempt to make this kind of compromise is one of the most common causes of failure to get a safe hold on A.A.

Dr. W.D. Silkworth, genial and beloved little patriarch at Towns Hospital, New York, for twelve years and now (1945) also in charge of the new A.A. ward at Knickerbocker, also New York, defines it as the “alcoholic double-cross.”

“The majority who slip after periods of sobriety,” says Dr. Silkworth, “having double-crossed themselves into thinking that somehow they can have the unopened bottle and drink it, too. Even though they have been in A.A. and going to meetings, and following parts of the program, they have accepted it with reservations somewhere. They actually have been one step ahead of a drink. Then they began playing around with the notion they can drink a little and still have the good things of A.A. The outcome is an inevitable as the bottle becoming empty once it has been opened by the alcoholic.”

When Dr. Silkworth discusses A.A. “slips” his usually cheerful face becomes serious even a little grim. Through his long years of practice in the field, he has become increasingly sympathetic, but not case-hardened, to alcoholics. He understands what they experience. Having been one of the first in his profession to support A.A. and having guided scores of alcoholics into A.A., he also appreciates the fact that a “slip” for an A.A. involves an extra degree of remorse and misery.

Dr. Silkworth is particularly emphatic on one point.

“Slips are not the fault of A.A. I have heard patients complain, when brought in for another drying out, that A.A. failed them. The truth, of course, is that they failed A.A.

But this mental maneuvering to transfer the blame is obviously another indication of fallacious thinking. It is another symptom of the disease.”

A quick way to get Dr. Silkworth’s appraisal of A.A. is to ask him how he thinks “slips” can be prevented.

“First,” he explains, “let’s remember the cause. The A.A. who “slips” has not accepted the A.A. program in its entirety. He has a reservation, or reservations. He’s tried to make a compromise. Frequently, of course, he will say he doesn’t know why he reverted to a drink. He means that sincerely and, as a matter of fact, he may not be aware of any reason. But if his thoughts can be probed deeply enough a reason can usually be found in the form of a reservation.”

“The preventive, therefore, is acceptance of the A.A. program and A.A. principles without any reservations. This brings us to what I call the moral issue and to what I have always believed from the first to be the essence of A.A.”

“Why does this moral issue and belief in a power greater than oneself appear to be the essential principle of A.A.? First, an important comparison is found in the fact that all other plans involving psychoanalysis, will-power, restraint and other ingenious ideas have failed in 95 per cent of the cases. A second is that all movements of reform minus a moral issue have passed into oblivion.”

“Whatever may be the opinions one professes in the matter of philosophy -whether one is a spiritualist or a scientific materialist – one should recognize the reciprocal influence which the moral and physical exert upon each other. 

Alcoholism is a mental and physical issue. Physically a man has developed an illness. He cannot use alcohol in moderation, at least not for a period of enduring length. If the alcoholic starts to drink, he sooner or later develops the phenomenon of craving.”

“Mentally, this same alcoholic develops an obsessive type of thinking which, in itself a neurosis, offers an unfavorable prognosis through former plans of treatment. Physically – science does not know why – a man cannot drink in moderation. But through moral psychology – a new interpretation of an old idea – A.A. has been able to solve his former mental obsession. It is the vital principle of A.A., without which A.A. would have failed even as other forms of treatment have failed.”

To be sure, A.A. offers a number of highly useful tools or props. Its group therapy is very effective. I have seen countless demonstrations of how well your ‘24-hour plan’ operates. The principle of working with other alcoholics has a sound psychological basis. All of these features of the program are extremely important.”

“But, in my opinion, the key principle which makes A.A. work where other plans have proved inadequate is the way of life it proposes based upon the belief of the individual in a Power greater than himself and the faith that this Power is all sufficient to destroy the obsession which possessed him and was destroying him mentally and physically.”

“For many years I faced this alcoholic problem being sure of one scientific fact – that detoxication by medical treatment must precede any psychiatric approach. I have tried many of these orthodox psychiatric approaches and invented some new ones of my own. With some patients I would be coldly analytical, if they were of the so-called ‘scientific’ type who is apt to have a superior attitude toward anything emotional or spiritual. With others, I would try the ‘scare’ method, telling them that if they continued to drink they would kill themselves. With still others, I would attempt the emotional appeal, working both the patient and myself into a lather. He might be moved to the point of shaking hands dramatically and telling me, with tears streaming down his face, that he was never going to take another drink. And I knew that the probability was he would be drunk again within two weeks or less.”

“Since I have been working with A.A. the comparative percentage of successful results has increased to an amazing extent.”

“The percentage of success that A.A. has scored leaves no doubt that it has something more than we as doctors can offer. It is, I am convinced, your second step. Once the A.A. alcoholic has grasped that, he will have no more “slips.”

Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., June 1945

Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813
iamronrichey@gmail.com
www.melloron.com

DEFINITION of “OLD”

DEFINITION of “OLD”
#1
I very quietly confided to my best friend that I was having an affair.
She turned to me and asked, “Are you having it catered?”
And that, my friend, is the sad definition of “OLD”.
#2
Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked,
“How old was your husband?”
“98,” she replied: “Two years older than me”
“So you’re 96,” the undertaker commented.
She responded, “Hardly worth going home, is it?”
#3
Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman:
“And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” the reporter asked.
She simply replied, “No peer pressure.”
#4
I’ve sure gotten old!
I have outlived my feet and my teeth,
I’ve had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement,
New knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes I’m half blind,
Can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine,
Take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.
Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation;
Hardly feel my hands and feet anymore.
Can’t remember if I’m 85 or 92.
Have lost all my friends. But, thank God,
I still have my driver’s license.
#5
I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape,
So I got my doctor’s permission to join a fitness club and start exercising.
I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.
I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But,
By the time I got my leotards on,
The class was over.

#6
An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests.
First, she wanted to be cremated, and second,
She wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart.
“Wal-Mart?” the preacher exclaimed.
“Why Wal-Mart?”
“Then I’ll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week.”
#7
My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be..
Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.

#8
Know how to prevent sagging?
Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.
#9
It’s scary when you start making the same noises
As your coffee maker.
#10
These days about half the stuff
In my shopping cart says,
‘For fast relief.’
#11
THE SENILITY PRAYER:
Grant me the senility to forget the people
I never liked anyway,
The good fortune to run into the ones I do, and
The eyesight to tell the difference.

The Second Angel

AA Grapevine
December 1953
The Second Angel
DID you ever hear the story of the second angel?

A man dreamed that he died. He found himself walking up a wide, richly carpeted stairway, so wide that the extent of its width was lost in fleecy clouds on either side. In spite of the carpeting, and what was certainly sponge rubber matting underneath, he was treading the golden stairs to Heaven.

He was pondering the oddity and earthiness of sponge rubber matting when he became aware of a shadow failing across the steps ahead of him. He looked up to see a great angel with an enormous book in his hands. The angel’s face was stern, his eyes searching. A cold chill ran over the man. Sweat popped out on his forehead. He started to reach for his handkerchief and mop his brow, and then thought better of it. Such an action did not seem quite proper in the presence of an angel.

In low, businesslike terms, the angel asked the mortal to identify himself. He did so, in a voice that was more of a squeak than his usual rich, full baritone. The angel flipped the pages of the book and looked long and quizzically at the man.

“Why, your page is practically a blank!” the angel said.

The man was terrified. “That’s–that’s bad?”

“Bad!” exclaimed the angel. “It’s exceptionally good. It means you have kept the moral law as few have, that all your life you have done nothing really wrong.”

With a wave of the hand the angel motioned the man forward up the golden stairs. The man stood for a moment and rejoiced. Then, with the lightest heart he had ever known and the jauntiest step, he once more began moving upward.

Was that music he heard faintly and far away? Soon he would hear it clearly. Soon the Gates would swing open, soon. . . .

But, lo, here stood another angel holding another great book. The man noted at once that this angel had a much kinder face. So the man was not afraid. When he was again asked to identify himself, he did so in his natural voice.

The angel turned at once to the right page. On consulting it, he gave the man a strange look. Again he studied the page, and looked at the man a second time. His puzzled gaze seemed to say, “Can I believe my own angelic eyes?” The man’s confidence was rising. He knew that his friends had often marveled at the strict way in which he lived. But he had never really hoped to astonish even the angels in Heaven!

“Why, this page is as near an absolute blank as I’ve ever seen,” said the angel.

The man was happy. “That’s good?”

“Indeed not!” said the second angel. “Your record is exceptionally bad. You’ve done little that’s wrong–but you’ve dune nothing good either. If you had, we’d have recorded it. I’m the angel in charge of the Department of Omissions.”

Instead of waving the man higher, this angel thrust an arm across his book and pointed downward. The golden stairs disappeared and the man felt himself falling, falling, falling. . . . Hot flames did not reach up and envelop him, as he half-expected, and he did not land on a bed of white-hot coals. Instead he awoke trembling in his own bed, with the phrase “Department of Omissions” echoing in his mind.

“Department of Omissions!”

He thought about it in the shower, as he shaved, as he dressed.

“Department of Omissions!”

He was still thinking about it when his wife called him to breakfast. He did a thing he hadn’t done for years. Before he sat down he kissed her lightly on the cheek. If it hadn’t been so early in the morning, she would have thought he was tipsy. She did steal a glance at him to see if he might be running a fever.

The man left his morning paper folded by his plate. Instead of reading as he drank his coffee, he discussed last night’s basketball game with his son. He discussed the coming junior prom with his daughter. Both children felt uneasy, but their mother signaled them with her eyes to carry on. Their father, her eyes said, would undoubtedly be normal by evening.

When he left for his office the man kissed his wife goodbye. He waved at his neighbor, who was cutting his hedge. The latter was flabbergasted and he paused incredulously with his hedge scissors agape, halted in midair. The man waved at the traffic cop (with whom he had carried on a cold war for years) and left that officer muttering, “Now, what’s come over the old sourpuss anyway?”

As the man entered his office, he chatted amiably with his receptionist, and so completely flabbergasted her with inquiries about her family’s health and her dog’s health and her parakeet’s health that she forgot to chew her gum.

When he reached his desk, the first thing he did was to call up his pastor and say he had finally decided to serve on the church’s committee for overseas relief. He then called the president of his service club and said he’d be glad to take on that underprivileged children job, after all.

The man spent a busy day building up his accounts in the Department of Omissions. Nor did he stop at one day. The dream stayed with him. Especially vivid was the expression of unbelief on the second angel’s face-when he looked at the man’s record in the book whose blank pages reveal the good which had not been done.