From the BlogMeet Ron



There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.
–Helen Keller

The human race is a huge mixture of dignity and degradation and everyone inherits the blend. We can respect the slave in us for his endurance and suffering. And the king in us earns our respect for his leadership and justice. Are we ashamed of who we are or where we have come from? Then we may have to look deeper and ask if we are really different from any other person.
Do we believe we must conform to some mold of acceptability, some proper appearance? Are we so focused on the surface that we miss the deeper values of our humanness? Sometimes we take on a reverse smugness and become judgmental of the person who looks successful or speaks well. We think, “I can’t like them, they are in a different class.” We all need acceptance and respect, and in this program we are equals from the first day.
God, grant me the self esteem to accept the whole mixture that comes together in me and in the people around me.
Living with Families

I was forty-six years old before I finally admitted to myself and someone else that my grandfather always managed to make me feel guilty, angry, and controlled.

We may love and care about our family very much. Family members may love and care about us. But interacting with some members may be a real trigger to our codependency – sometimes to a deep abyss of shame, rage, anger, guilt, and helplessness.

It can be difficult to achieve detachment, or an emotional level, with certain family members. It can be difficult to separate their issues from ours. It can be difficult to own our power.

Difficult, but not impossible.

The first step is awareness and acceptance – simple acknowledgment, without guilt, of our feelings and thoughts. We do not have to blame our family members. We do not have to blame or shame ourselves. Acceptance is the goal – acceptance and freedom to choose what we want and need to do to take care of ourselves with that person. We can become free of the patterns of the past. We are recovering. Progress is the goal.

Today, Higher Power, help me be patient with myself as I learn how to apply recovery behaviors with family members. Help me strive today for awareness and acceptance.
Let it be
Life is a series of letting go’s – an “infinite” series of letting go’s. All things in life are given us on loan. Stand face-to-face with life, learn to let go, and whatever comes our way– success or failure, joy or sorrow, support or betrayal, light or darkness– it all blesses us. Once we have learned to let go, we are prepared for whatever life gives us. And death itself is nothing to be feared.
–Matthew Fox

For many years, I resisted the concept of letting go. I resisted mostly because I didn’t understand what people were talking about. I’d be loudly obsessing about something. “Just let go,” they’d say. “Okay,” I’d say. Then I’d walk away and wonder what they meant, and mostly how to do it. Soon, I caught on. If I didn’t want people harping on me about letting go, I needed to obsess silently. Privately. Or at least in the presence of someone who wouldn’t lecture me about letting go.

As the years wore on, I was forced into letting go. Eventually I even wrote a book called The Language of Letting go. I thought it was the end of my need to practice letting go.

When my son died, I learned that writing the book was only a prelude, an introductory course in letting go. Over the years that followed, I gradually began to learn a new respect for this behavior called letting go.

Letting go is a behavior we can practice each day, whatever the circumstances in our lives. It’s a behavior that benefits relationships we want to work. It’s a helpful behavior in insane relationships, too. It’s a useful tool to use when we really want to bring something or someone into our lives, and in accomplishing our goals. It’s a helpful tool to use on outdated behaviors such as low self-esteem and manipulation.

Letting go takes the emotional charge, the drama, out of things and restores us to a sense of balance, peace, and spiritual power.

Letting go works well on the past and the future. It brings us into today.

Paraphrasing the mystic writer Matthew Fox, everything that comes, comes to pass. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Learning the art of letting go really means learning to calmly let things be.
God, help me learn to let go.

Chuck D.

Acting As If
The behavior we call “acting as if’ can be a powerful recovery tool. Acting as if is a way to practice the positive. It’s a positive form of pretending. It’s a tool we use to get ourselves unstuck. It’s a tool we make a conscious decision to use.
Acting as if can be helpful when a feeling begins to control us. We make a conscious decision to act as if we feel fine and are going to be fine.
When a problem plagues us, acting as if can help us get unstuck. We act as if the problem will be or already is solved, so we can go on with our life.
Often, acting as if we are detached will set the stage for detachment to come in and take over.
There are many areas where acting as if – combined with our other recovery principles – will set the stage for the reality we desire. We can act as if we love ourselves, until we actually do begin to care for ourselves. We can act as if we have a right to say no, until we believe we do.
We don’t pretend we have enough money to cover a check. We don’t pretend an alcoholic is not drinking. We use acting as if as part of our recovery, to set the stage for our new behaviors. We force ourselves through positive recovery behaviors, disregarding our doubts and fears, until our feelings have time to catch up with reality.
Acting as if is a positive way to overcome fears, doubts, and low self esteem. We do not have to lie; we do not have to be dishonest with ourselves. We open up to the positive possibilities of the future, instead of limiting the future by today’s feelings and circumstances.
Acting as if helps us get past shaky ground and into solid territory.
God, show me the areas where acting as if could help set the stage for the reality I desire.
Guide me as I use this powerful recovery tool to help create a better life and healthier relationships.

Communication leads to community–that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing. 
–Rollo May
We have all thought, “If I tell the innermost things about myself, I will be rejected or put down.” Most real communication actually creates the opposite of what we fear. In this program, when we lowered our barriers and let our brothers and sisters know us better, they liked us more and our bonds became stronger. Are we concerned today about feelings, we need to emphasize those that make us feel most vulnerable.
The other side of communication is listening. In listening, our task is to hear without judgment and without trying to provide an answer or a cure for every pain. To express ourselves to others, to be fully understood, and to know we are understood will lift our hope and self-esteem.
    Today, I can make contact with people in my life by revealing my feelings to them and listening to what they are saying.


Relax. You’ll figure it out
Let the answers come naturally.
Have you ever gone into a room to get something and by the time you got there, you forgot what you went to get? Often the harder we try to remember, the worse our recollection.
But when we relax and do something else for a minute– just let go– what we’re trying so hard to remember pops naturally into our minds.
When I suggest that we let go, that’s all I’m suggesting that we do. I’m not saying the problem doesn’t matter, or that we have to entirely extinguish all thoughts of the subject from our minds, or that the person we care about isn’t important anymore. All I’m saying is that if we could do anything about it, we probably would have by now. And seeing as we can’t, letting go usually helps.
God, help me relax and let my answers about what to do next come naturally from you.


Good Feelings
When we talk about feelings in recovery, we often focus on the troublesome trio – pain, fear, and anger. But there are other feelings available in the emotional realm – happiness, joy, peace, contentment, love, closeness, and excitement.
It’s okay to let ourselves feel pleasurable feelings too.
We don’t have to worry when we experience good feelings; we don’t have to scare ourselves out of them; we don’t have to sabotage our happiness. We do that, sometimes, to get to the more familiar, less joyous terrain.
It’s okay to feel good. We don’t have to analyze, judge, or justify. We don’t have to bring ourselves down, or let others bring us down, by injecting negativity.
We can let ourselves feel good.
Today, I will remind myself that it is my right to feel as good as I can. I can have many moments of feeling good; I can find a balanced place of feeling content, peaceful, and good.

Drop it
How do you let go? I just can’t let go? It’s impossible to let go of this. These are thoughts that may run through our minds when we worry, dwell, and obsess.
    Pick up something around you. Pick up this book. Hold it tightly. Then just drop it. Release it. Let it fall right out of your hands.
   That’s what you do with whatever you’re obsessing and dwelling about. If you pick it up again, drop it one more time. See! Letting go is a skill that anyone can acquire.
    Passion and focus can lead us along our path and help us find our way. But obsession can mean we’ve crossed that line, again. We can be compassionate but firm with ourselves and others as we learn to release our tight grip and just let things go.
    God, help me know that if I’m obsessing about a problem, it’s not because I have to. Dropping it is always a choice available to me.

Thanks to Chuck D.

Some of us may have made a decision that no one was ever going to hurt us again. We may automatically go on “feelings freeze mode” when faced with emotional pain. Or, we may terminate a relationship the first time we feel hurt. Hurt feelings are a part of life, relationships, and recovery. It is understandable that we don’t want to feel any more pain. Many of us have had more than our share, in fact, at some time in our life, we may have been overwhelmed, crushed, or stopped in our tracks by the amount of pain we felt. We may not have had the resources to cope with our pain or take care of ourselves.
That was yesterday. Today, we don’t have to be so frightened of pain. It does not have to overwhelm us. We are becoming strong enough to deal with hurt feelings. And we don’t have to become martyrs, claiming that hurt feelings and suffering are all there is to life.
We need only allow ourselves to feel vulnerable enough to feel hurt, when that’s appropriate, and take responsibility for our feelings, behaviors, and what we need to do to take care of ourselves. We don’t have to analyze or justify our feelings. We need to feel them, and try not to let them control our behavior.
Maybe our pain is showing us we need to set a boundary; maybe it’s showing us we’re going in a wrong direction; maybe it’s triggering a deep healing process.
It’s okay to feel hurt; it’s okay to cry; it’s okay to heal; it’s okay to move on to the next feeling, when it’s time. Our willingness and capacity to feel joy will eventually match our willingness and capacity to feel hurt.
Being in recovery does not mean immunity from pain; it means learning to take loving care of ourselves when we are in pain.
Today, I will not strike out at those who cause me pain. I will feel my emotions and take responsibility for them. I will accept hurt feelings as part of being in relationships. l am willing to surrender to the pain as well as the joy in life.

Letting go to save our lives
I crouched in the doorway of the airplane, next to my skydiving coach. I held on to the doorway with my right hand for balance. With my left hand, I firmly grasped my coach’s gripper, a padded piece of cloth on his jumpsuit.
It was up to me to give the count. “Ready,” I hollered. “Set…”
I backed up and took another breath. “Ready, set…”
I heard a snicker. “Get out of the plane,” someone hollered.
I released my grip on the door, closed my eyes, and dived headfirst into the air– with my left hand firmly attached to my jump master’s gripper. We wobbled around for a moment. The plan was, we would turn to face each other in the air, I would grab his other shoulder grip, get my balance, then I’d release him.
He turned to face me. I grabbed his other grip. Now I was falling stable and holding on with both hands. He nodded, giving me my cue to let go.
I shook my head, carefully, so as not to lose my balance.
He looked confused, then nodded again.
I shook my head again, clinging more tightly.
I looked at my altimeter. Six thousand feet. Thank God. It was almost time to pull. I released my grips. I just let go. Obviously, I couldn’t safely pull my rip cord while I was hanging on to him.
It was time to save my own life.
My coach backed away.
I signaled, then pulled my rip cord. My parachute made that sweet whooshing sound, the one I had come to identify as the sound it makes when it opens correctly and fills with air, slowing my fall into a float.
Wow! I thought. This is really fun!
Sometimes we’re so scared, all we can think to do is hang on. Hanging on in this case was a silly illusion. We we’re both falling through the air. Holding on to a relationship that’s not working, a negative self-image, a job that isn’t working, moments and times that have passed, or emotions such as fear and hurt can be a silly illusion,too.
To save our own lives, sometimes we have to let go first.
God, show me what I need to let go of, and when it’s time to do that.


In wildness is the preservation of the world. 
–Henry David. Thoreau
Nature confronts us with its beauty in a flower or a furry animal. The awesomeness of nature is in a lightning bolt or a majestic mountain. Every variety of tree has its own uniquely textured bark. Each annual ring in a tree trunk is a natural record of the growing conditions in each year it grew. These things remind us we are not in charge, and we are moved by the experience.
This wildness is everywhere around us, and we are renewed by it when we interact with it. At night, in the city, we look up and see the ancient moon. When we live with a pet, it reminds us we are creatures too. We are part of this larger whole. We don’t just appreciate nature – we are nature. When we open our eyes and learn to be a part of it, it renews and lifts our spirits.
Today, I will notice my relationship with the sun and moon, with the plants and animals in my world.


Some more from Chuck D.

There is no method or discipline or system of any kind that can ever command the spirit to be present. 
–Tom Sampon

A person in the process of growth and recovery asks the question, “How shall I develop a relationship with my Higher Power?” The first answer is usually, “You can decide to be open to the spiritual messages that come your way.” Some experiences in life can be mastered and directed, as in performing a task or going on a trip. We can have other experiences only by being receptive. They come our way, as in the growing of a friendship or the unpredictable events on a trip.
To be receptive, we must not be so busy with what we can control that we fail to notice all the experiences, which are there for us. Our senses need to be open to see what is around us and hear what is in the air. We must breathe in the beauty and pain of life. When there is a message in our experiences, let us read it and not demand it fit our narrow, logical minds.

Today, I pray that I will be open to receive the spirit on its own terms.

Separating from Family Issues

We can draw a healthy line, a healthy boundary, between our nuclear family and ourselves. We can separate ourselves from their issues.

Some of us may have family members who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs and who are not in recovery from their addiction.

Some of us may have family members who have unresolved codependency issues. Family members may be addicted to misery, pain, suffering, martyrdom, and victimization. We may have family members who have unresolved abuse issues or unresolved family of origin issues.

We may have family members who are addicted to work, eating, or sex. Our family may be completely enmeshed, or we may have a disconnected family in which the members have little contact.

We may be like our family. We may love our family. But we are separate human beings with individual rights and issues. One of our primary rights is to begin feeling better and recovering, whether or not others in the family choose to do the same.

We do not have to feel guilty about finding happiness and a life that works. And we do not have to take on our family’s issues as our own to be loyal and to show we love them.

Often when we begin taking care of ourselves, family members will reverberate with overt and covert attempts to pull us back into the old system and roles. We do not have to go. Their attempts to pull us back are their issues. Taking care of ourselves and becoming healthy and happy does not mean we do not love them. It means we’re addressing our issues.

We do not have to judge them because they have issues; nor do we have to allow them to do anything they would like to us just because they are family.

We are free now, free to take care of ourselves with family members. Our freedom starts when we stop denying then issues, and politely, but assertively, hand their stuff back to them – where it belongs – and deal with our own issues.

Today, I will separate myself from family members, l am a separate human being, even though I belong to a unit called a family. I have a right to my own issues and growth; my family members have a right to their issues and a right to choose where and when they will deal with these issues. I can learn to detach in love from my family members and their issues. I am willing to work through all necessary feelings in order to accomplish this.
Know when to compromise
Sometimes compromise is important. Sometimes it’s better to give in to someone else’s wishes in order to have fun as a group or as a couple, or for the benefits of the team. Sometimes compromise is dangerous. We need to guard against compromising our standards to gain the approval or love of someone else.

Decide when you can, and when you cannot compromise. If it’s not harmful and you are ambivalent about a decision, then compromise. If it could lead to breaking your values, compromise isn’t a good idea.

Is it okay to have lunch with an attractive colleague if you’re married? Possibly, but not if lunch will lead to dinner, which then leads to more time spent together, culminating in an affair. Is it okay to go to the bar with friends after work? Maybe, but not if it leads to one rationalized decision after another until you have broken your commitment to stay sober.

Remember that what may be an acceptable compromise for one person might not be acceptable for you. Know your limits, know your values, and be aware of the dangers that can come from compromising them.

God, help me be aware of my limits. Give me the strength not to compromise the values that I need to help me on my path.


“Spiritual success starts when weariness with not winning is replaced by weariness with not understanding.”
     A Treasury of Trueness, # 1015

“God himself has made it possible for you to live without the dark place and the pains that rush out and flood out and take you over. Your choice of wanting to see and work is essential
to you if you want to get rid of your feeling of emptiness, of futility. You’ve lied to yourself and said, ‘I know what to do to get rid of the pain.’ You’ve never gotten rid of the pain
and that’s evidence of self-deceit. You have to stop playing cruel tricks on yourself. So stop. Now.”
Your Power of Natural Knowing, p. 106


“Man in his present state is incomplete, like a half-finished cathedral. So the aim of life is self-completion. Once attained, the noise and confusion that accompanies construction is heard no more. So if you are tired of psychic noise, complete yourself.
Then, you will no longer fear anyone or anything.”
    700 Inspiring Guides To A New Life, # 341

“If you fall off the path a thousand times you pick yourself up  a thousand times, and that is all there is to it.”
     The Power of Esoterics, p. 150

“Learn it today and it will guide you tomorrow.”
            Cosmic Command, # 219

“Refuse to consent to anxiety – and watch what happens.”
             Esoteric Mind Power, p. 142

“Q: All of us have an uneasy feeling that we might be found out.
Will you please discuss this?
A: We fear exposure only when hiding something. Innocence is fear-
less. A merchant complained of nervousness and irritability. A wise
man told him, ‘Stop trying to pass off faulty merchandise as quality
goods. No wonder you are anxious. You are in nervous fear of being
found out.’ The merchant’s nervousness vanished as he followed the
wise man’s advice.”
       Treasury of Positive Answers, # 530

“Being good is the only practical and truly pleasurable state you can ever have. Don’t you know how miserable it is to be bad, with all the guilt and all the shame and all the hot emotions?
You know what it means to be bad! To be bad makes you feel bad.
If you want to feel good, be good. And now you have a whole course in just one evening on how to reach this goodness which will make you happy and free at last.”
 SOLVED The Mystery of Life, p. 76

An individual does not have dozens of problems. He has only one fundamental problem. Realizing this is like leaping over a high fence that blocked our path.
What is it?
It is the illusion that ordinary thinking can solve problems.
Ordinary thought, conditioned thought, cannot solve problems because it is the very cause of problems. Habitual thinking, frozen thinking, cannot teach us anything new, any more than
a polar bear can teach anything about tropical bananas. It is strange how we fail to see this. Furiously and frantically, we  battle for years in an attempt to think our way out, but new walls appear at every turn.
A totally new way of thinking is required. This thinking does not look to conditioned memory for an answer. Instead, the mind waits
quietly for something higher than memory to speak. The resulting answer solves all problems.”
    Esoteric Encyclopedia of Eternal Knowledge, p. 144

“Q. But if I see that I don’t know what it is all about, I will be scared.
A. Subconsciously, you already know that you do not know, but refuse to face it. Face it, let your fear swell up to consciousness, and it will disappear.”
 Pathways to Perfect Living, p. 49

‘You have taught us how to listen correctly,’ said Diane in class, ‘such as by setting aside hardened opinions.
As additional aid, please explain how an insincere person listens to a lecture about truth.’
‘Like a fox stalking a flock of geese. An enemy of geese, his only aim is to pounce on one of them. It makes no difference which goose he attacks; the attack is all that matters. An insincere listener watches for anything to pounce upon, even the lecturer’s way of dressing. This is the listener’s desperate  attempt to escape the anxiety of hearing truths he does not want
to hear. Also, he hopes his pouncing will induce others to do likewise, for he is scared of standing alone. No matter how authoritative or educated he may appear to be, no one is more
miserable than a pouncer.’
To attack truth in an attempt to escape anxiety over hearing the  truth will only increase anxiety.”
    Inspire Yourself, p. 44


December 1986 Grapevine God Is Picking on Me 

AA Grapevine 

December 1986

God Is Picking on Me 

I get up in the morning, wobble into the bathroom, open the medicine cabinet, take out the toothpaste, and unscrew the cap. The cap falls on the floor.


I lean down, retrieve it, and as I straighten up, guess what! I bang my head on the underside of the basin.

 This makes me drop the cap again. It rolls under the basin. I leave it there. The hell with it.

God is picking on me.

I step in the shower and soap myself from neck to toe. No problem. Then I soap my head face. I drop the soap.

Now I didn’t drop the soap when I could have seen to find it easily, did I? Had to wait until I had soap in my eyes so I couldn’t see it until I slipped on it.

God is picking on me.

You know, this is the way it goes all the time. Red lights see me coming and defeat me at every crossing. The big dump truck lets the other guys by and then pulls out and stays in front of me for the next twenty miles on a road that says “No Passing.” If I’m carrying an armload of items and one drops–you guessed it–it’s the only one that was breakable and was a family keepsake to boot.

God is picking on me.

So it went until one day a fellow member of AA pointed out (rather tartly) that my attitude really stemmed from two character defects–impatience and lack of gratitude. I put up a good show of listening and answered with a barely audible, “Uh huh.” I had heard this from that same fellow member before. . .and before. . .and before.

Could it possibly be that the fellow AA member had a point? Was I allowing petty irritations to sap my enjoyment of a life in which I really had much to be thankful for?

I began to think seriously about the problem.

Although I had been in AA for many years, my gratitude was sort of a dusty volume in my mental library–something I took off the shelf and referred to at AA meetings–but not anything I used in my daily living. Little irritations were nipping at me constantly, while my gratitude gathered dust on the shelf. Perhaps I should do something about gratitude.

I hated to admit that my fellow AA member might be right. You see, the fellow member was my wife.

But be that as it may, if I could make myself actively conscious of the things I had to be grateful for, I might be able to increase my own enjoyment of life.

So thinking, I sat down with a pencil and yellow pad and started listing all the good things that had happened to me in life that were pure gifts–meaning that I was in no way responsible for them. Three hours later I had filled two pages, single spaced.

What kind of things were they? Born in the freshest and best country in the world, with no physical or mental handicaps and with wise and loving parents. In my business life, the chance remark of a friend, a shortage of funds at home, and the unexpected departure of two people above me, all of which conspired at different times to greatly further my career. Normal, healthy children, stepchildren, and grandchildren, and a happy marriage with a wife who also works the principles of AA. Apparently excellent health at the age of 74, with no serious physical injury to myself or others during the drinking days. Previous exposure to AA, so that I knew where to go when I needed help.

This is only a small sample of the list, but I am sure you get the idea. None of these benefits resulted from my own actions; they were outright gifts.

But unfortunately for me, merely having knowledge of these gifts does not make me use that knowledge. I have learned that for me, being aware of AA Steps, slogans, and principles is not enough to make me practice them. They just lie there–unless I devise some system that forces me to apply what I have learned.

In this case, the system for maintaining constant awareness of these gifts in the forefront of my consciousness was to include a sampling of them in my nightly prayer of thanks, picking three or four specific ones each eight and giving thanks for them.

My theory was that the daily annoyances, or even a major tragedy, would fall into perspective when thrown against a 180 degree backdrop of blessings. If I could be actively aware of all the breaks and good things God has given me, I could learn to improve my reaction to the petty setbacks–or even the serious ones.

I should like to tell you that this exercise has made me a paragon of sweetness and light, but that would hardly be observing the honesty part of the program.

What has happened is even more intriguing. Trying to God’s gifts in my active consciousness has me an almost detached observer of my own behavior. The negative happenings no longer rankle inside me. Instead the negative event becomes a single incident and not a conspiracy to thwart me. I find myself sort of stepping back and saying, “Let’s see how this guy is going to handle himself.” This brief detachment, seems to stall the emotional cycle that leads to self-pity and assumed martyrdom. Since I claim to be a very logical person, I can sometimes even enjoy a bit of wry humor at my own behavior in reacting so illogically, against the weight of evidence.

So what can I conclude from all of this?

Using the active knowledge of God’s gifts as a conscious daily tool has not made a saint of me–or even a Pollyanna. I still get sore at the 25-mile-an-hour clod who bumbles down the middle of the road in a 55-mile-an-hour zone.

But it has changed the setbacks in life, both major and minor, from evidence of a conspiracy to unrelated incidents. It has enabled me (at least some of the time) to view them pragmatically and as merely flotsam on a tide of gratitude.

It has made each day far happier than before.

Vero Beach, Florida

The great nutrient collapse

The great nutrient collapse

The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.


Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton.

Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them—increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn’t work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat—but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. How could more algae be a problem?

Loladze was technically in the math department, but he loved biology and couldn’t stop thinking about this. The biologists had an idea of what was going on: The increased light was making the algae grow faster, but they ended up containing fewer of the nutrients the zooplankton needed to thrive. By speeding up their growth, the researchers had essentially turned the algae into junk food. The zooplankton had plenty to eat, but their food was less nutritious, and so they were starving.

Loladze used his math training to help measure and explain the algae-zooplankton dynamic. He and his colleagues devised a model that captured the relationship between a food source and a grazer that depends on the food. They published that first paper in 2000. But Loladze was also captivated by a much larger question raised by the experiment: Just how far this problem might extend.

“What struck me is that its application is wider,” Loladze recalled in an interview. Could the same problem affect grass and cows? What about rice and people? “It was kind of a watershed moment for me when I started thinking about human nutrition,” he said.

In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?

What Loladze found is that scientists simply didn’t know. It was already well documented that CO2levels were rising in the atmosphere, but he was astonished at how little research had been done on how it affected the quality of the plants we eat. For the next 17 years, as he pursued his math career, Loladze scoured the scientific literature for any studies and data he could find. The results, as he collected them, all seemed to point in the same direction: The junk-food effect he had learned about in that Arizona lab also appeared to be occurring in fields and forests around the world. “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising,” Loladze said. “We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”

He published those findings just a few years ago, adding to the concerns of a small but increasingly worried group of researchers who are raising unsettling questions about the future of our food supply. Could carbon dioxide have an effect on human health we haven’t accounted for yet? The answer appears to be yes—and along the way, it has steered Loladze and other scientists, directly into some of the thorniest questions in their profession, including just how hard it is to do research in a field that doesn’t quite exist yet.

IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH, it’s been understood for some time that many of our most important foods have been getting less nutritious. Measurements of fruits and vegetables show that their minerals, vitamin and protein content has measurably dropped over the past 50 to 70 years. Researchers have generally assumed the reason is fairly straightforward: We’ve been breeding and choosing crops for higher yields, rather than nutrition, and higher-yielding crops—whether broccoli, tomatoes, or wheat—tend to be less nutrient-packed.

In 2004, a landmark study of fruits and vegetables found that everything from protein to calcium, iron and vitamin C had declined significantly across most garden crops since 1950. The researchers concluded this could mostly be explained by the varieties we were choosing to grow.

Loladze and a handful of other scientists have come to suspect that’s not the whole story and that the atmosphere itself may be changing the food we eat. Plants need carbon dioxide to live like humans need oxygen. And in the increasingly polarized debate about climate science, one thing that isn’t up for debate is that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is rising. Before the industrial revolution, the earth’s atmosphere had about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Last year, the planet crossed over the 400 parts per million threshold; scientists predict we will likely reach 550 parts per million within the next half-century—essentially twice the amount that was in the air when Americans started farming with tractors.

If you’re someone who thinks about plant growth, this seems like a good thing. It has also been useful ammunition for politicians looking for reasons to worry less about the implications of climate change. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican who chairs the House Committee on Science, recently argued that people shouldn’t be so worried about rising CO2 levels because it’s good for plants, and what’s good for plants is good for us.

“A higher concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would aid photosynthesis, which in turn contributes to increased plant growth,” the Texas Republican wrote. “This correlates to a greater volume of food production and better quality food.”

But as the zooplankton experiment showed, greater volume and better quality might not go hand-in-hand. In fact, they might be inversely linked. As best scientists can tell, this is what happens: Rising CO2 revs up photosynthesis, the process that helps plants transform sunlight to food. This makes plants grow, but it also leads them to pack in more carbohydrates like glucose at the expense of other nutrients that we depend on, like protein, iron and zinc.

In 2002, while a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, Loladze published a seminal research paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, a leading journal, arguing that rising CO2 and human nutrition were inextricably linked through a global shift in the quality of plants. In the paper, Loladze complained about the dearth of data: Among thousands of publications he had reviewed on plants and rising CO2, he found only one that looked specifically at how it affected the balance of nutrients in rice, a crop that billions of people rely on. (The paper, published in 1997, found a drop in zinc and iron.)

In a USDA research field in Maryland, researchers are running experiments on bell peppers to measure how vitamin C changes under elevated CO2. They’re also looking at coffee to see whether caffeine declines. “There are lots of questions,” Ziska said as he showed me around his research campus in Beltsville. “We’re just putting our toe in the water.”

Ziska is part of a small band of researchers now trying to measure these changes and figure out what it means for humans. Another key figure studying this nexus is Samuel Myers, a doctor turned climate researcher at Harvard University who leads the Planetary Health Alliance, a new global effort to connect the dots between climate science and human health.

Myers is also concerned that the research community is not more focused on understanding the CO2-nutrition dynamic, since it’s a crucial piece of a much larger picture of how such changes might ripple through ecosystems. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Myers. “It’s been hard for us to get people to understand how many questions they should have.”

In 2014, Myers and a team of other scientists published a large, data-rich study in the journal Nature that looked at key crops grown at several sites in Japan, Australia and the United States that also found rising CO2 led to a drop in protein, iron and zinc. It was the first time the issue had attracted any real media attention.

“The public health implications of global climate change are difficult to predict, and we expect many surprises,” the researchers wrote. “The finding that raising atmospheric CO2lowers the nutritional value of C3 crops is one such surprise that we can now better predict and prepare for.”

The same year―in fact, on the same day―Loladze, then teaching math at the The Catholic University of Daegu in South Korea, published his own paper, the result of more than 15 years of gathering data on the same subject. It was the largest study in the world on rising CO2 and its impact on plant nutrients. Loladze likes to describe plant science as ““noisy”―research-speak for cluttered with complicating data, through which it can be difficult to detect the signal you’re looking for. His new data set was finally big enough to see the signal through the noise, to detect the “hidden shift,” as he put it.

What he found is that his 2002 theory—or, rather, the strong suspicion he had articulated back then—appeared to be borne out. Across nearly 130 varieties of plants and more than 15,000 samples collected from experiments over the past three decades, the overall concentration of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron had dropped by 8 percent on average. The ratio of carbohydrates to minerals was going up. The plants, like the algae, were becoming junk food.

What that means for humans―whose main food intake is plants―is only just starting to be investigated. Researchers who dive into it will have to surmount obstacles like its low profile and slow pace, and a political environment where the word “climate” is enough to derail a funding conversation. It will also require entirely new bridges to be built in the world of science―a problem that Loladze himself wryly acknowledges in his own research. When his paper was finally published in 2014, Loladze listed his grant rejections in the acknowledgements.

Helena Bottemiller Evich is a senior food and agriculture reporter for POLITICO Pro.

Two Roads for the Oldtimer/We shape our experiences./We try shortcuts when

As Bill Sees It
Two Roads for the Oldtimer, p. 138
The founders of many groups ultimately divide into two classes known in A.A. slang as “elder statesmen” and “bleeding deacons.”
   The elder statesman sees the wisdom of the group’s decision to run itself and holds no resentment over his reduced status. His judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is sound; he is willing to sit quietly on the side lines patiently awaiting developments.
   The bleeding deacon is just as surely convinced that the group cannot get along without him. He constantly connives for re-election to office and continues to be consumed with self-pity. Nearly every oldtimer in our Society has gone through this process in some degree. Happily, most of them survive and live to become elder statesmen. They become the real and permanent leadership of A.A.
12 & 12, p. 135
Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing, and even today words retain much of their magical power.
–Sigmund Freud

We shape our experiences with the words we use to describe them. Word images create expectations and we naturally move toward them. When a man says, “I can’t!” he is commanding his unconscious self to be helpless. When he has a picture in his mind of moving toward his goal, he may say, “It’s hard, but I’m going to give it my best effort.” If, every time he makes a mistake, he mutters berating statements to himself like, “You idiot! You can’t do anything right,” he is teaching himself to be inadequate.
It’s our responsibility in recovery to use respectful, honest, health-giving words. We can no longer use defeating, shaming, or derogatory words. Our language has a hypnotic effect on us and the people around us. So let’s look at our resources today and name them. Let’s meet our difficulties with our strength, our patience, and the backing of our Higher Power.
  Today, I will call forth images and use words to show I respect myself and others
A shortcut is often the quickest way to some place you weren’t going.
–Classic Crossword Puzzles

We try shortcuts when we are in a hurry. The founders of this program tell us many people tried to find an easier, softer way because this one seemed too hard and too slow. Shortcuts to growth lead to dead ends and detours. Many men have experimented with shortcuts like “the geographical cure,” “controlled use,” “get rid of this partner and try someone else,” “abstinence without the spiritual part of recovery,” or “selecting some of the Steps and bypassing others.”
The shortest road to one’s own spirituality is the long road we see before us. We may wish for something more to our liking. But that is not an option for those of us who choose to grow toward full manhood. We deal with one day’s – or one hour’s – part of the road at a time. Maybe we see a job we have to do, a challenge to face, an unfinished talk with someone. Our task is to take this day and, in partnership with our Higher Power, see it in the light of our spiritual path.
  I pray for faithfulness to this program. I will avoid shortcuts, allowing my spirituality to grow and deepen.


12 STEPS IN 30 MINUTES by Bill W.

12 STEPS IN 30 MINUTES by Bill W.
The Grapevine July 1953 Vol. 10 No. 2
AAs are always asking: “Where did the Twelve Steps come from?” In the last analysis, perhaps nobody knows. Yet some of the events which led to their formulation are as clear to me as though they took place yesterday.
So far as people were concerned, the main channels of inspiration for our Steps were three in number–the Oxford Groups, Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital and the famed psychologist, William James, called by some the father of modern psychology. The story of how these streams of influence were brought together and how they led to the writing of our Twelve Steps is exciting and in spots downright incredible.
Many of us will remember the Oxford Groups as a modern evangelical movement which flourished in the 1920’s and early 30’s, led by a one-time Lutheran minister, Dr. Frank Buchman. The Oxford Groups of that day threw heavy emphasis on personal work, one member with another. AA’s Twelfth Step had its origin in that vital practice. The moral backbone of the “O.G.” was absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love. They also practiced a type of confession, which they called “sharing”; the making of amends for harms done they called “restitution.” They believed deeply in their “quiet time,” a meditation practiced by groups and individuals alike, in which the guidance of God was sought for every detail of living, great or small.
These basic ideas were not new; they could have been found elsewhere. But the saving thing for us first alcoholics who contacted the Oxford Groupers was that they laid great stress on these particular principles. And fortunate for us was the fact that the Groupers took special pains not to interfere with one’s personal religious views. Their society, like ours later on, saw the need to be strictly non-denominational.
In the late summer of 1934, my well-loved alcoholic friend and schoolmate “Ebbie” had fallen in with these good folks and had promptly sobered up. Being an alcoholic, and rather on the obstinate side, he hadn’t been able to “buy” all the Oxford Group ideas and attitudes. Nevertheless, he was moved by their deep sincerity and felt mighty grateful for the fact that their ministrations had, for the time being, lifted his obsession to drink.
When he arrived in New York in the late fall of 1934, Ebbie thought at once of me. On a bleak November day he rang up. Soon he was looking at me across our kitchen table at 182 Clinton Street, Brooklyn, New York. As I remember that conversation, he constantly used phrases like these: “I found I couldn’t run my own life;” “I had to get honest with myself and somebody else;” “I had to make restitution for the damage I had done;” “I had to pray to God for guidance and strength, even though I wasn’t sure there was any God;” “And after I’d tried hard to do these things I found that my craving for alcohol left.” Then over and over Ebbie would say something like this: “Bill, it isn’t a bit like being on the water-wagon. You don’t fight the desire to drink–you get released from it. I never had such a feeling before.”
Such was the sum of what Ebbie had extracted from his Oxford Group friends and had transmitted to me that day. While these simple ideas were not new, they certainly hit me like tons of brick. Today we understand just why that was. . .one alcoholic was talking to another as no one else can.
Two or three weeks later, December 11th to be exact, I staggered into the Charles B. Towns Hospital, that famous drying-out emporium on Central Park West, New York City. I’d been there before, so I knew and already loved the doctor in charge–Dr. Silkworth. It was he who was soon to contribute a very great idea without which AA could never have succeeded. For years he had been proclaiming alcoholism an illness, an obsession of the mind coupled with an allergy of the body. By now I knew this meant me. I also understood what a fatal combination these twin ogres could be. Of course, I’d once hoped to be among the small percentage of victims who now and then escape their vengeance. But this outside hope was now gone. I was about to hit bottom. That verdict of science–the obsession that condemned me to drink and the allergy that condemned me to die–was about to do the trick. That’s where medical science, personified by this benign little doctor, began to fit in. Held in the hands of one alcoholic talking to the next, this double-edged truth was a sledgehammer which could shatter the tough alcoholic’s ego at depth and lay him wide open to the grace of God.
In my case it was of course Dr. Silkworth who swung the sledge while my friend Ebbie carried to me the spiritual principles and the grace which brought on my sudden spiritual awakening at the hospital three days later. I immediately knew that I was a free man. And with this astonishing experience came a feeling of wonderful certainty that great numbers of alcoholics might one day enjoy the priceless gift which had been bestowed upon me.
At this point a third stream of influence entered my life through the pages of William James’ book, “Varieties of Religious Experience.” Somebody had brought it to my hospital room. Following my sudden experience, Dr. Silkworth had taken great pains to convince me that I was not hallucinated. But William James did even more. Not only, he said, could spiritual experiences make people saner, they could transform men and women so that they could do, feel and believe what had hitherto been impossible to them. It mattered little whether these awakenings were sudden or gradual, their variety could be almost infinite. But the biggest payoff of that noted book was this: in most of the cases described, those who had been transformed were hopeless people. In some controlling area of their lives they bad met absolute defeat. Well, that was me all right. In complete defeat, with no hope or faith whatever, I had made an appeal to a higher Power. I had taken Step One of today’s AA program–“admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable,” I’d also taken Step Three–“made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understood him.” Thus was I set free. It was just as simple, yet just is mysterious, as that.
These realizations were so exciting that I instantly joined up with the Oxford Groups. But to their consternation I insisted on devoting myself exclusively to drunks. This was disturbing to the O.G.’s on two counts. Firstly, they wanted to help save the whole world. Secondly, their luck with drunks had been poor. Just as I joined they had been working over a batch of alcoholics who had proved disappointing indeed. One of them, it was rumored, had flippantly cast his shoe through a valuable stained glass window of an Episcopal church across the alley from O.G. headquarters. Neither did they take kindly to my repeated declaration that it shouldn’t; take long to sober up all the drunks in the world. They rightly declared that my conceit was still immense.
After some six months of violent exertion with scores of alcoholics which I found at a nearby mission and Towns Hospital, it began to look like the Groupers were right. I hadn’t sobered up anybody. In Brooklyn we always had a houseful of drinkers living with us, sometimes as many as five. My valiant wife, Lois, once arrived home from work to find three of them fairly tight. The remaining two were worse. They were whaling each other with two-by-fours. Though events like these slowed me down somewhat, the persistent conviction that a way to sobriety could be found never seemed to leave me. There was, though, one bright spot. My sponsor, Ebbie, still clung precariously to his new-found sobriety.
What was the reason for all these fiascoes? If Ebbie and I could achieve sobriety, why couldn’t all the rest find it too? Some of those we’d worked on certainly wanted to get well. We speculated day and night why nothing much had happened to them. Maybe they couldn’t stand the spiritual pace of the Oxford Group’s four absolutes of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. In fact some of the alcoholics declared that this was the trouble. The aggressive pressure upon them to get good overnight would make them fly high as geese for a, few weeks and then flop dismally. They complained, too, about another form of coercion–something the Oxford Groupers called “guidance for others.” A “team” composed of non-alcoholic Groupers would sit down with an alcoholic and after a “quiet time” would come up with precise instructions as to how the alcoholic should run his own life. As grateful as we were to our O.G. friends, this was sometimes tough to take. It obviously had something to do with the wholesale skidding that went on.
But this wasn’t the entire reason for failure. After months I saw the trouble was mainly in me. I had become very aggressive, very cocksure. I talked a lot about my sudden spiritual experience, as though it was something very special. I had been playing the double role of teacher and preacher. In my exhortations I’d forgotten all about the medical side of our malady, and that need for deflation at depth so emphasized by William James had been neglected. We weren’t using that medical sledgehammer that Dr. Silkworth had so providentially given us.
Finally, one day, Dr. Silkworth took me back down to my right size. Said he, “Bill, why don’t you quit talking so much about that bright light experience of yours, it sounds too crazy. Though I’m convinced that nothing but better morals will make alcoholics really well, I do think you have got the cart before the horse. The point is that alcoholics won’t buy all this moral exhortation until they convince themselves that they must. If I were you I’d go after them on the medical basis first. While it has never done any good for me to tell them how fatal their malady is, it might be a very different story if you, a formerly hopeless alcoholic, gave them the bad news. Because of the identification you naturally have with alcoholics, you might be able to penetrate where I can’t. Give them the medical business first, and give it to them hard. This might soften them up so they will accept the principles that will really get them well.”
Shortly after this history-making conversation, I found myself in Akron, Ohio, on a business venture which promptly collapsed. Alone in the town, I was scared to death of getting drunk. I was no longer a teacher or a preacher, I was an alcoholic who knew that he needed another alcoholic, as much as that one could possibly need me. Driven by that urge, I was soon face to face with Dr. Bob. It was at once evident that Dr. Bob knew more of spiritual things than I did. He also had been in touch with the Oxford Groupers at Akron, But somehow he simply couldn’t get sober. Following Dr. Silkworth’s advice, I used the medical sledgehammer. I told him what alcoholism was and just how fatal it could be. Apparently this did something to Dr. Bob, On June 10, 1935, he sobered up, never to drink again. When, in 1939, Dr. Bob’s story first appeared in the book, Alcoholic Anonymous, he put one paragraph of it in italics. Speaking of me, he said: “Of far more importance was the fact that he was the first living human with whom I had ever talked, who knew what be was talking about in regard to alcoholism from actual experience”.
Dr. Silkworth had indeed supplied us the missing link without which the chain of principles now forged into our Twelve Steps could never have been complete. Then and there, the spark that was to become Alcoholics Anonymous had been struck.
During the next three years after Dr. Bob’s recovery our growing groups at Akron, New York and Cleveland evolved the so-called word-of-mouth program of our pioneering time. As we commenced to form a society separate from the Oxford Group, we began to state our principles something like this:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol 
2. We got honest with ourselves 
3. We got honest with another person, in confidence 
4. We made amends for harms done others 
5. We worked with other alcoholics without demand for prestige or money 
6. We prayed to God to help us to do these things as best we could 
Though these principles were advocated according to the whim or liking of each of us, and though in Akron and Cleveland they still stuck by the O.G. absolutes of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, this was the gist of our message to incoming alcoholics up to 1939, when our present Twelve Steps were put to paper.
I well remember the evening on which the Twelve Steps were written. I was lying in bed quite dejected and suffering from one of my imaginary ulcer attacks. Four chapters of the book. Alcoholics Anonymous, had been roughed out and read in meetings at Akron and New York. We quickly found that everybody wanted to be an author. The hassles as to what should go into our new book were terrific. For example, some wanted a purely psychological book which would draw in alcoholics without scaring them. We could tell them about the “God business” afterwards. A few, led by our wonderful southern friend, Fitz M., wanted a fairly religious book infused with some of the dogma we had picked up from the churches and missions which had tried to help us. The louder these arguments, the more I felt in the middle. It appeared that I wasn’t going to be the author at all. I was only going to be an umpire who would decide the contents of the book. This didn’t mean, though, that there wasn’t terrific enthusiasm for the undertaking. Every one of us was wildly excited at the possibility of getting our message before all those countless alcoholics who still didn’t know.
Having arrived at Chapter Five, it seemed high time to state what our program really was I remember running over in my mind the word-of-mouth phrases then in current use. Jotting these down, they added up to the six named above. Then came the idea that our program ought to be more accurately and clearly stated. Distant readers would have to have a precise set of principles. Knowing the alcoholic’s ability to rationalize, something airtight would have to be written. We couldn’t let the reader wiggle our anywhere. Besides, a more complete statement would help in the chapters to come where we would need to show exactly how the recovery program ought to be worked.
At length I began to write on a cheap yellow tablet. I split the word-of-mouth program up into smaller pieces, meanwhile enlarging its scope considerably. Uninspired as I felt, I was surprised that in a short time, perhaps half an hour, I had set down certain principles which, on being counted, turned out to be twelve in number. And for some unaccountable reason, I had moved the idea of God into the Second Step, right up front. Besides, I had named God very liberally throughout the other steps. In one of the steps I had even suggested that the newcomer get down on his knees
When this document was shown to our New York meeting the protests were many and loud. Our agnostic friends didn’t go at all for the idea of kneeling. Others said we were talking altogether too much about God. And anyhow, why should there be twelve steps when we had done fine on six? Let’s keep it simple, they said.
This sort of heated discussion went on for days and nights. But out of it all there came a ten-strike for Alcoholics Anonymous. Our agnostic contingent, speared by Hank P. and Jim B., finally convinced us that we must make it easier for people like themselves by using such terms as “a Higher Power” or “God as we understand Him!” Those expressions, as we so well know today, have proved lifesavers for many an alcoholic. They have enabled thousands of us to make a beginning where none could have been made had we left the steps just as I originally wrote them. Happily for us there were no other changes in the original draft and the number of steps still stood at twelve. Little did we then guess that our Twelve Steps would soon be widely approved by clergymen of all denominations and even by our latter-day friends, the psychiatrists.
This little fragment of history ought to convince the most skeptical that nobody invented Alcoholics Anonymous.
It just grew. . .by the grace of God.

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.

Ron Richey
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813

Ebby September 1999 

September 1999 
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

Ron Richey
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813

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


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.


 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


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:


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. 


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


“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!


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.


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


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.”


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.


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—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”


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

Ron Richey
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813