From the BlogMeet Ron


Twelve Warnings

Twelve Warnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grapevine September 1947 A.A. Holds Key to Powers


September 1947

A.A. Holds Key to Powers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

H.B. Chicago, Illinois

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

History of the Little Red Book 

History of the Little Red Book 

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You Norman for your work..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Silkworth’s Rx for Sobriety

Dr. Silkworth’s Rx for Sobriety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Silkworth is particularly emphatic on one point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Second Angel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The man was happy. “That’s good?”

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

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

“Department of Omissions!”

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

“Department of Omissions!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ya gotta watch this……


Chuck D.
“You either go for emotion sobriety or risk a miserable, often lengthy, death BY alcoholism (whilst being crispy dry)! My crew calls it “big n’ rich” sobriety.”
“We buried him yesterday. The County Coroner had published the required notices for next of kin and nobody had claimed the body. It was just myself and his sponsor, no preacher even, the county doesn’t pay for those. 
Not much of a send-off, and not the one David had asked for. A cheap coffin, backhoe dug a hole, and that was it – another old AA gone. 
He had been sober over 20 years and in AA over 30, a stern and rigid man who tried to soften his edges and never could. 
He was a loner, a fringe-er, an isolated man at the edge of life’s good things. He hung in there… and in the end hung himself. I don’t know why; I can’t know.  I know there had been a diagnosis of senile dementia, and I know that the doctor had added cancer to the list. But, I’ve seen AAs deal with such things before…I don’t know why David decided he couldn’t. 
It isn’t the first time I’ve been through this in Alcoholics Anonymous. I’ve known several over the years who just up and walked out life’s door one day. Sober, but not happy. Sober, but not at peace. Sober, but they died of alcoholism.  Our disease doesn’t need us to drink in order to kill us. I wish more folks knew that, and appreciated it. 
Alcoholism is the only disease that is entirely capable of fighting back, of taking care of itself, and of emerging in new places and new forms when it isn’t properly treated. That’s because of the spiritual malady. 
Most people think that has something to do with prayer or with God. It doesn’t. It has to do with ‘our spirit – that force which animates, motivates and propels us.  As an alcoholic, my spirit is ill. It is flawed. My character, or basic nature, doesn’t work right. At its root, it is a fundamental and unresolvable insecurity – a hole that can’t ever be filled. 
It is an instinct run rampant, a desperate need for acceptance and love that cannot be met. It hurts. It fills one with fear. The selfishness and self-centeredness of the alcoholic lies here – we are totally preoccupied with what is going on with ourselves on the inside. 
The slings and arrows of experience warped by this need drive us to the fringe, and the voices of the committee in our head keep us there. 
We are obsessed with ourselves, and from this condition of mind…. the insanity of feelings gone haywire, we become self-medicators eventually. 
We discover alcohol or something else… and the stuff quiets the voices, provides the relief we’ve never been able to find in any other way. It isn’t any wonder we drink, or drug the way we do. 
And some of us don’t develop an addiction… in attempting to meet these crying demands of our spirit become ill, we develop other malformations of behavior, and suffer in a hundred different ways. 
God broke David’s obsession to drink. But, I don’t think David ever truly understood his disease. I say that because I watched him struggle with those old unresolved issues of his heart for years. His rigidity, coldness, aloofness, isolation and difficulty with other people were a reflection of the pain in his heart…. of the disease of alcoholism gone deep inside, and still active. 
Alcoholism didn’t need David to drink in order to continue trying to kill him, and in the end… it succeeded. In the end, instead of self abandonment… David abandoned hope.. and discovered a bitter end. 
Our recovery from alcoholism through the Steps must be a three-fold process. It is not one dimensional. When we say in AA, that we have a triangle… recovery, unity, service… we mean it. 
In working the Steps, I clear a pathway for two purposes… first, to come into a group of human people and away from the fringe of society where I have spent most of my emotional life. 
Secondly, to discover ‘belonging’ through service to the people within that group. It is only this entire, threefold process that heals. It is especially true for those of us who suffer from the spiritual malady to a great degree. 
Perhaps the 12th Step says it best: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps (recovery), we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics (service) and practice these principles in all our affairs (unity). 
You see… I cannot hold back. I must not continue to suffer that shyness, aloneness, that overwhelming sense of self in my affairs. I must get involved in a group of people to practice these principles in all my affairs. 
Only the total approach is healing. Anything less is little more than driving my disease deep, and, if I do that, it will continue to eat away, trying to destroy me. It destroyed David. This is a memorial to an old AA who gave his best shot, and I think David ended up on the plus side. It wasn’t his fault; he seemed to have been born that way. 
There were a lot of old ideas about self that David could never muster the willingness to let go of. He is at rest now. 
But it says somewhere that “no matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.” 
David cannot speak to his experience any longer; I am speaking in his memory. And I think that if David could talk to us today, he’d say “Understand your disease thoroughly, and work the complete program of recovery!” 
God bless you as you Trudge The Road!

I Stand by the Door  By Sam Shoemaker (from the Oxford Group)

I Stand by the Door
By Sam Shoemaker (from the Oxford Group)

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out.
The door is the most important door in the world –
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door – the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch – the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.
Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it – live because they have not found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in –
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. ‘Let me out!’ they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving – preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.
Where? Outside the door –
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But – more important for me –
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

‘I had rather be a door-keeper
So I stand by the door.

2,300 years later, Plato’s theory of consciousness is being backed up by neuroscience

2,300 years later, Plato’s theory of consciousness is being backed up by neuroscience

June 18, 2016

In 2008, neuroscientist Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Sleep and Consciousness put forward his “integrated information theory,” which is currently accepted as one of the most compelling explanations about what consciousness is.

One of the central claims of the theory is that, for consciousness to exist, it must have “cause-effect” power on itself.

Neurologist Melanie Boly, a resident at UW’s School of Medicine and Public Health who has worked with Tononi, explains that for anything to exist, it must be able to have an effect; it must be able to make some small difference to something else.

“Consciousness exists for itself and by itself,” says Boly. “Thus it should have cause and effect on itself.”

Boly is currently working with other researchers to develop a mathematical framework to test the predictions of integrated information theory.

But she points out that, long before the explanation of consciousness was put forward in such a scientifically rigorous form, the philosopher Plato expressed the idea that for something to exist, it must capable of having an effect. And so consciousness (or “being,” as Plato described it) is “simply power.”

In the dialog Sophist, written in 360 BC, Plato wrote:

“My notion would be, that anything which possesses any sort of power to affect another, or to be affected by another, if only for a single moment, however trifling the cause and however slight the effect, has real existence; and I hold that the definition of being is simply power.”

Just as it’s impossible to definitively know what caused the world, we’ll never be able to completely prove a theory of consciousness. But Boly believes the current evidence suggests that the integrated information theory is correct—which would then scientifically validate Plato’s views from more than two millennia ago.

The Twelve Steps to a Slip 

The Twelve Steps to a Slip 
PERSONS who attain sobriety through the A.A. principles, do so only after a thoughtful application of the 12 Suggested Steps to recovery. They happily find themselves on a level plateau of sanity after ascending these steps, one after another, and they maintain their sobriety by a continuing application of these same steps.
Those unfortunates who lose their sobriety are said to be having a “slip”. I believe this is a misnomer, for it suggests only a momentary adversity that unexpectedly pounces on its unwary victim. A more apt term would be a “glissade,” for a slip is the result of a gradual process, beginning long before its logical termination, and progressing through a series of wrong steps, to a drink, and for us, a drunk.
A slip cannot be said to occur only when it culminates in a drink, for many of us, in our failure to apply the 12 Steps to our living, frequently have slips, which are none the less slips merely because we do not slip as far as a drink.
As one must ascend the 12 Steps gradually, I feel the “slip” is the result of unconsciously descending these Steps. And as descending steps is always accompanied with less effort than ascending them, the steps soon assume the behavior of an escalator.
As the “bottom” is reached it invariably results in taking that “one drink,” which leads, for us, only to all the remorse, terror and unhappiness that follows a binge.
These, then, are in my opinion the “12 Steps to a slip,” and are the direct result of failure to consciously apply to our lives the 12 Suggested Steps to recovery:
1. We neglect 12th Step work.
2. We omit contact with the Higher Power.
3. We forget personal inventory.
4. We assume grudges against others.
5. We miss A.A. meetings, and avoid A.A. friends.
6. We gradually lose humility.
7. We fall into self pity.
8. We worry about unalterables.
9. Our thinkin’ really starts stinkin’.
10. We become “cocky” and overconfident.
11. We neglect to ask help from the Higher Power, and take “just one.”
12. We become a “social drinker.” (Temporarily.)
R. H. Dunkirk, Indiana, Jan. 1949, Grapevine

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

A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous From AA Group No. 1, Akron, Ohio, 1940 Dr. Bob’s Home Group

A Manual for

Alcoholics Anonymous

From AA Group No. 1, Akron, Ohio, 1940

Dr. Bob’s Home Group

(Editor’s Note, 1997: Dr. Bob probably wrote or heavily influenced the writing and distribution of this pamphlet. Dr. Bob was the Prince of 12 Steppers, from the day he achieved permanent sobriety, June 10, 1935, the founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous, until his death, November 16, 1950, carrying the message of A.A. to well over 5000 men and women alcoholics, and to all these he gave his medical services without thought of charge.)


This booklet is intended to be a practical guide for new members and sponsors of new members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

TO THE NEWCOMER: The booklet is designed to give you a practical explanation of what to do and what not to do in your search for sobriety. The editors, too, were pretty bewildered by the program at first. They realize that very likely you are groping for answers and offer this pamphlet in order that it may make a little straighter and less confusing the highway you are about to travel.

TO THE SPONSOR: lf you have never before brought anyone into A.A. the booklet attempts to tell you what your duties are by your “Baby,” how you should conduct yourself while visiting patients, and other odd bits at information, some of which may be new to you.

The booklet should be read in conjunction with the large book, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Bible, the daily lesson, any other pamphlets that are published by the group, and other constructive literature. A list of suggestions will be found in the back pages of this pamphlet. It is desirable that members of A.A. furnish their prospective

“Babies” with this “Manual” as early as possible, particularly in the case of hospitalization.

The experience behind the writing and editing of this pamphlet adds up to hundreds of years of drinking, plus scores of years of recent sobriety. Every suggestion, every word, is backed up by hard experience.

The editors do not pretend any explanation of the spiritual or religious aspects of A.A. It is assumed that this phase of the work will be explained by sponsors. The booklet therefore deals solely with the physical aspects of getting sober and remaining sober.

A.A. in Akron is fortunate in having facilities for hospitalizing its patients. In many communities, however, hospitalization is not available. Although the pamphlet mentions hospitalization throughout, the methods described are effective if the patient is confined to his home, if he is in prison or a mental institution, or if he is attempting to learn A.A. principles and carry on his workaday job at the same time.

If your community has a hospital, either private or general, that has not accepted alcoholic patients in the past, it might be profitable to call on the officials of the institution and explain Alcoholics Anonymous to them. Explain that we are not in the business of sobering up drunks merely to have them go on another bender. Explain that our aim is total and permanent sobriety. Hospital authorities should know, and if they do not, should be told, that an alcoholic is a sick man, just as sick as a diabetic or a consumptive. Perhaps his affliction will not bring death as quickly as diabetes or tuberculosis, but it will bring death or insanity eventually.

Alcoholism has had a vast amount of nationwide publicity in recent years. It has been discussed in medical journals, national magazines and newspapers. It is possible that a little sales talk will convince the hospital authorities in your community that they should make beds available for patients sponsored by Alcoholics Anonymous.

If the way is finally opened, it is urged that you guard your hospital privileges carefully. Be as certain as you possibly can be that your patient sincerely wants A.A.

Above all, carefully observe all hospital rules.

It has been our experience that a succession of unruly patients or unruly visitors can bring a speedy termination of hospital privileges. And they will want no part of you or your patient in the future.

Once he starts to sober up, the average alcoholic makes a model hospital patient. He needs little or no nursing or medical care, and he is grateful for his opportunity.

Definition of an Alcoholic Anonymous:

An Alcoholic Anonymous is an alcoholic who through application of and adherence to rules laid down by the organization, has completely forsworn the use of any and all alcoholic beverages. The moment he wittingly drinks so much as a drop of beer, wine, spirits, or any other alcoholic drink he automatically loses all status as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

A.A. is not interested in sobering up drunks who are not sincere in their desire to remain completely sober for all time. A.A. is not interested in alcoholics who want to sober up merely to go on another bender, sober up because of fear for their jobs, their wives, their social standing, or to clear up some trouble either real or imaginary. In other words, if a person is genuinely sincere in his desire for continued sobriety for his own good, is convinced in his heart that alcohol holds him in its power, and is willing to admit that he is an alcoholic, members of Alcoholics Anonymous will do all in their power, spend days of their time to guide him to a new, a happy, and a contented way of life.

It is utterly essential for the newcomer to say to himself sincerely and without any reservation, “I am doing this for myself and myself alone.” Experience has proved in hundreds of cases that unless an alcoholic is sobering up for a purely personal and selfish motive, he will not remain sober for any great length of time. He may remain sober for a few weeks or a few months, but the moment the motivating element, usually fear of some sort, disappears, so disappears sobriety.

TO THE NEWCOMER: It is your life. It is your choice. If you are not completely convinced to your own satisfaction that you are an alcoholic, that your life has become unmanageable; if you are not ready to part with alcohol forever, it would be better for all concerned if you discontinue reading this and give up the idea of becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

For if you are not convinced, it is not only wasting your own time, but the time of scores of men and women who are genuinely interested in helping you.

TO THE LADIES: If we seem to slight you in this booklet it is not intentional. We merely use the masculine pronouns “he” and “him” for convenience. We fully realize that alcohol shows no partiality. It does not respect age, sex, nor estate. The millionaire drunk on the best Scotch and the poor man drunk on the cheapest rotgut look like twin brothers when they are in a hospital bed or the gutter. The only difference between a female and a male drunk is that the former is likely to be treated with a little more consideration and courtesy – although generally she does not deserve it. Every word in this pamphlet applies to women as well as men.- THE EDITORS.


A WORD TO THE SPONSOR who is putting his first newcomer into a hospital or otherwise introducing him to this new way of life: You must assume full responsibility for this man. He trusts you, otherwise he would not submit to hospitalization. You must fulfill all pledges you make to him, either tangible or intangible. If you cannot fulfill a promise, do not make it. It is easy enough to promise a man that he will get his job back if he sobers up. But unless you are certain that it can be fulfilled, don’t make that promise. Don’t promise financial aid unless you are ready to fulfill your part of the bargain. If you don’t know how he is going to pay his hospital bill, don’t put him in the hospital unless you are willing to assume financial responsibility.

It is definitely your job to see that he has visitors, and you must visit him frequently yourself. If you hospitalize a man and then neglect him, he will naturally lose confidence in you, assume a “nobody loves me” attitude, and your half-hearted labors will be lost.

This is a very critical time in his life. He looks to you for courage, hope, comfort and guidance. He fears the past. He is uncertain of the future. And he is in a frame of mind that the least neglect on your part will fill him with resentment and self-pity. You have in your hands the most valuable property in the world – the future of a fellow man. Treat his life as carefully as you would your own. You are literally responsible for his life.

Above all, don’t coerce him into a hospital. Don’t get him drunk and then throw him in while he is semi-conscious Chances are he will waken wondering where he is, how he got there. And he won’t last.

You should be able to judge if a man is sincere in his desire to quit drinking. Use this judgment. Otherwise you will find yourself needlessly bumping your head into a stone wall and wondering why your “babies” don’t stay sober. Remember your own experience. You can remember many times when you

would have done anything to get over that awful alcoholic sickness, although you had no desire in the world to give up drinking for good. It doesn’t take much good health to inspire an alcoholic to go back and repeat the acts that made him sick. Men who have had pneumonia don’t often wittingly expose themselves a second time. But an alcoholic will deliberately get sick over and over again with brief interludes of good health.

You should make it a point to supply your patient with the proper literature – the big “Alcoholics Anonymous” book, this pamphlet, other available pamphlets, a Bible, and anything else that has helped you. Impress upon him the wisdom and necessity of reading and rereading this literature. The more he learns about A.A. the easier the road to sobriety.

Study the newcomer and decide who among your A.A. friends, might have the best story and exert the best influence on him. There are all types in A.A. and regardless of whom you hospitalize, there are dozens who can help him. An hour on the telephone will produce callers. Don’t depend on chance. Stray visitors may drop in, bur twenty or thirty phone calls will clinch matters and remove uncertainty. It is your responsibility to conjure up callers.

Impress upon your patient that his visitors are not making purely social calls. Their conversation is similar to medicine. Urge him to listen carefully to all that is said, and then meditate upon it after his visitor leaves.

When your patient is out of the hospital your work has not ended. It is now your duty not only to him but to yourself to see that he starts out on the right foot.

Accompany him to his first meeting. Take him along with you when you call on the next patient. Telephone him when there are other patients. Drop in at his home occasionally. Telephone him as often as possible. Urge him to look up the new friends he has made. Counsel and advise him. There was a certain amount of glamour connected with being a patient in the hospital. He had many visitors. His time was occupied. Out now that he has been discharged, the glamour has worn off. He probably will be lonely. He may be too timid to seek the companionship of his new friends.

Experience has proved this to be a very critical period. So your labors have not ended. Give him as much attention as you did when you first called on him – until he can find the road by himself.

Remember, you depend on the newcomer to keep you sober as much as he depends on you. So never lose touch with your responsibility, which never ends.

Remember the old adage, “Two is company and three is a crowd.” If you find a patient has one or more visitors don’t go into the room. An alcoholic goes to the hospital for two reasons only – to get sober and to learn how to keep sober. The former is easy. Cut off the alcohol and a person is bound to get sober. So the really important thing is to learn how to keep sober. Experience has taught that when more than three gather in a room, patient included, the talk turns to the World Series, politics, funny drunken incidents, and “l could drink more than you.”

Such discussion is a waste of the patient time and money. It is assumed that he wants to know how you are managing to keep sober, and you won’t hold his attention if there is a crowd in the room.

If you must enter the room when there is another visitor, do it quietly and unobtrusively. Sit down in a corner and be silent until the other visitor has concluded. If he wants any comments from you he will ask for them.

One more word. It is desirable that the patient’s visitors be confined to members of Alcoholics Anonymous Have a quiet talk

with his wife or his family before he goes to the hospital. Explain that he will be in good hands and that it is only through kindness to him that his family and friends are asked to stay away. New members are likely to be a little shy. If they find a woman in the patient’s room they are not inclined to “let down their hair.” The older hands don’t mind it, but a new member might unwittingly be kept from delivering a valuable message.

TO THE NEWCOMER: Now you are in the hospital. Or perhaps you are learning to be an Alcoholic Anonymous the “hard way” by continuing at your job while undertaking sobriety.

You will have many callers. They will come singly and in pairs. They may arrive at all hours, from early morning to late night. Some you will like; some you will resent, some will seem stupid; others will strike you as silly, fanatic or slightly insane; some will tell you a story that will be “right down your alley.” But remember this – never for one minute forget it:

Every single one of them is a former drunk and every single one is trying to help you! Your visitor has had the very problems that you are facing now. In comparison with some, your problems are trifles. You have one thing in common with every visitor – an alcoholic problem. Your caller may have been sober for a week or for half a decade. He still has an alcoholic problem, and if he for one moment forgets to follow any single rule for sober living, he may be occupying your hospital bed tomorrow.

Alcoholics Anonymous is one hundred percent effective for those who faithfully follow the rules.It is those who try to cut corners who find themselves back in their old drunken state.

Your visitor is going out of his way, taking up his time, perhaps missing a pleasant evening at home or at the theater by calling on you. His motives are two-fold: He is selfish in that by calling on you he is taking out a little more “sobriety insurance” for himself; and secondly, he is genuinely anxious to pass along the peace and happiness a new way of life has brought him. He is also paying off a debt – paying the people who led him to the path of sobriety by helping someone else. In a very short time you too will find yourself paying off your debt, by carrying the word to another.

Always bear in mind that your caller not so many days or months ago occupied the same bed you are in today.

And here we might, despite our promise earlier in the booklet, give you a hint on the spiritual phase of Alcoholics Anonymous. You will be told to have faith in a Higher Poorer. First have faith in your visitor. He is sincere. He is not lying to you. He is not attempting to sell you a bill of goods. A. A is given away, not sold. Believe him when he tells you what you must do to attain sobriety.

His very presence and appearance should be proof to you that the A.A. program really works. He is extending a helping hand and for himself asks nothing in return. Regardless of who he is or what he has to say, listen to him carefully and courteously. Your alcohol-befuddled mind may not absorb all he says in an hour’s conversation, but you will find that when he leaves certain things he has said will come back to you. Ponder these things carefully They may bring you salvation. It has been the history of A.A. that one never knows where lightning will strike. You may pick up the germ of an idea from the most unexpected source. That single idea may shape the course of your entire life, may be the start of an entirely new philosophy. So no matter who your caller is, or what he says, listen attentively.

Your problem has always seemed to be shared by no one else in this world. You cannot conceive of anyone else in your predicament.

Forget it! Your problem dates back to the very beginning of history. Some long-forgotten hero discovered that the juice of the grape made a pleasant drink that brought pleasant results. That same hero probably drank copiously until he suddenly discovered that he could not control his appetite for the juice of the grape. And then he found himself in the same predicament you are in now – sick, worried, crazed with fear, and extremely thirsty.

Your caller once felt that he alone in the world had a drinking problem, and was amazed into sobriety when he discovered that countless thousands were sharing his troubles.

He also found out that when he brought his troubles out of their dark and secret hiding place and exposed them to the cleansing light of day, they were half conquered. And so it will be for you. Bring your problems out in the open and you will be amazed how they disappear.

It cannot be repeated too often: Listen carefully and think it over at great length.

Now You Are Alone. When you go to the hospital with typhoid fever your one thought is to be cured. When you go to the hospital as a chronic alcoholic your only thought should be to conquer a disease that is just as deadly if not so quick to kill. And rest assured that the disease is deadly. The mental hospitals are filled with chronic alcoholics. The vital statistics files in every community are filled with deaths due to acute alcoholism.

This is the most serious moment in your life. You can leave the hospital and resume an alcoholic road to an untimely grave or padded cell, or you can start upward to a life that is happy beyond any expectation.

It is your choice and your choice alone. Your newly found friends cannot police you to keep you sober. They have neither the time nor the inclination. They will go to unbelievable lengths to help you but there is a limit to all things.

Shortly after you leave the hospital you will be on your own. The Bible tells us to put “first things first.” Alcohol is obviously the first thing in your life. So concentrate on conquering it.

You could have gone through the mechanics of sobering up at home. Your new friends could have called on you in your own living room. But at home there would have been a hundred and one things to distract your attention – the radio, the furnace, a broken screen door, a walk to the drug store, your own family affairs. Every one of these things would make you forget the most important thing in your life, the thing upon which depends life or death — complete and endless sobriety. That is why you are in the hospital You have time to think; you have time to read; you will have time to examine your life, past and present, and to reflect upon what it can be in the future. And don’t be in a hurry to leave. Your sponsor knows best. Stay in the hospital until you have at least a rudimentary understanding of the program.

There is the Bible that you haven’t opened for years. Get acquainted with it. Read it with an open mind. You will find things that will amaze you. You will be convinced that certain passages were written with you in mind. Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew V, VI, and VII). Read St. Paul’s inspired essay on love (I Corinthians XIII). Read the Book of James. Read the Twenty-third and Ninety-first Psalms. These reading are brief but so important.

Read “Alcoholics Anonymous” and then read it again. You may find that it contains your own story. It will become your second Bible. Ask your callers to suggest other readings.

And if you are puzzled, ask questions. One of your callers will know the answers. Get your sponsor to explain to you the Twelve Steps. If he is not too certain about them – he may be new in this work – ask someone else. The Twelve Steps are listed in the back of this booklet.

There is no standing still in A.A. You either forge ahead or slip backwards. Even the oldest members, the founders, learn something new almost every day.

You can never learn too much in the search for sobriety.


By this time you should know if you want to go along with A.A., or if you want to slip back into that old headache that you called life. You are physically sober and well — a bit shaky, perhaps but that will wear off in a short time. Reflect that you didn’t get into this condition overnight, and that you cannot expect to get out of it in a couple of hours or days.

You feel good enough to go on another bender, or good enough to try a different scheme of things – sobriety.

You have decided to go along with Alcoholics Anonymous? Very well, you will never regret it.

First off, your day will have a new pattern. You will open the day with a quiet period. This will be explained by your sponsor. You will read the “Upper Room,” or whatever you think best for yourself. You will say a little prayer asking for help during the day. You will go about your daily work, and your associates will be surprised at you clear-eyed, the disappearance of that haunted look and your willingness to make up for the past. You sponsor may drop in to see you, or call you on the telephone. There may be a meeting of an A.A. group. Attend it without question. You have no valid excuse except sickness or being out of town, for not attending. You may call on a new patient. Don’t wait until tomorrow to do this. You will find the work fascinating. You will find a kindred soul. And you will be giving yourself a new boost along the road to sobriety. Finally, at the end of the day you will say another little prayer of thanks and gratitude for a day of sobriety. You will have lived a full day – a full, constructive day. And you will be grateful.

You feel that you have nothing to say to a new patient? No story to tell? Nonsense! You have been sober for a day, or for a week. Obviously, you must have done something to stay sober, even for that short length of time. That is your story. And believe it or not, the patient won’t realize that you are nearly as much of a tyro as he is. Definitely you have something to say. And with each succeeding visit you will find that your story comes easier, that you have more confidence in your ability to be of help. The harder you work at sobriety the easier it is to remain sober.

Your sponsor will take you to your first meeting. You will find it new, but inspirational. You will find an atmosphere of peace and contentment that you didn’t know existed

After you have attended several meetings it will be your duty to get up on your feet and say something. You will have something to say, even if it is only to express gratitude to the group for having helped you. Before many months have passed you will be asked to lead a meeting. Don’t try to put it off with excuses. It is part of the program. Even if you don’t think highly of yourself as a public speaker, remember you are among friends, and that your friends also are ex-drunks.

Get in contact with your new friends. Call them up. Drop in at their homes or offices. The door is always open to a fellow-alcoholic.

Before long you will have a new thrill — the thrill of helping someone else. There is no greater satisfaction in the world than watching the progress of a new Alcoholic Anonymous. When you first see him in his hospital bed he may be unshaved, bleary-eyed, dirty, incoherent. Perhaps the next day he has shaved and cleaned up. A day later his eyes are brighter, new color has come into his face. He talks more intelligently. He leaves the hospital, goes to work, and buys some new clothes. And in a month you will hardly recognize him as the derelict you first met in the hospital. No whisky in the world can give you this thrill.

Above all, remember this: Keep the rules in mind. As long as you follow them you are on firm ground. But the least deviation – and you are vulnerable.

AS A NEW MEMBER, remember you are one of the most important cogs in the machinery of A.A. Without the work of the new member, A.A. could not have grown as it has. You will bring into this work a fresh enthusiasm, the zeal of a crusader. You will want everyone to share with you the blessings of this new life. You will be tireless in your efforts to help others. And it is a splendid enthusiasm! Cherish it as long as you can.

It is not likely that your fresh enthusiasm will last forever. You will find, however, that as initial enthusiasm wanes, it is replaced with a greater understanding, deeper sympathy, and a more complete knowledge. You will eventually become an “elder statesman” of A.A. and you will be able to use your knowledge to help not only brand new members, but those who have been members for a year or more, but who still have perplexing problems. And as a new member, do not hesitate to bring your problems to these “elder statesmen” They may be able to solve your headaches and make easier your path.

And now you are ready to go back and read Part III of this booklet. For you are ready to sponsor some other poor alcoholic who is desperately in need of help, both human and Divine.

So God bless you and keep you.



THE PROSPECTIVE MEMBER of A.A. may have some doubts if he is actually an alcoholic. A.A. in Akron has found a yardstick prepared by psychiatrists of Johns Hopkins University to be very valuable in helping the alcoholic decide for himself.

Have your prospect answer the following questions, being as honest as possible with himself in deciding the answers. If he answers Yes to one of the questions, there is a definite warning that he MAY be an alcoholic. If he answers YES to any two, the chances are that he IS an alcoholic. If he answers YES to any three or more, he IS DEFINITELY an alcoholic and in need of help.

The questions:

1. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?

2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?

3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?

4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?

5. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?

6. Have you ever stolen, pawned property, or “borrowed” to get money for alcoholic beverages?

7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?

8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare? 

9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?

10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?

11. Do you want a drink the next morning?

12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?

14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?

15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?

16. Do you drink alone?

17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory s a result of drinking?

18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking? 

19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?

20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking?


NOW THAT YOU ARE SOBER, you naturally feel that you want to make restitution in every possible way for the trouble you have caused your family, your friends – others. You want to get back on the job – if you still have a job – earn money, pay your immediate debts and obligations of long standing and almost forgotten. Money – you must have money, you think. And you also want to make restitution in action in many ways, not financial. If you could wave a magic wand and do all these things you would do it, wouldn’t you?

Well, don’t be in a hurry. You can’t do all these things overnight. But you can do them – gradually, step by step. You may safely leave these matters to a Higher Power as you perhaps ponder them in your morning period of contemplation. If you are sincerely resolved to do your part, they will all be adjusted.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

SOBRIETY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE, without exception. You may believe your job, or your home life, or one of many other things comes first. But consider, if you do not get sober and stay sober, chances are you won’t have a job, a family, or even sanity or life. If you are convinced that everything in life depends on your sobriety, you have just so much more chance of getting sober and staying sober. If you put other things first you are only hurting your chances.

YOU AREN’T very important in this world. If you lose your job someone better will replace you. If you die your wife will mourn briefly, and then remarry. Your children will grow up and you will be but a memory. In the last analysis, you are the only one who benefits by your sobriety. Seek to cultivate humility. Remember that cockiness leads to a speedy fall.


IF YOU THINK you can cheat – sneak a drink or two without anyone else knowing it – remember, you are only cheating yourself. You are the one who will be hurt by conscience. You are the one who will suffer a hangover. And you are the one who will return to a hospital bed.

Bear constantly in mind that you are only one drink away from trouble. Whether you have been sober a day, a month, a year or a decade, one single drink is a certain way to go off on a binge or a series of binges. It is the first drink – not the second, fifth or twentieth, that causes the trouble.

And remember, the more A.A. work you do, the harder you train, the less likely it is that you will take that first drink.

It is something like two boxers. If they are of the same weight, the same strength and the same ability, and only one trains faithfully while the other spends his time in night dubs and bars, it is pretty sure that the man who trains will be the winner. So let attendance at meetings be your road work; helping newcomers your sparring and shadow boxing your reading, meditation and clear thinking your gymnasium work and you

won’t have to fear a knockout at the hands of John Barleycorn.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.- Matthew VI, 34.

Those words are taken from the Sermon on the Mount. Simply, they mean live in today only. Forget yesterday. Do not anticipate tomorrow. You can only live one day at a time and if you do a good job of that, you will have little trouble. One of the easiest, most practical ways of keeping sober ever devised is the day by day plan – the 24-hour plan.

You know that it is possible to stay sober for 24 hours. You have done it many times. All right. Stay sober for one day at a time. When you get up in the morning make up your mind that you will not take a drink for the entire day. Ask the Greater Power for a little help in this. If anyone asks you to have a drink, take a rain check. Say you will have it tomorrow. Then when you go to bed at night, finding yourself sober, say a little word of thanks to the Greater Power for having helped you.

Repeat the performance the next day. And the next. Before you realize it you will have been sober a week, a month, a year. And yet you have only been sober a day at a time.

If you set a time limit on your sobriety you will be looking forward to that day, and each day will be a burden to you. You will burn with impatience. But with no goal the whole thing clears itself, almost miraculously.

Try the day by day plan.

Medical Men will tell you that alcoholics are all alike in at least one respect: they are emotionally immature

In other words, alcoholics have not learned to think like adults.

The child, lying in bed at night, becomes frightened by a shadow on the wall, and hides his head under the covers.

The adult, seeing the same shadow, knows there is a logical reason for it. He sees the streetlight, then the bedpost, and he knows what causes the shadow. He has simply done what the child is incapable of doing – THOUGHT. And through thinking he has avoided fear.

Learn to think things out. Take a thought and follow it through to its conclusion.

If you are tempted to take a drink, reason out for yourself what will happen. Because if you will give serious consideration to the consequences you will have the battle won.

SO YOU’RE DIFFERENT! So you think you are not an alcoholic!

As many Alcoholics Anonymous have gone off the deep end for that kind of thinking as almost all the other reasons combined.

If you have all the symptoms your sponsor will tell you about and that you hear about at meetings, rest assured you are an alcoholic and no different from the rest of the breed.

But don’t make the mistake of finding it out the hard way – by experimenting with liquor. You will find it a painful experience and will only learn that you are NOT different.

AT MEETINGS don’t criticize the leader. He has his own problems and is doing his best to solve them. Help him along by standing up and saying a few words. He will appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness.

DON’T criticize the methods of others. Strangely enough, you may change your own ideas as you become older in sobriety. Remember there are a dozen roads from New York to Chicago, but they all land in Chicago

SO WHATS YOUR HURRY? Perhaps you don’t feel you are getting the hang of this program as rapidly as you should. Forget it. It probably took you years to get in this condition. You certainly cannot expect a complete cure over night. You are not expected to grasp the entire program in one day. No one else has ever done that, so it certainly is not expected of you. Even the earliest members are learning something new about sober living nearly every day. There is an old saying, “Easy does it.” It is a motto that any alcoholic could well ponder. A child learns to add and subtract in the lower grades. He is not expected to do problems in algebra until he is in high school. Sobriety is a thing that must be learned step by step. If anything puzzles you, ask your new friends about it, or forget it for the time being. The time is not so far away when you will have a good understanding of the entire program. Meantime, EASY DOES IT!

THE A.A. PROGRAM is not a “cure,” in the accepted sense of the word. There is no known “cure” for alcoholism except complete abstinence. It has been definitely proved that an alcoholic can never again be a normal drinker. The disease, however, can be arrested. How soon you will be cured of a desire to drink is another matter. That depends entirely upon how quickly you can succeed in changing your fundamental outlook on life. For as your outlook changes for the better, desire will become less pronounced, until it disappears almost entirely. It may be weeks or it may be months. Your sincerity and your capacity for working with others on the A.A. program will determine the length of time.

Earlier in this pamphlet it was advised to keep relatives away from the hospital. The reason was explained. But after the patient leaves the hospital, it would be to bring the wife, husband, or other close relative to meeting. It will give them a clearer understanding of the program and enable them to cooperate more intelligently and more closely in the period of readjustment.

DIET AND REST play an important part in the rehabilitation of an alcoholic. For many we bludgeoned ourselves physically, eating improper foods, sleeping with the aid of alcohol. In our drinking days we ate a bowl of chili or a hamburg sandwich because they were filling and cheap. We sacrificed good food so we would have more money for whiskey. We were the living counterparts of the old joke: “What, buying bread? And not a drop of whiskey in the house!” Our rest was the same. We slept when we passed out. We were the ones who turned out the streetlights and rolled up the sidewalks.

We now find that it is wise to eat balanced meals at regular hours, and get the proper amount of sleep without the unhealthy aid of liquor and sleeping pills. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride) or B Complex will help steady our nerves and build up a vitamin deficiency. Fresh vegetables and fruits will help.

In fact, it is a wise move to consult a physician, possibly have a complete physical examination. Your doctor then will recommend a course in vitamins, a balanced diet, and advise you as to rest.

The reason for this advice is simple. If we are undernourished and lack rest we become irritable and nervous. In this condition our tempers get out of control, our feelings are easily wounded, and we get

back to the old and dangerous thought processes – “Oh, to Hell with it. I’ll get drunk and show ’em.”

MANY MEMBERS of A.A. find it helpful, even after a long period of sobriety, to add an extra ration of carbohydrates to their diet. Alcohol turns into sugar in the body, and when we deprive ourselves of alcohol our bodies cry for sugar. This often manifests itself in a form of nervousness.

Carry candy in your pocket. Keep it in your home. Eat desserts. Try an occasional ice cream soda or malted milk. You may find that it solves a problem by calming your nerves.


IT HAS BEEN found advisable to hold meetings at least once a week at a specified time and place. Meetings provide a means for an exchange of ideas, the renewing of friendships, opportunity to review the work being carried on, a sense of security, and an additional reminder that we are alcoholics and must be continuously on the alert against the temptation to slip backward into the old drunken way of living.

In larger communities where there are several groups it is recommended that the new member attend as many meetings as possible. He will find that the more he is exposed to A.A. the sooner he will absorb its principles, the easier it will become to remain sober, and the sooner problems will shrink and tend to disappear.

As a newcomer you will be somewhat bewildered by your first meeting. It is even possible that it will not make sense to you. Many have this experience. But if you don’t find yourself enjoying your first meeting, pause to remember that you probably didn’t care for the taste of your first drink of whisky – particularly if it was in bootleg days.

Again, you may feel like a “country cousin” at your first meeting. Your sponsor should see to it that this is not the case. But even if he neglects his duty, don’t feel too badly. Don’t be afraid to “horn in.” If you are being neglected it is just an oversight, and you are entirely welcome. It is possible that you may not even be recognized because your appearance has changed for the better. In a week or two you will find yourself in the middle of things – and very likely neglecting other newcomers.

So attend your first meeting with an open mind. Even if you aren’t impressed try it again. Before long you will genuinely enjoy attending and a little later you will feel that the week has been incomplete if you have not attended at least one A.A. meeting.

Remember that attendance at meetings is one of the most important requisites of remaining sober.

A.A. OF AKRON gets many inquiries about how to conduct a meeting. Methods differ in many parts of the country. There are discussion groups, study groups, meeting where a leader takes up the entire time himself, etc.

Here, briefly, is how meetings are conducted in the dozen or more Akron groups, a method that has been used since the founding of A.A.:

  The speaker can be selected from the local group, someone from another group or another city, or on occasion, a guest from the ranks of clergymen, doctor, the judiciary, or anyone who may be of help. In the case of such an outsider, he is generally introduced by the secretary or some other member.

The leader opens the meeting with a prayer, or asks someone else to pray. The prayer can be original, or it can be taken from a prayer book, or from some publication such as “The Upper Room.”

The topic is entirely up to the leader. He can tell of his drinking experiences, or what he has done to keep sober, or he can advance his own theories on A.A. His talk lasts from 20 to 40 minutes, at which time he asks for comment or testimony from the floor.

Just before the meeting closes – one hour in Akron – the leader asks for announcements or reports (such as next week’s leader, social affairs, new members to be called on, etc.). In closing the entire group stands and repeats the Lord’s Prayer. It is courteous to give the speaker enough advance notice so that he may prepare his talk if he so desires.

The Physical set-up of groups varies in many cities. Those who are about to start new groups may be interested in the method used by Akron Group No l. It is merely a suggestion, however.

When there are but very few members it is customary to hold the meetings in private homes of the members, on the same night of each week. When the group becomes larger, however, it is desirable to hold the meeting in a regular place. A school room, a room in a

Y. M. C A or lodge, or hotel will do.

It has been the experience throughout the country that the more fluid the structure of the group the more successful the operation.

Akron Group No. 1 has a very simple set-up. There is a permanent secretary, who makes announcements, keeps a list of the membership, and takes care of correspondence. There is also a permanent treasurer, who takes care of the money and pays bills. Then there is a rotating committee of three members to take care of current affairs. Each member serves for three months, but a new one is added and one dropped every month. This committee takes care of providing leaders, supplying refreshments, arranging parties, greeting newcomers, etc.

As the group grows older certain qualifications, in terms of length of sobriety, can be made. Akron Group No. 1 requires a full year of continuous sobriety as qualification to hold an office or serve.

There are no dues. There is a free-will offering at each meeting to take care of expenses.

There is probably an older group in some community within easy traveling distance of yours. Someone from that group will doubtless be happy to help you get started.


Alcoholics Anonymous is based on a set of laws known as the Twelve Steps. Years of experience have definitely proved that those who live up to these rules remain sober. Those who gloss over or ignore any one rule are in constant danger of returning to a life of drunkenness. Thousands of words could be written on each rule. Lack of space prevents, so they are merely listed here. It is suggested that they be explained by the sponsor. If he cannot explain them he should provide someone who can



1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps are more fully explained in another pamphlet published in Akron and available through writing to Post Office Box 932. It is called “A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous” The price is 12 cents per copy, 9 cents in lot of 25 to 499, and 7 1/2 cents in lots of 500 or more. Checks or money orders can be made out to A.A. of Akron.


The following literature has helped many members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alcoholics Anonymous. (Works Publishing Company.)

The Holy Bible.

The Greatest Thing in the World. Henry Drummond.

The Unchanging Friend. (A Series) (Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee.)

As a Man Thinketh. James Allen.

The Sermon on the Mount. Emmet Fox (Harper Bros.)

The Self You Have to Live With. Winfred Rhoades. (Lippincott.)

Psychology of Christian Personality. Ernest M. Ligon. (Macmillan Co.)

Abundant Living. E. Stanley Jones

The Man Nobody Knows. Bruce Barron

(Editors Note, 1997: Some of the above books are still in print, especially The Sermon on The Mount, and of course, The Big Book and the Bible. I have located a few of them in used bookstores.

This pamphlet is no longer in print or available from Group No. 1, although Group No. 1 is still active in Akron. The addresses and info for ordering is included here as it was in the original pamphlet for sentimental value.)


Those desiring additional copies of this booklet may obtain them at a cost of fifteen cents each, or ten cents per copy in lots of twenty-five or more. In lots of 500 or more, eight cents apiece. Copies will be sent postage prepaid in a plain package. Send check or money order with your order, payable to:

A.A. of Akron, 

Post Office Box 932,

Akron, Ohio


Pamphlets will be sent parcel post COD. when funds do not accompany order. Canadian groups please send U. S. funds.



A.A. of Akron,

Post Office Box 932, 

Akron, Ohio


Enclosed Find $_____________________ 

Send me postage prepaid____________

of the booklet, “A Manual For Alcoholics Anonymous” 

Date____________ Name_____________________________




Editors Note, 1997:

“A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous”, written and distributed in 1940 by Dr. Bob’s Home Group, AA Group No. 1, Akron, Ohio.

Dr. Bob probably wrote or heavily influenced the writing and distribution of this pamphlet. Dr. Bob was the Prince of 12 Steppers, from the day he achieved permanent sobriety, June 10, 1935, the founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous, until his death, November 16, 1950, carrying the message of A.A. to well over 5000 men and women alcoholics, and to all these he gave his medical services and time without thought of charge.

It is my hope that by getting back to the basics of A.A., and the sharing of this data, that the transition from the life of a drunk to a SOBER LIFE in the program of A.A. will be eased for newcomers.

This pamphlet was written and being distributed within one year of the publication of the Big Book, and the longest sobriety of the “Old Timers” (Bill W.) was only a little over 5 years. A.A. was only 4 1/2 years from its inception and the day of Dr. Bob’s last drink. There were only about 800 members of A.A. at the beginning of 1940, nationwide, and almost none in other countries. By the end of 1940 membership had blossomed to about 2000 and by the end of 1941 the membership had skyrocketed to 8000. Today we number in the millions and groups of Sober Alcoholics can be found everywhere in every country throughout the world. Untold millions have found, lived and are living a sober life in the 62 1/2 years since Ebby first carried a message of hope to Bill W., a desperate, incomprehensibly demoralized drunk.

We can see in our own lives what the efforts of a few relative newcomers has done for us and the world, to remind us to not stint in our efforts so that greater things will come to pass….

To those “newcomers” we owe so much.

“A Manual For Alcoholics Anonymous”

With Love and Peace and Gratitude for those early “Newcomers” and all Newcomers since.

Barefoot , May 15, 1997

I have attempted to present this pamphlet as originally printed, as close as HTML will allow. Scanned, typed, edited and placed on the Web by Barefoot Bob at the ranch in Post Falls, Idaho. Come visit anytime, the coffee pot is always on and there is plenty of room for camping.

Visit my Recovery Page – ABC Page 60 at

There is more good “stuff” there, and lots of little known AA History. Feel free to link to it, copy it , print it out and pass it around to the alky who still suffers.

Barefoot Bob

18446 W Holland Road

Post Falls, Idaho

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