From the BlogMeet Ron

MOMENTS OF CLARITY

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

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

Dr. Silkworth’s Rx for Sobriety

Dr. Silkworth’s Rx for Sobriety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Silkworth is particularly emphatic on one point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEFINITION of “OLD”

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

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

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

The Second Angel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The man was happy. “That’s good?”

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

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

“Department of Omissions!”

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

“Department of Omissions!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ya gotta watch this……

A GOOD REMINDER. Chuck D.

A GOOD REMINDER.
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
 


Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813

iamronrichey@gmail.com
www.melloron.com

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.)

FOREWORD

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.

III

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.

NOW YOU ARE OUT OF THE HOSPITAL

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.

YARDSTICK FOR ALCOHOLICS

 

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?

RANDOM THOUGHTS

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.

MEETINGS

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.

THE TWELVE STEPS

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

THE TWELVE STEPS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

SUGGESTED READING

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.)

FOR COPIES OF THIS BOOKLET

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.

DETACH AND MAIL THIS COUPON

 

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_____________________________

Street_____________________________

City_________________State__________

_____________

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 http://www.barefootsworld.net/abc_pg60.html

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

Email Barefoot

Enjoy life and smile each day

Enjoy life and smile each day
 
“There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is a miracle.” (Albert Einstein)
 
As we grow older and wiser we realize that a $3,000 or $30 watch – both tell the same time..

Whether we carry a $300 or $30 wallet/handbag – the money inside is the same.

Whether we drink a bottle of $300 or $30 or $3 wine – the hangover is the same

Whether the house we live in is 300, 3,000 or 30,000 sq.  ft.  – the loneliness is the same.

And we realize our true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world..

Whether we fly first or economy class – everyone arrives at the same time.
 
Therefore, we should realize that when we have mates, buddies and old friends, brothers and sisters, with whom we can chat, laugh, talk, sing, talk about north-south-east-west or heaven and earth – that is true happiness!
 
 
Six Undeniable Facts of Life:
1.  Don’t educate your children to be rich.  Educate them to be happy, so when they grow up they will know the value of things, not the price.
 
2.  Wise words: “Eat your food as your medicines.  Otherwise you have to eat medicines as your food.”
 
3.  The one who loves you will never leave you because, even if there are 100 reasons to give up, he or she will find one reason to hold on.
 
4.  There is a big difference between a human being and being human.  Only a few folks really understand that.
 
5.  You are loved when you are born.  You will be loved when you die.  In between, you have to manage!
 
6.  If you just want to walk fast, walk alone; but, if you want to walk far, walk together!

Six Best Doctors in the World
1.  Sunlight
2.  Rest
3.  Exercise
4.  Diet
5.  Self Confidence
6.  Friends

And, finally: The nicest place to be is in someone’s thoughts, the safest place to be is in someone’s prayers, and the very best place to be is… in the hands of God.
 


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

CHILDREN OF THE SILENT GENERATION

CHILDREN OF THE SILENT GENERATION

   Born in the 1930s and early 40s, we exist as a very special age group. We are the Silent Generation.

We are the smallest number of children born since the early 1900s.  We are the “last ones.”

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.

We can remember milk being delivered to our house early in the morning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.

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”.

We did play outside, and we did play on our own.

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 of the war sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.

Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party Lines) and hung on the wall.

Computers were called calculators, they only added and 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 table radio in the evening by Gabriel Heatter.

We are the last group who had to find out for ourselves.

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 installmentpayment plans put factories to 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 of stations.

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.

We enjoyed a luxury; we felt secure in our future.

Depression poverty was deep rooted.

Polio was still a crippler.

The Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50s 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 ‘advisers’ to Vietnam.

Castro set up camp in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.

We are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland.

We came of age in the 40s and 50s.  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. We have lived through both.

We grew up at the best possible time, a time whenthe world was getting better, not worse.
We are the Silent Generation – “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”!

On Cultivating Tolerance  Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, p. 279

On Cultivating Tolerance 
Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, p. 279
 
“During nine years in AA I have observed that those who follow the Alcoholics Anonymous program with the greatest earnestness and zeal, not only maintain sobriety, but often acquire finer characteristics and attitudes as well. One of these is tolerance. Tolerance expresses itself in a variety of ways: in kindness and consideration toward the man or woman who is just beginning the march along the spiritual path; in the understanding of those who perhaps have been less fortunate in educational advantages, and in sympathy toward those whose religious ideas may seem to be at great variance with our own. I am reminded in this connection of the picture of a hub with its radiating spokes. We all start at the outer circumference and approach our destination by one of many routes.
 
To say that one spoke is much better than all the other spokes is true only in the sense of its being best suited to you as an individual. Human nature is such that without some degree of tolerance, each one of us might be inclined to believe that we have found the best or perhaps the shortest spoke. Without some tolerance we might tend to become a bit smug or superior — which of course is not helpful to the person we are trying to help, and may be quite painful or obnoxious to others. No one of us wishes to do anything which might act as a deterrent to the advancement of another — and a patronizing attitude can readily slow up this process.
 
Tolerance furnishes, as a by-product, a greater freedom from the tendency to cling to preconceived ideas and stubbornly adhered-to opinions. In other words it often promotes an open-mindedness which is vastly important — in fact a prerequisite to the successful termination of any line of search, whether it be scientific or spiritual.
 
These, then, are a few of the reasons why an attempt to acquire tolerance should be made by each one of us.” 
 
From the Editorial column of the July 1944 issue of The Grapevine, written by Dr. Bob of Akron.
 


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

AA Twelve Days of Christmas  by Jennifer T.

AA Twelve Days of Christmas
by Jennifer T


On the first day of Christmas, AA gave to me, a message of sobriety.
On the second day of Christmas, AA gave to me a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the third day of Christmas, AA gave to me a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the fourth day of Christmas, AA gave to me an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the fifth day of Christmas, AA gave to me removal of my character dings, an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the sixth day of Christmas, AA gave to me a new way of praying, removal of my character dings, an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the seventh day of Christmas, AA gave to me seven semblant sponsors, a new way of praying, removal of my character dings, an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the eighth day of Christmas, AA gave to me eight amends I’m making, seven semblant sponsors, a new way of praying, removal of my character dings, an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the ninth day of Christmas, AA gave to me nine ladies numbers, eight amends I’m making, seven semblant sponsors, a new way of praying, removal of my character dings, an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the tenth day of Christmas, AA gave to me ten acts to inventory, nine ladies numbers, eight amends I’m making, seven semblant sponsors, a new way of praying, removal of my character dings, an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, AA gave to me eleven pious promises, ten acts to inventory, nine ladies numbers, eight amends I’m making, seven semblant sponsors, a new way of praying, removal of my character dings, an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, AA gave to me twelve works of service, eleven pious promises, ten acts to inventory, nine ladies numbers, eight amends I’m making, seven semblant sponsors, a new way of praying, removal of my character dings, an inventory of my sins, a fellowship of encouraging words, a Great God of Love, and a message of sobriety
Thanks 

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.

Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813

IN REMEMBRANCE OF “EBBY”

IN REMEMBRANCE OF “EBBY”
By Bill Wilson AA Grapevine June 1966 
 
In his seventieth year, and on the twenty-first of March, my friend and sponsor “Ebby” passed beyond our sight and hearing.
 
On a chill November afternoon in 1934 it was Ebby who had brought me the message that saved my life. Still more importantly, he was the bearer of the Grace and of the principles that shortly afterward led to my spiritual awakening. This was truly a call to new life in the Spirit. It was the kind of rebirth that has since become the most precious possession of each and all of us.
 
As I looked upon him where he lay in perfect repose, I was stirred by poignant memories of all the years I had known and loved him.
 
There were recollections of those joyous days in a Vermont boarding school. After the war years we were sometimes together, then drinking of course. Alcohol, we thought, was the solvent for all difficulties, a veritable elixir for good living.
 
Then there was that absurd episode of 1929. Ebby and I were on an all-night spree in Albany. Suddenly we remembered that a new airfield had been constructed in Vermont, on a pasture near my own home town. The opening day was close at hand. Then came the intoxicating thought: If only we could hire a plane we’d beat the opening by several days, thus making aviation history ourselves! Forthwith, Ebby routed a pilot friend out of bed, and for a stiff price we engaged him and his small craft. We sent the town fathers a wire announcing the time of our arrival. In midmorning, we took to the air, greatly elated — and very tight.
 
Somehow our rather tipsy pilot set us down on the field. A large crowd, including the village band and a welcoming committee, lustily cheered his feat. The pilot then deplaned. But nothing else happened, nothing at all. The onlookers stood in puzzled silence. Where were Ebby and Bill? Then the horrible discovery was made — we were both slumped in the rear cockpit of the plane, completely passed out! Kind friends lifted us down and stood us upon the ground. Whereupon we history-makers fell flat on our faces. Ignominiously, we had to be carted away. The fiasco could not have been more appalling. We spent the next day shakily writing apologies.
 
Over the following five years, I seldom saw Ebby. But of course our drinking went on and on. In late 1934 I got a terrific jolt when I learned that Ebby was about to be locked up, this time in a state mental hospital.
 
Following a series of mad sprees, he had run his father’s new Packard off the road and into the side of a dwelling, smashing right into its kitchen, and just missing a terrified housewife. Thinking to ease this rather awkward situation, Ebby summoned his brightest smile and said, “Well, my dear, how about a cup of coffee?”
 
Of course Ebby’s lighthearted humor was quite lost on everyone concerned. Their patience worn thin, the town fathers yanked him into court. To all appearances, Ebby’s final destination was the insane asylum. To me, this marked the end of the line for us both. Only a short time before, my physician, Dr. Silkworth, had felt obliged to tell Lois there was no hope of my recovery; that I, too would have to be confined, else risk insanity or death.
 
But Providence would have it otherwise. It was presently learned that Ebby had been paroled into the custody of friends who (for the time being) had achieved their sobriety in the Oxford Groups. They brought Ebby to New York where he fell under the benign influence of AA’s great friend-to-be, Dr. Sam Shoemaker, the rector of Calvary Episcopal Church. Much affected by Sam and the “O.G.” Ebby promptly sobered up. Hearing of my serious condition, he had straight-way come to our house in Brooklyn.
 
As I continued to recollect, the vision of Ebby looking at me across our kitchen table became wonderfully vivid. As most AAs know, he spoke to me of the release from hopelessness that had come to him (through the Oxford Groups) as the result of self-survey, restitution, outgoing helpfulness to others, and prayer. In short, he was proposing the attitudes and principles that I used later in developing AA’s Twelve Steps to recovery.
 
It had happened. One alcoholic had effectively carried the message to another. Ebby had been enabled to bring me the gift of Grace because he could reach me at depth through the language of the heart. He had pushed ajar that great gate through which all in AA have since passed to find their freedom under God.
 
Sincerely,
Ron Richey
808-734-5732
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813
iamronrichey@gmail.com