Aa history Lovers 2006 moderators Nancy Olson and Glenn F. Chesnut page



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AA History Lovers 2006 — moderators Nancy Olson and Glenn F. Chesnut — page




AA History Lovers
2006

Messages 3002-3975


moderated by


Nancy Olson

September 18, 1929 – March 25, 2005
Glenn F. Chesnut

June 28, 1939 –

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++++Message 3002. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Length of sobriety and James H.

From: JNP in Maine . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 8:14:00 AM


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I met James H. in 1997 at the Wilson House in Vermont. I am almost positive

he

had said that he was not a member of AA and never had been. Does anyone have



any info re this statement by him.
Thanks
Joe Petrocelli

(jopet34 at yahoo.com)


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++++Message 3003. . . . . . . . . . . . Significant January Dates in A.A.

History


From: chesbayman56 . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/31/2005 1:46:00 PM
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Jan 1929 - Bill W. wrote third promise in Bible to quit drinking.

Jan 1940 - Akron group moves to new home at King School.

Jan 1944 - Dr. Harry Tiebout's first paper on the subject of

"Alcoholics Anonymous".

Jan 1944 - onset of Bill's 11 years of depression.

Jan 1946 - Readers Digest does a story on AA.

Jan 1948 - 1st A.A. meeting in Japan

Jan 1951 - AA Grapevine publishes memorial issue for Dr Bob.

Jan 1958 - Bill writes article for Grapevine on "Emotional

Sobriety".

Jan 1, 1943 - Columbus Dispatch reports 1st Anniversary of Columbus,

Ohio Central Group.

Jan 2, 1889 - Sister Ignatia born, Ballyhane Ireland.

Jan 3, 1939 - First sale of Works Publishing Co stock is recorded.

Jan 4, 1940 - 1st AA group formed in Detroit, Michigan.

Jan 5, 1939 - Dr Bob tells Ruth Hock in a letter that AA has "to get

away from the Oxford Group atmosphere".

Jan 5, 2001 - Chuck C. from Houston died sober in Texas at 38 years

sober.

Jan 6, 2000 - Stephen Poe, compiler of the Concordance to



Alcoholics Anonymous, died.

Jan 8, 1938 - New York AA splits from the Oxford Group.

Jan 10, 1940 - 1st AA meeting not in a home meets at King School,

Akron, Ohio.

Jan 13, 1988 - Dr Jack Norris Chairman/Trustee of AA for 27 years

dies.


Jan 13, 2003 - Dr Earle M sober for 49 years, author of "Physician

Heal Thyself" died.

Jan 15, 1937 - Fitz M brings AA meetings to Washington DC.

Jan 15, 1945 - First AA meeting held in Springfield, Missouri.

Jan 19, 1943 - 1st discussion for starting AA group in Toronto.

Jan 19, 1944 - Wilson's returned from 1st major A.A. tour started

in Oct 24 1943.

Jan 19, 1999 - Frank M., AA Archivist since 1983, died peacefully in

his sleep.

Jan 21, 1954 - Hank P who helped Bill start NY office dies in

Pennington, New Jersey.

Jan 23, 1985 - Bob B. died sober November 11, 2001.

Jan 24, 1918 - Bill marries Lois Burnham in the Swedenborgen Church

in Brookyn Heights.

Jan 24, 1945 - 1st black group St. Louis

Jan. 24, 1971 - Bill W dies at Miami Beach, FL.

Jan 25, 1915 - Dr. Bob marries Anne Ripley.

Jan 26, 1971 - New York Times publishes Bill's obituary on page 1.

Jan 30, 1961 - Dr Carl Jung answers Bill's letter with "Spiritus

Contra Spiritum".

End of Jan 1939 - 400 copies of manuscript of Big Book circulated

for comment, evaluation and sale.


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++++Message 3004. . . . . . . . . . . . Long-Term Success Higher in 2004

Survey


From: ny-aa@att.net . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/1/2006 12:02:00 AM
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How long have members of A.A. been sober? That is one of the

questions in the triennial survey among randomly selected groups

in the U.S. and Canada every three years. Surveys are all done

during a one to two week period. Everyone who is at a particular

meeting of each of those groups is asked to participate.
LENGTH OF SOBRIETY IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Survey


Year ...<1 ..... 1-5 .... >5 ...... Average

**77 ... 37.3% .. 38.0% .. 24.7% ... 4 years

**80 ... 36.4% .. 37.2% .. 26.4% ... 4 years

**83 ... 37.7% .. 36.9% .. 24.9% ... 4 years

**86 ... 32.8% .. 38.4% .. 29.0% ... 4+ years

1989 ... 34% .... 37% .... 29% ..... 4+ years

1992 ... 31% .... 34% .... 35% ..... 5+ years

1996 ... 27% .... 28% .... 45% ..... 6+ years

1998 ... 27% .... 26% .... 47% ..... 7+ years

2001 ... 30% .... 22% .... 48% ..... 7+ years

2004 ... 26% .... 24% .... 50% ..... 8+ years
As of the 2004 Survey, long-term sobriety was so prevalent that

"Greater Than Five Years" was broken into two parts as follows:

5-10 Years = 14%

>10 Years = 36%

------------------ adding

>5 Years = 50%


For those unfamiliar with Alcoholics Anonymous, sobriety in A.A.

means continuous and complete abstinence from alcohol in any form.

This table represents only those who are sober and still attending

meetings. Someone who got sober in A.A. and who is staying sober

by some other means would not appear in the survey.
NOTE: Entries with dates beginning ** here are from a summary.

Those with complete years are from copies of published pamphlets:

"(P-48) Alcoholics Anonymous YYYY Membership Survey"

___________________

En2joy! Tom En2ger
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++++Message 3005. . . . . . . . . . . . Definitions of the "real alcoholic"

(re 3 and 5-year survival rates)

From: hoojgs . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 10:47:00 AM
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My comments below do not address the question of the statistical

accuracy of the survival rate study but relate to the history of the

debate over who is a "real alcoholic."
I wonder if anyone has seen the actual long list of membership requirements

that


Bill collected in the days before the adoption of the third tradition.
Thanks in advance,

Jim
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++++Message 3006. . . . . . . . . . . . James H. and length of sobriety

From: Diz Titcher . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 6:31:00 AM


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Hi Gary,
James Houck was never a member of AA. He is the last original Oxford Grouper

and


puts on those workshop with a friend of his who was in AA. I do not know

whether


the friend is alive or not.
Diz T.

Tallahassee


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++++Message 3007. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Data on 3 and 5 year survival

rates


From: Des Green . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 4:30:00 AM
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(With a comment by Glenn C. at the end)
Hi,
With respect to what Fiona D. said in Message 2992

(http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/AAHistoryLovers/message/2992).


Constant references to the REAL alcoholic sometimes confuses me. If a person

takes a drink and cannot control their intake is that not a real alcoholic ?


If this allergy, or whatever it is has progressed to the point that alcohol

is

dominating ones every waking thought and the consumption of it is the most



important thing is that not a real alcoholic?
The suggestion sometimes seems to be that no alcoholic can recover unless

they


are in AA and attend meetings .
So what is it you are saying here ?
1. There are people who are pretending to be alcoholic?
2. Some people are more alcoholic than others?
I'm fairly new to all this, 21 months sober.
And please don't think I am having a go at you personally, I'm not. I'm

simply


picking up your thread to obtain an answer, not necessarily from you. This

is

another thing that does my head in .... having to be so careful about the



sensitivities of others when nothing insensitive is intended.
Best wishes, Des
It really is great to be sober and in such a fantastic fellowship Good Luck!
______________________________
Des,
Let me try my hand at answering your question.
It was common in early AA to distinguish between three different kinds of

drinkers. Let's call them Types 1, 2, and 3 for the purposes of this

discussion.

Sometimes they were called (Type 1) "social drinkers," (Type 2)

"heavy

drinkers," and (Type 3) "alcoholics." Richmond Walker, in



Twenty Four Hours a

Day (1948), referred to the last category as "merry go round

drinkers."
Mrs. Marty Mann makes this same kind of distinction in the book she wrote

for


the National Council on Alcoholism. Our South Bend good old timer, Brownie,

makes that three-fold distinction in the material about him in The St. Louis

Gambler and the Railroad Man. Dr. Jellinek (and many others) tried to make

distinctions of this same sort during the 1940's and 1950's.


It had been noted that some alcoholics were clearly drinking alcoholically

from


the time they took their very first drink. The first time they had a chance

at

a bottle (even if they were just teenagers), they drank themselves rip



roaring

drunk, and they just kept on drinking that way from that point on.


But other alcoholics started out as social drinkers, and then gradually

began


drinking more and more, until finally after enough years they crossed some

invisible line, and became clearly and unambiguously alcoholic drinkers.


Psychologists who study alcoholism and public health agencies which are

concerned with alcoholism have found that they also have to make some kind

of

distinction between people who are drinking a lot, and people who are



alcoholics. You cannot measure the amount of alcohol that is consumed and

use


that to determine who is a heavy drinker and who is an alcoholic.
All sorts of fancy definitions have been dreamed up by psychologists,

medical


doctors, and so on, to try to identify where you make the division between

Type


Two heavy drinkers (or "alcohol abusers" or whatever term you're

using) and Type

Three genuine alcoholics.
Let us not get into quarrels about what precise terminology to use here,

because


there have been a variety of different terms used over the years.
But as far as I can see, the basic distinction historically has been a

simple


one. A Type Two heavy drinker (or alcohol abuser, or whatever) who is given

sufficient reason to stop drinking, will be able to stop on his own simply

by

using will power. Maybe his doctor puts him on a heart medication and tells



him

that he has to take the medication to save his life, and that this

medication

cannot be mixed with alcohol in the system. Or something in his life puts

him

in a situation where he will get in enormous trouble if he does not quit. So



he

simply grits his teeth, and stops drinking. Just like that. Permanently.


A Type Three true alcoholic will find that he cannot stop drinking on his

own,


by his own will power, no matter how serious the consequences are going to

be.


His wife says that she will leave him, his employer says that he will fire

him,


the judge says that he will give him twenty years in prison the next time he

drives drunk, his doctor says that he will be dead within a year if he keeps

on

drinking. But no matter what it is, a true alcoholic will STILL keep



drinking,

in spite of all that, if he is trying to do it by himself by his own

willpower.

If you listen to tape recordings of the good old timers, you will find

numerous

examples of alcoholics whose drinking was destroying them totally, who still

could not stop on their own, simply by using will power.
One thing which muddies the waters nowadays, is that (beginning with Dr.

Jellinek's famous chart back in the 1940's) the experts on alcoholism have

assembled data on the way that the disease of alcoholism progresses, where

they


can spot the symptoms of Type Three chronic alcoholism much earlier than

they


could in the 1930's and 1940's. So nowadays we can sometimes identify a

person


as definitely a chronic alcoholic early in the progression of the disease,

and


send that person off to AA, and save that person an awful lot of misery and

heartbreak, EVEN THOUGH in early AA they would not have allowed that person

to

attend AA meetings because they would have felt that this person's drinking



did

not qualify him or her to be a "true alcoholic" yet.


So is this particular individual a Type Two heavy drinker who is getting

himself


or herself in trouble, and maybe needs some encouragement to quit doing that

from a psychotherapist or someone like that?


Or is this particular individual a Type Three alcoholic EARLY in the

progression

of the disease, who hasn't gotten himself or herself in major trouble yet,

but


who nevertheless is going to need AA in order to quit? In current AA jargon,

we

would sometimes call this kind of person a "high bottom" drunk.


So what Fiona was asking was, were the people in that statistical table who

went


to AA meetings for a year and then quit going to meetings but were still

sober


even five years later, actually Type Three alcoholics? Or were they Type Two

heavy drinkers who got sober in AA meetings, but actually would have been

able

to get sober all on their own anyway, just by using their own willpower?


In other words, were they Type Two heavy drinkers who had been misdiagnosed

as

early stage Type Three alcoholics?


The issue at stake is, is it EVER safe for a Type Three genuine alcoholic to

quit going to meetings? If they quit going to meetings, will Type Three

alcoholics ALWAYS inevitably go back to their alcoholic drinking sooner or

later? The good old timers in my part of Indiana say (on the basis of their

many years of experience) that Type Three genuine alcoholics will ALWAYS go

back


to drinking eventually if they quit going to AA meetings, with the one

exception

that a few do manage to use church going as a substitute for AA meetings,

and


can stay sober that way.
Fiona's question is not some nit picking question about numbers and

statistics,

but a word of warning about something which could cost alcoholics their

lives if


they make the wrong decision. Fiona is warning all of us (based in her case

of

her knowledge of Irish alcoholics): do NOT assume on the basis of those 3



and 5

year survival rate statistics which were recently posted that you will have

some

hope of staying sober if you quit going to AA meetings.


Given the fact that Fiona's Irish alcoholics and my own Hoosier alcoholics

here


in Indiana seem to suffer the same fate if they quit going to AA meetings, I

would advise anyone reading these AAHL postings to take Fiona's warning with

deadly seriousness. Her warning is simple: don't use those 3 and 5 year

survival statistics to play games with your life, if you are a true

alcoholic.
I would add an additional warning to hers. Alcoholism is cunning, baffling,

and


powerful. Also patient, sneaky, and lying. Many a true alcoholic here in my

part of Indiana has gone to AA meetings and stayed sober for a long time

(maybe

even ten years of more) until the voice of Mr. Alcoholism inside that



person's

head has started murmuring, "You know, I haven't had any trouble

staying off the

booze these past ten years, and you know, I'm not really like some of these

other people in the AA meetings. I'm more intelligent than they are, have

more


will power and self control. I never fell as low as they fell. Maybe I'm not

really an alcoholic at all. Maybe I was just a heavy drinker, you know,

somebody who just got carried away sometimes. But I'm so much older and

wiser


now. You know, I think it would be safe now, after ten years, to go out and

have a little social drink."


We have a lot of retreads here in Hoosier AA who let themselves listen to

that


lying voice inside their heads, and went back out drinking, and then had to

suffer years of misery before they finally came dragging themselves back in

the

doors of AA, admitting finally, "O.K., I guess that I (even I) actually



am an

alcoholic of some sort, the kind who needs AA meetings if I want to live

instead

of dying."


I should also say that the people in Indiana who go back out and try it

again


after ten years or so, are people who tell us later on that in fact they

never


worked the steps, even though they went to meetings. It is particularly

doing a


really thorough and deep reaching Fourth Step which is vital if you want

people


to give you the ultimate accolade at your funeral, and say with enormous

respect


in their voices, "he died sober," "she died sober."
So to Fiona's warning, I will add my own. Don't use those 3 and 5 year

survival


rate statistics which were posted to play games with your life. Keep on

going


to meetings. Keep up constant contact with your fellow AA members. Do a real

Fourth Step and ferret out all of the resentment and fear in your life, and

figure out what all your character defects are, so you won't be tempted to

look


down your nose at ANYBODY in an AA meeting, thinking yourself superior to

that


person in any way whatsoever. http://hindsfoot.org/tools.html
And remember that EVEN IF someone could prove that 33-1/3 % of genuine

alcoholics could eventually quit going to AA meetings and still be sober 3

years

later, or even 5 years later, that is till playing Russian roulette with a



six

gun with four chambers loaded. And 5 years isn't 10 years or 15 years.


Glenn C.

South Bend, Indiana, U.S.

(A REAL alcoholic, sober today ONLY by the grace of God and the help of the

people in this fellowship, who is not planning on jumping out of the

lifeboat,

thank you!)


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++++Message 3008. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Data on 3 and 5 year survival

rates


From: Jon Markle . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 10:13:00 PM
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I would add that there is a *CLINICAL* differentiation between alcohol

*DEPENDENCY* and alcohol *ABUSE* and the treatment recommended is different,

although somewhat similar. A comparison of the criteria outlined in the Big

Book regarding the descriptions of drinkers to the clinical criteria found

in

the DSM-IV-TR, reveals how amazingly close the two agree with the



differentiations.
I would also make the distinction that meeting attendance is not the same

thing


as "working the program" . . . And not a requirement for either

sobriety or the

kind of permanent sobriety of which the Book speaks.
Many people, who fit criteria for alcohol dependency ("alcoholics")

go to


meetings, learn how to work the program (the steps) and incorporate them

into


their lives as a way of life, without going to meetings forever. Such I

think


was the author's intent when he wrote: "AA's twelve Steps are a group

of

principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life,



can

expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and

usefully whole."
Besides, as I recall, AA is for people who wish to stop drinking . . . It

doesn't really matter that they may or may not be dependent upon alcohol or

"simply" abuse it . . . A desire to stop is all that matters.
If indeed it is a Higher Power that keeps us sober, then simply going to

meetings isn't going to work for the long haul. But, working the spiritual

program in all our affairs will continue to insure sobriety . . . Even

without


meetings.
Jon Markle

9/9/82
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++++Message 3009. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Responsibility statement and the

4th International Convention

From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 7:03:00 AM
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Hi All,

Yes, I knew that Al S. composed the Responsibility Statement, although I

never

met him.
Clarence Snyder also told me about spending time with Bill



in Toronto. Bill had wanted to see him, he said. I'm not surprised that Bill

enjoyed the meeting and showed no hard feelings. In all their

correspondence,

it was always Bill who was conciliatory, etc., despite being criticized by

Clarence.
I believe there was some concern in AA over the fact that we had finally

been


criticized by a national publication; i.e., the 1963 Harper's Magazine

article


by Arthur Cain. If I am not mistaken, the 1965 Convention theme was that AA

should take its inventory.


I wasn't able to attend that year because our son Dean, now forty, chose

that


weekend to be born. It was very thoughtful of AA to arrange things so that I

could finally attend a Toronto convention in 2005.


Mel Barger
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++++Message 3010. . . . . . . . . . . . James Houck (Oxford Group)

From: Emmanuel John . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 11:54:00 AM


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I was just at the house of Jim Houck the grandson of the James Houck you

mentioned, (on Friday night.) I do believe that his grand father is still

alive. We live in the Baltimore/Towson area of Maryland, he reports that his

grandfather got sober on 12-12, the day after Bill entered Towns for the

last

time
Peace and Happy Days



Emmanuel S. John, LCSW-C

_______________________________


See Message 3006 on James Houck
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++++Message 3011. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Re: Length of sobriety

From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 6:51:00 AM


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Hi All,
I talked with Chauncey C. by telephone yesterday. He is now in a care home

in

Waterford, Mich., but is still sharp and willing to converse about his AA



experience. I first met him in 1950 when I was five months sober and had

moved


to Pontiac, Mich., from my hometown, Norfolk, Nebr. He had nine years then,

but


there were members in Pontiac and Detroit who had more time.
I don't think he got sober at Dr. Bob's house, but I can check that. He told

me that a judge in Pontiac helped get him in touch with the AA's there in

1941.

He was a blue-collar man and felt a little out of place with doctors and



lawyers

in the group, but that quickly changed. He and his wife Vivian were married

when she was 13 or 14 and he was 15 or 16 (I must check that out!).

Amazingly,

they are still married and close to their 80th anniversary! That must be

some


kind of record.
Mel Barger
_______________________________
In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com, "Diz Titcher"

wrote:
There was a man at the International that claimed 62 years.
Diz T.
_______________________________
Hi Diz, Gary here / Alkie :)
I just saw that man the day before thanksgiving at a gratitude meeting that

he

started over 57 yrs ago, his name is Chauncey C.


He is from Pontiac MI. and he will be 93 yrs old this month and also said

he got


sober at Dr. Bob's house.
Yes he did say that he was the last one standing at A.A.'s International

Convention in Toronto Cananda for the 70th anniversary of A.A. this past

summer.
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++++Message 3012. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Data on 3 and 5 year survival

rates


From: pmds@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/2/2006 8:49:00 AM
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It seems to me that trying to make alcoholics different from heavy drinkers

is

an attempt to make black and white out of something which is most likely



gray.
The vast majority of scientific evidence seems to say that alcoholism is

primarily a biogenetic inherited susceptibility. Physiologically alcoholics

metabolize alcohol and mind altering chemicals differently than 80 - 90% of

the population (in the United States, in other places it is higher or lower.


It appears that the rate of alcoholism is lower in cultures that have had

alcohol the longest period of time and higher in those cultures that have

had

it the least amount of time.) See for example Under the Influence by Milam



et

al.
If, therefore, alcoholism is a real disease then it should be viewed as a

real disease.
Some diabetics can control their diabetes by diet, others by diet and oral

medication and others by multiple daily injections. Each one is a

"real"

diabetic, it is the disease itself that is different in different people.



Some

milder, some more severe.


Some alcoholics get sober in their teens, others in their 80's and all ages

in between. Are we to decide which are real alcoholics? Logically it would

seem that those in their 80's may have a milder form of alcoholism as they

were


able to drink longer, function and not die. The younger ones perhaps have a

very severe form and therefore are unable to continue.


We in AA talk a lot about spirituality and higher powers, but I think we

forget about the miraculous nature of sobriety. The "spiritual

awakening," the

"moment of clarity," the "surrender," the

"epiphany," the

"emotional/spiritual/psychological bottom," the "moment of

nonjudgmental

awareness" or whatever name it is given...the moment when we receive

the gift of

the ability to

not drink is what it is.
Some have this moment and go to AA, some to church, some nowhere and some

other places too innumerable to mentions. In AA we say "Having had a

spiritual

awakening as the result of these steps." However, we know that Bill had

his

before any steps whatever. I had mine the day before I entered a treatment



center and I didn't even know what the steps were. We all have many,

many stories about people's spiritual awakening and as the person who had it

describes it, we see what they are talking about because it happened to us.
Going to AA does not guarantee sobriety any more than not going to AA

guarantees continued drinking. I came to AA for the first time in 1984 and I

have been sober ever since. I went to at least 1,000 meetings in my first

two


years. Since that time I have never had a period of time more than a week or

so that I have not gone to meetings and I generally go to 3-5 meetings per

week. That doesn't necessarily keep me sober, it is just what I do. I love

the people, the experience, the blending, the hope, the tears, the

laughter....the whole package. Many do not do what I do. It doesn't make

them


better or worse or more or less likely to drink. At least that is my opinion

based on my experience.


Having said all of the above, I'm not sure this "Real or Fake

Alcoholic/heavy drinker" is an appropriate topic for the AA

HistoryLovers. I

think the study is very interesting and not surprising to me, but to try and

figure this out does not seem "figureoutable." There is tremendous

wisdom in

the phrase "You're an alcoholic when you say you are."
Dave Smith
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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++++Message 3013. . . . . . . . . . . . Chauncy C. (length of sobriety)

From: Cherie'' P . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/27/2005 9:22:00 PM


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Hi, I had to reply to this one, as I too met Chauncy at the Thanksgiving Eve

Gratitude meeting that Chauncy started 57 years ago. I sat in the front row

and

felt very honored and humbled to be able to meet this man in person.


He told a few stories at the Gratitude meeting, but not about Bill W. I

wonder


if he has done other open talks in the past where he has spoken about these

things, and where could they be purchased if the talks were taped?


We do have Serenity Taping here that does alot of AA taping, not sure how

long


they have been around though.
Gary, I was also in Toronto, and yep, Chauncy was there. But was HE standing

or

was someone standing in his place? In November he didnt look like he could



stand

up out of his wheelchair to me.


Gary, email me privatley, I bet we may have met at some AA event in the

area,


even if we dont know we did lol
Hugs

Cherie'


One Day At A Time

DOS 04-26-01


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++++Message 3014. . . . . . . . . . . . Xmas messages from Bill W.

From: elodge1@peoplepc.com> . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/28/2005 7:46:00 AM


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Hi Cherie...
Actually I found quite a few ... you can access some of these at this

link...
http://silkworth.net/pdfBillW/pdfBillW3.html ...


Happy Holidays...
rick...new hampshire

_____________________________


Original message from: Cherie' P
I received the following Christmas message from Bill W to the fellowship in

1944.
My question is, is this the ONLY year he wrote a letter of this nature? And

if

others exist, please provide links to them if possible.


thanks
Hugs

Cherie'


One Day At A Time

DOS 04-26-01


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++++Message 3015. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Spook Room at Stepping Stones,

Dr. Bob and Anne

From: Mitchell K. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/28/2005 7:44:00 AM
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Clarence used to tell me stories about how Bill, Bob

and himself had engaged in some spooky endeavors. They

invoked some esoteric mumblings and stood at the

mirror watching their beards grow (I guess that's

kinda like watching grass growing) and Clarence

described the trio like forefathers of hippies -

sitting around a room in their socks with Bill playing

(I think it was) the violin and shuffling to "Mr.

Sandman." Clarence never said that Anne was involved

in these sessions and it appears from what he said

that they were more "stag" sessions.
That type of behavior (dabbling into the occult) was

very popular in those days and wasn't looked upon as

against any sort of mainstream religious belief.
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++++Message 3016. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Hank P. and early AA

From: Mitchell K. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/28/2005 7:54:00 AM


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Just a quickie because I have to be off to work.
Clarence wasn't the only salesperson - Hank was one as

well as it appears there were a couple of others on

and off. Hank was also married to Dorothy's sisters.

Hank was very angry at Bill and AA in general.


Clarence used his being a traveling salesperson gig in

order to start AA meetings and attend them.


Just another quick echo to what Mel stated about our

dear brother Merton.... If there is anything out there

to be found it will probably be Merton who will find

it. I too have found Merton to be the top researcher

out there. Thank you!
--- greatcir@comcast.net wrote:
> In 1947 Hank Parkhurst wrote a letter to Clarence

> Snyder regarding their "porcelain moulding" business

> complaining that Clarence was "messed up" with AA

> and other things and was not working the porcelain

> business.

>

> What was the porcelain moulding business and why was



> Hank relying so heavily on Clarence to make the

> sales? The letter suggests that Clarence might be

> the only salesman.

>

> There is another letter to Clarence in 1946 where



> Hank admits to drinking beer for a couple of weeks

> so I assume he was still doing this in 1947.

>

> God Bless,



>

> Pete K.


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++++Message 3017. . . . . . . . . . . . Meeting makers make it

From: tsirish1 . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/28/2005 12:45:00 PM


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I would love to know where the expression "Meeting makers make it"

came from.

The only reference to it that I have found was a caption to a cartoon in one

of

the Best of the Grapevines. Please help me find the origin of this statement



(which I also believe to be erroneous).
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++++Message 3018. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: The 1968-1974 AA comic strips

online


From: chris fuccione . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/28/2005 7:43:00 PM
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That's intresting I have one question. On the top of them it says

that they are AL-ANON Conference Approved Literature.


The one that was "IF YOUR PARRENTS DRINK TOO MUCH" and

"JANE'S HUSBAND DRINKS

TOO MUCH" seems like they would be An AL-ANON pieces ...... but

"IT HAPPENED TO

ALICE" and "WHAT HAPPENED TO JOE" are both AA Literature.
Why is the AL-ANON blurb on the top of them?
Chris
--- In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com, Rudy890 wrote:

>

> Came across this old strip, a complete set of the 1968-1974



Alcoholics Anonymous comic strips.

>

> http://www.ep.tc/aa-comics/



>

> Just Click On Each Strip After You've Read It

>

> Hugs


> Rudy

>

>



> PLEASE VISIT MY HOME PAGE

> http://www.geocities.com/rudy849

> ============================

> rudy890@o...

> http://www.cloudmark.com/?rc=9mttaa

> ============================

> Consider How Hard It Is To Change Yourself

> And You'll Understand What Little Chance

> You Have In Trying To Changing Others
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++++Message 3019. . . . . . . . . . . . James Houck (length of sobriety)

From: brian thompson . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/28/2005 10:58:00 PM


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Gary,
I met James Houck on September 2nd this year 05. He just celebrated 71 yrs

of sobriety on Dec 12th. James will be 100 yrs old on Feb 21 2006.


I will also be there for his birthday in Towson, MD.
James doesn't claim to have the longest length of sobriety in AA, since he

got sober in the Oxford Group and stayed with them for many years.


He curtainly has the longest sobriety of anyone alive just not in AA.
I was also at the International In Toronto. It was great seeing Chauncey

with 63 yrs.


This is a great site,

Brian T. Camp Verde, AZ


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++++Message 3020. . . . . . . . . . . . James Houck and AA in Towson

From: Glenn Chesnut . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/3/2006 4:50:00 PM


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A report from JM to Dr. Ernest Kurtz (author of *Not-God: A History of

Alcoholics Anonymous*) on James Houck and the Thursday night AA meeting at

Towson United Methodist Church in Towson, Maryland, which was recently

passed on

to me.
James has been called upon frequently as an "expert witness" by

certain people

in AA, to talk about "how different" early AA was from modern AA.
In the 1930's James did not identify with the early AA people in the Oxford

Group. His name shows up on no early lists of people who were participating

in

their special meetings for alcoholics. So there is no sign that he had any



accurate inside information about how early AA actually worked with

alcoholics.

All he would have known was what was being said by the Oxford Group members

who


were hostile to the special mission to alcoholics, and were trying to push

the


early AA people out of the Oxford Group. We already knew that.
What JM's report does is to raise some interesting questions about James

H.'s


claims of being deeply involved with modern AA, and of being an expert

witness


on the way modern AA operates. James says that he has "spoken at

numerous AA

meetings and conferences," which means that Wally P. and others have

taken him

around to give talks to AA groups. But speaking in front of a large group of

people does not give anyone any inside information about how a modern AA

group

actually works with alcoholics.


James H. also says however that "I attended AA meetings at the Towson

Methodist church," which is one of his few claims to know anything

about how a

real AA meeting would operate in the modern period.


JM, before visiting the Towson AA group, had first read the material in the

Back to Basics website about James Houck and Wally P., and the way Wally has

been using a carefully structured questioning of Houck to back up his own

claims


about the history of early AA. See http://www.aabacktobasics.com/
In response to Wally's questioning in

http://www.aabacktobasics.org/James%20H-Videos-Documentary/questionsforjames

h.ht\
ml [1] James Houck said:

______________________________


"Much of the AA program came directly from the Oxford Group. The AA

program of

the 1940's was similar in many ways to the Oxford Group program of the

1930's.


AA has changed over the years -- today's program is very different

from the


"original." For the past 20 years, I have been speaking at AA

meetings,

workshops and conventions about the "original" program of

recovery. My Sobriety

date is 12/12/34. I am a recovered alcoholic. I got sober in the Oxford

Group as


did many other alcoholics including Bill W., Dr. Bob, Fitz M., Rowland

Hazard,


Victor Kitchen, Charles Clapp, Shep Cornell. I have worked with alcoholics

as

well as non-alcoholics for the past 70 years. I took my granddaughter to AA



meetings in the 1980's. By then AA had already changed. It wasn't anything

like


the original program. While I was able to drive, I attended AA meetings at

the


Towson Methodist church. There are 3-4 groups that meet there. Over the

years, I


have spoken at numerous AA meetings and conferences. Today, I carry the

message


primarily by telephone. I take people through the Steps, and I share

guidance


with them. From time to time, AA's visit me at the retirement home where I

am

living."



______________________________
When JM told Dr. Ernest Kurtz that he was visiting that part of Maryland, at

Ernie's suggestion he paid a visit to the AA group in Towson to see what

that AA

group was like, and to see how closely connected James H. actually was to



the AA

program there. Are the Towson AA people typical of modern AA people in the

United States? Was James H. actively involved in their activities, and did

he

know lots of ordinary everyday modern AA people there in Towson from going



to

regular meetings with them? Was James H.'s description of Towson AA

accurate?
What JM found was fairly troublesome, in terms of the claims that James H.

has


been making. Although James H. claims that he has attended numerous AA

meetings


at the Towson United Methodist Church, and is very familiar with the way

their


AA meetings function, JM could not find anybody at the AA meeting there who

even


knew who James was.
He found the Towson AA group to be a smoothly functioning AA group which was

doing a good job, and getting (and keeping) an awful lot of people sober. It

was most definitely NOT some group of ignorant, ineffectual, and demoralized

people who knew nothing about AA's Historic Heritage, and who were achieving

only a 1% to 3% success rate. Since this was James H.'s only claim to know

anything about modern AA practice, it seems very difficult to see where he

has

been getting all of his negative attacks on modern AA.


There may be explanations which could partially rehabilitate James H.'s

testimony, but it seems to me that what JM and Dr. Kurtz have discovered

needs

to be posted in the AAHistoryLovers. So I am simply going to give JM's



report

to Kurtz as he wrote it:


______________________________
Hi, Glenn!
Friends in AA recently sent me biographical information on one James Houck,

authored by Wally Paton on the Back To Basics web site, asking my opinion

about

his role in the development of AA out of the Oxford Group. In the past, I



have

read a lot of the history, but I am NOT an authentic or accredited

historian! I

rely on my old friend, Ernie Kurtz, for any needed expertise. Thus, I passed

the

item along to Ernie, asking for comment, especially on the inconsistency



between

the claim that Houck has never wanted to be considered an historic figure in

AA,

yet his long standing involvement in AA in Towson, MD, Methodist Church is



emphasized.
I am semi-retired, and am now near the end of a three week stay in Bethesda,

MD, spending the Holiday Season with our three children, all of whom live in

this area. Ernie and I decided I should drive up to a meeting of what Wally

presented as Houck's "home AA group", to size the old guy up in

person, or at

least learn a bit more first hand. On receiving my report, Ernie feels you

might

find this information of interest.


*********
Ernie!
I am reporting in as your cub reporter concerning my field trip to

"James


Houck's home AA group." I had hoped to report this material in a maiden

voyage


onto the AAHistoryLover list. Glenn Chesnut has provided information, and I

have


joined, but I haven't figured the interface out just yet. I might send the

information I'm sending you now, but maybe next week, if you think anyone

else

on the list might be interested. It's possible this is all just



nincompoopery,

and I should just drop this whole matter, instead of sustaining the

nonsense.
I attended the Towson United Methodist Church AA meeting on Thursday,

December


27, 2005, 8:30 PM. There were 39 in attendance, of which 8 identified

themselves

as "home group members." Most of the rest were young newcomers, as

the meeting

is a newcomers meeting, rotating weekly through discussion of the first

three


Steps. There were 10 minutes of traditional starter material, e.g. How It

Works,


Promises, Traditions, announcements. A young woman had been invited in to

give a


20 minute lead. One fresh newcomer, one person with a year of sobriety, and

one


17 year member talked for 10 minutes each, and that was it.
I sought out members with 4, 17, 28, and 35 years of sobriety for

conversation. None had ever heard of James Houck, Wally Paton, or the Back

to

Basics movement.


They all told me I must be looking for "_____," age 47, former

member until he

recently went back to drinking after 20 years in the group. He has

apparently

come back to AA elsewhere now, but no one knew for sure.
They all postulated that perhaps [the elderly gentleman whom I was asking

about] might be _____'s father or uncle or other relative.


The 35 year man offered to put me into contact with a 41 year group veteran

who can no longer make it to the meeting, but who "might know something

about

all this." I declined, as I needed to get back to Bethesda, and,



frankly, I saw

little utility to pursuing this matter any more.


My own personal conclusion is that Wally's very low success rate numbers

cited


for AA seem completely off base and at odds with my own extensive experience

in

traditional AA in Minnesota and Florida. AA is clearly alive and well, at



least

in my own environment ....


That a man named James Houck put the cork in the jug a day after Bill Wilson

did likewise, and that they both found spiritual guidance through the Oxford

Movement, is a minor curiosity.
**********
I hope you can find something of interest in this report. Thank you, again,

for steering me toward the historical sites you pointed out for me. And I

hope

you have had a pleasant and uplifting Christmas and New Year.


JM
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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++++Message 3021. . . . . . . . . . . . Real alcoholics

From: robin_foote . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/30/2005 1:50:00 AM


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Hi AA History Lovers,
The recent discussions on 'real alcoholics' reminded me of the following

study


and I thought I would share it with you. Hope it 'fits' the AA History

Lovers


essence.
I have wondered for some years about the referral rate and criteria for

referral


to AA. Additionally, I have questioned the reported incidence of alcoholism

in

the general population.


A study in 2004 that compared alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse found

that up


to a third of alcoholics did not abuse alcohol. That is a third of

alcoholics

did not drink at the damaging levels decided by health authorities (often

defined as above 3 drinks a day for men and 2 drinks a day for women).


If these alcoholics are not being identified by generally accepted

questionnaires to identify alcohol dependence then they are not being

referred for treatment or AA. The same report makes that very point.
The study; Hasin DS, Grant BF. (2004) The co-occurrence of DSM-IV alcohol

abuse


in DSM-IV alcohol dependence. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004

Sep;61(9):891-6. RESULTS: Among respondents with current alcohol

dependence, 33.7% did not additionally meet criteria for alcohol abuse

(29.0% among men and 46.1% among women).


This is confirmation that what AA says; Its not what, where, how much or who

with; it's the effect that alcohol has that defines alcoholism.


Perhaps the 'success' rates of AA and the referral rates are being affected

by

healthcare workers assessing 'alcohol abuse' as alcoholism and not using the



AA

criteria - thus inflating referral rates to AA. An alcohol abuser

(non-alcoholic) is unlikely to identify with AA members. This has all sorts

of

implications for perceptions of AA.


The Big Book states; "To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily

have to


drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have. This is

particularly

true of women. Potential female alcoholics often turn into the real thing

and


are gone beyond recall in a few years." (AA, pp 33).
If the above is kept in mind perhaps we would reach some of the others who

are


not now being referred to AA.
Robin F.

Brisbane, Australia


www.brieftsf.com
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