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++++Message 3322. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Bill W.''s last trip to Towns


From: John S. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/10/2006 7:51:00 PM
As I read the literature (especially ‘The Doctor's

Opinion') the first page

of the first of the two letters on page xxv (4th ed) it states clearly:


the course of his third treatment he acquired certain ideas concerning a

possible means of recovery." It has always been my understanding that


only made 3 trips to Charlie Town's hospital. In ‘Bill's

Story' on page 7

he describes what I believe to be his first trip to Town's when he

says: "My

brother-in-law is a physician, and through his kindness and that of my

mother I was placed in a nationally-known hospital for the mental and

physical rehabilitation of alcoholics." Further down on that same page


relates: "After a time I returned to the hospital." On page 8 he


that: "on ‘Armistice Day' (November 11th) 1934 I was off

again." Then

finally on page 13 he states: "At the hospital I was separated from


for the last time. Treatment seemed wise, for I showed signs of delirium

tremens." This would appear to this old drunk to be the ‘third

and final'

time he went to Town's hospital.
Submitted in humility for your consideration,
John S.
Original Message:
I understand that Bill W.'s first three trips to

Towns Hospital were paid for by his brother-in-law,

Dr. Strong.
Who paid for his fourth trip, in December 1934?


++++Message 3323. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Are there recordings of Lois

Wilson speaking?

From: Ken Ring . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/11/2006 8:56:00 AM
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 22:19:54 -0700

From: "Mike Aycock"

Subject: Re: Are there recordings of Lois Wilson speaking?
I thought that someone else would mention this.
There is an organization in Minnesota that does an great amount of AA

and Al-Anon taping that has several different recordings of Lois W.


Go to their site map and scroll down to Al-Anon history to start.

(Gopher State Tape Library, established 1974).
Ken R.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3324. . . . . . . . . . . . Question about "Freeman Carpenter" =

Clyde B.

From: Chris Budnick . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/13/2006 1:00:00 AM
Here is an interesting link I found: http://www.freemancarpenter.com/
Chris B.

Raleigh, NC

On 4/10/06, Jean Cottel wrote:
> I have come across a booklet called "Stand Tall

> Again," written under the pen name of "Freeman."

> It is signed in the front "Clyde Bertram, 'Freeman'".

> No date on it, it is a story of getting sober in AA.


> Information?


> Jean Cottel

> jcottel@earthlink.net

> (jcottel at earthlink.net)

++++Message 3325. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Use of Dash in First Step

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/13/2006 11:05:00 AM

To again cite the famous and eloquent John Wayne: "Hold on there

pilgrims!" If we are going to delve into the mystical and esoteric

connotations of punctuation marks then let's get those gol-darn

punctuation marks straight by golly.

[Citation from a web article by Peter K Sheerin]
"When you need a dash, for whatever reason, you need a dash--not a

hyphen. There are two kinds of dashes: the n-dash and the m-dash.

The n-dash is called that because it is the same width as the letter

"n". The m-dash is longer--the width of the letter "m".

We use the

n-dash for numerical ranges, as in "6-10 years." When we need a


as a form of parenthetical punctuation in a sentence--as I have been

using it rather freely already in this article--we use the m-dash.
An "em" is a unit of measurement defined as the point size of


font -- 12 point type uses a 12 point "em." An

"en" is one-half of an

Now after due consideration of the profound analyses and divinations

of the information below, after factoring in such powerful hearsay

sources as "my sponsor said" there is only one solid conclusion:
Jim B is correct - much is being read that isn't written there.
Bill W claims to have drafted the 12 Steps in 30 minutes (and with a

sour stomach). Does anyone truly believe that the selection of a

single punctuation was all that significant or profound?
I absolutely love the way AA members can micro-parse a syllable and/or

punctuation mark and conjure up (oh so seriously and profoundly) all

kinds of conclusions that rest far more on imagination than


But what a dull society we would have if folks didn't do it (rule #62

and grin, grin, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).


PS Bill W was supposed to have been one incomplete class away from a

night school law degree.
PPS Can anyone divine the mystical significance of my use of a colon

in the 1st paragraph?

++++Message 3326. . . . . . . . . . . . Emmet Fox

From: Matthugh Bennett . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/13/2006 1:55:00 PM

I was wondering if there was any documentation as

to the early members being readers or listeners of

Emmet Fox. I have been reading his writings for

about a year and find the spirit of the message

strong there.
I had someone tell me that there was "AA History"

where there was no Emmet and then "revised history"

with Emmet. I'm more curious from a historical

standpoint. Wether they read it or not has not

kept it from helping me grow spiritually!


From the moderator, Glenn C. -- Yes, Emmet Fox's

book was widely read and greatly admired in early

A.A., see for example:
The Old-Time Akron Reading List:

Books for A.A. Beginners

A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous (THE AKRON MANUAL),

published by the Akron group in late 1939 or early

1940, with Dr. Bob's approval we must assume, and

handed out to alcoholics when they were admitted to

the hospital for detoxing, gives a list at the end

of ten recommended readings for newcomers to A.A.,

so that they might better understand the spiritual

aspects of the program.

"The following literature," the pamphlet says, "has

helped many members of Alcoholics Anonymous":

(1) Alcoholics Anonymous (the Big Book).
(2) The Holy Bible (especially the Sermon on the Mount

in Matthew 5-7, the letter of James, 1 Corinthians

13, and Psalms 23 and 91).
(3) The Greatest Thing in the World, Henry Drummond.
(4) The Unchanging Friend, a series (Bruce Publishing

Co., Milwaukee).

(5) As a Man Thinketh, James Allen.
(6) The Sermon on the Mount, Emmet Fox (Harper Bros.).
(7) The Self You Have to Live With, Winfred Rhoades.
(8) Psychology of Christian Personality, Ernest M.

Ligon (Macmillan Co.).

(9) Abundant Living, E. Stanley Jones.
(10) The Man Nobody Knows, Bruce Barton.


As you can see, Emmet Fox's book was number six on

the early Akron AA recommended reading list. It is

easy to obtain copies of this book.
There is a new edition of Allen's and Drummond's

books which Mel B. published in 2004 (see

Allen's book in particular hits many of the same

themes which appear in Emmet Fox. This early

twentieth century approach to spirituality was

called New Thought. Many early AA members were

strongly influenced by New Thought in their

interpretation of the AA program. The Unity

Church of Peace is one group which still teaches

a New Thought approach to spirituality.

(This is NOT the same as "New Age," which means

magic crystals and channeling and all that sort of

The Detroit Pamphlet (the Detroit version of the

Table Leader's Guide, a widely used set of early

A.A. beginners lessons) had a long passage from

Emmet Fox at the end, called "Staying on the

Beam." ***


Can any members of the group give us other references

to Emmet Fox's Sermon on the Mount in early AA

There was one weekly meeting in early AA in South

Bend, Indiana, where I live, which read Emmet Fox's

book during their meetings, and insisted that

everybody in the AA group be thoroughly familiar

with that book.


*** STAYING ON THE BEAM, by Emmet Fox
Today most commercial flying is done on a radio beam. A directional beam is

produced to guide the pilot to his destination, and as long as he keeps on


beam he knows that he is safe, even if he cannot see around him for fog, or


his bearings in any other way.

As soon as he gets off the beam in any direction he is in danger, and he

immediately tries to get back on to the beam once more.

Those who believe in the All-ness of God, have a spiritual beam upon which

to navigate on the voyage of life. As long as you have peace of mind and


sense of the Presence of God you are on the beam, and you are safe, even if

outer things seem to be confused or even very dark; but as soon as you get


the beam you are in danger.

You are off the beam the moment you are angry or resentful or jealous or

frightened or depressed; and when such a condition arises you should


get back on the beam by turning quietly to God in thought, claiming His

Presence, claiming that His Love and Intelligence are with you, and that the

promises in the Bible are true today.

If you do this you are back on the beam, even if outer conditions and your

own feelings do not change immediately. You are back on the beam and you


reach port in safety.

Keep on the beam and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

++++Message 3327. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: The Exact Quote From Dr. Bob''s

Memorial Service, Nov. 15th, 1952

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/13/2006 3:15:00 PM
The following is information that was also previously sent to Billy

Bob in private and pleasant exchange of emails. I'd like to also

submit it [slightly edited] for consideration.
It could be reasonably stated that many [who show up at AA meetings]

never really [give AA an opportunity] to begin with. That's why [over

time] citations of the %50 + 25% = 75% rate by Bill W and others was

qualified to only include "of those who really tried."...

What is often missing from discussions of successes or failures is

that thousands of prospects may show up at AA meetings but only a

fraction will go on to decide to give AA's recovery program a try. [It

is also reasonable to presume that if zero efforts are put in to AA

then zero results will come out of it].
Those that do not decide to give AA a try cannot, and should not, be

factored into the success rate calculations without grotesquely

distorting it. It would be analogous to trying to measure the

effectiveness of a medical procedure by including people who suffer

from the medical problem but decide not to seek help from a doctor or

a hospital. They at least have to try the medical procedure to asses

its effectiveness and so too with AA's recovery program. Bill W

frequently attempted to emphasize this consideration but it seems to

get obscured.
In all likelihood, when discussing success rates, we are indeed

talking about a small fraction of those who showed up at meetings or

those who were approached in a 12th Step call. It's likely even more

severe today given the number of people who are involuntarily sent to

AA by courts and others.
In a reprint of a November 1949 article in the American Journal of

Psychiatry, Bill W wrote

"Of alcoholics who stay with us and really try, 50% get sober at once

and stay that way, 25% do so after some time and the remainder usually

show improvement. But many problem drinkers do quit AA after a brief

contact, maybe three or four out of five. Some are too psychopathic or

damaged. But the majority have powerful rationalizations yet to be

broken down. Exactly this does happen provided they get what AA calls

"good exposure" on first contact. Alcohol then builds such a hot


that they are finally driven back to us, often years later."
Note the qualification [in 1949] by Bill W, that the 50-75% "success

rate" applies to a subset of about 1-2 prospects out of 5. The

remainder of the prospects (3 or 4 out of 5) "quit AA after a brief


[from another private email to Billy Bob and others]
The topic of "AA success rates" has been of interest to me for


some time. I believe it suffers from a great deal of anecdotal

misinformation, misinterpretation and editorializing and seems to

divide itself into two categories:
1. Verifying the popular, and repeated, notion of about a 50% success

rate (with about 25% of the "slippers" returning to successfully

recover). This has been the prevailing "best guess" of

AA's recovery

outcomes going back to the late 1930s. From research I've done so far,

I believe this is probably a reasonable "best estimate" of


success (both early and current AA). The only qualification being that

it applies to those who attempt to give AA a try (i.e. you get out of

AA what you put into it).

2. Scrutinizing a newer (and quite erroneous) assertion that AA is

achieving a 5% or less success rate. This is based on a

misinterpretation of a 1989 GSO report examining prior AA membership

surveys (see Tom E's AAHistoryLovers posting #2379). The 5% notion is

bogus but there is a segment of AA members that not only readily

believes it but also attempts to exploit it to support personal

agendas. To me, this is one of the biggest disservices AA members are

doing to AA today (all of course claiming to rescue AA from itself and

its presumed decline). The most historically revisionist, in this 5%

[assertion is] the Back to Basics crowd. It is the principle [and very

dubious] premise of their existence.
Assessment of success rates" is complicated by the fact that, beyond a

very limited period of time [and limited scope] in early AA, there is

no consistent statistical record keeping backing up an assertion of

recovery successes one way or another. Because of AA's autonomous

structure, it's a major effort to just get a reasonable estimate of

the number of groups much less an estimate of member recovery

One thing that is important to arriving at an informed conclusion in

our forum is that members of AAHistoryLovers retain the opportunity to

express their viewpoints and findings irrespective of whether it is

popular or unpopular. This way whatever is presented is subjected to

both defense and refutation of its validity. As a result, sooner or

later the facts will emerge and prevail. This is the same methodology

used in the academic arena and it works (warts and all).
One of the more difficult issues to reconcile is the case of

figurative statements being interpreted literally. For example, Bill W

is often cited as having said this or that as if Bill was in

possession of hard statistical data when in fact he was simply

offering a personal estimate of what he sincerely believed. The same

is true for statements in AA literature. In those cases where there is

a local study of success and failure, the question arises whether the

study can serve to rise to the level of statistical confidence to

describe the Fellowship as a whole at the time - or does it simply

describe the local area.

As a human being, Bill W made errors in his recording of AA history.

It was not done to be deceptive or misleading but was only the product

of human error. The difficulty is that many in AA take a stand that if

something is in the Big Book then it is accorded the same standing as

scripture and if something is said by Bill W it is irrefutable. This

is when it gets awkward (and sometimes heated). Likewise, the authors

of AA literature (Bill W included) are also human and can make human

errors in research and reporting.

The other difficulty is how to frame fragments of information into

proper context. For example, [Billy Bob's citation of Francis Hartigan

has a basis of truth but is being taken out of context].
Francis Hartigan, in his book "Bill W" mentions his


interpretation of the "success rate" that Bill and Bob achieved


Bill was staying with Bob in Akron from May to August 1935.
What's missing from the description of this period of time is that

Bill and Dr Bob (who also suffered a relapse during the period) had 2

failures and 2 successes. The failures were a Dr McK (mentioned in

Bill's autobiography "Bill W My First 40 Years") and Edgar

"Eddie" R

mentioned in "Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers." The successes were


D (AA #3) and Ernie G (albeit a temporary success that would later go

the way of Ebby T). However, the main omission, in terms of context,

was that the target population of prospects were alcoholics of the

type that were written off as hopeless and beyond any help (so that a

single success would be remarkable in terms of the typical fatal

outcome for these prospects).
The other context issue concerns remarks attributed to Bill W at Dr

Bob's memorial (and Hartigan's citation as well). [In the talk]


qualified that he was referring to the "flying blind" period of

AA (so

was Hartigan). It would hardly qualify as an appropriate point of

reference to characterize AA success or failure.
Billy Bob does hit on a point that celebrity (in the case of Joe and

Charlie) can vest members with an aura of historical validity when, in

fact, they are simply relaying what they believe is true but is

lacking in factual demonstration. Clancy I of LA also likes to mention

in his talks that most of the members who had their stories printed in

the 1st edition Big Book went back to drinking. That too is myth and

is completely refuted by Bill W in his introduction to the new stories

in the 2nd edition Big Book. But I guess sticking to the facts doesn't

always make for an entertaining talk to the circuit speaker folks.
Finally, and this can't be stressed enough, AA started with 2 members

in June 1935 and today has well over 2 million members. That is not a

measurement of failure by anybody's benchmark. In between 1935 and

today there were tens of millions of alcoholics who recovered and

survived thanks to AA and this too is not factored into the

assessments of success and failure outcomes.


-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

[mailto:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of


Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 1:18 PM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] The Exact Quote From Dr. Bob's Memorial

Service, Nov. 15th, 1952
"You haven't any conception these days of how much failure we had. How
you had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take
the bait. Yes, the discouragement's were very great but some did stay

sober and some very tough ones at that."

Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob's Memorial Speech, Nov. 1952, At The 24th Street

Club in New York City, New York.

To Thine Own Self Be True, Billy-Bob
Yahoo! Groups Links
++++Message 3328. . . . . . . . . . . . Bill W.''s talk at Rockland State


From: bludahlia2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/13/2006 4:56:00 PM
Anyone know where I might find information about

the presentation that Bill W gave to the Board

Meeting at Rockland State Hospital (now known as

Rockland Psychiatric Center) in 1939?

++++Message 3329. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Freeman Carpenter

From: jlobdell54 . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/13/2006 8:36:00 AM

"Freeman Carpenter" (Clyde B., who is alive, sober -- I believe --

since 1946, and should therefore be anonymous) has his own website,

FreemanCarpenter@aol.com, lives in Eastern PA, and has been invited to

the History and Archives Gathering in Lebanon PA June 24 2006 -- I don't

know if he'll be able to be there, as he is 86 years old and lives 90

or so miles away. -- Jared Lobdell

++++Message 3330. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Bill W.''s last trip to Towns


From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/13/2006 9:49:00 AM
Hi John
Bill had 4 admissions to Towns Hospital.
Source References (with page numbers)
AACOA - AA Comes of Age

BW-40 - Bill W My First 40 Years

BW-FH - Bill W by Francis Hartigan

BW-RT - Bill W by Robert Thomsen

GB - Getting Better

LOH - Language of the Heart

LR - Lois Remembers

NG - Not God

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