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

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>Plan on coming....

>Gene in Westchester
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3408. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Silkworth Birthday Celebration,

W.Long Branch NJ, 7/22/06

From: Bill Lash . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/27/2006 10:51:00 PM
You are cordially invited to the third annual Dr. Silkworth birthday


Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 3:00PM (rain date July 29, 2006)
At his gravesite in Glenwood Cemetery, Route 71 (Monmouth Rd.), West Long

Branch NJ.

Speakers: Barbara Silkworth (a family member) and Mitchell K. (author of

"How It Worked - The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days

of AA in


Dr. William Duncan Silkworth is the author of the two letters in the


's Opinion" in the Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous"

and is known as a friend

to millions of alcoholics worldwide. He worked with Bill Wilson, AA's

co-founder in N.Y.C., after Bill finally got sober in 1934. He gave deep

understanding and great encouragement to an infant society in the days when

a lack of understanding or a word of discouragement might easily have killed

it. He freely risked his professional reputation to champion an

unprecedented spiritual answer to the medical enigma and the human tragedy

of alcoholism. Without his blessing, our faith might well have died in its

birth. He was a luminous exception to the rule that only an alcoholic

understands an alcoholic. He knew us better than we knew ourselves, better

than we know each other. Many of us felt that his medical skill, great as

that was, was not at all the full measure of his stature. Dr. Silkworth was

something that it is difficult even to mention in these days. He was a

saintly man. He stood in an unusual relationship to truth. He was able to

see the truth of a man, when that truth was deeply hidden from the man

himself and from everyone else. He was able to save lives that were

otherwise beyond help of any kind. Such a man cannot really die. We wish to

honor this man, a gentle doctor with white hair and china blue eyes.

Dr. Silkworth lived on Chelsea Avenue in Long Branch, attended Long Branch

High School where he has been inducted in that school's Hall of Fame,

graduated from Princeton University, and lived for a while in Little Silver.

He was born on July 22, 1873 and died on March 22, 1951.

If you have any questions please call Barefoot Bill at 201-232-8749 (cell).


Take the Garden State Parkway (north or south) to Exit 105 (Route 36),

continue on Route 36 approximately 2.5 to 3 miles through 5 traffic lights

(passing Monmouth Mall, two more shopping plazas, and several automobile

dealerships). Watch for green road signs stating "Route 71 South, West


Branch and Asbury Park" (this is before the sixth light). Take this


to the right, past Carriage Square and bear right onto Route 71 (Monmouth

Road.) Glenwood Cemetery appears very quickly on the left. The entrance is

marked by two stone pillars and the name. Once inside the cemetery, bear

left, go up the hill and make the first right (a hard right). The gravesite

is near the first tree on the right.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3409. . . . . . . . . . . . How did Ebby know that Bill W. was

in such trouble?

From: John Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/27/2006 5:37:00 PM
I remember Clancy, in one of his talks, indicating

that Ebby's visit to Bill was generated by Ebby's

participation in the Oxford Group. After Ebby had

been sober a few months, Ebby's small discussion

Oxford Group received guidance that Ebby needed to

witness to another drunk. To get the mission over

as painlessly as possible, Ebby told his Oxford

discussion group that he would find Bill Wilson and

witness how God had entered Ebby's life.
john lee


From the moderator:
Does anyone in the group have a text or source from

the early AA period establishing that this statement

is true?
Did Ebby's Oxford Group meeting in fact, in one of

their group guidance sessions, tell him that they

had received guidance that he needed to witness to

another drunk?

Or was Clancy simply speculating here, and giving

his hypothesis about what he guessed might have

Remember that Clancy's time in AA does not go back

to the 1930's, so that he is not a first hand

witness to any of those events. On the other hand,

he knew a lot of the oldtimers, and may have had

good evidence for saying this.
Let's follow the canons of good historical research

please, and talk about historical facts that can be

established by hard evidence. Clancy may have been

correct, but speculating about that gets us nowhere.

Is there independent evidence that what Clancy said

was correct? Does anybody know the source of Clancy's

These are the questions that a good historian needs

to ask.
Glenn Chesnut, Moderator

Professor Emeritus of History

Indiana University

++++Message 3410. . . . . . . . . . . . Our greatest danger: Rigidity

From: TomE . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/28/2006 10:10:00 PM

*[Complete text from The 36th General Service

Conference Final Report, 1989]*

/At the closing brunch on Saturday morning, Bob

Pearson (G.S.O. senior adviser), who is retiring

early next year, gave a powerful and inspiring

closing talk (excerpted below) to the 36th

Conference. (This talk was rescheduled from

Friday afternoon.)/ **

Our greatest danger: rigidity
This is my 18th General Service Conference--the first two as a director

of the Grapevine and A.A.W.S., followed by four as a general service

trustee. In 1972, I rotated out completely, only to be called back two

years later as general manager of G.S.O., the service job I held until

late 1984. Since the 1985 International Convention, of course, I have

been senior adviser. This is also my last Conference, so this is an

emotionally charged experience.
I wish I had time to express my thanks to everyone to whom I am indebted

for my sobriety and for the joyous life with which I have been blessed

for the past nearly 25 years. But since this is obviously impossible, I

will fall back on the Arab saying that Bill quoted in his last message,

"I thank you for your lives." For without your lives, I most


would have no life at all, much less the incredibly rich life I have

Let me offer my thoughts about A.A.'s future. I have no truck with those

bleeding deacons who decry every change and view the state of the

Fellowship with pessimism and alarm. On the contrary, from my nearly

quarter-century's perspective, I see A.A. as larger, healthier, more

dynamic, faster growing, more global, more service-minded, more

back-to-basics, and more spiritual--by /far/--than when I came through

the doors of my first meeting in Greenwich, Connecticut, just one year

after the famous Long Beach Convention. A.A. has flourished beyond the

wildest dreams of founding members, though perhaps not of Bill himself,

for he was truly visionary.
I echo those who feel that if this Fellowship ever falters or fails, it

will not be because of any outside cause. No, it will not be because of

treatment centers or professionals in the field, or

non-Conference-approved literature, or young people, or the

dually-addicted, or even the "druggies" trying to come to our


meetings. If we stick close to our Traditions, Concepts, and Warranties,

and if we keep an open mind and an open heart, we can deal with these

/and any other/ problems that we have or ever will have. If we ever

falter and fail, it will be simply because of us. It will be because we

can't control our own egos or get along well enough with each other. It

will be because we have too much fear and rigidity and not enough trust

and common sense.
If you were to ask me what is the greatest danger facing A.A. today, I

would have to answer: the growing /rigidity/--the increasing demand for

absolute answers to nit-picking questions; pressure for G.S.O. to

"enforce" our Traditions; screening alcoholics at closed meetings;

prohibiting non-Conference-approved literature, i.e., "banning


laying more and more rules on groups and members, laying more and more

rules on groups and members. And in this trend toward rigidity, we are

drifting farther and farther away from our co- founders. Bill, in

particular, must be spinning in his grave, for he was perhaps the most

permissive person I ever met. One of his favorite sayings was, "Every

group has the right to be wrong." He was maddeningly tolerant of his

critics, and he had absolute faith that faults in A.A. were self-correcting.
And I believe this, too, so in the final analysis we're not going to

fall apart. We won't falter or fail. At the 1970 International

Convention in Miami, I was in the audience on that Sunday morning when

Bill made his brief last public appearance. He was too ill to take his

scheduled part in any other convention event, but now, unannounced, on

Sunday morning, he was wheeled up from the back of the stage in a

wheelchair, attached with tubes to an oxygen tank. Wearing a ridiculous

bright-orange, host committee blazer, he heaved his angular body to his

feet and grasped the podium--and all pandemonium broke loose. I thought

the thunderous applause and cheering would never stop, tears streaming

down every cheek. Finally, in a firm voice, like his old self, Bill

spoke a few gracious sentences about the huge crowd, the outpouring of

love, and the many overseas members there, ending (as I remember) with

these words: "As I look over this crowd, I know that Alcoholics

Anonymous will live a thousand years--if it is God's will."
/Bob Pearson (senior adviser) /
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3411. . . . . . . . . . . . Rigidity, Bob P., and the right of a

group to be wrong

From: Glenn Chesnut . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/30/2006 4:35:00 PM
Bob P.'s farewell speech to the 1989 General Service

Conference, "Our Greatest Danger: Rigidity."

The complete published text is available at


The text was provided by Tom Enger (and can also

be found in AAHistoryLovers Message 3410).

Bob P. was General Manager of the General Service

Office from 1974 to 1984, and then served as Senior

Advisor to the G.S.O. from 1985 to 1990.
During the 1989 General Service Conference, Bob

gave a powerful and inspiring closing talk to the

conference at the closing brunch on Saturday morning.

It was an especially significant occasion, because

he knew that he was going to retire early the next

year, and that this would be his last General Service

Excerpts from that farewell speech were published

in "The 36th General Service Conference Final Report,

1989," which is the version given on the internet at

http://hindsfoot.org/pearson.html#rigid and in

AAHistoryLovers Message 3410.


Perhaps the most important sentence in Bob P.'s

farewell speech was the following:

"If you were to ask me what is the greatest danger

facing A.A. today, I would have to answer: the growing

rigidity -- the increasing demand for absolute answers

to nit-picking questions; pressure for G.S.O. to

'enforce' our Traditions; screening alcoholics at

closed meetings; prohibiting non-Conference-approved

literature, i.e., 'banning books'; laying more and

more rules on groups and members."

And in that talk, Bob P. also pointed to one of

the most basic and fundamental AA principles, which

came straight from Bill Wilson's mouth. As Bob

notes, "one of [Bill's] favorite sayings was,

'Every group has the right to be wrong.'"
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3412. . . . . . . . . . . . Population and percentage of

alcoholics figures

From: james.bliss@comcast.net . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/28/2006 6:02:00 PM
RE: The Exact Quote From Dr. Bob's Memorial Service,

Nov. 15th, 1952 and the numbers given there.

I found a few quick numbers which were a little

surprising to me but:

Roughly 6% of the US population was alcoholic per

an HHS survey. A note regarding that survey is at:

My calculations are (10.5 million / (76 million * 100 / 43))
The population of the world in 1950 and 1960

respectively was 2.55 billion / 3 billion from:



The percentage of alcoholics surprised me as

being low, at least from the numbers which I

have been told (verbally, with no references)

since I have been in the program.

++++Message 3413. . . . . . . . . . . . RE Was Doctor Bob an Episcopalian?

From: John Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/28/2006 7:36:00 PM

Doctor Bob was raised in the Congregational and

Christian Endeavor traditions. Puritans. He and

his wife Anne were members of The Presbyterian

Church in Akron.

They also attended St. Lukes, Westside Presbyterian,

and lastly, St. Paul's Episcopal in Akron. Bob's

funeral was held at St. Paul's. Listing Doctor Bob

as Episcopalian paints an incomplete picture of his

church attendance.
john lee
ArtSheehan wrote:
From what I can glean from readings, I'd conjecture

that Bill was a "closet Christian." I don't mean to

sound flippant but I don't know how else to describe

him in this area. Dr Bob was an Episcopalian.

++++Message 3414. . . . . . . . . . . . Bob P''s Rigidity Talk: 1986, not


From: Rick Swaney . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/30/2006 5:11:00 PM
Hello, correct year is 1986.
Rick S. Ohio
Thanks. I apologize for letting the mistake get

through. This was one person's typo, which a number

of others started copying, including me, without

thinking about it.

Arthur Sheehan sent in a photocopy of the report

for that year, just to doubly establish that the

36th General Service Conference was held in 1986,

and that you can read Bob P.'s speech in the

official report for that year.
For a corrected version, see:
For an artist's sketch of one of the conference

sessions that year, courtesy of Arthur Sheehan, see

Bob P. is a very good man, and I should note that

his story is in the Big Book. See:

"AA Taught Him to Handle Sobriety," 3rd edit. (1976)

pp. 554-561, and 4th edit. (2001) pp. 553-559.

Apologies again for the error in the date.
Glenn Chesnut, Moderator
++++Message 3415. . . . . . . . . . . . AA photographs for framing

From: marty_martyjs . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/1/2006 10:44:00 AM

Our group is looking for a source of AA photographs that can be framed

and put on the wall. Any suggestions?

Thank you for your service.

Marty S.

++++Message 3416. . . . . . . . . . . . Significant May Dates in A.A.


From: chesbayman56 . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/1/2006 4:44:00 PM
May 1919 - Bill returns home from service.

(Dec 1934 to) May 1935 - Bill works with alcoholics, but fails to


any of them. Lois reminds him HE is still sober.

March-May 1938 - Bill begins writing the book Alcoholics Anonymous.

May 1939 - Lois W Home Replacement Fund started at Alcoholic


May 1949 - The first AA meetings in Scotland were held in Glasgow and


May 1950 - Nell Wing became Bill W's secretary.

May 1951 - Al-Anon is founded by Lois W. and Anne B.

May 1, 1939 - Bank forecloses on 182 Clinton Street. (sometimes

reported as April 26, 1939)

May 1, 1940 - Rollie H, Cleveland Indians, first anonymity break on

national level.

May 1, 1941 - The first Wisconsin AA meeting was held at a hotel in


May 2, 1941 - Jacksonville, FL newspaper reported the start of an AA

group in Jacksonville.

May 3, 1941 - The first AA group in New Orleans, Louisiana, was

formed. (sometimes dated as May 2, 1943)

May 3, 1941 - Democrat Chronicle in Rochester, NY, reported first

annual AA dinner at Seneca hotel with 60 attending.

May 4, 1940 - Sunday Star reported founding of first AA group in

Washington, DC.

May 6, 1939 - Clarence S of Cleveland told Dr. Bob, his sponsor, he

would not be back to Oxford Group meetings in Akron and would start

an "AA" meeting in Cleveland.

May 6, 1946 - The long form of the "Twelve Traditions" was


in the AA Grapevine.

May 8, 1943 - Akron AA Group celebrates 8th anniversary with 500

present and sober.

May 8, 1971 - Bill W buried in private ceremony, East Dorset, Vermont.

May 10, 1939 - Clarence S announced to the Akron Oxford Group members

that the Cleveland members were starting a meeting in Cleveland and

calling it Alcoholics Anonymous.

May 11, 1935 - Bill W made calls from the Mayflower Hotel and was

referred to Dr. Bob.

May 11, 1939 - first group to officially call itself Alcoholics

Anonymous met at Abby G's house in Cleveland. (some sources say the


May 12, 1935 @ 5 pm - Bill W met Doctor Bob at the home of Henrietta


May 15, 1961 - Bill W's mother, Dr Emily Strobell, died.

May 16, 1941 - Ruth Hock finds that Joe W. (or V.), credited with

coming up with the name Alcoholics Anonymous, has a "wet brain".

May 17, 1942 - The Dayton Journal Herald published pictures of AA

members wearing masks to protect their anonymity.

May 17, 1942 - New Haven, Conn paper has article on AA. Picture shows

faces of members sitting in a circle.

May 18, 1950 - Dr. Bob tells Bill "I reckon we ought to be buried

like other folks" after hearing that local AA's want a huge memorial.

May 19, 2000 - Dr. Paul O., Big Book story "Doctor, Alcoholic,

Addict" (renamed "Acceptance Was the Answer" in the 4th

edition) died

at the age of 83.

May 28, 1974 - The first World Service Meeting of AA outside North

America was held in London.

May 29, 1980 - "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers" was published.

++++Message 3417. . . . . . . . . . . . Recent photos of John Seiberling

From: Glenn Chesnut . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/3/2006 2:53:00 PM

One of our members kindly sent in two recent photos

of John Seiberling.

John was Henrietta Seiberling's son, and is the last

living person who was around when the original, early

meetings between Bill W. and Dr. Bob occurred in the

summer of 1935.

Glenn Chesnut (South Bend, Indiana)
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3418. . . . . . . . . . . . Ernest Kurtz on Bill W. and Sam

Shoemaker falling out

From: Glenn Chesnut . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/3/2006 2:56:00 PM
From: Ernest Kurtz

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006

To: Glenn Chesnut

Subject: Re: Bill W. and Sam Shoemaker falling out?

In briefest outline, Bill and Sam fell out when

Bill left the OG. After Buchman's 1939 praise of

Hitler, Sam repented a bit and himself left the

OG in 1941. His 1955 St. Louis talk reflected that.

Copies of relevant correspondence may be at Brown,

though more likely in Bill White's materials at

Chestnut Hill in Bloomington. Cf. also this note

from Not-God, which I think sums up the matter

rather well:
"For Shoemaker leaving the OG, cf. Clark, The

Oxford Group, pp. 54, 80; Shoemaker (New York) to

Wilson, 27 June 1949:
'God has saved you from the love of the spotlight,

Bill, at least if not from the love of it -- from

getting too much into it, and it is one of the biggest

things about you.... If dear Frank could have learned

the same lesson long ago MRA might have changed the

face of the earth.'"

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3419. . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Bob''s religious background

From: Glenn Chesnut . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/3/2006 2:50:00 PM

Message 3413 from John Lee johnlawlee@yahoo.com

(johnlawlee at yahoo.com) said:

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