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person than I am. She likes clutter, I like things orderly. She thinks

randomly and I like structured thinking. We're very, very different. We

never should have gotten married! Last December we were married fifty-five

years.
I guess she knows your thoughts on this matter.


Ad nauseum.
You're still going to meetings?
I'd say five or six a week.
Do you and Max go to meetings together?
Max isn't in AA, she's in Al-Anon and she's still very active in it. But I

go to Al-Anon too, and that helps a great deal, and Max comes to open AA

meetings with me and that helps too. It's kind of like Elsa C. used to say:

when two people have their individual programs, it's like railroad tracks,

two separate and parallel rails, but with all those meetings holding them

together.


Do you think you'd still be married if you hadn't gone to meetings all these

years?
I'm sure we wouldn't. I initially thought that the Serenity Prayer said I'd

have to change the things I couldn't accept. So I thought, well, we can't

get along so it's time to change the marriage. I used to go around looking

for old-timers who would agree with me and say that's what the Serenity

Prayer meant. But Max and I finally made a commitment to the marriage and

stopped talking about divorce and started working our programs. In fact we

tend to sponsor each other, which is a dangerous thing to do, but we help

each other see when we need more meetings, or need to work a certain Step or

something like that.


Do you have, or did you have, a sponsor?
Early on I was talking to a friend of mine, Jack N., who was sober a couple

of months longer than I was. Jack and his wife and Max and I used to go to

AA speaker meetings together. I was telling him how my home group was

nagging at me because I didn't have a sponsor, and on the spur of the moment

I said, "Why don't you be my sponsor?" and on the spur of the

moment he said

to me, "I'll be your sponsor if you'll be my sponsor." And I said,

"I don't


know if they'll allow that." But we decided to try it and it worked

out. He


calls me 'cause I'm his sponsor and I call him 'cause he's my sponsor so I

guess we call each other twice as often. We're still sponsoring each other.

That's been going on for twenty-seven years. He moved to L. A. but we stay

in touch, mostly by phone.


Is there a tool or a slogan or a Step that is particularly useful to you

right now?


Pretty much every morning, before I get out of bed, I say the Serenity

Prayer, the Third Step Prayer, and the Seventh Step Prayer. Then Max and I

repeat those prayers along with other prayers and meditations at breakfast.

And I say those three prayers repeatedly throughout the day.


I grew up thinking that I had to perfect my personality, then I got into AA,

and AA said, no, that isn't the way we do it: only God can remove our

defects. I was amazed to find that I couldn't be a better person simply by

trying harder!


What I've done with a number of problems--like fear and depression and

insomnia--is to treat them as defects of character, because they certainly

affect my personality adversely. With depression, I've never taken any

antidepressants. Instead, with any defect I want to get rid of, I become

willing to have it removed, then I ask God to remove it, then I act like he

has. Now, I know God has a loophole that says he'll remove it unless it's

useful to you or to my fellows. So I tell him I'd like my defect removed

completely, but he can sleep on it, and in the morning he can give me the

amount he wants me to have, and I'll accept it as a gift from him. I'll take

whatever he gives me. I've never done that when he hasn't removed a great

deal of my defect, but I've never done it when he has permanently and

totally removed any defect. But the result is that I no longer fight myself

for having it.
That's a helpful way of seeing things. It makes defects into a gift.
That's right. And it's the Rule Sixty-two business [see Twelve Steps and

Twelve Traditions, p. 149]. It's like Father Terry always says, "Be

friendly

with your defects." In fact some poet said, "Hug your demon,

otherwise it'll

bite you in the ass." Poets can talk like that.


Has your sponsoring changed over the years?
I do a lot more stuff by telephone. When I'm speaking at a meeting, if I

think of it, I give out my home phone number. So I get a lot of phone calls

from all over the country. People ask me if I'm willing to help them as a

sponsor and I tell them, well, you call me every day for thirty days, or

maybe sixty or ninety or whatever, and then they call me every day, and we

get to know each other, and during that time we find out what it's like to

be relating to each other. It's kind of a probationary period. Then if they

still want me to be their sponsor, we'll go ahead and if they don't, we move

on and there's no loss. And this gets them accustomed to calling, so when

they have a problem, they don't have to analyze it at great depth and decide

if it's bad enough that they should bother me with a phone call. I haven't

personally been doing each Step individually with people as much, but I've

redone all the Steps myself on an average of every five years. And every

time I've done that, my sobriety has stepped up to a new plateau, just like

the first time I did them.
Sometimes people call me 'cause they're feeling in a funk, their sponsor has

moved away or died, or they've moved away from their sponsor, or the

meetings don't mean much anymore. They aren't getting anything out of AA.

And because of my relationship with pills, I've had a lot of people come to

me and say they've got--what do you call it?--a "chemical

imbalance."

They're seeing a counselor who says, "Yeah, you're depressed," and

the


counselor wants to start them on an antidepressant. My suggestion is, if you

want to do something like that and you haven't done the Steps in a number of

years, do the Steps first. And repeatedly people will do that and decide

they don't need the pills.


When you speak at out-of-state AA meetings, does Max go with you?
I don't go unless she goes.
Why not?
Because I decided I didn't come to AA to become a traveling salesman and be

away from home. So we go where it's a big enough event that they can take us

both. And what's really more fun is if it's a mixed event where Max can

speak, especially if she gets to speak first. She likes that. She likes to

say that I say that she tells a perverted version of my drinking story. Then

she points out that I was the one who was drinking and she was the one who

was sober.
There are many more young people in the Fellowship now. Do you think young

people have special problems because they're getting sober at such an early

age?
People always say they're so glad to see the young people come in, and I

agree, but I'm glad to see the old people come in too. I like to see anybody

get sober. It's hard to say whether your pain is greater than my pain or

mine's greater than yours. I'm sure that young people have problems, but we

all have problems--gays have problems, people who are addicted to other

drugs have problems, single people have problems. I can't think of anything

more of a problem than being a woman alcoholic trying to get sober, married

to a practicing alcoholic male, and with a handful of kids. That must be as

about as big a problem as you can get. Everybody has special problems.
I've said it often and I haven't had any reason to change my mind: the way I

see it, I've never had a problem and nobody will ever come to me with a

problem such that there won't be an answer in the Steps. That gives me a

great deal of confidence. I think the program--the Steps--covers everything

conceivable.
I'm getting way off from what you asked me. I can't give short answers. I

often tell people that the more I know about something, the shorter the

answer, but when I don't know, I just make up stuff.
Did you find it helpful at some point to become familiar with the

Traditions?


I find the Steps easier to understand than the Traditions and the Traditions

easier to understand than the Concepts. In fact, I find the long form of the

Traditions considerably easier to understand than the short form, and I find

that the long form is much more specific on the idea that AA is for

alcoholics and not for just anybody who wants to come in. A lot of people

like that phrase "The only requirement for membership is a desire to

stop

drinking," and people interpret that to mean that if you're willing to



not

drink, you can call yourself an alcoholic and a member of AA. That's not at

all what it says. I think it means that if you're an alcoholic with a desire

to stop drinking, that's the only requirement for membership.


How many years have you been sober now?
Twenty-seven.
Twenty-seven years of meetings. Have you seen any changes in the way the

meetings are conducted?


All I see is that there are more meetings and bigger meetings and more

variety of meetings. I just love to see AA grow. I enjoy meetings. I've been

to meetings in Singapore and Hong Kong and Japan, but I think the most

interesting was when Chuck C. and Al D. and I were vacationing in the Cayman

Islands and we couldn't find any meetings. We were twelfth-stepping

alcoholics there and decided we all needed a meeting, so we went to the

local newspaper and got some publicity. Then we had a public information

meeting, then we got a regular meeting started. As far as I know, that

meeting is still going.
So you haven't gotten bored by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Well, I thought about that some years back. Why is it that so many people

aren't around any more? Where do they go? It seems to me that most of the

people who leave AA leave because of boredom. I made up my mind I wasn't

going to get bored, and one of the things I do when I get bored, if I can't

think of anything else to do, is to start a new meeting. I've probably

started fifteen or twenty. The most recent one was last November. I got a

couple of friends together and we started a "joy of sobriety"

meeting--it's

a one-hour topic discussion meeting and it has to be a topic out of the Big

Book and it has to be on the program and how you enjoy living the program.

It's fast-moving and we just have a lot of fun. It's a great antidote for

depression.


What's the most important thing you've gotten from AA?
This whole thing is so much more than just sobriety. To be sober and

continue the life I had before--that would have driven me back to drink. One

of the things I really like about AA is that we all have a sense of

direction, plus a roadmap telling us precisely how to get there. I like

that. All I want out of AA is more and more and more until I'm gone.
DR. PAUL
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++++Message 3506. . . . . . . . . . . . "Man of thirty" on page 32 of the

Big Book


From: tflynn96 . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/20/2006 3:45:00 PM
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Hello to all,
This question is regarding the "man of thirty" described on pg 32

of

the big book. I have just finished reading the book "Common Sense of



Drinking" by Richard Peabody. I am under the impression and it has

been suggested that the "man of thirty" story was adapted from

that

book. There was one story on pg 37 speaking of a man 36 yrs old and



had been drinking for 16 yrs and another on pg 123 regarding a man

who gave up drinking to make a million dollars.


Neither one of them match the story in the book. The story on pg 123

is the one that most closely matches the story in the book. The big

discrepancy in the story is the amount of sobriety this man had

(full text below). The big book speaks of 25 years of sobriety and

the other states he had 5 years sober.
My questions are:

1.Does anyone the "who" the actual man either book was referring

to?

2.Was the story taken from CSoD or was he someone that was an



acquaintance of one of the early members?

3.Was the story in the BB a combination of both pg 37 and 123 along

with a misquote or was it more like a generalized idea that came

from CSoD along with "artistic license" while writing the BB (like

the 100 men and women statement)?
My assumption is they read the book, kind of jumbled up the 2

stories, put in 25 years to dramatize it and at the same time smash

home the fact that "once an alcoholic always an alcoholic". That

is

just my assumption and I am not a historian. Does anyone have any



other information regarding or can verify my assumption? Thank you

all in advance for your time.


With Sincerity

Tracy F,


Chicago
"Some years ago there lived a man who decided to give up drinking

until he could make a million dollars, at which time he intended to

drink in moderation. It took him 5 years - of sobriety - to make

the


million; then he begins his "moderate" drinking. In two or three

years he lost all his money, and in another three he died of

alcoholism." From Common Sense of Drinking by Richard Peabody.
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++++Message 3508. . . . . . . . . . . . Still Working Miracles (correction)

From: Bill Lash . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/22/2006 10:23:00 AM


IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
(For those of you who don't know, Bill W. [after a failed business

deal in Akron OH] called Rev. Walter Tunks who gave him 10 phone

numbers because Bill was looking for an Oxford Group member who

knew of a drunk Bill could help. Bill called all 10 numbers but

found no drunk. One of the 10 calls he made referred him to

another name and number, that of Henrietta Seiberling, who got Bill

in touch with Dr. Bob. - Just Love, Barefoot Bill)
A.A. Is Religion With Feet on Ground

AA Grapevine, July 1948


In a sermon recently delivered in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Akron,

Ohio, Rev. Walter F. Tunks, D.D. said:


"Therein the patient must minister to himself. But ministering to

one's self isn't enough! Many of you who have tried it, know that!

This week I attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. If you want

to see a religion with its feet on the ground, still working miracles

through the power of God, get in touch with that earnest group that

is lifting men and women out of the gutter and restoring them to

lives of usefulness. But as one of them said the other night, 'Take

God out of our group, and we have nothing left but human fellowship,

and that isn't enough'! Over the place where I stood to speak hung a

motto of the group with its terse reminder, 'But for the grace of

God--' Maybe alcohol isn't your problem. But whatever your weakness

is, you will never overcome it by flexing your own muscles. We can't

swing up a rope attached to our own belt straps. All our human

efforts fail until they are anchored in the rock that is higher than

I."
Akron, Ohio
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++++Message 3509. . . . . . . . . . . . First Reader''s Digest Meeting

From: nyckevinh . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/23/2006 12:25:00 PM


IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
Does anyone know the exact or approximate date that Bill W. and Hank P.

first


met with

Kenneth Payne at Reader's Digest in the fall of 1938? According to AACA,

this

is when


they were told that Reader's Digest would probably be interested in writing

a

story about



AA and the book they were trying to publish. Thanks for the help.
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++++Message 3510. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: "Man of thirty" on page 32 of

the Big Book

From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/22/2006 6:32:00 PM
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
Hi Tracy,

My feeling is that both the Big Book account and Peabody's examples were

hearsay. It's possible that Peabody didn't really know who the two

gentlemen were. But I think both Bill and Peabody were trying to establish

how tenacious alcoholism is and how it stays as a latent threat even after

years of abstinence.

We don't really need these stories anymore because we have the long

experience of AA to show us that they were based on truth, however hazy the

origins. We see examples of AA members who pick up after years of sobriety

and the outcomes are usually very bad. As a "Man of Eighty" with

56 years'

sobriety, I'm more convinced than ever that Bill and Peabody were right.

Mel Barger

~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesst ~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com

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

From: "tflynn96"

To:

Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2006 3:45 PM

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] "Man of thirty" on page 32 of the Big

Book
Hello to all,


This question is regarding the "man of thirty" described on pg 32

of

the big book. I have just finished reading the book "Common Sense of



Drinking" by Richard Peabody. I am under the impression and it has

been suggested that the "man of thirty" story was adapted from

that

book. There was one story on pg 37 speaking of a man 36 yrs old and



had been drinking for 16 yrs and another on pg 123 regarding a man

who gave up drinking to make a million dollars.


Neither one of them match the story in the book. The story on pg 123

is the one that most closely matches the story in the book. The big

discrepancy in the story is the amount of sobriety this man had

(full text below). The big book speaks of 25 years of sobriety and

the other states he had 5 years sober.
My questions are:

1.Does anyone the "who" the actual man either book was referring

to?

2.Was the story taken from CSoD or was he someone that was an



acquaintance of one of the early members?

3.Was the story in the BB a combination of both pg 37 and 123 along

with a misquote or was it more like a generalized idea that came

from CSoD along with "artistic license" while writing the BB (like

the 100 men and women statement)?
My assumption is they read the book, kind of jumbled up the 2

stories, put in 25 years to dramatize it and at the same time smash

home the fact that "once an alcoholic always an alcoholic". That

is

just my assumption and I am not a historian. Does anyone have any



other information regarding or can verify my assumption? Thank you

all in advance for your time.


With Sincerity

Tracy F,


Chicago
"Some years ago there lived a man who decided to give up drinking

until he could make a million dollars, at which time he intended to

drink in moderation. It took him 5 years - of sobriety - to make the

million; then he begins his "moderate" drinking. In two or three

years he lost all his money, and in another three he died of

alcoholism." From Common Sense of Drinking by Richard Peabody.


Yahoo! Groups Links
__________________________________________________________

Message transport security by GatewayDefender.com

11:47:04 PM ET - 6/21/2006
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++++Message 3511. . . . . . . . . . . . Big Book Story Author Interview (2

of 4)


From: Bill Lash . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/25/2006 8:55:00 AM
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
Interview With the Author of "Stars Don't Fall"

Second in a series of articles on authors of Big Book stories

AA Grapevine, August 1995
Felicia M. is eighty-nine years old and has been sober for over fifty-one

years; she joined the Fellowship in the fall of 1943, when it was only eight

years old. Her story, "Stars Don't Fall," is in the Third Edition

of the Big

Book.
On a clear cold afternoon last January, the managing editor of the Grapevine

and an editorial assistant drove up to the small town in Connecticut where

Felicia M. lives. We found her modest house on a quiet back lane. Several

big evergreens were in the front yard; in the backyard, a bird feeder hung

from a bare tree. Inside, her house was cozy. A whole row of cookbooks

filled a shelf over the kitchen door. The walls were hung with

pictures--western scenes with men and women on horseback, a painting by a

grandson, a large oil by a well-known abstract painter of the nineteen

fifties, and some watercolors by Felicia herself, who began painting during

one period when she couldn't write (Felicia is a professional writer). The

three of us sat in Felicia's small book-lined living room, where the winter

light filtered through the draperies, and Felicia served us coffee and

cookies as we talked about AA and her recovery from alcoholism.
In her Big Book story, Felicia tells about the turbulent times of her

drinking: from her chauffeured "self-guided" tour of Europe's wine

countries

to being the down-and-out habitué of a Greenwich Village bar, where

the

other customers took to moving their stools to avoid her. Drinking wasn't a



pleasant experience for her; it was, she wrote, like getting a "tap on

the


head with a small mallet." Felicia told us, "I had low self-esteem

and


behaved accordingly--and so of course I got into trouble all the time."

Her


analyst was one of the earliest members of the psychiatric profession to

learn about Alcoholics Anonymous; Felicia explained, "Bill had

addressed a

bunch of shrinks, you see, and my analyst heard him. She said to me, 'You've

been coming here either drunk or hungover for a year. And I think these

people have something.'" The psychiatrist gave Felicia the Big Book to

read

and sent her to meet a man named "Mr. W."


Bill W. suggested that Felicia meet Marty M., the first woman to get--and

stay--sober in AA. Marty became Felicia's sponsor: "She was my sponsor

until

the day she died. I still miss her very much." When Felicia was sober




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