It was a quite bitter day today. It has been snowing, ever so lightly for the past 24 hours or so. We are sitting at -7c with a wind chill of -14c. It was a bit nippy on my transit out and back.
With the holidays over with, like we expected, the first Sunday of the month was a huge success. The room was full to bursting. Some new and young faces, everyone was happy to be there.
With the new year comes a new meeting to the St. Leon’s space, this time, on the French side. We sorted the group out and arranged for them to have a cabinet in the storage room, a coffee pot, and cups. We have been sharing books and supplies among several meetings, so that meetings can save some money in not having to but supplies that are already there, in storage on nights we are not in session.
The Sunday library of books, is being tapped by my Tuesday meeting across town. Instead of buying a box full of new books, we trade them back and forth, as they are needed, because they are sitting in the cabinet collecting dust.
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The photo above, taken in Akron, Ohio, back in the 1920’s is of A.A. number #3, Bill D. This is the photo that hangs in most every A.A. service office around the world. It is the photo that has circulated for decades. His story appears in the 1st edition of the Big Book, as A.A. Number Three.
Tonight we read the story “He Had to be taught,” this particular story, coming at the head of section three, in Experience, Strength and Hope, comes from the Third edition and is quite a long, arduous, and painful story, that takes place in the mid to late twenties.
Our man, in this story, is one sick puppy. He is a war torn alcoholic. World War One is mentioned in the story, but it seems our man does not make it into the war itself.
His war is a war with the bottle.
He learns to drink, by watching a guy, sitting in a bar, drink a martini. He does not like alcohol at this point, this episode comes at the start of his story. On the way to a sports banquet, our man and his friends end up in a bar, where they begin drinking. And not knowing how to drink, is watching a stranger, (in his words) “Throw back a martini.”
Slug for slug, drink for drink, olive for olive, our young man tosses back a martini. He doesn’t like it one bit, but this episode starts him on his way. This one drink, lands him in a black out, and then he is off to the races.
Having money, a good job, a wife and kids, and posperity, the good life is short and because of the drink, all are lost. Page for Page, folks in the room were all thinking the same thing …
Can we please stop … This story is just too much !
A friend of mine, after the meeting, was talking to me in the bathroom, saying … Bill and Dr. Bob must have decided to be kind to our man, in allowing him to write this entire story out, because it went on for pages and pages. It is just one war memory after another, and in relation to Bill or Dr. Bob’s own stories, was much longer than the founders.
He tries religion, Christian Science to be exact, but they fail to keep him engaged. Finally, in the hospital, our man’s brother and Dr. Bob begin to help him sober up. But all he wants, is for (in his own words again)
“these clowns, to just give him a drink, and leave him alone.”
He gets a double dose of paraldehyde, while in the hospital and he looses a number of days, he goes comatose on a Thursday, and wakes up the following Sunday.
In the end, it is Bill D. who appears in his room, and talks him around to getting sober, after Bill D. tells him his story.
Finally our man gets it, and gets sober. His final comment in the story is that:
at the start of the day He asks for what is God’s will for him, each day, and then to the best of his ability to follow that, and at the end of the day be grateful to God for all that happened during the day. He does that continually, and at the time of writing this story, he is sober 18 years.
Bill D. A.A. #3 in Akron, is the man who gets our man in the story above sober. Bill D’s story, A.A. number #3, appears in both the First Edition of the Big Book, on page 182 and is carried into the fourth edition as well.
I had to read and re-read that particular story to figure out some semantics. Bill D. appears as the message carrier for the “man who needed to be taught.” But, Bill D’s actual “story” is separate from this telling, and appears separately.
Ok, now that I have all my Ducks in a row. Because as I wrote this out, it was all out of sync and I had to put it in chronological order.
The First week of the New Year begins tomorrow.
Make it count !!!