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(#1173) Bill J (Raliegh, NC)
Oct 1968 in Jekyll Island, GA  EVENT: 15th Georgia State Convention  TYPE: AA, Male, Story

Area 16 Archives

Sober some 8 years since around 1960, funny with a great delivery, Bill was the Sunday morning speaker at the Convention.

He starts with a definition of the disease and that it centers around fear.

He was the son of a prominent North Carolina alcoholic mountain lawyer and a mother who died from her addiction to narcotics. His dad got sober the last seven years of his life without AA. "He became the most lovable human being I ever knew."

One sister died from alcoholism and the other has over 21 years in AA.

Bill spent his early life in boarding schools and with relatives. He has a photographic memory.

He found he liked military school. He was good at sports so he never paid tuition.

At Wake Forest he found alcohol - the North Carolina mountain variety. For the next 30 years it gave him the power to see double and feel single..."A fact I am not proud of".

He got married to a non-alcoholic and went into the Army in 1942 before he had a chance to take the Bar and never took it after WWII. He went in as a private and came out a major though he never got into the fighting.

He got an alcoholic's dream job - Executive Director of the North Carolina Beer and Wine Distributors Association with a very nice salary. He then became a lobbyist with the legislature really living on his Dad's coattails.

Even with that he was broke all the time and miserable - drinking four pints a day. In AA he lives very well on a fourth of what he made back then.

After an argument he moved to Orlando and filed for divorce and was first exposed to AA in a pamphlet 7/4/1959. They reconciled and he came back to Raleigh. His wife began going to open AA meetings.

He put himself in the hospital and went to his first AA meeting. He became an AA phony for eight months and drank again. He hit bottom on St. Patrick's Day alone when a package of 6 "24 Hour A Day" books arrived in the mail. He got the message "Wear life like a loose garment" and the need to find God. Alcohol had stop working for him.

He was out of tricks and said, "God, please help me." He awakened the next morning refreshed, with none of the fear that had haunted him all his life. The obsession to drink was gone. He wrote his wife and told her something special had happened.

At first he was ashamed of it but now will shout it from the mountain top.

Daily he asks:

"God, let me go calmly and quietly without haste among this sick world....

But if I wear the world like a loose garment I can still live in it.

Let me take pride in my career however humble that it may seem for it is a treasure in the changing values of time.

But let me be careful in my business affairs for the world is still full of trickery and dishonest machinations.

But let me not be blind to what virtue that there is for all around me high principles and high ideals are being practiced everyday.

And heroism is even still greatly in evidence

And let me not pretend affections or for me to be cynical about love for it is the greatest thing in this world and is as perennial as the grass.

It may look dead but it will always return,

And let me not compare myself with others for there shall always be greater or lesser persons than myself.

This is so vividly pointed out in the Beatitudes - Blessed are the meek, the long suffering, the Peace makers, etc.

I shall have my reward as a result of my own God given talents and personality and I need not copy anybody else.

And let me remember that I am a child of this Universe.

That God is my Father and I have every right to be here as much as the stars and the trees and the animals and all the other people.

An God being my Father, let me search deep into my soul in my prayers and my meditations and let me become acquainted with the Holy Spirit that I know lives and dwells somewhere within me.

For here lies the answer to all of my problems if I draw upon it with Faith because all of the power and knowledge that I need is there.

But let me not expect the results to come out on my timetable or my pattern but on that of God.

He didn't make me a puppet on a string and I certainly can't pull the strings on Him.

And so with all of its heartaches and its shams, and its wars and its riots and atomic power and all the things that we fear, if I wear it as a loose garment this is stilll a wonderful world in which to live."

Interestingly, he quotes Clancy I. of Venice, CA who was sober only 10 years at the time of this talk.

Note: The entire session including the Voice, Invocation and Chair are available for download - Use the Burn button.

(1 hr 2 min) (14.4 MB) (id#1173)