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(#1750) Judge Jim McN (Santa Barbara, CA)
9/24/2005 in Myrtle Beach, SC  EVENT: 34th Fellowship by the Sea  TYPE: AA, Male, Story

Sober 33 years since 3/30/1972, Jim barely made it through law school and was accepted to the Bar in Iowa by passing the easiest oral examination on record.

He was elected to the Iowa State Senate without really trying on the coat tails of Lyndon Johnson's victory in 1963. He campaigned mostly in barrooms.

He did not stand for reelection for fear he would be found out. He became a prosecutor.

His wife was killed in a fiery car wreck July 1968 that was not Jim's fault. He had not drank that day. They were pulled from the burning vehicle, Jim was in the hospital six days but their three year old daughter was not physically injured. He felt his life was over and tried to drink the pain away.

They took a geographic cure, moving with his mother to Ojai California 80 miles north of Los Angeles. He studied for the California Bar drinking in a local sleazy bar. He passed the Bar and began to practice criminal law in Santa Barbara, often on his drinking acquaintances, leaving the bas to sleep on his office floor rather than risk driving home.

He started coming to AA where he met and married his wife, a fellow AA, 87 days later. But Jim kept drinking and taking Valium. Finally for no reason he can explain, he pushed the last half bottle of beer away and walked out of a bar never to drink again. He quit all the pills the same day and struggled for over two years.

He was appointed as a Ventura County Superior Court Judge in sobriety, retiring in 1995. What it was like to be an AA member and a practicing Judge handling DUI cases is interesting.

He and his wife remain very active in AA.

(53 min) (18.5 MB) (id#1750)