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(#416) Sam D (Atlanta, GA)
1954 in Ft. Worth, TX  EVENT: 9th Texas State Convention  TYPE: AA, Male, Story, Historical

Sam was a preacher and alcoholic who attended the 1st in an unbroken chain of AA meetings in Atlanta June 12, 1941. A few other meetings had been held as early as November 29, 1940.

He entered the ministry at an early age. He had never touched alcohol. He worked hard and became very successful. During prohibition he took his first drink under doctors orders to relieve work related tension. He believed he was an alcoholic from the first drink. He started to over prescribe and make the formula stronger.

He began to have problems and feel the guilt of secretly drinking. He quit drinking for two years. He resigned from his church in New York and moved to Atlanta. Stayed dry until a personal incident drove him back. It became known he drank and he was forced to resign and leave the ministry.

He sent his family back to her home town. He moved to Chicago and drank for five years "like few men do and live to tell the tail". He worked many different jobs to earn money to drink and drank to be able to work. He lived on the streets. His wife died from breast cancer - that called for more drinking. His son was killed in a horrible car accident - that called for more drinking. Shortly after he married the women that was still his wife at the time of this talk.

He became a periodic. They read the late 1939 Liberty Magazine article about AA. He knew AA was what he was looking for. They hunted for information about AA while Sam drank and managed only to get a pamphlet and a Big Book. He knew he had to go back to Atlanta to set things right. They set out for Atlanta without any money and without any hope.

They lived outside Atlanta. He met a man in West End who had attended an AA meeting in New York. He sent him to see another in Buckhead who also had attended AA in New York. They both were willing. Sam went back to the man in West End only to find him drunk. He rushed back to the man in Buckhead only to find him drunk. So in despair, Sam got drunk as well.

Then Sam responded to an Ad in a the paper of someone wanting to start an AA group. He replied by mail and then went to watch the Post Office to see who would pick up the mail. It was an Army Medical Corps officer from D.C. relocating to Atlanta. They had the meeting June 12, 1941 sitting on the unpacked crates in the officers apartment.

(1 hr 7 min) (23.1 MB) (id#416)