From the July 1953 magazine.

AA at Work. . .or at Leisure

The Grapevine is publishing the following article as "one man's opinion," in the belief that the general subject of friendship for "visiting firemen" (on or off the beam) is a matter of importance and interest to the Fellowship as a whole. We invite comme

ON September 13, 1949 in a large western metropolis a stranger called the AA Central Office in that city at 10:00 A.M., asking for help. He was alone in a hotel room, had been drinking for the three days previous, but had not yet taken a drink that morning. He wanted to stop. . .he had a sincere, yes, a desperate desire to stop drinking, for on September 15 he had to present himself to the faculty of a university where he was to have another chance to continue a promising career, once interrupted by war service and subsequent alcoholism. For three years prior to this time, he had found and maintained sobriety in AA, reestablishing his reputation and thereby earning this unbelievable second chance to follow once again his chosen profession.

Now aged 37, on the very threshold of success, he tottered incredibly, once again on the brink of disaster. Why? After a long, interesting and sober journey from the East Coast to the West Coast, he had three days before in a tragically thoughtless moment agreed to a suggested glass of Chablis with his dinner. Now, in inevitable consequence, he shakily clutched the telephone and begged AA for help for the second time in his life. Did he want to go to a sanitarium, he was asked. No, that had not occurred to him; he just wanted someone, anyone, to come to him, to talk to him, to help him regain his grip on himself and avoid taking that next drink, just the customary AA help. Instead, he was advised to go to a meeting to be held four hours later at 2 P.M. . . . But there was no one who could come to him meanwhile? No, everyone was at work. That seemed unlikely in a city of several millions, but heartened by the hope of finding help and strength at the meeting, he resolved to stay in his room and use the twenty-four-hour plan, broken down to ten minute intervals. Somehow he shook, sweated and retched through the next four hours, until he made his uncertain way to the street and a taxi. Moments later, he fought back the tears of relief when he reached sanctuary.

-- Bob

Troy, New York

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