From the March 1964 magazine.

A New Canoe

Sobriety is a wobbly contraption, until you learn how to steer it

I AM an old prospector, past sixty. I spent twenty-two years scratching, climbing and canoeing through Canada's wilderness, searching for a "find," a mother lode. I did find gold in a hundred different locations but disappointments were many; none of my discoveries proved to be of commercial value. When I returned to a city or village for supplies, I took my drinks the same as the other guy, but my drinking increased and became a problem. I ended up an alcoholic. Through AA I discovered the Higher Power, and was led directly onto the most fortunate "find" that I could ever make.

When I reflect on how I first learned to handle a canoe, I am reminded of my first wobbly year in AA. As a prospector, I needed a canoe to carry food and equipment along the rivers and across lakes. A canoe is a pretty wobbly contraption and, in order to get anywhere in it, I had to learn how to paddle the thing, how to navigate it, how to steer it, and how to be on guard for hidden rocks and logs. I had to learn to judge the winds and the distance from shore to avoid being caught in heavy storms in the middle of a big lake. I had to learn all these things, and I had to have patience. Even after years of experience I had to be careful, because the temptation often arose to take a short cut across the big waters and risk getting caught in a storm.

-- T. C.

Port Arthur, Ontario

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