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July 1965

Carrying the Message

Port of call

A ship I was on called at an extremely small town in Australia--Port Perie. I was walking along the only real street in town and came alongside a church. I'm always fond of talking to men of the cloth about the problem of alcoholism so, as his house was across the street, I went over and looked him up. His wife answered the door. I asked to see the minister.

He eventually came and when I told him I was a recovered alcoholic and wanted to talk to him he almost turned white. He stared at me for about a minute, as if I was a ghost, and then he said, "Fellow, I've been waiting for you! And I've been waiting a long time." He took me through the house and up the back garden to a shed and his next words were, "I've two hopeless drinkers in here who I let sleep off their drunkenness! I've had them for months and have been praying for them ever since I've been trying to help." They turned out to be meth and surgical spirit drinkers and were in very poor physical condition. When we had sobered them up a bit, we arranged for some medical treatment.

We then hustled up all the drunks he knew in town and had a real closed meeting. It was hot and heavy while it lasted with the usual objections to getting sober, but I like to feel that I started a few thinking a bit. The next day the minister got me a half-hour on the local radio station and he got the local reporter to write an article for the paper. I also talked to the Rotary Club which only met once a month. A most rewarding experience for me and it was as good as a week of meetings.

The minister started a weekly meeting and I gave him the address of AA in Adelaide so as he could get literature and information on starting a group.

I've often wondered how he got on as I've lost touch with him. Maybe, if this is published I'll hear from Port Perie.

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