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July 1965

Carrying the Message

Hands across the seas

Recently, I traveled over 35,000 miles to make my amends. I decided to take the World Directory with me and to contact AA en route. This worked to my advantage in more ways than one. To begin with, I continued to hold an insurance on my sobriety and in addition I made new friends.

When I attended AA meetings, I felt at home immediately. There was that same warm feeling of conviviality and friendship. There were the familiar Twelve Steps, the Slogans, the literature, the Grapevine, and the Big Books. What a glow of pride it gave me to see that AA works so well, far away from home. The seed that was transplanted has grown and flourished.

Besides attending meetings with Americans in Tokyo, I was asked to go to a Japanese meeting. I was able to do this with the help of an enthusiastic interpreter. Even though I couldn't communicate directly, I felt that I was with people who were working the program and that we had much in common.

Through the efficiency of a cooperative telephone operator in Taipei, Formosa, I made an immediate contact with an American. I realized how extremely fortunate I was in finding these people at home. I hadn't written ahead or given advance notice of any kind. I just played it by ear, on a twenty-four-hour basis.

In Singapore, I had the unique experience of being with a very unusual group, consisting of a Chinese, a Hindu, an American, an Australian, and a Swiss-Irish. Language was no barrier, since we all spoke English.

In Australia and New Zealand, the groups were anxious to know how our meetings were conducted and to make comparisons. I assured them that, outside of the accent, I could easily be at a meeting in the States.

More than ever, I realized what a useful and overwhelming job General Service has been doing. How closely they keep in touch with groups all over the world. A night in a strange city, many thousands of miles from home, family and friends, it was comforting to know that I was only a telephone call away from people I was anxious to meet and to be with. Furthermore, I had the extra advantage of being invited into foreign homes, which is something the average tourist misses.

In addition to seeing and exploring many places of interest, I have also added to my list of friends across the seas. To one and all of them, I'd like to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation.

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