PP 2-3 Bill's Story (Bill Roars Off)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Karl R
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PP 2-3 Bill's Story (Bill Roars Off)

Post by Karl R » Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:43 am

Good Morning all,

Have posted today's selection from Bill's story below.

How many of us have 'lived modestly' like Bill not understanding that it was not by choice but a result of our affliction? I know I have done that to my family.

How many of us 'roared off' into some enterprise or other while drinking which would eventually turn around to bite us?

Anyone care to comment on 'fair weather friends' while drinking?

have a great day all,

Karl

By the time I had completed the course, I knew the law was not for me. The inviting maelstrom of Wall Street had me in its grip. Business and financial leaders were my heroes. Out of this alloy of drink and speculation, I commenced to forge the weapon that one day would turn in its flight like a boomerang and all but cut me to ribbons. Living modestly, my wife and I saved $1,000. It went into certain securities, then cheap and rather unpopular. I rightly imagined that they would some day have a great rise. I failed to persuade my broker friends to send me out looking over factories and managements, but my wife and I decided to go anyway. I had developed a theory that most people lost money in stocks through ignorance of markets. I discovered many more reasons later on.

We gave up our positions and off we roared on a motorcycle, the sidecar stuffed with tent, blankets, a change of clothes, and three huge volumes of a financial reference service. Our friends thought a lunacy commission should be appointed. Perhaps they were right. I had had some success at speculation, so we had a little money, but we once worked on a farm for a month to avoid drawing on our small capital. That was the last honest manual labor on my part for many a day. We covered the whole eastern United States in a year. At the end of it, my reports to Wall Street procured me a position there and the use of a large expense account. The exercise of an option brought in more money, leaving us with a profit of several thousand dollars for that year.

For the next few years fortune threw money and applause my way. I had arrived. My judgment and ideas were followed by many to the tune of paper millions. The great boom of the late twenties was seething and swelling. Drink was taking an important and exhilarating part in my life. There was loud talk in the jazz places uptown. Everyone spent in thousands and chattered in millions. Scoffers could scoff and be damned. I made a host of fair-weather friends.
Last edited by Karl R on Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:59 am, edited 5 times in total.

Oliver
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Post by Oliver » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:56 pm

Hi Karl...

Gosh, fair weather friends... I guess I was pretty crappy fair weather friend when I was a drinker. I didn't want to get too close to people and always dashed off out of the way when the going got tough. I was so selfish that it was all about ME - if a friendship was working for me then it wouldn't stand in the way of my drinking ambitions. In early sobriety it was a very quick realisation that I had no friends left and that it was my fault, my selfish self-centred self-pitying behaviour had pushed them away and that I had told so many lies that people didn't even know who I was.

I am still not a very good friend but I am learning. My sponsor helps me to face up to my responsibilities and to think more of others both in the fellowship and in my life. Self-centredness is the root of all my problems and service of others is the solution. "I sought my soul but my soul I could not see. I sought my God but he eluded me. I sought my brothers and I found all three." My sponsor insisted that I got into service (washing pots etc) very quickly and like the 'Just for Today card' says he asks me to do two people good turns each day. I have tried to live more honestly and by doing so I have met very many nice people and begun to develop relationships with them that are based upon the truth and not on fantasy.

Peace and best wishes for a happy day in sobriety
Oliver
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Post by Karl R » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:24 pm

Thanks Oliver,

I too see myself in everything you have written although I am still in very early sobriety. Being in the midst of my # 4 I now see that it wasn't my friends that abandoned me but that I wasn't doing the work to keep the relationships intact.

in peace,
Karl

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Post by Oliver » Sun Aug 31, 2008 8:56 am

Hi there Karl

It is great that you are getting stuck in and that you're stepping up to do some service as well!! How are you finding the 4th step - my experience is that it was something of an extension of the 1st step. Having completed my 4th step I could truly say 'my life is unmanageable'. The evidence is/was before my eyes and I cannot deny it.

Good luck and it's great to hear from you

Oliver
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Post by jujub » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:43 pm

hey all,

the result of my love-hate relationship with alcohol has resulted in no friends--fair weather or otherwise--to speak of. one of the prices i've paid to continue doing what judi wanted to do.

judi, alcoholic

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Post by Karl R » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:03 am

Hey all.

Thank you Judi for reviving this thread so I can think about it some more.

Fair weather friends. Now that I'm pursuing amends with people I find that the people who I had thought were fair weather friends while drinking are still my friends. It was I who had created the "stormy weather" that caused them to seek harbor away from me. All-in-all a good experience-that of seeking out old fair weather friends that I held resentments toward, making amends for the stormy weather I created in their life, and moving on as fair weather friends again.

cheers,
Karl

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Post by jujub » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:28 am

hi karl,

i've thought about what you wrote, and in all honesty it is i who left the people i came to know as my friends. i have no drinking buddies--i drink alone. so my friends were all aa people that obviously wanted nothing to do with a chronic relapsing active alcoholic. i do hold resentments for that, but as you've explained, the steps are there to show me how to clean off my messy side of the street. and hopefully rekindle some old friendships, and make new ones.

or i can keep doing what i've been, and feel sorry for myself. poor, poor me...no one loves me. old familiar phrase. there is a way out, but it takes some digging.

judi, alcoholic

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Post by ann2 » Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:07 pm

Good topic. I can really identify with Bill in this section. I would start one course of action, then get wrapped up in another avenue that offered excitement, praise, attention. The fair-weather friends I knew were willing to offer me those things, for their own reasons.

They definitely stopped being my friends when things went foul, when I took their serious drinking one step further. I didn't understand that I'd gone too far, and that they shuddered to look at this reflection of themselves and what might happen to them.

I didn't want to be alone when I drank, but it ended up like that, me pursuing my own navel and locking myself up in a prison of my own making. It was scary leaving that prison, but oh! how nice it has been to stretch my legs.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Post by Karl R » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:11 am

Drink was taking an important and exhilarating part in my life.

Somewhere about 20 years into my drinking it ceased to be a pleasurable or enjoyable experience. Although it remained an important part of my life-it was no longer exhilerating. An early warning sign?

others have similar experience to share?

Karl

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Re: PP 2-3 Bill's Story (Bill Roars Off)

Post by leejosepho » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:53 am

As we continue in Bill's story, something shared a little later in our book can be helpful and insightful here:

"If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly." (pages 44-45)

Bill is presently talking about what alcohol had been doing *for* him, and never does he or anyone else in our book ever speak against alcohol or drinking as being the source of their troubles. Rather:

"We are careful never to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution. Experience shows that such an attitude is not helpful to anyone. Every new alcoholic looks for this spirit among us and is immensely relieved when he finds we are not witch-burners. A spirit of intolerance might repel alcoholics whose lives could have been saved, had it not been for such stupidity. We would not even do the cause of temperate drinking any good, for not one drinker in a thousand likes to be told anything about alcohol by one who hates it." (page 103)

So while only talking about himself, Bill continues:
By the time I had completed the [night law] course, I knew the law was not for me. The inviting maelstrom of Wall Street had me in its grip. Business and financial leaders were my heroes.
My own guess here is that the idea of becoming a lawyer had not satisfied Bill's urge or "drive" or whatever to try to prove he could conquer some much-riskier challenges in life while believing, as he had shared, "that men of genius conceived their best projects when drunk; that the most majestic constructions of philosophic thought were so derived." So again, Bill only holds himself responsible and never blames the alcohol:
Out of this alloy of drink and speculation, I commenced to forge the weapon that one day would turn in its flight like a boomerang and all but cut me to ribbons ... I had developed a theory that most people lost money in stocks through ignorance of markets. I discovered many more reasons later on.

... friends thought a lunacy commission should be appointed ... (yet) my reports to Wall Street procured me a position there and the use of a large expense account ...

For the next few years fortune threw money and applause my way. I had arrived. My judgment and ideas were followed by many to the tune of paper millions.
Looking back later, Bill seems to see his "alloy of drink and speculation" had only been producing "paper millions".
The great boom of the late twenties was seething and swelling. Drink was taking an important and exhilarating part in my life. There was loud talk in the jazz places uptown. Everyone spent in thousands and chattered in millions. Scoffers could scoff and be damned. I made a host of fair-weather friends.
Bill seemed to still be believing he could manage his own life successfully.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: PP 2-3 Bill's Story (Bill Roars Off)

Post by PaigeB » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:30 pm

I made a host of fair-weather friends...Drink was taking an important and exhilarating part in my life.
I only thought drinking was an important & exhilarating part in my life ~ turns out my perception was incorrect. I did not even see my friends as "fair weather", I was sure we were deeply bonded & lifelong friends! The truth of the matter is that alcohol ruled my life even then. I only imagined I made my choices there. In fact, my "friends" were there during MANY rough periods of my life, but when I quit drinking they scattered never to be heard from again! I hung out with and drank with people who drank like me. It was not exhilarating, it was sad. It is important now only because I can share this with another suffering alcoholic.
...we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.
The "will" here is all self-will. I became extremely uncomfortable if any other human tried to exert their will on me or even share their fear for me. I had no "human resources" - only my own resources and my own will was to drink...
even when I thought I wanted to quit drinking my own will was set to one solution = "drink". It was not until I surrendered my will and accepted the path of AA, that I was able to not drink, one day at a time, and make some changes in the way I perceived myself and the world around me.
We are careful never to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution...Every new alcoholic looks for this spirit among us...
This is my today. I just got a text from my daughter who rejects statements that I fear for her toxic state (not her usual excessive partying, but a 10day bender) and says I am only mad because I want her in AA and hating all her friends. Since I know this to be untrue, it is reinforcing to read this today.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: PP 2-3 Bill's Story (Bill Roars Off)

Post by leejosepho » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:58 pm

PaigeB wrote:
We are careful never to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution...Every new alcoholic looks for this spirit among us...
This is my today. I just got a text from my daughter who rejects statements that I fear for her toxic state (not her usual excessive partying, but a 10day bender) and says I am only mad because I want her in AA and hating all her friends. Since I know this to be untrue, it is reinforcing to read this today.
Sure enough, and I did essentially the same for my own daughters:
"... no attitude of Holier Than Thou ... no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured ..."

I just made sure they knew about alcoholism, then waited for them to come to me.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: PP 2-3 Bill's Story (Bill Roars Off)

Post by WHO » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:34 pm

Page 3

What four jumps in progression did Bill’s drinking have?
* not yet continuous to important and exhilarating.
* important and exhilarating to continuing all day and almost every night.
* all day and every night to becoming jittery
* becoming jittery to every day and every night (continued on pg. 4)
1) When did drinking progress from not yet continuous to taking an important part in my life? When I moved to the city
2) When did drinking progress from an important part in my life to continuing all day and almost every night? My early twenties, / not every day
3) When did I progress from having a host of fair weathered friends to becoming a lone wolf? Early twenties
4) When did drinking progress from an exhilarating part in my life to unhappy scenes in my life? Late teens
5) When did drinking start causing being jittery after a drinking spree or just in between drinks? Early Twenties
6) When did drinking progress from all day and almost every night to every day and every night? I didn’t drink every day, there were periods when I did drink everyday
7) Am I a spree/ binge or periodic drinker? I drank mainly Thursday through to Sunday, if I was on holidays I drank all the time. Also no money by the time I got to Saturday so had to borrow for the rest of the week to drink and to eat. There were many excuses to drink
8) If I am a periodic/binge drinker, do I see I lack the control to start when I want to start and that starting is just random, because I have a mental obsession, which places me beyond human aid? Yes And that once I start I can’t control stopping when I want to, because I have the craving that is beyond my mental control? Yes ( was I in control of when I started )

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