pp. 8-10 Bill's Story (Bill gets a visit)

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
User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

pp. 8-10 Bill's Story (Bill gets a visit)

Post by Karl R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:41 am

Good Day,

I've posted today's selection from Bill's Story below. When we left Bill yesterday he was sitting at his kitchen table wallowing in shame and self pity over the miserable condition of his life while his wife was at work. But---everything was okay beccause he had enough booze in the house to last till morning.

Bill get's a visitor. For virtual prize jelly beans 'Who was this visitor'

Bill's visitor is sober which amazes Bill. Bill considers it great though that a potential drinking buddy has dropped by to help fill the time. Bill is completely unmindful of the visitor's welfare.

Anyone find themselves in Bill's lack of concern for the welfare of a sober former drinking buddy?

"fresh-skinned and glowing. There was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different" This is Bill's description of his visitor. What was different about him?

Bill's visitor describes a simple religious idea and a practical program.
Can anyone paraphrase the idea and program in two-three sentences?

Bill's visitor passes his experience on to hopeless Bill-one alcoholic to another-one of the fundamentals of AA.

have a great weekend all,
Karl

My musing was interrupted by the telephone. The cheery voice of an old school friend asked if he might come over. He was sober. It was years since I could remember his coming to New York in that condition. I was amazed. Rumor had it that he had been committed for alcoholic insanity. I wondered how he had escaped. Of course he would have dinner, and then I could drink openly with him. Unmindful of his welfare, I thought only of recapturing the spirit of other days. There was that time we had chartered an airplane to complete a jag! His coming was an oasis in this dreary desert of futility. The very thing - an oasis! Drinkers are like that.

The door opened and he stood there, fresh-skinned and glowing. There was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different. What had happened?

I pushed a drink across the table. He refused it. Disappointed but curious, I wondered what had got into the fellow. He wasn't himself.

"Come, what's this all about?" I queried.

He looked straight at me. Simply, but smilingly, he said, "I've got religion."

I was aghast. So that was it - last summer an alcoholic crackpot; now, I suspected, a little cracked about religion. He had that starry-eyed look. Yes, the old boy was on fire all right. But bless his heart, let him rant! Besides, my gin would last longer than his preaching.

But he did no ranting. In a matter of fact way he told how two men had appeared in court, persuading the judge to suspend his commitment. They had told of a simple religious idea and a practical program of action. That was two months ago and the result was self-evident. It worked!

He had come to pass his experience along to me - if I cared to have it. I was shocked, but interested. Certainly I was interested. I had to be, for I was hopeless.
Last edited by Karl R on Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Paul N
Forums Contributor
Posts: 318
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:01 am

Post by Paul N » Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:49 am

The friend, his old school chum ... Ebby T.

Something I found interesting, research what the last name was on the tombstone where Bill talks about missing the opportunity to heed a warning. I wonder if that's what drew him over to read the inscription. Odd or God?

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5270
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Post by avaneesh912 » Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:37 pm

"fresh-skinned and glowing. There was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different" This is Bill's description of his visitor. What was different about him?

i hear Bill W use to say if he only if he ever gets to a state where Ebby T went, he will quit. Here his friend stands before him with a starry eyed, sober. He says "he was aghast". Thats where he sees something above than human power is working on Ebby T.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

Oliver
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 908
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:01 am

Post by Oliver » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:35 pm

The bit that stands out of the reading for me today is: "...the result was self-evident..."

When I came into the rooms, my hope came from seeing people who had worked the programme of alcoholics anonymous and had managed to stay sober for lengthy periods of time, gaining not only physical sobriety but some evident serenity and emotional sobriety. I saw what these people had - and heard them say they used to be like I was - and decided that I was prepared to do whatever was necessary to get what they had.

AA was not promoted to me, but I was attracted because I saw the results that working the programme gave alcoholics who were as bad (if not worse) than me. I cannot put into words the hope that this gave me.

I suppose by extension, this shows the need for alcoholics to work the steps and experience the spiritual transformation before trying to 'pass on' the message. You can't pass on what you can't have and people won't see the results if there is no programme producing the results. I often find a tendency within myself to try and preach what I haven't yet put into practice. I ask my Higher Power to help me remove that arrogance.

The fact that Ebby T returned to alcoholic drinking, despite having a few days of sobriety, points to the importance of me keeping on top of my programme TODAY.
Oliver
"In exchange for bottle and hangover, I have been given the keys to the kingdom."

User avatar
martin08
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 606
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:37 am
Location: Western Maine

Post by martin08 » Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:18 pm

"Unmindful of his welfare" is a trait of a non-drinking alcoholic, too.

In my first six months of staying dry, and staying out of the practical program, I nearly broke the proverbial camel's back by compulsively acting on my jealous suspicions about my wife. I could still see my pain only, and nearly split the family for good.

I was blessed in step seven when God removed many (but not all) defects which stood in the way of my service to Him and others. The program of action also asks me to be 'mindful' of the welfare of all, regardless of condition - sane or insane, alcoholic or dry, addicted or recovered. All of God's children deserve my respect.

I was lucky and humbled. He gave me back my family and all He asks is that I now give of myself. Not such a hard term.

User avatar
jujub
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:40 am
Location: southeastern wisconsin

Post by jujub » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:15 am

hey guys,

i've chaired meetings, sponsored a woman, enticed someone to leave a long term treatment center because i got kicked out, etc, etc... basically pretended to be someone i was not. all done to save face, maintain the lie, and keep drinking. i've hurt a lot of people, burned many bridges. i've put the pursuit of alcohol above everything and everyone in my life.

ebby knew that day with bill that of his own resources he could not stay sober. he had a higher power. and was that the 1st 12th step call in history?

on a side note, if i ever get another dog, his/her name will be ebby t. :)

judi, alcoholic

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5270
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:21 am

i think the first one was Roland Hazard bailing Ebby T out before he got committed.

Roland Hazards i am told is what appears in the "There is a solution" chapter.

A certain American business man had ability, good sense, and high character. For years he had floundered from one sanitarium to another. He had consulted the best known American psychiatrists. Then he had gone to Europe, placing himself in the care of a celebrated physician (the psychiatrist, Dr. Jung) who prescribed for him. Though experience had made him skeptical, he finished his treatment with unusual confidence. His physical and mental condition were unusually good. Above all, he believed he had acquired such a profound knowledge of the inner workings of his mind and its hidden springs that relapse was unthinkable. Nevertheless, he was drunk in a short time. More baffling still, he could give himself no satisfactory explanation for his fall.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

User avatar
Blue Moon
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3676
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New Jersey

Post by Blue Moon » Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:02 pm

Yep, Roland H quite literally sponsored Ebby T. Ebby was up before the judge for a drunken bout, looking at doing hard time. Roland talked to the judge, saying something like "we think we have a treatment for alcoholism, will you release this man into our care to see if he can be helped?"
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

dwelling
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:12 pm

Post by dwelling » Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:44 pm

Hi,
I have to remember who the "12 step call" actually helps first.
A lot of the men I have 12 stepped went back to drinking(i.e. those that could not or would not work the steps.) I stayed sober.
Let's remember the beginning of the chapter "Working with others"-Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail."

When Bill sought out (12 stepped) Dr.Bob, I'm pretty sure this was the first 12 step call, although the steps didn't exist yet.
This was the first time in recorded history that an alcoholic looked for another alcoholic because he needed him to help HIMSELF stay sober, because he was shaky. Rowland H. was trying to help Ebby. Ebby was trying to help Bill.

(I remember reading that somewhere.)

dwelling,"Asked why they commenced to drink again, they would reply with some silly excuse, or none."

ps-My newest "man" has dove into the program and has 86 days.

User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:25 am

Just as Roland Hazard passed something along to Ebby T, and Ebby T. passed something along to Bill most of us began our journey with someone passing along their experience to us-and helping themself in the bargain.

have a great day everyone,

Karl

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5270
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: pp. 8-10 Bill's Story (Bill gets a visit)

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:56 am

I was just looking at how Ebby didn't waste anytime in telling Bill that he needs to depend on GOD and follow a few simple spiritual principles. Though, Bill didn't accept it immediately but was deliberating whether there is GOD or not and then when Bill still is struggling with it Ebby throws this "your own conception of GOD" alkie like statement. Which Bill readily accepts and then starts writing a moral inventory and has his friend look at them and prays to HIS new found Friend (GOD) to have them removed and then goes about helping others....

And then we were reading "Working with others chapter": where I think they are referring to Clarence Snyder:

We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy. One of our Fellowship failed entirely with his first half dozen prospects. He often says that if he had continued to work on them, he might have deprived many others, who have since recovered, of their chance.

I am glad that Bill took the bait and went on to work with others and after several attempts ended up helping Dr. Bob and helped create this fellowship.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

User avatar
Marc L
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 8:04 pm
Location: South Florida. U.S.A.

Re:

Post by Marc L » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:57 pm

Karl R wrote:Just as Roland Hazard passed something along to Ebby T, and Ebby T. passed something along to Bill most of us began our journey with someone passing along their experience to us-and helping themself in the bargain.

have a great day everyone,

Karl
Yeah Karl;
That's pretty much the crux of it. Pass it on and you get to keep it. :D

Marc
Recovery won't just happen by Osmosis. You gonna' have to work at it some.
12th Step work ain't just a job... It's an Adventure.

User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Re: pp. 8-10 Bill's Story (Bill gets a visit)

Post by Karl R » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:12 pm

He had come to pass his experience along to me - if I cared to have it.
One of the other great pieces that Ebby passed along to us. Pass along our experience---if they care to have it.

cheers,
Karl

User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 7938
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: pp. 8-10 Bill's Story (Bill gets a visit)

Post by ann2 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:12 pm

Yeah, but don't get too demanding about the prospect showing his or her appreciation for what you do :-) Look at Bill, he was not blown away by the wonderful news Ebby brought. Yet, Ebby planted a seed that came to beautiful fruition . . . .

So, I just say what's on my heart. I pass it along. It doesn't really matter if the person is listening or not, because frankly I mostly don't want to listen to the majority of what they have to tell me, the negativity, the self-pity, the rationalizations. Just talk about the amazing gift that I've been given, and I'm so grateful.

Whether they laugh, spit in my face, or toast me with their next drink doesn't matter. Not that I'm proseltyzing, but my higher power and theirs brought us together, must be something that should be taking place :-)

And don't forget, we're part of a team here. I may say something that hooks up with what another member says a few months or a few years from now, and ding! the penny drops. Or I could just be part of the whole peer pressure thing and the prospect decides to give it a try to be part of the group. I don't care how it works, but I want to be part of it.

Because to tell you the truth my sobriety depends on it. Not exactly giving it away to keep it, but letting that insight and energy go through me -- it has a starting point that's not me, but it has to have a direction that is not me too.

I'm a selfish alcoholic -- I know there are altruistic ones, and bless you all -- but I do this for my own recovery.

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

User avatar
leejosepho
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1885
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:55 am
Location: 200 miles south of Little Rock
Contact:

Re: pp. 8-10 Bill's Story (Bill gets a visit)

Post by leejosepho » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:41 am

With alcohol never being blamed for anything, we have been seeing what alcohol had been doing *for* Bill ...

"I was part of life at last, and in the midst of the excitement I discovered liquor ...
"My judgment and ideas were followed by many to the tune of paper millions ...
"But drinking caught up with me again and ... we stayed broke.
"Should I kill myself? No ... two bottles, and - oblivion ...
"My weary and despairing wife ... would soon have to give me over to the undertaker or the asylum ...
"I wondered whether I dared hide a full bottle of gin near the head of our bed. I would need it before daylight."

And now while Bill is still clinging to the only relief or "power" -- his "alloy of drink and speculation" -- he had ever known in life ...
My musing was interrupted by the telephone. The cheery voice of an old school friend asked if he might come over. He was sober ...

I pushed a drink across the table ...

He had come to pass his experience along to me - if I cared to have it. I was shocked, but interested. Certainly I was interested. I had to be, for I was hopeless.
Bill seemed to know death was not far away, but now he has just seen and has heard from a known alcoholic who is sober. That same simple word is the one that had grabbed my own attention in October of '81: sober. However:

"For those who are unable to drink moderately the question is how to stop altogether. We are assuming, of course, that the reader desires to stop. Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not. Many of us felt that we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it - this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish." (page 34, emphasis and italic added)

"... the question is how to stop altogether ...
"... the reader desires to stop ...
"... already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not ...
"... the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it ... no matter how great the necessity or the wish."

"Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power." (page 43)
=======================
"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)
=======================

Post Reply