1 Chapter 11A VISION FOR YOU For mostnormal folks, drinking means convivi-ality, companionship and colorful means release from care, boredom and worry. It isjoyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life isgood. But not so with us in those last days of heavydrinking. The old pleasures were gone. They werebut memories. Never could we recapture the greatmoments of the past. There was an insistent yearningto enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obses-sion that some new miracle of control would enable usto do it. There was always one more attempt andone more less people tolerated us, the more we withdrewfrom society, from life itself. As we became subjectsofKing Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm,the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down.
2 Itthickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us soughtout sordid places, hoping to find understanding com-panionship and approval. Momentarily we did thenwould come oblivion and the awful awakening to facethe hideous Four Horsemen Terror, Bewilderment,Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read thispage will understand!Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at themoment says, I don t miss it at all. Feel better. Workbetter. Having a better time. As ex-problem 8/13/07 10:55 AM Page 151 ers, we smile at such a sally. We know our friend islike a boy whistling in the dark to keep up his fools himself. Inwardly he would give anything totake half a dozen drinks and get away with them.
3 Hewill presently try the old game again, for he isn thappy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life with-out alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imaginelife either with alcohol or without it. Then he willknow loneliness such as few do. He will be at thejumping-off place. He will wish for the have shown how we got out from under. Yousay, Yes, I m willing. But am I to be consigned to alife where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, likesome righteous people I see? I know I must get alongwithout liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficientsubstitute? Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more thanthat. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics you will find release from care, boredom andworry.
4 Your imagination will be fired. Life will meansomething at last. The most satisfactory years of yourexistence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, andso will you. How is that to come about? you ask. Where amI to find these people? You are going to meet these new friends in your owncommunity. Near you, alcoholics are dying helplesslylike people in a sinking ship. If you live in a largeplace, there are hundreds. High and low, rich andpoor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anony-mous. Among them you will make lifelong will be bound to them with new and wonderfulties, for you will escape disaster together and you will152 ALCOHOLICS 8/13/07 10:55 AM Page 152 commence shoulder to shoulder your common you will know what it means to give of yourselfthat others may survive and rediscover life.
5 You willlearn the full meaning of Love thy neighbor as thy-self. It may seem incredible that these men are to be-come happy, respected, and useful once more. Howcan they rise out of such misery, bad repute and hope-lessness? The practical answer is that since thesethings have happened among us, they can happenwith you. Should you wish them above all else, andbewilling to make use of our experience, we are surethey will come. The age of miracles is still with own recovery proves that!Our hope is that when this chip of a book islaunched on the world tide of alcoholism, defeateddrinkers will seize upon it, to follow its , we are sure, will rise to their feet and marchon. They will approach still other sick ones andfellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous may spring upineach city and hamlet, havens for those who mustfind a way the chapter Working With Others you gatheredan idea of how we approach and aid others to now that through you several families haveadopted this way of life.
6 You will want to know moreof how to proceed from that point. Perhaps the bestway of treating you to a glimpse of your future will beto describe the growth of the fellowship among is a brief account:Years ago, in 1935, one of our number made ajourney to a certain western city. From a businessstandpoint, his trip came off badly. Had he been suc-A VISION FOR 8/13/07 10:55 AM Page 153 cessful in his enterprise, he would have been set onhis feet financially which, at the time, seemed vitallyimportant. But his venture wound up in a law suit andbogged down completely. The proceeding was shotthrough with much hard feeling and discouraged, he found himself in a strangeplace, discredited and almost broke.
7 Still physicallyweak, and sober but a few months, he saw that hispredicament was dangerous. He wanted so much totalk with someone, but whom?One dismal afternoon he paced a hotel lobby won-dering how his bill was to be paid. At one end of theroom stood a glass covered directory of local the lobby a door opened into an attractive could see the gay crowd inside. In there he wouldfind companionship and release. Unless he took somedrinks, he might not have the courage to scrape anacquaintance and would have a lonely course he couldn t drink, but why not sit hope-fully at a table, a bottle of ginger ale before him?After all, had he not been sober six months now? Per-haps he could handle, say, three drinks no more!
8 Feargripped him. He was on thin ice. Again it was theold,insidious insanity that first drink. With a shiver,he turned away and walked down the lobby to thechurch directory. Music and gay chatter still floatedto him from the what about his responsibilities his family andthe men who would die because they would not knowhow to get well, ah yes, those other alcoholics?There must be many such in this town. He wouldphone a clergyman. His sanity returned and he thanked154 ALCOHOLICS 8/13/07 10:55 AM Page 154 God. Selecting a church at random from the directory,he stepped into a booth and lifted the call to the clergyman led him presently to acertain resident of the town, who, though formerlyable and respected, was then nearing the nadir ofalcoholic despair.
9 It was the usual situation: home injeopardy, wife ill, children distracted, bills in arrearsand standing damaged. He had a desperate desire tostop, but saw no way out, for he had earnestly triedmany avenues of escape. Painfully aware of beingsomehow abnormal, the man did not fully realizewhatit meant to be alcoholic.*When our friend related his experience, the managreed that no amount of will power he might mustercould stop his drinking for long. A spiritual experi-ence, he conceded, was absolutely necessary, but theprice seemed high upon the basis suggested. He toldhow he lived in constant worry about those who mightfind out about his alcoholism. He had, of course, thefamiliar alcoholic obsession that few knew of his drink-ing.
10 Why, he argued, should he lose the remainderof his business, only to bring still more suffering tohis family by foolishly admitting his plight to peoplefrom whom he made his livelihood? He would doanything, he said, but intrigued, however, he invited our friend tohis home. Some time later, and just as he thought hewas getting control of his liquor situation, he went ona roaring bender. For him, this was the spree thatended all sprees. He saw that he would have to faceA VISION FOR YOU155*This refers to Bill s first visit with Dr. Bob. These men later be-came co-founders of Bill s story opens the text of this book; s heads the Story 8/13/07 10:55 AM Page 155 his problems squarely that God might give morning he took the bull by the horns and setout to tell those he feared what his trouble had found himself surprisingly well received, andlearned that many knew of his drinking.