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“I just love my grog,” admitted the fifty-five-year-old proctologist that May evening in 1935, seated in the library of the gatehouse of Henrietta Seiberling in Akron Ohio. That comment followed hard upon his listener’s narration of two decades of alcoholic debauchery in the northeast, his finding a new God during treatment in the Towns Hospital in New York City, and his five months of sobriety. Hope flash-fired their spirits: the doctor’s identification with another alcoholic and the discovery of a way out; the latter’s need for the drunk’s story to remain sober.

From this simple encounter between Dr. Bob and Bill W. emerged the worldwide organization of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Recovering alcoholics, sipping coffee and sitting in church basements, continue interfacing their unruly instincts with the 12 Steps, amidst laughter and occasional tears. Stories abound. Outside of meetings, work with sponsors fine-tunes this conversion process.

Such rigorous honesty and humility effect psychic changes within alcoholics, previously mired down by the evil of their disease. Frowns, steeled jaws, and tense shoulders, evidence of spirit-bondage, give way to lightness and mirth. Joy of living in the fourth dimension with a Higher Power facilitates engagement with their lives, usually for the first time. They are reborn.

Years pass, yet sobriety deepens. Issues of health, loss of significant others, retirement, and finance continue refining the lightsome spirits of those sharing around the tables of AA. Having already escaped the spiritual death of alcoholism, the diminishment of their bodies is not that all troublesome. Many even embrace their last years with laughter and introduce themselves as grateful recovering alcoholics!

They’ve found a way out!


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