23 August 2007
A Night of Celebration
I received my 15-year medallion tonight from The Rock during the 38th Anniversary of my regular Thursday night group. About 80 people showed up, 4 times the normal attendance. One of those 80 was Diego, who went on a two-week vacation in early July and hadn't been heard from since, despite a number of us making many calls to him. He now has two days sobriety and had the least time of anyone.
The speaker was Abbott, with 45 years of continuous sobriety—the most of anyone. Several things in his story struck me.
Early on in 1962, he was taken across the river and, on the way, told he was going to speak at the meeting.
"No," he protested, "I've only got six weeks!"
"Don't worry about it," he was told.
"Look, I'm so new I can barely figure out what I'm thinking at any given moment!"
"It'll be okay."
"No, I've got nothing to say! I'll be done in two minutes."
"Look kid," they finally said. "It's easy. All ya gotta do is talk and talk and talk and talk. If you hear yourself saying something you don't like, just don't say it next time. It's all lies anyway."
He talked about a time when he drove to the VFW for a night of drinking. Early in the morning he had come to, but the place was deserted. Finding it strange that no one was there, he went outside to see only two cars in the parking lot. Both were his. Apparently he had gotten so drunk, someone had driven him home. He had simply gotten in his other car and driven back.
He once met and heard Bill W.'s friend whom he call "Jim" who, as described on pp. 35-37 of the Big Book, found himself working for the concern he used to own and who had the insane idea that he could mix an ounce whiskey with his milk without being hurt. Only Abbott called him "Fred." I wonder if that was his real name? Anyway, I'm awed by these old-timers who actually knew the people talked about in the Big Book (one of my ambitions is to try to figure out who each person referred to really was and compile a list).
He closed by saying, "When I'm right with God, I can be right with myself. And when I'm right with myself, I can be right with you." I like that.