Aa history Lovers 2004 moderators Nancy Olson and Glenn F. Chesnut page

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AA History Lovers 2004 — moderators Nancy Olson and Glenn F. Chesnut — page

AA History Lovers

Messages 1575-2117

moderated by

Nancy Olson

September 18, 1929 – March 25, 2005
Glenn F. Chesnut

June 28, 1939 –

++++Message 1575. . . . . . . . . . . . Significant January Dates in A.A.


From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/1/2004 4:07:00 AM
Happy New Year to all 795 AA History Lovers. By popular demand, I am

resuming sending the monthly significant dates in A.A. history.

January 1:
1946: The A.A. Grapevine increased the cost of a year's subscription to

1948: "Columbus Dispatch" reported first anniversary of Central Ohio A.A.

1948: First A.A. meeting was held in Japan, English speaking.
1988: West Virginia A.A. began first statewide toll-free telephone hotline.
January 2:
1889: Bridget Della Mary Gavin (Sister Ignatia) was born in Ireland.
2003: Mid-Southern California Archives moved to new location in Riverside.
January 3:
1939: First sale of Works Publishing Co. stock was recorded.
1941: Jack Alexander told Bill Wilson the Oxford Group would be in his

Saturday Evening Post article on A.A.

January 4:
1939: Dr. Bob stated in a letter to Ruth Hock that A.A. had to get away from

the Oxford Group atmosphere.

1940: First A.A. group was founded in Detroit, Michigan.
1941: Bill and Lois Wilson drove to Bedford Hills, NY, to see Stepping

Stones and broke in through an unlocked window.

January 5:
1941: Bill and Lois visited Bedford Hills again.
1941: Bill Wilson told Jack Alexander that Jack was "the toast of A.A. -- in

Coca Cola, of course."

January 6:
2000: Stephen Poe, compiler of the Concordance to Alcoholics Anonymous,

January 8:

1938: New York A.A. split from the Oxford Group.
January 12:
1943: Press reported the first A.A. group in Pontiac, Michigan.
January 13:
1988: Jack Norris, M.D., Chairman/Trustees of A.A. for 27 yrs. died.
2003: Dr. Earle Marsh, author of "Physician Heal Thyself," sober 49 years,

January 15:

1941: A.A. Bulletin No. 2 reported St. Louis group had ten members.
1941: Bill Wilson asked Ruth Hock to get him "spook book," "The Unobstructed


1945: First A.A. meeting held in Springfield, Missouri.
1948: Polk Health Center Alcoholic Clinic for Negroes started operations

with 14 willing subjects. The Washington Black Group of A.A. cooperated with

the clinic.
January 17:
1919: 18th amendment, "Prohibition," became law.
January 19:
1940: First A.A. group met in Detroit, Mich.
1943: Canadian newspaper reported eight men met at "Little Denmark," a

Toronto restaurant, to discuss starting Canada's first A.A. group.

1999: Frank M., A.A. Archivist since 1983, died.
January 20:
1954: Hank Parkhurst, author of "The Unbeliever" in the first edition of the

Big Book, died in Pennington, NJ.

January 21:
1951: A.A. Grapevine published memorial issue on Dr. Bob.
January 23:
1961: Bill W. sent an appreciation letter, which he considered long-overdue,

to Dr. Carl Jung for his contribution to A.A.

January 24:
1918: Bill Wilson and Lois Burnham were married, days before he was sent to

Europe in WW I.

1971: Bill Wilson died in Miami, Florida, only weeks after sending a

postcard to Senator Harold Hughes of Iowa, saying he wanted to live long

enough to see Hughes become President.
January 25:
1915: Dr. Bob Smith married Anne Ripley.
January 26:
1971: New York Times published Bill's obituary on page 1.
January 27:
1971: The Washington Post published an obituary of Bill Wilson written by

Donald Graham, son of the owner of the Washington Post.

January 30:
1961: Dr. Carl Jung answers Bill's letter with "Spiritus Contra Spiritum."
Other significant things that happened in January (no specific date


1938: Jim Burwell, author of "The Vicious Cycle," a former atheist, gave

A.A. "God as we understand Him."

1940: First AA meeting not in a home meets at Kings School, Akron, Ohio.
1942: "Drunks are Square Pegs" was published.
1951: The A.A. Grapevine published a memorial issue on Dr. Bob.
1984: "Pass It On," the story of Bill W. and how the A.A. message reached

the world, was published.

++++Message 1576. . . . . . . . . . . . Wynn L. Freedom From Bondage

From: jeffrey4200 . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/1/2004 2:42:00 PM

She married and divorced four times before finding A.A. The first

time she married for financial security; her second husband was a

prominent bandleader and she sang with his band;
I wanted to know if anyone know the name of the band she sang with

or the bandleaders name. If you have any information please let me


Thank you

Jeffrey Nilsen
++++Message 1577. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Question On When Districts


From: gratitude . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/1/2004 6:34:00 PM
Hello AAHLs,
Just so happens there's an article in BOX 459 that speaks about the

district and how it relates to the DCM (the DCMC in larger districts).

Please see quote below:
"The term 'district'' was mentioned during early General Service

Conferences, and both 'district'' and 'district committee member' were

used informally in the 1950s. The term 'district' was included in the

1955 draft of The Third Legacy Manual of World Service (now titled The

A.A. Service Manual) and 20 years later was formalized in a 1975

supplement to The Service Manual.

"In today's Service Manual a district is clearly defined as 'a

geographical unit containing the right number of groups -- right in

terms of the D.C.M.'s ability to keep in frequent touch with them, to

learn their problems, and to find ways to contribute to their growth.

In most areas a district includes six to 20 groups. In metropolitan

districts the number is generally 15 to 20, while in rural or suburban

districts it can be as small as five.' (To encourage maximum group

participation, some areas have incorporated linguistic districts. These

usually have a bilingual D.C.M. or liaison, and their boundaries may be

independent of the conventional geographic district boundaries.)"

Phil L.
Outgoing DCMC Distric 4 - Long Beach

of Purpose Workshop - March 21

Arthur wrote:
Hi History Lovers
Can anyone help me pin

down the year that Districts started

and the General Service Structure position of District Committee Member


was established?
I would dearly like to

find out in what year the Third

Legacy Manual defined Districts and DCMs. My guess is the early 1960's

but that is only a guess.

The earliest reference to

'district'' I can find

in Conference advisory actions is a 1966 action for a glossary to be

added to

the Service Manual. There is a 1956 advisory action that uses the term

'district'' but it seems more in the context of what would make up

an Area rather than a District.
Any help or citations

from written references would be most

++++Message 1578. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine Clip Sheet, Feb. ''48

From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/2/2004 4:35:00 AM

Grapevine, Feb. '48
[Note: There was no clip sheet column for Dec. '47 or Jan. '48.]
The Clip Sheet
Excerpts from the Public Press
Boston, Mass., "Post": "Guernsey Island in the English Channel has an

effective way of handling topers. It still retains its ancient custom of

blacklisting alcoholics, in the hope of reforming them. A member of the

tippler's family applies to the court, which issues an official order that

no one is to sell him liquor thereafter, and to put teeth into the ruling

the court orders a police photo of the offender to be posted in every bar.

In England in the days of Oliver Cromwell drunkards were punished by being

forced to walk around in a barrel with their heads protruding from the top

and their arms dangling on the sides through holes. It has been suggested

that this custom may be the origin of the term 'pickled.'

"The ancient Romans used an 'aversion therapy' that is not unlike certain

modern methods in use. Chronic alcoholics had to drink wine in which live

eels were swimming, on the theory that this would create excessive disgust.
"The word teetotaler, by the way, stems from the French 'the-a-toute a

1'heure,' which means literally 'tea in a little while.'

"Alexander the Great would have lived longer if he had squeezed less grapes.

He was a prodigious drinker, one of the mightiest, in fact, of his era. But

he carried the crock to the spigot once too often. After two nights of

guzzling he drained the so-called Hercules cup, which was the equivalent of

six bottles of wine. He never awoke."
++++Message 1579. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine Clip Shee, March ''48

From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/3/2004 6:04:00 AM

Grapevine, March '48
Clip Sheet - - Items of Interest from the Public Press
"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette": "Vicious Den of Pinochle Players Unmasked: VICE

RAIDERS CRASH A.A. PARTY -- Police Snoopers Smash into Roomful of

Ex-Drinkers Quietly Whooping It Up for Abstinence -- It was the members of a

police squad who wanted to be anonymous and not the Alcoholics, after an

incident Saturday night which left the four raiders red-faced and

sputtering. As you might or might not know, Alcoholics Anonymous is a group

of persons whose purpose is to rehabilitate tipplers. Saturday night is

usually the thirstiest night of the week for a drinker and, in an effort to

get him 'over the knuckle,' as they say, the A.A.s sponsor a little social

every Saturday eve for members and wives. This social consists of card games

such as bridge, pinochle, '500' and other amusements such as bingo. Everyone

pitches in for the sandwiches and coffee, and a good, dry time is had by

all. Such was the situation Saturday night on the second floor at 3701 Fifth

Avenue where the A.A.s were laughing it up to the tune of 'nine under the B'

and 'four no trump' when there came a knocking at the door. It was the kind

of bold, hard knock that settled silence over the 100 or so persons gathered

in the recreation room. An anonymous member opened the door, and a

broad-shouldered man shouldered his way into the room, flashed a badge, and

blustered: 'What's going on in here? We've had a complaint about this

place.' Three other policemany-looking men followed him and surveyed the

soiree with steely eyes. It was explained that this was a harmless

Alcoholics Anonymous social and they were welcome to join in the card games

if they didn't mind not playing for stakes. The four men clutched their

hats, muttered something about 'we must have made a mistake,' slowly backed

out of the door and tiptoed away. Some of the A.A. members claimed at least

two of the raiders were members of Lieutenant Lawrence Maloney's vice squad.

This, however, the lieutenant denied, declaring that all members of his

squad were with him on other business Saturday night."

Sydney (Australia) "Sun," January 1: "Sydney Women Alcoholics in New Group.

Inaugural meeting of a women's group of Alcoholics Anonymous, first of its

kind in Australia, will be held in Sydney on January 14. The meeting is open

to any woman with an alcoholic problem and no other visitors will be

permitted. ... This society of mutual aid is expanding rapidly in Australia.

Alcoholics Anonymous is nonsectarian and non-political. A.A. is so busy

applying its principles to alcoholic sufferers that it has no place for

arguments about creeds or politics."

Sydney "Sun." January 16: "Women Alcoholics Urge Special Clinic. 'Many women

have experienced mental hospital treatment when recognition of their malady

as a public health problem would have been more humane,' said a spokesman of

Alcoholics Anonymous Inter-Group today. 'We know alcoholism as a disease. In

most cases, proper place for treatment is in a public hospital or alcoholic

clinic. ... Because no hospital or clinic exists, many alcoholics are forced

into institutions and gaols where no treatment for their disease is given.'"
Santa Rosa (Calif.) "Press Democrat": "There was a contribution to Santa

Rosa's Memorial Hospital Fund last week that is, perhaps, one of the most

unusual to date. It was a $1,600 donation. There have been others larger,

others smaller, but none with a more dramatic story behind it. The

contribution is money that might have been wasted, and came from men whose

lives, too, might have been wasted. It came from the Santa Rosa Chapter of

Alcoholics Anonymous. It is the grateful contribution of former alcoholics

now devoting their efforts to aid other victims of alcoholism, including

some now successful businessmen for whom A.A. provided a turning point in

life. ... The substantial hospital contribution is too significant to pass

unnoticed, and calls for some recognition of the role A.A. has been playing

in rebuilding lives right here in our community, lives that faced ruin as a

result of the disease of alcoholism. The local group was established October

9, 1945, with six members. ... There is now a membership of 75, but over 100

have been benefited during the past two years. ... The need for

hospitalization and medical attention is critical in a great many cases.

Since alcoholism is recognized as a disease, the medical profession, the

psychiatrists, courts and the hospitals are cooperating with A.A. in every

way possible. But the A.A. here recognizes the need for an adequate hospital

in Santa Rosa, and is doing its share to get one -- doing it with money that

cured alcoholics might have wasted had it not been for Alcoholics


Elmira (N. Y.) "Advertiser": "It is a great privilege to attend a meeting of

this wonderful group which has found the way to bring peace and sobriety to

so many hundreds of sick and troubled folks. Its method is simple and

direct. It works for the proud and the humble, the rich and the poor --

works because an alcoholic of any estate is the suffering blood brother of

every other man or woman who has passed beyond the border into the land

where drinking is a thief that steals away family and friends and respect

and money and health and mind and finally life itself -- does all that and

more unless by some miracle he can find the way not to take the drink that

numbs and dooms him."

New York "Herald Tribune": "TOWN'S 80 TOPERS EXILED FROM BARS. Five Women in

Group Facing 90-Day Discipline -- Bedford, Pa. (UP) Drinks were shut off

today for five women and 75 men of "known intemperate habits" in this

mountain community of 3,500. The ban was put into effect through

resurrection of a nearly forgotten state law forbidding sale of liquor to

persons of such habits. Proprietors of each of the 11 bars in the town were

ordered to post in a prominent place lists containing the names of the 80

drinkers in the police department's 'doghouse.' The lists will be brought up

to date every 90 days. If any of the wayward drinkers shows improved habits

their names will be removed. Assistant Police Chief H. A. Clark said: 'We

just decided we'd put up with these people long enough. If we had to help

them home every night, it was a nuisance. If we brought them in and fined

them, we were taking bread out of their wives' and children's mouths. This

will work better.' "

Brewton (Ala.) Standard": "If there were any who might have gone to the

meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous which was held here recently in order to

scoff, we are quite sure that they remained to offer prayerful thanks for an

organization that is doing such a wonderful piece of work. Most of us are

inclined to look on a man or women who is a victim of the alcohol habit as

just another sot. But the A.A.s will soon convince you otherwise. While the

disease is incurable, it can be arrested through the own efforts of the

victim and with the help of his friends, so the A.A.s say. And they not only

say it, they demonstrate it by their own experience. One remarkable thing

about Alcoholics Anonymous is that it is not a crusading organization. It

solicits no members and does not impose itself on any alcoholic who does not

first request help. And therein, in our judgment, lies its greatest

strength. It does not presume to interfere with the personal rights, and

liberties of any person to consume as much alcohol as he chooses. But it

does offer to that person who seeks aid in his problem what seems to be the

greatest 'cure' for drinking that has ever been devised. The word 'cure' as

we have used it here is ours -- not that of the A.A.s. They make no claim

that their philosophy can cure alcoholism. ... The inspiring thing about the

organization is the spiritual rebirth that appears to take place in those

who adopt the philosophy which it teaches."

++++Message 1580. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine Clip Sheet, April ''48

From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/4/2004 2:03:00 AM

Grapevine, April '48
THE CLIPSHEET -Excerpts from the Public Press
Alliance, Neb., "Times & Herald": "Worn and haggard police officers who

wonder what will happen next on Saturday nights will be very much interested

in a classification of drunks as outlined by a New Jersey police chief some

time ago.

"Police have met most of the following engaging characters and if not, they

will be glad to be on the lookout for the types they haven't yet had the

displeasure to meet.
"Here are the different classifications of persons who have swilled too much

C2-H5-OH in one form or another:

"Alias Joe Louis

"1. The fighting drunk -- gets nasty after a few drinks and wants to fight

anyone he sees, male or female.
"2. The religious drunk -- heads for the nearest church and drops off to

sleep. (This species is comparatively rare in Alliance.)

"3. The leaning drunk -- is reluctant to move and wants to lean on the

nearest upright solid substance, whether it is the policeman, a fellow

pedestrian, lamp post or a plain wall.
"4. The crying drunk -- this obnoxious person carries a good part of the

community's alcohol in his system and a large part of the woes of the world

on his heaving shoulders.
"Unsweet Adeline"
"5. The singing drunk -- here's the person who after a few bottles or drinks

is convinced he can make Tibbett look and sound like a chump. Flats where he

should sharp.
"6. The suspicious drunk -- he's convinced that the police or his companions

or both, are trying to railroad him into some asylum or jail, where he

rightly should be, by the way.
"7. The wife-beating drunk -- this character is usually a small man mentally

and physically and would not engage in a fight with a 7-year-old boy without

the false courage of a bottle. When he drinks he wants to lambaste somebody,

usually his ever-suffering wife.

"8. The running drunk -- this guy is always in a hurry. He goes crabwise

down the street, usually in search of another shot.

"The Big Gesture

"9. The generous drunk -- this slaphappy person is tighter than Jack Benny

with a nickel until he drinks too much and then he makes a fool of himself

by going around waving fistfulls of bills at everybody. It's usually the

money to pay off an old telephone bill.
"10. The loving drunk -- he always wants to kiss every woman in sight except

his own wife.

"11. The talking drunk -- tells interminable stories, invariably about

himself. None of the yarns has any point or interest.

"12. The important drunk -- this is the person who wants to dominate

everybody around him and who is filled with yarns about all the big shots he

"This unsavory crew are all well known to most policemen. The average

citizen meets them once in a while. They make up 12 good arguments for

Alcoholics Anonymous. Because they aren't.
"VA Recommends A.A.

"Newsweek": Even the harassed doctors, long used to sobering up

lost-week-end revelers, had never seen anything like it. From Friday to

Monday, drunken veterans reeled into Veterans Administration hospitals

demanding the cure.
"Of the thousands who applied, about 10,000 veterans were treated for

alcoholism in 1947, as compared with 6,459 in 1946 and 3,529 in 1945.

"Although tests showed that almost none of the alcoholics had

service-connected disabilities or appeared to be suffering from alcoholism

because of service connections, alarmed relatives, energetic local

politicians, and veterans' organizations insisted that they be cared for in

the already overcrowded VA hospitals.
"Boozers: In exasperation, authorities finally made a nationwide survey

among the VA hospitals. Last week Dr. Harvey Tompkins, assistant chief of

the neuro-psychiatric division, gave Newsweek these facts:
"Two-thirds of the veteran cases are 'pure, uncomplicated alcoholism,' with

no evidence of mental illness. The others have accompanying mental or

emotional ailments ranging from manic-depressive psychoses to less serious

psychoneuroses. More than 10 per cent of all VA neuropsychiatric cases are

alcoholics. (Inexplicably, the Southeast and Southwest account for more than

half the alcoholic patients.)

"The Veterans Administration has no specific treatment for alcoholism. In

some instances it takes weeks, and in others months or years, to curb the

craving for drink. VA doctors have tried insulin injections, forced vomiting

to make the men "rum-sick," and group psychotherapy -- but with very little

"In some hospitals, Dr. Tompkins said, 'as few as 10 per cent of the

patients show themselves amenable to treatment at all.' The great majority

entering the hospital with uncomplicated alcoholism merely stay long enough

to sober up and then demand release.

"A.A. Aid: For the veteran who wants to recover, VA doctors recommend

Alcoholics Anonymous help as the best course. Nearly all VA institutions

have made a working arrangement with this group, providing space in the

hospitals for A.A. meetings and personal interviews with the patients. In

turn, many cured veterans become A.A. crusaders and work in the wards on new

"Night Club Now A.A.

Des Moines, Iowa, "Register": Babe's nightclub in downtown Des Moines, under

padlock as a liquor nuisance since Oct. 29, was taken over Wednesday by the

Des Moines chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous as a clubroom.
"District Judge Loy Ladd, who had ordered the place padlocked, required the

A.A. group to post a bond guaranteeing that no liquor will be brought on the

"'I am granting this application because I feel that this particular group

(Alcoholics Anonymous) is one of the best organizations for suppression of

intemperance in existence today,' Judge Ladd said.
"'In Des Moines they have proven themselves successful in curbing and curing

alcoholics,' he said.

"Sentenced to A.A."
Westport, Conn., "Herald": A sentence was imposed in Town Court this week by

Judge Leo Nevas that deserves more than local attention.

"A chronic alcoholic who is a solitary drinker was before the bench. Such

cases have been there before, leaving the judge and prosecutor worried

because the state has no hospital to which the habitual drunkard can be sent

for treatment. Although medicine and jurisprudence are today looking upon

these cases as sick people rather than as only inebriates, nothing official

has been done to cure them.

"The court cannot overlook the offenses when the drinkers become public

nuisances, which the case of this week definitely is. But fines do no good

and jail sentences too often aggravate the mental illness which makes a man

or woman a drunkard. What can the court do? Judge Nevas decided. He imposed

a jail sentence but suspended it on certain conditions. These conditions are

what make his decision important.

"The drunkard, he ordered, must once more become a member of Alcoholic

Anonymous. She must report to the Yale Clinic for treatment. She must keep

in close contact with her own physician. She must report to the probation

officer weekly. Should she fail to do these things she must go to jail even

though Judge Nevas knows well that a term there will do her no good unless

it should frighten her to do the things he has ordered.

"This sentence was imposed in the hope that the woman wants to help herself.

If she doesn't, none of the suggestions will help. Alcoholics Anonymous,

with its increasing record of aid to drinkers, can accomplish nothing

without the determined cooperation of the patient. It is unlikely that the

Yale Clinic can help those who refuse to help themselves.
"Judge Nevas, however, was willing to believe the woman's insistence that

she did not want to drink and would do anything to stop the habit. If she

really means that, the clinic will probably turn her back to society

completely cured.

"This is a little court but into it can come problems of great importance,

and this was one of them. Other courts might well emulate the example set by

Judge Nevas. Other courts, too, might well watch how this case turns out. It

should be of interest to everyone.

"And the case plus the decision emphasizes anew the need for a

state-operated clinic in Fairfield County set up properly for the treatment

of habitual drunkards. There seems to be no other way to help them.
"De-Smartize" Drink

Boston, Mass., "Boston University News": "Our culture is too tolerant of

drunkards of either sex," claims Dr. Herbert D. Lamson, Professor of


"Commenting on the proposed Massachusetts law to control the sale of

alcoholics to women 'barflies,' Dr. Lamson argues that 'the alcoholic

problem should be controlled for both sexes. A law which differentiates

cannot be a far-reaching measure nor can it touch the basic problem.

"'We must de-smartize the drink. We have been sold a bill of goods that it's

smart to consume liquor by persons who have profit motive at stake. Profits

in the industry are great,' continued the sociology expert. 'Alcoholism

plays a great role in family disintegration, and society must face its

"As an alternative program to laws, Prof. Lamson suggests preventive

methods. Alcoholics Anonymous is now in the first stages of the curative

method, but a preventive approach must be begun in schools with health and

alcoholic education, commencing in the grade school and varying at different

school levels.
"'We must have institutions for alcoholics, and not throw them in jail. Jail

isn't helping them solve their problem,' says the doctor. 'Provide

recreational facilities, hobby centers, and athletic contests as outlets for

escape,' concludes Dr. Lamson, 'and it will do more than any patch-work laws

can possibly do.'"
++++Message 1581. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, June ''44, Mail Call for

the Armed Forces

From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/5/2004 4:33:00 AM
This new series comes to us courtesy of Tony C.
Grapevine, June '44
Mail Call for All A.A.'s in the Armed Forces
When the idea of bringing out a New York Metropolitan A. A. paper was

conceived, one of the first thoughts was that it might prove particularly

helpful to our members in the Service. If anyone doubts what such a paper

can mean to these men, here, we think, is the answer. Corporal Hugh B., now

in England, had no knowledge of
our project when he wrote one to us recently: "Your letter of ten days ago

was much appreciated and was one of the most newsy A.A. letters I have

received. Certainly was interesting to hear about the boys and gals all over

the world. Made me think that we should have a monthly publication. Think it

The records kept by our Central Office show approximately 300 A.A. members

now in Service, with some 40 coming from the New York area and belonging to

various Metropolitan Groups. These figures, due to constant changes, are

probably not complete. Of the New York crowd, the files indicate 26 are in

the Army, 9 in the
Navy, and 5 scattered between the Merchant Marine and other auxiliary

services. Eleven are known to be commissioned officers and the remainder are

serving in the ranks.
These men, and in a few cases women, are as a rule cut off rather abruptly

from any direct contacts with the Groups and are often subject to disturbing

new influences and unusual temptations to take that fatal first drink. They,

it would seem, face a harder battle in their recovery than most of us,

benefiting, as many of us do, from almost daily association with our fellow

members. Yet frequently they come through unscathed! We would like to give

you a few examples of their clear thinking along A. A. principles:
A Navy lieutenant (j.g), who joined A.A. over two years ago, wrote us

recently from a South Pacific Island: "Your mention of John N. [an A.A. of

even longer standing, now a lieutenant in the Army. Ed.] caused me to

investigate. He was evacuated for stomach trouble two days before I looked

him up and for four months he had been only half a mile from my camp. Such

is life!" [Both these men have had fine records of sobriety with A.A. and

have now seen considerable service at an advanced base. What an A.A. meeting

that would have been. Ed.]

In December, John N., the Army lieutenant, had written: "We have arrived at

a New Island and are set up in a coconut grove. Your letter was most

welcome. How often these days I think of the fine times I had in A.A. and

the wonderful people I have met. The whole thing means an awful lot to me

and I thank God for being allowed to be a part of it. My work is interesting

but hectic but I have really improved on the 'Easy Does It' department. I

know who to thank for that too. So Flushing has a separate group now. That

is wonderful!"

Again we quote our naval correspondent: "I should like to address an A.A.

gathering now, as I have a perspective that few get the opportunity to

enjoy, having been completely apart from the Group for nearly a year, and it

is easy to see the fundamentals closely, and determine the main factors -- I

think even more closely than
when one is steeped in A. A. work with daily contact. It is easier to see

how the program works into every day normal life too."

Once more, from Bob H., now an Army sergeant overseas, written last

Thanksgiving Day: "When I think of myself just eighteen months ago, I

realize, too, just how much I have to be thankful for. I've been more

fortunate than most -- maybe someday I'll feel I've earned my breaks. I

should hate to have anything happen to me now, before I have a chance to do

something, however small, worth-while with my life." [This man had worried

about not getting the spiritual side of the program. Ed.]
"'Off Again, On Again Finnegan' has a new lot of loyal rooters: the 'You're

In--You're Out' Selective Service inductees, aged twenty-six to

"For the past six months, on alternate Tuesdays, the Home Editions of the

paper you read had us in the Army or Navy 'within a month,' but by Seven

Star Final time, one of the two Washington authorities (the one who hadn't

had a press interview earlier in the day) was quoted as saying that men over

twenty-six would probably not be called 'until later in the year.' And so it

goes, and so we go -- crazy!

"But wait: Easy Does It. How thankful I've been for having that little

'punch-line' pounded into my daily living. To me, that's a first 'first

step.' It keeps me from jumping to conclusions, making snap judgments,

becoming excited or irritated over the way things 'seem' to be. It cautions

me to cut my pace, mentally, and make certain things are as they may seem.

It permits, above all, the serenity that comes, with reflection, as I repeat

the process of turning my will and my life over to the care of My Higher

Power. Does that sound simple? Or do you think I'm putting down one little

word after
another here because that's what our program tells me I should do? Well,

I'll tell you, if twelve months ago I had been riding the Selective Service

Merry-go-round (without A.A.) two things would have happened: (1) My wife

would have been relieved at the prospect of my being in service, preferably

in Timbuktu (if that's at the other end of the world); and (2) I would have

been a rip-roaring, hell-bent-for-another-drink, psychoneurotic alcoholic.

Today, I'm sober and not in service. Tomorrow, I may be in service, I don't

know. But I do know that tomorrow I'll be sober, through the Grace of God

and Alcoholics Anonymous. David R."
++++Message 1582. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, July ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces

From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/6/2004 3:13:00 AM

Grapevine, July '44
Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces
In our first issue we told of the near reunion on a South Pacific Island of

two veteran A.A. members, one a Navy, the other an Army, lieutenant. Our

Navy friend now writes: "Have been having a few A.A. reunions out here on my

own. Finally ran into John N., who has returned to this isle after an

absence of several months. We see each other frequently and reminisce about

the real old days. In addition to Johnny, I had a reunion with the master of

a Liberty ship which came in here a short while ago -- he was a member of

the Frisco group and out on the ship we just left the South Pacific and were

right back in the old atmosphere. Both of us agreed that without the Group,

neither would be here. Such reunions as these do wonders for people who have

been more or less completely cut off, and living in a world apart. Give my

best to all the old gang, and tell them to start those letters coming!"

[That closing sentence should give us pause for thought. Ed.]
The South Pacific lads are, it seems, our most prolific correspondents, and

the following recent letter from Navy Lieutenant Bob W. to a fellow-member

of a New Jersey Group contains so much sound A.A. philosophy that we are

quoting it, in as far as space permits, verbatim:

"Dear Tom: Life has been very full and interesting for the past few months.

I am still living the way you expect me to and if I was ever tempted I am

sure the memory of those who mean so much to me would intervene and put a

halt to such ideas. There are plenty of boys who aren't doing themselves any

good out here but it is quite easy to get a 'don't give a damn' attitude

when you're so far from any civilization. There will be more than ever for

us to do when this is over, Tom.
"News about the new groups is very interesting. Personally I think it is a

healthy sign. Every great philosophy of living, Christianity, Mohammedanism,

or what have you, has grown because the original leader has multiplied

himself by creating other strong leaders who in turn did the same thing.

Whether you conceive of A.A. in the category of a religion or not, it

certainly is a plan of life for those of us who need it and it will spread

only as fast as capable leaders develop to organize in such a way that it

will be accessible to as many as possible. Some are more effective

with certain types than others but there are all types who need the program.

You say you prefer the 'bottle drunks' and the Salvation Army bums. Someone

else wants to deal with 'dignified drunks,' whatever they are. The need for

this thing is far beyond the question of personalities but we still have to

remember that we and our prospects are human beings, so it behooves us to

present our merchandise as attractively as possible. If you work more

effectively with one kind, which is quite likely, and someone else does

better with another, I say full steam ahead on that basis. The underlying

need and the answer to it will remain the same and we will all be happier

because we will be doing our best work. Some of the groups will probably die

off if the leadership isn't there, but they will merge with stronger groups.
"I didn't mean to get going on that subject but I am enthusiastic about the

development. It seemed to me at times that the South Orange meetings were

getting so large as to be somewhat awesome to new members who were naturally

a little shy. One

of the most important holds on the new man is making him feel that he has a

real part in the scheme.

"When you get a chance, please give me the late news. You can do a lot of

good for your SOUTH SEAS BRANCH, you know. One of the extra dividends of

A.A. is that you get to know such damned fine people. Sincerely, Bob." [We,

too, wonder who the "dignified drunks" are and think it would be restful

12th Step work to contact a few. Ed.]
"Dear Bud: I feel like a rat not having answered your letter long ago; I'm

afraid I'm not a very good correspondent. At least I can now tell you where

I am -- Maui is the spot, the Hawaiian Islands the locale. This must be

almost anti-climactic for you to hear, as I'm sure by this time you have

pictured me anywhere but here -- probably down under, in a jungle surrounded

by Japs. However, I'm in no hurry; I'll probably get there soon enough.

Meanwhile this is a grand spot, and I feel very lucky indeed to be here.

This climate just suits me, the scenery, flowers, etc., are lovely, the

swimming superb, and recreational facilities are excellent. As far as I'm

concerned, these Islands are all they're cracked up to be and more. I've

seen Pearl Harbor, done Honolulu, swum at Waikiki, and lolled around the

Royal Hawaiian. Even so, I'll take Maui.

"I've had several letters from Bob D., and these, together with yours, have

kept me pretty well posted on doings in New York. Was sorry to learn that

the new Club House fell thru; but no doubt this will be only a question of

time. I was interested, too, to learn of the proposed -- shall I say 'Trade'

publication. Sounds intriguing, if it
can be worked out. Give my best to Ed C., Bob D., Chase, Bill C., John, and

all the rest, including the gals. Best regards, Bob H."

[On receipt of Bob's letter, we immediately got in touch with the Central

Office which will send him by Air Mail the address of the Honolulu group

(see story in this and previous issue). As a veteran A.A., "dry" for two

years, we believe he can he of invaluable assistance to that fledgling group

which is trying so hard to consolidate its beachhead, and that he, in turn,

will be pleasantly surprised to find A.A. has now reached the Hawaiian

Island's. Ed.]
First reactions to The Grapevine received from A.A.s in Service are

favorable. Accordingly, we urge all members to send in interesting data,

especially from members overseas, expressing ideas dealing with the Program,

methods of handling their special problems, or amusing incidents of Service

++++Message 1584. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, Aug ''44, Mail Call for All A. A.s in the Armed Forces

From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/7/2004 3:21:00 AM

Grapevine, Aug. '44
Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces
In answer to our D-day letter, that old raconteur, Warrant Officer Norman

M., shot one back at us from the South Pacific in near record time. His

letter, dated June 15, enclosed as an exchange copy for The Grapevine an

amusing Picture Supplement to an

Air Force paper. Norman writes: "The Grapevine! There's a sardonic double

entendre masthead if I ever saw one. It, like the whole tone of the paper,

is perfectly A.A. in spirit. The utter lack of finality in editorializing as

well as its sense of humor about its mission is grand! And what a gem it is

for an A.A. to get overseas.
Alcoholics are such a peculiarly 'much-in-common' group that I sometimes

doubt how I'd behave in the Tokyo chapter of the A.A.! Comes that day, I

think we'd better start one. Talk of alibis! Whew! The very thought makes me

jittery and I can't get to 24th Street soon enough."

(The ideas expressed in the following letter are, according to the author,

"the result of much meditation during tropical nights on a South Pacific

Island." We hope other members in the Service, wherever stationed, will find

time to meditate and pass on to us as helpful an analysis of their

conclusions on the effectiveness of the
"As an officer in the Navy, completely apart from active touch with the

Group for 11 months, I have had considerable opportunity to reflect that

certain phases of the overall picture have been the most important in the

A.A. Program; a program which has proved to be the most powerful influence

in shaping my life. At a distance, not
clouded by too close a perspective resulting from very active participation

in Group matters, one has occasion to get a clearer view of the problem as a

whole. Two years ago I attended my first meeting. It impressed me

terrifically--so much so, in fact, that for the first year I 'worked' the

program every possible moment, i.e., meetings, calls, discussions, etc., as

well as trying to practice the principles. This, combined with the fact that

I reached the portals of A.A. fully 'ripe,' and anxious to do something

about my problem, has made it easy for me to remain 'dry' since that first

meeting. From my reflections on A.A., and what it has meant to me, three

salient factors have impressed themselves on my mind:

"1. The definite and final realization that I cannot take a drink and react

like a normal person. This had been pointed out by others before A.A., but

it took the understanding, and the 'decide for yourself' approach of A.A. to

convince me. Now I realize the fatality of believing that 'this time will be

different,' and know that, no matter how long sober, the same old pattern

will start with the first drink,

whenever taken. To my mind, no other method has been devised to convince the

alcoholic as conclusively of this fact as the plan of A.A., of hearing and

watching (on '12th step' work) other alcoholics and their experiences.
"2. The gradual stirring and awakening of the Spiritual side of my

personality: Before A.A. I had never given consideration to spiritual

thought, or the power to be transmitted and released through contact with

God, and the resultant influence in shaping one's life. Through the Program,

an interest in Spiritual thought evolved, I
know not exactly how, and this contact with a 'Higher Power' has resulted in

the banishment of fear, a peace of mind which I never expected to enjoy, and

a change in my whole method of living. In fact, it has reached into corners

of my life far apart from the problem which led me to A.A.

"3. The friendships which have resulted from being in the Group: These are

truly real friendships in every sense of the word. While I feel that I have

many friends outside of A.A., and also the ties that bind me and my brother

officers. I know that in time of crisis of any kind, none would stand by

with clearer understanding or a more sincere desire to help than each or all

of my many friends in the Group. For from the teaching of A.A. as a program

of living come richer friendships than any others.
"To my mind, any one of the above three factors would, of itself, make the

Program worthwhile. Combined, they have remolded my life, and provided it

with its greatest experience. Y.G."
On the eve of D-day, another good A.A. member, an Army officer in a

responsible post, writing from England, gives his method of working out the

problem of lack of A.A. contacts: "We are pretty tense wondering if and when

the big show is going to start. I think often, with pleasure, of our small

meetings. In fact, I believe I have an even deeper appreciation of them and

the friendships made there than I did before. Being over here under present

circumstances gives you a pretty sharp perception of values. A.A. has been

working without a 'slip' for me. By reading and rereading the book and

holding regular thought sessions with myself, I have been able to compensate

in part for the lack of association and group therapy. Feel very confident

but not cocky."
From one of our two-man Group on a South Pacific Island (see the last

"G. and myself have a wonderful time together. To meet one of the boys in a

place like this is really out of the world. He has a jolt which is very

harassing and he takes it right in his stride. His attitude is a fine

example. ... I have met lots of people in my travels but give me the

understanding, tolerant group of people I left

at 24th Street. John"
What locality is your guess on this one? "Both typewriters and ink are

scarce in these parts. So are napkins, matches, good coffee, female legs

with proper curves (all the ladies look like they're muscle-bound), streets

that know where they're going, sunshine, and good plumbing."

From an Island in the South Pacific: "It's so damned hot here that even a

nonalcoholic would 'blow his top' on a drink. "

A London oddity: "A cabbie from Brooklyn who'd been here since the last


++++Message 1585. . . . . . . . . . . . Grapevine, Sept. ''44, Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces

From: NMOlson@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/8/2004 3:20:00 AM

Grapevine, Sept. '44
Mail Call for All A.A.s in the Armed Forces
We received a letter from Bill X., who has been in Northern Ireland, which

starts innocently enough with a pat on the hack for the Editors and winds up

with the germ of a great idea for a new column for the paper:
"Congratulations to the staff. Two copies have come along now and Grapevine

has proved a 24th Street extension course for me [24th Street refers to the

New York clubhouse]. It will be particularly helpful for isolated

individuals sweating out the prologues to pub-crawling without the Group;

and for new Johnny-come-latelys out in
Jeeptown, Arizona, with the book only. Grapevine is a meeting by mail.
"That new group in Honolulu will be aided no little by the publication of

their tribulations in getting started because we are all rooting them on

from all over the world. The house organ idea, with the chit-chat, lore and

some party line thinking, establishes a newer sense of unity which projects

the group therapy phase a step further. It's terrific.
"Why not have a little 'Alibi Alley' or 'rationalization of the month'

column, printing the phoniest excuses submitted. For example, 'Well it was

like this, see, it was the night of the invasion, and here I am sitting back

hundreds of miles from the action, squarely behind a typewriter, a

chair-borne paragraph trooper. So, getting such lousy breaks, and being such

an eventful day, how could a little drink or

possibly two hurt anybody, and even if it did hurt a bit, how could it

compare to the thousands of casualties on the beachhead, and how could such

an insignificant taking of a drink or possibly two be noticed during such a

catastrophic, world-shaking event. And, oh yes! I have just been promoted to

sergeant, and that in itself calls
for a little good-humored drink of celebration or possibly two, in itself.'
"'That's right, you only get promoted to sergeant once. After showing up at

noon the next day when I was on duty, and with the shakes no less, I damn

near got busted. since that time I have taken some active steps including

coming clean on the whole

deal to my boss. And I have a date with one of the highest churchmen over

here to pass the story on, etc. Grapevine (the first issue) had come a few

days after the 'slip' and it was a real antidote to the fogs and fears. I

simply sat down and had a

meeting with the whole outfit. So you can understand my enthusiasm for


Permission, accompanied by the encouraging comment, "More strength and

success to you," was obtained to print this interesting official

communication: "The Army War College Library would appreciate greatly being

placed on your mailing list to receive

future copies, and also to receive a copy of each back number. This is a

subject which has a bearing upon the efficiency of military personnel." To

the Librarian, our best Grapevine bow.
One of the strongest motives behind the starting of The Grapevine -- in fact

the main thing that pushed the Editors from the talking to the acting stage

-- was the need so often expressed in letters from A.A.s in the Service for

more A.A. news. We felt that their deep desire for a feeling of contact with

A.A. might be fulfilled at least in

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