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Long-Timers Stories 4-15

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety!

On April 15, 1950, our friend, my hero and my sponsor Mel B got sober for the last time.  Now he's sober forever, I believe, after passing 2/19/17 with 66 years, 10 months, and change, as my long timer friend Harvey S might say.  Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, delightfully, terrifically sober to share, 4/15:

My friend and hero Gene O reached 59  years of sobriety last December!  The news came to me first from our wonderful mutual friend Shawn D, who told me what Gene had said--that he couldn't resent that drunk driver, because it could have been him.  On the day that I called Gene after that tragedy, I was having a tough time with having totaled my car, and then putting a scratch on my father's car, which he'd loaned me.  

As I listened to Gene share that he couldn't resent that drunk driver because it could have been him, I was blessed with perspective:  what's on my father's car is just a scratch, I'm sober, I could be dead and could have taken lives, but instead I'm this blessed; I wasn't even really injured.  So that conversation with Gene helped me with resentments toward myself and the God of my (mis?)understanding, I believe.  

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-16

Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, delightfully, terrifically sober to share, 4/16:Our friend (and onevof my heroes) David "Mac" M reached 63 years of sobriety last August!  In one of many substantive emails I've been blessed with from him, he included a piece of writing on feelings, that has this to say about fear:

"What is our fear, including anxiety telling us?  I believe my fear is telling me I sense or experience a threat to my wellbeing.  The key word is threat.  The threat may be as clear as an onrushing car that seems to be out of control, or as vague as a sense something unknown may affect my health.  There are all sort of real and imagined threats in our lives, and we have an ancient reaction to dangers of all kinds.  This, too, is part of who we are as human beings. Life will continue to produce threats of all kinds that trigger our fears.  It is what we do about our fear that is the question. The first fear question is “What is the threat to my safety, comfort or wellbeing?” Note: it may be that the threat is connected to another person, our family or other important person or group.  Even if the threat is directed to others it is still a threat to me too if I care about the person or persons being threatened.

When our bodies tell us there is a threat facing us, we can ask this question of ourselves: “Is this threat likely to happen to me (or somebody I care about, is it only possible something can happen to me or them?”  If it is only a slim possibility a threatened harm will actually happen to me, I may be wise not to obsess about it and let it go unless it really is something I need to take care of.Can you think of examples of this in your own life when you felt threatened, over-reacted and nothing happened?  Did your reaction match the identified threat? The emotion of fear may give you accurate messages you need to be aware indicating a danger or problem.  On the other hand, state of anxiety or a panic attack may be a self-inflicted over reaction to a perceived threat. Finding out how much of a threat is at hand can be overcome with better inventory skills."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic 


 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-17

Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, delightfully, terrifically sober to share, 4/17:Ron C, by the time he shared his story in 1000 Years of Sobriety, had been sober over 54 years!  It includes these helpful excerpts--"When I finally began working the AA program, I found the first three Steps helped me establish a growing relationship with God.  I came to understand that He had always loved me and cared for me.  The Fourth and Fifth Steps enabled me to look at myself honestly and see and admit what was causing me to remain sick--that it was not the alcohol but the alcoholism."

"Often at our meetings, we hear members talk about those 'yets' that are out there if a person continues to drink.  I believe the same thing applies if we continue to go to meetings and live the Twelve Steps in our lives each day.  I've had a lot of wonderful 'good yets' happen in my sobriety, and hopefully there will be more to come."And one of them was friendship with Lois W, that included this conversation:"I told Lois that finding Alcoholics Anonymous and stopping drinking was truly a gift from God, but that I still had to work hard to maintain my sobriety and improve the spiritual part of my life.  She told me that Bill, who had that marvelous spiritual experience, had to do the same thing.  He always said that we must never take our sobriety for granted."  

Love and service, Chadeus, Alcoholic 


 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-18


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Long-Timers Stories 4-19

Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, delightfully, terrifically sober to share, 4/19:

Matt I passed with 52 years of sobriety! His friend, Gerry W, helped a lot, like Matt, by Paul M in Chicago, told me by e-mail that Matt "passed away at 52 years sober, with a CURRENT fourth Step inventory on his nightstand (as he had always practiced)." That started for Matt early on, or even at the start of his sobriety, when he asked Paul M to be his sponsor, and Paul "told me that I should take that, you know, 4th and 5th Step . . .." Then he continued to do it, even after that sponsor passed in 2009--when Matt was over 40 years sober.

Through writing and sharing inventories that first time, he said, he "really experienced some relief from myself," and maybe that continued over that half century of his sobriety--he said an ongoing, big problem of his was "Matt, that "this is the most difficult part": himself. He said he learned from his sponsor that it's "not what people do to me," but "my reaction that hurts me." And that understanding sure worked for him!

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic 

 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-20

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, delightfully, terrifically sober to share, 4/20:Bob E passed with 56 years of sobriety!  His dear friend, Tom A, remembered this story from Bob's early days (in his book The Earll of Recovery)--

"He was in a quiet fury as he checked his watch every minute or so.  He needed to make his move at the exact moment."That move he'd planned: to jump the guy who'd been with his (Bob's) girl. He was all set to do it, but "Suddenly, two vice-like meaty hands grabbed him from behind by the shoulders and literally stopped Bob's forward motion in mid-air. 'We don't do that in AA,' the familiar froggy voice whispered in his ear. Bob's head whipped around, and he was nose-to-nose with J.R., his sponsor."
J.R. helped him get out of that situation, not get revenge, and not go back to jail.  And the fact that that story was shared by his friend decades later, in this book, says something, I believe, about Bob's humility!

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-21

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, terrifically, delightfully sober to share, 4/21: Bob B reached 50 years of sobriety a little while back! In a number of his talks I've been fortunate to hear, he shared about getting into a dangerously shaky place around 8 years of sobriety, and needing to go through the Steps again.

One of the things he discovered that time, I believe in his 4th Step, was fear, in a way he hadn't seen it before. He discovered that he had a fear of failure, and also that he had a fear of success. (wish I could refind the talk or talks where he shared that part, but I seem to remember that he did) He later said that it was the most important 4th Step he'd done, and also that, before that, he had needed to rework Steps 1-3.

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic


 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-22

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, beautifully, terrifically sober to share, 4/22:

Gary B reached at least 54 years of sobriety! In a 2010 talk, he shared about his experience with the 4th Step. He started with the first time he'd taken it, a little ways into sobriety: " . . . I opened the Big Book, and we hadn't really done much with it yet. And . . . I wrote all night that night. And I can't tell you what I found in it. I can tell you I only knew to do three columns and then guess at the stuff on the next page over, that later became the fourth column. But as inventories go, it really sucked. As inventories go, all it did was save my ass."

Later, that changed: "I wrote another inventory, and it was a good one. And I've probably written forty inventories over the years now, and some of them much better than others." And one of them, maybe especially important, happened when he was 20 years sober, at a bottom, with his life, sober, in a tough spot; he redid Steps 1-3, then started writing, and this is some of what he found: "I think I had more pages of resentment than I had ever had in a single inventory before, and it was all current stuff--I wasn't rewriting old resentments"; "and I went through the fear inventory, and it was bigger than I think any of my previous ones had ever been. And then I went back through my life on my conduct inventory, and I looked at that carefully, and I tried to remember everybody involved, and I tried to ask myself the nine questions around the sex inventory, with each one."

With that 4th Step, at 20 years sober, he said, "it was the first time I ever think that I had a description of what was going on with my self-esteem."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic


 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-23

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, beautifully, delightfully sober to share, 4/23:

Guil M reached 51 years of sobriety this year! In 2019, I got to ask him about the 4th Step, I hope I'm remembering what he told me right; it was great. Pretty sure he said that he had done one, then used the 10th Step since then. But also, he said, if a specific situation came up that he needed to address, he would write an inventory on it. And, he said, he's sponsored a lot of people over the years, and going over the 4th Step with them, he's ended up thinking about his own inventory, too. There might be a better way to do it, he said, but that approach, for him, is "working so far."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic


 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-24

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, terrifically, delightfully sober to share, 4/24: Ginny G reached at least 57 years of sobriety!
In her story "D.O.S.: February 4, 1947" (April 2005 Grapevine, accessed in the story archive at aagrapevine.org), she shared what happened after she found a concept of God that would help her-- "It wasn't easy, but it was a challenge and each meeting gave me courage and strength to go forward. One thing I had to learn was to love my fellow man and myself. I had to learn confidence in myself as a loving, kind, intelligent, and forgiving person. Most of all, I had to forgive myself.

As I went along, I began to see and use my assets, work to destroy my liabilities, take a good, hard inventory, face up to my responsibilities, pay my bills, work with the honesty of the program, and be grateful for every blessing. By now I had enough courage and I began to feel strong and confident that I could live with myself and enjoy myself. No more guilt! Now I recognized the effect of a loving, kind God who was bringing me into a new life of humility and gratitude. I found myself happy! That was fifty-seven years ago and today I have the eternal now of moment by moment and step by step, to enjoy."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic

 

 


 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-25

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, delightfully, terrifically sober to share, 4/25:

Tom H reached at least 55 years of sobriety! In "Full Circle," the article he wrote for the Grapevine (published in August 2009, now in the Old-Timers Corner section of the Story Archive, aagrapevine.org), he shared this-- "I'm 83 now and I have not had to take a drink of alcohol or any other mind-altering substance for 55 years. I've had to deal with a head full of negative and fearful stuff and my recovery was long and painful at times. I still had anxiety attacks and guilt and remorse, but I stayed sober."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic


 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-26

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, beautifully, terrifically sober to share, 4/26: Otto W reached at least 50 years of sobriety! During that time, he went through relationship changes that he shared about in "1000 Years of Sobriety": "I got sober in August 1959, and at Christmas of the same year, I met my first wife, Sandy. She was a nonalcoholic neighbor of one of the guys in the Compton group [where Otto attended and saw Chuck C speak]. She was divorced and had a lovely two-year-old daughter named Terry. We dated for a year, then married, and I adopted Terry when she was four. In 1965, our son Jody was born. In 1970, a neighboring family with seven children broke up as a direct result of alcohol and drugs. One of the boys, Tony, was a close friend of our Jody and was always at our home. So we decided to keep him.

By 1975, our marriage began to deteriorate. Without going into the reasons, we decided to separate and then divorce before harsh words and even harsher feelings developed over our relationship. As a result of being kind and civil to each other, I maintain a close relationship with my children to this day. The principles of AA helped me to accomplish this. In 1984 I met Mary Ann at a meeting during a conversation with a group of people about Gooey Ducks. I was attracted by her laughter and sense of humor. We became friends and saw each other at meetings, and at the meetings after the meetings, for about a year. Sober three years when we met, she was divorced and had three sons. We began dating in 1985 and married in 1986 in the backyard of our home by a judge who was sober in AA.

Between the two of us, we now have five children, fourteen grandchildren, and five great grandsons. We live in a beautiful home in a nice area with wonderful neighbors. All our children and grandchildren are in our lives--lives that have been truly blessed by a loving Higher Power through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic

 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-27

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, delightfully, terrifically sober to share, 4/27:

Liz B reached at least 63 years of sobriety! In a talk she gave at around 42 years, she shared about staying sober through relationship challenges, with her husband-- "Mr. [B.] couldn't stand me sober. Mr. [B.] took my first ten years, and I mean he worked overtime, to get me back into the streets of New York. But thank God you didn't tell me to get sober for Mr. [B.]. 32 years ago, I had the privilege of speaking for our late cofounder Bill [W.] at the Hotel Commodore, to 2700 people that night.

Mr. [B.] shook my hand and said I did a good job, but when we arrived back at the house, he banged and he screamed that he had to get rid of me, that he couldn't stand me and this sobriety another minute. And I used the 3rd and the 11th Step prayer at 3 o'clock in the morning, and God spoke to me like I'm speaking to you: if I pick up one drink, I don't have Liz. When I pick up one drink, I don't have Mr. [B.], and I didn't have him anyway. And when I pick up one drink, I'm not in that house. See, my friends take a drink and go home. I take a drink, I leave home. See, I don't stay. I know me. I know me. Know me very good. And there again, I went back eight years ago to take care of Mr. [B.] in his last days, because, I want to tell you something, many years I've stood on these platforms and told you how much I loved him. I really did love him. You know why? He kept the house while I was in the street. He kept the three children going while I was in the street. He kept everything going. He could have cashed it all in. But you know what, girls? I'm back in that home today. What's so nice: it's paid for.

But I was so happy that I could go and make his last days happy."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic

 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-28

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, beautifully, terrifically sober to share, 4/28:

Keith H reached 54 years of sobriety before he passed! When he spoke maybe 10 years before that, at Joy P's 60 year sobriety anniversary celebration, he shared these words about his marriage--"My wife passed away 6 years ago, and you know, we had a great, great life together. We had a great life together because of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic
Alcoholic

 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-29

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, terrifically, beautifully sober to share, 4/29:

Cis G, by the time she passed this year, had been sober at least 65 years! In the talk that she gave at her 65 year celebration, she shared about relationship challenges and changes that she had gone through in sobriety. One was with the man who became her husband. She had seen him at a meeting, told a friend she was going to marry him, then did. They had a marriage made in heaven. "Of course," she said, "when you have perfection, it doesn't always last." One day, he said he needed to go to the hospital, and, Cis said, "he died." In that talk, she also shared that, maybe a month ago, her daughter Jamie, after a night of "heavy drinking," had gotten into a car accident and died. She hadn't been sure about speaking so soon after her daughter's death--wondering if she could keep it together--but another AA member, who was there, told her "I'll help you."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic

 

 

 


Long-Timers Stories 4-30

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Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Long timer story it helps this alcoholic stay wonderfully, terrifically, delightfully sober to share, 4/30:The writer of "Soldier On," in the July 2010 Grapevine (accessed in the Old-Timers Corner of the Story Archive, on the web site), reached at least 55 years of sobriety! ". . . Dec. 27, 1954, the date of my last drink. I have not had a drink since. I believe that I surrendered within a week or 10 days, for the pull of alcohol never bothered me again. In that article, he shared this--But my unmanageable life--that is, my grossly unmanageable life--continued on its not so merry way for most of the rest of my life. I eventually was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder dating from November 1950. My general practitioner was ex-military, and I guess he saw the signs of it. My coping skills were pretty much non-existent. I had no self-respect, and it has been said that a person with little or no self-respect is unlikely to have much respect for others. Much of that has changed, I am very glad to say. AA made this happen for me. It could not have happened otherwise.

It was not so much about war stuff, but it centered on the horrors of a train wreck my regiment was in. Seventeen men died in that catastrophe and about 40 were injured, some seriously. All the years since the accident, I had not been able to talk about it. I kept trying to suppress the painful memories of that awful day. But the memory would not go away. My kids do not know about this. I've been seeing a clinical psychologist every two weeks for just over three years. My recovering is going very well indeed."

Love and service, Chaddeus, Alcoholic