Loss Is Gain – AA’s Humble Beginnings – Big Book pages 153 – 155

In every case, pain had been the price of admission into a new life (12&12 step 7 page 75)

Years ago , in 1935 , one of our number made a journey to a certain western city . From a business standpoint , his trip came off badly . Had he been successful in his enterprise , he would have been set on his feet financially which , at the time , seemed vitally important . But his venture would up in a law suit and bogged down completely . The proceeding was shot through with much hard feeling and controversy .

Bitterly discouraged , he found himself in a strange place , discredited and almost broke . Still physically weak , and sober but a few months , he saw that his predicament was dangerous . He wanted so much to talk with someone , but whom ?

One dismal afternoon he paced a hotel lobby wondering how his bill was to be paid . At the end of the room stood a glass covered directory of local churches . Down the lobby a door opened into an attractive bar . He could see the gay crowd inside . In there he would find companionship and release . Unless he took some drinks , he might not have the courage to scrape an acquaintance and would have a lonely week – end .

Of course he couldn’t drink , but why not sit hopefully at a table , a bottle of ginger ale before him ? After all , had he not been sober six months now ? Perhaps he could handle , say , three drinks — no more ! Fear gripped him . He was on thin ice . Again it was the old , insidious insanity — that first drink . With a shiver , he turned away and walked down the lobby to the church directory . Music and gay chatter still floated to him from the bar .

But what about his responsibilities — his family and the men who would die because they would not know how to get well , ah — yes , those other alcoholics ? There must be many such in this town . He would phone a clergyman . His sanity returned and he thanked God . Selecting a church at random from the directory , he stepped into a booth and lifted the receiver .

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