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Old 07-10-2015, 09:09 PM   #7
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Default a surgeon and a stockbroker

Continued from the same source as the above post

At the moment, Bob was upstairs in a stupor, after having brought home a large Mother's Day plant, putting it on the kitchen table, and collapsing on the floor. It had been all Anne and the children could do to get him upstairs.

Anne merely said at first that she didn't think it would be possible for them to make it that day. But as Dr. Bob recalled, “Henri is very persistent, a very determined individual. She said, 'Oh, yes, come on over, I know he'll be helpful to Bob.'

“Anne still didn't think it very wise that we go over that day,” Dr. Bob continued. “Finally, Henri bore in to such an extent that Anne had to tell her I was very bagged and had passed all capability of listening to any conversation, and the visit would just have to be postponed.”

Henrietta called the Smiths again on Sunday. “Will Bob be able to make it today?”

“I don't remember ever feeling much worse, but I was very fond of Henri, and Anne had said we should go over,” bob went on. “So we started over. On the way, I extracted a solemn promise from Anne that 15 minutes of this stuff would be tops. I didn't want to talk to this mug or anybody else, and we'd really make it snappy, I said. Now these are the actual facts: We got there at five o'clock and it was 11:15 when we left.”

Smitty recalled that although his father was pretty nervous, he was sober when they drove over to Henrietta's to meet this fellow who might help. “i did not sit in on that meeting, of course, being a kid at the time, and Mother wanted Dad to open up in front of Bill. So I have no knowledge of what transpired there. However, I remember Bill came to stay at our house shortly afterward.”

Describing his meeting with the man “who was to be my partner . . . the wonderful friend with whom I was never to have a hard word,” Bill said, “Bob did not look much like a founder. He was shaking badly. Uneasily, he told us that he could stay only about 15 minutes.

“Though embarrassed, he brightened a little when I said I thought he needed a drink. After dinner, which he did not eat, Henrietta discreetly put us off in her little library. There Bob and I talked until 11 o'clock.”

What actually happened between the two men? One of the shortest and most appealing versions came from Dr. Bob's old schoolmate Arba J. Irvin, who at least gave proper recognition to what was to become A.A.'s unofficial beverage—coffee--then selling at 15 cents a pound.

“. . . And so they got together and started talking about helping each other and helping the men with similar difficulties. They went out into the city's lower edges, the city of Akron, and gathered together a group of drunks, and they started talking and drinking coffee. Bob's wife told me she had never make as much coffee as she did in the next two weeks. And they stayed there drinking coffee and starting this group of one helping the other, and that was the way A.A. Developed.”

This is true; but as we know, there was more to it than that. (There is such a thing as keeping it too simple.) A number of people had been chipping away at Bob for years. The Oxford Group had a “program.” Henrietta had told him, “You must not touch one drop of alcohol.” Obviously, Bill brought something new—himself.

What did he say to Dr. Bob that hadn't already been said? How important were the words? How important compared to the fact that it was one alcoholic talking to another? No one can say precisely. Indeed, Dr. Bob and Bill themselves placed slightly different emphases on the factors involved.

In “A.A. Comes of Age,” written about 20 years later, after bill had analyzed the event in the light of subsequent experience, he said that he “went very slowly on the fireworks of religious experience.” First, he talked about his own case until Bob “got a good identification with me.” Then, as Dr. William D. Silkworth had urged, Bill hammered home the physical aspects of the disease, “the verdict of inevitable annihilation.” This, Bill felt, brought about in Dr. Bob an ego deflation that “triggered him into a new life.”

Describing their talk as “a completely mutual thing.” Bill said, “I had quit preaching. I knew that I needed this alcoholic as much as he needed me. This was it. And this mutual give-and-take is at the very heart of all of A.A.'s Twelfth Step work today.”
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