Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Note to Roger Ebert

By David B on August 27, 2009 6:37 PM

Thanks for the brave recap of your worst days. I know what the 11th tradition says but if we remain totally inflexible we will go backwards. I laughed and cried as I read your article. You mentioned Grant Hospital, and in the summer of 1982 I was living in the park opposite...Oz Park. Mine was the third bench in on the left hand side. It is still there. I talked to the sister of my drug buddy who had done something strange - she had gotten clean and sober. What that meant I had no idea about but I was interested in moving up in the world - or at least getting a room at the YMCA. She sent a male friend out to see me in the park and he told me his own story of insanity. It was all about drugs and alcohol and sounded strangely like my life. I had no desire to stop those...all I wanted was a better address perhaps even with a front door! When he was done he asked if I would like to go to an AA meeting with him and of course I said I would think about it. He told me that drunks like us cross an invisible line and that we will never be able to drink like "normal" people ever again. I did a little more research that weekend and found out that what he was saying was true.
Side Note: this kind man who spent time with me carrying the message dies in his alcoholism!
On Sunday night at the beginning of August I attended my first AA meeeting at that beloved Cathedral just off Rush Street - the Mustard Seed. It was lead by Alan B and he scared the crap out of me. But I was immediately taken by the atmosphere and the hope and like you I never left and by Gods Grace have not found it necessary to take a drink or a drug since the 1st August 1982. I went back every day sometimes two or three times as I saw that this was the only hope that I had. I met my sponsor there Tom M and we have been fast friends ever since. I ran into Alan B, and St.Jimmie H,(from Yale to jail, from Park Avenue to Park bench) Henry H, Nancy H (with her mink)and Celia and Howard. It was people like these that saved my life period. They taught me how to live, be a man, a husband and a father and I am eternally grateful.
I also ran into you and your newsreading sidekick Ron M and like the guy you talked about would go and watch a late evening lead with you two and would wonder if I was watching TV or was at a meeting. I have shaken your hand and have protected your anonymity because you came across like another scared drunk just like me! I met my wife Lucy B in that room at the Mustard Seed,I served food there on Thanksgiving,and it became the center of my new life.

So Roger dear friend in recovery thanks for the words, thanks for the inspiration, and thanks for the also a movie freak and still always look to see what you say. But all in all nothing you say about movies can ever be as important as what you have shared here. I put it on a par with Rollie Hemsley breaking his anonymity in 1940 and that did not bring our beloved AA down.

Olathe, Kansas 2009

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