This week’s Here’s To Your Health is a continuation of Steve C.’s story.


I thank God everyday for my new life in recovery. I’m one of the most grateful persons on the face of this earth. God has given me another chance at life and the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. Sure, I still mess things up, but I belong to a loving and forgiving fellowship and they say, “It’s progress not perfection!”

No words can describe my feeling of gratitude and when I attempt to thank the people who helped me they simply say, “If you want to thank me, don’t drink!” I would be remiss if I failed to mention my A.A. sponsor. Once we drove to Florence, Colorado, the speaker didn’t show and so Fritz went to the podium and said, “Hi everybody, my name is Fritz and I am an alcoholic.”

A spiritual awakening happened to me that night; that’s where it happened—-as I listened to Fritz talk, it was like I could see and feel the words coming out of his mouth. Bill Wilson talked about being “rocketed” into another dimension. I felt like screaming, “I got it, I finally got it! Fritz taught me that I could start my day over at any time and now when my day turns sour, I can start over again simply by getting down on my knees in a quiet place and humbly admitting to God that I screwed up and ask Him for new inspiration, guidance and direction.

Fritz taught me that I’m worth something and that I was lovable and that God unconditionally loved me no matter what. And Fritz loved me too, he loved me fat, thin, happy sad, right or wrong and he loved me everyday. Once he gave me some cuttings from a plant and said, “It’s called Purple Passion and your sobriety will always be my passion” and it was.
Fritz became my mentor, he taught me A.A. — 101, designed especially for confused newcomers.

Once when I was a newcomer, I disgorged a heap of self-pity on my home group. It was a down day for me, I was depressed and every word that came from my mouth was poor me and negative. Some members remarked that I was sitting on the pity pot, but I felt perfectly justified and secure in every word I shared and I was certain the group would understand how the world was against me and how badly my wife and life was treating me. At the end of that meeting Fritz approached me and asked if we could talk in the next room? I was certain Fritz had sympathy for my plight and that he would support me in my battle against injustice and etc. Fritz wasn’t wearing his teeth that night and he had a large chew in his mouth that he kindly removed before getting in my face. His speech was short and not so sweet. He said, “Grow up or die!” I felt indignant, belittled, embarrassed, angry, and down right humiliated.

I went home and told my wife Louise the horrible injustice Fritz had done me. Being the good Alanon she is, Louise said, “Maybe Fritz is trying to draw your attention to one of your more glaring character defects?” Well he certainly did that, and after I cooled off I understood that Fritz had just given me a big slice of “humble pie.” After that first disagreement with my hero, we had many others too, but he was usually right and he loved me enough to tell me the truth about my character defects.

Fritz told me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear.

It mattered not if he was called Frank, Papa, Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa or the man with the A.A. jewelry, Fritz was one of the best friends Bill Wilson and I ever had.

A while back, I got the feeling I should call Fritz, but the moment slipped away and then the phone call came; Fritz was gone. That was on June 8, 2001. I felt anger, guilt, remorse and shame, but most of all I felt devastated and alone. But, then came a peaceful feeling that we were spiritually connected in this life and that we would always be “spirit” connected no matter what, even death did not us part.

The Waynedale News Staff

John Barleycorn

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