This week’s HTYH is the first segment of the “late” Sandy B’s story, a retired USMC pilot and long-time member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He told this story on Founders Day at Akron, OH 2006: Isn’t it great that countless millions of people all around our planet have had their lives totally transformed by the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous? The year I was born, there was no A.A. and this fantastic phenomenon has occurred within the span of my lifetime.


The year I was born; a chronic alcoholic named Rowland Hazard traveled to Switzerland to seek help from a psychiatrist named Carl Jung. I was a one-year old child, when Rowland and a couple of Oxford Group members helped Ebby Thacher find sobriety at Manchester, Vermont. When I was two years old, Bill Wilson, with the help of Rowland H., Ebby T. and the Oxford Group, finally got sober. When I was eight years old Bill Wilson published the book Alcoholics Anonymous. When I was 19 years old Dr. Jellinek conducted his famous study on alcoholism at Yale University and I could’ve been one of his subjects. That’s the year I took my first drink and spent a lot of time lying on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut. During the first year of my drinking career, A.A. held its first International Convention at Cleveland, OH. The longest time anybody at that convention had been sober was 15 years. That is, of course, also the same year Dr. Bob passed away. When I got sober, A.A. was 29 years old and there are many people here today (2004), sober longer than A.A. had existed then. The cumulative effect of time and the exponential growth of A.A. membership is a worldwide phenomenon that’s really remarkable and I’m grateful to be a part of it. I grew up in New Haven, Connecticut in the 1930s and I have one sister with 29 years of continuous sobriety in the A.A. program. My mother and father worked very hard at taking care of us, it was a nice family, but I never felt that I belonged to it. The four of us sat at the dinner table and when I looked at the three of them, I felt different; like I didn’t belong there? A lot of alcoholics have that same feeling; they feel like there’s something missing from their life. My mother was a member of the Catholic Church and my father converted. We attended church, listened to Latin and smelled the incense. My sister thought it was the warmest, friendliest place on earth, but it reminded me of a Nazi bootcamp. So, you can see, it was a matter of my perverted perception that was the problem as opposed to what happened. At perhaps nine years of age, I had my first spiritual insight. I was staring at the crucifix that hung from the ceiling; it was about 20 feet high and it spoke to me. It said, “Little boy do you see this crucifix?” I said, “Yes.” And it said, “This is what God did to his only Son who He loved, so guess what He’s going to do to you the scheming little sinner.” On my own, in my young mind, I created a mean, vengeful, scary God. I heard a speaker 10 years ago say, “My story is divided into two parts, what I thought happened during the time I drank alcohol and what actually happened.” I can make that same statement about my childhood; it can be divided into two parts, what happened and what actually happened. My childhood was the beginning of many frightening ideas, that Bill Wilson called; old ideas. I sat in that church as a child and made up those old-ideas in my mind. If you would’ve listened to my story 10 years ago and then listened to it today you would notice that, I had a much worse childhood back then, but that story was comprised of old-ideas that I made up. To be continued…

The Waynedale News Staff
Latest posts by The Waynedale News Staff (see all)

John Barleycorn

Our in-house staff works with community members and our local writers to find, write and edit the latest and most interesting news-worthy stories. We are your free community newspaper, boasting positive, family friendly and unique news. > Read More Information About Us > More Articles Written By Our Staff