After Ebby T. had called on Bill at his NY apartment, he wanted the sobriety Ebby had, but alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful and Bill drank again. This is more of Bill’s story, continued from the October 16th issue of The Waynedale News, as he told it in his 1939 Big Book & AA comes of Age.
For a brief moment, I had needed and wanted God. There had been a humble willingness to have Him with me-and He came. But soon the sense of His presence had been blotted out by worldly clamors, (mostly within myself), and after that final drunk I was hospitalized and separated from alcohol for the last time, for I showed signs of delirium tremens.
In three or four days I was free of the sedative they gave me, but I was very depressed. Bright and early one morning friend Ebby showed up and stood in the doorway, smiling broadly. I didn’t see what was so funny, but he made me wait until I asked him. “Well,” said I, “what’s your neat little formula once more?” In perfectly good humor, he handed it out again: You admit you are licked; you get honest with yourself; you talk it out with somebody else; you make restitution to the people you have harmed; you try to give of yourself without stint, with no demand for reward; and you pray to whatever God you think there is even as an experiment and pass it on. It was as simple and yet as mysterious as that. After some small talk he was gone.
My depression deepened unbearably and finally it seemed to me as though I were at the very bottom of a dark pit. I still gagged badly on the notion of a Power greater than me, but finally, just for the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once I found myself crying out, “If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything!”
Suddenly the room lit up with a great white light and I was caught up in an ecstasy, which no words can describe. It seemed to me, in the mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and a wind not of air, but spirit was blowing, and then it burst upon me that I was a free man.
Ebby had promised me these principles were simple, but not easy, a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.
These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric. There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity, as I had never known. There was utter confidence. God comes to most men gradually, but His impact on me was sudden and profound.
Then, little by little, I began to be frightened. My modern education crawled back and said to me, “You are hallucinating. You had better get the doctor.” When Dr. Silkworth came he asked me a lot of questions. After a while he said, “”No Bill, you are not crazy. There has been some basic psychological of spiritual event here. I’ve read about these things in books (Variety of Religious Experiences by William James). Sometimes spiritual experiences do release people from alcoholism.” Immensely relieved, I fell again to wondering what actually had happened?
Continued next week in WN; the Doctor’s Opinion written by Dr. William D. Silkworth.