Continued from September 18th Waynedale News. After Rolland and Ebby worked the six steps and their spiritual disease was in remission (via a spirit awakening), they returned to NY City and carried their message to the Brooklyn soup kitchen, where Ebby T. said to Rolland H.; “I think I’ll call on Bill W…..
The following is Bill’s story as he later told it in his now famous 1939 Big Book: Near the end of a bleak November in 1934, I sat drinking in my kitchen. With a certain satisfaction I reflected there was enough gin concealed about the house to carry me through that night and the next day. My wife was at work. I wondered whether I dared hide a full bottle of gin near the head of our bed. I would need it before daylight.
My musing was interrupted by the telephone. The cheery voice of an old school friend asked if he might come over. He was sober. It was years since I could remember his coming to New York in that condition. I was amazed. Rumor had it Ebby had been committed in Vermont for alcohol insanity. I wondered how he had escaped? Of course we would have dinner, and then I could drink openly with him. Unmindful of his welfare, I thought only of recapturing the spirit of other days. There was that time we chartered an airplane to complete a jag! His coming was an oasis in this dreary desert of futility.
The door opened and he stood there, fresh-skinned and glowing. There was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different. What had happened?
I pushed a drink across the table. He refused it. Disappointed but curious, I wondered what had got into the fellow. ‑He wasn’t himself.
“Come, what’s all this about?” I queried.
He looked straight at me. Simply, but smilingly, he said, “I’ve got religion.”
I was aghast. So that was it-last summer an alcoholic crackpot; now I suspected, a little cracked about religion. He had that starry-eyed look. Yes the old boy was on fire alright. But bless his heart, let him rant! Besides my gin would last longer than his preaching.
But he did no ranting. In a matter of fact way he told how two men had appeared in court, persuading the judge to suspend his commitment. They had told of a simple religious idea and a practical program of action. That was two months ago and the result was self-evident. It worked!
He had come to pass his experience along to me-if I cared to have it. I was shocked but interested. Certainly I was interested. I had to be, for I was hopeless, he talked for hours. Childhood memories rose before me. I could almost hear the sound of the preacher’s voice as I sat, on still Sunday’s, way over there on the hillside; there was that proffered temperance pledge I never signed; my grandfather’s good natured contempt of some church folks and their doings; his insistence that the spheres really had their music; but his denial of the preacher’s right to tell him how he must listen; his fearlessness as he spoke of these things just before he died; these recollections welled up from the past. They made me swallow hard.
I had always believed in a Power greater than myself. I had often pondered these things. I was not an atheist. Few people really are, for that means blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionists, suggested vast laws and forces at work. Despite contrary indications, I had little doubt that a mighty purpose and rhythm underlay all. How could there be so much immutable law, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation. But that was as far as I had gone.
To be continued next issue of WN.
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