Friday, July 3, 2009




"Some of us tried to hold onto our old ideas and the
result was nil until we let go absolutely." BB pg 58

At about 15 years sobriety I sat daily in a noon meeting. Every single day this old fellow Neil would read "How It Works" out of our Big Book. Except he did not read it. He had it memorized. He would start off with the book open, then make a big to-do about closing the book while he continued to recite the two-and-a-half pages, 58-59-60. He did make errors, but he did not know that. I did. He impressed many a newly sober person that way.

I remember thinking--judging--that Neil had an Ego problem. So did I. Pride was what defined him. So it was with me. Always when I have ever judged someone and found fault with them...it was my faults being mirrored and looking back at me from outside myself. Also I wondered how much time Neil had before he would drink again. That was NOT me!

Neil had been sober 21 years. He did get very angry one night, stormed out of the "cookie" meeting, and never came back. He lost his wife, his car, his truck, his boat, his business, his self-respect, his life. Yes, Neil died drunk. About 3 years after his meeting tirade. About 1992.

You might see why I look at Pride as my number one nemesis. You might understand why I consider Pride as my large defectiveness. I have other defects, find some each week. Pride is where a next drunk likely begins.

Soon after Neil went out drinking, we had a visitor--very young, very loud, very talkative, very alcoholic ("Thunderbird and Coolade is mah drink!") from Southern Alabama. He spoke that 'foreign language' which is heard in south Alabama, and which really quite beautifully rolls off the southern tongue. He was asked to read "How It Works" one afternoon.

Remember the word "nil". And remember the name "Neil". Here is what brought down the house, nobody could stop themselves from laughing.

The young boy quite innocently read this sentence from page 58 in our book "Alcoholics Anonymous", to sound like "Some of us tried ta hold onta are old idees and the result was NEIL 'til we let go absolutely." (And for Neil, the old ideas did not work--nor will they work for me!)


Q. How many different poker hands are possible in a 52-card deck?

A. 2,598,960. If you dealt a hand every second, it would still take you more than a million years to play all the combinations.

Well, that's it, peeps, for now.


From Steve E

Trivia captured from L.M. Boyd's "Curiosity Shop" page 101


vicariousrising said...

Whew, that's a lot of hands of poker. I'm not much of a gambler myself. At least -- not anymore. ;)

Ed G. said...

The result was neil ...

I like it. But, I always liked neil...

Blessings and happy 4th...

Tall Karen said...

What a wonderfully sad story. Pride that told him he was better than you all, and an ego that told him he can't come back and ask for help...You know Mr O-Roni, that's a story for the Grapevine :)

Mary Christine said...

I love this story. It kind of reminds me of the new guy who sat in Dr. Bob's seat after he died. No one else could do it, but the new guy didn't even know. God is so great.

Andrew said...

I can relate to Neil and to the pride of the ego. Needing to be "right" rather than to be sober. I have done the same, but have survived so far.

Something I need to be aware of. Thanks for the reminder Steve.

Prayer Girl said...

Poor Neil...I remember him.

Sometimes even if I know I could quote something from the BB rather than reading it, I will remember Neil and put my eyes on the words rather than recite from memory.

Glad I do that.


Hope said...

This was good for me to read.
Thank you for sharing it.

A. Miles said...

Is pride whatchoo want to talk about at the chat tomorrow? :)

This is another morally great gem. You're an expert at sharing your life stories.

Thank you.

Carol said...

Holy Hubris! Good subject. It feels tricky to me, to finally know some truths but to say it with humility.

Rhonda said...

I love this post.
So true...so very true.

Eli said...

That's sad about Neil. What's scary about pride to me is how it sneaks up little by little.

Linda S. Socha said...

Great subject Steve...I love your posts and look forward to reading them

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

God save us from pride of self!

And thanks for Steve, who has a gift for making me laugh and feel the gut level convictions of my alcoholism at the same time.

Syd said...

Good story. Sorry that Neil didn't make it. 21 years is a long time. I guess that Pride got him along with the booze.