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The Great Depression

Sunday Sundries … Window of Opportunity

tumblr_l8yig0qgFp1qbsveko1_500 billypazionisCourtesy: Billy Pazionis Flickr

It was a beautiful day today. Absolutely stunning.

It was a usual Sunday afternoon. I took the long way to the church to enjoy the sun, and arrived with plenty of time to set up. Our early crew arrived shortly after. Numbers are up, as season kicks into gear, the Sunday meeting is a very popular stop on the city sober tour.

The sober train is in full motion, with the Round Up coming next weekend. The area is hosting open houses in the East End, opposite the West Island event over the weekend, next.

We sat a fair crowd and read “My Wife and I,” from Experience, Strength and Hope. The stories from the First Edition were collected from amongst the first 100 men and women who got sober, when the fellowship was in its infancy.

The time period we are talking about it just prior to the Great Depression, during and the years that followed. Some of our writers were young, in their twenties, when the drink began to take them. These stories parallel the lives of our young people, as well as the rest of us, the timeline is the same, but the circumstances and social conditions were a bit different.

Our story opens with a young couple, low on funds, have high aspirations as to how they want to live their lives. It was a good match that our man found a wife who was smart, astute and a very good thinker, because he was going to need that, later on.

What ever one had prior to the great depression, was laid wasted when it fell.

Everybody suffered.

Alcohol is a relentless foe. And little by slowly, it took our man to the depths of despair.

Trying to manage a business, family (read: children), a wife, and the drink, during probably the most difficult period is U.S. history, was challenging.

All the while, as our man was sinking, his wife was reminding him, sometimes more forcefully than at other times, what he stood to lose, what they had lost and what they had in meager terms. He ignored these words, and kept drinking.

However, his wife was steadfast and in the end, it was she who contacted Doctor Bob to come help her husband.

During the read, the wife speaks to one lady doctor who introduces her to another doctor, who we assume, if the reading is correct, is Doctor Bob. She asks him for his help.

The conversation goes like this …

“Does you husband want to stop drinking, or is he merely temporarily uncomfortable? Has he come to the end of the road, (Dr. Bob) asks his wife.

There is discussion between them.

Dr. Bob visits our folks at home.

Our man knew, in the beginning, that he did not want to become one of those “rummies!” But the drink had other plans for him, he not only drank, and drank hard, he became that which he tried so valiantly to avoid.

Dr. Bob greets our man saying … “I hear you’re another ‘rummy,’ he said as he smiled and sat down beside me. I let him talk. Gradually, he drew me out until what I did tell him gave him a picture of my experience. And then he put it to me plainly. “If you are perfectly sure that you want to quit drinking for good, if you are serious about it, if you don’t merely wish to get well so that you can take up drinking again at some future date, you can be relieved,” he said.

I told him that I had never wanted anything as much in my life as to be able to quit using liquor, and I meant every word of it.

“The first thing to do with your husband,” he said, turning to my wife, “is to get him to a hospital and have him defogged.” I’ll make the necessary arrangements.

It was Doctor Bob who finally got our man into recovery.

I heard a young person share tonight about the “window of opportunity.”

For our writer, the window of opportunity opened, at just the right time, and our man was “ready and willing” to hear the message. As we have talked recently, that very particular window of opportunity opens at the oddest of times.

It opens and either we hear the words, or a human being appears at just the right time, carrying the message, which we either hear and understand and we make a move, or we ignore that message or human being, opting for further descent into the pit of alcoholism.

Those windows, don’t stay open for very long, but they appear when we might least expect them to open, and as experience has shown us, alcoholics are the last persons to “get the message” because we are insane and hard headed.

But as it has turned out, those of us who are “in the fellowship” were afforded windows of opportunities, and we are sober today, by the grace of God.

Oprah says that “When God speaks to us, it is in a whisper, and if we don’t pick it up the first time, He whispers again, if we don’t pick it up the second time, He hits us in the back of the head with a two by four, if we ignore that hit, then He drops a Brick Wall on us.

More to come, stay tuned …