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Wisdom of the Ages

Thursday … He Met the Founders

1000 yearsThis book, published some time ago, tells 20 stories. Men and Women who had fifty years of sobriety, at the time of publishing. A few years ago, a founder gave me his copy to read. It made a definite impact on my life and my sobriety.

Tonight, we heard a man who has more than fifty years of sobriety. I imagine that he is in his eighties now. It was a different time then. He grew up, lived, loved and worked in Montreal.

But most of all, he learned how to drink here as well.

He learned how to drink early, and back then, beer was 50 cents a quart.

The drink devastated his life in many ways.

You could have heard a pin drop tonight, because of his soft spoken voice, people in the back of the room, probably did not catch every word, as we who were sitting up front may have.

Jobs were a dime a dozen, in his words, “you could get fired one night, and by the next afternoon, you’d find another job.”

Try that, while you are binge drinking.

He met his wife at age 22. They were both 22 years old.

Before they got married, his parents tried to warn her off because of his drinking history. Her response to this information was … “well, we love each other.”

They imagined that this marriage wouldn’t break the six month mark.

Our couple was married for fifty two years and had several children.

But the marriage was almost lost. His wife, could not speak to him, to tell him her fears and concerns, so she wrote them down, telling him that she was going to take the children and leave, it came to pass, that is was because of his children that he finally put down the drink.

The first time he put down the drink for a number of years, he did it by himself.

You know where this is going right?

One night in St. Eustache, he was stuck in a snow storm, and walked into a hotel and had “A” drink. That drink led to a binge over several days.

Which facilitated his return, (well, his introduction to) the rooms.

He said there were only FIVE meetings in the city back then. The founders were opening meetings in the city. He said that he had met the FOUNDERS.

That would be Dave B. in Montreal, and Bill and Bob, respectively.

Dave B. founded the first A.A. meeting in Montreal, in the year 1944.

What does an OLD TIMER say about the program?

He gets on his knees every day. And he thanks his creator. If that was the only take away, that would be enough. It was because of his children’s prayers for him, that they had faith in him, that he finally got sober.

In sobriety, he got an engineering job in 1966, working for Mayor Drapeau, prior to the opening of EXPO 67. Then we got a pearl. One Pearl.

One night, he was working on site.

Ille Notre Dame, and Ille St. Helen, are man made islands, that sit in the middle of the St. Lawrence Seaway on the East end of the city. When they dug the Metro System, the rock and debris they dug for the system was then used to create these Islands. Truck after truck of debris was brought out night after night. They built the islands to house some of the EXPO 67 displays.

Which is where you see, today, the remnants of Expo 67, on the river. Habitat 67 is on the South shore of the river which you can see from the islands and Old Montreal.

So back to the story …

One night he was sitting on the island as trucks brought rock from the tunnels.

He looked up into a star filled sky, all alone, by himself, and he said two simple words …

” Thank You…”

You never know when an OLD timer is going to get up and speak. There are not many Montreal founders left. And when they come out, and speak, you listen. And you listen good.

We’ve got a number of young people who are periphery squatters.

Those kids who come in at the last minute, sit in the back, and at the end, they are the first ones out the door. If this man, of more than fifty years of sobriety can stay sober, they can stay sober.

I hope for them, at least, that they got that message.

Many of our folks will never see fifty years sober. That is just a life fact for some.

Tonight we all were very grateful for the simple message, in very few words.

More to come, stay tuned …