Dr. Paul O., who penned one of the most famous verses in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on page 417, shares his story of recovery from the podium. In meetings all over the world, Dr. Paul’s simple experience of acceptance and perseverance serves as an inspiration for thousands of AA members. Enjoy this speaker tape and pass on the experience, strength, and hope contained in it!
Laughing to the realization of being an alcoholic
This doctor, who could to see that my main problem was marital, walked up behind me and wanted to know if I’d be willing to talk to a man from Alcoholics Anonymous. I thought, “God almighty, don’t I have enough problems of my own without trying to help some drunk from AA?” I did not know anything about alcohol. The only thing I knew about alcoholism was that if you treat one alcoholic, they will all start coming to you. Then, all of them will start coming to you and the good patients will stop. Also, alcoholics are the ones they say never pay their bill or keep your appointments anyhow. However, I could tell by the look on the psychiatrist’s face that he thought it was a good idea. I was going to go to any lengths to make him happy so I could get out of there so I said yes and no time at all.
Next, this clown comes galloping into the room yelling, “My name is Frank and I’m an alcoholic!” I was embarrassed for him. There he is meeting a perfect stranger, and says this is an out loud voice to everyone. He shared and at the end said, “Well, that is my story.” I really did not know anything about that man who led the meeting, who read the book, who shared his story, or who prayed, but at the end I knew that meeting had a profound effect on my psychiatrist. He was suspiciously very interested in my case. He asked me a bunch of questions, “What was this program? What is this about the steps? What’s this about meetings? What other kind of meetings do they have? How often do they have meetings? When are you going to go again?”
Now I thought, “Oh my God I have got me an alcoholic psychiatrist!” I figured he was ashamed to go so he is sending me. So every day I got Frank to take me to a meeting. I didn’t how many brownie points I was getting, but since I wanted out of the mental hospital, I wanted all the points I could get. I finally got enough so I could get discharged from that deal. I finally got discharged. I had no intentions of coming back to AA, why would I? I wasn’t an alcoholic. But my wife went, to AA and Al-Anon meetings. Try sitting at home on a Saturday night drinking all by yourself, while your nonalcoholic spouse is off laughing it up at an open AA meeting or an Al-Anon meeting. I thought it was so rude.
So I decided to go and see what she was doing. I went to meetings for seven months, and then I went to one meeting too many. I found myself laughing along with them and I haven’t had a drink since. The laughter had been very therapeutic for me and very spiritual. In fact, I’m convinced that my Higher Power laughs every time He hears alcoholics laughing together and they’ll laugh even if they do not understand the joke. The laughter was very spiritual for me. So I first turned into an alcoholic after that meeting.