The Story of Dave B., one of the founders of A.A. In Canada in 1944

The first few pages of this reading immediately gives me a series of things I can personally strongly relate to:

Well, I was afraid my friends wouldn’t like me if I didn’t do as they did. I knew firsthand that mysterious state of people who appear to be sure of themselves but are actually eaten alive with fear inside. I had a rather strong inferiority complex. I believe I lacked what my father used to call “character”

At first, I considered it a friend; later, it became a heavy load I couldn’t get rid of. It turned out to be much more powerful than I was

I wondered how this misery would end. I was full of fear. I was afraid to tell others what I felt lest they would think I was insane. I was terribly lonely, full of self-pity, and terrified. Most of all, I was in a deep depression

A feeling of wanting to fit in, to be accepted. Being consumed by fear and isolation and slowly discovering that alcohol would eventually have a much stronger power over us than we ever imagined.

This story is incredibly powerful to me as it gives us perspective, perspective into just how easy we have things now. The author didn’t have access to meetings or fellows, he was alone. His only contact during his early recovery was a copy of the Big Book and a series of letters all sent to him from fellows in New York.

After a year in recovery himself, it was time to carry the message and help setup meetings in Canada. He was forwarded hundreds of letters from other struggling alcoholics living in Canada and went through each one, responding and reaching out to start the first local meetings. He hosted the first meetings in his own home, struggling for work, but putting the programme and the needs of his fellows first.

It ends with a powerful paragraph showing his gratitude for the programme and those in New York who helped him to rebuild his life.

In 2020 we in recovery have access to meetings all over the world whenever we need them, we’re able to have conversations with fellows whenever we need thanks to Whatsapp Group chats, we can setup new meetings with a few clicks and can whip out the Big Book on our phones when we’re waiting for the bus.

If anything this reading just fills me with respect and admiration for those early pioneers of recovery. It’s incredibly humbling and fills me with gratitude that we’re able to work our own programmes of recovery with relative ease thanks to everything they went through and everything we have now.

/ Jay