A Vision For You (comparison)

Comparing “A Vision For You” to the original manuscript for our Basic Text


Comparison Format — Colors appear here only and are — — not used in the actual comparisons. — Words above brackets are from the pre-publication version. < Bracketed copy is from our Basic Text as it reads today. > ~ Format Examples ~
Rarely have we < RARELY HAVE WE > seen a person fail who has thoroughly directions followed our < path >...
~ ~ ~
Now we think you can take it! < — — — — — > Here are the steps we took...
~ ~ ~
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our — — — — — — < conscious > contact with God < as we understood Him >...
~ ~ ~


Chapter 11 < Chapter 11 > A VISION FOR YOU
For most normal folks, drinking means conviviality, , companionship < > and colorful imagination. It means , release from care, boredom < > and worry. It is joyous , intimacy with friends < > and a feeling that life is good. But not so with us in those last days of heavy drinking. The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more attempt – and one more failure. The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did – then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewil- see derment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who < read > this page will understand! Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at the moment says, "I don't miss it at all. Feel better. Work better. ex-alcoholics Having a better time." As < ex-problem drinkers >,

 


 152                                                          

we smile at such a sally.  We know our friend is like a boy   
whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits.  He fools him-  
self.  Inwardly he would give anything to take half a dozen   
drinks and get away with them.  He will presently try the old 
game again, for he isn't happy about his sobriety.  He cannot 
picture life without alcohol.  Some day he will be unable to  
imagine life either with alcohol or without it.  Then he will 
know loneliness such as few do.  He will be at the jumping-off
place.  He will wish for the end.                             

                    you                                       
     We have shown <   > how we got out from under.  You say  
  :                                                           
< , >  "Yes, I'm willing.  But am I to be consigned to a life 
where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous 
people I see?  I know I must get along without liquor, but how
can I?  Have you a sufficient substitute?"                    

                                 ,                            
     Yes, there is a substitute < > and it is vastly more     
                      Fellowship                              
than that.  It is a < fellowship > in Alcoholics Anonymous.   
                                                ,             
There you will find release from care, boredom < > and worry. 
Your imagination will be fired.  Life will mean something at  
last.  The most satisfactory years of your existence lie      
                       The Fellowship                         
ahead.  Thus we find < the fellowship >, and so will you.     

                                        say                   
     "How is that to come about?" you < ask >.  Where am I    
to find these people?"                                        

     You are going to meet these new friends in your own      

community.  Near you < , > alcoholics are dying helplessly    

like people in a sinking ship.  If you live in a large place, 
                      These are to be your companions.        
there are hundreds.  <                                >       
                                                Fellows       
High and low, rich and poor, these are future < fellows > of  
Alcoholics Anonymous.  Among them you will make lifelong      
friends.  You will be bound to them with new and wonderful    
ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will      


 


                                                          153 

commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.  Then you  
                                             ,                
will know what it means to give of yourself < > that others   
may survive and rediscover life.  You will learn the full     
meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself."                    

     It may seem incredible that these men are to become      
happy, respected, and useful once more.  How can they rise    
out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness?  The         
practical answer is that since these things have happened     
                              again                           
among us, they can happen < with you >.  Should you wish      
                          should you                          
them above all else, and <          > be willing to make use  
of our experience, we are sure they will come.  The age of    
miracles is still with us.  Our own recovery proves that!     

     Our hope is that when this chip of a book is launched    
on the world tide of alcoholism, defeated drinkers will seize 
           following          directions                      
upon it, < to follow > its < suggestions >.  Many, we are     

sure, will rise to their feet and march on.  They will        
                                    so the Fellowship         
approach still other sick ones and <    fellowships  > of     
Alcoholics Anonymous may spring up in each city and hamlet,   
havens for those who must find a way out.                     

     In the chapter "Working With Others" you gathered an     
              to                                              
idea of how < we > approach and aid others to health.  Suppose
                                                     your     
now that through you several families have adopted < this >   
way of life.  You will want to know more of how to proceed    
from that point.  Perhaps the best way of treating you to     
a glimpse of your future will be to describe the the growth   
         Fellowship                                           
of the < fellowship > among us.  Here is a brief account:     

      Nearly four years                                       
     <       Years     > ago, < in 1935, > one of our number  
                                                 the          
made a journey to a certain western city.  From < a > business
standpoint, his trip came off badly.  Had he been             


 


 154                                                          

successful in his enterprise, he would have been set on       
                      ,                                       
his feet financially < > which, at the time, seemed vitally   

important.  But his venture wound up in a law suit and bogged 
                         proceding                            
down completely.  The < proceeding > was shot through with    
much hard feeling and controversy.                            

     Bitterly discouraged, he found himself in a strange      
place, discredited and almost broke.  Still physically weak,  
and sober but a few months, he saw that his predicament was   
dangerous.  He wanted so much to talk with someone, but whom? 

     One dismal afternoon he paced a hotel lobby wondering how
his bill was to be paid.  At one end of the room stood a glass
covered directory of local churches.  Down the lobby a door   
opened into an attractive bar.  He could see the gay crowd    
inside.  In there he would find companionship and release.    
Unless he took some drinks, he might not have the courage to  
                        ,                                     
scrape an acquaintance < > and would have a lonely week-end.  

                ,                                             
     Of course < > he couldn't drink, but why not sit hope-   
                                                       Then   
fully at a table, a bottle of ginger ale before him?  <    >  
  after                                                       
< After > all, had he not been sober six months now?  Perhaps 
he could handle, say, three drinks – no more!  Fear gripped   
him.  He was on thin ice.  Again it was the old, insidious    
insanity – that first drink.  With a shiver, he turned away   
and walked down the lobby to the church directory.  Music and 
gay chatter still floated to him from the bar.                

     But what about his responsibilities – his family and     
the men who would die because they would not know how to get  
well, ah – yes, those other alcoholics?  There must be many   
such in this town.  He would phone a clergyman.  His sanity   
          ,                                                   
returned < > and he thanked                                   


 


                                                          155 

God.  Selecting a church at random from the directory,        
he stepped into a booth and lifted the receiver.              

      Little could he foresee what that simple decision was   
     <                                                     >  
 to mean.  How could anyone guess that life and happiness     
<                                                        >    
 for many was to depend on whether one depressed man entered  
<                                                           > 
 a phone booth or a bar?                                      
<                       >  His call to the clergyman led him  
presently to a certain resident of the town, who, though      
formerly able and respected, was then nearing the nadir of    
alcoholic despair.  It was the usual situation: home in jeo-  
                                                        ,     
pardy, wife ill, children distracted, bills in arrears < > and
 reputation                                                   
< standing > damaged.  He had a desperate desire to stop, but 
                 ;                                            
saw no way out < , > for he had earnestly tried many avenues  

of escape.  Painfully aware of being somehow abnormal, the    
                                    means                     
man did not fully realize what it < meant > to be alcoholic.  

                         told                                 
     When our friend < related > his experience, the man      
agreed that no amount of will power he might muster could stop
his drinking for long.  A spiritual experience, he conceded,  
was absolutely necessary, but the price seemed high upon the  
basis suggested.  He told how he lived in constant worry about
 creditors and others                                         
<        those       > who might find out about his alcoho-   
lism.  He had, of course, the familiar alcoholic obsession    
that few knew of his drinking.  Why, he argued, should he     
                                       so bringing            
lose the remainder of his business, < only to bring > still   
                              ,                               
more suffering to his family < > by foolishly admitting his   
           his creditors and people                           
plight to <                        > from whom he made his    
livelihood?  He would do anything, he said, but that.         

     Being intrigued, however, he invited our friend to his   
home.  Some time later, and just as he thought he was getting 
control of his liquor situation, he went on a roaring bender. 
For him, this was the spree that ended all sprees.  He saw    
that he would have to face                                    


 


 156                                                          
                       ,                                      
his problems squarely < > that God might give him mastery.    

     One morning he took the bull by the horns and set out    
to tell those he feared what his trouble had been.  He found  
himself surprisingly well received, and learned that many     
knew of his drinking.  Stepping into his car, he made the     
rounds of people he had hurt.  He trembled as he went about,  

for this might mean ruin < , > particularly to a person in    
his line of business.                                         

     At midnight he came home exhausted, but very happy.      
He has not had a drink since.  As we shall see, he now means  
a great deal to his community, and the major liabilities of   
                                                     less     
thirty years of hard drinking have been repaired in <    >    
 than                                                         
<    > four.                                                  

     But life was not easy for the two friends.  Plenty of    
difficulties presented themselves.  Both saw that they must   
keep spiritually active.  One day they called up the head     
nurse of a local hospital.  They explained their need and     
inquired if she had a first class alcoholic prospect.         

     She replied, "Yes, we've got a corker.  He's just beaten 
up a couple of nurses.  Goes off his head completely when     

< he's > drinking.  But he's a grand chap when < he's > sober,
                            six                        four   
though he's been in here < eight > times in the last < six >  
months.  Understand he was once a well-known lawyer in town,  
but just now we've got him strapped down tight."              

                                    .                         
     Here was a prospect all right < > but, by the descrip-   
tion, none too promising.  The use of spiritual principles    


 


                                                          157 

in such cases was not so well understood as it is now.  But   
one of the friends said, "Put him in a private room.  We'll   
be down."                                                     

                                Fellow                        
     Two days later, a future < fellow > of Alcoholics Anony- 
mous stared glassily at the strangers beside his bed.  "Who   
are you fellows, and why this private room? I was always in   
a ward before."                                               

     Said one of the visitors, "We're giving you a treatment  
for alcoholism."                                              

     Hopelessness was written large on the man's face as he   
          :                                                   
replied < , > "Oh, but that's no use.  Nothing would fix me.  
I'm a goner.  The last three times, I got drunk on the way    
home from here.  I'm afraid to go out the door.  I can't      
understand it."                                               

     For an hour, the two friends told him about their        
drinking experiences.  Over and over, he would say: "That's   
me.  That's me.  I drink like that."                          

     The man in the bed was told of the acute poisoning from  
which he suffered, how it deteriorates the body of an alcoho- 
lic and warps his mind.  There was much talk about the mental 
state preceding the first drink.                              

     "Yes, that's me," said the sick man, "the very image.    
You fellows know your stuff all right, but I don't see what   
good it'll do.  You fellows are somebody.  I was once, but    
I'm a nobody now.  From what you tell me, I know more than    
ever I can't stop."  At this both the visitors burst into a   
laugh.  Said the future Fellow Anonymous: "Damn little to     
laugh about that I can see."                                  

     The two friends spoke of their spiritual experience and  
told him about the course of action they carried out.         

     He interrupted: "I used to be strong for the church,     


 


 158                                                          

but that won't fix it.  I've prayed to God on hangover        
                                                      ,       
mornings and sworn that I'd never touch another drop < >      
but by nine o'clock I'd be boiled as an owl."                 

     Next day found the prospect more receptive.  He had      
been thinking it over.  "Maybe you're right," he said.        
"God ought to be able to do anything."  Then he added,        
"He sure didn't do much for me when I was trying to fight     
this booze racket alone."                                     

     On the third day the lawyer gave his life to the care    
and direction of his Creator, and said he was perfectly       
willing to do anything necessary.  His wife came, scarcely    
                          but                                 
daring to be hopeful, < though > she thought she saw something
different about her husband already.  He had begun to have a  
spiritual experience.                                         

     That afternoon he put on his clothes and walked from the 
hospital a free man.  He entered a political campaign, making 
speeches, frequenting men's gathering places of all sorts,    
often staying up all night.  He lost the race by only a narrow
margin.  But he had found God – and in finding God had found  
himself.                                                      

     That was in June, 1935.  He never drank again.  He too,  
has become a respected and useful member of his community.    
He has helped other men recover, and is a power in the church 
from which he was long absent.                                

     So, you see, there were three alcoholics in that town,   
who now felt they had to give to others what they had found,  
or be sunk.  After several failures to find others, a fourth  
turned up.  He came through an acquaintance who had heard the 
good news.  He proved to be a devil-may-care young fellow     
whose parents could not make out whether he wanted to stop    
drinking or not.  They were deeply religious people, much     
shocked by their son's refusal to have anything to do with the


 


                                                          159 

church.  He suffered horribly from his sprees, but it seemed  
as if nothing could be done for him.  He consented, however,  
to go to the hospital, where he occupied the very room recent-
ly vacated by the lawyer.                                     

                                                    :         
     He had three visitors.  After a bit, he said < , > "The  
way you fellows put this spiritual stuff makes sense.  I'm    
ready to do business.  I guess the old folks were right after 
all."  So one more was added to the Fellowship.               

     All this time our friend of the hotel lobby incident     
remained in that town.  He was there three months.  He now    
returned home, leaving behind his first acquaintance, the     
        ,                                                     
lawyer < > and the devil-may-care chap.  These men had found  
something brand new in life.  Though they knew they must help 
other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive be-  
came secondary.  It was transcended by the happiness they     
found in giving themselves for others.  They shared their     
homes, their slender resources, and gladly devoted their      
spare hours to fellow-sufferers.  They were willing, by day   
or night, to place a new man in the hospital and visit him    
afterward.  They grew in numbers.  They experienced a few     
                                          ,                   
distressing failures, but in those cases < > they made an     
                                             new              
effort to bring the man's family into a < spiritual > way of  
living, thus relieving much worry and suffering.              

                  sic                                         
     A year and < six > months later these three had succeeded
with seven more.  Seeing much of each other, scarce an evening
passed that someone's home did not shelter a little gathering 
of men and women, happy in their release, and constantly      
thinking how they might present their discovery to some new-  
comer.  In addition to these casual get-togethers, it became  
customary to set apart one night a week for a meeting to be   


 


 160                                                          

attended by anyone or everyone interested in a spiritual way  
of life.  Aside from fellowship and sociability, the prime    
object was to provide a time and place where new people might 
bring their problems.                                         

     Outsiders became interested.  One man and his wife placed
their large home at the disposal of this strangely assorted   
crowd.  This couple has since become so fascinated that they  
have dedicated their home to the work.  Many a distracted wife
has visited this house to find loving and understanding com-  
                                 their                        
panionship among women who knew < her > problem, to hear from 
             men like                                         
the lips of <        > their husbands what had happened to    
them, to be advised how her own wayward mate might be hospi-  
talized and approached when next he stumbled.                 

     Many a man, yet dazed from his hospital experience, has  
stepped over the threshold of that home into freedom.  Many   
an alcoholic who entered there came away with an answer.  He  
succumbed to that gay crowd inside, who laughed at their      
     misfortune                      him                      
< own misfortunes > and understood < his >.  Impressed by     

those who visited him at the hospital, he capitulated         
          ,                                                   
entirely < > when, later, in an upper room of this house, he  
heard the story of some man whose experience closely tallied  
with his own.  The expression on the faces of the women, that 
indefinable something in the eyes of the men, the stimulating 
and electric atmosphere of the place, conspired to let him    
know that here was haven at last.                             

     The very practical approach to his problems, the absence 
of intolerance of any kind, the informality, the genuine demo-
cracy, the uncanny understanding which these people had were  
irresistible.  He and his                                     


 


                                                          161 

wife would leave elated by the thought of what they could     
now do for some stricken acquaintance and his family.  They   
knew they had a host of new friends; it seemed they had known 
these strangers always.  They had seen miracles, and one was  
                                      The                     
to come to them.  They had visioned < the > Great Reality –   
their loving and All Powerful Creator.                        

     Now, this house will hardly accommodate its weekly visi- 
tors, for they number sixty or eighty as a rule.  Alcoholics  
are being attracted from far and near.  From surrounding      
towns, families drive long distances to be present.  A commu- 
                                     Fellows                  
nity thirty miles away has fifteen < fellows > of Alcoholics  
Anonymous.  Being a large place, we think that some day its   
Fellowship will number many hundreds.                         

     But life among Alcoholics Anonymous is more than attend- 
       meetings                                               
ing < gatherings > and visiting hospitals.  Cleaning up old   
scrapes, helping to settle family differences, explaining the 
disinherited son to his irate parents, lending money and secu-
ring jobs for each other, when justified – these are everyday 
                                          nor                 
occurrences.  No one is too discredited < or > has sunk too   
low to be welcomed cordially – if he means business.  Social  
distinctions, petty rivalries and jealousies – these are      
laughed out of countenance.  Being wrecked in the same vessel,
being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds
attuned to the welfare of others, the things which matter so  
much to some people no longer signify much to them.  How could
they?                                                         

     Under only slightly different conditions, the same thing 
                    several                                   
is taking place in < many  > eastern cities.  In one          


 


 162                                                          

of these there is a well-known hospital for the treatment of  
                                 Four                         
alcoholic and drug addiction.  < Six > years ago one of our   
number was a patient there.  Many of us have felt, for the    
first time, the Presence and Power of God within its walls.   
We are greatly indebted to the doctor in attendance there,    
for he, although it might prejudice his own work, has told us 
                  our work                                    
of his belief in < ours   >.                                  

     Every few days this doctor suggests our approach to one  
of his patients.  Understanding our work, he can do this with 
an eye to selecting those who are willing and able to recover 
on a spiritual basis.  Many of us, former patients, go there  
to help.  Then, in this eastern city, there are informal      
meetings such as we have described to you, where you may      
                thirty or forty, there                        
< now > see < scores of members.  There > are the same fast   
friendships, there is the same helpfulness to one another as  
you find among our western friends.  There is a good bit of   
travel between East and West and we foresee a great increase  
in this helpful interchange.                                  

     Some day we hope that every alcoholic who journeys will  
find a Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous at his destination. 
To some extent this is already true.  Some of us are salesman 
and go about.  Little clusters of twos and threes and fives of
us have sprung up in other commu- nities, through contact with
our two larger centers.  Those of us who travel drop in as    
often as we can.  This practice enables us to lend a hand, at 
the same time avoiding certain alluring distractions of the   
road, about which any traveling man can inform you.           

     Thus we grow.  And so can you, though you be but         


 


                                                          163 

one man with this book in your hand.  We believe and hope it  
contains all you will need to begin.                          

     We know what you are thinking.  You are saying to your-  
self: "I'm jittery and alone.  I couldn't do that."  But you  
can.  You forget that you have just now tapped a source of    
       so                                                     
power <  > much greater than yourself.  To duplicate, with    
such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of   
willingness, patience and labor.                              

               a former alcoholic                  alone      
     We know < of an A.A. member > who was living <     > in  
a large community.  He had lived there but a few weeks when he
found that the place probably contained more alcoholics per   
square mile than any city in the country.  This was only a few

days ago at this writing. < (1939) >  The authorities were    

much concerned.  He got in touch with a prominent psychiatrist
      has                                                     
who < had > undertaken certain responsibilities for the mental
health of the community.  The doctor proved to be able and    
exceedingly anxious to adopt any workable method of handling  
                 Agreeing with many competent and informed    
the situation.  <                                         >   
 physicians, he said he could do little or nothing for the    
<                                                         >   
 average alcoholic.       ,                                   
<                  >  So < > he inquired, what did our friend 
have on the ball?                                             

     Our friend proceeded to tell him.  And with such good    
effect that the doctor agreed to a test among his patients    
and certain other alcoholics from a clinic which he attends.  
Arrangements were also made with the chief psychiatrist of a  
large public hospital to select still others from the stream  
of misery which flows through that institution.               

     So our fellow worker will soon have friends galore.      
Some of them may sink and perhaps never get up, but if our    
experience is a criterion, more than half of those approached 
              Fellows                                         
will become < fellows > of Alcoholics Anonymous.  When a few  
men in this city have found themselves,                       


 


 164                                                          

and have discovered the joy of helping others to face life    
again, there will be no stopping until everyone in that town  
      has                                                     
has < had > his opportunity to recover – if he can and will.  

     Still you may say: "But I will not have the benefit of   
contact with you who write this book."  We cannot be sure.    
God will determine that, so you must remember that your real  
reliance is always upon Him.  He will show you how to create  
      Fellowship                                              
the < fellowship > you crave.*                                

     Our book is meant to be suggestive only.  We realize we  
know only a little.  God will constantly disclose more to you 
and to us.  Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can   
do each day for the man who is still sick.  The answers will  
come, if your own house is in order.  But obviously you cannot
transmit something you haven't got.  See to it that your rela-
tionship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass
for you and countless others.  This is the Great Fact for us. 

     Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit    
                 him         and                              
your faults to < Him > and < to > your fellows.  Clear away   
                                                          ,   
the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find < >  
                                    ,                         
and join us.  We shall be with you < > in the Fellowship of   
  The                                                         
< the > Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you    
trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.                             

     May God bless you and keep you – until then.             


    See appendix – The Alcoholic Foundation.  It may be       
*< Alcoholics Anonymous will be glad to hear from you. >      
  we shall be able to carry on a limited correspondence.      
< Address P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, >    

< NY 10163. >                                                 


e-aa discussion of A Vision For You