“Tell me your story.” A winning beginning

Dick B.

This is a shortie about what produces results with the newcomer.

You can find my story in text and audio on the front page of my website http://www.dickb.com; and it has produced many welcome visits to my A.A. history sites and to me.

I have found, as part of my 23 years of continuous sobriety, that helping a newcomer will achieve success well if it starts with “Tell me your story.” Out here in Hawaii, it might sometimes be “Let’s talk story.” Either way, the fresh newcomer with his bag of troubles, shame, guilt, fear, and the other products of his self-destructive behavior, is surprisingly eager to tell his story if you share yours. It’s the thing that brought Bob and Bill together and resulted in the founding of A.A. And it’s the thing that enabled them to relate to Bill D., AA Number Three, who was almost instantly cured by asking God for help. And this marked the founding of A.A. Group Number One in Akron.

What do you tell the newcomer? The same thing that Ebby Thacher told Bill: “Bill, God has done for me what I could not do for myself.” A likely response is, “Tell me what happened.” And a possible answer is: “Tell me your story. I’ll tell you mine. And maybe you can see what happened to me when I asked God for help and how I got well.” Ebby’s story sent the drunken and depressed Bill scurrying to the altar and Calvary Rescue Mission where Bill made his first positive move toward his relationship with God—a decision for Jesus Christ. Bill declared he was born again. As Dr. Silkworth had suggested, Bill decided to call on the “Great Physician” Jesus Christ for help. Bill was drunk, depressed, and in despair. At Towns Hospital, Bill cried out to God for help. He had his “white light” spiritual experience, believed he had been in the presence of “the God of the Scriptures,” and stopped doubting God.

He was cured. On his release from Towns Hospital, Bill went about with a Bible under his arm, telling people they needed to give their lives to God. His own story was “The Lord has cured me of this terrible disease, and I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.” Big Book, 4th ed.,191. And A.A. Number Three Bill Dotson this became the golden text of A.A. for him and others in the fellowship. See Dick B., The Golden Text of A.A.

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