Sober Samaritan




Ed Satell receives he Richard J Caron Award of Excellence at the Philadelphia Gala, October 2009
Emcee and Board Member Casey Duffy with Regional VP Jim McManus, Honoree Ed Satell, Board Chairman Mike McGlinn, Keynote Speaker Joe Theisman, and Executive Director of Treatment Services Mike Early. 

Written by Fulton Oursler, author of "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Fulton was the editor of Liberty Magazine and later Senior Editor at Reader's Digest. He was a friend to Bill Wilson. Inspired by his brother's recovery, this article was published in both above referenced magazines. It is one of my treasures, and I hope you enjoy it.

Down at the very bottom of the social scale of AA society are the pariahs, the untouchables, the outcasts, all underprivileged and all known by one terrible epithet – relatives. I am a relative. I know my place. I am not complaining. But I hope no one will mind if I venture the plaintive confession that there are times, oh, so many times, when I wish I had been an alcoholic. The reason is that I consider the AA people the most charming in the world.

Such is my considered opinion. As a journalist is has been my fortune to meet many of the people who are considered charming. I number among my friends stars and lesser lights of stage and screen. Writers are my daily diet. I know the ladies and gentlemen of both political parties. I have been entertained in the White House. I have broken bread with kings and ministers and ambassadors. And I say, after that catalog, that I would prefer an evening with my AA friends to any person or group of persons I have indicated.

I asked myself why I consider so charming these alcoholic caterpillars who have found their butterfly wings in AA. I can name a few reasons: The AA people are what they are, and they were what they were, because they are sensitive, imaginative, possessed of a sense of humor and an awareness of universal truth.

They are sensitive, which means they hurt easily, and that helped them become alcoholics. But when they have found their restoration, they are still as sensitive as ever – responsive to beauty and truth, and eager about the intangible glories of this life. That makes them charming companions. And they are possessed of a universal truth that is often a new thing in their hearts. The fact that this at-one feeling with God’s universe had never been awakened in them is sometimes the reason they drank. The fact that it was at last awakened is almost always the reason why they were restored to the good and simple ways of life. Stand with them when the meeting is over, and listen as they say the “Our Father.”

They have found a power greater than themselves which they serve diligently. And that gives them a charm that never was elsewhere on land and sea. It makes you know that God himself is really charming, because the AA people reflect His mercy and His forgiveness.

They are imaginative, and that helped to make them alcoholics. Some of them drank to flog their imaginations on to greater things. Others guzzled only to black out unendurable visions that rose in their imaginations. But when they found their restoration, their imagination is responsive to new thinking, and their talk abounds with color and light. And that, too, makes them charming companions.

They are possessed of a sense of humor. Even in their cups they have been known to say damnably funny things. Often, it was being forced to take seriously the little and mean things of life that made them seek escape in the bottle. But when they have found their restoration, their sense of humor finds a blessed freedom, and they are able to reach a god-like state, where they can laugh at themselves – the very height of self conquest. Go to meetings and listen to their laughter. What are they laughing at? At ghoulish memories over which weaker souls would cringe in remorse. And that makes them wonderful people to be with by candlelight.

AA can and does show these people a solution to their problem, and it’s grewatest recommendation is – it works!

Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favorite authors, said:

The three greatest documents ever written are the Ten Commandments, the Bill of Rights, and the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
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