Dick B interviews Jim H about the Sept 2012 Vermont trip
by Christian Recovery Radio with DickB
Thu, September 20, 2012
Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
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You may hear Dick B. interview Jim H. about the September 2012 Vermont trip on the September 20, 2012, episode of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show here:
Episodes of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show are archived at:
Synopsis of the Christian Recovery Radio Interview of Jim H. by Dick B.
Some Dick B. Preliminary Comments About Believing, and Then Seeing
A major part of learning, studying, and applying Alcoholics Anonymous History and the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible is believing and then knowing.
It is fair to say that there are at least three approaches to passing on and applying in recovery from alcoholism and addiction A.A. History and the facts about its Christian origins.
a) Seeing and then believing
b) Sam Shoemaker’s formula for coming to believe by doing.
c) Believing. And then seeing.
One who wants to learn and apply A.A. History and its Christian beginnings in enlisting God’s help in overcoming alcoholism and addiction in 12-Step programs today needs to put on the shelf the manifold opinions, wisdom of the rooms, and slanted utterances about what A.A. was and is.
The best guide to the believing approach is that in the Big Book quote on page 568:
There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.
Another help is a statement often attributed to A.A.’s second archivist Frank Mauser, now deceased:
Whenever a civilization or society perishes, there is always one condition present. They forgot where they came from.
And then the language that Bill Wilson borrowed from his mentor Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker:
God either is, or He isn’t. What our choice to be.
Finally, the Bible from which A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob said A.A.’s basic ideas came. Hebrews 11:6 states:
But without faith [believing], it is impossible to please him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Hence our Vermont A.A. History and Christian Recovery Movement workshops in Vermont were designed to investigate. To travel. To learn about the unknown and unreported facts. To go to the major arena of A.A. History—the State of Vermont. To study. And to show all those who really want to believe in God and receive His help the exact places where early AAs, their cofounders, and their mentors got their Christian upbringing. This meant the family locations, the churches, the Sunday schools, the Christian academies, the Young Men’s Christian Association outreach locations, the places where the Great Evangelists like Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey held forth and healed, the churches where Christian Endeavor sparkled. And the daily chapels attended by Bill Wilson, Bill’s girl-friend Bertha Bamford, Ebby Thacher, and Dr. Bob prayed, heard sermons, sang hymns, and heard Scripture read each and every day of their academy attendance.
That material can be learned from those who went to Vermont to research. More than a dozen of them. It can be learned from seeing the photograhs they took (more than 800 of them). Pictures that were taken of key people, books, institutions, churches, libraries, newspapers, and even cemeteries virtually unknown either to historians, writers, history buffs, counselors, and garden variety 12-Step fellowship members.
Believe. Investigate. Then see. And then pass it on. And our guest today came all the way from the State of Washington to drive us all over the State of Vermont, to photograph everything we saw, and to enable you to believe. His name is Jim H.
The Interview of Jim H.
Our guest today was Jim H. from the State of Washington.
Jim played a major role in the September 2-9, 2012, A.A. history and Christian Recovery workshops held in Vermont. These workshops enabled a cadre of recovery leaders with long-term sobriety to gather in Vermont and (1) learn about the origins of Alcoholics Anonymous and its Christian roots in St. Johnsbury, East Dorset, Rutland, Manchester, and Northfield, Vermont; (2) help dedicate the “Dr. Bob Core Library” at North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury; and (3) record in digital pictures and on videotape the key locations and activities that were part of our workshops.
Jim came all the way from Auburn, Washington, to Vermont. He drove my son Ken and me to the many locations we visited. He was with us every step of the way. He took some 800 pictures to be placed on the Web and elsewhere. The signs, campuses, libraries, buildings, and people. Also, pictures of photos and text in many books, newspapers, and articles.
In A.A., Jim has served as an Archivist and service person, led many meetings, and sponsored many newcomers. He is also a retired Air Force Master Sergeant.
Jim and others researched the East Dorset part in depth. He visited and took pictures of the Wilson House, Griffith House Library, East Dorset Congregational Church, and the cemetery where Bill, Lois, and many Wilson relatives are buried
Jim H. is an International Christian Recovery Coalition participant and one of the sponsors of our trip. He’ll now work with several workshop participants helping us publish all the photos on the Web and elsewhere.
In the interview, he told us of his Christian upbringing. He told us of his shift from the spiritual to the material—alcohol and girls. He enlisted in the United States Air Force as a young man. He traveled the world. He racked up a list of DUI’s around the globe. Nonetheless, he attained the rank of Master Sergeant, became a Flight Engineer—flying out of Okinawa. He went from drink to drink, from military location to military location—Texas, New Zealand, Vietnam, California, North Carolina, Germany, Okinawa, and Europe. Finally, after endless flirtations with what he called the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 15, he came to Alcoholics Anonymous almost 30 years ago “in order to stay in the military.” He quit drinking for good.
Jim’s activities in Alcoholics Anonymous have been stellar. He ceased crediting the fellowship of A.A. with his new life and began giving credit to God and to the Bible which he began studying to enable spiritual growth. He stopped referring to a “Higher Power” and talked about God. He became, at first, what he called an “A.A. Service Junkie.” He became involved in Public Information, Corrections, A.A. literature, and the Joe and Charlie Big Book Seminars. He became a GSR for his group. For him, the Big Book came alive. He retired from the Air Force as a Master Sergeant in 1988
Jim fell away from A.A. for a time. He certainly didn’t drink. But he returned to sponsor many a newcomer, work on A.A. literature, read Dick B. books, and become an archivist—for his district and for six years as a member of the Area 72 Archives Steering Committee. He became a literature and Grapevine Representative.
I’ll let you listen to Jim’s talk to find out how much he appreciated and learned from the International Christian Recovery Coalition workshops in Vermont. Suffice it to say that he is hard at work coordinating with others on the trip who took photographs of important books, wall placques, newspapers, buildings, churches, academies, and so on. Jim was an enormous help in furthering the mission of the International Christian Recovery Coalition in which he is a participant. And his story and photographs are sure to bring many a suffering alcoholic—and those who want to help them—to a new understanding and believing. Believing that a new era of A.A. history of A.A.’s Christian beginnings and successes can help others today. And believing that God is and can and will help if sought.