|It Might Have Been Worse -- Chet Rude
(p. 382 in 2nd edition, p. 373 in 3rd edition.)
Heading: Alcohol was a looming cloud in this banker's bright
rare foresight he realized it could become a tornado.
Chet's sobriety date and place of entry into A.A. are unknown.
He was raised in a family of modest circumstances, in a small town in the
Midwest. He attended public schools, worked part-time after school
during vacations, and participated in some athletics. But ambition
succeed was instilled in him by his Scandinavian parents who had come to
country because they thought there were better opportunities here.
Wartime service in the Army (presumably World War II) interrupted his
for success. After the war he continued his education, married and
family, and got started in business.
He worked hard and in time became an officer and director of a large
commercial bank, and also became a director in many important
His drinking did not start until he was thirty-five and fairly successful
his career, but success brought increased social activities which involved
alcohol. At first it was just an occasional drink, then the
hole at the golf course, then cocktail hours. Eventually the
drinking substituted for what he really enjoyed doing. Golf,
fishing became excuses to drink excessively.
He made promises and broke them many times; went on the wagon and fell
tried psychiatry but gave the psychiatrist no cooperation. Blackouts,
personality changes, hangovers and remorse resulted in his living in
fear. He thought no one knew the extent of his drinking and was
learn later than that everyone knew. His wife tried to control the
drank; tried leaving or threatening to leave. Nothing seemed to
After a drunk which ruined his wife's birthday party, his daughter said
Alcoholics anonymous -- or else!
A lawyer in A.A. called on him the next day, spent most of the day with
and took him to his first meeting that night.
At first he wondered if he belonged in AA because he hadn't had the
experience of jails, lost jobs, lost families that he heard others
But the answer was in the first step. Most certainly he was
alcohol, and for him his life had become unmanageable. It wasn't how
had gone, but where he was headed. He was wise enough to recognize
He began to realize how his obsession with alcohol had lead to self-pity,
resentments, dishonest thinking, prejudice, ego, a critical and
attitude toward anyone and everyone who dared to cross him, and vanity.
took him some time to realize that the Twelve Steps were designed to help
correct these defects of character and so help remove the obsession to
A willingness to do whatever he was told to do simplified the program for
him. He was told to study the AA book, not just read it, to go to
and to get active.
He was desperately in earnest to follow through and understand what was
expected of him as a member of A.A. and to take each Step of the Twelve as
rapidly as possible.
The fact that AA is a spiritual program didn't scare him or raise any
prejudice in his mind. He couldn't afford that luxury. He had
tried his way
and had failed.
When he joined A.A. he did so for the sole purpose of getting sober and
staying sober. But he found it was so much more. A new and
outlook on life started opening up almost immediately. Each day
seemed to be
so much more productive and satisfying. He got so much more
enjoyment out of
living, and found an inner pleasure in simple things.
Above all, he was grateful to A.A. for his sobriety, which meant so much
his family, friends and business associates, because God and A.A. were
to do for him something he was unable to do for himself.