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I’m an alcoholic my name is sister Maurice and I approve this message thank you for coming to be with me on this the most important day of my life it’s not my birthday it’s not the anniversary of anything in particular it’s just simply the only day I have and when people come to be with you with such a significant time in your life you try to remember them at least I do and I’ll try to remember you because you’re here with me on this the most important day of my life I would like to thank Lee and the committee and John and Matt and all those who have been doing love and service for inviting me to come and share my experience strength and hope in this beautiful part of the world it shows me that there are people in other parts of the world that have good judgement it’s nice to be invited there was a time in my life when people stopped inviting me I used to go anyway and then I would make it 30 day retreat wondering why I wasn’t invited back so to be invited today it’s very very special to me as I look out here this evening I’m reminded of the farming section of our country and a minister was going to a church to give a talk and he got to the church and the bell was ringing and he was supposed to get up and give his message and there was just one farmer in the pew so he got up and he came down and then he said to the farmer he said you know I’m supposed to give my sermon but you’re the only one who has showed up when the farmer said well if I had a load of hay and I went out to feed the cows and only one cow showed up I’d feed the cow and the minister said you got it up until the pulpit he goes and an hour later he finishes and he comes down and he says to the farmer what you think the farmer said well if I had a load of hay and I went out to feed the cows and only one cow showed up I don’t think I’d given the whole load now if you didn’t get that you could talk to your sponsor well you know they’re still gone around with stories about the nuns the sisters and one that I heard these two nuns they were dressed in their full outfit they went to the supermarket and they were walking around the supermarket and they passed by the beer wine and whiskey section and one nan said to the other would you like a beer and the other nun said oh I would but she said I’d be embarrassed when we go up to checkout so the other night said I’ll take care of it so they picked up a six-pack they went up to the checkout and the checkout lady stood with her mouth open and the nun said it’s for washing our hair and the checkout lady went down under the counter and she came up with the bag of pretzels and she said the curlers are

on me I had my meditation when I hear sister Rose share her story it’s the same meditation all the time for me if I go back out there shoot me and then discuss it thank you very much for sharing one more time I stand in awe at this moment of God’s love for me I stand in awe of you in my relationship with you and I stand in awe of sister Maurice if you don’t remember anything I shared this evening please remember this because this is how I want to be remembered it’s the most important thing about me at any point on a clonk I’m an alcoholic which means one brandy 2 brandies three brandies floor I’m a woman I’m a member of a religious community I’m an RN a real nun I remember of Alcoholics Anonymous in good standing in particular the Forest Hills group in Queens New York that’s my home group and the last thing I tell you about myself is my name incidentally my name is sister Maurice one of the things that are partial to in our fellowship is that it’s a fellowship of equals there are no titles in Alcoholics Anonymous or al-anon no one really cares what you do for a living I love that expression fellowship of equals I don’t think there’s another outfit in society that can claim fellowship of equals like we can at least we’d match any other group that’s out there and yet you have never been anything else in the fellowship other than sister Maurice isn’t that a title I see it as my name it’s on all my important papers so I my driver’s license the name I’ve been using most of my life it’s still written up quite well to police station city of New York but moreover it’s the name I gave when I came into the fellowship a while back a call has been made and I was to go to the forest hills group of Alcoholics Anonymous and I wasn’t quite sure that someone of my class and caliber should be going to such a plea place as a a so I was not a happy camper when I came but little by slowly thanks to you that has all changed so much so that I can say quite comfortably today I choose to live da a way of life and when I talk about something being a way of life it’s not an incidental experience it’s not something I do when the spirit moves me a way of life to me is as much a part of me as my right hand in my left hand and that’s the way I see Alcoholics Anonymous today but for starters I went to this first meeting I went up the stairs down the stairs into a little room there was one man in the room he took a look at me came running across the room grabbed my hand told me who he was and then he said what’s your name I said me he said yeah what’s your name I said I’m sister Maurice now this man didn’t say we’ll have a group conscience meeting and I’ll get back to you the very next thing the man said was hi sister Maurice you’re welcome and in my 38 years in the fellowship no one has ever suggested that I call myself anything else the name is important it’s

mine but the most important thing about me at any point on a clock is what I told you first and foremost I’m an alcoholic and each and every time I say that beginning first when I awaken in the morning I don’t know how you sleep of course I don’t but I sleep primarily on my right side and when are you waking in the morning I don’t even know I have two eyes because this one’s buried in the pillow before I go looking for this on the very first thing I do I announced before my god I am an alcoholic it sets the tone here it puts me on the right wavelength and anytime thereafter that I say I’m an alcoholic I am reminded that of all the things I do each day that God gives me my most important job work task assignment is that I stay sober and I do that best with the principles and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous as they have been written when I came a while back I was given a book I thought it was an interesting way the book was given to me the lady who gave it to me was much shorter than I was and she stood out in front of me and she said here is a big book no coincidence I’m very farsighted and I saw some fellows over there putting some shiny signs on the wall and my eye hit upon the one that said keep it simple and as thick and all as I was I said to myself wouldn’t dare say it to the lady boy do these people practice what they preach because you can’t get much simpler than that here is a day full of course now we have the paperback version which I call the small big book I don’t call it the small book I don’t call it the little book because there’s another book in the bookstore in the mall called the small book and it talks about being an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous so I call ours the small big book will you introduce anything new in a a or al-anon and they send for you this fella came to me and he had a small big book and he’s pacing up and down he say hey sister you call this the small big book I said I do he said that’s a contradiction I said contradiction he said small big slow big I thought for a moment and I said well we have had jumbo shrimp for years well I took the book as it was being presented and this is what was said to me I was told I should read the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous I should study the big book I should believe what I found there I should share what I believe and I should practice what I share and then this lady said we suggest you do that along with the people who know how to do it best and she called that outfit to fellowship then she put the whole thing together and she said to me that is a design for living that really works what do I know about anything I said let me see what I can do and that design for living has worked so well for this lady here that I don’t spend a fleeting moment of my precious time looking around for alternative ways to go I need all the help I can get believe you Ming but it is always as a secondary measure to the program alcohol became a way of life for me in a very short period of time it dictated my moods it made my decisions it said you will and it said you won’t I found it very hard to eventually surrender to the fact that whenever the first drink I thought maybe the 21st but whenever the first drink of alcohol went into this

body mind and spirit two things happened one I didn’t know how many more I was going to have to I didn’t know what the behavior would be like however if you met me along the way and you said sister how many drinks did you have well where you have I would have said two because that’s what a lady should have and if you said to me what would you behave you like or what will it be like I would have said steady as you go because that’s how I saw myself but I know today it was very different I was a first grade teacher at the time and I had the reputation in those days of being the best teacher in the school isn’t that right Kevin when the children came to first grade after Labor Day each September by the end of September my kids were ready for college and it’s ten o’clock in the morning I’d be working real hard with these kids and something would start in my body mind and spirit screaming in there you need a drink and the very next thing I would do morning after morning I would put up against the screaming what people told me I had so much of and that was willpower and the willpower approach was futile and I went on to learn and I’m glad I did that it wasn’t that I was a weak willed individual but rather I was a diseased person I was a sick untreated alcoholic and when you’re in that condition it goes beyond the strength of your will to do other than to satisfy what’s going on in here so I’ve moved to the next phase of the game plan and I’d say well it’s a couple of minutes after 10:00 these kids can go outside the bathroom then they can have their snack get to teacher next door to keep an eye on them because I’m a responsible teacher now run over to the convent get a drink be back when this is all over might be running across the yard to the convent morning after morning and this will be my thought this is going to be my last drink at least until I’ve done my day’s work I was too sick to recall in those days that at 5:00 a.m. when the big bell went off to get us into our day my story goes back to old God’s time before we went mud and when you’re this bell going off at 5:00 a.m. and for me to get into anything in those days how to reach over from my bed and take that drink and I hated doing that and each and every time I did it I would say this is going to be my last drink at least until I’ve done my day’s work so whenever I would take the first one everything would scent you around when am I going to get the next one yet if you met me along the way and you said sister who or what is the center of your life I would have been insulted by the question you just called me sister you see how I’m dressed every piece from stem to stern you just saw me come out of that building called convent then you’re asking me who’s the center of my life how come you don’t know the center of my life is God I would have been insulted by the question today I choose to live honestly as best I can thanks to folks like you and I have no problem in sharing somewhere along the way the focus in my life shifted and it shifted from God to that next drink and I justified the use of alcohol in my life I might say to because maybe someone needs to hear it it was not one of my goals in life to become an alcoholic I do not see alcoholism as self-inflicted I believe it is a disease sickness condition that comes to a person I think it’s a marvelous and wonderful idea that we have steps that suggest to us that in God’s time we make amends because we are accountable but I don’t hold myself responsible for the sickness that came to me however I hold myself very very very responsible for the precious life-giving gift of sobriety that has been given to me I did not get sober I tried to get silver I couldn’t pull it off I don’t believe a person can get sober that’s my opinion I believe something bigger greater outside if the person takes place they call it a miracle and I believe the precious life-giving gift of

sobriety and the precious life-giving gift of recovery and al-anon I believe it’s given and it’s given by one bigger greater than all of us put together I choose to call that one God so I feel very responsible to take care of the precious life giving give the sobriety that God has given me so much so that I have no problem in sharing with you if you should ever hear that sister Maurice is back drinking please please don’t call me a victim call me a volunteer and the very next thing you should say somewhere along the line she wasn’t willing to do everything necessary to stay sober I cannot plead ignorance today it would never hold up you have taught me and taught me well how to take care of the precious life-giving gift of sobriety each day that God gives me going back to the scene in the bed with the eye in the pillow the second thing I do each morning before I go looking for the iron I pray the Lord’s Prayer and when I reach the part of the prayer that says give us this day our daily bread I emphasize the word devil because I want to remind myself I will have sufficient bread sufficient help for today he will not refuse anyone who asks for the bread for the help it gives it a day at a time my responsibility then to take the bread for help and to use it to take care of the gift of sobriety for the rest of that day there are advantages to years of sobriety I’ve had them but as the years of sobriety increase so did the perils of smugness complacency is a killer the little sheep that strays from the flock is usually the one that’s found in the ditch over the embankment hanging from the barbed-wire fence a favorite fruit of mine is a banana and every time I eat a banana I have a meditation and the meditation is the banana that leaves the bunch is the one that gets skinned I’ve a drunk the log that tells you quite well that all by myself I can stay very sick and quite drunk but I truly believe I cannot stay sober and fairly well without you well how do you really know that Maurice you’ve never left us when God was giving out ears I thought he said beers and I said two large ones I’m an excellent listener for the sharing of my brothers and sisters I was affected physically mentally spiritually socially emotionally from this disease physically I fed out pretty well there were times I try to arrange my own physical death I used to take the car leave the Bronx go across the George Washington Bridge up to Palisades Parkway and pull over the way you could sightsee and I’d say when those cars are gone when those folks are gone I’m going to run this car over the embankment because I don’t know what’s the matter with me and then I’d have what I call today a moment of Amazing Grace and I’d say I’ll go get a drink I’ll come back and do this another time so I was not to die physically but there are other ways of dying I’m sure you can identify I suffered the death of my values I suffered the death of my integrity I suffered the death of everything I stood for as a woman everything I stood for as a sister all those areas of my life dine elderly I looked pretty good held a job did it fairly well try to keep up with my responsibilities and above all above all I always said my prayers no matter what shape I was in I was always praying away and some of you have shared with me that you thought you missed the boat because you didn’t pray enough I prayed enough for you and all belonging to you so this disease must be so big whether you are afflicted with the disease or affected by the disease this disease must be so big that something as powerful as prayer will not take it away

I don’t believe you can just pray your way to alcoholism and yet we say where would we be without prayer prayer is a path where there is none but I think for folks like you and me there’s another piece that goes with the prayer pray and row the boat and this beautiful way of life this design for living enables us to do that to pray and to row the boat I denied that alcohol was my problem I was somewhat relieved when I learned that denial is the major presenting symptom of alcoholism and when you’re in denial with this disease you’re not in touch with reality what I knew about my situation would fit on a postage stamp what was happening in my life was as big as the state of Florida and New York put together and if I didn’t have it up here when it was presented to me then it didn’t happen because if it did happen I’d have it up here now I had hundreds of people talk to me about my drinking and the behavior that went with it some of them wanted to be martyrs at an early age the nerve that one common air and talk to you about my drinking and there were many times that I exercised the denial my mother was in a hospital in New York City having a total hip operation she was there for months and months and months the operation wasn’t is perfected then as it is today now I think they do what going up and down and he elevated I went every day to be at my mother’s bedside but that’s where a good daughter should be and one day my beautiful mother beautiful Irish saw spoken lady she said to me in a whisper if you don’t come tomorrow it’ll be just fine you must have a lot of work to do around the convent and the school why don’t you skip a few days and I sat there thinking wow there she is with all her pain and she’s thinking of me but I know today that she was thinking of herself and rightly so my beautiful mother could not bring herself to say you’re an embarrassment to me you’re no help to me I don’t need you around this hospital drunk now I have just one sister and she’s also a sister I don’t call her sister but yet she’s my sister if you didn’t get that I’ll talk to you later and during my active alcoholism my sister secretly wished that she had joined a missionary community and lived in Mexico it’s hard to be proud of a sick untreated alcoholic I know that today I didn’t know it then while my sister came to the hospital to visit my mother and she gave me one of those come outside the door kind of winks I do Leafly went outside I figure she needs my advice my opinion that’s what I’m there for my sister is very tall she tell is over me unlike my mother she’s a beautiful soft-spoken lady so we’re outside and I’m looking up at her and she says in a whisper why why would you come to this hospital at four o’clock in the afternoon drinking I was just about to give her a lecture when it dawned on me we’ve been down this road a hundred times before to the best of my recollection not a word did I speak but being a typical alcoholic and that’s all that I am typical alcoholic couldn’t let well enough alone I took my right hand the more powerful of my two and I belted her shortly thereafter two nice two nurses came running down the hall and they are yelling sisters sisters they were not calling us sisters because we were related by blood but we would dress like sisters used to dress some still dress today my veil was on the floor husband’s someplace else now I learned a few years later that one of the major rules in this hospital is that

no patient leaves their room on escorted they were coming out crutches wheelchairs Oh because the word got around that there were two nuns out there killing one another now in the midst of this chaos I had a couple of concerns I did not have the concern maybe I shouldn’t have belted her I did not have the concern maybe I shouldn’t have had the last drink before he came down here my major concern as I’m looking up at my sister is why did she scream that’s how we got the hope they do here well you know I looked at today with the sober clear head do you know it’s perfectly normal you built someone they let out of who the other concern I had my purse had fallen onto the floor making a rather loud sound as it fell to the floor I was a little distracted with the purse I wasn’t too concerned about the few dollars in the purse I have a vow of poverty I kept it quite well during this time I was very concerned about the pints of holy water in the purse one pint of Christian Brothers brandy and what is the thinking of a sick untreated alcoholic no one leaves here with that purse other than you-know-who now there’s only one word to describe somebody who’d be in that position and I had to go to a lot of other descriptions before with your help I can get to what’s proper rate and fitting and if there’s anyone in this gathering who still sees themselves in this first group I would suggest that you leave that thinking here this evening because it does not apply how to go through bed hopeless weak willed sinner you should know better but the way I would describe someone today would be sick unwell not plain wood full deck that’s respectful I heard the fellow one night at a meeting he said he was a quart low I have another fellow another nine he said he had a photogenic mind you just never many film in the camera well I had it always before I could see myself as sick and unwell if you drink and you drive you might miss the mark I was always behind the wheel of a car it was an insult to show in your face that you would drive us home I brought you there I bring you home and you know as sick and all as I was it never ceased to amaze me we have the big to-do about the fact that I shouldn’t be driving I’d get in behind the wheel and they’d all get in the car my first accident in July of 1970 sister Rose was in court over the dismissal of a teacher from her school there was a big to-do about this in the diocese she had a prominent lawyer appointed by the diocese I said I’ll be in court to help the lawyer help rose how do we affect the people on the other side of the coin the night before the trial she called me up she said Maurice please please don’t come to court and my thinking was wow this years with all her pain and she’s thinking of me well I know today she was thinking of herself and rightly so it was not my style to push I said you know what you’ll have a lot of paperwork to do I’ll go to my classes I’ll meet you downtown at lunchtime you can brief me and I’ll advise you for the afternoon session and to be rid of me she said fine well I was in graduate school that summer and I drove well-fortified from the top of the city the Bronx to the Wall Street section of my city five minutes after 12:00 lunchtime a working day in Wall Street and the weather was clear those are the things they tell you at the top of a police report it’s important for our situation to know

the weather a United States mail truck that was parked by the curb minding its own business got in my way and I smashed into it and when the policeman came on the driver’s side first word out of his mouth you couldn’t miss it he said sister I was a little taken back by the next part he didn’t say sister you heard could I call someone you think women will ever be ordained he said sister could you have been drinking and for a moment I wanted out that I got on the police force as was my style officer could I help you I proceeded to tell the officer about my friend who was in court being persecuted etc etc while I ran into a black out eventually a pass out I woke up in a convent a short distance away I woke up in a strange bed probably there our stories will differ they differ in the point that they always took me to a nearby convent I woke up in a strange bed half my clothes on half my clothes off or looking around didn’t ever clue what happened where I am whatever it was not my custom then certainly not my custom today to wake up in strange beds well I know you have your story but however at a time like that we all have the same tricks in a train where am i what happened how do you get out of here I could hear some talking to a partially opened door so I tiptoed over I was glad the door was open a little bit so I didn’t have to squeak it you know we may be sick but we’re not stupid we don’t go over and throw the door open and so what the heck happens you go you go over you’re glad the doors open a little bit you put an eye on an ear out to see if you could pick up a little something because you know from previous experiences they will be questioning you when you don’t know anything so I peek out and I see rose and I knew as long as Rose was there everything was going to be fine she quietly went about her tests and she was always praying and if I knocked everything down she put it all back quietly and you know the other sister neither of us knew the lady she was at least seven feet tall and she was like a lunatic and I got to the door peeking out and listening as the big tall sister is screaming at Rose your friend is on pills what she’s drinking and in order to help her you are going to have to hurt her I thought that was for advice so I took the I in the year in I went back to bed to get a little rest to handle rose who came in and asked the going question in our lives at that time what happened I told it as I saw it I lost control of the car because I was so said about the court case now in those days the car was in my mother’s name my mother didn’t know anything about the accident I had the car fixed back out on the road three weeks at best every time you talked to Rose when are we going to tell your mother about the accident never why do you want to tell my mother well the course in her name so what the cause fixed then the fears that set in for the sick untreated alcoholic what if Rose tells your mother so I called rose up invited around for supper my treat so go to a little restaurant leaned across the table in the restaurants and said if you dare to tell my mother about the accident someday you will come out of your convent I’ll be sitting in a car and when you cross the street that will be it that is called threatening someone’s life now I always share that in my story and one night 100 years ago now that means a long time I was speaking someplace and we had a friend at the meeting she’s not in program but she came to hear me speak and at the end she came up to me and she said do you really think you would have run over rose up to

that moment no one had ever asked me that question not even rose I thought for a moment and I said let me tell it to you this way of myself no I wouldn’t hurt a fly as a little taut teenager young adult in the conference 100 years you never knew I was around I was always hiding now what do I have to offer I mean nothing I wouldn’t hurt you but you know you put one drink in here the first one and you can paint the most tragic scene you can think of and I could be the one heading it up and I always like to point out because I’ve had people say to me over the years well you know we know you’re a sister in nine but you know you wouldn’t hurt them I always point out that it wasn’t that I was at mass the next morning but that I was reading one of my 10,000 religious books that I had in those days and the thought came to me oh you shouldn’t kill rose that isn’t what happened you know what happened it was another moment of that Amazing Grace and I also like to point out that after 38 years of continuous sobriety you put one drink in here the first one and you can paint the most tragic scene you can think of and I could be the one heading it oh I don’t know another disease sickness condition like this one how blessed are we to have been called into a way of life where you can keep that kind of sickness in check to that beautiful process of recovery you have people walking with you as you do it the timeframe a day at a time how blessed are we as well to have beautiful al-anon where you can deal with the effects of this terrible sickness how blessed are we however if we fail to be grateful we may lose the gift but if we’re truly grateful we will take care of the gift well the disease was moving along and one day I got a call from my boss now in those days if you got a personal call from the big big boss it was something that was unheard of it was like hearing from the Pope you never heard from the big boss she had secretaries counselors she called me personally if she did call you personally it was for either of two reasons one you were in trouble or there was a special assignment that only you could do so I’m driving up to see the boss and this is my thinking I’ve enough to do why they askin me so we sat we had a little chitchat and she says Maury so get to the point some of the sisters are saying that you drink too much now in those days you wouldn’t ask a question I asked a question I said well where are they she got a little nervous cuz I guess no one ever asked her a question and she said oh she said they don’t want to be mentioned I said to myself they feared for their lives and you know in a very sick and negative way I would not recommend this to anyone I was into one of our steps at that moment in a sick and negative way made a list of all people who had harmed me and they’re scarred to be rid of them well I asked her another question I said do you really know anything about me because in those days there was a gap between the big boss and the rest of us we had all these other bosses so she said well I have a file so she went over and she peeked in and she said oh she said you’re going to get your master’s degree and oh you just got this award and oh you got another award for service in the diocese there were trophies all over the place she closed the file and she said Maurice I will never ever again believe this about any of our sisters I said that’s a good policy to follow me she gave me an apology and off I went and I walked back to the car and I had one thought and one thought only she will never ever ever send for me again

and she never did next time she arrived unannounced and put me away so when I learned about denial I like to keep things simple alcohol makes the alcoholic feel fine yada-yada you do therefore he or she thinks everything is fine meanwhile the people looking on are going on here we go again when I learned that it helped me immensely I was angry and resentful during this time I was angry with God I’d given my life to God what do you want from me I love the word relationship you’ve been my teachers about relationships there’s so many people in this room that I’ve had in my life for so many years now I’m so blessed but my teachers about relationships prior to recovery as a little type I put a game plan in place trying to relate to this God whoever or whatever he wants I don’t just come from an Irish Catholic family I have another dimension we call it Vic Bronx Irish Catholic and they were always talking about going to heaven and gone to hell and God’s going to get you and you better be good and God’s watching so this high I said I got to find out I made a little game plan and I continued the game plan all the way into the convent some years later it went like this i sat up straight I knelt up straight I disciplined myself and we didn’t have the expression in those days but the expression that would have applied been there done now and then when I was drinking it was taking God on if you don’t need me well I don’t need you now if I don’t need someone bigger greater outside of this lady here I wonder who I think I am so I was angry and resentful with God I was depressed during this time I was in the convent many years before I picked up alcohol didn’t like taste of alcohol didn’t use alcohol on the 5th of January 1967 my beauty father Maurice he went to God and upon his death when he looked I ball to eyeball into the eyes of God at that moment is perfection for anyone or whatever you laugh you will receive at that moment and that’s how my father received sobriety he died of alcoholism at the age of 58 and I buried my father and I went way inside and shortly thereafter I came out with a drink and I can say quite comfortably my father and myself were carbon copies of one another with one big difference the way we were to receive the precious life-giving gift of sobriety so I was using alcohol to lift me out of a depression I was getting more depressed in the bargaining stage one bargain I like to share on I got into bed one night I had my rosary beads prayer beads playing away hanging onto the sheets with the other hand I’m no sooner in the bed and I have to get up and get a drink and I said to God you know what I don’t want to drink anymore tonight I’ll do more work for you and for you people please don’t let me drink any more tonight we’ll see the first drink of the day always has the final say and of course we had had them so the covers get pushed back the rosary beads go to the floor you get up out of bed you quarrel around in the dark you find your hiding spot you get your bottle and you do something you don’t want to do you take another drink and after I took that drink that night I beat that floor and I doubted the existence of God how could a God who loved me of God that I used to relate to how could you allow me to be in that condition I’ll bet there’s no God I live in downtown Manhattan right in the heart of New York City and when I’m in town I Drive on the FDR drive the East River Drive and I see our brothers and sisters yours in mind both sides of the highway there they build their homes they’re sometimes out of crates cardboard boxes you see them frying an egg they need a jacket and a pair of shoes and they have little brown bags I’d only one kind of brown bag to have my kind and other kind and if those folks our brothers and sisters went over to the guardrail and beat the guard rail and doubted the existence of God we’d say poor sucks what do they got going for them I’m in a beautiful convent at the time I want for nothing and alcohol brought me to the point where I doubted the existence of God as we say in here

where do you come from Yale or jail Park Avenue Park Bench what does it matter where you came from I think it’s important to get to know your history your story but I put more energy into where do we go from here whatever happened this morning yesterday a week ago a year ago or a hundred years ago you have taught me to learn from the experience but not to let it stand in the way of putting one foot in front of the other and being that person that God created you to be and the other thing I did that night I cried out at the top of my lungs isn’t there anybody anywhere who knows what I’m going through because each one in the throes of the sickness what you are afflicted with the disease are affected by the disease each one thinks nobody nobody knows what I’m going through well I didn’t know you were up the street and across the road and down the pike and over the highway going through the same thing but I’m mighty glad that somewhere along the way God saw fit we would find one another in this beautiful fellowship and it is God who was arranged our meeting I truly believe that CS Lewis you’ve heard of him he says in one of his writings about relationships he talks about relationships in general and he says it says if God says to the people in the relationship you have not chosen one another but I God have chosen you for one another if you think of the relationships that you have in the fellowship would you of yourself have chosen those people maybe yes maybe known I’d like to think it was arranged like happened at the gatehouse and Akron Ohio sometime back with Bill Wilson and dr. bond and you know as a result of that arranged relationship that’s how we get to be here this evening it’s really something when you put it all out there and reflect on it well today I made bargain steals promises commitments and I follow through I attribute that to one factor one fact only I don’t drink alcohol while I’m sober very significant a more recent slide and the final stage is acceptance the disease was moving along and finally it all came to a head because I had two exceptional do-gooders in my life my sister who’s a sister and my dear friend’s sister Rose and keeping it simple they snitched they blew the whistle and turned me into the boss that I had charmed a few months before they brought the boss to my mothers where I was hiding now I noticed a marked difference in the boss she wasn’t interested in anything that I had to say and she was saying things like arrangements have been made and they’re expecting you in lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge Illinois I listened she said you could go Friday or Saturday I listened then she said you’ll be there for 28 days and all of a sudden way in here I said I won’t be there for 28 minutes and then she said there you will find out what is wrong with you and all of a sudden way in here I said to myself there isn’t anything wrong with me but as thick and all as we are we are not stupid and I knew the only way I was going to get out of the room and away from the three people also I looked over on the table there was my first grade class my life as a sister the roof over my head my driver’s license the keys to the car and I was getting those so the only way to take care of everything there was to say I’d go I said I’ll go I’ll go Saturday so I went out on an a a plane American Airlines the way I like to go and I met 64 charming men and women like many of you and the word got around quickly that we had this Catholic nun the sister in treatment and one by one all 64 came to me they all did the same thing they beat up on themselves they said terrible things but they always finish by saying you know sister this is a mistake for you you shouldn’t be in a place like this you’re not like me don’t believe you me anyone who thinks like I do they’re going to be my friend I had a nifty getaway planned i scrapped it I’m not one who sits around idle by the end of the first week I was a therapist and the word got around you don’t like you you don’t like you council you don’t like the group you don’t like the meetings talk to the sister she knows everything about everything and they would come and they would say terrible things about themselves but they always finished by saying you know sister you’re not like me and I continued

getting energy from that well every day at one o’clock we had what they call free time remember those 28-day programs they put big capital letters free time and then in parentheses this is what you’ll do with it when you’re supposed to stay in our room read write listen to tapes I always did as I was told that a nice table tape recorder pens books I’d luck out what happened yesterday I’d be there promptly at 1:00 o’clock every day I’d be there two minutes I take the table to a clear across the room go to the wall behind banging my head against the wall yelling and screaming at God why me I’ve been so good and this is what you’ve done to me maybe blood pouring out of my head my roommate had run out she say she’s at it again they come in clean me up call me down I’d be fine till the next day at one o’clock I was too sick then and long before that time goes back is a little time too sick to hear God say you don’t have to be good you are good that’s a given no one has been deprived of that goodness but where does the bed come in oh it’s there attitude behavior I try keyword trying to separate attitude and behavior from the person I try keyword try to separate attitude and behavior from this lady here and I continue to chip away at my attitude of my behavior for that marvelous a wonderful process of recovery I do it along with the rest of the folks a day at a time and while the process continues sometimes quickly sometimes slowly I walk very tall I cannot help but be impressed that the goodness and holiness that sits and stands in this room and if you’re not there yet borrow from me to get your own strength I don’t know another outfit in the world that mentions the word spiritual or spirituality more than people like you and me you want to know the key to the spiritual to a life-giving healthy spirituality it’s getting in touch with your own goodness and the world has missed the boat with that how blessed are we to have been called in to a way of life where you can chip away your stuff and get in touch with what you thought you were deprived of and if you’re not there yet borrow from me till you get your own strength you don’t have to be good you are good the marvelousness magnificence the holiness that’s in this room I’m so moved by that attitude and behavior welcome to the club I continue to chip away at mine to this beautiful design for living and while the process continues sometimes quickly sometimes slowly I walk very tall well some 38 years later and for quite a while now I have a why me question of God not why me why am I an alcoholic I don’t give any time to that but a frequent question why me God why am I so bur since most people don’t receive this gift and the reason I ask it frequently I don’t want to take sobriety for granted I don’t want my attitude to be big-deal sober a day at a time what else is new I want to stay in touch with the gift so God tell me again why am i silver since most people don’t receive this gift and the answer is very loud and very clear and he says the same thing all the time he says Maurice you have not chosen me but I have chosen you and he says many are called to the disease of alcoholism very few were drop in the bucket are chosen for the precious life-giving gift of sobriety for the precious life-giving gift of recovery in al-anon and I say why me Lisa’s make you a little chart I make a little chart it alcoholism I put a simple line down the center I put on this side of the child all of us in recovery around the world fairly big number aaand I’m combined I put on your side of the chart all those who were still out there you wouldn’t even see us I find it awesome to be on that side of the joy and I don’t want to take that for granted so why me God tell me again why am i on that side of the chart he says Maurice how do you see death a hundred years ago now that means a long time i sat with death what is God doing what is that all about I was just meditating on death and I read a line that I had read many times before but this time I had a moment of Amazing Grace and the line is there’s a time to be born and there’s a time to die and that’s on God’s calendar and I believe any person goes to God in death

regardless of age or circumstances when they work here on earth is finished I do not see the God of my understanding as a yo-yo I’m taken out when I’m getting on with now I see God this way your work is finished I may have more work for that person to do but on God’s calendar their work is finished and the thing that helps me to I’ll see those people again when my work is finished well the point untreated alcoholism is still listed as an ultimate terminal condition 100% fatal and here we are because we’re better than anyone else no we’re here because our death has been interrupted our work is not finished there’ll be tragedy in our world tonight some people will go to God their work is finished others will be saved their work is not finished those who are saved I don’t know what their work is more will be revealed to them I believe Al’s is defined it’s a specialized work and nobody does it as well as the people in the rooms whether that be a a al-anon or twice bless’d it’s a specialized work is to take care of the precious life-giving gift of sobriety the precious life-giving gift of recovery and al-anon and to carry a message walk with pass it on be the fellowship that’s my number one assignment on any given day and I take the liberty of saying I believe yours is the exact same as mine take care of the gift of sobriety to gift of recovery carry a message walk with pass it on be the fellowship many ways to carry a message pontificating at a podium is one way putting this whole event together all this service that goes on for a weekend like this all the love and service that’s given in the rooms many ways to carry a message to arrive any place over you carry a message that’s why we call the program of Attraction rather than promotion people just see well on the 27th and a half day of the 28 day program I woke up and there was something different about me I was crying and laughing and shouting I’m really an alcoholic really an alcoholic and I went to see my one-on-one counselor at the facility a beautiful Lutheran minister we had many sessions together and I said to a reverend Reverend I’m really an alcoholic and this man did something that he never did many of our sessions he started dancing around the room and he said I have a prescription for you to go to Alcoholics Anonymous and if you’re faithful to that prescription you’ll only have to return here is our guest I said I won’t make any promises I’ll see what I can do and by that amazing grace of God as it operates in rooms like this and my cooperation with the grace another way of saying that we know the program works but if you don’t work the program it doesn’t work for you so by my doing my part I haven’t found it necessary to pick up a drink or any substitute since April 17th 1971 I am NOT one who says I will never drink again early this morning is for daily bread we’ll see how tomorrow goes I came into these rooms and I did the old one – I didn’t drink the went to meetings went to meetings injury didn’t drink went to meetings could always be found sitting in the third row waiting for this to be finished but they weren’t going to say I wasn’t there and one night I heard a fellow share and this is what he said he said he learned unless you put the 12 suggested steps into his life and made some changes he could very well lose his sobriety and I set up real tall because Irish sure he was going to say we don’t mean that for the little sister there in the third row and he never said it and with the help of people like you I learned why I was so miserable all I heard you say change or die but I used to poke the one next to me isn’t there something in between no to be stuck would be a luxury we’re always in motion we’re getting better or we’re going back we’re changing over dying but no big deal marvellous a wonderful process wonderful folks walking with us time frame a day at a time my responsibility before God I’ll try god bless his effort and change started to happen and continues to happen right up to this moment because I continue to be a student of the principles and traditions and I do it

along with folks like you and the changes I have them in three categories the first had to do with the intellect when I came into these rooms I had thinking that when ready fire aim I had I had posted postage-stamp thinking very narrow thinking and we talked about that and you said Maurice work your steps to the best of your ability don’t go it alone it’ll do wonders for your head and I took the suggestion and I’ve had what I call up here an intellectual conversion and then the moral conversion I lost my value system and that bothered me and you said Maurice work your steps to the best of your ability don’t go it alone and it’ll do wonders for your value system and you’ll be able to put first things first and second things second and when you’re wrong you’ll be able to promptly admitted you’ll be able to practice the principles in all your affairs you’ll even be able to practice the principles and you won’t have affairs and I took the suggestion and I got my value system back I’ve had what I call a moral conversion and then you talk to one more category you talked about spirituality and you were always talking about spirituality spiritual and I used to say to myself because I was very shy then I still am somewhat today and I used to say well that spirituality sounds good for them but see I have religion when I came into the rooms of AAA I could not go straight in the door to a meeting because I had flags in my ears Catholic Catholic very very Catholic so I had to go in sideways and people talk to me about that and they said Maurice our program teaches us balance you can keep your religion but maybe you should think about getting scented with it and you helped me get centered with my religion I have the same religion that I was brought up with you also gave me a wonderful technique I use it with my religion and many areas of my life it’s a wonderful technique I take what helps me and I leave the rest so I said okay tell me about spirituality and you said it has to do with relationships oh I said I didn’t know that you said yeah relating to the higher power all I said mine that’s a mess you said it also has to do with relating to other people all I said my relationships are a disaster and then you went on to say it also has to do with relating to yourself and I got very sad I said I’ll never have spirituality there’s nothing here to relate to and you said we’ll help you get in touch and you have taught me the full meaning of love your neighbor as yourself not instead of yourself you have taught me the full meaning this above all to thine own self be true and little by slowly as I chipped away at my stuff my attitude and behavior for that beautiful process I got in touch with the light the life the magnificence the wonderfulness the greatness that I thought I was deprived of and I became comfortable in my own skin and today I have a life-giving healthy meaningful spirituality and it all happened the only help I got this beautiful process doing with folks like you a day at a time so when God gives the gift of sobriety the gift of recovery and al-anon or another 12-step program I believe he says three things one I’m interrupting your death he works not finished carry a message walk with pass it on be the fellowship to you will share relationship with these people they will come into your life and you will come into theirs in fellowship and third with this gift of sobriety descriptive recovery I give you your dignity walk tall so my prayer for you is you continue about your appointed rounds a day at a time is that you’ll have your sobriety your recovery if you’re in another program and as a result of that I just know I just know you’ll have your dignity and I close at the message I mean the miracle does take place she does finish I close with a couple of things a favorite peace of mind from the big book I’m sure you can identify with it here I found an ingredient that had been lacking and any other effort I had

made to save myself here was power here was power to live to the end of any given day power to have courage to face the next day power to have friends power to help people how to be sane power to stay sober and the very short version of maurices story sometimes they’re going to invite me for the short version well I’ll go anyway I’m sure you’ll be able to identify with that but before I do that I once again would like to thank Lee and committee members and all who are doing love and service this weekend could we just give them all in and I know somebody’s going to come and tell tell me that I didn’t tell you where I was from I’m from a place called the Bronx France New York and it’s famous the Bronx is famous for a couple of things the people born in the Bronx not just living there the people born in the Bronx are the only people in the world who can say they don’t have an accent and the other thing about the Bronx there are only two places in the world that have that in front of them one is the Bronx the other is the Vatican and I’m associated with both of those places and I close with the short version of maurices story I’m sure you can identify with it Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved someone like me I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but now I see and may God however you understand that God may God bless you and God bless me God keep you and God keep me because nobody does it quite as well thank you so very much

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