Getting Higher

The answer, of course, is no.

A table is more or less a table, right? I have eaten at my coffee table, worked at my dinner table, used an end table to hold my TV. It’s a table, and my idea of what one is and is used for is no better or worse than your idea. Let that settle for a second.

It helps if we have some context for how the God thing came to be in the rooms of recovery. It might be useful for you to have the short version, and I’d like to take a shot at breaking it down for you in a manner that’s easy for me to understand. Being the simple guy I am, it might be easy for you as well! Feel free to do some further research on this – pretty interesting stuff.

A couple hundred years ago, there was a temperance movement out of which a group called the Washingtonians evolved. It’s pretty basic, drinking didn’t work out well for everyone, and these folks abstained. Sometime later, the Oxford Group formed with basic tenants regarding how one might lead his or her life. It was a first century Christian service organization, however somewhat liberal, and members found a way of life that seemed to work for them. Among those members were people who had difficulty with alcohol and were able to recover within the group. Were they alcoholics? Perhaps, we don’t know for sure, and it’s not up to us to determine that for them anyway. Certainly there were those who found solution unavailable to them elsewhere.

Rowland H. enters the picture in the early 20th century. He was a self-admitted alcoholic who was unable to quit drinking. Eventually he found himself in Europe where he was under the care of Dr. Carl Jung for an extended period of time, a time he remained abstinent. When he got back to the states he started drinking again, so back to Dr. Jung he went. Dr. Jung told Rowland that guys like him were hopeless. However, Dr. Jung had seen some recover who had “vital spiritual experiences.”  Check.

So Rowland comes back to the states and ends up involved with the Oxford Group, maintaining his sobriety and working on his spirituality, when he gets a call about the son of a friend of his, Ebb T. Ebby’s drinking had gotten him into trouble again, and he was looking at going to jail. Rowland and another buddy show up at court, and Rowland convinces the judge to release Ebb to his care, and that of the Oxford Group, explaining the solution he had found. Check.

Now Ebb, he was my kind of guy. Total alcoholic, totally powerless and a life unmanageable. There’s a story about how he and Bill W. (they were friends from childhood) chartered a plane “to complete a jag.” Yes! Not enough to drink here, let’s rent a plane and go finish drinking over there!

Speaking of Bill, things are not going well for him. Once really successful, he and his wife Lois had lost nearly everything. They had moved back in with her father, and Bill was unable to work, leaving Lois to support them on her job at a local department store. Bill was in and out of Towns Hospital with DTs. One day the phone rings and Ebby’s on the other end wanting to come see Bill.  Bill tells Ebb to come over, all the while thinking they’ll do some drinking together, capture the joy of days past. Knock-knock-knock! Bill opens the door and there’s Ebb, looking much different, clear eyes, sober! Bill asks him in, and they go and sit at the kitchen table, Bill fishing out a bottle of gin from where he had it hidden. He pours Ebb and himself a drink, pushing Ebby’s across the table. Ebb refuses, not once, but multiple times. Bill, confused asks Ebb what’s going on to which Ebb replies, “I’ve got religion!”

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