12/14/08 BB To Employers pp 136-138 (helping the worker)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Karl R
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12/14/08 BB To Employers pp 136-138 (helping the worker)

Post by Karl R » Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:46 am

Good Day everyone,

"God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.

May I do Thy will always!"

Yesterday's reading closed off the chapter "The family afterwards" with the ideas

First Things First
Live and Let Live
Easy Does It

not just in our family life but in all our activities.

Today's reading begins the chapter "To employers". I have a confession to make. I have not yet read this chapter so I am reading it for the first time. I would welcome the ES and H of any who have found something in this chapter.

I identified with the waste in the workplace-I had and have ammends to make for not living up to my work potential. Worse yet-is the waste that the author speaks of at the first of this chapter-the waste of human life.
What this chapter is about is part of "practice these things..." and "helping others" in the workplace. The first clue is understanding the nature of alcohlism and "the intervention" of an understanding person.

Anyone care to share of their ES and H concerning the authorship, history, viewpoint of this chapter? Or..of sobriety topics related to the workplace? Or...any sober topic?

have a great day,

Chapter 10


Among many employers nowadays, we think of one member who has spent much of his life in the world of big business. He has hired and fired hundreds of men. He knows the alcoholic as the employer sees him. His present views ought to prove exceptionally useful to business men everywhere.
But let him tell you:
I was at one time assistant manager of a corporation department employing sixty-six hundred men. One day my secretary came in saying that Mr. B- insisted on speaking with me. I told her to say that I was not interested. I had warned him several times that he had but one more chance. Not long afterward he had called me from Hartford on two successive days, so drunk he could hardly speak. I told him he was through - finally and forever.
My secretary returned to say that it was not Mr. B- on the phone; it was Mr. B-'s brother, and he wished to give me a message. I still expected a plea for clemency, but these words came through the receiver: "I just wanted to tell you Paul jumped from a hotel window in Hartford last Saturday. He left us a note saying you were the best boss he ever had, and that you were not to blame in any way."
Another time, as I opened a letter which lay on my desk, a newspaper clipping fell out. It was the obituary of one of the best salesmen I ever had. After two weeks of drinking, he had placed his toe on the trigger of a loaded shotgun - the barrel was in his mouth. I had discharged him for drinking six weeks before.
Still another experience: A woman's voice came faintly over long distance from Virginia. She wanted to know if her husband's company insurance was still in force. Four days before he had hanged himself in his woodshed. I had been obliged to discharge him for drinking, though he was brilliant, alert, and one of the best organizers I have ever known.
Here were three exceptional men lost to this world because I did not understand alcoholism as I do now. What irony - I became an alcoholic myself! And but for the intervention of an understanding person, I might have followed in their footsteps. My downfall cost the business community unknown thousands of dollars, for it takes real money to train a man for an executive position. This kind of waste goes on unabated. We think the business fabric is shot through with a situation which might be helped by better understanding all around.
Nearly every modern employer feels a moral responsibility for the well-being of his help, and he tries to meet these responsibilities. That he has not always done so for the alcoholic is easily understood. To him the alcoholic has often seemed a fool of the first magnitude. Because of the employee's special ability, or of his own strong personal attachment to him, the employer has sometimes kept such a man at work long beyond a reasonable period. Some employers have tried every known remedy. In only a few instances has there been a lack of patience and tolerance. And we, who have imposed on the best of employers, can scarcely blame them if they have been short with us.
Last edited by Karl R on Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by ann2 » Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:42 pm

Thanks Karl.

This is an excellent chapter, one I as a member of a Cooperating with the Professional Community committee have often recommended to employers. I in fact recommended the chapter to my husband, who was then the running a manufacturing concern, when he asked me if there was any help available for one of his foreman's drinking. He told me he thought it was valuable reading.

(My husband had to be on hand when they cut down the body of someone who had hanged himself at the workplace, another person with a drinking problem, so he was very aware of how horrible things can get, and was glad to have available the philosophy of this chapter.)

For more information for the employer, there's the pamphlet "Is There An Alcoholic in the Workplace?"

"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Post by martin08 » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:16 am

The man who wrote "To Employers" is described very early in the text by Dr. Silkworth.

"What is the solution? Perhaps I can best answer this by relating one of my experiences.
About one year prior to this experience a man was brought in to be treated for chronic alcoholism. He had but partially recovered from a gastric hemorrhage and seemed to be a case of pathological mental deterioration. He had lost everything worthwhile in life and was only living, one might say, to drink. He frankly admitted and believed that for him there was no hope. Following the elimination of alcohol, there was found to be no permanent brain injury. He accepted the plan outlined in this book. One year later he called to see me, and I experienced a very strange sensation. I knew the man by name, and partly recognized his features, but there all resemblance ended. From a trembling, despairing, nervous wreck, had emerged a man brimming over with self-reliance and contentment. I talked with him for some time, but was not able to bring myself to feel that I had known him before. To me he was a stranger, and so he left me. A long time has passed with no return to alcohol."

This man was not the beneficiary of the Fellowship of AA as we know it today. What he experienced was the practical program of action that is quite ominously missing in AA in general. So keep in mind as you read the chapter, the Spriritual transformation as observed by the Doctor came about from the Steps and the Steps alone.

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Post by dwelling » Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:24 am

The 12 steps weren't written yet when this "guy" sobered up, but he must have been following the word of mouth program of recovery at the time,-1938. Then the " year passed" and the big book was written.
Hank p. wrote the chapter "To Employers" he was bills partner in the big book venture, honor dealers, and was Bill's first NY pigeon.

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Post by jak » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:06 am

Hank's story , titled The Unbeliever can be read in the First Edition. It has been reprinted in the book titled Experience - Strength and Hope. It is a dramatic acount of his visit to a detox room and his memories there, of a visit by an AA member.


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Re: 12/14/08 BB To Employers pp 136-138 (helping the worker)

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:51 pm

...one member who...knows the alcoholic as the employer sees him. His present views ought to prove exceptionally useful to business men everywhere.
It can be easy for us to see how one or more of us as an employer could have that kind of experience-born insight, and I have found this chapter helpful in moving beyond a myopic or self-centered view of myself in the workplace. During times when jobs were plentiful and employers seemed to be hiring anyone still breathing well, I saw no problem with moving from one to the next at my convenience or leisure. I remember once applying for a job and being asked how much time I would need to give my current employer notice of my intent to leave, then was surprised by the less-than-impressed response I received when I said I did not care about that and would not need any. Those people hired me anyway, then later said nothing at all when I turned and walked away from them just as quickly. They had needed someone to do what I could do, but they also knew it might not be long before they would need to try another.
Nearly every modern employer feels a moral responsibility for the well-being of his help, and he tries to meet these responsibilities... And we, who have imposed on the best of employers, can scarcely blame them if they have been short with us.
One of the best employers I ever had ended up being the one I treated the worst by lying to him about something to keep my job and then later walking out on him. He had hired me for what I could do in spite of what others who knew me had thought about his doing so, and my later attempt to get my job back and make it up to him fell on deaf ears. Even today I doubt he would listen to anything I might wish or try to say, and not because he is an uncaring man.
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)

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