God As You Understand HIm
As you know, when Bill Wilson was near the end in 1934, Ebby came to see him and gave him an idea about “God as we understand Him.” After AA got started Bill always said that Ebby was his sponsor. But six months after he gave Bill a clue on how to stay sober, Ebby went back out in the Bowery in New York City and had stayed drunk on and off for eighteen years. Then in early 1953 Bill Wilson came to Dallas.
By then I was head of a clinic that took wet drunks. Bill and I had lunch, and after that lunch I asked Bill, “What would you rather see happen now, that’s never happened in AA before?” and without any hesitation he said, “I’d rather see Ebby have a chance to get sober.” Bill said that as if to say, “You sober Ebby up” – that’s the way I took it. Bill didn’t even know exactly where Ebby was, but a couple of mutual friends found him on the Bowery. They dried him out a bit but gave him a pint of whiskey to get on the plane with, and he flew to Dallas to sober up.
Ebby was in bad shape physically, mentally, spiritually and every other way you could imagine after being drunk for the better part of eighteen years and sleeping on the streets. And he was very unruly. He cussed out Bill and Dr. Bob and me and everybody else. Ebby was still very resentful because he could have been one of the forefathers of AA.
But finally, Ebby asked if he could go to a meeting with me, and we went over to the Suburban Club – he got sober and stayed that way. And he got to helping others; we got him a job and he did pretty good. He stayed 4 or 5 years before going back to New York. But his health was failing him, and he fell off the wagon again. Of course, Bill was in touch with him all the time, and made arrangements for Ebby to go to a halfway house in upstate New York. The lady up there that ran it said she would gladly take care of him. He went up there in 1963 and in 1966, he died.
My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?’
– Bill’s Story