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Author unknown, "Calculating the Costs"
(p. 396, 3rd edition.)
Stopped in Time
Navy man looks back over twenty years of drinking,
to add up his A.A. 'initiation fee.'"
This man's sobriety
date is unknown. But since he likes calculations
let us do some calculating, based on what he tells
us in his story, to find out when he came into A.A.
If he entered the
Navy at the age of twenty-one, not long after the
United States entered World War II, say early 1942,
and served twenty years in the Navy, he would have
been forty-one when he retired in 1962. The heading
on his story refers to twenty years of drinking,
but he talks about twenty-five years of drinking
(he started serious drinking at eighteen) so he
must have entered A.A. two years after getting out
of the Navy, i.e., about 1964.
Lack of funds and
young age kept him from drinking much before the
age of eighteen, but he was quite inventive. Beginning
when he was fourteen he displayed alcoholic tendencies.
He started to steal wine from the family jug, siphoning
it off one drink at a time so it wouldn't be missed,
and saving it up until he had about a pint so that
he could get drunk. "Even at that age," he says,
"I had learned that one drink was not enough. I
had to have enough to get drunk on, or what was
He points out that
his initiation fee was at least $10,000. All alcoholics
pay a high initiation fee to enter A.A. But as this
alcoholic points out, "Incalculable are the intangible
initiation fees that A.A. members have paid, the
sick, sick hangovers, the remorse, guilt, broken
homes, jails, and institutions, and the mental anguish
in general that has been generated over the years."