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"A Flower of the South"
E., Houston, TX.
in 2nd edition, p. 384 in 3rd
Stopped in Time
faded, she nevertheless bloomed
afresh. She still had her husband,
her home, and a chance to help
start A.A. in Texas."
date of sobriety was May 16, 1941.
was a very attractive woman, full
of pep. She was raised in New Orleans
where social drinking was acceptable.
At home they always had wine with
dinner and cordials after dinner.
She attended cocktail parties, dances
first time she realized what alcohol
could do for her was her own wedding.
She was so afraid that everything
wouldn't be perfect that she became
very nervous and "was really in
a terrific state" when her father
said "Miss Esther is about to faint.
Get her something to drink." The
servant came back with a water glass
full of bourbon and made her drink
it down. The bourbon hit as she
started down the aisle. "I walked
down that aisle just like May West
in her prime. I wanted to do it
all over again," she wrote.
that day on she used alcohol to
ease social situations and didn't
know when she crossed over the line
divorced her husband after seven
years and went home to her parents,
but couldn't stand living with them
and went back to Texas and remarried
her ex-husband. Then they moved
to Oklahoma. The drinking got worse;
her husband would come home day
after day to find her passed out.
She was sent to a mental hospital
where they kept her seventeen days.
they moved to Houston the drinking
continued. She went out one day
to walk the dog. A patrol car passed
and saw her staggering and stopped
to take her home, but she got "sassy"
with him so he took the dog home
and took poor Esther to jail. She
was only there a few hours. When
her husband came to get her the
look of disgust on his face helped
her to hit bottom.
had read a story about A.A. in the
Saturday Evening Post a few weeks
before. He finally showed it to
her with the ultimatum "If you will
try this thing, I'll go along with
you. If you don't, you will have
to go home. I cannot sit by and
watch you destroy yourself!"
wrote to the GSO office in New York.
Within a week a letter came back
with A.A. literature. It was the
routine letter they sent everyone,
but with it was a hand-written letter
from, Ruth Hock, A.A.'s non-alcoholic
secretary. That personal touch did
a lot to help Esther.
was full of gratitude to her husband,
and to A.A. members who had paved
the way for her.
her second year in A.A. they were
transferred to Dallas, and started
an A.A. group there in 1943. The
telephone number in Dallas that
Ruth Hock had given her had been
disconnected when she arrived. But
undaunted, she started seeking other
alcoholics to 12th step.
had lived in Dallas from 1927 to
1932 and, according to a letter
she wrote to New York dated March
29, 1943, "This is where I had been
so sick for five years. Where I
started trying out all the doctors,
hospitals and cures (the Sanitarium
three times) so I've lots to do.
First off, four doctors to call
on and let them look over 'exhibit
A' (me)! My minister (Episcopal)
has two prospects for us. He tried
so hard to help me for years, had
never heard of A.A." She added "Hope
I have much A.A. to report in my
next letter. You'll be hearing from
me!" They did indeed.
week later, April 5, she wrote "Dear
Bobbie [Margaret R. Burger, Bill's
secretary at the time]: The new
Dallas Group met for their first
time last night! Three inactive
alkies, one active from Detroit
and two non-alcoholics who brought
the active one." The group met for
some time in Esther's home.
died on June 3, 1960, with slightly
more than 19 years of sobriety.
Her copy of the Big Book, which
is signed by Bill W., is on display
in the Dallas Central Office.
to Cliff B. of Texas for providing
the letters that are quoted and
the correct spelling of her name
and date of death for Esther's biography.