La Hacienda's Treatment and Recovery Blog

Chris Raymer with 32-year chip

Carrying the Message is Important

Photo—Chris Raymer holds his 32-year chip.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. Why? Because it does.”–William James

By Chris Raymer, Recovery Community Director

Near the end of November 1934, Ebby Thatcher, an old school friend, visited Bill Wilson. Ebby was a terrible drunk who had finally gotten sober using the Spiritual principles of the Oxford Group.

Ebby was only two months sober when he hunted Bill down to see if he could help his friend also get sober. Nobody told Ebby that he had not been recovered long enough to do this! (I have a ton of literature written about this fateful meeting if anyone’s interested in reading more.)

Birth of the 12 Steps

A short time later—Dec. 11, 1934–Bill walked back into Towns Hospital in New York City. (The Big Book says it was his third visit, but my archivist friends say it was his fourth attempt at treatment.)

Under the care of our great friend, Dr. Silkworth, Bill began his journey to permanent sobriety. On his third day there, Ebby visited and started Bill on what soon became the 12 steps: prayer, inventory, and restitution.

Bill had the barn-burning Spiritual Experience that changed his life on his ninth day of treatment. Ebby taught him that to stay sober and to grow spiritually, he must help others–and that’s what he did.

Fifty-three Years Later…

In November 1987, this little skinny guy with an eye patch walked into a meeting in North Texas after a suicide attempt. A couple of old guys stopped me after the meeting, sat me down, and qualified me as a real alcoholic. We started the steps that night. They got me involved in service work, and I never relapsed again.

I picked up a 32-year chip last month. Not bad for a guy that couldn’t pick up a 30-day chip for seven years!

Because Ebby and Bill understood the importance of carrying the message to others, I got that chip. Millions of us are alive today because we listened to the ones that came before us.

I’m grateful for every one of you this Christmas Season. I’m back at La Hacienda a whole year as of December 10. Hard to believe!

Hope I see some of you at our Alumni Christmas parties. Holler if you need anything!

Chris Raymer, Director of Recovery Community, is a popular speaker nationally and internationally. He can be contact by email at [email protected] or by phone at (830) 238-4222 ext. 512.