I was pretty sure I’d make it to today; once you do something for 41 years; it becomes part of your life. – So, what’s so fundamental to me today? Right?…. Well, it’s my 41st “birfday” in A.A. — Can you imagine?? Better yet, can I imagine….
Let’s see, it all started about nine months earlier than I was born, in 1945… “Just joking” here; – I’m not going to bore you with that. ALSO, I’m not going to bore you with how I got from my very last drink to 41years sober… I WILL say this… it’s been a strange / wonderful / weird / joyful… (I’m sure you get the picture here) journey.
My A.A. birthday always makes me ponder… it’s like a “bell-shaped” curve; it leads up to a peak… say, 30 days on either side… There’s WAY more thoughtfulness / contemplation that goes into my A.A. birthday… than my natal birthday. To us in A.A., one’s natal birthday is an ‘accident’ of biology, opportunity, and a HOST of other factors. — On the other hand, our A.A. birthday is INTENTIONAL! — It’s hard to say which one is more important. I’ll put it this way; I wouldn’t trade my A.A. “experience”… from overt uncontrollable drinking, to overt peacefulness… for anything I can think of. I’ve told many, many people over the years that A.A. is about 10% on how to stop drinking, and about 90% on how to live a “good, orderly” life.
In A.A., we’re non-religious, and non-denominational. — — (Ahem…) However we are VERY “spiritual”; in fact we don’t even use the word: “God”… (in a sneaky sort of way.) — Instead of using the term “God”, we use the ‘acronym’: “G-O-D” in its place. – To us, “G-O-D”… stands for “Good Orderly Direction”. We call it (literally) the “gift” of A.A. – Yeah, yeah… I know… you hear all the public “PR” about A.A. (and other programs) helping you END your addiction to alcohol and drugs (alcohol is a ‘drug’, btw)… But what you NEVER hear (unless you go to A.A. meetings, get a sponsor, and “immerse” yourself in A.A.) – is the raw “BEAUTY” of A.A.; the “transcendence” of A.A.
I have also stated “many, many” times that I wish EVERYONE could be an alcoholic, – just so they could experience the “magic” of being a RECOVERING ‘alcoholic”. The “gift of A.A.” is a profound, unexplainable, majestic, “shared” experience. – “Rebirth” is referenced frequently in biblical scripture… Trust me, GENUINE “re-birth” is experienced by millions of people, every day, throughout the world, in A.A. – Look around you sometime, even if you’re NOT an alcoholic… Here’s the test: if your own life is in conflict and turmoil, pick up “the Big-Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous and read it. They’re not hard to find.— I’ve recommended the principles of A.A. to more NON-alcoholics than I have to “alkys” —- If you want to sincerely change your life… buy one from Amazon and read it. — I say this kindly and respectfully, “Your life will change; you’ll never be the same.”
Welp, once again, I’ve gotten “preachy”. I promise myself every year that I won’t do that. I guess the overwhelming “peace and understanding” of A.A. is… just too compelling… I always want to share ‘the gift of A.A.’ with everyone. — And, over these past 41 years, I guess I have.
Now that the preaching is over, I want to pay tribute to a man I knew for more than a half-century. His name is Tommy Ellis… He was the first person I ever got an adult-job with. It was in the investment business, “stocks and bonds.” — Tommy took flight and began exploring the wonders of the Universe this past March 22nd , 2019. Tommy lived in Vero Beach, Florida. I rode my bike (motorcycle) to specifically see him in 2016. I was pretty sure he was in his ‘end-of-life’ cycle; and I wanted to tell him how much he had meant to me over the years. Tommy served as an “Airman”, in the Air Force and worked on his ‘birds’, (that’s what he called the planes) the brave pilots flew. He told me there was a ‘special’ connection between mechanic and pilot, and I knew he meant it. – He told me he felt “responsible” for their safety; and he wasn’t joking.
There was also a ‘special connection’ to me and Tommy. —- Tommy was the Municipal Bond Manager at the investment firm of Norris & Hirshberg, in Atlanta when I met him. I was barely literate, and had ZERO knowledge of investments, ESPECIALLY municipal bonds. – Tommy, very patiently taught me how the investment business worked. – AND… he became my friend. The ‘war-stories’ I could tell you about our “investment-adventures” would fill a book…. IN FACT, there IS a book that relates to it… it’s called “Liar’s Poker”, by Michael Lewis (the same guy who wrote: “Money Ball”)
Tommy Ellis was the nicest guy I’ve ever known (it’s an underrated quality.) He was also one of the most respected. He was known by his peers in the investment community as “the one guy” you could always count on to tell you the truth. (That’s a rare commodity in the investment arena.)
Tommy taught me everything I know about the investment business… and I taught HIM everything I knew about the ‘sales-aspect’. He told me one time that I was ‘THE best’ he had ever seen. I responded in kind, “Tommy, you were my ‘professor’; you (sometimes) kept me on the ‘straight ‘n narrow’… and I ALWAYS respected you in ALL your life-endeavors.
So, as “Airman”, Thomas H. Ellis takes flight one more time…. Join me in a silent moment to whisper a prayer of “safe-passage” to Tommy… “Tommy, my friend, how I miss you, – what great times we had; – we knew and loved each other for a half-century; – you really were THE BEST!”
Tom Adair May 15th , 2019