GNN Note – When I first got sober and began reading the history of AA this is where I stopped in the timeline – 1840. AA has a very, very long history that most people don’t know nor care about. / END

The 5th of April, 1840, was an eventful day. Influences were set at work then, which have been developing and extending ever since, and which promise to accomplish much for the good of mankind. On the evening of that day, half a dozen men met in the bar-room of a tavern in Baltimore. They had often met there before, spent their hours in friendly converse, and mingled in the mutual drowning of care in the bowl. It was a place of usual resort to them. And now they had met there as before, to drink together from the poisonous cup, to which they were all too much addicted. Without having become outcasts or sots, they had all confessedly suffered severely from the frequent and intemperate use of intoxicating drinks, – suffered in their health, suffered in their estates, suffered in their families, their habits, their feelings and their reputation.

But though these were plain men, they were men of unusual energy. It is true that alcohol had made its ravages on their characters, their minds, and their hearts. But the energy of manhood still survived. They were the victims, rather than merely the votaries of the pleasures of the bowl. They were in business, and five of them had families. They cared for their business and loved their families. They had all started out in life when young, with the hopes which usually beat high in the hearts of youth in every branch of business, or situation in life, when first entering upon the world. For a time they ran well. Business was fair. Friends were not few. They had married, and were happy.

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Had any man told either of them at eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years of age, that twenty-five or thirty would find them drunkards, – that, like thousands around them, they would suffer from the poison of the serpent, and the sting of the adder in the cup, they would have laughed the insinuation to scorn, and honestly too. They never dreamed then of being drunkards. They drank moderately, and freely too. The habits of society at that time, – of all classes of society, even religious, sanctioned the free use of alcoholic drinks; and they went with the multitude never for a moment thinking of evil. But the love of drink particularly of the “social glass,” grew upon them gradually and insensibly, until habit was fixed and appetite strong; and ere they had suspected it, they found themselves in the power of a monster, bound hand and foot in chains, – the slaves of their own appetites. And now they frequented the public taverns; and oft at night, or during the day, and even on the Sabbath, instead of being at their business, or with their families, or at church, they were to be found at the Hotel or Grogshop. They knew it was wrong. They saw the evil; they felt it; they lamented it; and times without number did they promise wife and friend and self, that they would drink no more. They were sincere. They meant to be sober. But at some fatal hour they would take one glass again, “just one glass;” and they found themselves as powerless and debased as ever.

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