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An Amazing Journey

Audio Version

My name's Charlie, I'm an alcoholic and my sobriety date is 30 June 2014. On the 1st of June this year I travelled to St Petersburg, Florida for my second Young People's Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous (YPAA) and although I had my wallet stolen it was a great weekend of Fellowship, recovery and fun. AA really got round about me and helped till I got myself ready for the next step in the adventure.

Next stop was Akron, home of the amazing Fellowship. Here I was blessed to spend the week with some of the craziest, funniest, most amazing people I've ever met. I was able to tour the AA sights: Bob's house, St Thomas Hospital, the Mayflower Hotel, Akron area intergroup, the Gatehouse where Bill and Bob met and of course Bob's grave where I was blessed to kneel at the grave of one of the men who saved my life. Amazing. I also shared my experience, strength and hope on a young people's panel on Founders' Day, read the Traditions at the big meeting on the Friday on Founders' Day and did many more magical things. The people of AA in Akron took me into their hearts and God willing I hope to be back for many years to come.

Next up I took a train from Cleveland through the state of New York to Albany and spent the night there before heading down to Manchester, Vermont where I was picked up and taken to the Wilson home where Bill W was born. God put a very special lady in my path who for the next two days took care of me. First off I went to a meeting at the house where they asked me to chair which was great, another amazing privilege. They said I wasn't the first Scotsman to do it but I was the first to do so in a kilt. The next day my new friend picked me up early and we drove the two hours across Vermont to the birthplace of Dr Bob. I was to spend a couple of hours there, attend a meeting and have a quick tour of the home where Bob was born over 100 years ago. We then headed back stopping first at the grave of Bill and Lois Wilson and I was honoured to kneel at the grave of the other two people who saved my life, another amazing experience. My friend then took me round Vermont stopping at Ebby Thatcher's home, the quarry where Bill's grandfather worked and Emerald Lake where Bill proposed to Lois. So after a long day it was bedtime and I stopped in the Wilson home for a second night. My new friend had me up again bright and early, taking me to a 7.30 morning meeting in Vermont then back to the Wilson's for the grand tour. It was great to see where Bill was born and brought up and before heading to the station we stopped again at the grave of Bill and Lois and where I made Bill a promise that no matter what, wherever I go round the world, by the grace of God, I would continue to carry the message to alcoholics.

Next stop on the adventure was New York City; I took the train and stopped there for a week. I visited the General Service Office (GSO) of AA in NYC and went to the Friday morning meeting, had lunch and did the tour of GSO. It was nice looking at pictures on the wall from Akron and Vermont and thinking I've been there. I spent a few days in New York seeing the sights, doing a few YPAA meetings and making some new friends but as a city it wasn't my cup of tea, a bit too busy. The best bit of New York was when I took the train out to Bedford Hills, about an hour outside the city to where Bill and Lois lived till they died. Stepping Stones is now a museum of their lives and AA history. Lois was an exceptional woman and she certainly knew AA's would be visiting; the photographs and memorabilia were already labelled. They had the table where Ebby and Bill spoke when Ebby first told Bill of his solution and also the table where some of the Big Book and all of the Twelve and Twelve were written. I was able to get an insight into the lives of Bill and Lois Wilson.

This has been probably the greatest experience of my life. This short write-up can't really do it justice and I just hope someone reading this can get an idea of my amazing journey. I thank God and everyone in this amazing Fellowship who made this journey so special. I'm just a young man from Scotland and I feel blessed.

Coatbridge Saturday