During late August or early September of 1934, the future of AA, to be or not to be, rested in the delicate balance of Ebby Thacher’s (yes, only one “t”) decision to drink, or not to drink, three tempting basement-cooled bottles of Ballantine Ale which would have calmed his alcoholic shakes and impending DTs.
Ebby was living in his family summer home in Manchester, Vermont, and had been arrested for shooting at pigeons on his roof on a rainy evening. This was just not that sort of upscale neighborhood, i.e., Todd Lincoln, Abraham’s son, once lived directly across the street.
Vermont law mandated that Ebby was to be confined in Brattleboro Asylum for this—his third—drunken offense (He already had slammed his car into the side of a house and laughingly asked the owner for a cup of coffee—she called the constable instead). However, the judge allowed him to remain free if he returned to court without drinking the following Monday.
Ebby picked up those three tempting ale bottles, but his honesty prevailed; he surrendered them to a neighbor. He then prayed sincerely that God help him stop drinking and amazingly, he experienced an immediate release from his mental obsession which lasted for two years and seven months
. . . and as we know, this was time enough for him to carry his sober message to Bill Wilson the following November (p. 9) who then, launched the AA fellowship with Dr. Bob Smith in June of 1935.
By Bob S.