"God in His wisdom has selected a group of men to be the purveyors of His goodness. In selecting those through whom He would bring about this phenomenon, He went not to the proud, the mighty, the famous or the brilliant. He went to the humble, to the sick, to the unfortunate—He went to the drunkard, the so-called weakling of the world. Well might He have said to us:
'Into your weak and feeble hands I have entrusted a Power beyond estimate. To you has been given that which has been denied the most learned of your fellows. Not to scientists or statesmen, not to wives or mothers, not even to my priests and ministers, have I given this gift of healing other alcoholics, which I now entrust to you. It must be used unselfishly. It carries with it grave responsibility. No day can be too long, no demands upon your time can be too urgent, no case too pitiable, no task too hard, no effort too great.
It must be used with Tolerance for I have restricted its application to no race, no creed and no denomination. Personal criticism you must expect; lack of appreciation will be common; ridicule will be your lot; your motives will be misjudged. Success will not always attend your efforts in your work with other alcoholics. You must be prepared for adversity, for what men call adversity is the ladder you must use to ascend the rungs toward Spiritual perfection. And remember: in the exercise of this power I shall not exact of you beyond your capabilities.
You are not selected because of exceptional talents. And be careful always, if success attends your efforts, not to ascribe to personal superiority that to which you can lay claim only by virtue of My gift. If I had wanted learned men to accomplish this mission, the power would have been entrusted to the physician and the scientist. If I had wanted eloquent men, there would have been many anxious for the assignment, for talk is the easiest used of all talents with which I have endowed mankind. If I had wanted scholarly men, the world is filled with many better qualified than you who would have been available. You were selected because you have been the outcasts of the world and your long experience as drunkards has made, or should make you, humbly alert to the cries of distress that comes from the lonely hearts of alcoholics everywhere.
Keep ever in mind the admission that you made on the day of your profession into A.A., namely that you are powerless, and that it was only with your willingness to turn your life and your will into My keeping, that relief came to you.'"
– Excerpt of address by Judge John T. on the 4th Anniversary of the Chicago Group, October 5, 1943
[Image: (Left to right) Dr. Bob, Earl T., and Barry C. Earl was the founder of the Chicago Group of AA and author of “He Sold Himself Short,” in the Personal Stories section of the Big Book. For audio of his story and Q&A about it, please click on links. See also the story of Sylvia K., who helped Earl to develop the group and wrote “The Keys to the Kingdom." For audio of her story and Q&A about it, please click on the links.]