12/14/12 A.A. History -- Sybil C., First Woman in A.A. West of the Mississippi2/6www.barefootsworld.net/aasybilc.html
"So naturally I started drinking at a very early age, against my better judgment, full of shame andremorse because of Papa's teachings. He was a good man. When I was fifteen, I got drunk one night,passed out, and had to be carried home and put to bed in my mother's bed. I cried the next day andpromised that it would never happen again -- and I meant it. But I didn't know myself, I didn't knowthe disease of alcoholism. The next Saturday night the kids handed me a bottle and I drank it. And Icontinued to do that through a couple of semesters of high school, and I stayed drunk throughseventeen years of failed marriages and more jobs than I can count."Sybil dropped out of high school and took a secretarial course and was hired as a secretary. It wasthe first in a long list of jobs. At various times she was a real estate broker, a taxi driver, abootlegger, an itinerant farm worker, the editor of a magazine for pet owners, and a salesperson. 'Ididn't mind working," she said, "but I never seemed to get anywhere. I was just on a treadmillbecause of booze."She had a child by her first husband, a sailor. She thought having the child would prevent herdrinking, but she drank more than ever, and her parents eventually took the child from her.She and her husband hitchhiked out of town to find grape picking jobs. They thought getting awayfrom their city friends would help them quit drinking, but she soon was drunk again. During one ofher drunks she heard music. At first she thought she was hallucinating, but she followed the sound andwandered into a tent where a revival meeting was in progress. The preacher asked for anyone to comeforward who wanted to be saved. "Well, that was me," Sybil told A.A. members. "I went all the waydown while the people were singing. The preacher put his hand out and placed it on my head, and Ithrew up all over him. It was so terrible! I was so ashamed, I couldn't bring myself to tell anyoneabout it until I got into Alcoholics Anonymous eleven years later."She left her sailor husband and hitchhiked back to Los Angeles to her mother's house. Her brother,Tex, now had a speakeasy on skid row, and to make money to take to her mother to support the child,she went into the bootlegging business with him. Eventually the speakeasy was raided and they wereout of business. Then she went to work in a taxi-dance hall.Little is known of her second husband, but she met her third husband, Dick Maxwell, while working inthe taxi-dance hall. One night a rich, handsome stranger walked in and bought dance tickets withSybil for the whole night. During intermission he bought several pitchers of beer (the girls got adollar for every pitcher their partner bought), and she told him her sad story. He offered to marryher and adopt her child if she would promise not to drink any more.Now she had a wonderful husband, a home, a housekeeper, and a car. But she couldn't stop drinking.In 1939, while visiting her mother, she read the Liberty magazine article called "Alcoholics and God."She thought the story fascinating but did nothing about it and her downward spiral continued.Eighteen months later God gave her another chance, when she read the Saturday Evening Post's March1, 1941 issue which contained the famous Jack Alexander article about A.A.. She wrote to New Yorkand received a reply from Ruth Hock, then Bill Wilson's secretary, who told her that there were nowomen members in California, but that Marty Mann was sober in New York. Ruth referred her to thesmall group of men then in the area.'