Most alcoholics owe money.

We do not dodge our creditors.

Telling them what we are trying to do, we make no bones about our drinking; they usually know it anyway, whether we think so or not.

Nor are we afraid of disclosing our alcoholism on the theory it may cause financial harm.

Approached in this way, the most ruthless creditor will sometimes surprise us.

Arranging the best deal we can we let these people know we are sorry.

Our drinking has made us slow to pay.

We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them.

Perhaps we have committed a criminal offense, which might land us in jail if it were known to the authorities.

We may be short in our accounts and unable to make good.

We have already admitted this in confidence to another person, but we are sure we would be imprisoned or lose our job if it were known.

Maybe it’s only a petty offense such as padding the expense account.

Most of us have done that sort of thing.

Maybe we are divorced, and have remarried but haven’t kept up the alimony to number one.

She is indignant about it, and has a warrant out for our arrest.

That’s a common form of trouble too.

Although these reparations take innumerable forms, there are some general principles which we find guiding.

Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be.

We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be.

We must not shrink at anything.

Usually, however, other people are involved.

Therefore, we are not to be the hasty and foolish martyr who would needlessly sacrifice others to save himself from the alcoholic pit.

A man we know had remarried.

Because of resentment and drinking, he had not paid alimony to his first wife.

She was furious.

She went to court and got an order for his arrest.

He had commenced our way of life, had secured a position, and was getting his head above water.

It would have been impressive heroics if he had walked up to the Judge and said, “Here I am.”

We thought he ought to be willing to do that if necessary, but if he were in jail he could provide nothing for either family.

We suggested he write his first wife admitting his faults and asking forgiveness.

He did, and also sent a small amount of money.

He told her what he would try to do in the future.

He said he was perfectly willing to go to jail if she insisted.

Of course she did not, and the whole situation has long since been adjusted.

Before taking drastic action, which might implicate other people, we secure their consent.

If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is indicated, we must not shrink.

This brings to mind a story about one of our friends.

While drinking, he accepted a sum of money from a bitterly hated business rival, giving him no receipt for it.

He subsequently denied having received the money and used the incident as a basis for discrediting the man.

He thus used his own wrong-doing as a means of destroying the reputation of another.

In fact, his rival was ruined.

He felt that he had done a wrong he could not possibly make right.

If he opened that old affair, he was afraid it would destroy the reputation of his partner, disgrace his family and take away his means of livelihood.

What right had he to involve those dependent upon him?

How could he possibly make a public statement exonerating his rival?

After consulting with his wife and partner he came to the conclusion that is was better to take those risks than to stand before his Creator guilty of such ruinous slander.

He saw that he had to place the outcome in God’s hands or he would soon start drinking again, and all would be lost anyhow.

He attended church for the first time in many years.

After the sermon, he quietly got up and made an explanation.

His action met wide-spread approval, and today he is one of the most trusted citizens of his town.

This all happened years ago.