Dick B.’s Christian Recovery Radio Interview on June 27 of Mark Galligan, Christian Recovery Leader from Ontario, Canada
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Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Listeners today heard a very down-to-earth, AA Christian give a nuts and bolts interview on his many years in A.A., his ups and his downs, his miraculous deliverance through prayer, and his extensive sponsorship of newcomers. That guest, our guest Mark Galligan. is a long-recovered alcoholic and very active in A.A. He is a businessman. He lives in Ontario, Canada. He is a Christian Recovery Leader and has been a participant in International Christian Recovery
Coalition since its inception in July of 2009.
You may hear "Dick B. interviews Christian Recovery leader Mark Galligan" on the June 27, 2012, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with DickB" show here:
Dick B. interviews Christian Recovery leader Mark Galligan, June 27, 2012
Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with DickB" show are archived
Synopsis of the Mark Galligan Interview Today
Mark entered Alcoholics Anonymous at age 19. Like many an AA, he was ordered to enter the fellowship to avoid a very difficult sentence. His first sponsor was an uncle who sobered up with Bill W. in 1939. Bill W. spoke twice at their A.A. meetings; and, as Mark and many others have observed, Bill droned on for two and a half hours each time. Mark was given a tattered copy of the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous and a Bible. He was told, at the beginning, to read the first half of the Big Book—three pages at a time; and he was advised that on completing that assignment he would have taken the Twelve Steps and be ready for service to others in the fellowship.
Mark’s uncle was his first sponsor. And the uncle had been sent to Akron to learn from Dr. Bob. The uncle learned and vigorously passed along the early AA emphasis on the Bible and shared fully about it in A.A. meetings—sometimes discreetly and sometimes vociferously. Mark’s area had a large stock of archival material including letters signed by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, and many written by Cleveland’s founder Clarence H. Snyder. The Snyder correspondence was filled with references to Scripture.
Mark attended our international Christian recovery leaders conference in May of 2009 at Mariners Church Community Center in Irvine, California. He was one of the speakers and watched over our substantial exhibit table in company with Dr. Robert T., a professor of medicine from South Carolina and a devoted Christian. At the Irvine Conference, Mark was attracted to our original printers manuscript of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers which is an A.A. General Service Conference-approved book we acquired from its owner Dennis Cassidy of Connecticut.
Over his 45 year span in A.A., Mark has become convinced of several major facts:
(1) AAs do not stop drinking because they stop going to meetings. They stop drinking only when they stop praying and then stop going to meetings.
(2) The present-day dropout rate in A.A. is enormous; the success rate abysmal. And there is a solution available from the early A.A. program.
Mark himself has not been without the bumps in A.A. At one point in 1976, he went to the Olympics, his wife was suicidal, and his wife had killed their son while driving under the influence. Depressed, Mark went on a binge, and wound up in a jail in Florida. Another time, again suffering from depression, he went on a binge, drove his high performance car straight into a tree; and he wound up in a jail in Arkansas when he had never before been in Arkansas. Mark was badly injured. He was DOA at the hospital. The doctor said, “Bag him and tag him.” But a persistent nurse brought him back to life. He went into a coma for 16 days. When he came out of the daze, he found three Menonite brethren on their knees beside his bed. One was a minister. The other two were AAs. They laid hands on him and prayed for him; his obsession to drink was lifted. And that ended his drinking for good.
Mark became very interested in Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron because he knew about the importance of the Bible in its early days. He met Ray G. [who has also been one of our interviewed Christian Recovery Leaders]—long-time archivist at Dr. Bob’s Home. Ray gave him a copy A.A.’s Pamphlet P-53, The Co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks. Mark was struck by the simplicity of the early program as described in that pamphlet covering Dr. Bob’s talk. Dr. Bob said in that talk that the oldtimers believed the answer to their problems was in the Bible. He added that the parts they considered absolutely essential were Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13. As stated, Mark has taken a particular interest in the printer’s manuscript of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers we hold. And this manuscript is of special importance because of the written changes and the full names of the early AAs it describes and quotes. It is filled with material on early A.A. Bible study, old fashioned prayer meetings, Quiet Times, Christian reading and daily devotionals, surrenders to Jesus Christ, and the original A.A. Christian fellowship founded in Akron in 1935.
Mark began making plans to obtain, make copies of, and digitalize our manscript so that it could be seen all over the world.
(3) Mark has become very distressed over the practice becoming more and more common in the fellowship of refusing to let AAs have ready access to, study, copy, and use the large body of historical materials found in recent years. He also wants to acquire the DR. BOB printer’s manuscript and a host of our other A.A. historical materials and support our project to place such items where they can be accessible and open to view at the Dr. Bob Core Library in Dr. Bob's boyhood village of St. Johnsbury,Vermont.
Mark has been a frequent speaker and sponsor. Today, less speaking, but still a big focus on sponsorship. He was told to read the Bible and learn recovery according to the will of God. And he was quick to point out that God’s will is found in the Bible. His A.A. group call themselves the “Akronites” because the focus is on the early A.A. program that was so successful in Akron during the 1930’s. It is also very much influenced by Clarence Snyder and the Cleveland A.A. program that was spun off from Akron. In DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, Clarence was reported as having this conviction about the Cleveland AA program begun in May of 1939. It incorporated the Bible, the Oxford Group’s Four Absolutes (Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness, and Love), the Big Book, and the Twelve Steps just published. It also incorporated “most of the old program.” See DR. BOB, p, 131 for a summary. Clarence said at page 261:
That’s the trouble. They take it so casually today. I think a little discipline is necessary. I think A.A. was more effective in those days. Records in Cleveland show that 93 percent of those who came to us never had a drink again. When I discovered that people had slips in A.A., it really shook me up. Today, it’s all watered down so much. Anyone can wander in now.
Following the lead of Dr. Bob in Akron and Clarence Snyder in Cleveland, Mark has a Christian study group with a 90% retention rate. Mark observes the 10% are unable for mental reasons or unwilling thoroughly to follow the program. The “Akronites” follow up with the newcomer regularly on the phone. They recover in their Christian walk, he said, if—like early AAs—they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Mark will be back again to tell us more of his story, plans, and efforts.