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Henrietta B. Seiberling: Ohio's Lady with a Cause

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2008

    The Non-alcoholic lady sparkplug of early A.A.

    Here's the account of the tremendous Ohio woman with a devotion to helping Dr. Bob get sober, urging him to return to Bible study and prayer, bringing about his prayer to God for help, and the miraculous appearance of Bill Wilson as the one to meet the need. This is a corker about a little known catalyst in early A.A.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2006

    An Ohio woman's great faith and cause

    This little book (which is now the 4th edition)is one of the later additions by author Dick B. to the family of Akron A.A. founders about whom he has written. And it almost seemed as if Henrietta Seiberling had slipped through the cracks since you rarely if ever hear her name mentioned or hear anything about her A.A. role in fellowship meetings. Yet she played such an important part in getting our society under way. She had befriended Dr. Bob and his wife Anne. She had her own problems and knew what the Smiths were going through because of Dr. Bob's drinking situation. When the Oxford Group came to Akron in 1933 to attest to Russell Firestone's conversion and release from alcoholism, Henrietta jumped at the chance to hear the story. She persuaded Dr. Bob's wife Anne and two other ladies to go to the big meeting at the Mayflower Hotel. Hearing the deliverance that was available through Christ, she urged Anne and soon Dr. Bob to attend an Oxford Group meeting regularly. And soon Henrietta, Bob, Anne, and Oxford Groupers T. Henry Williams decided to form a 'rump' meeting and hold it at the Williams home. It was unlike the Oxford Group meetings in several ways and certainly because it was a little group of OG people, alcoholics, and families who were meeting primarily to overcome their problems, and soon Dr. Bob's drinking problem. It was Henrietta's revelation from God that impelled her to caution Bob that God had told her by revelation that Bob must not take one drink. But Dr. Bob continued to drink--because he wanted to. Then Henrietta convened a special meeting to deal with Dr. Bob specifically. At the conclusion when Bob had admitted to his alcoholism, she asked him if he would like to join the group in prayer. And, on their knees, they prayed with Dr. Bob for his deliverance. Yet he continued to drink--because he wanted to. And then the miracle happened. Out of the blue, Henrietta received a call from Bill Wilson, an alcoholic and Oxford Grouper, who announced that he needed to talk to a drunk. Understanding the 'pass it on' principle of witnessing, Henrietta exclaimed that Bill was 'Manna from heaven.' He was, to her, the real answer to the group's prayers. And she quickly brought Bob and Bill together at her Gate Lodge home. The men talked for six hours, hit it off well, and decided to start helping drunks. And this, of course, was not an Oxford Group agenda item so they called the Akron meetings a 'clandestine lodge' of the Oxford Group. Henrietta continued to particpate in leading the weekly meetings during the summer of 1935 and long thereafter. She counseled Bob and Bill in Bible matters. And she helped distribute biblical literature that Dr. Bob was reading and recommended. And it was the little band of three (Bob, Anne, and Henrietta)who, along with T. Henry and his wife, developed the program that worked. And they kept at it until Wilson and Smith counted 40 people who were maintaining complete sobriety and that they had developed a cure which could be passed along to others. I love the book, and I love Henrietta's special role as a non-alcoholic woman of compassion and love who helped to found our great society.

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