Friday, November 6, 2009

Paul ...

One of the liberties I think I can take of having a less well read blog is that I want to share something that came in email about good friend who died recently. If anyone has any sort of objection about this, let me know and I will remove this article.
We lost another piece of AA history linking us to the founders. Paul Martin, 87 years old and 62 years sober. His sponsor was Tom Powers who helped Bill Wilson edit and publish the 12x12. Below is an official obituary that was in a local paper and a personal note from Gary B. a long time sober friend of Paul’s.

Rest in peace Paul, we will carry the torch!


Paul W. Martin, age 87, of Bethlehem Woods, LaGrange Park, formerly of Riverside for 42 years. A Veteran U.S. Navy Pilot during WW II, (survivors deleted). Paul had many accomplishments in life as a successful Journalist. He wrote articles for numerous publications including the Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine, Christian Century, The Grapevine, The Lion (a publication of the Lions Club). He wrote two books on the history of the Lions Clubs, the first We Serve and the second Lions Clubs in the 21st Century. He spoke Spanish fluently and traveled widely, including trips to Mexico and South America and Russia. A Health and Science writer, he hosted his own television show, was a professional wrestler and boxer, and was a true sportsman. He worked in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska in the 1950's, on the Dew Line radar warning system . In the Navy he catapulted, in observation planes, off of battle Ships. He had a great sense of humor and always had a joke. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Riverside Twp. Lions Club, Hadley School for the Blind and St. Thomas Hospice appreciated.

From Gary B.:
I returned home yesterday from Paul's wake and memorial service.  This was the third time I have been privileged to not only be with Paul but many of his sponsees and friends.  The first two times I was asked to chair (more like emcee) the celebrations of his 50 years and 60th years of sobriety.

I met Paul 36 years ago when he spoke at the Wyatts meeting in Denver.  He had been invited to speak there by a fellow known as Big Frank McKibbon.  Frank was big and tough and a true Big Book Step Nazi who said that I should come hear Paul.  I was surprised that Frank really looked up to anyone so I figured I better go.  I left the meeting knowing that I had just met a man who really believed that the 12 Step program of AA was indeed "sufficient" for alcoholics and anyone else who might be motivated to go to the lengths we need.

24 years ago I called Paul with my ass hanging out and jam on my face and asked him for help.  I had not drank, but I was living a life of infidelity, dishonesty in all my affairs--my wife still says I was depressed during that time.  Other than the depression that is a symptom of alcoholism I have no other experience with that.

Paul and his group, the LaGrange group, firmly believe and practice repeated trips through the 12 steps.  Each time they do that they swap 5th Steps with several other people, and are extremely diligent in making all the amends to remain current.  I learned that the repeated process thru the 12 Steps in order relieves alcoholics of the depression, anxiety, fear and all those other things the sober alcoholic contends with.

Paul always believed that guilt is the cause of depression.  In fact, he was sure that Wilson would not have had his depressions if he would have kept his pecker in his pants.

I last spent several hours with Paul this last Spring when he was in Bloomington, IN undergoing a series of heavy radiation.  His conversations were always about AA.  He said he knew I don't really enjoy speaking on the circuit but asked me to continue to do it when I was asked so I could continue to share my experience with amends.

Paul spent the last 3+ months in a retirement center/nursing home.  I am told that this past August there was a young man taking a tour of the home with his parents.  The parents were thinking of moving there.  The lady giving the tour always spoke to each resident as they passed by.  She would say "Hi Joe" or "Hi Mary" etc., but when they passed Paul she said "Hi Paul Martin."  The group passed by and then the young man returned and asked Paul if he was the guy who knew Bill Wilson.  Paul said he was and asked what he could do for the young man.  The kid said he was 3 years sober and was having trouble getting along with his parents.  Paul said "Do you have your amends list in your pocket?"

Paul then showed the kid how to write an inventory, told him to come back when he had it completed (Paul gave him one week).   The kid came back, took 5th Steps with Paul and a few of his friends.  On September 10th the kid returned to see Paul and said he had made all the amends with his parents and things were getting better.

All the years I knew Paul, I never once heard him change his mind about anything regarding the AA program--the Twelve Steps.  I asked Matt A., a 50 year sponsee of Paul's if he ever heard Paul change his mind about any part of the program.  Matt said he never heard Paul change his mind about a damn thing.

Three weeks ago Bryan B took Paul up to Mayo Clinic for some tests.  The doctor came into the room after two days of testing and before the doc could say anything Paul asked "How long do I have."  The doctor looked down while looking for words when Paul said "I'm glad you didn't look at your watch."

I'm sure someone will be telling more about his life.  He spoke Spanish fluently.  He interviewed many South American political figures, both winners and losers of revolutions. He was a wonderful god father and friend.

The wake and service were truly victory celebrations.



Mary Christine said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

dAAve said...

Thanks for sharing all of that.

Syd said...

Thanks for sharing this history of someone who had a legacy in AA.