1938 Original Manuscript for 1939 1st Edition BigBook Searchable 1976 3rd Edition BigBook On-Line
The Prescription
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This poem, "The Quest", was written by a drunk, a sober drunk, who was sober about 5 days. I had twelve stepped Paul out of the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1985. He was a sad case. Boy, was he a sad case. We got him to the Camel Club in Gretna, filled him with coffee, orange juice and honey, got him sobered up in about 36 hours, got him somewhat settled down and into the Bridge Step House located just under the Greater New Orleans Bridge. I came into the club about 4 days later and Paul was at the coffee bar writing. I asked if he was writing a 4th step and he said "No, I'm writing a poem." I said "Oh, okay" and went over to talk with some other fellows, Joe B. and Merle. After 5 or 10 minutes had passed, Paul asked if we wanted to hear his poem, and we all waited. I said "Sure". This is the poem that Paul wrote.

The Quest

I've searched,
I've searched the avenues of life,
the pristine chapels, the Bowery flophouses.
I've searched the Halls of Justice, on both sides.
I've looked under the leaves and behind the clouds.
I've searched through the rain and pain of forgotten memories,
broken promises and shattered dreams.
I've yearned for the answers to all the questions,
some as yet unasked.

I've loved,
the earth, the sky, and all the animals,
I've hated myself!

I've dreamed,
I've dreamed of dancing on moonlight and traveling to the stars.
I've dreamed of worldly delights, while searching through the bars.
I've dreamed of better worlds, with peace and tranquillity.
I've seen the cold shoulder of inhumanity,
Sometimes I've found it to be mine.

I've been,
I've been in and out of jails, in and out of Hell.
I've been ostracized, penalized, deluded, denuded,
and institutionalized.

I've seen,
I've seen the deathly gray pall of time passing uselessly by.
I've seen the fire of a new dawn,
Through an alcoholics' haze,
I witnessed the birth of a new life,
My own!

And now,
I have seen --GOD-- and --MYSELF--,
I am FREE,
FREE to be ME

Paul Wilburn

Paul was formerly a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in England, came to this country to make his living in literature, got into a bottle, made it to the French Quarter, to the Camel Club, to this poem, and SOBRIETY! What a Gift!

Love and Peace, Barefoot

Index of AA History Pages on Barefoot's World

As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In AA and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!

ABC Page 60 -- Barefoot's Recovery Pages



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Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and SOBRIETY