Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My License Plate…………FRNDOFBW


When I notice a person who is not drinking at a party, or perhaps they say something that rings a bell with me, I ask, “Are you, by any chance, a ‘Friend of Bill W’ ?”

Bill Wilson was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and that is the universal phrase that we use in AA to identify ourselves to fellow members. My license plate, “FRNDOFBW” is a shortened version and I’ve had many interesting encounters with people who have understood what it means.

Of course I get the usual horn honks and lots of upraised thumbs but I’ve also had a few unforgettable adventures. One of those was when I was on Long Island. I was in a tremendous bottleneck and totally lost. Traffic was moving very slowly and I noticed a big white truck that had been behind me had edged up to be parallel with my car. The driver motioned for me to roll down my window and when I did he proceeded to tell me that he was in the program and how it had changed his life. When he foundout that I was lost he said, “Just get behind me and keep following. I will take you to your destination.” And he did !

Another adventure of note was when I was at a Stop sign waiting for a large vehicle on the main road to turn into the street I was on. I felt like it didn’t have enough maneuvering room so (without looking in my rear view mirror) I backed up. BAM ! I’d hit something and when I got out to look I was aghast to see that it was a Sheriff’s car. You can imagine how I felt!

The Sheriff’s deputy turned out to be a really nice guy. He had seen that I was trying to give the other driver a little more room, and, since there was no noticeable damage, he didn’t charge me with anything. “Just be sure to look in your mirror next time”, he said.

I was getting back in to my car when he added, “By the way I’m curious. What does your license plate mean?” When I told him he said that he was a great fan of AA. “I’ve seen many of the driver’s that I’ve stopped turn their lives around with the aid of that organization,” he said.

Then he proceeded to chuckle and he asked me if I’d been aware of what I hit when I backed into his car? I guess I looked bewildered because he pointed to the front grille and to the sign that was affixed to it. The placard read, “BOOZE IT & LOSE IT” . Ironically it was a little bent from the impact of my car but nothing else was damaged.

“Now you’ll have a good story to tell the next time that you go to one of those meetings”, said the deputy and I agreed. I’ve told it often and it never fails to get a big laugh.

11 Comments:

Anonymous naomi dagen bloom said...

ginnie, another wonderful post about real life. the elderblog community is fortunate to have your well written reminders about substance abuse from your particular perspective--a woman in longtime recovery, fearless about talking about AA's significance.

yours, naomi

11:59 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

What a neat idea to have a licence plate like that: it sends a message only to those who can appreciate it.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Alan G said...

What an interesting and funny story. Thanks for sharing it Ginnie.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous claude said...

A great post. Full of honesty and humour! Thanks.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

Ha! AA is a very supportive community.

My license plate says L3TITBE. Do you get it?

7:51 PM  
Blogger saz said...

Ginnie - I did see something about Bill W on History Detective recently but had never heard about a "Friend of Bill W". That's such a wonderful way to identify AA friends!

1:17 AM  
Anonymous colleen said...

HiGinnie,
L3TITB is Let it Be...as in the Beatle's song. It also has other meanings for me. For one, it was the song my sister and I sang to our brother before he passed away. The 3 serves as the E. The correct spelling was already taken and I rather like it to have just a bit of mystery.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Colleen, thanks for the explanation. Maybe we'll get some of the other bloggers to tell about theirs. Could be a fun blog.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Another great story, Ginnie. And I admire how you share your authentic self here with us.
As you can see...I'm playing catch-up this evening with blogs. (I was a good girl and worked on revisions for 4 hr. earlier today...treat time for me!)

4:10 PM  
Blogger truth said...

LOL, yes that is a great story.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Maya's Granny said...

Ginnie,
Although I am one of those people who has a drink about once every decade or two, not out of discipline or choice but inclination, I work with teens supporting environmental change in the culture to reduce underage drinking. I have seen some real wonders with AA. We need people like you who aren't afraid to speak up.

1:51 AM  

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