Welcome to Edition Thirteen
 On Saturday, April 15, 2000, I participated in an uplifting experience
to highlight my first 25 months of sobriety.  As I approached a podium
carrying a briefcase, I was to embark before 200 people a task with no
fear.  As I reached the podium, I placed the briefcase upon a table, and
facing the people in attendance, I began my story of where I had been,
what happened, and what my life was today.  This is my story.............
   Hi, my name is Bingocliff, and I am an alcoholic.
  Thank you all for being here for me tonight.  I grant
you that I am coming off the greatest year of my life.  
With all my writings and speaking at meetings that I
have done, I have been able to express my growth in
sobriety for all to feed on.
  Alcoholics Anonymous has been able to do for me, what
I could not do for myself for nearly thirty years.  That is
to stop drinking for one day at a time.
  Not in my wildest dreams would I have believed that
the new Millennium would present for me such happiness,
gratitude, and serenity into my life.
  I am being honest!  You see...I had to become honest
with the most important person in the whole wide
world...ME!  In order that I could become honest with
you all.
  In my sobriety, I have discovered a Higher Power.  A
spiritual God of my understanding, that steadily talks to
me through my thoughts as I am talking to you all
through my mouth.
  As I reflect back on my life, the one thing that has been
with me this past thirty-three years is this here BRIEF
CASE!  The only material thing!
  You see, my high school class ring disappeared in
Crailsheim, Germany during a drunken street brawl back
in 1970.  My one and only wedding band with two
diamonds was pond off so I could go to a tavern in 1991.  
By 1998, all of my material possessions were lost because
of the disease of alcoholism.
  This here brief case contains my whole life.  
Amazingly, it does contain my birth registration form;
my certificate of confirmation; my high school diploma;
my honorable discharge papers from the US Army; all of
my tax return forms; and God help me I am alive and
sober today to remember.
   I have discovered in my sobriety...simplicity!  This has
made a huge difference in my life today.  No longer do I
have to complicate things in my daily affairs.  No longer
do I have to take mole hills and build mountains.
  In my sobriety, I have rediscovered three lost loves
that I had lost in all my years as an active drunk.  
Reading, writing, and sports...and I am really pleased
that I can read and write.  That my brain did not
completely turn to mush.
  If I were to write an autobiography today, I would
entitle same,
"The Three Phases of My Life."  And I
guarantee you all that today I am living the third
phase...hopefully tomorrow and for all eternity.  It is a
phase of peace and serenity.  A phase of having a clear
conscious.  And, most important, a phase of true sobriety
of acceptance and understanding.  I could not be more
happier and blessed.
  Phase one of my life began on January 15th, 1950...the
day I was born.  This phase covered the first nineteen
years of my life.  It was a phase that I could label as full
of fear.  It was a period of my life of loneliness.  And, a
period of my life that I became filled up to my eyebrows
with despite.
  My parents drank...all of my relations drank, and all
the friends of my parents and relatives drank.  Believe
me when I say, I truly grew up despising them all.  I told
myself that I was not ever going to be like them.  But
being so immature, I did not know how to express my
feelings.  I would just stuff the feelings inside of myself
and carry the load.
  I fell in love with sports.  I followed and played sports
religiously.  It was at the top of my priority list on
growing up.  I considered my self good, but not great.  
And, if I ever had a chance to speak before an audience
like tonight...I would have announced that my name is
Cliff.  I am a sports fanatic!
  I grew up in a small town of Norway, Michigan.  I was
looked upon as an '
All American Boy.' I did not drink
alcoholic beverages, smoke cigarettes, or fool around
with drugs.  My life was engrossed in playing and
following sports.  This probably had a direct effect on I
not applying myself in school studies.  Upon graduating
from high school: having no money in the family; not
having from school a high point grade average; or, not
being great in sports: I was unable to go to college.