Rosy is the perfect color for your cheeks, flowers and future.
- Inspired by Psalm 71:14 (KJV)
I am posting this blog a little earlier than usual because I am about to hop on a plane for Akron, Ohio, to celebrate Founders’ Day.
What’s so inspiring about Founders’ Day? For one thing, without it I would not be here talking to you. I wouldn’t be anywhere, in fact.
Founders’ Day celebrates the very first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, when a beleaguered and road-weary businessman, William Wilson, newly sober but sorely tempted, picked up the phone instead of a drink in the lobby of his hotel in Akron and called a local minister at random, demanding to talk to another alcoholic as soon as possible. The minister told Bill Wilson that he knew someone who was a good man but a hopeless drunk, Dr. Robert H. Smith.
A wealthy widow named Henrietta Seiberling offered the use of the Gate Lodge on her Stan Hywet Estate for the propitious meeting. The two men talked alone for hours. Bill talked because talking was keeping him sober a minute at a time. Dr. Bob talked because hearing another alcoholic share his story of suffering and recovery, of experience, strength and hope, brought the message of sobriety alive. He had had his last drink. And both men felt the grace of a higher power—whom they understood as God—infusing the Gate Lodge that June day in 1935, the founding of A.A.
Every year thousands of grateful, sober drunks flock to Akron on Founders’ Day to pay homage to the site of what would become their redemption, a kind of sacred triangulation between Bill’s hotel, Dr. Bob’s house and the Gate Lodge at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. I’m incredibly honored and, frankly, amazed to be one of the speakers this year thanks to the work of great friends of Guideposts and the Stan Hywet Gate Lodge, Akronites Ron and Lily Glosser.
On Saturday at 1 pm, I’ll be at the Gate Lodge signing copies and reading and from my book, The Promise of Hope, about my own struggle with drugs and drink and the improbable path that brought me to Guideposts. Stop by, I’d love to meet you.
Many people don’t know that Bill Wilson and Norman Vincent Peale, the founder of Guideposts and author of The Power of Positive Thinking, were great friends. It’s a natural spiritual alliance, though, once you think about it. Check out Bill W.’s landmark article from a 1947 issue of Guideposts, “Is A.A. for Alcoholics Only?”
Hope to see you in Akron.
Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. Edward lives in New York City with two blondes—his wife, Julee, and Golden Retriever, Millie, who has been featured in his blog and popular videos. Edward loves cycling, hiking with Millie at his house in the Berkshire Hills and Wolverines that hail from Michigan.
If you need a little boost of inspiration, pick up a copy of Edward's book The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours.