This is a letter that has been going around AA for a very long time; Ed recently reintroduced it to me. I have seen it before and always knew it was written anonymously, however, I did a little research online to see if I could find some more information on its origins. I only found one site that claims this speech was given by Judge John T. at the 4th Anniversary of the Chicago Group on October 5, 1943. Every other site said author unknown.
“God in his wisdom selected this group of men and women to be the purveyors of his goodness. He went not to the proud, the mighty, the famous, or the brilliant; he went to the humble, the sick, the unfortunate. He went straight to the drunkard, that so-called weakling in this world. Well might he have said to us:
‘Unto your weak and feeble hands I have entrusted a power beyond estimate. To you has been given that which has been denied the most learned of your fellows. Not to scientists or statesmen, not to wives or mothers, not even to my priests or ministers have I given this gift of healing other alcoholics which I entrusted to you.
It must be used unselfishly for it carries with it grave responsibility; sometimes the difference between life and death. No day can be too long; no demands upon your time can be too urgent; no case too pitiful; no task too hard; no effort too great. It must be used with tolerance for I have restricted its application to no one race, no creed, and no denomination. Personal criticism you must expect; lack of appreciation will be common; ridicule will be your lot; your motives will be misjudged. You must be prepared for adversity for what men call adversity is the ladder you must use to ascend the rungs toward spiritual perfection. And, remember, in the exercise of this power I shall not exact of you beyond your capabilities.
You are not selected because of exceptional talents. Be careful always, if success attends your efforts, not to ascribe to personal superiority that to which you lay claim only by virtue of My gift. If I had wanted learned men to accomplish this mission, the power would have been entrusted to the physician and the scientist. If I had wanted eloquent men, there would have been many anxious for the assignment, for talk is the easiest used of all the talents with which I have endowed mankind. If I had wanted scholarly men, the world is filled with better qualified men than you, who would be available.
You have been selected because you have been the outcasts of the world and your long experience as drunkards has made or should make you humbly alert to the cries of distress that come from the lonely hearts of alcoholics everywhere.
Keep ever in mind the admission you made of your profession in A. A. – that you are powerless and that it was only with your willingness to turn your life and will unto My keeping that relief came to you.’”
CIRCA 1940 – Origin unknown