An interview with Ted H. – Abbotsford’s own Elder Statesman

Ted H. had his first drunk at the age of 14.  The experience made him sicker than he’d ever been.  Even so, he knew would drink again at his earliest convenience.  At 17 he began to suspect he had a problem when he ran out of booze sneaking into his neighbor’s root cellar and stealing his homemade wine to even drinking aftershave lotion and ladies’ perfume.

In 1959 motivated by desperation as a result of suicidal despair he actually quit drinking for eight months after reading the Big Book. In 1968, 9 years later he started attending AA meetings.  Calling himself a reluctant volunteer he refused to do the steps and suffered for another six years.  Today he encourages newcomers to do the steps right away. After sobering up he found a job in New Westminster that lasted for 39 years until his retirement.  He was so full of gratitude for his new life he regularly worked an extra hour every day without pay.    His wife, who joined Al-Anon never, ever mentioned his initial nine years of drunkenness.  One day knowing Ted’s desire to go to the World Conference in Miami to see Bill Wilson she surprised him with the $500 he needed to travel. On his 29th AA birthday, she was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 8 months later. Ted so full of grief that he hardly ate, slept, or go to work but he did become much more active in the fellowship.  He was amazed when he realized that during the ordeal he did not think about drinking once.

Four years later he married his second wife, Denise.  He says jokingly that he had to marry someone with the same letter in their first name so he wouldn’t have to throw out his monogrammed linen.  He says he was lucky enough to marry two of the most lovable women he had ever met. During his years of sobriety he along with both his wives opened their home to alcoholics from all walks of life.

This act actually inspired his friend Ed W. to start a recovery center in White Rock called the Launching Pad which continues to help the still-suffering alcoholics. The wonder of being sober has never left him.  It has never gotten boring or old.  He has never grown tired of seeing people who society has thrown on the scrap heap receive a one-year cake and become productive members of society.   The most generous people of all are members of AA who are so full of gratitude for the life they have been given by sobering up Society has benefited greatly from A.A. because our members have contributed vast amounts of wealth to mankind and helps others do the same. Lately going to his home group at the Alano Club in Abbotsford has become more difficult because of the stairs.  If only they could afford a chair lift to help him and others with mobility issues attend meetings.

Question: Who do you most admire in AA?
Answer: My first sponsor Bert B. Why?  Because out of his mouth, he spoke the truth we could trust every word he spoke.  He cared more for others than his own popularity.  Bert B. would go on to become the first director at King Haven.

Question:  What bugs you the most about A.A.?
Answer: We live in a society where it is popular to feel bad and sorry for the perceived victims. There is a sense of entitlement from a lot of people who come into the program which at times seems to be encouraged by some members.  AA has not changed but our society has.  Ted says he quit drinking for the same reason he started, to feel better. He credits his love of happy endings to his mother reading Burgess bedtime stories that ended like this one.  “Old mother West-Wind gathered up the merry little breezes and took them to rest beyond the purple hills.”