This is the last Billiette Calling! column that the Scherling family possesses. Still, there has been no movement from the Fargo Acholic Anonymous Board of Directors regarding the family request to be given access to the columns they have stored. In a forced meeting with three Board members, I was threatened with physical harm to stop requesting access to files I was now told did not exist. The only items stored in the house, I was told, are an old computer and a file drawer. My request to see these were not addressed. The family’s hope now is that someone or organization in the community has kept these Sliver Dollar AA newsletters and will allow them to be copied. Bob Lind and the Fargo Forum have been informed that we are looking for Billiette’s Silver Dollar columns.
Billiette Calling! I hope you all had a Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a Happy New Year! Once again I was so thankful that I was not recovering from one of those insufferable New Year’s Day hangovers. However, my sons and I were experiencing an insufferable loss, with the death of their father, who suddenly died from a heart attack two days before Christmas. Needless to say, our Christmas was not very “Merry” or our New Year very “Happy”.
As I sat in the funeral home, I thought, “What happened?” I then recalled how John Barleycorn had become a member of our family. We even build a special room for him, with a fantastic red leather bar. This room became our ‘shrine’ and the bar became our ‘altar’, where we brought our friends to ‘worship’ him. We held our glasses high, praising him… “Here’s to you! Cheers! Down the hatch! One more for the road!” Oh, John Barleycorn, you make me feel so good, so warm and cuddly. We honestly believed life was so much better having J.B. around; and, really, what fun can anyone have in life without him? The GREAT DECEIVER started to take over the day we invited him into our home. The take-over was slow but was sure to end in disaster. I suppose one could equate the whole experience to taking a bus trip up a mountain with Johnny B. as the driver, who had control of the wheel from day one of the trip.
I became physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually bankrupt before I came to realize that J.B. had thrown a blanket of DENIAL around me. It was like driving in a blizzard and exclaiming, “You idiot – why did you start out on this trip? What in the world has happened to you? Why did you trust J.B with your life? Look what he’s done to you! You’ve become a liar, a cheat, a conniver, a hag, a bitch, a spoiled brat who screams and threatens annihilation or stalks about of the room if you don’t get your own way. What a catastrophe my life had become!
My trip up the mountain was fantastic. I was in never, never land, somewhere over the rainbow, with an attitude of “who cares?”. The fact was, I was in a progressive numb-out! Over the top and on the downside became a nightmare. I became aware that something was out of whack; the brakes went out; the bus went careening down and down as I started screaming, “STOP, STOP THE BUS AND LET ME OFF!” It didn’t stop! As the bus was headed over the cliff to crash into the valley below, the door opened and I leaped off. Thereby the road was God, waiting with the open arms of love and safety. But I still know that Johnny is hovering around the corner, tempting us to get back on the bus. “No Thanks J.B., I have God’s power in my life today!”
As I was leaving the funeral home I said a little prayer “God, thank you for what you’ve taught me in AA – how to love, to find peace of mind, to forgive those who have hurt me, to make amends to those I’ve hurt, for your persistent nudging me to make amends to my sons’ father, asking for his forgiveness. I am thankful that I have learned another lesson from this sorrowful death, DON’T PUT OFF FOR TOMORROW WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TODAY. THEN THERE WILL BE NO REGRETS! My sons’ father and I parted friends because in AA we learn to say, “I’m sorry!” Remember … God says, “NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU TODAY THAT YOU AND I CAN’T HANDLE TOGETHER!”
Receiving Billiette’s Call! Yes, sharing it with you was happiness!
Reading this Billiette Calling column is easy to apply it to my life because I was there. For others reading this, I suggest as you read Billiette’s experience, going from a fun-loving family to a drunken wife and mother, that you compare her experience to yours. Billiette wrote this column shortly after Orlando Scherling’s death on December 22, 1994, which will always be emotional. I remember spending hours writing and practicing what I would say about my father’s very caring, creative, and productive life – a life I am still searching for a way to memorialize. His many photography awards, work with Professional Photographers of America, the establishment of the Jerry Scherling Island Park Memorial to his son’s life are important, however, something else is moving.
I remember when my belief in Santa Claus was shattered. Dad dressed up to play Santa until the year I realized, he was always in the back room when Santa arrived, appearing shortly after he left. The next year to throw me off the scent, he asked Dan Olson, one of his photographers to play Santa. Santa had gotten much larger during the year and when I looked into his eyes, I thought I saw Dan there. As soon as Santa left, I rushed to the front window, pulled back the curtains, and saw Santa getting into Mr. Olson’s car – reality hit me, all we see may not be real.
Billiette describes a process that all alcoholics need to be aware of becoming “physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually bankrupt before the ‘altar of drink’, becoming a “liar, a cheat, a conniver, a hag, a bitch, a spoiled brat who screams and threatens annihilation or stalks about of the room if you don’t get your own way. What a catastrophe my life had become!” It seems just reading this should jolt a person into realizing his/her loss of life.
This last Billiette Calling column was obtained from her son Michael. I appreciate his sending this last column, for now, for this blogging effort. I expect this column, like the others, will expand our understanding of where we are headed. However, I still have the menacing image of a Fargo AA Chapter 6+ foot 300+ pound goliath verbally threatening me in the Chapter’s living room to stop seeking the Billiette Calling columns or else. I wrote this in BC 06.01.2021 blog: “What I would try to point out to Billiette, that she writing ‘to be relieved of the bondage of self is a wrong psychoanalytically statement to make! We do not hope to be ‘relieved of self’ but to be assisted in our self-actualization. I know mom agrees with this and it was always fun to discuss these issues with her. However, in BC 06.01.2021 blog I added this on Sartre who makes this point: “that ‘nature’ has an aggressive way with the human consciousness, which is analogous to the way a bellicose man thrusts his face close to the face of a person he is threatening” I now sensed a synchronistic experience had occurred when ‘Goliath’ stood up and threatened me. So what? What should we do with this? I am going to attempt to see this as a synchronistic experience with the Fargo AA Chapter.
I sense Jung’s concept of synchronicity is operative. It always is operative, one just needs to recognized and understand how it unfolds (Aziz, Syndetic Paradigm, 2007). I remember checking out Ira Progroff’s book Jung, synchronicity and human destiny from UCLA’s library, coping it, when I was staying with my uncle for a week in August 1983 on my way back to teaching in Taiwan. I have kept this book by my bed stand since then, often re-reading it, especially the last chapter XI – From synchronicity to the transcausal, which I will unpack next. Here to begin explaining synchronicity is Carl Jung on Synchronicity
Dream 06.08.2021. I have been to a conference in France and I am now at the airport to catch a plane. I meet schoolmate David Stillman who helps me pack up all my Sachi bags into one very compact carry-on bag. I then am looking for the way to the terminal and ask two older ladies who do not understand what I am asking. I then interrupt a fellow listening to headphone music to ask and he points the way to a lower level, which I take a spiral staircase down to.
Associations: I worked several hours yesterday on the 4th Billiette Calling Blog post whose outline is almost complete. To complete it, I need to amplify Progoff’s treatment he wrote about in Chapter XI From synchronicity to the transcausal, which I started re-reading, ending with me falling asleep “working of the archetypal element in a situation cannot be encompassed in any of the usual definitions of causality. It is not causal, but rather recrystallizing and restructuring.”
Amplification: I fell asleep with Progoff’s description of this process trying to apply it to what is unfolding with the synchronistic experience of being confronted by a bellicose member at the AA meeting and then reading about a bellicose confrontation of the same nature.
Amplification2 This is going to take time and space to unpack. I have space but do I have time? Look in your files now to see what you have collected on Progoff. I found my Progoff work in Project 4 / Writing / Manuscripts / Resources / Authors. I will begin again to work on using Progoff’s At a Journal Workshop, which I attended many years ago. How is it that I have not kept at this? Do I have time to finish this work? We shall see… Yes, I am aware of the “sacred space between me and the (my) ancestors…” (Romanyshyn, Wounded researcher, 2007: 344) and that they are now looking over my shoulders as I write this. This is really what keeps me writing, knowing that Billiette is watching over this effort. Steven
Paper copy hyperlinks viewed at blog site https://dialecticanalyticalman.wordpress.com/.