At the stroke of midnight, we will ring in the New Year with our 30th annual special New Year’s Eve Meeting. Everything is different about this meeting.Usually the place is decorated and we have subdued lighting. We do read How It Works, but twelve different people read one of the Twelve Steps.

There will be 22 topics for discussion that you hear in AA meetings, topics that seem to encapsulate the program. They will be passed out with a number beside the topic. The leader then calls out a number randomly and the person with that number and topic then speaks briefly on the subject until we have gone through all of them.

Ask just about anyone who has attended one in the past and they will tell you that it is a very moving experience that often sets the tone for the coming year.

Following the meeting, we will continue to celebrate by noshing favorite traditional Southern holiday treats that portend luck, fortune and romance in the coming year.

There are black-eyed peas, symbolizing coins and cabbage, collards, turnip or mustard greens that symbolize folding money.  Then there is Hoppin’ John, a mixture of peas and rice, symbolizing prosperity.

All of these dishes are cooked with some form of pork – ham hocks, fatback, bacon, etc. symbolizing the fact that the pig roots forward (as opposed to a chicken, a New Year’s no-no, that scratches backward) or that the pig is incapable of looking backward.

And no spread would be complete without cornbread – gold in color; it can symbolize prosperity or simply symbolize the fact that Southerners know what tastes great with peas and cabbage or mustard greens.

Still time to sign up to bring your favorite dish. The sign up sheet is on the kitchen counter.

This has been a great way to spend a sober New Year’s Eve for many of us. Remember at the end of last year’s meeting we had lost our lease and knew we would be moving but we had no idea where or what the new place would be like. Now look at us! Goes to show, you never know!


Your editor was distressed by the response to our Christmas events at the club, but encouraged by the channeling of Joan Crawford last week; he decided to give Santa Claus a call. Here is a transcript of that encounter.

Santa Claus: Ho, ho, ho! I mean, hullo.

Editor: I have a couple of things to run by you, Santa. Hope I did not wake you up.

S.C.: That’s OK, I had to get up to answer the phone anyway.  Be forewarned I don’t know if I can help you or not. I don’t make too many stops myself these days. All you people keep producing more and more children, there’s no way I could possibly get around to everyone in one night. Just about everything is outsourced these days. But I still make a few rounds myself. That said, what is your Zip?

Ed.: 77096

S.C.: Yeah, I know that neighborhood. Easy duty. Not too many stops there, that’s why I still take it. What’s on your mind?

Ed.: We had a bunch of events at the Bellaire Club for Christmas and very few people showed up.

S.C.: Yeah, you were showing that movie. I was going to drop by and watch it, but I had problems at home. Ever since Rudolph had a song and TV show about him, he has become such a prima donna! Hired himself a lawyer and wanted to negotiate a new contract at the last minute. Then all of the other reindeer wanted a contract as well so I had to stop everything and deal with that drama. I think we were all better off when they used to just laugh and call him names. Not a good turn out, you say?

Ed.: We only had about four.

S.C.: What about everything else?

Ed.: Not too good. Now there was a very nice sized crowd at the annual 11:00 PM meeting in spite of the nasty weather.

S.C.: Yeah, I remember.  That damn Rudolph said he had to blink extra hard and long and tried to hit me up for time and a half!

Ed.: Where did we do wrong?

S.C.: Nowhere. Everyone was busy wrapping gifts for the homeless, out making 12th Step calls, working with others, praying, placing principles before personalities, reading the Big Book, writing 4th Steps, visiting members in jail or recovery centers and meditating on how they could be of maximum service to God and their fellow man.

Ed.: I find that hard to believe.

S.C.: Why not? Apparently you still believe in me.

Ed.: Should we do it again next year?

S.C.: I don’t know what to tell you. All I know is if it works don’t fix it. If it don’t work, don’t do it. But then, on the other hand… excuse me, I have to take this.  …Sorry I have to go now. That f@#%ing Rudolph has all the other reindeer prancing and pawing and squawking because he is bragging that all the hay in his stall is organic!


Plan to start your year off right by attending a brand new meeting at the club, our first ever early morning meeting. Starting time is 6:30 AM, Wednesday January 4. Club treasurer and resident contractor, Larry A. will be there to help launch the first meeting and group conscience to determine format, etc.


Difficult week for many of our groups. With the last meeting of the month coming between holidays, some had a hard time finding someone to chair for January who in turn had to find a leader in time for our newsletter deadline. But all of the groups are in good hands and I am certain we will have a fine slate of leaders once the month gets rolling.

  • Margaret D.  has been chairing the Thursday Noon Meeting has asked Alice G. to lead this Thursday.
  • Alice G., on the other hand, is chairing The Friday Two Dollar Meeting that meets at 12:15 and has asked Craig V. to lead the meeting this Friday.
  • Houston rethread, Baroque F. will be chairing The Sunday Noon Meeting for the month of January and will either lead Sunday or find someone most capable. Either way we all benefit.
  • The Monday Noon Hope and Healing Women’s Group meets every week and will pick a leader for the month at Monday’s meeting.
  • And over in the men’s room, The Monday Men’s Meeting is manned by Larry A. or Barry K.
  • Steering the Wednesday noon Where-U-At Group for the month of January is James W. who will find a fine leader for us before Wednesday.
  • Rick W. and Lynn L. will be heading the Blankety-Blank It’s Tuesday Noon Meeting.
  • The brand new, first ever and as yet unnamed 6:30 AM Group will hold its first meeting Wednesday with Larry A. on hand to start things off.


Our best wishes go out to Kern V. who has accepted a new job inAustin. Kern showed up at the club this summer with brush in hand, ready to help with the renovation of the new club space. His brush skills were invaluable and we owe so much of the detail work to him.

We wish him the best, but if for any reason it does not work out, we hope he will make it back here as fast as he can. He will always have a home here with us.


Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to. Bill Vaughan

First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. Oscar Wilde