LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ARCHIVES
PDX nest has been blessed with three new members in their first year. Last night one of them asked me if we are really an AA meeting and do we use our 7th tradition money to support AA. Interesting...We are so engrossed in introducing newcomers to the twelve steps, Big Book, and so forth that we have neglected to explain how the BOAF international works and how our international organization sends a donation to AA every year and that money comes from the local nests donations. Anyway, the PDX newcomers now have an understanding of how our little nest does support Alcoholics Anonymous.
This might be a good time for all nests to make sure members
understand how the organization works...
...and I am putting a check in the mail from the PDX nest.
Thanks to everyone who does their part to keep this wonderful
Blue skies and Happy Holidays to everyone
Posted June 16, 2012
We have started a new nest in New Song-do City, Incheon, Korea, and would like to have it listed on the website. Our meetings our held on Saturday at 1 PM. Currently, we have a meeting place but it may have to be changed so we ask any Birds to contact one of us either by phone or email until we have a permanent location.
Tim P +82.010.6444.5336 firstname.lastname@example.org
Koreamike +82.010.7288.7470 email@example.com
Carlisle O +82.010.8743.0727 firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted June 8, 2012
Hi, I would love to have a BOAF meeting that I don't have to drive two hours to get to. If there's ever anyone in the IE (Inland Empire) interested in having a meeting PLEASE CALL ME! Thank you so much :-)
James P (859) 466-2935
Posted June 6, 2012
Last week I went to Southern California. Big Bird Dick (and wife Pat)
came down from Canada. Tuesday night Dick and I attended a meeting
of the San Diego North nest. That meeting tied the record for the
most attendees at a San II meeting. Mitch G was celebrating 7 years.
Congratulations, Mitch! So glad we were able to join in your 7 year
celebration. Seven years really IS a major milestone.
Thanks to the San Diego nest for all their hospitality. The group is
warm and welcoming with a good mix of early and long term sobriety.
After the AA meeting, we met the committee that is working on the 2014
convention. As Dick and I have both worked on conventions we were
happy to discuss our experiences and what worked well and what did
not. The San Diego committee is enthusiastic and committed to this
On Wednesday, Dick and I met in San Juan Capistrano, where our newest
group, the Swallows Nest had their first meeting. Several of the San
Diego members drove up for that meeting. James P drove all the way
from Palm Springs to attend the meeting. There were ten of us in
attendance. Thanks to Larry S for stepping up to the task of starting
a new meeting.
So, anyone traveling to the Southern California area should consider
attending either (or both) of these meetings. I expect to be back as
I have family in Orange County that I visit yearly. Last week's
weather was delightful...they call it June gloom...but coming from the
Washington wet...it was wonderful. I am looking forward to our 2014
convention and another excuse to visit lovely Southern California.
A big THANK YOU to both of those Southern California Nests...
Blue skies and tailwinds
From the New Swallows Nest of San Juan Capistrano:
The first Swallow's Nest Birds Meeting had 10 attendees. It was attended by a mix of different pilots from the commercial and private sector. Airlines represented were American, US Air, Cathay Pacific and United.
Big Bird Dick B flew in from Vancouver Canada and Ex-Big Bird Beth C flew in from Vancouver WA to attend. We wish to thank them and James P. for coming such long distances to celebrate our first meeting.
Meetings will be held every Wed at 5:30
Initially there will be a short group conscience after each meeting to tweak the meeting format. Email me suggestions as we request as much input as possible. Orange County has long needed a Birds Meeting so please come and support it. Please spread the word.
Great coffee, tea and treats...
Thanks to the Denver nest for putting on a super convention. Tami, Al, Fred and all the Denver folks did a great job. Bright blue t shirts...with Orville Seagull on the back... the fellowship, as usual was wonderful... old timers like Fritz and Tom were there...as well as a whole flock of new birds, both male and female...
There we were walking up the steps to the Chapel at the Air Force Academy when trumpets started trumpeting and we witnessed a fly by...I don't know how Al arranged the timing on that one but it made for a memorable occasion. Also memorable was our AA meeting and when Fritz was about to explain about Amazing Grace in Portland, the fire alarm went off and we all had to evacuate. Some time later we were allowed back into the room and everyone got to hear the rest of Fritz's story.
The banquet was at the Denver Aquarium, Tom M was our uplifting speaker, Fritz recited the Pig poem followed by the countdown.
All who attended this year committed to attending Nanaimo in June 2013...
Beth c. PDX
Hi, thanks for the networking. Please to meet you. We'd love to do mutual links. Great idea. I look forward to meeting you some day.
FADAP, Flight Attendants Drug and Alcohol Program
I thank my higher power for his help back in 1981 when i was at the absolute end of my rope-- nothing legal--nothing physical--just exhausted & convinced that life had stopped being fun or logical & i needed to just give up the bullshit & lies & seek professional help--one of my best friends in Seattle was a shrink & this is the advice he gave me (free i might add)--"shit Tom you are not crazy--you are just a drunk--maybe with money--maybe with some success at life but still just a drunk--now go get sober & if you still think you are crazy come see me"--he was right & i followed his advice & now after thirty years sobriety i am still both sane & sober--
May you all never forget how you got here & may you all receive Gods blessings & serenity--
CAVU & a very Merry Christmas to you all--
Tom P. PNS Birds
It was with deep sadness and sorrow that I learned of the passing of Dr. Audie Davis (October 25, 2011) while attending the DFW BOAF Annual Dinner on Thursday night. Dr. Davis had been in ill heath for several years as a result of complications from a kidney transplant he received.
Audie was a personal friend of mine, who 12-stepped me into AA at the DENver HIMS Conference in September 1998. I am alive today because of the efforts of Audie Davis and the others involved that night.
In addition to being a senior FAA AME, Audie was a member of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous with several decades of sobriety at the time of his death. He was also the FAA advocate for the HIMS program at the FAA Aeromedical Certification Branch in Oklahoma City. Without the efforts of Dr. Davis, it is quite likely that any alcoholic pilot would never have been allowed back in the cockpit of an airplane again once his disease had come to the attention of the FAA. If you have flown airplanes for more than 15 years, your medical certificate was probably signed by Dr. Audie Davis prior to his retirement from the FAA back then.
Goodbye Audie. I love you and miss you. Thank you for saving my life in September 1998, and for all you have done for the suffering alcoholics you have helped over the years - both aviators and non-aviators alike.
I will be forever grateful that you were a large part of my recovery.....
From our new BOAF Secretary, Dick B : Sept. 2011
This is my first position report since succeeding Beth as secretary two weeks ago in Calgary. And a busy two weeks it has been.
I would like to start out by thanking Beth for her service the last four years. Her dedication to the cause and the example she set is greatly appreciated. And if she thinks she is finished, I regret to inform her that we will be calling her for advice and help when needed.
Bill B. from Atlanta is the new treasurer, so you can be sure the treasury will be in good hands. Bill and I have crossed paths many times at the various conventions over the years.
I think we should be able to take Canada/US relations to a new level.
The next subject to cover is the convention in Calgary. If you missed this convention, you missed a dandy. I think the standard of excellance has been raised a little.
I also think the Denver group will be up to the task next year.
The theme of the convention was alcoholism as a family affair and most of the meetings and training was dedicated to this theme. The Thursday night speakers meeting was a combined meeting with John C. and Brenda C. both telling their story together. They took turns telling how each event was seen through their respective eyes. It was a very compelling presentation.
Thank You to all the members if the Calgary Birds for all the work that went into making such a great convention.
I then left there and came home to get some laundry done and was off to Denver to attend the HIMS convention.
This time, I went to give the BOAF presentation. If you have never attended this convention, and you get the chance, don't miss it. An incredable amount of information in a few days. I heard one person describe it as being like brushing your teeth with a fire hose.
Thanks to the Denver nest for their assistance. Al and Fred for chairing the HIMS meetings and Tami for picking up Daniel S. and myself, to take us to the Denver nest meeting.
The really good part was, there was a delegation from Cathay Pacific and Dragon Air from Hong Kong. They are just starting their program and they also want to start a BOAF meeting in Hong Kong, so stand by for further on this.
CAVOK. Dick B.
Anyone who knows me for very long will soon hear me working with a newcomer when I'll say "You have to stay in the middle of the herd because the wolves pick of the sheep on the outside of the herd." And even though they almost always roll their eyes like I'm crazy, they reluctantly agree to do what I suggest. It works and this is why I make sure the newcomer is talking to at least 6 recovered drunks a day for starters. Not only does it keep them busy, it gives them an outlet to share the crazy chatter of their mind. It also gives them additional AA resources and it established the great habit of keeping them in the middle of the herd.
Countless times in my almost 30 years in AA, I've seen the power of the AA herd protect the new guy from the dangers of a relapse. Even when they aren't doing anything else right with respect to their program, having a good foundation established of being in the middle of the herd has saved them from heartache & disaster. This applies to old timers as well. Just ask anyone who has relapsed after significant time in AA and they'll confirm that they had moved to the outside of the herd. Their isolating behavior was an early warning sign of their impending relapse that was easily overlooked. After all, they'd been sober for a long time, so nobody was worried when they weren't around as much.
Don't believe in the power of the herd? Well, since I'm making an analogy with the herd, imagine this:
The lions are like all of our various addictions.....Just waiting to sneak up on us & attack.
The crocodiles are like our relationships.....Just waiting till we aren't paying attention and spiritually unfit & then they try to drag us under.
And the buffalo herd are just like our fellow AA's from our homegroups......
Bill B., posted9/17/11
Our Canadian friends demonstrated true hospitality & great hosting skills during our 2011 Calgary convention. A great time was had by all & the efforts by the convention committee headed by Ian G. set a new standard for excellence. If you ever get a chance to attend a convention you will be glad you did.
Just be careful when you take a bathroom break during the business meeting or you may be elected to serve. That happened to me & I am now the Treasurer/Alt Sec'y of BOAF Int'l & I follow in the footsteps of some really dedicated servants & am humbled to join the procession. I will try to be helpful when & where I can. Come see us, ya heah? BB
To the Editor, Posted 3-5-11
February 2011 marked the Houston nest's 3rd year Happy Birdsday! We celebrated with cake, stories, and a great meeting as usual! We also welcomed a new chairperson for the next year of service. BOAF has been a huge tool in several of us returning to work after losing so much. We are all certainly grateful for the opportunity not only for fellowship together but more importantly to recover together!
From Beth C. Int’l BOAF Sec’y Big Bird Nov 2010
I want to address a serious topic. Birds of a Feather is a life saver to many alcoholic pilots. It is a forum where we can discuss aspects of our sobriety and situations that we might not be comfortable talking about in a regular AA meeting. For most of us, honest sharing can only occur if we can trust that what we share will not be shared with others. As in AA, each BOAF nest is autonomous in terms of who they include in their membership and what goes on in their meetings. So it is up to each group’s conscience to do what needs to be done to provide a safe place where members can openly share.
I know members who don’t want the general AA membership to know they are pilots (or likewise members of BOAF). I know one who when asked, says he is a heavy equipment operator. My own nest recently realized that our box with Big Book, sign in sheets, etc. was in a closet at the local FBO where we meet. Anyone at the FBO could have opened the box and had access to our information. We have since obtained a locking gun box which now holds membership lists, etc.
As the New Year approaches, I ask each nest to carefully review their focus and practices regarding confidentiality of members information and sharing. I am suggesting a group 10th step where each nest reviews how effective they are in carrying the message to the suffering alcoholic as well as providing a safe, loving environment where recovery can occur. Please take the time to review your own nest and make any appropriate changes.
From Omar S. in Mexico City on 10/31/10
Scott, hope you're doing great I was wondering if you could please change my phone number to this one +527772743016 on the solo birds page, I have good news to start the group in Mexico city, we are going to start with a monthly meeting every last Friday of the month at Mexico city's airport terminal 2 starting January, I let you know when to place that information on the website hopefully next week I'm just waiting for an authorization from the union to use the space thanks again and hope to hear from you soon.
From TJ at the Charlotte Nest Posted 4/10:
A very helpful link for pilots flying to Europe is aa-europe.net I met the man who maintains the sight at a meeting in Germany, and it is remarkably accurate in finding English speaking meetings.
From Beth, our Big Bird, on the new LAX North nest
They have 3 regular members and a couple of others who seem to come in and go out. The meeting is held in one member's home...certainly the nicest venue for an AA meeting I have ever attended...it is every Wednesday and they asked me to encourage others to visit them. Even though the three regulars know each other's story well, there is that special connection that pilots in the program have, where aviation plays such a big part of their drinking and recovery story and it is just easier to be honest in a meeting full of pilots.
My name is Ken C. I'm from Salem Oregon. Yes my feathers are wet. Anyway I am a new student pilot and a very old alcoholic. I just took my Twelve year chip on February 13, 2010. While I was applying for my pilot 3rd class medical I listed all my DUI's. Wow!! What a lot of space that took on the 8500 application, I got to thinking that I might do a search on the Internet for recovering Pilots. And behold here I am witting a letter to the editor of this wonderful site and organization. I did not see any listings in Oregon but that can change now I hope. I have only spent a couple of hours reading the content of the site but it is exciting so far. I read a bit of the history of BOAF and glanced over the other pages. I will visit back and get better acquainted with the whole site.
Although I am a new student pilot with only 27 hours of flight training and lots of childhood dreams of jumping up with my hands extended to fly where I wanted to, it seams I have found a place to call close to my heart. For many years I have dreamed of flying but drank all my money away leaving none to fly. Perhaps a good thing considering my old driving record. But as you know that is just the icing on the cake that comes with people of my kind. There was also the overwhelming feeling of despair and uselessness. I owe my wings to God and AA.
I hope to find some pilots close to talk with as I only know a few people that used to fly for a short time and gave it up. All other pilots are normies so to speak.
Thanks for being here. Ken C.
From Corey in Houston
Just an update on the IAH nest. We celebrated our 2 year anniversary last week with a “Happy Birds-day!” Cake and goodies! I gave a brief timeline of where I was and how the nest came about to the group. A topic of “It works if you work it and how far we’ve come and why” tended to prevail through the discussion. We will be handing over the chairperson spot for the next yearly service. He should be contacting you soon.
I'm not sure which is the best online AA meeting website, but here is a link to the one I use:
It is very user friendly, has lots of meetings at various times of the day, and the meetings are conducted pretty much like a live, in-person meeting except online it's like a chat room. The StepChat members are courteous in sharing, and I feel better after attending a StepChat meeting, sort of like the way I feel after attending a regular meeting at the Coral Room. I have attended StepChat AA meetings from various foreign cities when I couldn't find an AA meeting in English, but I suppose the online meetings would also help a pilot stuck at a U.S. airport hotel with no transportation as well.
Yours in Sobriety, Dan W.
Wanted to share how my day started.
I was in a big hurry on my way to work when I had to stop at a crosswalk. Pissed that I had to wait for a pedestrian to cross, I was very much in my head about my hi-bottom problems. Looking at the person in the crosswalk nudged me into my judgmental mode that allows me to feel better about myself in these situations. You see this guy was disheveled and obviously "less than". It was then that I noticed in the pile of books in his hand were the Big Book and the 12 & 12.
I stopped him to let him know that I loved his choice of reading material. He was a little startled, but when I told him I was one too, he smiled brightly and said he was 21 days sober and was the best he has been in 30 years. He thanked me for talking to him. I would like to think that our brief talk helped him, but it was what it did for me that proves how this thing of ours works. I am in the moment and in so much gratitude right now.
I'm so glad that I had to wait at that crosswalk.
From one of the DFW Convention Speakers
I wanted to thank you and all the participants,
I really enjoyed this past weekend. I loved the presentation on Friday as both Fr. Mark and Dave talked about the transition into recovery.
I thought Scott R on Saturday was amazing. What a testament of this program. I am in awe of how he walked through all of that. He deserves the riches of sobriety, he certainly paid his dues. Most of all, I loved learning more about BOAF. What a wonderful support/organization. When I was in direct care, I spoke of this program, now I feel I understand it more clearly. I will pass my experience onto the staff, especially of those working with the airline members.
George Plesniak, MS, ACRPS, CAC
Director of Utilization Review
Father Martin's ASHLEY - www.fathermartinsashley.org
410-273-2234 - 800-799-4673 x234
A message from one of our DFW Convention Speakers:
Just wanted to take a second to thank you all for your hospitality, kindness and fellowship this past weekend. I have worked in the field of Addiction Treatment for over 20 years , 14 of those with Fathers Martin’s Ashley , and have actually had the honor of working directly with some of the Birds and their families. This past weekend was and will remain one of the highlights of my years of work in the field. The closeness and unity that I was allowed to be part of was something that few will get to experience and be a part of. I hope that our time with you on Friday and Saturday was worthwhile and productive, and if the opportunity to ever work with you all again comes up I would clearly welcome that chance. Thanks again for what I consider the opportunity of a lifetime
Keeping Carrying Your Message
I was so gratified to read the kudos to my dear friend Cindy Rucker on your site. Cindy loved flying with every particle of her body and worked tirelessly to become a pilot. She was a fabulous graphic artist (just ask the Los Angeles Times) and a good musician/ songwriter as well.
The day in 1977 when she was accepted as a pilot for Western Airlines was a banner day for her and for women everywhere. All those who knew her thought her fearless and were stunned to discover she was an alcoholic--she covered it well. But like everything else she did, Cindy tackled it head on with the help of BOAF, the support of friends and family, AA, Buzz A., and the Betty Ford Center. She worked hard for more understanding from the airlines and government and educated everyone possible as to the plight of airline personnel with substance abuse.
I miss her still...thank you for keeping her memory alive.
Here are a couple of letters from folks about the recent passing of Richey G. :
You had better enlarge the website because there is NO way one can write a small article on Richey Grude. She had tooooooooooooo many great attributes and meant so much to tooooo many of us for a small article. She was one swell lady and well loved by all of us. You could only look at Lee's eyes and see the love he had for her and visa versa. One great couple to be remembered by many.
What a difference a year makes!
A year ago, when flying into Sydney, Australia, my typical experience would have been like this: Land about 6 pm, get to the hotel around 7, exhausted and many, many time zones out of sync. Meet in the lobby at 7:30 and go out with my crew for dinner and beers. Ditch my crew around midnight, when they would go back to the hotel, or I would go off in search of "more excitement" (after all, I'm half-way around the world, so who will ever know what I do?) Drink beer all night long. Stumble back to the hotel about daylight. Toss and turn all day. Meet in the lobby at 5 pm for pick up, feeling like crap and praying I don't get a breathalyzer.
Fast forward a year, one stint in a treatment center, HIMS, a good sponsor, probably several hundred meetings, countless hours of step work, prayer and reading the Big Book.
Get to Sydney about 6 pm. Go out and get a quick bite to eat. Sleep a good, long, restful sleep. Wake up the next morning and go to a 7 am AA meeting a short walk from the hotel. Have breakfast. Walk around town, enjoying the exotic sights and sounds. See a woman obviously distrought sitting on a curb down an alley talking on her cell phone. Feel compassion for her. Notice there is a flower vendor at the corner. Buy her flowers and offer them to her. She refuses to accept them, obviously very disturbed a stranger is trying to give her flowers! Don't argue. Exit the alley and notice the street sign, "Angel Place," so figure she'll be okay. Now walking around town holding a bouquet of pink flowers. A woman walks right up to me, sticks her face in the flowers and says, "Are these for me?" I say, "Why, yes, they are!" Hand them to her and continue my walk.
Stop for a sandwich and am given a HUGE sandwich, only half of which I can eat. Wonder what I should do with the other half, I don't want to waste it, but it won't last until I get back to the hotel. Notice a homeless guy begging at the corner. "Would you like a sandwich?" He eagerly accepts it.
Go to a noon Big Book meeting and listen.
Walk back to the hotel and a get a good nap before pick up. Meet in the lobby for pick up, ready to go and wide awake, feeling good for the long flight coming up.
A friend back home said in the rooms, "Act right. You'll soon think right, and then after a while you'll feel right." Well, thanks to my Higher Power guiding me around, I am discovering this is indeed true. And I can't tell you how grateful I am to the AA program for making my layovers infinitely better than they used to be. It definitely feels good to feel right!
Yours in Sobriety,
I would like to borrow a Richeyism to describe a recent event.
I recently had the pleasure of doing a two week cruise from San Diego through the cannel to Fort Lauderdale.
I went to the "Friends of Bill" meetings each day and for the first few days there were only two of us. We just had an informal meeting and mostly talked about our programs. One day we were talking about meetings we attend and she said to me that one of her favorite meetings was one in DC. that was a bunch of " mostly retired pilots". It was called Birds of a Feather.
After I got up off the floor, I said that I new some of those people and dropped a few names on her.(Probably a rule violation). We had a good laugh about that and became instant friends.
We were later joined by more people and had a group of about five. Two of those had recent relapses. One after 17 years and one after 24 years. I could have told their stories before they did. Stopped going to meetings, stopped working the program, etc. Anyway it was a real lesson to listen to them. The other fellow that joined us was having a little more trouble figuring things out. He was a retired Naval Officer and had been through the Navy Program. He was only drinking " no alcohol" beer. At least that was what he said. I suggested to him, that it wasn't really "NO" alcohol, and it was a very dangerous path. He eventually stopped coming.
The best part is that I learned a lot from every one of these people and it made my sobriety even better.
Regards to All. Dick B.
So here I am in Budapest, Hungary, newly sober and in need of quieting down the committee in my head. OK, check the web. Ahhh, English AA meetings three times a week on nearby Kertesz Street! It gets dark early this time of year in Budapest, so by 6 pm, as I am walking to the meeting, it feels like it is the middle of the night. Walk four streets up, turn left, find the building number, and stand there looking at a building with broken windows, trash all over the place and the universal graffiti painted everywhere. Obviously, a building not yet cleaned up from the 1956 revolution....
Oh, well, walk inside and the lobby smells like urine but, lo and behold, a sheet of paper reading "AA - One Flight Up, On The Left" taped to the wall. Up I go and sure enough, in a small room obviously used as a sort of kindergarten during the day, there are three or four people making coffee, passing out Big Books, and setting up AA posters and pamphlet racks. Everyone is friendly, and I am welcomed by an older Hungarian gentleman who can barely speak English. Soon there are six of us, the Hungarian gentleman who I later discover always reads the "How It Works" so that he can practice his English, a Hungarian lady wrapped in several layers of warm clothes, a disheveled and very harassed looking Englishman, and two other Americans like me, here for work or pleasure.
The meeting opens with the Hungarian lady chairing. One of us reads the Preamble, the elderly Hungarian gentleman reads "How It Works," and we are all asked if anyone needs a chip. Since I am the newcomer here, I am given a copy of "As Bill Sees It" and asked to pick a reading for tonight's topic. I choose #176, "Domination and Demand." I read it and speak for about ten minutes about how I relate to it. We go around the room sharing our experience, strength and hope. We end the meeting with the Seventh Tradition, someone reads the Twelve Traditions and, standing in a circle holding hands, we pray the Serenity Prayer and end with the familiar, "It works if you work it so work it your worth it!"
I am at home, here in this small AA meeting in a foreign country where the language and people are as exotic to me as anywhere I have ever been. My new friends all have stories I know from having lived them. The details are different, but the thoughts and feelings are the same, and the committee inside my head is once again quiet.
After the meeting we all shake hands and wish each other well. I leave, and, as I go down the stairs of this building that looks like it is next in line for the demolition crew, I remember t hat the most dangerous neighborhood for me is not here on this dark street, but the one I carry around with me between my ears, and I feel very blessed and grateful to be part of the AA fellowship.
Yours In Sobriety,
Hi, my name is Tom C and I cannot believe that I have not found BOAF until today.
If I would have in my AA journey then I may still be flying.
Too bad for me but timing is everything.
Anyway, where to go from here. I sent a qualification e-mail to the POC and would like to share my story and attend a convention and meet other pilots with AA.
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