mth aug 2009 – special topic



The worst phone call I ever had to make was actually one I received. For some years now I have been a member of a Twelve Step Group. My first name and phone number are on the local answering service list.

        One night a few years ago, I received a call from a woman named “Ethel.” She told me her alcoholic husband was deeply involved with another woman. She said she had already bought a gun and bullets. Her plan was to follow her husband, kill him and his lover, and then kill herself.

         I suspected she was drinking and I didn’t know what to do. I was scared. I didn’t know how to help her. I didn’t know her last name, her phone number or where she lived. All I could think to do was keep her on the line and keep her talking. Afraid she would hang up, I listened as she poured out her pain and frustration. I tried to point out all the reasons she should not carry out her plan.

            After hours of this, she finally agreed to change her mind and get rid of the gun. Before she hung up she thanked me and told me she knew me.

       A couple of weeks later, she called back to thank me again, and said that she and her husband were going to counseling.


            Sarah Elliott (Apr.’09) adds, “I still have no idea who she is.” 

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