If I Ever Find Myself in Heaven, It Will Be From Backing Away From Hell

Carrie Fisher? Courtney Love? Edward Dowling? Mariette Hartley? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Terrible experiences often cause an individual to seek a superior pathway through life. Here is a pertinent adage:

Some of us can’t find heaven without backing away from hell.

This saying has been attributed to actress and writer Carrie Fisher and to singer and actress Courtney Love. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: Priest Edward Dowling was an advisor to Bill W. (William Griffith Wilson) who was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Dowling delivered the following advice that was recorded in a chapter of the 1957 book “Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of A.A.”. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]1985 (1957 Copyright), Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of A.A., Chapter: Religion Looks at Alcoholics Anonymous by Edward Dowling and Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, Quote Page 256, … Continue reading

I doubt if there is anybody in this hall who really ever sought sobriety. I think we were trying to get away from drunkenness. I don’t think we should despise the negative. I have a feeling that if I ever find myself in Heaven, it will be from backing away from Hell.

QI believes that Edward Dowling is the leading candidate for creator of this saying.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading If I Ever Find Myself in Heaven, It Will Be From Backing Away From Hell

References

References
1 1985 (1957 Copyright), Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of A.A., Chapter: Religion Looks at Alcoholics Anonymous by Edward Dowling and Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, Quote Page 256, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., New York. (Verified with scans)

Resentment Is Like Taking Poison and Waiting for the Other Person To Die

Carrie Fisher? Nelson Mandel? Malachy McCourt? Emmet Fox? Bert Ghezzi? Susan Cheever? Alan Brandt? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: A vivid simile depicts the self-destructiveness of a common bitter emotion. Here are two versions:

  1. Resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.
  2. Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill someone else.

This figurative language has been credited to the actress Carrie Fisher, the statesman Nelson Mandela, the author Malachy McCourt, and others. What do you think?

Quote Investigator: The earliest strong match located by QI appeared in the 1980 book “The Angry Christian” by Bert Ghezzi. Emphasis added to excerpts:[1] 1980, The Angry Christian by Bert Ghezzi, Quote Page 99, Servant, Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Verified with scans; thanks to the B.L. Fisher Library of the Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky)

Resentment is like a poison we carry around inside us with the hope that when we get the chance we can deposit it where it will harm another who has injured us. The fact is that we carry this poison at extreme risk to ourselves.

This simile is not identical, but it shares key elements with the target saying. QI believes that this figurative framework evolved over time.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Resentment Is Like Taking Poison and Waiting for the Other Person To Die

References

References
1 1980, The Angry Christian by Bert Ghezzi, Quote Page 99, Servant, Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Verified with scans; thanks to the B.L. Fisher Library of the Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky)