Clancy Imislund

last updated 4/26/2018

Clancy I. Imislund

Managing Director at The Midnight Mission Corporation

601 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, California, United States
HQ Phone:
(213) 624-9258

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dentedego - AA Cults I Have Known

AG began in 1992 as an offshoot of the Pacific Group in Brentwood, California, which was founded by AA legend Clancy I., who got sober in 1958.
Every year, to celebrate their anniversary, AG invites Clancy to speak at their meeting, hence the enormous crowd. On this evening, he told a story very familiar to AAs from the many tapes and conventions he has spoken at over the decades. He was entertaining, pausing for laughs and dramatic punctuation. Midway, he used the word "goddamit. A young man piped up from the balcony to say, "Excuse me Sir, we have no profanity at this meeting. It was clear he was attempting a teasing tone. It was also clear he had misjudged the room. Instead, Clancy played to the crowd. He expertly waited a few beats of pin-dropping silence, then leaned in to the microphone and said, "Shut up Bitch." And then, hundreds of sober men and women burst into laughter. Some applauded, as if they were watching Louis CK take down a heckler. The young man turned bright red, and awkwardly raced out of the church. Of the several hundred attendees-many of whom claim to be "recovered" from alcoholism, and that their most important action each day is to "carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers"-not one followed the young man outside. Instead, they turned their attention to Clancy and lapped up the rest of his honed speech, in which he assured the room that their brand of sobriety was more solid, more real and more lasting than any other. Cults have leaders, deprive you of worldly goods, cut you off from family and friends, and demand an absolute devotion to their precepts. AG and PG only have the first and last of these attributes. But both the cult of personality-the near deification of Clancy and a handful of pretenders to the throne-and the insistence on one "true path" of sobriety are 12th-Step work at its worst, causing vulnerable men and women to be forever turned off the low-key, profoundly helpful AA meetings in the majority. According to the Washington Post, Clancy Imislund,managing director of Midnight Mission in LA, spoke directly about the situation. "There probably have been some excesses," he said, "but they have helped more sober alcoholics in Washington than any other group by far. Note that last jab at other AA meetings, and the shrug about what, in his state, would be legally considered statutory rape. He continued, "It had been an issue [the sexual exploitation of teenage girls] but wherever you have a lot of young, neurotic people, they're going to cling to each other. Note the fault of those "young, neurotic people," also known as newcomers seeking experience, strength and hope. That Clancy, of course, is the same man who told a trembling newcomer at that packed AG meeting to "Shut up, Bitch."

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The Midnight Mission » Clancy Imislund

Clancy Imislund
The Midnight Mission » Clancy Imislund Clancy Imislund Managing Director If you ask Clancy Imislund what brings him back to The Midnight Mission day after day, the witty response you may get is "the 10 freeway". At 86 years old, Clancy is still at the top of his game. Known worldwide for his leadership in the 12-step community and his affiliation with The Midnight, he is very much, a man on the move. This year marks his 40th year as Managing Director of The Midnight and what a remarkable journey it has been. Clancy Imislund was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1927. At the tender age of fifteen he left home and joined the Merchant Marines, marking his sixteenth birthday in Pearl Harbor. At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy. It wasn't until he enrolled in college after the war, that Clancy began drinking and gaining more of a dependence on alcohol. When asked how his addiction began, he states that he began drinking with the other Veterans (even though he didn't particularly like the taste) because it was the thing to do. Unfortunately little by little, alcohol slowly took control of his life and after a 15 year downhill battle he found himself alone and penniless on the streets of Skid Row, He had lost everything; his job, friends and his family. Only the clothes on his back and portable typewriter remained, which he pawned for ten dollars so he could function a bit longer. On October 31, 1958, Clancy was thrown out of The Midnight after a brief scuffle...and no one dreamed that one day he would return to become the organizations leader. Back out on the street again, Clancy came to the realization that he had finally hit bottom. His recovery began by walking 71 blocks, in the rain, to an alcoholic rehabilitation center on Wilshire and Fairfax. Upon entering, he was asked if he was willing to do what it took to get his life back, and this time Clancy simply answered "yes". Under the instruction of a mentor, Clancy found a job, a plan of life and began his journey on the road to recovery. After five years of sobriety and laborious progress on his part, his wife made the decision to return to him. He made his way back into the workaday world and after some time became an executive at KHJ radio and television in Los Angeles. It was during this time that he began working with alcoholics and speaking to civic groups about alcoholism and rehabilitation. He had found his passion in helping others get their lives back. Fast forward to 1974, a member of the Board of Directors of The Midnight asked Clancy if he knew of any candidates that were qualified for the Managing Director position. He could find no one that would take the job, and decided to do it himself on an interim basis. But Clancy was so effective that he stayed on permanently. Over the years Clancy has had a profound impact on The Midnight and in the lives of the thousands of men who have come through these doors. He was responsible for bringing the 12-step philosophy to The Midnight, establishing our organization as one of the first providers of addiction treatment on Skid Row. Clancy has said that what we do "is the difference between giving a hungry person a fish and teaching them how to fish". Never one to mince words, Clancy is known for his direct, no-nonsense demeanor, but also for his approachability. He always seems to have the time to listen and provide a few words of wisdom when asked. To say that Clancy is the heart and soul of The Midnight would be an understatement. We salute and thank Clancy for his endless dedication and service to The Midnight and to people in recovery worldwide.

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Leadership & Staff | The Midnight Mission

Clancy Imislund
Managing Director Clancy Imislund Managing Director

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