|FEB. 1947 Grapevine, Page 12, middle
Country-Wide News Circuit column
|COPY OF BOOKLETS
| Voice of Eastern Indiana
PROGRAM OF THE A.A.
To The Editor:
A few days ago there appeared an article “In the Press of Things”,
the heading of which was “The Other Fellow”, who was a drunk.
There would not have been much thought about the article by a FEW
of us had it not been that the so-called drunk was reported to have
boasted that he belonged to Alcoholics Anonymous. These few, perhaps
unthoughtedly placed words caused an already difficult situation to
become worse for us---a small group of men and women who are trying
to stay sober and to help others to stay sober.
The article, to say the least, places an odious stigma on Alcoholics
Anonymous and an unfair implication on its members.
The person referred to in the article is well known to us and
undoubtedly was drunk, but to brand Alcoholics Anonymous because one
person was drunk is like labeling all churches hypocritical because we
believe some members are hypocrites. It is true sometimes that the
ones who criticize the church or its members as being hypocrites are
themselves hypocritical and criticize for the sole purpose of covering up
their own shortcomings. Of course, there could be no simile between
this situation and one person calling another a “drunk.”
We who are trying would appreciate very much your telling the
people of this community that there are none who sincerely live the
Alcoholics Anonymous program that are gutter snipes or drunks. As in
any group of society, there are misfits who do not live by the accepted
rules, but you do not crucify society because of them.
You might mention also the fact that there are well over 1,000 non-
dues paying groups of Alcoholics Anonymous in the United States,
Canada, South and Central America with an aggregate membership in
excess of 35,000 and that the length of sobriety of the members of
these groups range from a few months up to 12 years,(the A.A.
movement was started in 1935). You might say too that since alcoholism
has no favorites, hitting the poor and rich alike, that we have both in our
group and both are welcome. There are only two requirements for A.A.
participants. First, an admission that we cannot handle liquor, that it
controls us and second, that we sincerely (note the word sincerely) want
to do something about it. To any who can answer truthfully “yes” to
these two requirements, we extend a most cordial invitation to help us
and let us help them.
The A.A. program is not one of prohibition. It will not as an
organization enter into any controversial subject either, religious,
political, or social. Our only purpose is to help each other keep sober and
while a few of us do slip, by far the majority of us are leading sober and
I might add extremely happy lives.
Alcoholism is now recognized by the medical profession generally as a
disease and as such, there is no disgrace attached to it; any more so
than there is to any other disease such as diabetes or tuberculosis. Also
there is no moral issue involved. The true alcoholic person is allergic to
alcohol and however much he would like to be a social drinker, he simply
cannot take any amount of alcohol without running the risk of the bad
effects, which every alcoholic person thoroughly knows. He cannot do
this any more than a hay fever sufferer can walk through a field of
golden rod without the bad effects of sneezing.
If you publish this letter please tell your readers that they can reach
Alcoholics Anonymous through P. O. Box 741 and tell them also that they
must demonstrate their sincerity by letting us know how we may contact
An Alcoholic Anonymous Member.
From the Muncie Press Feb. 5, 1947
THERE IS A MATTER TO BE attended to. In an effort to tell an amusing
story or give, perhaps, a vignette from life here we recently offended
members of an organization which is doing an immense amount of good
The organization is “A.A.” – Alcoholics Anonymous and their letter has
appeared or will appear, elsewhere on this page. The reference was to a
man who came, somewhat intoxicated, into a certain tavern and declared
he was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. The members have thought it
seemed, or that we made it seem, as if they condone such relapses, or as
if they frequently do retreat from the difficult stand they have taken.
That was not intended. At the time, we thought we should have
accompanied this man home – it would have been the good turn one
rarely does. Instead, we passed it off.
It should be known that the same man did achieve his first freedom in
years from the liquor habit through the offices of Alcoholics Anonymous,
and they will continue to help him until he wins. They no more “drop” a
member who sometimes fails than would a doctor abandon a patient who
on a certain day failed to show improvement.
Most men who really wish to do so can stop drinking without seeking
outside help. Others can’t and when they know this and are willing to seek
assistance, their battle is already half won. Alcoholics Anonymous, made
up of men who have won, is recognized and thanked by doctors and social
workers; it has proved itself as an effective curative force. Its work is done
quietly, without profit motive, and is available to all – only last week we
were able to direct an inquirer to this source of assistance. They can
always be reached by mail at Post Office Box 741, Muncie.
So – for that little story, and the ungracious hint contained in it, we
apologize. The work of this group merits commendation, rather than light
treatment by any stick-writer, particularly one who might once upon a time
have used their ministrations to advantage.