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Gabriel Heatter broadcast -April 25, 1939
first national exposure for Alcoholics Anonymous came with
the April 25, 1939 "We The People" broadcast.
Gabriel Heatter's radio program was a tremendously popular
program that was tuned in by millions of people. Morgan
R., the AA member who spoke on the program, was expected
to launch sales of the newly published book, Alcoholics
Anonymous. How Morgan was prepared for his three-minute
talk, and the resulting book sales are described in the
A.A.W.S. publication Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age on
The man beside me now has had one of the most gripping and
dramatic experiences I've ever heard. I'm not going to tell
you his name. And when you hear what he has to say I think
you'll understand why. But after checking the facts the
Listeners Committee of We The People decided to grant him
time because they feel that if one person is helped by hearing
his story, then WE THE PEOPLE will have done a real service.
All right, sir.
Six months ago I got out of an insane asylum. I'd been sent
there because I was drinking myself to death. But the doctors
said they could do nothing for me. And only four years ago
I was making 20,000 dollars a year. I was married to a swell
girl and had a young son. But I worked hard and like lots
of my friends - I used to drink to relax. Only they knew
when to stop. I didn't. And pretty soon - I drank myself
out of my job. I promised my wife I'd straighten out. But
I couldn't. Finally she took the baby and left me.
next year was like a nightmare. I was penniless. I went
out on the streets - panhandled money for liquor. Every
time I sobered up - I swore not to touch another drop. But
if I went a few hours without a drink - I'd begin to cry
like a baby, and tremble all over. One day after I left
the asylum I met a friend of mine. He took me to the home
of one of his friends. A bunch of men were sitting around,
smoking cigars, telling jokes - having a great time. But
I noticed they weren't drinking. When Tom told me they'd
all been in the same boat as I was - I couldn't believe
him. But he said, "See that fellow? He's a doctor.
Drank himself out of his practice. Then he straightened
out. Now he's head of a big hospital." Another big
strapping fellow was a grocery clerk. Another the vice president
of a big corporation. They got together five years ago.
Called themselves Alcoholics Anonymous. And they'd worked
out a method of recovery. One of their most important secrets
was - helping the other fellow. Once they began to follow
it the method proved successful and helped others get on
their feet - they found they could stay away from liquor.
- those men helped me back to life. I stopped drinking.
Found courage to face life once again. Today I've got a
job - and I'm going to climb back to success. Recently we
wrote a book called "Alcoholics Anonymous". It
tells precisely how we all came back from a living death.
Working on that book made me realize how much other people
had suffered - how they'd gone through the same thing I
did. That's why I wanted to come on this program. I wanted
to tell people who are going through that torment - if they
sincerely want to they can come back. Take their place in
society once again!