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OF A "WAY OUT" FOR HOPELESS DRINKERS
an Idea Originated by Ex-Alcoholics Has Helped 2000 to Recover
is a series of six articles about a group of ex-drinkers
who have succeeded in a new method of going on the wagon
and staying there. One of their first principles is to pass
their experience along, to help others similarly afflicted.
The Press will be glad to receive comments. The Editor
a Member of Alcoholics Anonymous
who get around much need no telling that the problem of
those who drink too much for the good of themselves, their
work and their families is already serious and becoming
those who know most about it, either because they themselves
are drinkers of this type or because they are close to one
who is, realize it in all its lacerating, hopeless details.
is an age-old problem. Prohibition undoubtedly intensified
it. The depression has multiplied its victims.
many people are taking the attitude of the English officer
in India, who hated his assignment. When reproved for excessive
drinking, he lifted his glass and said, This is the
swiftest road out of India.
it is true that this part of Texas has escaped the worst
part of the depression; but not all of it. And trouble is
always easy to find, so that many, like the Englishman,
have been indulging in excessive elbow-bending to get away
from their worries, their disappointments and their fears
in the unstable, war-crazy unsure world of today.
to begin drinking, some of them find they are not free to
series of articles is about them, for them, and for those
who are willing to help them.
is the story of how hundreds of ex-alcoholics, by a method
which they themselves devised and perfected, have found
the way out of the squirrel cage.
of them, after all that medical and psychiatric science,
and even formal religion, could do, had been pronounced
if you think they are out to take the glass from the hand
of drinkers to whom the diagnosis alcoholic
does not apply, you are wholly mistaken. As one of them
put it, If anyone who is showing inability to control
his drinking can do the right about face and drink like
a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have
tried long enough and hard enough to drink like other people.
the problem, as Alcoholics Anonymous sees it, is limited
strictly to those who have become, or are on the road to
becoming, drinkers headed straight for destruction, unless
help beyond the usual is brought within their reach.
this series sometimes turns autobiographical, it will be
because it is difficult for a man who has been delivered
of a ghastly fate to write with the soberness and restraint
required by a strictly objective account.
hospitals, attempts at suicide, psychopathic wards, sanitariums,
all sorts of spiritual and faith
cures, even hypnotism---these have all been mine without
deliverance; some by choice, some because societys
hand was raised against me.
did not know I was sick. I had made my bed and society insisted
that I lie in it. But alcoholics are definitely sick, as
this series will try to show.
did tears, pleadings or threats alter my course for long;
and in spite of my own utmost determination, I could never
find the answer.
have personally met at least one hundred cured
alcoholics---fellow rummies as they jokingly
call each other.
stories parallel my own. Most of them are even worse. One
man had been in a sanitarium more than one hundred times.
came to see me while I was taking a rest in
a sanitarium---being defogged so I could use again what
brains I had. A livid scar around his neck stood out like
the welt raised by a whip. His wrists bore similar witness
to the realization of the utter helplessness that had driven
him to try suicide as his swiftest road out
of the India of his perplexities.
have been in the homes of some ex-alcoholics, Skeptical
by nature, an investigator by training, I took no ones
unsupported word. But I saw for myself, not only the new
bearing of confidence, even of joy, that exuded from the
ex-drinker, but also the ordered life of his family and
the new hope and happiness in their faces. I heard it in
the tone of their voices.
these things are hard to believe unless you have had both
the experience of being damned and then the surprise of
being rescued out of the jaws of hell, as the
old-fashioned revivalists used to put it.
of the experiences of these cured alcoholics
will enliven the serious business of these articles, which
is to explain how the alcoholic gets that way; why he or
she is different from other drinkers who are able to hold
their liquor all their lives; how the fellowship called
Alcoholics Anonymous came into being and spread from one
man, who in desperation evolved the idea, to include now
nearly five hundred men and women, with centers being established
in one section of the country after another; in as much
detail as space will permit, just what the technique is,
how it works, how the alcoholic may avail himself of it;
and how anyone interested may help.
what the advance notice of the series said: No medicine.
No treatments. No cost. No mystery. No terrible battle of
the will. Ministers have preached about it. Physicians and
psychiatrists have praised it.
one has an axe to grind. Members of the fellowship give
of their time---often their money---to help some victim.
Why? The series will also explain that.
can get an eye-witness picture of what happens when several
score ex-alcoholics get together in a meeting. No more startling,
unbelievable contrast could be imagined than a comparison
with what they would have looked like had they assembled
when each was at the end of his rope.
perhaps more than any other group, know the alcoholic and
his hitherto almost inevitable end. Here are the words of
two of them:
personally know 30 of these cases who were the type with
whom other methods had failed completely.
of the possibilities of rapid growth inherent in this group,
they may mark a new epoch in the annals of alcoholism. These
men may well have a remedy for thousands of such situations.
may rely absolutely on anything they say about themselves.
subject seems to me to be of paramount importance to those
afflicted with alcoholic addiction. I say this after many
years experience as medical director of one of the oldest
hospitals in the country treating alcoholic and drug addiction.
the movement spread? Will these recoveries be permanent?
No one can say. Yet we at this hospital, from our observation
of many cases, are willing to record our present opinion
as a strong yes to both questions.
head of a hospital and sanitarium in a nearby Texas city,
who has many alcoholics come to him, now requires all of
them to read about the methods of Alcoholics Anonymous.
must be fire where there is smoke.
for one, know this to be true.
Houston Press Index
Story of a Way Out for Hopeless Drinkers
to Drink: Alcoholic's Burden
How it Started
and Gained Speed
to Overcome Alcoholism
A New Approach
to Psychotherapy in Chronic Alcoholism