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PERCENTAGE OF RECOVERY
Must Read About Procedure or Talk With One of
Those Freed From Alcoholism
of Six Articles)
already brought to light by these stories show homes breaking
up, divorce or suicide a daily fear or threat, jobs jeopardized,
health and sanity slipping, even the bare routine of living
Unseeing, or brazenly
ignoring facts; deluding himself, or helplessly letting
things drift to the brink, the alcoholic has caused those
who love him to grasp at any straw.
Immediately after the
first article appeared, a mother wrote, pleading: I
shall appreciate haste in your reply, with a view that we
may head off this coming week-end nightmare.
Another: S O S.
Please telephone me immediately.
husband is after liquor like a dope after dope. We are so
worried and dont know what to do. Please help me with
him, writes another.
Illustrating the helplessness
of the alcoholic: I am very anxious to find some remedy
for this sickness of my father, who really wants and tries
to quit drinking.
Ray of Hope
Your articles in The Press have given a ray
of hope to many mothers.
I pray you can help me, for the worry has almost got me.
I am a nervous wreck myself. I will hope to hear from you
as soon as possible. Please let me hear. Its my last
must I do? I am so sick, he worries me so much. I can hardly
hold my head up. I dont know which way to go. I just
cant stand it much longer.
The fear that drives
the alcoholics family to secrecy is shown by the envelope.
addressed to Mr. Anonymous, Box 2771, Houston, which contained
nothing but the address of a man.
Ministers and physicians
have written, praising and offering help, and giving the
names of alcoholics needing cure.
Besides being a vivid
revelation of the prevalence of the malady in Houston, pleas
such as the foregoing emphasize the need for careful understanding
of just what the method of Alcoholics Anonymous is.
The six articles of
this series give a fair outline. The details, of course,
have had to be condensed. But those who are interested in
putting some alcoholic on the road to recovery should not
think that this is a magic formula that can be made to work
overnight, or without the co-operation of the alcoholic.
first step, therefore, is to get him interested enough to
do one of three things: read this series, read the book
or talk to Mr. Anonymous.
If he is too drunk or
too jittery to do any of these, on the advice of a physician
he may need to be hospitalized until he can talk and think
and decide rationally.
Our experience as a
group indicates that a brief hospitalization is most desirable
in many cases, and really imperative at times. Besides enabling
the patient to think clearly, he can be easily approached
by our members under favorable conditions. Whenever possible
such is the practice in our established centers.
In Houston, there is
as yet no group of alcoholics restored to health by this
method. The next nearest individual ex-alcoholic is in Galveston,
and the next nearest in Marlin. As soon as there are several,
it will be possible to bring more of these personal contact
and guidance to those seeking relief.
Meanwhile, Mr. Anonymous
will do what one man can to supplement the explanations
in these articles, and in the book.
Why is it so helpful
to the drinker who has reached the condition treated of
here, to talk with a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. It
is because only another alcoholic understands him.
business partners and employers, parents and wives, often
listen to confidences and fresh resolutions. But the clergy
may say, Your drinking is a sin. The partner
or employer: Youll have to quit this monkey
business or get out. Wife or parent: This drinking
is breaking my heart. And everyone, Why dont
you exercise some will power and straighten up and be a
the alcoholic whispers in his heart, no one but I
can know that I must drink to kill the worry and suffering
too great to stand.
presents his excuses to the member of Alcoholics Anonymous
who has come to talk. Cant sleep without liquor. Worry.
Business troubles. Wife doesnt understand. Debt. Stomach
trouble. Overwork. Nerves too high strung. Fatigue. In-law
trouble. Loneliness. Grief. Deep, dark, phobic fears.
Then Mr. Anonymous begins
to tell the sick one how many more alibis he himself knows.
he says in effect. Ive used them all myself.
And then he tells his
own alcoholic history, certainly as bad, perhaps far worse.
They match experiences. Before long the prospect has told
his new friend things he never even admitted to himself.
A rough and ready psychology
it is; but it works in more than half the cases. In the
cases where the alcoholic really and honestly wants to get
well, the percentage is near 100.
This series will close
with a brief but clear digest of the principles and methods
of Alcoholics Anonymous; seen through the eyes of eminent
religious leaders. First, Dr. Dilworth Lupton, pastor of
First Unitarian Church, Cleveland, where there is a group
of about 200 ex-alcoholics, said in a recent sermon: I
most humbly confess to having failed completely with alcoholics.
Many of my friends in the fields of medicine and psychiatry
confess the same feeling of futility.
however, my experience with a victim of alcoholism and later
with the fellowship that calls itself Alcoholics Anonymous,
first aroused my hopes, then my faith; and now I am convinced
that these people have found a way out. I have seen it with
my own eyes.
X, the former alcoholic to whom I just refereed, is a young
man with a family. For five years he was rarely sober. He
and his wife were headed straight for the divorce court.
years ago he consented to hospitalization. While under treatment
he received 18 visits from ex-victims who were members of
Alcoholics Anonymous, all of them laymen. Soon he was attending
weekly meetings of the Cleveland group. He hasnt had
a drink since.
have attended two meetings of this group. About 80 were
present. They are what the world calls he-men. They come
from all walks of life. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, near-agnostics
and near-atheists are among their number.
found no excessive piety, no sensationalism, no fanaticism,
no aggressive evangelism. They have no desire to make the
country dry, or anybody else dry unless he happens to be
like them, allergic to alcohol. They seem to have a good
sense of humor, a quality sometimes rare in religious circles.
what I have read and heard and seen, I am convinced that
the success of this movement is due to the practice of certain
religious principles that are as tried and true as the Ten
The principle of spiritual dependence.
friend, Mr. X, was told by his ex-alcoholic visitors that
they had not been able to save themselves, and that only
as they reached out for a Power that was greater than themselves
was their compulsive neurosis broken. That principle is
the core of the movement, just as it is the core of all
religion at its best.
The principle of universality.
Anonymous is composed of men of various religious faiths,
and they intend to keep it so. Indeed, there is no pressure
toward joining any religious organization. Furthermore--and
this surprises me--each man can conceive of God in whatever
concepts please him.
an attitude displays nothing short of genius. These men
recognize that behind all forms and expressions of religion
itself--the impulse to live nobly and adore the highest.
The principle of mutual aid. As one of them said, What
we have is of no good unless we give it away. My friend
Mr. X seems typical. He spends every available minute helping
alcoholics get on their feet. And he is having a wonderful
time. If that isnt Christianity, in Heavens
name, what is?
The principle of transformation.
ultimate test of religion is the change it makes in the
character of the believer. Every man I have met who is connected
with Alcoholics Anonymous declares that there has been an
astonishing change in attitude and outlook, as well as habits.
In the face of collapse and despair they have found a new
sense of direction and power.
has been moving and convincing.
Book of Experience
the 400-page book, Alcoholics Anonymous, obtainable
c.o.d. for $3.50 by writing to Works Publishing Co., Box
657, Church Street Post Office, New York City, Dr. Harry
Emerson Fosdick, internationally noted Baptist leader, said
in a published review:
extraordinary book deserves the careful attention of anyone
interested in the problem of alcoholism. Whether as victims,
friends of victims, physicians, clergymen, psychiatrists
or social workers there are many such, and this book will
give them as no other treatise known to this reviewer will,
an inside view of the problem which the alcoholic faces.
book represents the pooled experience of 100 men and women
who have been victims of alcoholism--many of them declared
hopeless by the experts--and who have won their freedom
and recovered their sanity and self-control. Their stories
are detailed and circumstantial, packed with human interest.
book is not in the least sensational. It is notable for
its sober, careful, tolerant, sympathetic treatment of the
alcoholics problem and of the successful techniques
by which its co-authors have won their freedom.
core of their whole procedure is religious--the expulsion
of the alcoholics obsession by a Power-greater-than-himself.
Nowhere is the tolerance and open-mindedness of the book
more evident than in its treatment of this central matter.
are not partisans of any particular form of organized religion,
although they strongly recommended that some religious fellowship
be found by their participants. By religion they mean an
experience which they personally know and which has saved
them from their slavery, when psychiatry and medicine failed.
agree that each man must have his own way of conceiving
God, but of God Himself they are utterly sure, and their
stories of victory in consequence are a notable addition
to William James Varieties of Religious Experience.
the book has the accent of reality and is written with unusual
intelligence and skill, humor and modesty mitigating what
could easily have been a strident and harrowing tale.
Our own Bishop of Texas,
the Rt. Rev. Clinton S. Quin, heartily endorses Alcoholics
Anonymous as follows:
do not know that I have had more than my share of alcoholics
through my ministry, but I certainly have had a whole lot.
I have said to everyone of them,. You can be cured
if you will do what I tell you to do, and around the
country and particularly in this state, I have the evidence.
course, I was only the instrument--all I did was point the
way. This new group of Alcoholics Anonymous are on the right
track, and I want to express my appreciation to them for
coming to Houston. The Houston Press has providentially
done a real service to this city by publicizing this cure.
you, it doesnt cost anything in dollars and cents--there
are no membership dues--no officers. It is all very interesting
and very real. Like any other new or old idea, when you
yourself have experimented with it and found it to be true,
you are enthusiastic about it, and I want to register my
deepest interest in what follows.
Anonymous has no formal organization. Correspondence is
carried on by the Alcoholic Foundation, Box 658, Church
Street Annex Post Office, New York City. The Alcoholic Foundation
receives royalties and profits from the sale of the book
and occasional gifts.
Of the Alcoholic Foundation
and Works Publishing Company the book says in part:
receive these inquiries, to administer royalties from this
book and such other funds as may come to hand, a Trust has
been created known as the Alcoholic Foundation. Three Trustees
are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, the other four are
well-known business and professional men who have volunteered
their services. The Trust states that these four(who are
not of Alcoholics Anonymous) or their successors, shall
always constitute a majority of the Board of Trustees.
must frankly state, however, that under present conditions,
we shall be unable to reply to all inquiries, as our members,
in their spare time, may attend to most of the correspondence.
Nevertheless we shall strenuously attempt to communicate
with those men and women who are able to report that they
are staying sober and working with other alcoholics. Once
we have such an active nucleus, we can then perhaps refer
to them those inquiries which originate in their respective
localities. Starting with a small but active centers created
in this fashion, we are hopeful that fellowships will spring
up and grow very much as they have among us.
Alcoholic Foundation is our sole agency of its kind. We
have agreed that all business engagements touching on our
alcoholic work shall have the approval of its trustees.
People who state they represent the Alcoholic Foundation
should be asked for credentials and if unsatisfactory, these
ought to be checked with the Foundation at once. We welcome
inquiry by scientific, medical and religious societies.
volume is published by the Works Publishing Company, organized
and financed mostly by small subscriptions by our members.
This company donates royalty and a profit from each copy
of Alcoholics Anonymous to the Alcoholic Foundation.
In closing, three slogans
from the book will be understood by those who have closely
followed the series. They are: First things first;
Live and let live; and Easy does it.
They are all old and seem tame; but when applied with this
spiritual method of living, they pack dynamite.
And they bring happiness!
Alcoholic Foundation is already in receipt of many letters
from men who report that, though isolated from the various
Fellowships, they have been able to recover by rigorously
following the steps described in our book Alcoholics
Even more surprising
has been the fact that a number have reported recovery from
reading magazine and newspaper articles briefly sketching
These results gave us
the idea which lies behind this booklet. Realizing that
some families might not at first buy Alcoholics Anonymous,
we became convinced that a booklet of this nature could
set many alcoholics on the Broad Highway to health.
The fifth article of
the foregoing series is entitled 12 Stages to Overcome
Alcoholism which, for lack of space, Mr. Anonymous
was obliged to condense. Since many of us have found close
adherence to the 12 Steps desirable, we think
the alcoholic reader would like to know just what these
Quoting now from the book------
are the steps we took, which are suggested as a Program
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives
had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over
to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human
being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became
willing to make amends to them all.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except
when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were
wrong promptly admitted it.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious
contact with God as we understood Him praying only
for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to
carry that out.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these
steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and
practice these principles in all our affairs.
of us exclaimed, What an order! I cant go
through with it. Do not be discouraged. No one among
us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence
to these principles. We are not saints. The point is,
that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The
principles we have set down are guides to progress. We
claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Physicians who know
our work first hand almost uniformly endorse it, but the
doctor who is not acquainted with us would naturally like
to have the opinion of a brother practitioner who has actually
Here follows a paper
written by a physician who, specializing in alcoholism for
many years, has watched our growth from the day it began.
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
High Percentage of Recovery
A New Approach
to Psychotherapy in Chronic Alcoholism