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Lets Ask Bill W.

Question & Answer # 41 | Q&A index

If an alcoholic comes to an A.A. meeting under the influence of alcohol, how do you treat him or handle him during the meeting?

Answer
Groups will usually run amuck on that sort of question. At first we are likely to say that we are going to be supermen and save every drunk in town. The fact is that a great many of them just don't want to stop. They come, but they interfere very greatly with the meeting. Then, being still rather intolerant, the group will swing way over in the other direction and say, "No drunks around these meetings." We get forcible and put them out of the meeting, saying, "You're welcome here if your sober." But the general rule in most places is that if a person comes for the first or second time and can sit quietly in the meeting, without creating an uproar, nobody bothers him. On the other hand, if he's a chronic "slipper" and interferes with the meetings, we lead him out gently, or maybe not so gently, on the theory that one man cannot be permitted to hold up the recovery of others. The theory is "the greatest good for the greatest number." (Yale Summer School of Alcohol Studies, June 1945)

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