| print this
Hospitalization: One Great Need
© The A.A.
Grapevine, Inc., May 1947
sanitariums and private hospitals are necessarily too high
priced for the average alcoholic, Public hospitals being
too few, asylums and religious institutions too seldom available,
the average group has been hard put to find spots where
prospective members can be hospitalized a few days at modest
urgency has tempted some A.A. groups to set up drying out
places of their own, hiring A.A. managers, nurses, and securing
the services of a visiting physician. Where this has been
done under the direct auspices of an A.A. group it has almost
always backfired. It has put the group into business, a
kind of business about which few A.A.'s know anything at
all. Too many clashing personalities, too many cooks spoiling
the broth, usually bring about the abandonment of such attempts.
We have been obliged to see that an A.A. group is primarily
a spiritual entity; that, as a group the less business it
has to transact, the better. While on this theme it ought
to be noted that practically all group schemes to finance
or guarantee hospital bills for fellow members have failed
also. Not only do many such loans go unpaid, there is always
the controversial question in the group as to which prospects
deserve them in the first place.
still other instances A.A. groups, driven by their acute
need for medical aid, have started public money-raising
campaigns to set up A.A. hospitals in their communities.
These efforts almost invariably come to naught. Not only
do these groups intend to go into the hospital business,
they intend to finance their ventures by soliciting the
public in the name of Alcoholics Anonymous. Instantly all
sorts of doubts are generated; the projects bog down. Conservative
A.A.'s realize that business ventures or solicitations carrying
the A.A. endorsement are truly dangerous to us all. Were
this practice to become general the lid would be off. Promoters,
A.A. and otherwise, would have a field day.
search for reasonably priced and understanding medical treatment
has brought into being still another class of facilities.
These are rest farms and drying out places operated by individual
A.A.'s under suitable medical supervision. These setups
have proved far more satisfactory than group-directed projects.
As might be expected their success is in exact proportion
to the managerial ability and good faith of the A.A. in
charge. If he is able and conscientious, a very good result
is possible; if neither, the place folds up. Not being a
group project and not bearing the A.A. name, these ventures
can be taken or left alone. The operation of such establishments
is always beset with peculiar difficulties. his difficult
for the A.A. manager to charge high enough rates to make
the venture include a fair living for himself. If he does,
people are apt to say that he is professionalizing, or "making
money out of A.A." Nonsense though this may often be,
it is a severe handicap nevertheless.
in spite of the headaches encountered, a good number of
these farms and sobering-up spots are in active operation
and can seemingly continue just as long as they are tactfully
managed, do not carry the A.A. name, and do not publicly
solicit funds as A.A. enterprises. When a place has an A.A.
in charge we sometimes do take thoughtless advantage of
the fact. We dump alcoholics into it just to get them off
our hands; we promise to pay bills and do not. Any A.A.
who can successfully manage one of these "drunk emporiums"
ought to be congratulated. It is a hard and often thankless
job though it may bring him deep spiritual satisfaction.
Perhaps this is the reason so many A.A.'s wish to try it!
© The A.A.
Grapevine, Inc., May 1947
practicing our Traditions, The AA Grapevine, Inc. has neither
endorsed nor are they affiliated with Silkworth.net.
The Grapevine®, and AA Grapevine® are registered
trademarks of The AA Grapevine, Inc.
W. Grapevine index