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THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY, January 3, 1945

SEES 'ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS' RISE

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 13. - A few years ago Alcoholics Anonymous in this city was one very small nucleus of three or four members wondering whether they could stay sober another night. Today there are at least 21 groups in southern California with perhaps 1,900 members, and the organization is listed in the telephone book.

Each Friday evening there is a meeting of several combined groups, where 350 or more former alcoholics encourage one another and are encouraged - living witness to the fact that one can be under the grip of alcoholism for years and then by the grace of God break free and live a new life. The members come from all walks of life. Some are women. The stories of personal redirection are more exciting than the dramas of Hollywood's screen.

The principles of Alcoholics Anonymous are simple and drastic. You have to stop kidding yourself and admit that you are at the end of your tether; alcohol has become your master. Then you have to hand over your situation to a power greater than yourself. You let that power manage your life, knowing that yourself cannot. Last of all, when you receive help, you automatically assume responsibility to help someone else. It is understood that you will try to make amends for any wrong you have done.

A refreshing thing about this fellowship is its freedom from glumness, cocksureness and cant. The reinforcement of being active in the group is indispensable, a little like the agape of early Christians. Many find themselves needing to pray, naturally and sincerely.

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