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PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL, May 12, 1971
A.A. - A LESSON
by Jesse Helms
is no problem to avoid becoming an alcoholic if one never
takes a drink - not a profound observation, to be sure,
probably the most difficult lesson for both alcoholics and
teetotalers to accept. But there is a deeper meaning to
on alcoholism and it is one that the country badly needs
it is not easily defined or explained. Maybe the
word is understanding, but that is not quite it. Compassion
but that is not all of it either. Determination and honesty
the truth were known, and could be properly measured, it
may be that this nation's greatest single peril lies in
obsession with alcohol. Traffic fatalities, for instance,
to be a preponderant result of excessive consumption of
failures are being increasingly traced to the bottle.
Families are destroyed, businesses are ruined, ideals are
institutions crumble. Yet society continues to play games
itself. Alcohol is Glorified as a symbol of sophistication.
when a fellow gets hooked, he is almost always dismissed
couple of weeks back, a man who long ago began to understand
the problem died after nearly four decades of trying to
Until his death at age 75, scarcely anyone knew of the incredible
contribution he had made to his fellow man. As a result
efforts, 475,000 alcoholics stopped drinking absolutely.
was William Griffith Wilson. He was himself a former drunk.
the founder of the organization known as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Wilson did not preach to drunks. He knew, from agonizing
personal experience, that it doesn't work. Instead, he inspired
alcoholics an understanding that, with God's help, they
themselves - and each other. Today, there are more than
chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous around the world, each
of men and women quietly dedicated to helping themselves
in the organization is anonymous, not for reasons
of shame but because Bill Wilson believed that those willing
help others anonymously can be counted upon to be sincere.
allowed his name to be disclosed publicly as leader of Alcoholics
Anonymous. No other leader or member of the organization
is done is done quietly and anonymously. And therefore sincerely.
The results prove the late Mr. Wilson's point: 60 per cent
alcoholics who join the organization stay on the wagon.
country in its obsession with alcohol, needs to examine
the philosophy of William Griffith Wilson. Teetotalers need
understand alcoholics. Alcoholics need to understand themselves.
All of us, as Bill Wilson often emphasized, need a spiritual
country hasn't been much in the mood for such lately,
which is one key to our national despair. Drunks and teetotalers
alike pretend to be seeking an escape from their troubles
often, it is a matter of dodging responsibilities.
Wilson, who died a few days ago, left a legacy few men
can equal, the legacy of more than 475,000 men and women
disaster. His formula is incredibly simple, a spiritual
mixed with personal responsibility, a simple matter of men
discovering they need help from beyond themselves and then
willing to pass along what they have discovered to others.