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PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL, January 28, 1983
the glare of the spotlight which of late has been turned
the drunk driver in this country, the whole problem of alcohol
abuse has been getting more respectful attention than in
lifetime of just about anyone living.
longer is the abstainer pictured as the classic killjoy.
even has become the "in thing" to decline a drink.
thought that the driver of the next car coming down the
your direction just may be one of the 17 million alcoholics
U.S. has had a sobering effect on the public's attitude
and perhaps because there is a new realization about the
number of alcoholics in the country, the subject of the
of alcoholism is getting wide attention.
centers of every description have sprung up - from
those taking a straight medical or psychiatric approach
emphasizing a spiritual, even Christian approach.
interesting - and sobering - thing about this problem is
that it is one toward which few dramatic new approaches
devised. There still appears to be but one effective solution
answer that can only be described as spiritual.
drugs have a temporary effect on the alcoholic's
addiction. Psychiatry has enjoyed limited success in cases
especially responsive to psychiatry. But in an age when
grown to believe that human resources are sufficient for
conceivable human need, alcoholism has stubbornly continued
every effort to devise an easy solution. Like sin (which
resembles in principle), this condition has yielded only
approach which recognizes the helplessness of the victim
requires that he exhibit a broken spirit and a contrite
all the facts associated with the overall problem of alcoholism,
the one most difficult to understand, by far, is the fact
those most anxious to help the alcoholic are almost invariably
ones most likely to hinder his recovery.
a desperate alcoholic, wallowing in the depths of his
addiction, has gone from bad to worse because the road to
was effectively blocked by loved ones and friends trying,
equal desperation, to help. The "help" invariably
served only to
postpone the day of reckoning - and for an alcoholic, recovery
begins with a moment, if not a day, of reckoning.
- act of kindness, deed of love, gift of money,
suspension of sentence - which has the effect of making
for the alcoholic to recognize and acknowledge (the acknowledgment
is even more important than the recognition) that he is
the grip of a hopeless condition, constitutes no favor.
grasp the full implications of that idea, sit down and
ponder the meaning of the answer you will get if you should
Alcoholics Anonymous for help in behalf of a friend.
know A.A. is in the business of helping alcoholics. You
have heard that they will come any time and do anything
Their telephone number is in every directory. So you pick
phone and you call.
person on the other end of the phone is interested but
strangely abrupt. Does your friend know he needs help? No,
there's no doubt. Is he asking for help? No, he still thinks
control his drinking. "Then there's nothing we can
do. When he
calls for help, we'll talk to him."
sometimes a long and agonizing wait. But it's the only
point where recovery has any hope of beginning.