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Help for Drunkards
members of Alcoholics Anonymous recently shed their anonymity.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fast-growing national organization
of ex-drinkers pledged to help other alcoholics get well.
They count chiefly on constant social intercourse among
alcoholics who want to be cured. The two members are convinced
that most of the estimated 600,000 alcoholics in the U.S.
(there are 3,000,000 estimated drinkers) can’t get
over their drinking.* The two:
Marty Mann, 39, a tall, smart-looking blonde who last week
became executive director of the newly established National
Committee for Education on Alcoholism, with offices in Manhattan’s
Academy of Medicine. The daughter of an executive of Marshall
Field’s Chicago department store, she married a drunkard
and became one herself. Her husband, meanwhile, got over
it. In 1939, after psychiatrists had failed to cure her,
she became the
first woman member of Alcoholic Anonymous. She still goes
to parties where drinks are served, but her drink is a horse’s
ale with lemon in it).
committee is sponsored by the Yale Plan for Alcohol Studies
(Time, May 31, 1943), the outstanding U.S. center in the
field. Last winter Yale established the first free clinics
in the U.S. for inebriates, in New Haven and Hartford, which
have already had amazing success: 84% of those treated are
now on their feet (there have been temporary relapses).
Chief Yale methods: careful diagnosis to determine the needs
of each case, followed, as needed, by psychiatric treatment,
sanatorium care, contacts with Alcoholics Anonymous or the
Salvation Army, social service to solve home problems, job
finding, repeated reports back to the clinic.
Yale’s eyes, Mrs. Mann’s job is to lecture
throughout the U.S. on the text: Alcoholism is a disease
and the alcoholic is a sick person; the alcoholic can be
helped and is worth helping and this is a public health
McGoldrick, 39, is head of a special New York City bureau
to assist the city’s estimated 12,000 drunks. New
York is the first big U.S. city to do more for alcoholics
than throw them in jail.
McGoldrick, lawyer son of a onetime New York State Supreme
Court Justice, got over drinking with the help of Alcoholics
Anonymous four years ago. Last year, when Mayor Fiorello
LaGuardia wanted to appoint him an assistant corporation
counsel, he refused, asked to be allowed to work with drunkards
patients were 100 bums who had been drinking for years--onetime
lawyers, doctors, actors, a hansom-cab driver, engineers,
chemists, printers, clerks, laborers. Most were helped by
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings; others by long talks with
McGoldrick aimed at overcoming their feelings of inadequacy.
May, the Mayor was convinced that McGoldrick’s methods
were sound--75 of the patients now support themselves.
Anonymous definition of an alcoholic: “A person to
whom alcohol is a problem in any department of his life
and who is unable to stop drinking.” A chronic alcoholic:
-a person “who has been harmed either physically or
mentally through alcohol.” An excessive drinker: “A
Time, October 23, 1944)