Elrick B. Davis Articles From The Cleveland Plain Dealer©
- November 1939
articles appeared in the main Cleveland newspaper, the Plain Dealer, just five months
after the first A.A. group was formed in Cleveland. The articles resulted in hundreds of
calls for help from suffering alcoholics who reached out for the hope that the fledgling
Alcoholics Anonymous offered.
thirteen reliable members of the Cleveland group handled as many as 500 calls (ref 1) in
the first month following the appearance of Davis' articles. The following year Cleveland
could boast 20 to 30 groups with hundreds of members (ref 2).
Bob and the Good Old-timers"©, New York, A.A. World Services, Inc., 1980, pp 206-207.
'Pass It On"©, New York, A.A. World Services, Inc., 1984, pp 224-225.
from the October 21, 1939 Cleveland Plain Dealer© with permission
ELRICK B. DAVIS ©
has been written about Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization doing major work in
reclaiming the habitual drinker. This is the first of a series describing the work the
group is doing in Cleveland.
it is a rare Clevelander who does not know, or know of, at least one man or woman of high
talent whose drinking had become a public scandal, and who suddenly has straightened out
"over night," as the saying goes-the liquor habit licked. Men who have lost
$15,000 a year jobs have them back again. Drunks who have taken every "cure"
available to the most lavish purse, only to take them over again with equally spectacular
lack of success, suddenly have become total abstainers, apparently without anything to
account for their reform. Yet something must account for the seeming miracle. Something
Anonymous has reached the town.
Thursday evening at the home of some ex-drunk in Cleveland, 40 or 50 former hopeless
rummies meet for a social evening during which they buck each other up. Nearly every
Saturday evening they and their families have a party just as gay as any other
party held that evening despite the fact that there is nothing alcoholic to drink. From
time to time they have a picnic, where everyone has a roaring good time without the aid of
even one bottle of beer. Yet these are men and women who, until recently, had scarcely
been sober a day for years, and members of their families who all that time had been
emotionally distraught, social and economic victims of another's addition.
ex-rummies, as they call themselves, suddenly salvaged from the most socially noisome of
fates, are the members of the Cleveland Fellowship of an informal society called
"Alcoholics Anonymous." Who they are cannot be told, because the name means
exactly what it says. But any incurable alcoholic who really wants to be cured will find
the members of the Cleveland chapter eager to help.
society maintains a "blind" address: The Alcoholic Foundation, Box 657, Church
Street Annex Post office, New York City. Inquiries made there are forwarded to a Cleveland
banker, who is head of the local Fellowship, or to a former big league ball player who is
recruiting officer of the Akron Fellowship, which meets Wednesday evenings in a mansion
loaned for the purpose by a non-alcoholic supporter of the movement.
basic point about Alcoholics Anonymous is that it is a fellowship of "cured"
alcoholics. And that both old-line medicine and modern psychiatry had agreed on the one
point that no alcoholic could be cured. Repeat the astounding fact: These are cured.
have cured each other.
have done it by adopting, with each other's aid, what they call "a Spiritual way of
alcoholism is not a moral vice. It is a disease. No dipsomaniac drinks because he wants
to. He drinks because he can't help drinking.
will drink when he had rather die than take a drink. That is why so many alcoholics die as
suicides. He will get drunk on the way home from the hospital or sanitarium that has just
discharged him as "cured." He will get drunk at the wake of a friend who died of
drink. He will swear off for a year, and suddenly find himself half-seas over, well into
another "bust." He will get drunk at the gates of an insane asylum where he has
just visited an old friend, hopeless victim of "wet brain."
are the alcoholics that "Alcoholics Anonymous" cures. Cure is
until the victim is convinced that nothing that he or a "cure" hospital can do,
can help. He must know that his disease is fatal. He must be convinced that he is
hopelessly sick of body, and of mind and of soul. He must be eager to accept help from any
source -- even God.
Anonymous has a simple explanation for an alcoholic's physical disease. It was provided
them by the head of one of New York City's oldest and most famous "cure"
sanitariums. The alcoholic is allergic to alcohol. One drink sets up a poisonous craving
that only more of the poison can assuage. That is why after the first drink the alcoholic
have a psychiatric theory equally simple and convincing. Only an Alcoholic can understand
another alcoholic's mental processes and state. And they have an equally simple, if
unorthodox, conception of God.
from the October 23, 1939, Cleveland Plain Dealer© with permission.
Makes Its Stand Here
ELRICK B. DAVIS ©
previous installment, Mr. Davis outlined the plan of Alcoholics
an organization of former drinkers who have found a solution to liquor in association for
mutual aid. This is the second of a series.
is no blinking the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous, the amazing society of ex-drunks who
have cured each other of an incurable disease, is religious. Its members have cured each
other frankly with the help of God. Every cured member of the Cleveland Fellowship of the
society, like every cured member of the other chapters now established in Akron, New York,
and elsewhere in the country, is cured with the admission that he submitted his plight
wholeheartedly to a Power Greater than Himself.
admitted his conviction that science cannot cure him, that he cannot control his
pathological craving for alcohol himself, and that he cannot be cured by the prayers,
threats, or pleas of his family, employers, or friends. His cure is a religious
experience. He had to have God's aid. He had to submit to a spiritual housecleaning.
Anonymous is a completely informal society, wholly latitudinarian in every respect but
one. It prescribes a simple spiritual discipline, which must be followed rigidly every
day. The discipline is fully explained in a book published by the society.
is what makes the notion of the cure hard for the usual alcoholic to take, at first
glance, no matter how complete his despair. He wants to join no cult. He has lost faith,
if he ever had it, in the power of religion to help him. But each of the cures
accomplished by Alcoholics Anonymous is a spiritual awakening. The ex-drunk has adopted
what the society calls "a spiritual way of life."
then, does Alcoholics Anonymous differ from the other great religious movements which have
changed social history in America? Wherein does the yielding to God that saves a member of
this society from his fatal disease, differ from that which brought the Great Awakening
that Jonathan Edwards preached, or the New Light revival of a century ago, or the
flowering of Christian Science, or the camp meeting evangelism of the old Kentucky-Ohio
frontier, or the Oxford
member of Alcoholics Anonymous may define God to suit himself. God to him may be the
Christian God defined by the Thomism of the Roman Catholic Church. Or the stern Father of
the Calvinist. Or the Great Manitou of the American Indian. Or the Implicit Good assumed
in the logical morality of Confucius. Or Allah, or Buddha, or the Jehovah of the Jews. Or
Christ the Scientist. Or no more than the Kindly Spirit implicitly assumed in the
"atheism" of a Col. Robert Ingersoll.
alcoholic who comes to the fellowship for help believes in God, in the specific way of any
religion or sect, the job of cure is easier. But if all that the pathological drunk can do
is to say, with honesty, in his heart: "Supreme Something, I am done for without
more-than-human help," that is enough for Alcoholics Anonymous to work on. The noble
prayers, the great literatures, and the time-proved disciplines of the established
religions are a great help. But as far as the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is
concerned, a pathological drunk can call God "It" if he wants to, and is willing
to accept Its aid. If he'll do that, he can be cured.
of "incurable" alcoholics who now, cured, are members of the Cleveland
Fellowship of the society, shows that this has made literally life-saving religious
experience possible to men and women who, otherwise, could not have accepted spiritual
help. Poll shows also that collectively their religious experience has covered every
variety known to religious psychology. Some have had an experience as blindingly bright as
that which struck down Saul on the road to Damascus. Some are not even yet intellectually
convinced except to the degree that they see that living their lives on a spiritual basis
has cured them of a fatal disease. Drunk for years because they couldn't help it, now it
never occurs to them to want a drink. Whatever accounts for that, they are willing to call
"God." Some find more help in formal religion than do others. A good many of the
Akron chapter find help in the practices of the Oxford Group. The Cleveland chapter
includes a number of Catholics and several Jews, and at least one man to whom
"God" is "Nature." Some practice family devotions. Some simply
cogitate about "It" in the silence of their minds. But that the Great Healer
cured them with only the help of their fellow ex-drunks, they all admit.
from the October 24, 1939 Cleveland Plain Dealer© with permission
Makes Its Stand Here
ELRICK B. DAVIS ©
previous articles, Mr. Davis told of Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization of former
drinkers, banded to overcome their craving for liquor and to help others to forego the
habit. This is the third of a series.
ex-drunks cured of their medically incurable alcoholism by membership in Alcoholic
Anonymous, know that the way to keep themselves from backsliding is to find another
pathological alcoholic to help. Or to start a new man toward cure. That is the way that the Akron chapter of the
society, and from that, the Cleveland fellowship was begun.
the earliest of the cured rummies had talked a New York securities house into taking a
chance that he was really through with liquor. He was commissioned to do a stock promotion
chore in Akron. If he should succeed, his economic troubles also would be cured. Years of
alcoholism had left him bankrupt as well as a physical and social wreck before Alcoholics
Anonymous had saved him. His Akron project
failed. Here he was on a Saturday afternoon in a strange hotel in a town where he did not
know a soul, business hopes blasted, and with scarcely money enough to get him back to New
York with a report that would leave him without the last job he knew of for him in the
world. If ever disappointment deserved drowning, that seemed the time. A bunch of happy
folk was being gay at the bar.
other end of the lobby the Akron church directory was framed in glass. He looked up the name of a clergyman. The cleric
told him of a woman who was worried about a physician who was a nightly solitary drunk.
The doctor had been trying to break himself of alcoholism for twenty years. He had tried
all of the dodges: Never anything but light wines or beer; never a drink alone; never a
drink before his work was done; a certain few number of drinks and then stop; never drink
in a strange place; never drink in a familiar place; never mix the drinks; always mix the
drinks; never drink before eating; drink only while eating; drink and then eat heavily to
stop the craving and all of the rest.
alcoholic knows all of the dodges. Every alcoholic has tried them all. That is why an
uncured alcoholic thinks someone must have been following him around to learn his private
self-invented devices, when a member of Alcoholics Anonymous talks to him. Time comes when
any alcoholic has tried them all, and found that none of them work.
doctor had just taken his first evening drink when the rubber baron's wife telephoned to
ask him to come to her house to meet a friend from New York. He dared not, his wife would
not, offend her by refusing. He agreed to go on his wife's promise that they would leave
after 15 minutes. His evening jitters were pretty bad.
the New Yorker at 5 o'clock. They talked until 11:15. After that he stayed "dry"
for three weeks. Then he went to a convention in Atlantic City. That was a bender. The
cured New Yorker was at his bedside when he came to. That was June 10, 1935. The doctor
hasn't had a drink since. Every Akron and Cleveland cure by Alcoholics Anonymous is a
point the society illustrates by that bit of history is that only an alcoholic can talk
turkey to an alcoholic. The doctor knew all of the "medicine" of his disease. He
knew all of the psychiatry. One of his patients had "taken the cure" 72 times.
Now he is cured, by fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Orthodox science left the physician licked. He also knew all of the excuses, as
well as the dodges, and the deep and fatal shame that makes a true alcoholic sure at last
that he can't win. Alcoholic death or the
bughouse will get him in time.
cured member of Alcoholics Anonymous likes to catch a prospective member when he is at the
bottom of the depths. When he wakes up of a morning with his first clear thought regret
that he is not dead before he hears where he has been and what he has done. When he
whispers to himself: "Am I crazy?" and the only answer he can think of is:
"Yes." Even when the bright-eyed green snakes are crawling up his arms.
the pathological drinker is willing to talk. Even eager to talk to Someone who really
understands, from experience, what he means when he says: "I can't understand
from the October 25, 1939 Cleveland Plain Dealer© with permission
Makes Its Stand Here
ELRICK B. DAVIS ©
three previous articles, Mr. Davis has told of Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization of
former drinkers banded to break the liquor habit and to save others from over drinking.
This is the fourth of a series.
gets the pathological drinker who finally has reached such state that he is willing to
listen to a cured rummy member of Alcoholics Anonymous, is that the retrieved alcoholic
not only understands what only another alcoholic can understand, but a great deal that the
unreformed drunk thinks no one else could know because he has never told anyone, and his
difficulties or escapades must be private to his own history.
is the history of all alcoholics is the same; some have been addicts longer than others,
and some have painted brighter red patches around the town -- that is all. What they have
heard in the "cure" hospitals they have frequented, or from the psychoanalysts
they have consulted, or the physicians who have tapered them off one bender or another at
home, has convinced them that alcoholism is a disease.
But they are sure (a) that their version of the disease differs from everyone
else's and (b) that in them it hasn't reached the incurable stage anyway.
of the "cure" told them: "If you ever take another drink, you'll be
back." Psychoanalyst said, "Psychologically, you have never been weaned. Your
subconscious is still trying to get even with your mother for some forgotten slight."
Family or hotel physician said "If you don't quite drinking, you'll die."
ministers, business partners and employers, parents and wives, also are professionally
dedicated to listening to confidences and accepting confessions without undue complaint.
But the clergyman may say: "Your drinking is a sin." And partner or employer: "You'll have to quit
this monkey business or get out." And
wife or parent: "This drinking is breaking my heart." And everyone: "Why
don't you exercise some will power and straighten up and be a man."
the alcoholic whispers in his heart. "No one but I can know that I must drink to kill
suffering too great to stand."
presents his excuses to the retrieved alcoholic who has come to talk. Can't sleep without
liquor. Worry. Business troubles. Debt. Alimentary pains.
Overwork. Nerves too high strung. Grief. Disappointment. Deep dark phobic fears.
Fatigue. Family difficulties. Loneliness.
catalog has got no farther than that when the member of Alcoholics
begins rattling off an additional list.
he says. "Don't try those alibis on me. I have used them all myself."
then he tells his own alcoholic history, certainly as bad, perhaps far worse than the
uncured rummy's. They match experiences. Before he knows it the prospect for cure has told
his new friend things he had never admitted even to himself. A rough and ready psychiatry,
that, but it works, as the cured members of the Cleveland Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous
all are restored to society to testify. And that is the reason for the fellowship's weekly
gatherings. They are testimonial meetings.
The members meet to find new victims to cure, and to buck each other up. For years their
social and emotional life has all been elbow-bending. Now they provide each other a richer
society to replace the old. Hence, the fellowship's family parties and picnics.
for a moment do they forget that a practicing alcoholic is a very sick person. Never for a
moment can they forget that even medical men who know the nature of the disease are apt to
feel that failure to recover is a proof of moral perversity in the patient. If a man is
dying of cancer, no one says: "Why doesn't he exercise some will power and kill that
cancer off." If he is coughing his lungs out with tuberculosis, no one says:
"Buck up and quit coughing; be a man." They may say to the first: "Submit
to surgery before it is too late;" to the second: "Take a cure before you are
alcoholics talk in that fashion to their uncured fellows. They say: "You are a very
sick man. Physically sick -- you have an allergy to alcohol. We can put you in a hospital
that will sweat that poison out. Mentally sick. We know how to cure that. And spiritually
cure your spiritual illness you will have to admit God. Name your own God, or define Him
to suit yourself. But if you are really willing to 'do anything' to get well, and if it is
really true -- and we know it is -- that you drink when you don't want to and that you
don't know why you get drunk, you'll have to quit lying to yourself and adopt a spiritual
way of life. Are you ready to accept help?"
the miracle is that, for alcoholics brought to agreement by pure desperation, so simple a
alone has 50 alcoholics, all former notorious drunks, now members of Alcoholics Anonymous
to prove it. None is a fanatic prohibitionist. None has a quarrel with liquor legitimately
used by people physically, nervously, and spiritually equipped to use it. They simply know
that alcoholics can't drink and live, and that their "incurable" disease has
from the October 26, 1939 Cleveland Plain Dealer© with permission
Makes Its Stand Here
ELRICK B. DAVIS ©
previous installments, Mr. Davis has told of Alcoholics Anonymous, an informal society of
drinking men who have joined together to beat the liquor habit This is the last of five
hard for the skeptical to believe that no one yet has found a way to muscle into
Alcoholics Anonymous, the informal society of ex-drunks that exists only to cure each
other, and make a money-making scheme of it. Or that someone will not. The complete
informality of the society seems to be what has saved it from that. Members pay no dues.
The society has no paid staff. Parties are "Dutch." Meetings are held at the
homes of members who have houses large enough for such gatherings, or in homes of persons
who may not be alcoholics but are sympathetic with the movement.
a drunk needs hospitalization at the time that he is caught to cure. He is required to pay
for that himself. Doubtless he hasn't the money. But probably his family has. Or his
employer will advance the money to save him, against his future pay. Or cured members of
the society will help him arrange credit, if he has a glimmer of credit left. Or old
friends will help.
moment members of the Cleveland Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous are searching the slum
lodging houses to find a man, once eminent in the city's professional life. A medical
friend of his better days called them in to find him. This friend will pay the hospital
bill necessary to return this victim of an "incurable" craving for drink to
physical health, if the society will take him on.
society has published a book, called "Alcoholics Anonymous," which it sells at
$3.50. It may be ordered from an anonymous address, Works Publishing Co., Box 657, Church
Street Annex Post office, New York City; or bought from the Cleveland Fellowship of the
society. There is no money profit for anyone in that book.
recites the history of the society and lays down its principles in its first half.
half is case histories of representative cures out of the first hundred alcoholics cured
by membership in the society. It was written and compiled by the New York member who
brought the society to Ohio. He raised the money on his personal credit to have the book
published. He would like to see those creditors repaid. It is a 400-page book, for which
any regular publisher would charge the same price.
bought from local Fellowships net the local chapters a dollar each.
Rev. Dr. Dilworth Lupton, pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, found in a
religious journal an enthusiastic review of the book by the Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick,
and sent it to the president of the local Fellowship. It has been similarly noted in some
handle the money that comes in for the book, and occasional gifts from persons interested
in helping ex-drunks to cure other "incurable" drunks, the Alcoholics Foundation
has been established, with a board of seven directors.
of these are members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Four are not alcoholics, but New Yorkers of
standing interested in humane movements. Two of them happen also to be associated with the
Rockefeller Foundation, but that does not associate the two foundations in any way.
problem of the Cleveland Fellowship was to find a hospital willing to take a drunk in and
give him the medical attention first necessary to any cure. Two reasons made that hard.
Hospitals do not like to have alcoholics as patients; they are nuisances. And the society
requires that as soon as a drunk has been medicated into such shape that he can see
visitors, members of the society must be permitted to see him at any time. That has been
arranged. The local Society would like to have a kitty of $100 to post with the hospital
as evidence of good faith. But if it gets it, it will only be from voluntary contributions
the members, having financed their own cures, spend enormous amounts of time and not a
little money in helping new members. Psychiatrists say that if an alcoholic is to be
cured, he needs a hobby. His old hobby had been only alcohol. Hobby of Alcoholics
Anonymous is curing each other. Telephone calls, postage and stationery, gasoline bills,
mount up for each individual. And hospitality to new members. A rule of the society is
that each member's latch string is always out to any other member who needs talk or quiet,
which may include a bed or a meal, at any time.
Tue Mar 21, 2000 7:24pm
Re: CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER©, 1939 - Article 6
from the November 2, 1939 Cleveland Plain Dealer© with permission
A NOTED DIVINE
REVIEWS "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS"
ELRICK B. DAVIS ©
recent series, Mr. Davis told of Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization of former drinkers
banded together to beat the liquor habit. This is the first of two final articles on the
100 members of Alcoholics Anonymous, the extraordinary fellowship of men and women who
have cured themselves of "incurable" alcoholism by curing each other and
adopting a "spiritual way of life," had established their cures to the
satisfaction of their physicians, families, employers and psychotherapists, they published
a 400-page volume of which half is a history of the movement and a description of its
methods, and the other half a collection of 30 case histories designed to show what a wide
variety of persons the fellowship has cured. It is called "Alcoholics
Anonymous," and may be bought for $3.50 from the Works Publishing Co., Box 657,
Church Street Annex Post office, New York.
name of the publisher is that adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous for its only publishing
venture. The address is "blind" because the name "Alcoholics
Anonymous" means exactly what it says. The price of the book is "cost," 50
cents a volume less than one of the country's soundest old-line book publishers would have
charged if the fellowship had accepted that house's offer to publish the book and pay the
society 40 cents a copy royalty on sales.
the first reviews of the book to see print was that written by the Rev. Dr. Harry Emerson
Fosdick for the Religious Digest. That review so attracted at least one well-known
Cleveland minister that he obtained a copy of the book, got in touch with the Cleveland
chapter of the society, and plans to preach a sermon about the movement.
Fosdick is himself the author of seventeen books. His review of "Alcoholics
extraordinary book deserves the careful attention of anyone interested in the problem of
alcoholism. Whether as victims, friends of victims, physicians, clergymen, psychiatrists
or social workers there are many such, and this book will give them, as no other treatise
known to this reviewer will, an inside view of the problem which the alcoholic faces.
Gothic cathedral windows are not the sole things which can be truly seen only from within.
Alcoholism is another. All outside views are clouded and unsure. Only one who has been an
alcoholic and has escaped the thralldom can interpret the experience.
book represents the pooled experience of 100 men and women who have been victims of
alcoholism-and who have won their freedom and recovered their sanity and self-control.
their stories are detailed and circumstantial, packed with human interest. In America
today the disease of alcoholism is increasing. Liquor
has been an easy escape from depression. As an English officer in India, reproved for his
excessive drinking, lifted his glass and said, "This is the swiftest road out of
India," so many Americans have been using hard liquor as a means of flight from their
troubles until to their dismay they discover that, free to begin, they are not free to
stop. One hundred men and women, in this volume, report their experience of enslavement
and then of liberation.
book is not in the least sensational. It is notable for its sanity, restraint and freedom
from over-emphasis and fanaticism.
group sponsoring this book began with two or three ex-alcoholics, who discovered one
another through kindred experience. From this a movement started; ex-alcoholics working
for alcoholics, without fanfare or advertisement, and the movement has spread from one
city to another.
core of their whole procedure is religious. They are convinced that for the helpless
alcoholic there is only one way out-the expulsion of his obsession by a Power Greater Than
Himself. Let it be said at once that there is nothing partisan or sectarian about this
religious experience. Agnostics and atheists, along with Catholics, Jews and Protestants,
tell their story of discovering the Power Greater Than themselves. 'Who are you to say
that there is no God,' one atheist in the group heard a voice say when, hospitalized for
alcoholism, he faced the utter hopelessness of his condition. Nowhere is the tolerance and
open-mindedness of the book more evident than in its treatment of this central matter on
which the cure of all these men and women has depended. They are not partisans of any
particular form of organized religion, although they strongly recommend that some
religious fellowship be found by their participants. By religion they mean an experience
which they personally know and which has saved them from their slavery, when psychiatry
and medicine had failed. They agree that each man must have his own way of conceiving God,
but of God Himself they are utterly sure, and their stories of victory in consequence are
a notable addition to William James' 'Varieties of Religious Experience.'"
from the November 4, 1939 Cleveland Plain Dealer© with permission
A PHYSICIAN LOOKS
UPON ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
By ELRICK B. DAVIS©
first appraisal in a scientific journal of Alcoholics Anonymous, former drunkards who cure
themselves by curing each other with the help of religious experience, was published in
the July issue of the journal Lancet. It was "A New Approach to Psychotherapy [in]
Chronic Alcoholism.: by W. D. Silkworth, M.D. physician in charge, Chas B. Town's
Hospital, New York City. A drunkard during a moment of [deep] depression had the spontaneous "religious
experience" which started his cure. This was the seed from which came Alcoholics
Anonymous. Dr.Silkworth was at first
skeptical. He is no longer. Excerpts from his paper follow:
beginning and subsequent development of a new approach to the problem of permanent
recovery for the chronic alcoholic has already produced remarkable results and promises
much for the future. This statement is based upon four years of close observation. The
principal answer is: Each ex-alcoholic has had and is able to maintain, a vital spiritual
or 'religious' experience, accompanied by marked changes of personality. There is a
radical change in outlook, attitude and habits of thought. In nearly all cases, these are
evident within a few months, often less.
conscious search of these ex-alcoholics for the right answer has enabled them to find an
approach effectual in something more than half of all cases. This is truly remarkable when
it is remembered that most of them were undoubtedly beyond the reach of other remedial
the presence of the religious factor, one might expect to find unhealthy emotionalism and
prejudice. On the contrary, there is an instant readiness to discard old methods for new
which produce better results. It was early found that usually the weakest approach to an
alcoholic is directly through his family or friends, especially if the patient is drinking
heavily. Ex-alcoholics frequently insist a
physician take the patient in hand, placing him in a hospital when possible. If proper
hospitalization and medical care is not carried out, this patient faces the danger of
delirium tremens, 'wet brain' or other complications. After a few days' stay, the
physician brings up the question of permanent sobriety.
If the patient is interested, he tactfully introduces a member of the group. By
this time the prospect has self-control, can think straight, and the approach can be made
casually. More than half the fellowship have been so treated. The group is unanimous in
its belief that hospitalization is desirable, even imperative, in most cases...
effort is made for frank discussion with the patient, leading to self-understanding. He
must make the necessary readjustment to his environment.
Co-operation and confidence must be secured. The objectives are to bring about
extraversion and provide someone to whom he can transfer his dilemma. This group is now
attaining this because of the following reasons:
Because of their alcoholic experiences and successful recoveries they secure a high degree
of confidence from their prospects.
Because of this initial confidence, identical experiences, and the fact that the
discussion is pitched on moral and religious grounds, the patient tells his story and
makes his self-appraisal with extreme thoroughness and honesty. He stops living alone and
finds himself within reach of a fellowship with whom he can discuss his problems as they
3 -- Because of the ex-alcoholic brotherhood, the patient too, is able to save other alcoholics from destruction. At one and the same time, the patient acquires an ideal, a hobby, a strenuous avocation, and a social life, which he enjoys among other ex-alcoholics and their families. These factors make powerfully for his extraversion.
4_Because of objects aplenty in whom he can vest his confidence, the patient can turn to the individuals to whom he first gave his confidence, the ex-alcoholic group as a whole, or to the Deity."
Reprinted from the Cleveland Plain Dealer©
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