Alcoholics take steps to cure themselves…..
From The Illinois Medical Journal, Oak Park, Ill.
A new approach to the problem of chronic alcoholism has been taken by the alcoholics themselves. Calling their group "Alcoholics Anonymous," they first realized the utter hopelessness of their condition and then set out to do something about it.
All of them had been in sanitoria, and many of them had been confined to institutions for the insane. They recognized their addiction to be a disease which medicines alone were unable to cure. They also realized that by themselves they were unable to break the hold alcohol had upon them.
The chronic alcoholic has lost his friends by his drinking. He feels that no one-not even his family-understands his plight. He is truly alone-and finds solace and companionship only in his bottle. Most chronic alcoholics really want to stop. When they openly admit this, and are willing to let others help, then the members of Alcoholics Anonymous can enter the picture.
The chronic alcoholic in talking to a member of the group finds a person who understands" – who has had the same experiences.
The new member is introduced to the fellowship of the group. "Business" gatherings are held weekly to talk over common problems. "Social" gatherings are held several other nights of the week where companionship is sincere and bridge, poker and conversation abound.
There are no officers in the group. Each member has equal standing. There are no fees, dues, nor expenses whatsoever.
When a new member has become thoroughly acquainted with the meaning of his new life he should go out himself and work with other unfortunates.
This giving of himself, without thought of remuneration gives him strength to combat his own desire.
It is indeed a miracle when a person who for years has been more or less constantly under the influence of alcohol and in whom his friends have lost all confidence, will sit up all night with a "drunk" and at stated intervals administer a small amount of liquor in accordance with a doctor’s order without taking a drop himself.
Full co-operation is given to the medical profession. In dealing with patients who are ill the family physician is called in who assumes charge until the patient has recovered.
About six years ago "Alcoholics Anonymous" was started in New York. The group gained headway slowly, but now there are about a thousand members with groups in nearly every large city.
The first member in Chicago joined the group on Akron, Ohio, about three years ago. One year ago Chicago had eight members; now there are 150 and the group grows daily.
Of alcoholics who are contacted about 80% join "Alcoholics Anonymous." Of the first 40 to join the Chicago group 23 have not tasted alcohol since being admitted. This covers a period of time of from six months to three years. Eleven have had one "slip." Three have had from two to four "slips" and three have been lost.
A new member may feel so well physically and so strong mentally that in his new condition he may believe he can drink moderately as many people do. In trying to do so he re-discovers his complete lack of power to combat this disease. After such an experience he usually remains firmly attached to his new found heaven.
It seems unbelievable, when one considers that in people who were "hopeless alcoholics" 58% have attained complete sobriety and 92% practical sobriety.
Broken minds and bodies that have been a weight on society have been rehabilitated. Broken homes have been restored-innocent families no longer suffer.
A movement that is strong enough to make rehabilitated men, some of high position and great wealth, give themselves to help restore other broken lives without thought of remuneration, is indeed a powerful thing, worthy of our attention.
Source:© Current Digest, April 1941