Dr. Silkworth's first endorsement of Alcoholics Anonymous,
medical societies and physicians throughout the world
have set their approval upon us. Following are excerpts
from the comments of doctors present at the annual
meeting * of the Medical Society of the State of New
York where a paper on A.A. was read:
Foster Kennedy, neurologist: "This organization of Alcoholics
Anonymous calls on two of the greatest reserves of power
known to man, religion and that instinct for association
with one's fellows . . . the "herd instinct." I think
our profession must take appreciative cognizance of
this great therapeutic weapon. If we do not do so, we
shall stand convicted of emotional sterility and of
having lost the faith that moves mountains, without
which medicine can do little."
G. Kirby Collier, psychiatrist: "I have felt that A.A.
is a group unto themselves and that their best results
can be had under their own guidance , as a result of
their philosophy. Any therapeutic or philosophic procedure
which can prove a recovery rate of 50% to 60% must merit
Harry M. Tiebout, psychiatrist: "As a psychiatrist,
I have thought a great deal about the relationship of
my specialty to A.A. and I have come to the conclusion
that our particular function can very often lie in preparing
the way for the patient to accept any sort of treatment
or outside help. I now conceive the psychiatrist's job
to be the task of breaking down the patient's inner
resistance so that which is inside him will flower,
as under the activity of the A.A. program."
W.W. Bauer, broadcasting under the auspices of The American
Medical Association in 1949, over the NBC network, said,
in part: "Alcoholics Anonymous are no crusaders; not
a temperance society. They know that they must never
drink. They help others with similar problems . . .
In this atmosphere the alcoholic often overcomes his
excessive concentration on himself. Learning to depend
upon a higher power and absorb himself in his work with
other alcoholics, he remains sober day by day. The days
add up into weeks; the weeks into months and years."
John F. Stouffer, Chief Psychiatrist, Philadelphia General
Hospital, citing his experience with A.A., said: "The
alcoholics we get here at Philadelphia General are mostly
those who cannot afford private treatment, and A.A.
is by far the greatest thing we have been able to offer
them. Even among those who occasionally land back in
here again, we observe a profound change in personality.
You would hardly recognize them."
American Psychiatric Association requested, in 1949,
that a paper be prepared by one of the older members
of Alcoholics Anonymous to be read to the Association's
annual meeting of that year. This was done and the paper
was printed in the American Journal of Psychiatry for
(This address is now available in pamphlet form at nominal cost through most A.A. groups or from Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163, under the title "Three Talks to Medical Societies by Bill W." - formerly called "Bill on Alcoholism" and earlier "Alcoholism the Illness.")