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BOOK REVIEW

SOCIAL PROGRESS
March 1941

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: Works Publishing Company, New York, $3.50

Here is an unusual book. It is the dramatic recital of the experience of more than a hundred men and women in their fight against alcoholism, their victory, and their desire and determination to pass on to others the secret of their release. The group who have contributed to this book began with two or three alcoholics whose similar experiences drew them together. "To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body," says the introduction, "is the main purpose of this book."

Let it be said at the outset that there is nothing sensational in these stories, although they are filled with the drama of conflict, failure and final release. These writers believe that there is but one cure for the alcoholic. That is the realization of his own inability to cope with his repeated failures and the recognition of the reality of that Power greater than himself, whom we call God, to drive out his obsession. The head of one of the nation's great hospitals for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction contributes a statement to the introductory pages declaring that here is the working out of the principles of a sound "moral psychology."

The discussion of these principles is free of emotionalism. It is neither sectarian nor partisan, for men and women of all religions and of none, have contributed to the book "In our personal stories," says one writer, "you will find wide variation in the way in which each teller approaches and conceives of the Power greater than himself. One proposition, however, these men and women are strikingly agreed. Every one of them has gained access to, and believes in, a power greater than himself. This power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible."

The movement has grown and spread without formal organization and groups are widely scattered over the country. Its members, mostly business and professional folk, go about their usual work, their avocation being to help others through their friendship and moral concern to find release.

For ministers, social workers, psychiatrists, and all others who are concerned with the rescue of those sick in mind and body, from the possession of the liquor habit, this book is a source of suggestion and inspiration.

E.G.R.

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