a mother looked idly through a small medical journal,
an article written by a doctor on alcoholism caught her
attention. Anything in reference to this subject was worthy
of perusal, for her son, an only child, had been drinking
uncontrollably for years. Each year of his drinking had
added new heartaches, though every small ray of hope had
been investigated, and though he had tried desperately
to stop. But little had been accomplished. He was occasionally
able to remain sober for short periods at a time, but
things constantly became worse.
this mother read the short medical article with a heavy
heart, for she was constantly on the alert to find something
which might prove helpful to her son.
article gave only a vague hint of the solution found by
many alcoholics, which is fully covered in this book,
but the mother immediately wrote to the doctor explaining
her heart-breaking problem, and requesting further information.
She felt there must be help somewhere, and surely if other
men had recovered from alcoholism, her son also had a
doctor turned her letter over to Alcoholics Anonymous.
It ended as follows:
knows if you can help my son, it will bring happiness
to many of us who love him and ache with him in his futile
effort to overcome his problem. Please accept my gratitude
for whatever you may be able to do and let me hear from
few days later the following letter was sent to this mother.
It was our initial effort to help others through the book
a hundred men, here in the East, have found a solution
for alcoholism that really works. We are now preparing
a book hoping to help others who suffer in the same way,
and are enclosing a rough copy of the first two chapters.
As soon as possible we will forward rough copy of the
rest of the proposed book."
received no answer for some time, and later wrote again:
are sending you a pre-publication multilith copy of ALCOHOLICS
ANONYMOUS. We would appreciate hearing about your son's
condition and his reaction to this volume, as this is
the first time we have had an opportunity of trying to
help an alcoholic at long distance. Won't you please write
us? Sincerely, Alcoholics Anonymous"
another period of silence from the far west, during which
time we began to think this book was inadequate without
personal contact, we received a long letter from the son,
himself. A letter which we feel will be of tremendous
help to others who live in distant places, who feel alone
and totally unable to work this program out by themselves.
A letter which encompasses a man's solitary effort to
take what we had to offer and carry the program through
alone. Alone except for one book and the help which printed
pages could give; alone until he had tried our program
of recovery and found spiritual comfort and help.
wrote as follows:
want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your
letters and for ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. I have read this
book from cover to cover and it is really the first time
I have read anything dealing with alcoholism that made
sense and showing understanding of the problems of the
found the personal stories very accurate as pertaining
to my own experience; any one of them might have been
my own story.
started drinking in 1917 when I was 18. I enlisted in
the army, soon became anon-commissioned officer, went
overseas as a sergeant. I associated with older men, drank,
gambled, and ran around with them, sampling everything
France had to offer.
my return from France I continued drinking. At that time
I could get plenty tight at night, get up in the morning
and go to work feeling O.K. The following fifteen years
were one drunk after another which, of course, as they
got worse, meant one job after another. Police Department
truck driving, etc. Then in an attempt to get away from
it all I enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps. In 13 months
time I drank very little and was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant,
a rank that usually takes 10 or 12 years to obtain, if
ever. I started drinking again. In six months I was reduced
to Line Sergeant. I transferred to get away from my former
came several years in China. China of all places for a
man who wanted to stay away from booze. My four years
over, I did not re-enlist.
more jobs selling automobiles, real estate, etc. Then
down to odd jobs. I was drinking so much no one could
take a chance by giving me a steady job, such as I could
easily have handled if I left the liquor alone. I married
and the booze split that up. My mother was a nervous wreck.
I was getting arrested for drinking three or four times
a year. I had myself committed on two different occasions
to State Hospitals, but soon after discharge, I was back
at it again. Two years ago I went to a private hospital
for a liquor cure. A week after getting out I was curious
as to what would happen if I took a drink. I took it --
nothing happened. I took another -- why go further. I
went back to the private hospital, came out and was O.K.
for a few months -- then at it again.
previous to this and at the time of these cures, I was
working at a State Hospital for the insane. I saw continually
the effects of liquor but did it help me to leave it alone?
No -- it did not. But it did make me realize that if I
did not, I would end up in the bug-house and someone else
would be carrying the keys. After several years of working
at mental institutions always in a violent ward, on account
of my six feet 2 inches and 210 lb., I realized there
was too much nervous tension and every couple of months
I would blow up and be off drunk for a week or ten days.
left mental work and got a job at the County General Hospital
where I am now in a medical ward. We get quite a few patients
with D.T.s, all broken out with wine sores, etc. I steadied
down a bit, but not enough. I was off sick for several
days every six or eight weeks.
married again. A good Catholic girl whose people were
used to having liquor, especially wine around the house
always. She of course could not understand about my drinking
-- as far as that's concerned, neither could I. And all
this time my poor mother and wife became more and more
had heard of your wonderful work and wrote a doctor. You
answered with letters, and finally the book. Before the
book arrived and after reading the chapters I knew that
the only way to combat this curse was to ask the help
of that greater Power, God. I realized it even though
I was then on a binge!
contacted a friend of mine who is liaison officer of the
Disabled Veterans of the World War. He made arrangements
for my care in a State Sanitarium which specializes in
alcoholism. I wanted to get the liquor out of my system
and start this new idea right. I explained my absence
as Flu and under the care of the head psychiatrist spent
most of the time from Sept. 1, 1938 till Jan. 15, 1939
at the hospital having my appendix removed and a ventral
hernia fixed up.
weeks ago I returned from the sanitarium and your book
was here waiting for me. I read, more than that I pored
over it so as not to miss anything. I thought to myself,
yes, this is the only way. God is my only chance. I have
prayed before but I guess not the right way. I have followed
out the suggestions in the book, I am happier this moment
than I have been in years. I'm sure I have found the solution,
thanks to ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.
have had talks with another man, an attorney, who was
at the sanitarium when I was. He has my book now and he
is very much enthused.
go down to the sanitarium every week for a checkup and
medicine which they give me, just a tonic, no sedatives.
The manager has asked me to contact some of his patients
along our line. How I told him I would appreciate his
letting me do so!
you put me in touch with some A.A.s out here? I know it
would help me and help me to help others.
hope you can make sense out of this letter. I could write
so much more but this I have written just as it popped
into my head.
let me hear from you."
man's lone struggle was impressive. Wouldn't the story
of his solitary recovery be helpful to many others who
would have to start out by themselves with only this book
to aid them?
we immediately sent him a wire:
RECEIVED LETTER. MAY WE HAVE YOUR PERMISSION TO USE LETTER
ANONYMOUSLY IN BOOK AS FIRST EXAMPLE OF WHAT MIGHT BE
ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT PERSONAL CONTACT. IMPORTANT YOU WIRE
THIS PERMISSION AS BOOK IS GOING TO PRINTER.
wire arrived next day:
GRANTED WITH PLEASURE. LOTS OF LUCK.
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