Vol. 25(2), April 1941
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: New York: Works Publishing Company, 1939. 400pp.
TWELVE AGAINST ALCOHOL: By Herbert Ludwig Nossen, M.D, New York:
Harrison-Hilton Books, 1940. 246pp.
These two books are similar in that both present in great detail case histories of patients who are suffering from alcoholism. In this way many old established facts about alcoholism are brought again to our attention, such as the individual's early resort to alcohol as a means of solving his problems or temporizing his major adjustments in life, and the tragic and dramatic way in which the alcoholic drags down his entire family with him, to say nothing of the other social and economic repercussions. Reading these case histories, one becomes more than ever convinced that the excessive drinking of alcohol is one of the relatively minor phases of the individual's whole problem, particularly when one considers the faulty psychosexual adjustments and general immaturity and infantile characteristic of the alcoholic
For the successful treatment of a person who has become addicted to alcohol, there must of necessity be a revolutionary change in the patient's personality. The achievement of more adult attitudes and the marked turning away from older selfish, infantile patterns of behaviour must involve an emotional upheaval. We are all aware that this inner emotional change is more necessary than a merely intellectual appreciation of one s difficulty, or what is called intellectual insight.
It will be interesting to see how the religious program set forth by Alcoholics Anonymous will work. It is not entirely new; it has been tried before.
James H Wall
The New York Hospital, Westchester Division,
White Plains, New York.