Grapevine Article 3

Magazine and Newspaper Articles

Bill W. on Marty M.

Bill W. on Marty M.

Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., October 1944

We are again citizens of the world.... As individuals, we have a responsibility,maybe a double responsibility. It may be that we have a date with destiny.

An example: Not long ago Dr. E. M. Jellinek, of Yale University, came to us. He said, "Yale, as you know, is sponsoring a program of public education on alcoholism, entirely noncontroversial in character.

So, when the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism [now the National Council on Alcoholism] was formed, an AA member was made its executive director: Marty M., one of our oldest and finest. As a member of AA, she is just as much interested in us as before - AA is still her avocation. But as an officer of the Yale-sponsored National Committee, she is also interested in educating the general public on alcoholism. Her AA training has wonderfully fitted her for this post in a different field. Public education on alcoholism is to be her vocation.

Could an AA do such a job? At first, Marty herself wondered. She asked her AA friends, "Will I be regarded as a professional?" Her friends replied: "Had you come to us, Marty, proposing to be a therapist, to sell straight AA to alcoholics at so much a customer, we should certainly have branded that as professionalism. So would everybody else.

"But the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism is quite another matter. You will be taking your natural abilities and AA experience into a very different field. We don't see how that can affect your amateur status with us. Suppose you were to become a social worker, a personnel officer, the manager of a state farm for alcoholics, or even a minister of the gospel? Who could possibly say those activities would make you a professional AA? No one, of course."

They went on: "Yet we do hope that AA as a whole will never deviate from itssole purpose of helping other alcoholics. As an organization, we should express no opinions save on the recovery of problem drinkers. That very sound national policy has kept us out of much useless trouble already, and will surely forestall untold complications in the future.

"Though AA as a whole," they continued, "should have one objective, we believe just as strongly that for the individual there should be no limitations whatever, except his own conscience. He should have the complete right to choose his own opinions and outside activities. If these are good, AAs everywhere will approve. Just so, Marty, do we think it will be in your case. While Yale is your actual sponsor, we feel sure that you are going to have the warm personal support of thousands of AAs wherever you go. We shall all be thinking how much better a break this new generation of potential alcoholic kids will have because of your work, how much it might have meant to us had our own mothers and fathers really understood alcoholism."

Personally, I feel that Marty's friends have advised her wisely; that they have clearly distinguished between the limited scope of AA as a whole and the broad horizon.

Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., October 1944


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