Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here from Silkworth.net
Reprinted from the October 21, 1939, Cleveland Plain Dealer with permission.
Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here By ELRICK B. DAVIS
Much has been written about Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization doing
major work in reclaiming the habitual drinker. This is the first of a series
describing the work the group is doing in Cleveland.
By now it is a rare Clevelander who does not know, or know of, at least one
man or woman of high talent whose drinking had become a public scandal, and
who suddenly has straightened out “over night,” as the saying goes, the
liquor habit licked. Men who have lost $15,000 a year jobs have them back
again. Drunks who have taken every “cure” available to the most lavish purse,
only to take them over again with equally spectacular lack of success, suddenly have
become total abstainers, apparently without anything to account for their
reform. Yet something must account for the seeming miracle. Something does.
Alcoholics Anonymous has reached the town.
Every Thursday evening at the home of some ex-drunk in Cleveland, 40 or 50
former hopeless rummies meet for a social evening during which they buck
each other up. Nearly every Saturday evening they and their families have a
party — just as gay as any other party held that evening despite the fact
that there is nothing alcoholic to drink. From time to time they have a
picnic, where everyone has a roaring good time without the aid of even one
bottle of beer. Yet these are men and women who, until recently,
had scarcely been sober a day for years, and members of their families
who all that time had been emotionally distraught, social and economic
victims of another’s addiction.
These ex-rummies, as they call themselves, suddenly salvaged from the most
socially noisome of fates, are the members of the Cleveland Fellowship of an
informal society called “Alcoholics Anonymous.” Who they are cannot be told,
because the name means exactly what it says. But any incurable alcoholic who
really wants to be cured will find the members of the Cleveland chapter eager to help.
The society maintains a “blind” address: The Alcoholic Foundation, Box 657,
Church Street Annex Postoffice, New York City. Inquiries made there are
forwarded to a Cleveland banker, who is head of the local Fellowship, or to
a former big league ball player who is recruiting officer of the Akron
fellowship, which meets Wednesday evenings in a mansion loaned for the
purpose by a non-alcoholic supporter of the movement.
The basic point about Alcoholics Anonymous is that it is a fellowship of
“cured” alcoholics. And that both old-line medicine and modern psychiatry
had agreed on the one point that no alcoholic could be cured. Repeat the
astounding fact: These are cured.
They have cured each other.