Help From Sufferings Alcoholics… from Silkworth
Elrick B. Davis for The Cleveland Plain Dealer
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.
They have done it by adopting, with each other’s aid, what they call “a spiritual way of life.”
“Incurable” alcoholism is not a moral vice. It is a disease. No dipsomaniac drinks because he wants to. He drinks because he can’t help drinking.
He will drink when he had rather die than take a drink. That is why so many alcoholics die as suicides. He will get drunk on the way home from the hospital or sanitarium that has just discharged him as “cured.” He will get drunk at the wake of a friend who died of drink. He will swear off for a year, and suddenly find himself half-seas over, well into another “bust.” He will get drunk at the gates of an insane asylum where he has just visited an old friend, hopeless victim of “wet brain.”
These are the alcoholics that “Alcoholics Anonymous” cures. Cure is impossible until the victim is convinced that nothing that he or a “cure” hospital can do, can help. He must know that his disease is fatal. He must be convinced that he is hopelessly sick of body, and of mind, and of soul. He must be eager to accept help from any source — even God.
Alcoholics Anonymous has a simple explanation for an alcoholic’s physical disease. It was provided them by the head of one of New York City’s oldest and most famous “cure” sanitariums. The alcoholic is allergic to alcohol. One drink sets up a poisonous craving that only more of the poison can assuage. That is why after the first drink the alcoholic cannot stop.
They have a psychiatric theory equally simple and convincing. Only an alcoholic can understand another alcoholic’s mental processes and state. And they have an equally simple, if unorthodox, conception of God.