Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here Pt 3

Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here Pt 3 By ELRICK B. DAVIS via Silkworth

In a previous installment, Mr. Davis outlined the plan of Alcoholics

Reprinted from the October 23, 1939, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Anonymous, an organization of former drinkers who have found a solution to
liquor in association for mutual aid. This is the second of a series.

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There is no blinking the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous, the amazing society
of ex-drunks who have cured each other of an incurable disease, is
religious. Its members have cured each other frankly with the help of God.
Every cured member of the Cleveland Fellowship of the society, like every
cured member of the other chapters now established in Akron, New York, and
elsewhere in the country, is cured with the admission that he submitted his plight
wholeheartedly to a Power Greater than Himself.

He has admitted his conviction that science cannot cure him, that he cannot
control his pathological craving for alcohol himself, and that he cannot be
cured by the prayers, threats, or pleas of his family, employers, or
friends. His cure is a religious experience. He had to have God’s aid. He
had to submit to a spiritual housecleaning.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a completely informal society, wholly latitudinarian
in every respect but one. It prescribes a simple spiritual discipline, which
must be followed rigidly every day. The discipline is fully explained in a
book published by the society.


That is what makes the notion of the cure hard for the usual alcoholic to
take, at first glance, no matter how complete his despair. He wants to join
no cult. He has lost faith, if he ever had it, in the power of religion to
help him. But each of the cures accomplished by Alcoholics Anonymous is a
spiritual awakening. The ex-drunk has adopted what the society calls “a
spiritual way of life.”

How, then, does Alcoholics Anonymous differ from the other great religious
movements which have changed social history in America? Wherein does the
yielding to God that saves a member of this society from his fatal disease,
differ from that which brought the Great Awakening that Jonathan Edwards
preached, or the New Light revival of a century ago, or the flowering of Christian
Science, or the campmeeting evangelism of the old Kentucky-Ohio frontier, or
the Oxford Group successes nowadays?

Every member of Alcoholics Anonymous may define God to suit himself. God to
him may be the Christian God defined by the Thomism of the Roman Catholic
Church. Or the stern Father of the Calvinist. Or the Great Manitou of the
American Indian. Or the Implicit Good assumed in the logical morality of
Confucius. Or Allah, or Buddha, or the Jehovah of the Jews. Or Christ the
Scientist. Or no more than the Kindly Spirit implicitly assumed in the “atheism
of a Col. Robert Ingersoll

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