Saturday, August 15, 2015

"So You Think Drunks Can't Be Cured?"

By Ken B.

Have you noticed the following statement made in "the basic text for our Society" [i.e., Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as "the Big Book")] by "Alcoholic Anonymous Number Three" (Akron attorney Bill D.) "a week or two after" he "had come out of the [Akron City] hospital [on July 4, 1935]":
"I thought, I think I have the answer. [A.A. cofounder] Bill [W.] was very, very grateful that he had been released from this terrible thing and he had given God the credit for having done it, and he's so grateful about it he wants to tell other people about it. That sentence, 'The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep telling people about it,' has been a sort of a golden text for the A.A. program and for me." [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191].
Bill D.'s references to "cured" reflected the common talk of early AAs.  In my article titled "Have You Been Talked out of A.A.'s Cure for Alcoholism?", I mentioned three "archive scrapbooks" published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., which contained reproductions of newspaper articles from around the United States, many of which spoke of early AAs who said they were cured of alcoholism: 
·         (M-42) Archives Scrapbook 1939-1942;
·         (M-66) Archives Scrapbook 1943; and
·         (M-69) Archives Scrapbook 1944.
Following on Richard K.'s excellent work on the use of the word "cured" by early AAs--as found in his title, So You Think Drunks Can’t Be Cured? Press Releases by Witnesses to the Cure, (Haverhill, Mass.: Golden Text Publishing Company, 2003), Dick B. published When Early AAs Were Cured and Why, 3rd ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2003, 2005, 2006). In that book, Dick B. cited a number of those early newspaper articles in which AAs spoke of having been cured of alcoholism. (See pp. 112-13.) One of those articles was titled "So You Think Drunks Can't Be Cured?" (from which Richard K. may have gotten the title of his publication). Here is some background on that article:

“Early in 1941 a member of the Indianapolis AA group, Jim M., was transferred to Louisville. As a means to effect his continuing sobriety, he sought to establish a group of fellow alcoholics, and by June the first Louisville Fellowship was formed. The first meeting was held at the YMCA at Third St. and Broadway. The initial group varied from five to ten people. In September the Sunday Courier-Journal featured a story, “So You Think Drunks Can’t Be Cured,” which undoubtedly helped increase membership.” [Source: “Alcoholics Anonymous” in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, John E. Kleber, ed. ([Lexington, KY]: University Press of Kentucky, 2001), 21;; accessed 8/15/2015]

For more on this topic of the many times early AAs stated that they had been cured of their alcoholism, see also: Dick B., Cured! Proved Help for Alcoholics and Addicts (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006).

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