Author Archives: JoeO

To Wives (comparison)

Comparing “To Wives” to the original manuscript for our Basic Text


Comparison Format — Colors appear here only and are — — not used in the actual comparisons. — Words above brackets are from the pre-publication version. < Bracketed copy is from our Basic Text as it reads today. > ~ Format Examples ~
Rarely have we < RARELY HAVE WE > seen a person fail who has thoroughly directions followed our < path >...
~ ~ ~
Now we think you can take it! < — — — — — > Here are the steps we took...
~ ~ ~
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our — — — — — — < conscious > contact with God < as we understood Him >...
~ ~ ~


Chapter 8 < Chapter 8 > TO WIVES
With few exceptions < WITH FEW EXCEPTIONS >, our book thus far has spoken of men. But what we have said applies quite as much to women. Our activities in behalf of women who drink are on the in- crease. There is every evidence that women regain their follow health as readily as men if they < try > our suggestions. But for every man who drinks others are involved – the wife who trembles in fear of the next debauch; the mother and father who see their son wasting away. Among us are wives, relatives and friends whose problem has not been solved, as well as some who have not yet found shall let a happy solution. We < want > the wives of Alcoholics Anonymous < to > address the wives of men who drink too much. What they say will apply to nearly everyone bound by ties of blood or affection to an alcoholic. - - - - < > want As wives of Alcoholics Anonymous, we < would like > you sense you to < feel > that we understand < > as perhaps few can. and help you to We want to analyze mistakes we have made < > avoid them < >. We want to leave you with the feeling that no situation is too difficult and no unhappiness too great to be overcome. ; We have traveled a rocky road < , > there is no mistake about that. We have had long rendezvous with hurt pride, , frustration, self-pity, misunderstanding < > and fear. These are not pleasant companions. We have been

 


                                                          105 

driven to maudlin sympathy, to bitter resentment.  Some of    
us veered from extreme to extreme, ever hoping that one day   
our loved ones would be themselves once more.                 

                  ,                                           
     Our loyalty < > and the desire that our husbands hold up 
their heads and be like other men have begotten all sorts of  
predicaments.  We have been unselfish and self-sacrificing.   
We have told innumerable lies to protect our pride and our    
husbands' reputations.  We have prayed, we have begged, we    
have been patient.  We have struck out viciously.  We have    
run away.  We have been hysterical.  We have been terror      
stricken.  We have sought sympathy.  We have had retaliatory  
love affairs with other men.                                  

     Our homes have been battle-grounds many an evening.  In  
the morning we have kissed and made up.  Our friends have     
counseled chucking the men and we have done so with finality, 
                                   ,                          
only to be back in a little while < > hoping, always hoping.  
Our men have sworn great solemn oaths that they were through  
drinking forever.  We have believed them when no one else     
       ,                                                      
could < > or would.  Then, in days, weeks, or months, a fresh 
outburst.                                                     

     We seldom had friends at our homes, never knowing how or 
when the men of the house would appear.  We could make few    
                                                   , unwanted 
social engagements.  We came to live almost alone <          >
 by anyone                                            always  
<         >.  When we were invited out, our husbands <      > 
sneaked so many drinks that they spoiled the occasion.  If,   
on the other hand, they took nothing, their self-pity made    
them killjoys.                                                

     There was never financial security.  Positions were      
always in jeopardy or gone.  An armored car could             


 


 106                                                          

not have brought the pay envelopes home.  The checking        
account melted like snow in June.                             

              There                                           
     < Sometimes there > were other women.  How heart-        
breaking was this discovery; how cruel to be told they        
understood our men as we did not!                             

                           ;                  ;               
     The bill collectors < , > the sheriffs < , > the angry   
               ;                   ;              ;           
taxi drivers < , > the policemen < , > the bums < , > the     
       ;                                he                    
pals < , > and even the ladies < they sometimes > brought     
home – our husbands thought we were so inhospitable.  "Joy-   
killer, nag, wet blanket" – that's what they said.  Next day  
they would be themselves again and we would forgive and try   
to forget.                                                    

     We have tried to hold the love of our children for their 
father.  We have told small tots that father was sick, which  
was much nearer the truth than we realized.  They struck the  
children, kicked out door panels, smashed treasured crockery, 
and ripped the keys out of pianos.  In the midst of such      
pandemonium they may have rushed out threatening to live with 
the other woman forever.  In desperation, we have even got    
tight ourselves – the drunk to end all drunks.  The unexpec-  
ted result was that our husbands seemed to like it.           

     Perhaps at this point we got a divorce and took the      
children home to father and mother.  Then we were severely    
criticized by our husband's parents for desertion.  Usually   
we did not leave.  We stayed on and on.  We finally sought    
employment ourselves as destitution faced us and our families.

     We began to ask medical advice as the sprees got closer  
together.  The alarming physical and mental symptoms, the     
deepening pall of remorse, depression and inferiority that    
settled down on our loved ones –                              


 


                                                          107 

these things terrified and distracted us.  As animals on a    
treadmill, we have patiently and wearily climbed, falling     
back in exhaustion after each futile effort to reach solid    
ground.  Most of us have entered the final stage with its     
commitment to health resorts, sanitariums, hospitals, and     
jails.  Sometimes there were screaming delirium and insanity. 
Death was often near.                                         

     Under these conditions we naturally made mistakes.  Some 
of them rose out of ignorance of alcoholism.  Sometimes we    
sensed dimly that we were dealing with sick men.  Had we fully
understood the nature of the alcoholic illness, we might have 
behaved differently.                                          

     How could men who loved their wives and children be so   
unthinking, so callous, so cruel?  There could be no love in  
such persons, we thought.  And just as we were being convinced
of their heartlessness, they would surprise us with fresh     
resolves and new attentions.  For a while they would be their 
old sweet selves, only to dash the new structure of affection 
to pieces once more.  Asked why they commenced to drink again,
they would reply with some silly excuse, or none.  It was so  
baffling, so heartbreaking.  Could we have been so mistaken   
in the men we married?  When drinking, they were strangers.   
Sometimes they were so inaccessible that it seemed as though  
a great wall had been built around them.                      

     And even if they did not love their families, how could  
they be so blind about themselves?  What had become of their  
judgment, their common sense, their will power?  Why could    
they not see that drink meant ruin to them?  Why was it, when 
 we pointed our                   ,                           
<              > these dangers < were >                       


 


 108                                                          

< pointed out > that they agreed < , > and then got drunk     
again immediately?                                            

     These are some of the questions which race through the   
                 girl                                         
mind of every < woman > who has an alcoholic husband.  We     
        our                                     But now you   
hope < this > book has answered some of them.  <           >  
 will have seen that perhaps                                  
<        Perhaps            > your husband has been living in 
that strange world of alcoholism where everything is distorted
and exaggerated.  You can see that he really does love you    
with his better self.  Of course, there is such a thing as    
incompatibility, but in nearly every instance the alcoholic   
only seems to be unloving and inconsiderate; it is usually    
because he is warped and sickened that he says and does these 
appalling things.  Today most of our men are better husbands  
and fathers than ever before.                                 

          Don't                                               
     < Try not to > condemn your alcoholic husband no matter  
what he says or does.  He is just another very sick, unreason-
able person.  Treat him, when you can, as though he had pneu- 
monia.  When he angers you, remember that he is very ill.     

     There is an important exception to the foregoing.  We    

realize < that > some men are thoroughly bad-intentioned,     

that no amount of patience will make any difference.  An      
                                will                          
alcoholic of this temperament < may > be quick to use this    
chapter as a club over your head.  Don't let him get away     
with it.  If you are positive he is one of this type you      
                                 It is not                    
may feel you had better leave.  <  Is it  > right to let      
                                                    ,         
him ruin your life and the lives of your children < ? >       
  especially                                                  
< Especially > when he has before him a way to stop his       
drinking and abuse if he really wants to pay the price.       

     The problem with which you struggle usually falls        
within one of four categories:                                

       One:                                                   
     < One: > Your husband may be only a heavy drinker.       


 


                                                          109 

His drinking may be constant or it may be heavy only on cer-  
                       He                                     
tain occasions.  < Perhaps he > spends too much money for     
                slows                                         
liquor It < may be slowing > him up mentally and physically,  
but he does not see it.  Sometimes he is a source of embar-   
rassment to you and his friends.  He is positive he can       
handle his liquor, that it does him no harm, that drinking    

is necessary in his business.  He would < probably > be insul-

ted if < he were > called an alcoholic.  The world is full of 
people like him.  Some will moderate or stop altogether, and  
some will not.  Of those who keep on, a good number will be-  
come true alcoholics after a while.                           

       Two:                                                   
     < Two: > Your husband is showing lack of control < , >   
    He                                           ,            
< for he > is unable to stay on the water wagon < > even      

when he wants to.  He often gets entirely out of hand when    
                                           obsessed with the  
drinking.  He admits this is true, but is <     positive    > 
 idea                                                         
<    > that he will do better.  He has begun to try, with or  

without your cooperation, various means of moderating or stay-
                He                                            
ing dry.  < Maybe he > is beginning to lose his friends.  His 
business may suffer somewhat.  He is worried at times, and    
is becoming aware that he cannot drink like other people.  He 
                                 ,                            
sometimes drinks in the morning < > and through the day also, 
to hold his nervousness in check.  He is remorseful after     
serious drinking bouts and tells you he wants to stop.  But   
when he gets over the spree, he begins to think once more     
                                               This           
how he can drink moderately next time.  < We think this >     
                          He has                              
person is in danger.  < These are > the earmarks of a real    
alcoholic.  Perhaps he can still tend to business fairly well.
He has by no means ruined everything.  As we say among our-   
           He wants to want to stop.                          
selves, "< He wants to want to stop. >"                       

       Three:                                                 
     < Three: > This husband has gone much further than       
                                                  ,           
husband number two.  Though once like number two < >          


 


 110                                                          

he became worse.  His friends have slipped away, his home is  
              ,                                               
a near-wreck < > and he cannot hold a position.  Maybe the    
doctor has been called in, and the weary round of sanitariums 
and hospitals has begun.  He admits he cannot drink like other
people, but does not see why.  He clings to the notion that he
will yet find a way to do so.  He may have come to the point  
where he desperately wants to stop but cannot.  His case pre- 
sents additional questions which we shall try to answer for   
you.  You can be quite hopeful of a situation like this.      

       Four:                                                  
     < Four: > You may have a husband of whom you completely  

despair.  He has been placed in one institution after another.
                                                 ,            
He is violent, or < appears > definitely insane < > when      

drunk.  Sometimes he drinks on the way home from the hospital.

Perhaps he has had delirium tremens.  Doctors < may > shake   
their heads and advise you to have him committed.  Maybe you  
have already been obliged to put him away.  This picture may  
not be as dark as it looks.  Many of our husbands were just   
as far gone.  Yet they got well.                              

     Let's now go back to husband number one.  Oddly enough,  
he is often difficult to deal with.  He enjoys drinking.  It  
stirs his imagination.  His friends feel closer over a high-  
ball.  Perhaps you enjoy drinking with him yourself when he   
doesn't go too far.  You have passed happy evenings together  
chatting and drinking before your fire.  Perhaps you both like
parties which would be dull without liquor.  We have enjoyed  
such evenings ourselves; we had a good time.  We know all     
about liquor as a social lubricant.  Some, but not all of us, 
think it has its advantages when reasonably used.             


 


                                                          111 
      Your husband has begun to abuse alcohol.                
     <                                        >  The first    

principle of success is that you should never be angry.  Even 
                                        ,                     
though your husband becomes unbearable < > and you have to    

leave him temporarily, you should, if you can, go without     
                                       vitally                
rancor.  Patience and good temper are < most  > necessary.    

       The            rule                                    
     < Our > next < thought > is that you should never tell   
                to                                            
 him what < he must > do about his drinking.  If he gets the  

 idea that you are a nag or a killjoy, your chance of accom-  
                           will                               
plishing anything useful < may > be zero.  He will use that   
                       some                                   
as an excuse to drink <    > more.  He will tell you he is    
misunderstood.  This may lead to lonely evenings for you.  He 
may seek someone else to console him – not always another man.

     Be determined that your husband's drinking is not going  
                 relation                                     
to spoil your < relations > with your children or your        
friends.  They need your companionship and your help.  It is  
possible to have a full and useful life, though your husband  
continues to drink.  We know women who are unafraid, even     
       ,                                                      
happy < > under these conditions.  Do not set your heart      
on reforming your husband.  You may be unable to do so, no    
matter how hard you try.                                      

                                        not impossible        
     We know these suggestions are < sometimes difficult >    

to follow, but you will save many a heartbreak if you can     
                                           will               
succeed in observing them.  Your husband < may > come to      
                                                     will     
appreciate your reasonableness and patience.  This < may >    
                          frank and                           
lay the groundwork for a <         > friendly talk about his  
    liquor                                                    
< alcoholic > problem.  Try to have him bring up the subject  
             Besure                                           
himself.  < Be sure > you are not critical during such a dis- 
cussion.  Attempt instead, to put yourself in his place.  Let 
him see that you want to be helpful rather than critical.     

     When a discussion does arise, you might suggest he       


 


 112                                                          
                ,                                             
read this book < > or at at least the chapter on alcoholism.  
Tell him you have been worried, though perhaps needlessly.    
You think he ought to know the subject better, as everyone    
should have a clear understanding of the risk he takes if he  
drinks too much.  Show him you have confidence in his power   
to stop or moderate.  Say you do not want to be a wet blanket;
that you only want him to take care of his health.  Thus you  
may succeed in interesting him in alcoholism.                 

     He probably has several alcoholics among his own acquain-
tances.  You might suggest that you both take an interest in  
them.  Drinkers like to help other drinkers.  Your husband may
                                   , perhaps over a highball  
be willing to talk to one of them <                         >.

     If this kind of approach does not catch your husband's   
                                              for a time      
interest, it may be best to drop the subject <          >, but
after a friendly talk your husband will usually revive the    
topic himself.  This may take patient waiting, but it will be 
worth it.  Meanwhile you might try to help the wife of another
serious drinker.  If you act upon these principles, your hus- 
                           after a while                      
band may stop or moderate <             >.                    

     Suppose, however, that your husband fits the description 
of number two.  The same principles which apply to husband    
number one should be practiced.  But after his next binge,    
ask him if he would really like to get over drinking for good.
Do not ask that he do it for you or anyone else.  Just would  
     like                                                     
he < like > to?                                               

     The chances are he would.  Show him your copy of this    
book and tell him what you have found out about alcoholism.   

Show him that < as alcoholics, > the writers of the book un-  
          as only alcoholics can                              
derstand <                      >.  Tell him some of the in-  

teresting stories you have read.  If you think he will be shy 
    our                                                       
of < a > spiritual remedy, ask him to look at the chapter on  


 


                                                          113 

alcoholism.  Then perhaps he will be interested enough to     
continue.                                                     

                            , cooperate with him, though you, 
     If he is enthusiastic <         your cooperation        >
 yourself, may not yet agree with all we say                  
<          will mean a great deal           >.  If he is luke-
      ,                                                       
warm < > or thinks he is not an alcoholic, < we suggest you > 
                     Never urge                               
leave him alone.  < Avoid urging > him to follow our program. 
                                                       over   
The seed has been planted in his mind.  He knows that <    >  
    a hundred                                                 
< thousands of > men, much like himself, have recovered.  But 

don't remind him of this after he has been drinking, for he   
  will                                                        
< may > be angry.  Sooner or later, you are likely to find him

reading the book once more.  Wait until repeated stumbling    
                                                       ,      
convinces him he must act, for the more you hurry him < >     
the longer his recovery may be delayed.                       

     If you have a number three husband, you may be in luck.  
Being certain he wants to stop, you can go to him with this   
volume as joyfully as though you had struck oil.  He may not  
share your enthusiasm, but he is practically sure to read the 
      ,                                                       
book < > and he may go for the program at once.  If he does   

not, you will probably not have long to wait.  Again, you     
    must                                                      
< should > not crowd him.  Let him decide for himself.  Cheer-
fully see him through more sprees.  Talk about his condition  
or this book only when he raises the issue.  In some cases it 
                                                     doctor   
may be better to let < someone outside > the family <      >  
                    The doctor                                
present the book.  <   They   > can urge action without       
arousing hostility.  If your husband is otherwise a normal    
individual, your chances are good at this stage.              

     You would suppose that men in the fourth classification  
would be quite hopeless, but that is not so.  Many of Alcohol-
ics Anonymous were like that.  Everybody had given them up.   
                                             have             
Defeat seemed certain.  Yet often such men < had > spectacular
and powerful recoveries.                                      


 


 114                                                          

     There are exceptions.  Some men have been so impaired    
by alcohol that they cannot stop.  Sometimes there are cases  
where alcoholism is complicated by other disorders.  A good   
doctor or psychiatrist can tell you whether these compli-     
                                        see that              
cations are serious.  In any event, < try to have > your      
           gets                                               
husband < read > this book.  His reaction may be one of       

enthusiasm.  If he is already committed to an institution     

< , > but can convince you and your doctor that he means      
           you should                                         
business, <          > give him a chance to try our method,   

unless the doctor thinks his mental condition < too >         

abnormal or dangerous.  We make this recommendation with      

some confidence.  < For years we have been working with >     
                                        About a year ago      
< alcoholics committed to institutions.  Since this book >    
   a certain state institution                six chronic     
< was first published, A.A. has > released < thousands of >   

alcoholics < from asylums and hospitals of every kind >.      
 It was fully expected they would all be back in a few weeks. 
<                                                            >
    Only one of them has                The others had        
< The majority have never > returned.  <              >       
 no relapse at all.                                           
<                  >  The power of God goes deep!             

     You may have the reverse situation on your hands.  Per-  
haps you have a husband who is at large, but who should be    
                             ,                                
committed.  Some men cannot < > or will not get over alcohol- 

ism.  When they become too dangerous, we think the kind thing 

is to lock them up < , but of course a good doctor should >   

< always be consulted >.  The wives and children of such men  
                           less                               
suffer horribly, but not < more > than the men themselves.    

The next paragraph appears in the manuscript only.

     As a rule, an institution is a dismal place, and some-   
times it is not conducive to recovery.  It is a pity that     
chronic alcoholics must often mingle with the insane.  Some   
day we hope our group will be instrumental in changing this   
condition.  Many of our husbands spent weary years in insti-  
tutions.  Though more reluctant than most people to place     
our men there, we sometimes suggest that it be done.  Of      
course, a good doctor should always be consulted.             

The previous paragraph appeared only in the manuscript.

     But sometimes you must start life anew.  We know women   
                                              our             
who have done it.  If such women adopt < a spiritual > way    
         ,                                                    
of life < > their road will be smoother.                      


     If your husband is a drinker, you < probably > worry     
                                      .  You                  
over what other people are thinking < and you > hate to meet  
                                                      .       
your friends.  You draw more and more into yourself < and >   
  You                                                         
< you > think everyone is talking about conditions at your    
home.  You avoid the subject of drinking,                     


 


                                                          115 

even with your own parents.  You do not know what to tell the 
children.  When your husband is bad, you become a trembling   
recluse, wishing the telephone had never been invented.       

     We find that most of this embarrassment is unnecessary.  

While you need not discuss your husband < at length >, you    
                                   what       trouble is.     
can quietly let your friends know <    > the < nature of >    
                Sometimes it is wise to talk with his         
< his illness.                                       >        
 employer.                                                    
<         >  But you must be on guard not to embarrass or     
harm your husband.                                            

     When you have carefully explained to such people that    
                      little more to blame than other men     
he is a sick person, <                                   >    
 who drink but manage their liquor better,                    
<                                         > you will have     
created a new atmosphere.  Barriers which have sprung up      
between you and your friends will disappear with the growth   
of sympathetic understanding.  You will no longer be self-    
           , nor                                              
conscious <  or > feel that you must apologize as though your 

husband were a weak character.  He may be anything but that.  
                               ,                              
Your new courage, good nature < > and lack of selfconscious-  
                          your social status                  
ness will do wonders for < you socially     >.                

     The same principle applies in dealing with the children. 
Unless they actually need protection from their father, it is 
best not to take sides in any argument he has with them while 
drinking.  Use your energies to promote a better understanding
all around.  Then that terrible tension which grips the home  
of every problem drinker will be lessened.                    


     Frequently < , > you have felt obliged to tell your hus- 
band's employer and his friends that he was sick, when as a   
matter of fact he was tight.  Avoid answering these inquiries 
as much as you can.  Whenever possible, let your husband ex-  
plain.  Your desire to protect him should not cause you to    
               ,                                              
lie to people < > when they have a right to know where he is  
and what he is doing.                                         


 


 116                                                          

Discuss this with him when he is sober and in good spirits.   
         to promise that he will not place                    
Ask him < what you should do if he places > you in such a     
position again.  But be careful not to be resentful about     
the last time he did so.                                      

                                               are            
     There is another paralyzing fear.  You < may be > afraid 
your husband will lose his position; you are thinking of the  
disgrace and hard times which will befall you and the child-  
ren.  This experience may come to you.  Or you may already    
have had it several times.  Should it happen again, regard it 
in a different light.  Maybe it will prove a blessing!  It may
convince your husband he wants to stop drinking forever.  And 
now you know that he can stop if he will!  Time after time,   
this apparent calamity has been a boon to us, for it opened up
a path which led to the discovery of God.                     

     We have elsewhere remarked how much better life is when  
lived on a spiritual plane.  If God can solve the age-old     
                        he                                    
riddle of alcoholism, < He > can solve your problems too.  We 

wives found that, like everybody else, we were afflicted with 
                          ,                                   
pride, self-pity, vanity < > and all the things which go      
to make up the self-centered person; and we were not above    
selfishness or dishonesty.  As our husbands began to apply    
spiritual principles in their lives, we began to see the      
desirability of doing so too.                                 

                                           that               
     At first, some of us did not believe <    > we needed    
this help.  We thought, on the whole, we were pretty good     
women, capable of being nicer if our husbands stopped drink-  
ing.  But it was a silly idea that we were too good to need   
God.  Now we try to put spiritual principles to work in every 
department of our lives.  When we do that, we find it solves  
                   :                                          
our problems too < ; > the ensuing lack of fear, worry and    
hurt feelings is a wonderful                                  


 


                                                          117 

thing.  We urge you to try our program, for nothing will be   
so helpful to your husband as the radically changed attitude  
toward him which God will show you how to have.  Go along     
with your husband if you possibly can.                        

     If you and your husband find a solution for the pressing 
                  ,                                           
problem of drink < > you are, of course, going to be very     
happy.  But all problems will not be solved at once.  Seed    
has started to sprout in a new soil, but growth has only      
begun.  In spite of your new-found happiness, there will be   
ups and downs.  Many of the old problems will still be with   
you.  This is as it should be.                                

     The faith and sincerity of both you and your husband     
                           You must regard these              
will be put to the test.  <         These       > work-outs   

< should be regarded > as part of your education, for thus    
                              as you were intended to live    
you will be learning to live <                            >.  
                                                   ,          
You will make mistakes, but if you are in earnest < > they    
will not drag you down.  Instead, you will capitalize them.   
A better way of life will emerge when they are overcome.      

     Some of the snags you will encounter are irritation,     
                 ,                                            
hurt feelings < and > resentments.  Your husband will some-   
                       ,                                      
times be unreasonable < > and you will want to criticize.     
Starting from a speck on the domestic horizon, great thunder- 
clouds of dispute may gather.  These family dissensions are   
very dangerous, especially to your husband.  Often you must   
carry the burden of avoiding them or keeping them under con-  
trol.  Never forget that resentment is a deadly hazard to an  
alcoholic.  We do not mean that you have to agree with your   
          wherever                                            
husband < whenever > there is an honest difference of opinion.
Just be careful not to disagree in a resentful or critical    
spirit.                                                       


 


 118                                                          

     You and your husband will find that you can dispose of   
serious problems easier than you can the trivial ones.  Next  
time you and he have a heated discussion, no matter what the  
subject, it should be the privilege of either to smile and    
say, "This is getting serious.  I'm sorry I got disturbed.    
Let's talk about it later."  If your husband is trying to     
live on a spiritual basis, he will also be doing everything   
in his power to avoid disagreement or contention.             

     Your husband knows he owes you more than sobriety.  He   
wants to make good.  Yet you must not expect too much.  His   
ways of thinking and doing are the habits of years.  Patience 
                          ,                 your              
tolerance, understanding < > and love are < the > watchwords. 
Show him these things in yourself and they will be reflected  
back to you from him.  Live and let live is the rule.  If you 
both show a willingness to remedy your own defects, there will
be little need to criticize each other.                       

     We women carry with us a picture of the ideal man, the   
sort of chap we would like our husbands to be.  It is the most
natural thing in the world, once his liquor problem is solved,
to feel that he will now measure up to that cherished vision. 
                             ,                                
The chances are he will not < > for < , > like yourself,      
he is just beginning his development.  Be patient.            

     Another feeling we are very likely to entertain is one of
resentment that love and loyalty could not cure our husbands  
of alcoholism.  We do not like the thought that the contents  
           ,                                    ,             
of a book < > or the work of another alcoholic < > has accom- 
                             the end                          
accomplished in a few weeks <  that > for which we struggled  
for years.  At such moments we forget that alcoholism is an   
illness over which we could not possibly have had any power.  
Your husband will                                             


 


                                                          119 

be the first to say it was your devotion and care which       
brought him to the point where he could have a spiritual      
experience.  Without you he would have gone to pieces long    

ago.  When resentful thoughts come, < try to > pause and      

count your blessings.  After all, your family is reunited,    
                                ,                             
alcohol is no longer a problem < > and you and your husband   
are working together toward an undreamed-of future.           

     Still another difficulty is that you may become jealous  
of the attention he bestows on other people, especially alco- 
holics.  You have been starving for his companionship, yet he 
spends long hours helping other men and their families.  You  
                                                     must     
feel he should now be yours.  The fact is that he < should >  

he < should > work with other people to maintain his own      
sobriety.  Sometimes he will be so interested that he becomes 
really neglectful.  Your house is filled with strangers.  You 
may not like some of them.  He gets stirred up about their    
                                                      no      
troubles, but not at all about yours.  It will do < little >  

good if you point that out and urge more attention for your-  
             It is                    if you                  
self.  < We find it > a real mistake <  to  > dampen his en-  

thusiasm for alcoholic work.  You should join in his efforts  
                                           Direct             
as much as you possibly can.  < We suggest that you direct >  
some of your thought to the wives of his new alcoholic        
friends.  They need the counsel and love of a woman who has   
gone through what you have.                                   

     It is probably true that you and your husband have been  
                                        almost isolated       
living too much alone, for drinking < many times isolates >   
        many of us                                            
< the wife of an alcoholic >.  Therefore, you < probably >    
need fresh interests and a great cause to live for as much    
as your husband.  If you cooperate, rather than complain,     
you will find that his excess enthusiasm will tone down.      
Both of you will awaken to a new                              


 


 120                                                          

sense of responsibility for others.  You, as well as your hus-
           must                                         ,     
band, < ought to > think of what you can put into life < >    
instead of how much you can take out.  Inevitably your lives  
will be fuller for doing so.  You will lose the old life to   
find one much better.                                         

     Perhaps your husband will make a fair start on the new   
                                                 ,            
basis, but just as things are going beautifully < > he dismays
      be                                                      
you < by > coming home drunk.  If you are satisfied he really 

wants to get over drinking, you need not be alarmed.  Though  

it is infinitely better < that > he have no relapse at all,   
as has been true with many of our men, it is by no means a    
bad thing in some cases.  Your husband will see at once that  
he must redouble his spiritual activities if he expects to    
           If he adopts this view, the  slip will help him.   
survive.  <                                                >  
You need not remind him of his spiritual deficiency – he will 
know of it.  Cheer him up and ask him how you can be still    
more helpful.                                                 

      Even your hatred must go.                               
     <                         >  The slightest sign of fear  
                 will                                         
or intolerance < may > lessen your husband's chance of reco-  
very.  In a weak moment he may take your dislike of his high- 
stepping friends as one of those insanely trivial excuses to  
drink.                                                        

          Never                             his           ,   
     < We never >, never try to arrange < a man's > life < >  
so as to shield him from temptation.  The slightest disposi-  
tion on your part to guide his appointments or his affairs so 
he will not be tempted will be noticed.  Make him feel abso-  
lutely free to come and go as he likes.  This is important.   
If he gets drunk, don't blame yourself.  God has either re-   
                                              ,               
either removed your husband's liquor problem < > or He has    
not.  If not, it had better be found out right away.  Then    
you and your husband can get right down to fundamentals.      
If a repetition is to be prevented, place the problem,        
along with everything else, in God's hands.                   


 


                                                          121 

     We realize < that > we have been giving you much         
                                             "preachy"        
direction and advice.  We may have seemed < to lecture >.     
                                              ,               
If that is so we are sorry, for we ourselves < > don't        
                                   preach                     
< always > care for people who < lecture us >.  But what we   
have related is based upon experience, some of it painful.    
We had to learn these things the hard way.  That is why we    

are anxious that you understand, < and > that you avoid       
these unnecessary difficulties.                               

     So to you out there – who may soon be with us – we       
say "Good luck and God bless you!"                            


e-aa discussion of To Wives


The Family Afterward (comparison)

Comparing “The Family Afterward” to the original manuscript for our Basic Text


Comparison Format — Colors appear here only and are — — not used in the actual comparisons. — Words above brackets are from the pre-publication version. < Bracketed copy is from our Basic Text as it reads today. > ~ Format Examples ~
Rarely have we < RARELY HAVE WE > seen a person fail who has thoroughly directions followed our < path >...
~ ~ ~
Now we think you can take it! < — — — — — > Here are the steps we took...
~ ~ ~
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our — — — — — — < conscious > contact with God < as we understood Him >...
~ ~ ~


Chapter 9 < Chapter 9 > THE FAMILY AFTERWARD
OUR WOMEN FOLK < Our women folk > have suggested certain attitudes a wife may take with the husband who is recovering. Perhaps they created the impression that he is to be wrapped in cotton wool and placed on a pedestal. Successful readjustment means must the opposite. All members of the family < should > meet upon the common ground of tolerance, understanding and love. This involves a process of deflation. The alcoholic, his wife, his children, his "in-laws," each one is likely to have fixed ideas about the family's attitude towards himself or herself. Each is interested in having his or her wishes respected. The < We find the > more one member of the family demands that other the < others > concede to him, the more resentful they become. This makes for discord and unhappiness. Any < And > why? Is it not because each wants to play the lead? Is not each trying to arrange the family show to his liking? Is he not unconsciously trying to see what he can , take from the family life < > rather than give? Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from the a highly strained, abnormal condition. A doctor said < > other day < to us >, "Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. The entire family is, to some extent, ill." Let families realize, as they start their journey, that all will not be fair weather. Each in his turn will will < may > be footsore and < may > straggle.

 


                                                          123 

There will be alluring shortcuts and by-paths down which      
they may wander and lose their way.                           

     Suppose we tell you some of the obstacles a family will  
meet; suppose we suggest how they may be avoided – even con-  
verted to good use for others.  The family of an alcoholic    
longs for the return of happiness and security.  They remember
when father was romantic, thoughtful and successful.  Today's 
life is measured against that of other years and, when it     
falls short, the family may be unhappy.                       

     Family confidence in dad is rising high.  The good old   
days will soon be back, they think.  Sometimes they demand    
that dad bring them back instantly!  God, they believe, almost
owes this recompense on a long overdue account.  But the head 
of the house has spent years in pulling down the structures of
business, romance, friendship, health – these things are now  
ruined or damaged.  It will take time to clear away the wreck.
Though old buildings will eventually be replaced by finer     
ones, the new structures will take years to complete.         

     Father knows he is to blame; it may take him many seasons
of hard work to be restored financially, but he shouldn't be  
reproached.  Perhaps he will never have much money again.  But
the wise family will admire him for what he is trying to be,  
rather than for what he is trying to get.                     

     Now and then the family will be plagued by spectres from 
the past, for the drinking career of almost every alcoholic   
                                                            , 
has been marked by escapades, funny, humiliating, shameful < >
or tragic.  The first impulse will be to bury these skeletons 
in a dark closet and padlock the door.  The family may be     
  obsessed with                                               
< possessed by > the idea                                     


 


 124                                                          

that future happiness can be based only upon forgetfulness of 
                     Such                    quite            
the past.  < We think that such > a view is <     > self-cen- 
                                                    life      
tered and in direct conflict with the new way of < living >.  

     Henry Ford once made a wise remark to the effect that    
experience is the thing of supreme value in life.  That is    
true only if one is willing to turn the past to good account. 
We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and     
convert them into assets.  The alcoholic's past thus becomes  
                                   ,                          
the principal asset of the family < > and frequently it is    

< almost > the only one!                                      

     This painful past may be of infinite value to other fami-
lies still struggling with their problem.  We think each fami-
                                                    which     
ly which has been relieved owes something to those < who >    

have not, and when the occasion requires, each member of it   
 who has found God,                                           
<                  > should be only too willing to bring      
former mistakes, no matter how grievous, out of their         
hiding places.  Showing others who suffer how we were         
       victory,                                               
given <  help  > is the very thing which makes life seem      
so worth while to us now.  Cling to the thought that, in God's
hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – the
key to life and happiness for others.  With it you can avert  
death and misery for them.                                    

     It is possible to dig up past misdeeds so they become    
a blight, a veritable plague.  For example, we know of        
situations in which the alcoholic or his wife have had love   
affairs.  In the first flush of spiritual experience they     
forgave each other and drew closer together.  The miracle of  
reconciliation was at hand.  Then, under one provocation or   
another, the aggrieved one would unearth the old affair and   
angrily cast its ashes about.  A few of us have had these     
growing pains and they                                        


 


                                                          125 

hurt a great deal.  Husbands and wives have sometimes been    
obliged to separate for a time until new perspective, new     
                         ,              rewon                 
victory over hurt pride < > could be < re-won >.  In most     

cases, the alcoholic survived this ordeal without relapse,    
                     our rule is                              
but not always.  So < we think  > that unless some good and   
                                                     are      
useful purpose is to be served, past occurrences < should >   

not < be > discussed.                                         

                                           have               
     We families of Alcoholics Anonymous < keep > few         
           secrets                            all             
< skeletons in the closet >.  Everyone knows <   > about      
           everyone else                                      
< the others' alcoholic troubles >.  This is a condition      
                                                      .       
which, in ordinary life, would produce untold grief < ; >     
  There would                                                 
< there might > be scandalous gossip, laughter at the expense 
of other people, and a tendency to take advantage of intimate 
information.  Among us, these are rare occurrences.           

This paragraph break appears in the manuscript only.

     We do talk about each other a great deal < , > but < we >

almost invariably temper such talk by a spirit of love and    
             We discuss another's shortcomings in the hope    
tolerance.  <                                             >   
 that some new idea of helpfulness may come out of the        
<                                                     >       
 conversation.  The cynic might say we are good because       
<                                                      >      
 we have to be.                                               
<              >                                              

                  rule                                        
     Another < principle > we observe carefully is that we do 
not relate intimate experiences of another person unless we   
are sure he would approve.  We find it better, when possible, 
to stick to our own stories.  A man may criticize or laugh at 
himself and it will affect others favorably, but criticism or 
          of him                                              
ridicule <      > coming from another often produces the con- 
trary effect.  Members of a family should watch such matters  
carefully, for one careless, inconsiderate remark has been    
known to raise the very devil.  We alcoholics are sensitive   
people.  It takes some of us a long time to outgrow that      
serious handicap.                                             

       Most                                                   
     < Many > alcoholics are enthusiasts.  They run to        
extremes.  At the beginning of recovery a man will take,      
as a rule, one of two directions.  He may either plunge       
into a frantic attempt to get on his feet in business, or     


 


 126                                                          

he may be so enthralled by his new life that he talks or      
thinks of little else.  In either case certain family problems
will arise.  With these we have had experience galore.        

         pointed out the danger he runs                       
     We <      think it dangerous      > if he rushes headlong
at his economic problem.  The family will be affected also,   
pleasantly at first, as they feel their money troubles are    

< about > to be solved, then not so pleasantly as they find   
themselves neglected.  Dad may be tired at night and preoccu- 
pied by day.  He may take small interest in the children and  
may show irritation when reproved for his delinquencies.  If  
not irritable, he may seem dull and boring, not gay and affec-
         ,                                                    
tionate < > as the family would like him to be.  Mother may   

complain of inattention.  They are all disappointed, and      
   soon                                                       
< often > let him feel it.  Beginning with such complaints,   
a barrier arises.  He is straining every nerve to make up for 
lost time.  He is striving to recover fortune and reputation  
      thinks                                                  
and < feels > he is doing very well.                          

             Mother                                           
     < Sometimes mother > and children don't think so.  Having
      wantonly                                                
been <        > neglected and misused in the past, they think 
father owes them more than they are getting.  They want him to
make a fuss over them.  They expect him to give them the nice 

times they used to have before he drank < so much >, and to   
show his contrition for what they suffered.  But dad doesn't  
give freely of himself.  Resentment grows.  He becomes still  
less communicative.  Sometimes he explodes over a trifle.  The
family is mystified.  They criticize, pointing out how he is  
falling down on his spiritual program.                        

                          must be stopped                     
     This sort of thing < can be avoided >.  Both father and  
                   wrong                                      
the family are < mistaken >, though each side may have some   
justification.  It is of little use to argue and only         


 


                                                          127 

makes the impasse worse.  The family must realize that dad,   
                                         a sick man           
though marvelously improved, is still < convalescing >.  They 
          thank God                                           
should < be thankful > he is sober and able to be of this     
world once more.  Let them praise his progress.  Let them     
remember that his drinking wrought all kinds of damage that   
may take long to repair.  If they sense these things, they    
will not take so seriously his periods of crankiness, depres- 

sion < , > or apathy, which will disappear when there is      
tolerance, love, and spiritual understanding.                 

     The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly
to blame for what befell his home.  He can scarcely square the
account in his lifetime.  But he must see the danger of over- 
concentration on financial success.  Although financial reco- 
very is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place
money first.  For us, material well-being always followed     
spiritual progress; it never preceded.                        

     Since the home has suffered more than anything else, it  
is well that a man exert himself there.  He is not likely to  
get far in any direction if he fails to show unselfishness and
love under his own roof.  We know there are difficult wives   
and families, but the man who is getting over alcoholism must 
          they are sick folk too, and that                    
remember <                                > he did much to    
           worse                                              
make them < so  >.                                            

     As each member of a resentful family begins to see his   
shortcomings and admits them to the others, he lays a basis   
for helpful discussion.  These family talks will be construc- 
tive if they can be carried on without heated argument, self- 
                          ,                                   
pity, self-justification < > or resentful criticism.  Little  
by little, mother and children will see they ask too much,    
and father will see he gives too                              


 


 128                                                          

little.  Giving, rather than getting, will become the guiding 
principle.                                                    

                      now                                     
     Assume < on the other hand > that father has, at the out-

set, a stirring spiritual experience.  Overnight, as it were, 
           changed                                            
he is a < different > man.  He becomes a religious enthusiast.
He is unable to focus on anything else.  As soon as his sobri-
ety begins to be taken as a matter of course, the family may  
look at their strange new dad with apprehension, then with    
irritation.  There is talk about spiritual matters morning,   
                                                         for  
noon and night.  He may demand that the family find God <   > 
 themselves                                                   
<          > in a hurry, or exhibit amazing indifference to   

them and say he is above worldly considerations.  He < may >  
  tells                                                       
< tell > mother, who has been religious all her life, that she
doesn't know what it's all about, and that she had better get 
his brand of spirituality while there is yet time.            

     When father takes this tack, the family may react un-    
favorably.  They may be jealous of a God who has stolen dad's 
affections.  While grateful that he drinks no more, they      
   do                                                         
< may > not like the idea that God has accomplished the mira-

cle where they failed.  They often forget father was beyond   
                    do                                        
human aid.  They < may > not see why their love and devotion  
did not straighten him out.  Dad is not so spiritual after    
all, they say.  If he means to right his past wrongs, why all 
this concern for everyone in the world but his family?  What  
about his talk that God will take care of them?  They suspect 
father is a bit balmy!                                        

     He is not so unbalanced as they might think.  Many of us 
have experienced dad's elation.  We have indulged in spiritual
                                  prospectors belts           
intoxication.  Like < a > gaunt < prospector, belt > drawn in 
       our                                                    
over < the > last ounce of food, our pick struck gold.  Joy at
our release from a lifetime of                                


 


                                                          129 
                                       sees                   
frustration knew no bounds.  Father < feels > he has struck   
something better than gold.  For a time he may try to hug the 
new treasure to himself.  He may not see at once that he has  
barely scratched a limitless lode which will pay dividends    
only if he mines it for the rest of his life and insists on   
giving away the entire product.                               

     If the family cooperates, dad will soon see that he is   
suffering from a distortion of values.  He will perceive that 
his spiritual growth is lopsided, that for an average man like
himself, a spiritual life which does not include his family   
obligations may not be so perfect after all.  If the family   
will appreciate that dad's current behavior is but a phase of 
his development, all will be well.  In the midst of an under- 
standing and sympathetic family, these vagaries of dad's      
spiritual infancy will quickly disappear.                     

     The opposite may happen should the family condemn and    
criticize.  Dad may feel that for years his drinking has      
placed him on the wrong side of every argument, but that now  
                                 ,                            
he has become a superior person < > with God on his side.     
If the family persists in criticism, this fallacy may take a  
still greater hold on father.  Instead of treating the family 
as he should, he may retreat further into himself and feel he 
has spiritual justification for so doing.                     

     Though the family does not fully agree with dad's spirit-
                                     assume leadership        
ual activities, they should let him <  have his head  >.      
Even if he displays a certain amount of neglect and irrespon- 
sibility towards the family, it is well to let him go as far  
as he likes in helping other alcoholics.  During those first  
days of convalescence, this will do more to insure his sobri- 
ety than anything else.  Though                               


 


 130                                                          

some of his manifestations are alarming and disagreeable,     

< we think > dad will be on a firmer foundation than the man  
who is placing business or professional success ahead of      
spiritual development.  He will be less likely to drink again,
and anything is preferable to that.                           

     Those of us who have spent much time in the world of     
spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness  
of it.  This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of
purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power  
                                                God           
of God in our lives.  We have come to believe < He > would    

like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that    
                                              , nevertheless  
our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth <              >.
That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where     
our work must be done.  These are the realities for us.  We   
have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual  
            ,                                                 
experience < > and a life of sane and happy usefulness.       

     One more suggestion: Whether the family has spiritual    
convictions or not, they may do well to examine the principles
by which the alcoholic member is trying to live.  They can    
hardly fail to approve these simple principles, though the    
head of the house still fails somewhat in practicing them.    
Nothing will help the man who is off on a spiritual tangent   
                                   the self-same              
so much as the wife who adopts < a sane spiritual > program,  
making a better practical use of it.                          

                    still                                     
     There will be <     > other profound changes in the      
household.  Liquor incapacitated father for so many years that
mother became head of the house.  She met these responsibili- 

ties gallantly.  By force of circumstances, she was < often > 

obliged to treat father as a sick or wayward child.  Even when
                             ,                                
he wanted to assert himself < >                               


 


                                                          131 

he could not, for his drinking placed him constantly in the   
wrong.  Mother made all the plans and gave the directions.    
When sober, father usually obeyed.  Thus mother, through no   
fault of her own, became accustomed to wearing the family     
trousers.  Father, coming suddenly to life again, often begins
to assert himself.  This means trouble, unless the family     
                                                  come        
watches for these tendencies in each other and < comes > to   
a friendly agreement about them.                              

                                                           ,  
     Drinking isolates most homes from the outside world < . >
 so the family was used to having father around a great deal. 
<                                                            >
     He                                                       
< Father > may have laid aside for years all normal activities
– clubs, civic duties, sports.  When he renews interest in    
such things, a feeling of jealousy may arise.  The family may 
feel they hold a mortgage on dad, so big that no equity should
be left for outsiders.  Instead of developing new channels of 
                                              may             
activity for themselves, mother and children <   > demand that
he stay home and make up the deficiency.                      

     At the very beginning, the couple ought to frankly face  
                                                      ,       
the fact that each will have to yield here and there < > if   
the family is going to play an effective part in the new life.
Father will necessarily spend much time with other alcoholics,
but this activity should be balanced.  New acquaintances who  
know nothing of alcoholism might be made and thoughtful consi-
deration given their needs.  The problems of the community    
might engage attention.  Though the family has no religious   
                       do well                        ,       
connections, they may < wish  > to make contact with < > or   
take membership in a religious body.                          

     Alcoholics who have derided religious people will        
 sometimes                                                    
<         > be helped by such contacts.  Being possessed of   
a spiritual experience, the alcoholic will find he has much   
in common with these people, though he may                    


 


 132                                                          

differ with them on many matters.  If he does not argue       
 and forget that men find God in many ways                    
<               about religion            >, he will make     
             ,                                                
new friends < > and is sure to find new avenues of usefulness 
and pleasure.  He and his family can be a bright spot in such 
congregations.  He may bring new hope and new courage to many 
a priest, minister, or rabbi, who gives his all to minister to
our troubled world.  We intend the foregoing as a helpful sug-
gestion only.  So far as we are concerned, there is nothing   
                          a                        group      
obligatory about it.  As < > non-denominational < people >, we
                    people's                                  
we cannot make up < others' > minds for them.  Each individual
   must                                                       
< should > consult his own conscience.                        

     We have been speaking to you of serious, sometimes tra-  
gic things.  We have been dealing with alcohol in its worst   
aspect.  But we aren't a glum lot.  If newcomers could see no 
joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it.  We abso- 
lutely insist on enjoying life.  We try not to indulge in     
cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the   
world's troubles on our shoulders.  When we see a man sinking 
                                                    and       
in the mire that is alcoholism, we give him first < aid > and 
       everything                                             
place <   what   > we have at his disposal.  For his sake, we 
do recount and almost relive the horrors of our past.  But    
those of us who have tried to shoulder the entire burden and  
                   ,                                          
trouble of others < > find we are soon overcome by them.      

     So we think cheerfulness and laughter make for useful-   
ness.  Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into     
merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. 
                                  are the victors             
But why shouldn't we laugh?  We < have recovered >, and have  
been given the power to help others.                          

     Everybody knows that those in bad health, and those who  
seldom play, do not laugh much.  So let                       


 


                                                          133 

each family play together or separately, as much as their     
circumstances warrant.  We are sure God wants us to be happy, 
             released                                         
joyous, and <  free  >.  We cannot subscribe to the belief    
that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just    
that for many of us.  But it is clear that we made our own    
misery.  God didn't do it.  Avoid then, the deliberate manu-  
                    and when                                  
facture of misery, < but if > trouble comes, cheerfully capi- 
talize it is an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.   

     Now about health: A body badly burned by alcohol does    
                             ,                                
not often recover overnight < > nor do twisted thinking and   
depression vanish in a twinkling.  We are convinced that a    
spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restora-   
tive.  We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are      
                                         also                 
miracles of mental health.  But we have <    > seen remarkable
transformations in our bodies.  Hardly one of our crowd now   
shows any mark of dissipation.                                

     But this does not mean that we disregard human health    
measures.  God has abundantly supplied this world with fine   
doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds.   
                                                      a       
Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such < >      
   person                                                     
< persons >.  Most of them give freely of themselves, that    
their fellows may enjoy sound minds and bodies.  Try to remem-
ber that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should  
never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist.  Their services 

are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and < in >     
following his case afterward.                                 

This next paragraph does not appear in the original.

     One of the many doctors who had the opportunity of       
reading this book in manuscript form told us that the use     
of sweets was often helpful, of course depending upon a       
doctor's advice.  He though all alcoholics                    


 


 134                                                          

should constantly have chocolate available for its quick      
energy value at times of fatigue.  He added that occasionally 
in the night a vague craving arose which would be satisfied by
candy.  Many of us have noticed a tendency to eat sweets and  
have found this practice beneficial.                          

The previous paragraph did not appear in the original.

     A word about sex relations.  Alcohol is so sexually      
stimulating to some men that they have over-indulged.         
Couples are occasionally dismayed to find that when drinking  
            ,                                                 
is stopped < > the man tends to be impotent.  Unless the      
reason is understood, there may be an emotional upset.  Some  
of us had this experience, only to enjoy, in a few months,    
a finer intimacy than ever.  There should be no hesitancy     
                                            this              
in consulting a doctor or psychologist if < the > condition   
                                any case                      
persists.  We do not know of < many cases > where this        
difficulty lasted long.                                       

     The alcoholic may find it hard to re-establish friendly  
relations with his children.  Their young minds were impres-  
sionable while he was drinking.  Without saying so, they may  
cordially hate him for what he has done to them and to their  
              poor                                            
mother.  The <    > children are sometimes dominated by a     
pathetic hardness and cynicism.  They cannot seem to forgive  
and forget.  This may hang on for months, long after their    
mother has accepted dad's new way of living and thinking.     

      Father had better be sparing of his correction and      
     <                                                  >     
 criticism of them while they are in this frame of mind.      
<                                                       >     
 He had better not urge his new way of life on them too       
<                                                      >      
 soon.                                                        
<     >  In time they will see that he is a new man and in    

their own way they will let him know it.  When this happens,  
                                                     ,        
they can be invited to join in morning meditation < and > then
they can take part in the daily discussion without rancor or  
bias.  From that point on, progress will be rapid.  Marvelous 
results often follow such a reunion.                          


 


                                                          135 

     Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not,     
                                  must                        
the alcoholic member < has to if he would recover >.  The     
                          by his changed life            a    
others must be convinced < of his new status > beyond < the > 
                     He must lead the way.                    
shadow of a doubt.  <                     >  Seeing is belie- 
ving to most families who have lived with a drinker.          

     Here is a case in point: One of our friends is a heavy   
smoker and coffee drinker.  There was no doubt he overindul-  
ged.  Seeing this, and meaning to be helpful, his wife commen-
ced to admonish him about it.  He admitted he was overdoing   
these things, but frankly said that he was not ready to stop. 
                                               feel           
His wife is one of those persons who really < feels > there   
is something rather sinful about these commodities, so she    
nagged, and her intolerance finally threw him into a fit of   
anger.  He got drunk.                                         

     Of course our friend was wrong – dead wrong.  He had to  
painfully admit that and mend his spiritual fences.  Though   
he is now a most effective member of Alcoholics Anonymous,    
                 cigarettes                                   
he still smokes <          > and drinks coffee, but neither   
his wife nor anyone else stands in judgment.  She sees she    
was wrong to make a burning issue out of such a matter when   
his more serious ailments were being rapidly cured.           

      First things first!              two                    
     <                   >  We have < three > little mottoes  
                                    "LIVE AND LET LIVE"       
which are apropos.  Here they are: <                   >      
 and "EASY DOES IT".                                          
<                   >                                         

< First Things First >
< Live and Let Live >
< Easy Does It. >   


e-aa discussion of The Family Afterward


To Employers (comparison)

Comparing “To Employers” to the original manuscript for our Basic Text


Comparison Format — Colors appear here only and are — — not used in the actual comparisons. — Words above brackets are from the pre-publication version. < Bracketed copy is from our Basic Text as it reads today. > ~ Format Examples ~
Rarely have we < RARELY HAVE WE > seen a person fail who has thoroughly directions followed our < path >...
~ ~ ~
Now we think you can take it! < — — — — — > Here are the steps we took...
~ ~ ~
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our — — — — — — < conscious > contact with God < as we understood Him >...
~ ~ ~


Chapter 10 < Chapter 10 > TO EMPLOYERS
One of our friends, whose gripping story you have < AMONG MANY employers nowadays, we think of one member > read, < who > has spent much of his life in the world of big busi- ness. He has hired and fired hundreds of men. He knows the alcoholic as the employer sees him. His present views ought to prove exceptionally useful to business men everywhere. But let him tell you: I was at one time assistant manager of a corporation de- partment employing sixty-six hundred men. One day my secre- tary came in saying that Mr. B– insisted on speaking with me. I told her to say that I was not interested. I had warned this man < him > several times that he had but one more chance. Not long afterward he had called me from Hartford on two successive days, so drunk he could hardly speak. I told him he was through – finally and forever. My secretary returned to say that it was not Mr. B– on the phone; it was Mr. B–'s brother, and he wished to give me a message. I still expected a plea for clemency, but these words came through the receiver: "I just wanted to tell you Paul jumped from a hotel window in Hartford last Saturday. He left us a note saying you were the best boss he ever had, and that you were not to blame in any way." Another time, as I opened a letter which lay on my

 


                                                          137 

desk, a newspaper clipping fell out.  It was the obituary     
of one of the best salesman I ever had.  After two weeks      
                                 foot                         
of drinking, he had placed his < toe > on the trigger of      
a loaded shotgun – the barrel was in his mouth.  I had        
discharged him for drinking six weeks before.                 

     Still another experience: A woman's voice came faintly   
over long distance from Virginia.  She wanted to know if her  
husband's company insurance was still in force.  Four days    
before he had hanged himself in his woodshed.  I had been     
obliged to discharge him for drinking, though he was brilli-  
ant, alert, and one of the best organizers I had ever known.  

     Here were three exceptional men lost to this world       

because I did not understand < alcoholism > as I do now.      
      Then                                                    
< What irony – > I became an alcoholic myself!  And but for   
the intervention of an understanding person, I might have     
followed in their footsteps.  My downfall cost the business   
community unknown thousands of dollars, for it takes real     
money to train a man for an executive position.  This kind    
                                  Our                         
of waste goes on unabated.  < We think the > business fabric  
                          it and nothing will stop it but     
is shot through with < a situation which might be helped by > 
better understanding all around.                              

      You, an employer, want to understand.                   
     <                                     >  Nearly every    

modern employer feels a moral responsibility for the well-    
                           usually                            
being of his help, and he <       > tries to meet these       
responsibilities.  That he has not always done so for the     
alcoholic is easily understood.  To him the alcoholic has     
              to be                                           
often seemed <     > a fool of the first magnitude.  Because  
of the employee's special ability, or of his own strong per-  
sonal attachment to him, the employer has sometimes kept such 
                           the time he ordinarily would       
a man at work long beyond <    a reasonable period     >.     
                                                More often,   
Some employers have tried every known remedy.  <  In only  >  
     however,                                                 
< a few instances >                                           


 


 138                                                          
                is very little                                
< has > there < been a lack of > patience and tolerance.  And 
we, who have imposed on the best of employers, can scarcely   
blame them if they have been short with us.                   

     Here, for instance, is a typical example: An officer of  
one of the largest banking institutions in America knows I no 
longer drink.  One day he told me about an executive of the   
           ,                                                  
same bank < > who, from his description, was undoubtedly alco-

holic.  This seemed to me like an opportunity to be helpful   
  .  So           a good                                      
< , so > I spent <      > two hours talking about alcoholism, 
             .  I                                supported my 
the malady < , and > described the symptoms and <            >
 statements with plenty of evidence                           
<   results as well as I could     >.  His comment was, "Very 

interesting.  But I'm sure this man is done drinking.  He has 
                       three-months'                          
just returned from a < three-months > leave of absence, has   
taken a cure, looks fine, and to clinch the matter, the board 
of directors told him this was his last chance."              

      My rejoinder was that if I could afford it, I would bet 
     <   The only answer I could make was that if the man    >
   him a hundred to one the man                               
< followed the usual pattern, he  > would go on a bigger bust 
                                                 that         
than ever.  I felt this was inevitable and < wondered if > the
                     a possible                               
the bank was doing < the man an > injustice.  Why not bring   
 the man in                                                   
< him into > contact with some of our alcoholic crowd?        

He might have a chance.  I pointed out < that > I had had     
nothing to drink whatever for three years, and this in the    
face of difficulties that would have made nine out of ten     
men drink their heads off.  Why not at least afford him an    
                                     no",                     
opportunity to hear my story?  "Oh < no," > said my friend,   
"this chap is either through with liquor, or he is minus a    
job.  If he has your will power and guts, he will make the    
grade."                                                       

     I wanted to throw my hands up in discouragement, for     
            my banking acquaintance had missed the point      
I saw that <   I had failed to help my banker friend    >     
   entirely                                                   
< understand >.  He simply could not believe that his         


 


                                                          139 
                                     deadly malady            
brother-executive suffered from a < serious illness >.        
There was nothing to do but wait.                             

                                     , of course,             
     Presently the man did slip and <            > was fired. 
                          our group                           
Following his discharge, <   we    > contacted him.  Without  
                                our                           
Without much ado, he accepted < the > principles and procedure
                                                   high       
< that had helped us >.  He is undoubtedly on the <    > road 
                                                a lack of     
to recovery.  To me, this incident illustrates <         >    
 understanding and knowledge on the part of  employers –      
<                                                       >     
lack of understanding as to what really ails the alcoholic,   
and lack of knowledge as to what part employers might profi-  
tably take in salvaging their sick employees.                 

      To begin with, I think you employers would do           
     <      If you desire to help it might be      > well     
                                experience                    
to disregard your own drinking <          >, or lack of it.   
                                                    ,         
Whether you are a hard drinker, a moderate drinker < > or     
                   have but little notion of the inner        
a teetotaler, you <                                   >       
 workings of the alcoholic mind.  Instead, you                
<                                             > may have      
                                                 , based      
some pretty strong opinions, perhaps prejudices <       >     
 upon your own experiences           of you                   
<                         >.  Those <      > who drink        
            are almost certain to                             
moderately <         may         > be more annoyed with an    
alcoholic than a total abstainer would be.  Drinking occa-    
sionally, and understanding your own reactions, it is pos-    
                                                   ,          
sible for you to become quite sure of many things < > which,  
so far as the alcoholic is concerned, are not always so.      

This paragraph break appears in the manuscript only.

     As a moderate drinker, you can take your liquor or leave 
                                      can                     
it alone.  Whenever you want to, you <   > control your drink-

ing.  Of an evening, you can go on a mild bender, get up in   
                              ,                               
the morning, shake your head < > and go to business.  To you, 
liquor is no real problem.  You cannot see why it should be   
to anyone else, save the spineless and stupid.                

                                      you have to fight an    
     When dealing with an alcoholic, <    there may be a  >   
 ingrained                     he                             
< natural > annoyance that < a man > could be so weak, stupid 

and irresponsible.  Even when you understand the malady bet-  
              still have to check this feeling and remember   
ter, you may <          feel this feeling rising.          >  
 that your employee is very ill, being seldom as weak and     
<                                                        >    
 irresponsible as he appears.                                 
<                            >                                

      Take a                                                  
     <  A   > look at the alcoholic in your organization      

< is many times illuminating >.  Is he not usually brilliant, 
fast-thinking, imaginative and likeable?  When sober, does    


 


 140                                                          

he not work hard and have a knack of getting things done?     
     Review his                    ask yourself whether he    
< If he had these > qualities and <  did not drink would  >   
 would                      , if sober.  And do you owe       
< he  > be worth retaining <       ?  Should he have   >      
 him            obligation you feel toward           sick     
<   > the same <     consideration as     > other < ailing >  

employees?  Is he worth salvaging?  If your decision is yes,  
                                    ,               ,         
whether the reason be humanitarian < > or business < > or     
                  you will wish to know what to do            
both, then < the following suggestions may be helpful >.      

      The first part has to do with you.               stop   
     <                                  >  Can you < discard >

< the > feeling that you are dealing only with habit, with    
                                       you have               
stubbornness, or a weak will?  If < this presents > difficul- 
    about that I suggest you re-read                          
ty <         , re-reading           > chapters two and three  
 of this book                                                 
<            >, where the alcoholic sickness is discussed     

at length < might be worth while >.  You, as a business man,  
                  better than most that when you deal with    
< want to > know < the necessities before considering the >   
 any problem, you must know what it is.  Having conceded      
<                result.  If you concede                >     
                                 you forgive him              
that your employee is ill, can < he be forgiven > for what    
                               you shelve the resentment you  
he has done in the past?  Can <                             > 
 may hold because of                                          
<                   > his past absurdities < be forgotten >?  
     you fully appreciate        the man                      
Can < it be appreciated  > that <  he   > has been a victim   
of crooked thinking, directly caused by the action of alcohol 
on his brain?                                                 

     I well remember the shock I received when a prominent    
doctor in Chicago told me of cases where pressure of the      
                                          from within         
spinal fluid actually ruptured the brain <           >.  No   
wonder an alcoholic is strangely irrational.  Who wouldn't    
be, with such a fevered brain?  Normal drinkers are not so    
                         handicapped.                         
< affected, nor can they understand the aberrations of the >  

< alcoholic. >                                                

     Your man has probably been trying to conceal a number    
                                                  disgust     
of scrapes, perhaps pretty messy ones.  They may <   be  >    
      you                    puzzled by them, being unable    
< disgusting >.  You may be <         at a loss           >   
                                     above board              
to understand how such a seemingly < above-board > chap       
                                  you                         
could be so involved.  But < these scrapes > can generally    
 charge these                                                 
< be charged >, no matter how bad, to the abnormal action of  
alcohol on his mind.  When drinking, or getting over a bout,  
an alcoholic, sometimes the model of honesty when             


 


                                                          141 

normal, will do incredible things.  Afterward, his revulsion  
will be terrible.  Nearly always, these antics indicate       
                             abberations, and you should so   
nothing more than temporary <         conditions.          >  
 treat them.                                                  
<           >                                                 

     This is not to say that all alcoholics are honest and    
                                        that                  
upright when not drinking.  Of course < this > isn't so, and  
 you will have to be careful that                  don't      
<                                > such people < often may >  
impose on you.  Seeing your attempt to understand and help,   
some men will try to take advantage of your kindness.  If you 

are sure your man does not want to stop, < he > may as well   
  discharge him                                               
< be discharged >, the sooner the better.  You are not doing  
him a favor by keeping him on.  Firing such an individual may 
prove a blessing to him.  It may be just the jolt he needs.   
I know, in my own particular case, that nothing my company    
                                       ,                      
could have done would have stopped me < > for < , > so long as
I was able to hold my position, I could not possibly realize  
how serious my situation was.  Had they fired me first, and   
had they then taken steps to see that I was presented with the
solution contained in this book, I might have returned to them
six months later, a well man.                                 

                                              right now       
     But there are many men who want to stop <         >, and 
                            If you make a start, you should   
with them you can go far.  <                               >  
 be prepared to go the limit, not in the sense that any great 
<                                                            >
 expense or trouble is to be expected, but rather in the      
<                                                       >     
 matter of your own attitude, your                            
<                Your             > understanding treatment   
               the case                                       
of < their cases will pay dividends >.                        

     Perhaps you have such a man in mind.  He wants to quit   
          ,                                                   
drinking < > and you want to help him, even if it be only     
                                              something of    
a matter of good business.  You < now > know < more about >   

alcoholism.  You < can > see that he is mentally and physi-   

cally sick.  You are willing to overlook his past performan-  
               you call the man in and go at him              
ces.  Suppose <  an approach is made something  > like this:  

      Hit him point blank with the thought                    
     <              State                 > that you know     
 all                                                          
<   > about his drinking, < and > that it must stop.  < You > 
      Say                                                     
< might say > you appreciate his abilities, would like to     
                      ,                                       
keep him, but cannot < > if he continues to                   


 


 142                                                          
         That you mean just what you say.  And you should     
drink.  <                                                >    
                      mean it too!                            
< A firm attitude at this point has helped many of us. >      

              , assure him                are not proposing   
     Next < he can be assured > that you < do not intend   >  
                                           you have done so   
to lecture, moralize, or condemn; that if < this was done  >  
                is            you misunderstood.  Say, if     
formerly, it < was > because <    of misunderstanding.   >    
 you possibly can, that you have no                           
<   If possible express a lack of  > hard feeling toward him. 
                     bring out the idea of                    
At this point, < it might be well to explain > alcoholism,    
     sickness.  Enlarge on that fully.  Remark that you have  
the < illness.                                              > 
 been looking into the matter.  You are sure of what you say, 
<                                                            >
 hence your change of attitude, hence your willingness to     
<                                                        >    
 deal with the problem as though it were a disease.  You are  
<                                                           > 
 willing to look at your man as a gravely-ill                 
<  Say that you believe he is a gravely ill  > person, with   
                                                      your    
this qualification – being perhaps fatally ill, does <    >   
  man                    , and right now                      
< he > want to get well <               >?  You ask < , >     
because many alcoholics, being warped and drugged, do not want
to quit.  But does he?  Will he take every necessary step,    
submit to anything to get well, to stop drinking forever?     

     If he says yes, does he really mean it, or down inside   
does he think he is fooling you, and that after rest and      
treatment he will be able to get away with a few drinks now   
              Probe your                                      
and then?  < We believe a > man < should be > thoroughly      

< probed > on these points.  Be satisfied he is not deceiving 
himself or you.                                               

      Not a word about this book, unless you are sure you     
     <     Whether you mention this book is a matter for >    
 ought to introduce it at this juncture.                      
<          your discretion.             >  If he temporizes   
                                                       you    
and still thinks he can ever drink again, even beer, < he >   
   may              discharge him                             
< might > as well < be discharged > after the next bender     

which, if an alcoholic, he is < almost > certain to have.     
        Tell him that                       , and mean it!    
< He should understand that > emphatically < .            >   

Either you are dealing with a man who can and will get well   
 ,                            don't                        .  
< > or you are not.  If not, < why > waste time with him < ? >
This may seem severe, but it is usually the best course.      

     After satisfying yourself that your man wants to recover 
and that he will go to any extreme to do so, you may suggest a
definite course of action.  For most alcoholics who are drink-
ing, or who are just getting                                  


 


                                                          143 

over a spree, a certain amount of physical treatment is       
                              Some physicians favor cutting   
desirable, even imperative.  <                             >  
 off the liquor sharply, and prefer to use little or no       
<                                                      >      
 sedative.  This may be wise in some instances, but for the   
<                                                          >  
 most of us it is a barbaric torture.  For severe cases,      
<                                                       >     
 some doctors prefer a slower tapering-down process,          
<                                                   >         
 followed by a health farm or sanitarium.  Other doctors      
<                                                       >     
 prefer a few days of de-toxification, removal of poisons     
<                                                        >    
 from the system by cathartics, belladonna, and the like,     
<                                                        >    
 followed by a week of mild exercise and rest.  Having        
<                                                     >       
 tried them all, I personally favor the latter, though        
<                                                     >       
  the                                                         
< The > matter of physical treatment should, of course,       

be referred to your own doctor.  Whatever the method, its     
        should be                                             
object <   is    > to thoroughly clear mind and body of       

the effects of alcohol.  In competent hands, this seldom      
            ,       should it be                              
takes long < > nor <    is it   > very expensive.  Your man   
   is entitled to be                                          
< will fare better if > placed in such physical condition     
                                          physically          
that he can think straight and no longer <          > craves  
          These handicaps must be removed if you are going    
liquor.  <                                                >   
 to give him the chance you want him to have.  Propose        
<                    If you propose                   > such  
                            .  Offer                          
a procedure to him < , it may be necessary > to advance the   
                    if necessary,            make             
cost of treatment, <             > but < we believe > it      

plain that any expense will later be deducted from his pay.   
         Make                                            ;    
< It is better for > him < to feel > fully responsible < . >  
 it is much better for him.                                   
<                          >                                  

      When                                                    
     < If > your man accepts your offer, < it should be >     
   point                                                      
< pointed > out that physical treatment is but a small part   
of the picture.  Though you are providing him with the best   
possible medical attention, he should understand that he must 
undergo a change of heart.  To get over drinking will require 
                                                He must       
a transformation of thought and attitude.  < We all had to >  
                                  even home and business,     
place recovery above everything, <                       >    
                           he will lose                       
for without recovery < we would have lost > both < home > and 

< business >.                                                 

      Show that                                               
     <   Can   > you have every confidence in his ability to  
          .                                                   
recover < ? >  While on the subject of confidence, < can you >
       tell him                                          ,    
< adopt the attitude > that so far as you are concerned < >   
                                            .  His            
this will be a strictly personal matter < , that his > alco-  

holic derelictions, the treatment about to be undertaken,     
 these                                                .       
<     > will never be discussed without his consent < ? >     
 Cordially wish him success and say you want                  
<              It might be well             > to have a       
                      on                                      
long chat with him < upon > his return.                       

     To return to the subject matter of this book: It contains
 , as you have seen,          directions              your    
<                   > full < suggestions > by which < the >   
employee may                                                  


 


 144                                                          

solve his problem.  To you, some of the ideas which it con-   
                   Perhaps some of them don't make sense to   
tains are novel.  <                                        >  
  you.  Possibly                                              
<    Perhaps    > you are not quite in sympathy with the      
approach we suggest.  By no means do we offer it as the last  
word on this subject, but so far as we are concerned, it has  
 been the best word so far.  Our approach often does work.    
<                     worked with us.                     >   
               you are                                        
After all, < are you not > looking for results rather than    
          .                                                   
methods < ? >  Whether your employee likes it or not, he will 

learn the grim truth about alcoholism.  That won't hurt him   
                                             the              
a bit, < even > though he does not go for < this > remedy     
 at first                                                     
<        >.                                                   

        I                      our                            
     < We > suggest you draw < the > book to the attention    

of the doctor who is to attend your patient during treatment. 
 Ask that             be                                      
<   If   > the book < is > read the moment the patient is     
       –          he is                      if possible.     
able < , > while <     > acutely depressed, <            >    

< realization of his condition may come to him. >             

      The doctor should approve a spiritual approach.  And    
     <                                                    >   
    besides, he ought to                                      
< We hope the doctor will > tell the patient the truth about  

his condition, whatever that happens to be.   The doctor      
                                                          At  
should encourage him to acquire a spiritual experience.  <  > 
 this stage it will be just as well if the doctor does not    
<                                                         >   
 mention you in connection with this book.  Above all,        
<                                                     >       
   neither you, the doctor, nor anyone should place himself   
< When the man is presented with this volume it is best that >
 in the position of telling the man                    the    
<        no one tell him           > he must abide by <   >   
 contents of this volume                                      
<    its suggestions    >.  The man must decide for himself.  
 You cannot command him, you can only encourage.  And you     
<                                                        >    
 will surely agree that it may be better to withold any       
<                                                      >      
 criticism you may have of our method until you see whether   
<                                                          >  
 it works.                                                    
<         >                                                   

     You are betting, of course, that your changed attitude   
   and                                                        
< plus > the contents of this book will turn the trick.  In   
                                       will                   
some cases it will, and in others it < may > not.  But we     
                     persist                                  
think that if you < persevere >, the percentage of successes  
                    When                                      
will gratify you.  < As > our work spreads and our numbers    

increase, we hope your employees may be put in personal       
                         , which, needless to say, will be    
contact with some of us <                                 >   
 more effective                                               
<              >.  Meanwhile, we are sure a great deal can be 
              if you follow the suggestions of this chapter.  
accomplished <         by the use of this book alone.       > 

                                 call him in and ask          
     On your employee's return, <  talk with him.   >         
 what happened.                                               
<              >  Ask him if he thinks he has the answer.     
 Get him to tell you how he thinks it will work, and what     
<                                                        >    
 he has to do about it.  Make him feel                        
<              If he feels            > free to discuss       
                              cares to.  Show him             
his problems with you, if he <       knows       > you        
            ,                                                 
understand < >                                                


 


                                                          145 
     that you                                                 
and <        > will not be upset by anything he wishes to     
      .                                                       
say < , he will probably be off to a fast start. >            

                          it is important that                
     In this connection, <        can         > you remain    

undisturbed if the man proceeds to tell you < shocking >      
        which shock you.                                      
things <        ?       >  He may, for example, reveal that   
                                   ,                          
he has padded his expense account < > or that he has planned  

to take your best customers away from you.  In fact, he may   
                                                     ,        
say almost anything if he has accepted our solution < >       

which, as you know, demands rigorous honesty.  < Can you >    
  Charge                                                      
< charge > this off as you would a bad account and start      
  afresh             .                              ,         
< fresh > with him < ? >  If he owes you money < you may >    
                        which are reasonable.  From this      
< wish to > make terms < .                              >     
 point on, never rake up the past unless he wishes to         
<                                                    >        
 discuss it.                                                  
<           >                                                 

                                          be patient and      
     If he speaks of his home situation, <    you can   >     
                                            Let him see       
< undoubtedly > make helpful suggestions.  <           >      
 that he can                                                  
<   Can he  > talk frankly with you so long as he does not    
                                            others.           
bear < business > tales or criticize < his associates? >      
        the                     you want to keep,             
With < this > kind of employee <                 > such an    
attitude will command undying loyalty.                        

                               the alcoholic                  
     The greatest enemies of < us alcoholics > are resentment,

jealousy, envy, frustration, and fear.  Wherever men are      
                               ,                           ,  
gathered together in business < > there will be rivalries < > 

and, arising out of these, a certain amount of office poli-   
                    the alcoholic has                         
tics.  Sometimes < we alcoholics have > an idea that people   
                 him                                          
trying to pull < us > down.  Often this is not so at all.     
                 his                         as a basis of    
But sometimes < our > drinking will be used <             >   
   criticism                                                  
< politically >.                                              

     One instance comes to mind in which a malicious indivi-  
                                                 of           
dual was always making friendly little jokes < about > an     

alcoholic's drinking exploits.  < In this way he was slyly >  

< carrying tales. >  In another case, an alcoholic was sent   

to a hospital for treatment.  Only a few knew of it at first  
 ,                                          bill-boarded      
< > but < , > within a short time, it was < billboarded >     

throughout the entire company.  Naturally this sort of thing  
   decreases a                                                
< decreased the > man's chance of recovery.  The              


 


 146                                                          
          should make it his business to                      
employer <         can many times       > protect the victim  
                        if he can                             
from this kind of talk <         >.  The employer cannot play 
                              try to                          
favorites, but he can always <      > defend a man from need- 
less provocation and unfair criticism.                        

     As a class, alcoholics are energetic people.  They work  
                                      will                    
hard and they play hard.  Your man < should > be on his mettle
to make good.  Being somewhat weakened, and faced with physi- 
cal and mental readjustment to a life which knows no alcohol, 
                            Don't let him                     
he may overdo.  < You may have to curb his desire to > work   

sixteen hours a day just because he wants to.  < You may >    
      Encourage                                      Make it  
< need to encourage > him to play once in a while.  <       > 
 possible for him to do so.                                   
<                          >  He may wish to do a lot for     

other alcoholics and something of the sort may come up during 
                  Don't begrudge him a                        
business hours.  <         A          > reasonable amount of  
             time.                                            
< latitude will be helpful. >  This work is necessary to main-
tain his sobriety.                                            

     After your man has gone along without drinking for a few 
                 try                                          
months, < you may be able > to make use of his services with  
other employees who are giving you the alcoholic run-around – 
provided, of course, they are willing to have a third party   
                  Don't hesitate to let an                    
in the picture.  <          An            > alcoholic who has 

recovered, but holds a relatively unimportant job, < can >    

talk to a man with a better position.  Being on < a > radical-
ly different basis of life, he will never take advantage of   
the situation.                                                

       You must trust your man.                               
     < Your man may be trusted. >  Long experience with alco- 
                         makes you suspicious                 
holic excuses naturally < arouses suspicion  >.  When his wife
                                   don't                      
next calls saying he is sick, < you might > jump to the con-  

clusion he is drunk.  If he is, and is still trying to recover
 on our basis            presently                     ,      
<            >, he will <         > tell you about it < >     

even if it means the loss of his job.  For he knows he must   
                                          Let him see         
be honest if he would live at all.  < He will appreciate >    

< knowing > you are not bothering your head about him         


 


                                                          147 
 at all                                ,                      
<      >, that you are not suspicious < > nor are you trying  

to run his life so he will be shielded from temptation to     
                                                 Program      
drink.  If he is conscientiously following the < program >    
     Recovery                                                 
of < recovery > he can go anywhere your business may call     
       Do not promote him, however, until you are sure.       
him.  <                                                >      

     In case he does stumble, even once, you will have to de- 
cide whether to let him go.  If you are sure he doesn't mean  
business, there is no doubt you should discharge him.  If, on 
the contrary, you are sure he is doing his utmost, you may    
wish to give him another chance.  But you should feel under no
                    do so                                     
obligation to < keep him on >, for your obligation has been   
                           In any event, don't let him fool   
well discharged already.  <                                >  
 you, and don't let sentiment get the better of you if you    
<                                                         >   
 are sure he ought to go.                                     
<                        >                                    

     There is another thing you might < wish to > do.  If your
organization is a large one, your junior executives might be  
provided with this book.  You might let them know you have no 
quarrel with the alcoholics of your organization.  These juni-
ors are often in a difficult position.  Men under them are    
frequently their friends.  So, for one reason or another, they
cover these men, hoping matters will take a turn for the bet- 
ter.  They often jeopardize their own positions by trying to  
help serious drinkers who should have been fired long ago, or 
else given an opportunity to get well.                        

     After reading this book, a junior executive can go to    
                                       , "look                
such a man and say < approximately this, "Look > here, Ed.    
Do you want to stop drinking or not?  You put me on the spot  
every time you get drunk.  It isn't fair to me or the firm.   
I have been learning something about alcoholism.  If you are  
an alcoholic, you are a mighty sick man.  You act like one.   

The firm wants to help you get over it, < and > if you are    
             .  There                and I hope you have      
interested < , there > is a way out <                   >     
 sense enough to try it                do                     
<                      >.  If you < take it >, your past      
will be forgotten                                             


 


 148                                                          

and the fact that you went away for treatment will not be     
                               ,                              
mentioned.  But if you cannot < > or will not stop drinking,  
I think you ought to resign."                                 

     Your junior executive may not agree with the contents of 
                                              ,               
our book.  He need not, and often should not < > show it to   
his alcoholic prospect.  But at least he will understand the  
problem and will no longer be misled by ordinary promises.    
He will be able to take a position with such a man which is   
eminently fair and square.  He will have no further reason    
for covering up an alcoholic employee.                        

     It boils right down to this: No man should be fired just 
because he is alcoholic.  If he wants to stop, he should be   
                                       ,                      
afforded a real chance.  If he cannot < > or does not want    
                    usually                                   
to stop, he should <       > be discharged.  The exceptions   
are few.                                                      

     We think this method of approach will accomplish several 
        for you.  It will promptly bring drinking situations  
things < .                                                  > 
 to light.                enable you to restore               
<         >  It will < permit the rehabilitation of > good men
          to useful activity                                  
good men <                  >.  At the same time you will feel
                                                   ,          
no reluctance to rid yourself of those who cannot < > or will 
     ,                                                        
not < > stop.  Alcoholism may be causing your organization    
                                      money                   
considerable damage in its waste of < time >, men and reputa- 

tion.  We hope our suggestions will help you plug up this     
                          We do not  expect you to become a   
sometimes serious leak.  <                                 >  
 missionary, attempting to save all who happen to be alcoho-  
<                                                           > 
 lic.  Being a business man is enough these days.  But we can 
<                                                            >
               sensibly                                       
< We think we are sensible when we > urge that you stop this  
                      worth-while                             
waste and give your < worthwhile > man a chance.              

                                                 vice-        
     The other day an approach was made to the < vice >       
president of a large industrial concern.  He remarked: "I'm   
mighty glad you fellows got over your drinking.  But the      
policy of this company is not to interfere with the habits    
of our employees.  If a man drinks so much that his job       
suffers, we fire him.  I don't see how you can be of any      
            ,                                                 
help to us < > for < , > as you see, we don't have            


 


                                                          149 

any alcoholic problem."  This same company spends millions    
for research every year.  Their cost of production is figured 
to a fine decimal point.  They have recreational facilities.  
There is company insurance.  There is a real interest, both   
humanitarian and business, in the well-being of employees.    

But alcoholism – well, they just don't < believe they > have  
 that                                                         
< it >.                                                       

     Perhaps this is a typical attitude.  We, who have collec-
tively seen a great deal of business life, at least from the  

alcoholic angle, had to smile at this gentleman's < sincere > 

opinion.  He might be shocked if he knew how much alcoholism  
       cost                                                   
< is costing > his organization a year.  That company may     
harbor many actual or potential alcoholics.  We believe that  
managers of large enterprises often have little idea how      
                             Perhaps this is a guess, but we  
prevalent this problem is.  <                               > 
 have a hunch it's a good one.  If       still                
<          Even if                > you <     > feel your     
                                         you           well   
organization has no alcoholic problem, < it > might < pay to >
take another look down the line.  You may make some interest- 
ing discoveries.                                              

     Of course, this chapter refers to alcoholics, sick       
                                              vice-           
people, deranged men.  What our friend, the < vice >          
                        ,                                     
president, had in mind < > was the habitual or whoopee        
                                        probably              
drinker.  As to them, his policy is < undoubtedly > sound,    
     as you see,       does                                   
but <           > he < did > not distinguish between such     
people and the alcoholic.                                     

This next paragraph appears in the manuscript only.

     Being a business man, you might like to have a summary   
                            is                                
of this chapter.  Here it < Is >:                             

     One: Acquaint yourself with the nature of alcoholism.    
     Two: Be prepared to discount and forget your man's past. 
     Three: Confidentially offer him medical treatment and    
     cooperation, provided you think he wants to stop.        
     Four: Have the alcohol thoroughly removed from his system
     and give him a suitable chance to recover physically.    
     Five: Have the doctor in attendance present him with this
     book, but don't cram it down his throat.                 
     Six: Have a frank talk with him when he gets back from   
     his treatment, assuring him of your full support, encour-
     aging him to say anything he wishes about himself, and   
     making it clear the past will not be held against him.   
     Seven: Ask him to place recovery from alcoholism ahead   
     of all else.                                             
     Eight: Don't let him overwork.                           
     Nine: Protect him, when justified, from malicious gossip.
     Ten: If, after you have shot the works, he will not stop,
     then let him go.                                         

The previous paragraph appeared only in the manuscript.

                                    you give your             
     It is not to be expected that <     an      > alcoholic  

employee < will receive > a disproportionate amount of time   
                      is not to                               
and attention.  He < should not > be made a favorite.  The    

right kind of man, the kind who recovers, will not want this  
                                    upon you                  
sort of thing.  He will not impose <        >.  Far from it.  
                             ,                                
He will work like the devil < > and thank you to his dying    
day.                                                          

            ,                                                 
     Today < > I own a little company.  There are two         


 


 150                                                          

alcoholic employees, who produce as much as five normal       
                                      better way of life      
salesmen.  But why not?  They have a <   new attitude   >,    
and they have been saved from a living death.  I have         
enjoyed every moment spent in getting them straightened out.  
 You, Mr. Employer, may have the same experience!             
<                                                >*           


   See appendix – The Alcoholic Foundation.  We may be        
*< See Appendix VI – We shall be happy to hear from you >     
 able to carry on a limited correspondence.                   
<         if we can be of help.            >                  


e-aa discussion of To Employers


A Vision For You (comparison)

Comparing “A Vision For You” to the original manuscript for our Basic Text


Comparison Format — Colors appear here only and are — — not used in the actual comparisons. — Words above brackets are from the pre-publication version. < Bracketed copy is from our Basic Text as it reads today. > ~ Format Examples ~
Rarely have we < RARELY HAVE WE > seen a person fail who has thoroughly directions followed our < path >...
~ ~ ~
Now we think you can take it! < — — — — — > Here are the steps we took...
~ ~ ~
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our — — — — — — < conscious > contact with God < as we understood Him >...
~ ~ ~


Chapter 11 < Chapter 11 > A VISION FOR YOU
For most normal folks, drinking means conviviality, , companionship < > and colorful imagination. It means , release from care, boredom < > and worry. It is joyous , intimacy with friends < > and a feeling that life is good. But not so with us in those last days of heavy drinking. The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more attempt – and one more failure. The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did – then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewil- see derment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who < read > this page will understand! Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at the moment says, "I don't miss it at all. Feel better. Work better. ex-alcoholics Having a better time." As < ex-problem drinkers >,

 


 152                                                          

we smile at such a sally.  We know our friend is like a boy   
whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits.  He fools him-  
self.  Inwardly he would give anything to take half a dozen   
drinks and get away with them.  He will presently try the old 
game again, for he isn't happy about his sobriety.  He cannot 
picture life without alcohol.  Some day he will be unable to  
imagine life either with alcohol or without it.  Then he will 
know loneliness such as few do.  He will be at the jumping-off
place.  He will wish for the end.                             

                    you                                       
     We have shown <   > how we got out from under.  You say  
  :                                                           
< , >  "Yes, I'm willing.  But am I to be consigned to a life 
where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous 
people I see?  I know I must get along without liquor, but how
can I?  Have you a sufficient substitute?"                    

                                 ,                            
     Yes, there is a substitute < > and it is vastly more     
                      Fellowship                              
than that.  It is a < fellowship > in Alcoholics Anonymous.   
                                                ,             
There you will find release from care, boredom < > and worry. 
Your imagination will be fired.  Life will mean something at  
last.  The most satisfactory years of your existence lie      
                       The Fellowship                         
ahead.  Thus we find < the fellowship >, and so will you.     

                                        say                   
     "How is that to come about?" you < ask >.  Where am I    
to find these people?"                                        

     You are going to meet these new friends in your own      

community.  Near you < , > alcoholics are dying helplessly    

like people in a sinking ship.  If you live in a large place, 
                      These are to be your companions.        
there are hundreds.  <                                >       
                                                Fellows       
High and low, rich and poor, these are future < fellows > of  
Alcoholics Anonymous.  Among them you will make lifelong      
friends.  You will be bound to them with new and wonderful    
ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will      


 


                                                          153 

commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.  Then you  
                                             ,                
will know what it means to give of yourself < > that others   
may survive and rediscover life.  You will learn the full     
meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself."                    

     It may seem incredible that these men are to become      
happy, respected, and useful once more.  How can they rise    
out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness?  The         
practical answer is that since these things have happened     
                              again                           
among us, they can happen < with you >.  Should you wish      
                          should you                          
them above all else, and <          > be willing to make use  
of our experience, we are sure they will come.  The age of    
miracles is still with us.  Our own recovery proves that!     

     Our hope is that when this chip of a book is launched    
on the world tide of alcoholism, defeated drinkers will seize 
           following          directions                      
upon it, < to follow > its < suggestions >.  Many, we are     

sure, will rise to their feet and march on.  They will        
                                    so the Fellowship         
approach still other sick ones and <    fellowships  > of     
Alcoholics Anonymous may spring up in each city and hamlet,   
havens for those who must find a way out.                     

     In the chapter "Working With Others" you gathered an     
              to                                              
idea of how < we > approach and aid others to health.  Suppose
                                                     your     
now that through you several families have adopted < this >   
way of life.  You will want to know more of how to proceed    
from that point.  Perhaps the best way of treating you to     
a glimpse of your future will be to describe the the growth   
         Fellowship                                           
of the < fellowship > among us.  Here is a brief account:     

      Nearly four years                                       
     <       Years     > ago, < in 1935, > one of our number  
                                                 the          
made a journey to a certain western city.  From < a > business
standpoint, his trip came off badly.  Had he been             


 


 154                                                          

successful in his enterprise, he would have been set on       
                      ,                                       
his feet financially < > which, at the time, seemed vitally   

important.  But his venture wound up in a law suit and bogged 
                         proceding                            
down completely.  The < proceeding > was shot through with    
much hard feeling and controversy.                            

     Bitterly discouraged, he found himself in a strange      
place, discredited and almost broke.  Still physically weak,  
and sober but a few months, he saw that his predicament was   
dangerous.  He wanted so much to talk with someone, but whom? 

     One dismal afternoon he paced a hotel lobby wondering how
his bill was to be paid.  At one end of the room stood a glass
covered directory of local churches.  Down the lobby a door   
opened into an attractive bar.  He could see the gay crowd    
inside.  In there he would find companionship and release.    
Unless he took some drinks, he might not have the courage to  
                        ,                                     
scrape an acquaintance < > and would have a lonely week-end.  

                ,                                             
     Of course < > he couldn't drink, but why not sit hope-   
                                                       Then   
fully at a table, a bottle of ginger ale before him?  <    >  
  after                                                       
< After > all, had he not been sober six months now?  Perhaps 
he could handle, say, three drinks – no more!  Fear gripped   
him.  He was on thin ice.  Again it was the old, insidious    
insanity – that first drink.  With a shiver, he turned away   
and walked down the lobby to the church directory.  Music and 
gay chatter still floated to him from the bar.                

     But what about his responsibilities – his family and     
the men who would die because they would not know how to get  
well, ah – yes, those other alcoholics?  There must be many   
such in this town.  He would phone a clergyman.  His sanity   
          ,                                                   
returned < > and he thanked                                   


 


                                                          155 

God.  Selecting a church at random from the directory,        
he stepped into a booth and lifted the receiver.              

      Little could he foresee what that simple decision was   
     <                                                     >  
 to mean.  How could anyone guess that life and happiness     
<                                                        >    
 for many was to depend on whether one depressed man entered  
<                                                           > 
 a phone booth or a bar?                                      
<                       >  His call to the clergyman led him  
presently to a certain resident of the town, who, though      
formerly able and respected, was then nearing the nadir of    
alcoholic despair.  It was the usual situation: home in jeo-  
                                                        ,     
pardy, wife ill, children distracted, bills in arrears < > and
 reputation                                                   
< standing > damaged.  He had a desperate desire to stop, but 
                 ;                                            
saw no way out < , > for he had earnestly tried many avenues  

of escape.  Painfully aware of being somehow abnormal, the    
                                    means                     
man did not fully realize what it < meant > to be alcoholic.  

                         told                                 
     When our friend < related > his experience, the man      
agreed that no amount of will power he might muster could stop
his drinking for long.  A spiritual experience, he conceded,  
was absolutely necessary, but the price seemed high upon the  
basis suggested.  He told how he lived in constant worry about
 creditors and others                                         
<        those       > who might find out about his alcoho-   
lism.  He had, of course, the familiar alcoholic obsession    
that few knew of his drinking.  Why, he argued, should he     
                                       so bringing            
lose the remainder of his business, < only to bring > still   
                              ,                               
more suffering to his family < > by foolishly admitting his   
           his creditors and people                           
plight to <                        > from whom he made his    
livelihood?  He would do anything, he said, but that.         

     Being intrigued, however, he invited our friend to his   
home.  Some time later, and just as he thought he was getting 
control of his liquor situation, he went on a roaring bender. 
For him, this was the spree that ended all sprees.  He saw    
that he would have to face                                    


 


 156                                                          
                       ,                                      
his problems squarely < > that God might give him mastery.    

     One morning he took the bull by the horns and set out    
to tell those he feared what his trouble had been.  He found  
himself surprisingly well received, and learned that many     
knew of his drinking.  Stepping into his car, he made the     
rounds of people he had hurt.  He trembled as he went about,  

for this might mean ruin < , > particularly to a person in    
his line of business.                                         

     At midnight he came home exhausted, but very happy.      
He has not had a drink since.  As we shall see, he now means  
a great deal to his community, and the major liabilities of   
                                                     less     
thirty years of hard drinking have been repaired in <    >    
 than                                                         
<    > four.                                                  

     But life was not easy for the two friends.  Plenty of    
difficulties presented themselves.  Both saw that they must   
keep spiritually active.  One day they called up the head     
nurse of a local hospital.  They explained their need and     
inquired if she had a first class alcoholic prospect.         

     She replied, "Yes, we've got a corker.  He's just beaten 
up a couple of nurses.  Goes off his head completely when     

< he's > drinking.  But he's a grand chap when < he's > sober,
                            six                        four   
though he's been in here < eight > times in the last < six >  
months.  Understand he was once a well-known lawyer in town,  
but just now we've got him strapped down tight."              

                                    .                         
     Here was a prospect all right < > but, by the descrip-   
tion, none too promising.  The use of spiritual principles    


 


                                                          157 

in such cases was not so well understood as it is now.  But   
one of the friends said, "Put him in a private room.  We'll   
be down."                                                     

                                Fellow                        
     Two days later, a future < fellow > of Alcoholics Anony- 
mous stared glassily at the strangers beside his bed.  "Who   
are you fellows, and why this private room? I was always in   
a ward before."                                               

     Said one of the visitors, "We're giving you a treatment  
for alcoholism."                                              

     Hopelessness was written large on the man's face as he   
          :                                                   
replied < , > "Oh, but that's no use.  Nothing would fix me.  
I'm a goner.  The last three times, I got drunk on the way    
home from here.  I'm afraid to go out the door.  I can't      
understand it."                                               

     For an hour, the two friends told him about their        
drinking experiences.  Over and over, he would say: "That's   
me.  That's me.  I drink like that."                          

     The man in the bed was told of the acute poisoning from  
which he suffered, how it deteriorates the body of an alcoho- 
lic and warps his mind.  There was much talk about the mental 
state preceding the first drink.                              

     "Yes, that's me," said the sick man, "the very image.    
You fellows know your stuff all right, but I don't see what   
good it'll do.  You fellows are somebody.  I was once, but    
I'm a nobody now.  From what you tell me, I know more than    
ever I can't stop."  At this both the visitors burst into a   
laugh.  Said the future Fellow Anonymous: "Damn little to     
laugh about that I can see."                                  

     The two friends spoke of their spiritual experience and  
told him about the course of action they carried out.         

     He interrupted: "I used to be strong for the church,     


 


 158                                                          

but that won't fix it.  I've prayed to God on hangover        
                                                      ,       
mornings and sworn that I'd never touch another drop < >      
but by nine o'clock I'd be boiled as an owl."                 

     Next day found the prospect more receptive.  He had      
been thinking it over.  "Maybe you're right," he said.        
"God ought to be able to do anything."  Then he added,        
"He sure didn't do much for me when I was trying to fight     
this booze racket alone."                                     

     On the third day the lawyer gave his life to the care    
and direction of his Creator, and said he was perfectly       
willing to do anything necessary.  His wife came, scarcely    
                          but                                 
daring to be hopeful, < though > she thought she saw something
different about her husband already.  He had begun to have a  
spiritual experience.                                         

     That afternoon he put on his clothes and walked from the 
hospital a free man.  He entered a political campaign, making 
speeches, frequenting men's gathering places of all sorts,    
often staying up all night.  He lost the race by only a narrow
margin.  But he had found God – and in finding God had found  
himself.                                                      

     That was in June, 1935.  He never drank again.  He too,  
has become a respected and useful member of his community.    
He has helped other men recover, and is a power in the church 
from which he was long absent.                                

     So, you see, there were three alcoholics in that town,   
who now felt they had to give to others what they had found,  
or be sunk.  After several failures to find others, a fourth  
turned up.  He came through an acquaintance who had heard the 
good news.  He proved to be a devil-may-care young fellow     
whose parents could not make out whether he wanted to stop    
drinking or not.  They were deeply religious people, much     
shocked by their son's refusal to have anything to do with the


 


                                                          159 

church.  He suffered horribly from his sprees, but it seemed  
as if nothing could be done for him.  He consented, however,  
to go to the hospital, where he occupied the very room recent-
ly vacated by the lawyer.                                     

                                                    :         
     He had three visitors.  After a bit, he said < , > "The  
way you fellows put this spiritual stuff makes sense.  I'm    
ready to do business.  I guess the old folks were right after 
all."  So one more was added to the Fellowship.               

     All this time our friend of the hotel lobby incident     
remained in that town.  He was there three months.  He now    
returned home, leaving behind his first acquaintance, the     
        ,                                                     
lawyer < > and the devil-may-care chap.  These men had found  
something brand new in life.  Though they knew they must help 
other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive be-  
came secondary.  It was transcended by the happiness they     
found in giving themselves for others.  They shared their     
homes, their slender resources, and gladly devoted their      
spare hours to fellow-sufferers.  They were willing, by day   
or night, to place a new man in the hospital and visit him    
afterward.  They grew in numbers.  They experienced a few     
                                          ,                   
distressing failures, but in those cases < > they made an     
                                             new              
effort to bring the man's family into a < spiritual > way of  
living, thus relieving much worry and suffering.              

                  sic                                         
     A year and < six > months later these three had succeeded
with seven more.  Seeing much of each other, scarce an evening
passed that someone's home did not shelter a little gathering 
of men and women, happy in their release, and constantly      
thinking how they might present their discovery to some new-  
comer.  In addition to these casual get-togethers, it became  
customary to set apart one night a week for a meeting to be   


 


 160                                                          

attended by anyone or everyone interested in a spiritual way  
of life.  Aside from fellowship and sociability, the prime    
object was to provide a time and place where new people might 
bring their problems.                                         

     Outsiders became interested.  One man and his wife placed
their large home at the disposal of this strangely assorted   
crowd.  This couple has since become so fascinated that they  
have dedicated their home to the work.  Many a distracted wife
has visited this house to find loving and understanding com-  
                                 their                        
panionship among women who knew < her > problem, to hear from 
             men like                                         
the lips of <        > their husbands what had happened to    
them, to be advised how her own wayward mate might be hospi-  
talized and approached when next he stumbled.                 

     Many a man, yet dazed from his hospital experience, has  
stepped over the threshold of that home into freedom.  Many   
an alcoholic who entered there came away with an answer.  He  
succumbed to that gay crowd inside, who laughed at their      
     misfortune                      him                      
< own misfortunes > and understood < his >.  Impressed by     

those who visited him at the hospital, he capitulated         
          ,                                                   
entirely < > when, later, in an upper room of this house, he  
heard the story of some man whose experience closely tallied  
with his own.  The expression on the faces of the women, that 
indefinable something in the eyes of the men, the stimulating 
and electric atmosphere of the place, conspired to let him    
know that here was haven at last.                             

     The very practical approach to his problems, the absence 
of intolerance of any kind, the informality, the genuine demo-
cracy, the uncanny understanding which these people had were  
irresistible.  He and his                                     


 


                                                          161 

wife would leave elated by the thought of what they could     
now do for some stricken acquaintance and his family.  They   
knew they had a host of new friends; it seemed they had known 
these strangers always.  They had seen miracles, and one was  
                                      The                     
to come to them.  They had visioned < the > Great Reality –   
their loving and All Powerful Creator.                        

     Now, this house will hardly accommodate its weekly visi- 
tors, for they number sixty or eighty as a rule.  Alcoholics  
are being attracted from far and near.  From surrounding      
towns, families drive long distances to be present.  A commu- 
                                     Fellows                  
nity thirty miles away has fifteen < fellows > of Alcoholics  
Anonymous.  Being a large place, we think that some day its   
Fellowship will number many hundreds.                         

     But life among Alcoholics Anonymous is more than attend- 
       meetings                                               
ing < gatherings > and visiting hospitals.  Cleaning up old   
scrapes, helping to settle family differences, explaining the 
disinherited son to his irate parents, lending money and secu-
ring jobs for each other, when justified – these are everyday 
                                          nor                 
occurrences.  No one is too discredited < or > has sunk too   
low to be welcomed cordially – if he means business.  Social  
distinctions, petty rivalries and jealousies – these are      
laughed out of countenance.  Being wrecked in the same vessel,
being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds
attuned to the welfare of others, the things which matter so  
much to some people no longer signify much to them.  How could
they?                                                         

     Under only slightly different conditions, the same thing 
                    several                                   
is taking place in < many  > eastern cities.  In one          


 


 162                                                          

of these there is a well-known hospital for the treatment of  
                                 Four                         
alcoholic and drug addiction.  < Six > years ago one of our   
number was a patient there.  Many of us have felt, for the    
first time, the Presence and Power of God within its walls.   
We are greatly indebted to the doctor in attendance there,    
for he, although it might prejudice his own work, has told us 
                  our work                                    
of his belief in < ours   >.                                  

     Every few days this doctor suggests our approach to one  
of his patients.  Understanding our work, he can do this with 
an eye to selecting those who are willing and able to recover 
on a spiritual basis.  Many of us, former patients, go there  
to help.  Then, in this eastern city, there are informal      
meetings such as we have described to you, where you may      
                thirty or forty, there                        
< now > see < scores of members.  There > are the same fast   
friendships, there is the same helpfulness to one another as  
you find among our western friends.  There is a good bit of   
travel between East and West and we foresee a great increase  
in this helpful interchange.                                  

     Some day we hope that every alcoholic who journeys will  
find a Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous at his destination. 
To some extent this is already true.  Some of us are salesman 
and go about.  Little clusters of twos and threes and fives of
us have sprung up in other commu- nities, through contact with
our two larger centers.  Those of us who travel drop in as    
often as we can.  This practice enables us to lend a hand, at 
the same time avoiding certain alluring distractions of the   
road, about which any traveling man can inform you.           

     Thus we grow.  And so can you, though you be but         


 


                                                          163 

one man with this book in your hand.  We believe and hope it  
contains all you will need to begin.                          

     We know what you are thinking.  You are saying to your-  
self: "I'm jittery and alone.  I couldn't do that."  But you  
can.  You forget that you have just now tapped a source of    
       so                                                     
power <  > much greater than yourself.  To duplicate, with    
such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of   
willingness, patience and labor.                              

               a former alcoholic                  alone      
     We know < of an A.A. member > who was living <     > in  
a large community.  He had lived there but a few weeks when he
found that the place probably contained more alcoholics per   
square mile than any city in the country.  This was only a few

days ago at this writing. < (1939) >  The authorities were    

much concerned.  He got in touch with a prominent psychiatrist
      has                                                     
who < had > undertaken certain responsibilities for the mental
health of the community.  The doctor proved to be able and    
exceedingly anxious to adopt any workable method of handling  
                 Agreeing with many competent and informed    
the situation.  <                                         >   
 physicians, he said he could do little or nothing for the    
<                                                         >   
 average alcoholic.       ,                                   
<                  >  So < > he inquired, what did our friend 
have on the ball?                                             

     Our friend proceeded to tell him.  And with such good    
effect that the doctor agreed to a test among his patients    
and certain other alcoholics from a clinic which he attends.  
Arrangements were also made with the chief psychiatrist of a  
large public hospital to select still others from the stream  
of misery which flows through that institution.               

     So our fellow worker will soon have friends galore.      
Some of them may sink and perhaps never get up, but if our    
experience is a criterion, more than half of those approached 
              Fellows                                         
will become < fellows > of Alcoholics Anonymous.  When a few  
men in this city have found themselves,                       


 


 164                                                          

and have discovered the joy of helping others to face life    
again, there will be no stopping until everyone in that town  
      has                                                     
has < had > his opportunity to recover – if he can and will.  

     Still you may say: "But I will not have the benefit of   
contact with you who write this book."  We cannot be sure.    
God will determine that, so you must remember that your real  
reliance is always upon Him.  He will show you how to create  
      Fellowship                                              
the < fellowship > you crave.*                                

     Our book is meant to be suggestive only.  We realize we  
know only a little.  God will constantly disclose more to you 
and to us.  Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can   
do each day for the man who is still sick.  The answers will  
come, if your own house is in order.  But obviously you cannot
transmit something you haven't got.  See to it that your rela-
tionship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass
for you and countless others.  This is the Great Fact for us. 

     Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit    
                 him         and                              
your faults to < Him > and < to > your fellows.  Clear away   
                                                          ,   
the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find < >  
                                    ,                         
and join us.  We shall be with you < > in the Fellowship of   
  The                                                         
< the > Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you    
trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.                             

     May God bless you and keep you – until then.             


    See appendix – The Alcoholic Foundation.  It may be       
*< Alcoholics Anonymous will be glad to hear from you. >      
  we shall be able to carry on a limited correspondence.      
< Address P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, >    

< NY 10163. >                                                 


e-aa discussion of A Vision For You


Appendix to First Edition

THE ALCOHOLIC FOUNDATION
In our text we have shown the alcoholic how he can recover but we realize that many will want to write to us directly. To receive these inquiries, to administer royalties from this book and such other funds as may come to hand, a Trust has been created known as The Alcoholic Foundation. Three Trustees are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, the other four are well-known business and professional men who have volunteered their services. The trust states these four (who are not of Alcoholics Anonymous) or their successors, shall always constitute a majority of the Board of Trustees. We must frankly state however, that under present conditions, we may be unable to reply to all inquiries, as our members, in their spare time, will attend to most of the correspondence. Nevertheless we shall strenuously attempt to communicate with those men and women who are able to report that they are staying sober and working with other alcoholics. Once we have such an active nucleus, we can then refer to them those inquiries which originate in their respective localities. Starting with small but active centers created in this fashion, we are confident that fellowships will spring up and grow very much as they have among us. Meanwhile, we hope the Foundation will become more useful to all. The Alcoholic Foundation is our only agency of its kind. We have agreed that all business engagements touching on our alcoholic work shall have the approval of its trustees. People who state they represent The Alcoholic Foundation should be asked for credentials and if unsatisfactory, these ought to be checked with the Foundation at once. We welcome inquiry by scientific, medical and religious societies. This volume is published by the Works Publishing Company, organized and financed mostly by small donations of our members. This company donates the customary royalties from each copy of Alcoholics Anonymous to The Alcoholic Foundation. To order this book, send your check or money order for $3.50 to:
The Works Publishing Company, 17 William St. Newark, N. J.

 


"The Works Publishing Company" is now AAWS current sources for Alcoholics Anonymous

 


This fifty-first copy of this line-by-line comparison may be copied and re-printed for your own personal use. Original Recipe Group P.O. Box 2446 Elkhart, IN 46515 Please subscribe to Comments or send us an E-Mail to be notified when a download link becomes available.

Basic Text references to our Basic Text

… the basic text for our Society …
… the main purpose of this book.
… the plan outlined in this book.
… the great news this book carries …
… the purpose of this book …
… few, to whom this book will appeal …
Its main object is to …

Since anything beyond a passive or casual reference to itself within any given book (such as on an introductory or dedication page) is somewhat unusual, we have taken a look at such references appearing within “Alcoholics Anonymous“, our Basic Text.


References within “Preface”


We begin here with references to our Basic Text as found within its Preface (and with these following excerpts being from its Third Edition):

“This is the third edition of the book ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’…
“…the basic text for our Society…”

Interestingly, or at least within the realm of computer programming, the word “basic” is also an acronym meaning “Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code”. We are not mere computer chips or being “programmed”, of course, yet that idea of “instruction code” within “Basic Text” still seems to hold a bit of significance or at least a degree of symbolism here since the word “text” clearly represents our Basic Text as being a “textbook” or a “manual of instruction” in our particular “branch of study.” (Wikipedia) And to carry that thought a bit farther, we might also consider the following from the Forewords to our “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions“:

“…the infant Society determined to set down its experience in a book…(where) the spiritual ideas of the Society were codified for the first time in the Twelve Steps, and the application of these Steps to the alcoholic’s dilemma was made clear.”

Codifications need to be decoded in order to be applied, and our Basic Text is where we are shown how the A.A. program of recovery can be applied to our problem in order to bring about permanent recovery from chronic alcoholism. Do with these thoughts as you wish, of course, but “Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code” seems to us, at least in principle, to be appropriate here. In fact, later on in our textbook we will see expressions such as “clear-cut directions…showing how we recovered.” (page 29)

Although our book’s Preface is not meant to be definitive, we might nevertheless also note the idea of “society” here, and just as we have observed at the beginning of “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”. Some people might occasionally prefer to think of or to perceive A.A. as being some kind of corporation, organization or even a “national institution” (Foreword to Second Edition) of one kind or another, but we are actually much more of an ad-hoc society or “organism” than anything even close to any of those.

Moving along:

“…this book…has helped…large numbers of alcoholic men and women to recovery…”

Ponder that thought the next time you might hear someone suggest our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

“All changes made over the years in the Big Book (A.A. members’ fond nickname for this volume) have had the same purpose: to represent the current membership of Alcoholics Anonymous more accurately, and thereby to reach more alcoholics.”

The above from the Preface to our book stems from this within:

“To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have… But try [to] get them to see it!
“As we look back, we feel we had gone on drinking many years beyond the point where we could quit on our will power. If anyone questions whether he has entered this dangerous area, let him try leaving liquor alone for one year…” (pages 33-34)

So much for anything like “Just don’t take the first drink one-day-at-a-time”, eh?! The idea there during our 12th-Step work is to try to help others see and accept their own ultimate hopelessness far sooner than their own drinking and their eventual attempts to stop altogether might ever drive them to it.