Category Archives: Comparisons to Original Manuscript

How It Works (comparison)

Comparing “How It Works” 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 5 < Chapter 5 > HOW IT WORKS
Rarely have we < RARELY HAVE WE > seen a person fail who has thoroughly directions followed our < path >. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitu- tionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of way of life grasping and developing a < manner of living > which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest. Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to follow directions < take certain steps >. you may balk. You may think you can At some of these < we balked. We thought we could > We doubt if you can. find an easier, softer way. < But we could not. > With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely. you are dealing Remember that < we deal > with alcohol – cunning,

 


                                                           59 
                                                       you    
baffling, powerful!  Without help it is too much for < us >.  
                                       That One               
But there is One who has all power – < that one > is God.     
  You must                                                    
< May you > find Him now!                                     

                    will avail you              You stand     
     Half measures <  availed us  > nothing.  < We stood >    
                        Throw yourself under                  
at the turning point.  <      We asked      > His protection  
and care with complete abandon.                               

      Now we think you can take it!                           
     <                             >  Here are the steps we   
                              your Program of Recovery        
took, which are suggested as < a program of recovery  >:      

            Admitted                                          
     1. < We admitted > we were powerless over alcohol –      
        that our lives had become unmanageable.               

     2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves   
        could restore us to sanity.                           

     3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives        
                          and direction           as we       
        over to the care <             > of God < as we >     
          understood Him                                      
        < understood Him >.                                   

     4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of      
        ourselves.                                            

     5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human   
        being the exact nature of our wrongs.                 

                         willing that                         
     6. Were entirely < ready to have > God remove all these  
        defects of character.                                 

                , on our knees,                               
     7. Humbly <               > asked Him to remove our      
                      – holding nothing back                  
        shortcomings <                      >.                

     8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became  
                         complete                             
        willing to make <        > amends to them all.        

     9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,  
        except when to do so would injure them or others.     

     10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we     
        were wrong promptly admitted it.                      

     11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our  

        < conscious > contact with God < as we understood >   

        < Him >, praying only for knowledge of His will for   

        us and the power to carry that out.                   


(glimpse of the original ‘working manuscript’ for parts of these two pages)


 60                                                           
                                 experience                   
    12. Having had a spiritual < awakening > as the result    
            this course of action                             
        of <    these steps      >, we tried to carry this    
                    others, especially                        
        message to <                  > alcoholics, and to    

        practice these principles in all our affairs.         

          You may exclaim                                     
     < Many of us exclaimed >, "What an order!  I can't go    
through with it."  Do not be discouraged.  No one among us    
has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to  
these principles.  We are not saints.  The point is, that we  
are willing to grow along spiritual lines.  The principles    
we have set down are guides to progress.  We claim spiritual  
progress rather than spiritual perfection.                    

     Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the     
agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after        
 , have been designed to sell you                             
<          make clear            > three pertinent ideas:     

                you are                    cannot             
     (a) That < we were > alcoholic and < could not >         
                  your         life                           
         manage < our > own < lives >.                        
                                            can               
     (b) That probably no human power < could have >          
           relieve your                                       
         < relieved our > alcoholism.                         
                     can                   will               
     (c) That God < could > and < would if He were sought >.  

      If you are not convinced on these vital issues,         
     <                                               >        
 you ought to re-read the book to this point or else          
<                                                   >         
 throw it away!                                               
<              >                                              

      If you are              you are now at step three       
     <  Being   > convinced, <  we were at Step Three  >,     
               you make a decision            your            
which is that <     we decided    > to turn < our > will      
      your                        you understand              
and < our > life over to God as < we understood > Him.        
Just what do we mean by that, and just what do we do?         

                                          you see             
     The first requirement is that < we be convinced >        

that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.       
                                        collission            
On that basis we are almost always in < collision > with      
                                                may be        
something or somebody, even though our motives < are  >       

good.  Most people try to live by self-propulsion.  Each      
                                                          :   
person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show < ; > 
is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the      
scenery and the rest of the players in his own way.  If       


 


                                                           61 

his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would    
           wishes                                             
do as he < wished >, the show would be great.  Everybody,     
including himself, would be pleased.  Life would be wonder-   
ful.  In trying to make these arrangements our actor may      
sometimes be quite virtuous.  He may be kind, considerate,    
patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing.  On      
the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and      
dishonest.  But, as with most humans, he is more likely       
to have varied traits.                                        

     What usually happens?  The show doesn't come off very    
well.  He begins to think life doesn't treat him right.       
                             some                             
He decides to exert himself <    > more.  He becomes, on the  
next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case  
may be.  Still the play does not suit him.  Admitting he may  
be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more   
to blame.  He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying.  What   
is his basic trouble?  Is he not really a self-seeker even    
when trying to be kind?  Is he not a victim of the delusion   
that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this      
world if he only manages well?  Is it not evident to all      
the rest of the players that these are the things he wants?   
And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate,   
snatching all they can get out of the show?  Is he not, even  
in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than      
harmony?                                                      

     Our actor is self-centered – ego-centric, as people      
like to call it nowadays.  He is like the retired business    
man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter com-      
                                               preacher       
plaining of the sad state of the nation; the < minister >     
who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politi-     
cians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia          


 


 62                                                           

if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe   
cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoho-   
                                                  their       
lic who has lost all and is locked up.  Whatever < our >      
                       these people mostly                    
protestations are not <    most of us     > concerned with    
 themselves, their                   their                    
< ourselves, our  > resentments, or < our > self-pity?        

     Selfishness – self-centeredness!  That, we think,        
is the root of our troubles.  Driven by a hundred forms of    
fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step     
on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.  Sometimes     
                         ,                                    
they hurt us, seemingly < > without provocation, but we       

invariably find that at some time in the past we have made    
                         ,                                    
decisions based on self < > which later placed us in          
a position to be hurt.                                        

     So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own      
making.  They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic       
    almost the most                   that could be found     
is <      an       > extreme example <                   >    
of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.    
Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfish-  
ness.  We must, or it kills us!  God makes that possible.     
                 is                                           
And there < often seems > no way of entirely getting rid      
                      Him.  You may have                      
of self without < His aid.  Many of us had > moral and        
                                         you can't            
philosophical convictions galore, but < we could not >        
                              you              like           
live up to them even though < we > would < have liked > to.   
           can you            your                            
Neither < could we > reduce < our > self-centeredness         
                               your                You        
much by wishing or trying on < our > own power.  < We >       
   must                                                       
< had to > have God's help.                                   

     This is the how and why of it.  First of all,            
                                yourself         doesn't      
< we had to > quit playing God <        >.  It < didn't >     
                  decide                                      
work.  Next, < we decided > that hereafter in this drama      
                is                 your                       
of life, God < was > going to be < our > Director.  He is     
                 you       to be         agent                
the Principal; < we > are <     > His < agents >.  He is      
                  you           child.  Get that simple       
the Father, and < we > are His < children.             >      
 relationship straight.                                       
<                      >  Most good ideas are simple,         
                  is to be                                    
and this concept <  was   > the keystone of the new and       
                                you will pass                 
triumphant arch through which  <  we passed  > to freedom.    


 


                                                           63 
            you              take                             
     When < we > sincerely < took > such a position, all      
                              follow.  You have               
sorts of remarkable things < followed.  We had > a new        
                                   must necessarily provide   
Employer.  Being all powerful, He <       provided         >  
        you need         you keep                             
what < we needed >, if < we kept > close to Him and           
   perform                                                    
< performed > His work well.  Established on such a footing   
  you become                                 yourself, your   
< we became > less and less interested in < ourselves, our >  
                                           you become         
little plans and designs.  More and more < we became >        
                             you can                          
interested in seeing what < we could > contribute to life.    
     you feel                           you enjoy             
As < we felt > new power flow in, as < we enjoyed > peace of  
            you discover you can                              
mind, as < we discovered we could > face life successfully,   
     you become                               you begin       
as < we became > conscious of His presence, < we began >      
          your                                                
to lose < our > fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter.     
 You will have been                                           
<      We were     > reborn.                                  

                Get down upon your knees and say              
     < We were now at Step Three.  Many of us said > to       
  your           as you understand Him                        
< our > Maker, < as we understood Him >: "God, I offer my-    
self to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou     
wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better   
do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over    
them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power,     
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.  May I do Thy will always!"    
      Think                                   .  Be           
< We thought > well before taking this step < making >        
       you are                  you can                       
sure < we were > ready; that < we could > at last abandon     
   yourself                                                   
< ourselves > utterly to Him.                                 

           It is                      that you make           
     < We found it > very desirable < to take this >          
   your decision                                  .  It       
< spiritual step > with an understanding person < ,    >      
   may be your         your                your               
< such as our > wife, <    > best friend, < or > spiritual    
         , but remember                                       
advisor <   .  But     > it is better to meet God alone       
  that                                       You must decide  
< than > with one who might misunderstand.  <               > 
 this for yourself.                of your decision is        
<                  >  The wording <        was        >, of   
                                     you express              
course, quite optional so long as < we expressed > the idea,  
                                       decision is            
voicing it without reservation.  This <    was    > only a    

beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect,     
                              will be                         
sometimes a very great one, <  was  > felt at once.           

                launch                                        
     Next we < launched > out on a course of vigorous         
action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning,  


 


 64                                                           
           you have             in all probability            
which < many of us had > never <                  >           
                     your              is                     
attempted.  Though < our > decision < was > a vital and       
                    can                                       
crucial step, it < could > have little permanent effect       

unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face,        
                                   yourself           have    
and to be rid of, the things in < ourselves > which < had >   
               you.  Your            is                       
been blocking < us.  Our > liquor < was > but a symptom.      
    Let's now                 basic                           
< So we had to > get down to <     > causes and conditions.   

                   you start                                  
     Therefore, < we started > upon a personal inventory.     
   This is step four                                          
< This was Step Four >.  A business which takes no regular    
inventory usually goes broke.  Taking a commercial inventory  
is a fact-finding and a fact-facing process.  It is an effort 
                                                   Its        
to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade.  < One >      
object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get      
rid of them promptly and without regret.  If the owner        
of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool           
himself about values.                                         

           do                                                 
     We < did > exactly the same thing with our lives.  We    
  take                                 search                 
< took > stock honestly.  First, we < searched > out the      
                            have                              
flaws in our make-up which <    > caused our failure.  Being  
                                                    is        
convinced that self, manifested in various ways, < was >      
       has                      consider                      
what < had > defeated us, we < considered > its common        
manifestations.                                               

     Resentment is the "number one" offender.  It destroys    
more alcoholics than anything else.  From it stem all forms   
of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally      
and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.  When the  
spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and  
physically.  In dealing with resentments, we set them on      
              List                                            
paper.  < We listed > people, institutions or principles      
             you are                Ask yourself              
with whom < we were > angry.  < We asked ourselves > why      
  you are                             will be                 
< we were > angry.  In most cases it <  was  > found that     
  your                 your pocketbook      your              
< our > self-esteem, < our pocketbooks >, < our > ambitions,  
  your                          ,                             
< our > personal relationships < >                            


 


                                                           65 
                   are                             you are    
(including sex) < were > hurt or threatened.  So < we were >  
         You are                                              
sore.  < We were > "burned up."                               

          your                                                
     On < our > grudge list < we > set opposite each name     
  your                Is        your                 your     
< our > injuries.  < Was > it < our > self-esteem, < our >    
            your               your                your       
security, < our > ambitions, < our > personal, or <    >      
                       have                                   
sex relations, which < had > been interfered with?            

              Be                                              
     < We were usually > as definite as this example:         

  I'm resentful at:     The Cause            Affects my:      
< I'm resentful at:     The Cause            Affects my: >    

Mr. Brown       His attention to my      Sex relations.       
                  wife.                  Self-esteem (fear)   
                Told my wife of my       Sex relations.       
                  mistress.              Self-esteem (fear)   
                Brown may get my         Security.            
                  job at the office.     Self-esteem (fear)   
Mrs. Jones      She's a nut – she        Personal relation-   
                  snubbed me.  She         ship. Self-esteem  
                  committed her hus-       (fear)             
                  band for drinking.                          
                  He's my friend.                             
                  She's a gossip.                             
My employer     Unreasonable – Unjust    Self-esteem (fear)   
                  – Overbearing –        Security.            
                  Threatens to fire                           
                  me for drinking                             
                  and padding my ex-                          
                  pense account.                              
My wife         Misunderstands and       Pride – Personal     
                  nags.  Likes Brown.      sex relations      
                  Wants house put in       – Security (fear)  
                  her name.                                   

      Go on through the list                your lifetime     
     <        We went       > back through < our lives   >.   
           counts                                             
Nothing < counted > but thoroughness and honesty.  When       
  you are                  consider                           
< we were > finished < we considered > it carefully.  The     
first thing                                                   


 


 66                                                           
          to you is                                    are    
apparent <   was   > that this world and its people < were >  
                                               are            
often quite wrong.  To conclude that others < were > wrong    
   is                               get                       
< was > as far as most of us ever < got >.  The usual out-    
        is                  continue              you         
come < was > that people < continued > to wrong < us > and    
   you stay                          is                       
< we stayed > sore.  Sometimes it < was > remorse and then    
  you are              yourself                    you        
< we were > sore at < ourselves >.  But the more < we >       
   fight          try              your                       
< fought > and < tried > to have < our > own way, the worse   
          get.  Isn't that so?                  victors       
matters < got.                >  As in war, < the victor >    
        seem               Your                        are    
only < seemed > to win.  < Our > moments of triumph < were >  
short-lived.                                                  

                         way of                               
     It is plain that a <      > life which includes          
deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.       
To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander    
the hours that might have been worth while.  But with the     
                       only                                   
alcoholic < , > whose <    > hope is the maintenance and      

growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resent-    
                                 find                         
ment is infinitely grave.  We < found > that it is fatal.     
For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from   
the sunlight of the Spirit.  The insanity of alcohol returns  
and we drink again.  And with us, to drink is to die.         

              are                   must                      
     If we < were > to live, we < had to > be free of anger.  
                                 are                          
The grouch and the brainstorm < were > not for us.  They      
may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics   
these things are poison.                                      

           Turn              your                 holds       
     < We turned > back to < the > list, for it < held >      
             your            You must be                      
the key to < the > future.  <  We were  > prepared to look    
                                          You will begin      
at it from an entirely different angle.  <   We began   > to  
                                           dominate you       
see that the world and its people really < dominated us >.    
    your present                                              
In <   that     > state, the wrong-doing of others,           
                   has                           you          
fancied or real, < had > power to actually kill <   >.        
      shall you             You see                           
How < could we > escape?  < We saw > that these resentments   
                               You cannot                     
must be mastered, but how?  < We could not > wish them away   
any more than alcohol.                                        

             is                realize at once                
     This < was > our course: <  We realized  > that the      
                 wrong you are                                
people who < wronged us were perhaps > spiritually sick.      


 


                                                           67 
          you don't                                           
Though < we did not > like their symptoms and the way these   
         disturb you                  yourself, are           
these < disturbed us >, they, like < ourselves, were > sick   
            Ask                  you                          
too.  < We asked > God to help < us > show them the same      
                                     you                      
tolerance, pity, and patience that < we > would cheerfully    
                     who has cancer                           
grant a sick friend <              >.  When a person          
  next offends, say to yourself                               
< offended we said to ourselves, > "This is a sick man.       
How can I be helpful to him?  God save me from being angry.   
Thy will be done."                                            

        Never argue.  Never retaliate.  You                   
     < We avoid retaliation or argument.  We > wouldn't       
                                 you do, you                  
treat sick people that way.  If < we do, we > destroy         
  your                              You                       
< our > chance of being helpful.  < We > cannot be helpful    
                                            you               
to all people, but at least God will show < us > how to       
take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.        

          Take up your                                        
     < Referring to our > list again.  Putting out of         
  your mind                       have                        
< our minds > the wrongs others < had > done, < we >          
              look          your                              
resolutely < looked > for < our > own mistakes.  Where        
 have you                                                     
< had we > been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and          
                                   may not be                 
frightened?  Though a situation < had not been >              
           your                                               
entirely < our > fault, < we tried to > disregard the         
                                  See where you have          
other person involved entirely.  < Where were we to >         
 been to blame.  This is your                                 
<        blame?  The         > inventory < was ours >,        
                              you see your fault              
not the other man's.  When < we saw our faults we >           
 write it down on the list.  See it            you            
< we listed them.  We placed them  > before  < us > in        
                        Admit your                            
black and white.  < We admitted our > wrongs honestly         
       be                                                     
and < were > willing to set these matters straight.           

      You will notice                                         
     <     Notice    > that the word "fear" is bracketed      

alongside the difficulties with Mr. Brown, Mrs. Jones,        
  your                  your                                  
< the > employer, and < the > wife.  This short word somehow  
                                                is            
touches about every aspect of our lives.  It < was > an evil  
                                                     is       
and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence < was >     
                            sets                              
shot through with it.  It < set > in motion trains of         
                       bring                       feel       
circumstances which < brought > us misfortune we < felt >     
      don't                                                   
we < didn't > deserve.  But did not we, ourselves, set the    
ball rolling?  Sometimes                                      


 


 68                                                           
                                                 as a sin     
we think fear ought to be classed with stealing <        >.   
It seems to cause more trouble.                               

          Review your                            Put          
     < We reviewed our > fears thoroughly.  < We put > them   
                       you have                               
on paper, even though < we had > no resentment in connection  
                   Ask yourself         you have              
with them.  < We asked ourselves > why < we had > them.       
   Isn't                             has           you        
< Wasn't > it because self-reliance <   > failed < us >?      
Self-reliance was good as far as it went, but it didn't       
go far enough.  Some of us once had great self-confidence,    
but it didn't fully solve the fear problem, or any other.     
When it made us cocky, it was worse.                          

     Perhaps there is a better way – we think so.  For        
  you           to go                                         
< we > are now <     > on a different basis; the basis of     
                                 You are to                   
trusting and relying upon God.  <    We    > trust infinite   
                  your            self.  You                  
God rather than < our > finite < selves.  We > are in the     

world to play the role He assigns.  Just to the extent that   
  you          you                        you                 
< we > do as < we > think He would have < us >, and humbly    
                              you                             
rely on Him, does He enable < us > to match calamity with     
serenity.                                                     

      You must                                                
     <   We   > never apologize to anyone for depending       
       your              You                                  
upon < our > Creator.  < We > can laugh at those who think    
spirituality the way of weakness.  Paradoxically, it is       
the way of strength.  The verdict of the ages is that faith   
means courage.  All men of faith have courage.  They trust    
                 Never                                        
their God.  < We never > apologize for God.  Instead          
                                      you                     
< we > let Him demonstrate, through < us >, what He can       
          Ask                   your                          
do.  < We ask > Him to remove < our > fear and direct         
  your                                    you                 
< our > attention to what He would have < us > be.  At        
       you will                                               
once, <   we   > commence to outgrow fear.                    

                      You can probably stand                  
     Now about sex.  <   Many of us need    > an overhauling  
         We needed it.                      let's             
there.  <             >  But above all, < we try to > be      
sensible on this question.  It's so easy to get way off the   
track.  Here we find human opinions running to extremes –     
absurd extremes, perhaps.  One set of voices cry that sex is  
a lust of our lower nature, a base necessity of procreation.  


 


                                                           69 

Then we have the voices who cry for sex and more sex; who     
bewail the institution of marriage; who think that most of    
the troubles of the race are traceable to sex causes.  They   
think we do not have enough of it, or that it isn't the right 
kind.  They see its significance everywhere.  One school would
allow man no flavor for his fare and the other would have us  
all on a straight pepper diet.  We want to stay out of this   
controversy.  We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex
conduct.  We all have sex problems.  We'd hardly be human if  
we didn't.  What can we do about them?                        

          Review your                                         
     < We reviewed our > own conduct over the years past.     
       have you                                               
Where < had we > been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate?   
       did you               you                              
Whom < had we > hurt?  Did < we > unjustifiably arouse        
                                           you                
jealousy, suspicion or bitterness?  Where <   > were < we >   
                        you                          Get      
at fault, what should < we > have done instead?  < We got >   
                              look                            
this all down on paper and < looked > at it.                  

                     you can                                  
     In this way < we tried to > shape a sane and sound       
            your                          Subject             
ideal for < our > future sex life.  < We subjected > each     
                           is                                 
relation to this test – < was > it selfish or not?            
      Ask                  your                    you        
< We asked > God to mold < our > ideals and help < us > to    
                       Remember                   your        
live up to them.  < We remembered > always that < our > sex   
          are              ,                                  
powers < were > God-given < > and therefore good, neither to  
be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.  

                your                may            you        
     Whatever < our > ideal < turns out to > be, < we >       
                                      You                     
must be willing to grow toward it.  < We > must be willing    
                       you                                    
to make amends where < we > have done harm, provided that     
 you will                                                     
< we do  > not bring about still more harm in so doing.       
                                      you                     
In other words, < we > treat sex as < we > would any other    
                                               you            
problem.  In meditation, < we > ask God what < we > should    

do about each specific matter.  The right answer will come,   
     you                                                      
if < we > want it.                                            

                           your                               
     God alone can judge < our > sex situation.  Counsel with 


 


 70                                                           

persons is often desirable, but < we > let God be the final   
            Remember                                          
judge.  < We realize > that some people are as fanatical      
                                    Avoid                     
about sex as others are loose.  < We avoid > hysterical       
thinking or advice.                                           

               you                                            
     Suppose < we > fall short of the chosen ideal and        
          .                     you                           
stumble < ? >  Does this mean < we > are going to get drunk?  
             will         you        If they do, it will be   
Some people <    > tell < us > so.  <      But this is     >  
                                    you         your          
only a half-truth.  It depends on < us > and < on our >       
   motive          you                       you              
< motives >.  If < we > are sorry for what < we > have done,  
                                             you              
and have the honest desire to let God take < us > to better   
               you                                            
things, < we believe we > will be forgiven and will have      
          your                you                       your  
learned < our > lesson.  If < we > are not sorry, and < our > 
                                    you                       
conduct continues to harm others, < we > are quite sure to    
drink.  We are not theorizing.  These are facts out of our    
experience.                                                   

     To sum up about sex: < We > earnestly pray for the       
right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation,     
for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing.       
                                            yourself          
If sex is very troublesome, < we > throw < ourselves >        
                                      Think                   
the harder into helping others.  < We think > of their needs  
                          will take you            yourself   
and work for them.  This <   takes us  > out of < ourselves >.
    will quiet                                                
It <  quiets  > the imperious urge, when to yield would mean  
heartache.                                                    

          you                             your                
     If < we > have been thorough about < our > personal      
             you                           by this time       
inventory, < we > have written down a lot <            >.     
  You                             your                        
< We > have listed and analyzed < our > resentments.          
  You                                                         
< We > have begun to comprehend their futility and their      
             You                                              
fatality.  < We > have commenced to see their terrible        
                    You                                       
destructiveness.  < We > have begun to learn tolerance,       
                                              your            
patience and good will toward all men, even < our > enemies,  
       you know          to be                  You           
for < we look on > them < as  > sick people.  < We > have     
                    you                 your                  
listed the people < we > have hurt by < our > conduct, and    
 you                                              you         
<   > are willing to straighten out the past if < we > can.   

                                                   God        
     In this book you read again and again that < faith > did 


 


                                                           71 

for us what we could not do for ourselves.  We hope you are   
                      He                   the                
convinced now that < God > can remove < whatever > self-will  
 that                                     You                 
<    > has blocked you off from Him.  < If you > have         
                  your            .  You have made            
< already > made < a  > decision <      , and     > an        
                the                      you have.  You       
inventory of < your > grosser handicaps <    , you     >      
                                  , for                       
have made a good beginning < .  That being so > you have      

swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about         
            Are you willing to go on?                         
yourself.  <                         >                        


e-aa discussion of How It Works


Into Action (comparison)

Comparing “Into Action” 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 6 < Chapter 6 > INTO ACTION
Having made your < HAVING MADE our > personal inventory, what shall you You < we > do about it? < We > have been trying to get a new your attitude, a new relationship with < our > Creator, and your You to discover the obstacles in < our > path. < We > have you admitted certain defects; < we > have ascertained in a rough you your way what the trouble is; < we > have put < our > finger on your the weak items in < our > personal inventory. Now these are case your about to be < cast > out. This requires action on < our > you part, which, when completed, will mean that < we > have yourself admitted to God, to < ourselves >, and to another human your being, the exact nature of < our > defects. This brings the fifth step Program of Recovery us to < the Fifth Step > in the < program of recovery > mentioned in the preceding chapter. This is perhaps difficult – especially discussing your You < our > defects with another person. < We > think you < we > have done well enough in admitting these things yourself, perhaps. We to < ourselves. There is > doubt < about > that. In actual practice, we usually find a solitary self-appraisal We strenuously urge you insufficient. < Many of us thought it necessary > to But you go much further. < We > will be more reconciled to yourself if we offer discussing < ourselves > with another person < when we see > you good reasons why < we > should do so. The best reason if you you first: < If we > skip this vital step, < we > may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost

 


                                                           73 

invariably they got drunk.  Having persevered with the rest   

of the program, they wondered why they fell.  < We think >    
  The answer                                                  
< the reason > is that they never completed their house-      

cleaning.  They took inventory all right, but hung on to      
                                               thought        
some of the worst items in stock.  They only < thought >      
                                                 thought      
they had lost their egoism and fear; they only < thought >    
they had humbled themselves.  But they had not learned        
enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense    
                                                     all      
we find it necessary, until they told someone else < all >    
their life story.                                             

     More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double      
life.  He is very much the actor.  To the outer world he      
presents his stage character.  This is the one he likes       
his fellows to see.  He wants to enjoy a certain reputation,  
but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it.                 

     The inconsistency is made worse by the things he         
does on his sprees.  Coming to his senses, he is revolted     
at certain episodes he vaguely remembers.  These memories     
are a nightmare.  He trembles to think someone might have     
observed him.  As fast as he can, he pushes these memories    
far inside himself.  He hopes they will never see the light   
of day.  He is under constant fear and tension – that         
makes for more drinking.                                      

     Psychologists < are inclined to > agree with us.         
 Members of our group                                         
<         We         > have spent thousands of dollars        
                  by psychologists and psychiatrists          
for examinations <                                  >.        

We know but few instances where we have given these doctors   
a fair break.  We have seldom told them the whole truth       

< nor have we followed their advice >.  Unwilling to be       

honest with these sympathetic men, we were honest with no     

one else.  Small wonder < many in > the medical profession    
   has                                                        
< have > a low opinion of alcoholics and their chance for     
recovery!                                                     

       You                                             you    
     < We > must be entirely honest with somebody if < we >   


 


 74                                                           

expect to live long or happily in this world.  Rightly and    
            you are going to                      you         
naturally, <       we       > think well before < we >        

choose the person or persons with whom to take this intimate  
                               If you belong                  
and confidential step.  < Those of us belonging > to a reli-  
                                              , you           
gious denomination which requires confession <     > must,    

and of course, will want to go to the properly appointed      
                                                    you       
authority whose duty it is to receive it.  Though < we >      
                                you                           
have no religious connection, < we > may still do well to     

talk with someone ordained by an established religion.        
 You will                                                     
<   We   > often find such a person quick to see and under-   
        your                                                  
stand < our > problem.  Of course, we sometimes encounter     
 ministers                                                    
< people  > who do not understand alcoholics.                 

          you                                                 
     If < we > cannot or would rather not do this,            
                your                                          
< we > search < our > acquaintance for a close-mouthed,       
                                 your             your        
understanding friend.  Perhaps < our > doctor or <    >       
                                                     your     
psychologist will be the person.  It may be one of < our >    
                 you should not                               
own family, but <  we cannot   > disclose anything to         
  your wife        your                                       
< our wives > or < our > parents which will hurt them and     
                      You                          your       
make them unhappy.  < We > have no right to save < our >      
                                                       your   
own skin at another person's expense.  Such parts of < our >  
       you should                                             
story <    we    > tell to someone who will understand,       
                                  you                         
yet be unaffected.  The rule is < we > must be hard on        
  yourself                                                    
< ourself >, but always considerate of others.                

     Notwithstanding the great necessity for discussing       
  yourself                             that you are           
< ourselves > with someone, it may be <   one is   > so       

situated that there is no suitable person available.  If      
                  you          postpone this step             
that is so, < this step > may <   be postponed   >, only,     
              you          yourself                           
however, if < we > hold < ourselves > in complete readiness   

to go through with it at the first opportunity.  We say this  
                                   you                        
because we are very anxious that < we > talk to the           
right person.  It is important that he be able to keep        
a confidence; that he fully understand and approve what       
  you                                                         
< we > are driving at;                                        


 


                                                           75 
                                 your                         
that he will not try to change < our > plan.  But             
      don't                                                   
< we must not > use this as a mere excuse to postpone.        

            you                          your                 
     When < we > decide who is to hear < our > story,         
                           Have                         .     
< we > waste no time.  < We have > a written inventory < >    
       Be                                     Explain         
< and we are > prepared for a long talk.  < We explain >      
     your                 you                   ,             
to < our > partner what < we > are about to do < > and        
      you                                           you       
why < we > have to do it.  He should realize that < we >      
are engaged upon a life-and-death errand.  Most people        
approached in this way will be glad to help; they will        
                your                                          
be honored by < our > confidence.                             

         Pocket your                        !  Illuminate     
     < We pocket our > pride and go to it < , illuminating >  

every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past.      
       you                                                    
Once < we > have taken this step, withholding nothing,        
 you will be                You                               
<  we are   > delighted.  < We > can look the world in        
            You                                               
the eye.  < We > can be alone at perfect peace and ease.      
  Your         will             you.  You will                
< Our > fears <    > fall from <   us.  We    > begin         
                          your              You               
to feel the nearness of < our > Creator.  < We > may have     
                                        you will              
had certain spiritual beliefs, but now <   we   > begin       

to have a spiritual experience.  The feeling that the drink   

problem has disappeared will < often > come strongly.         
 You will know you                                            
<   We feel we    > are on the Broad Highway, walking         
hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.                 

         Return           and                       you       
     < Returning > home < we > find a place where < we > can  
                        .  Carefully review           you     
be quiet for an hour < , carefully reviewing > what < we >    
                Thank                             your        
have done.  < We thank > God from the bottom of < our >       
             you                       Take                   
heart that < we > know Him better.  < Taking > this book      
            your          and                                 
down from < our > shelf < we > turn to the page which         
                                         read                 
contains the twelve steps.  Carefully < reading > the first   
                 and           you                            
five proposals < we > ask if < we > have omitted anything,    
      you                                       you will      
for < we > are building an arch through which < we shall >    
                              your part of the                
walk a free man at last.  Is <      our       > work solid    
                                                   you        
so far?  Are the stones properly in place?  Have < we >       
                       you have                               
skimped on the cement <        > put into the foundation?     
       you                                                    
Have < we > tried to make mortar without sand?                


 


 76                                                           
          you                  your                           
     If < we > can answer to < our > satisfaction,            
                      step six                                
< we then > look at < Step Six >.  We have emphasized         
                                           you                
willingness as being indispensable.  Are < we > now           
 perfectly willing                           you              
<      ready      > to let God remove from < us > all         
                   you                                        
the things which < we > have admitted are objectionable?      
                                             you yet          
Can He now take them all – every one?  If < we still >        
                     you                                      
cling to something < we > will not let go, < we > ask         
              you                                             
God to help < us > be willing.                                

           you are                                            
     When <       > ready, < we > say something like this:    
"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of     
me, good and bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every   
single defect of character which stands in the way of my      
usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me strength, as      
                                                   You        
I go out from here, to do your bidding.  Amen."  < We >       
                      step seven                              
have then completed < Step Seven >.                           

           you                                   you will     
     Now < we > need more action, without which <   we   >    
                                                Look          
find that "Faith without works is dead."  < Let's look > at   
  steps eight and nine.  You                                  
< Steps Eight and Nine.  We > have a list of all persons      
  you                            you                          
< we > have harmed and to whom < we > are willing to make     
 complete             You                 you                 
<        > amends.  < We > made it when < we > took inven-    
         You               yourself                           
tory.  < We > subjected < ourselves > to a drastic self-      
                 you are to              your                 
appraisal.  Now <    we    > go out to < our > fellows and    
                   you did                   You are          
repair the damage < done  > in the past.  < We attempt > to   
                                                     your     
sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of < our >    
                                                yourself      
effort to live on self-will and run the show < ourselves >.   
     you                                                      
If < we > haven't the will to do this, < we > ask until it    
                     you                              you     
comes.  Remember < it was > agreed at the beginning < we >    
  would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol.           
< would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol. >         

          You probably            have                        
     < Probably there are > still <    > some misgivings.     
 We can help you dispel them.        you                      
<                            >  As < we > look over the       
                                             you              
list of business acquaintances and friends < we > have hurt,  
 you will                                                     
< we may > feel diffident about going to some of them on a    
                           reassure you                       
spiritual basis.  Let us < be reassured >.  To some people    
  you                                                         
< we > need not, and probably should not emphasize the        
                       your                                   
spiritual feature on < our > first approach.                  


 


                                                           77 
  You                                         you             
< We > might prejudice them.  At the moment < we > are try-   
            your own life                                     
ing to put <  our lives  > in order.  But this is not an      
                  Your                            yourself    
end in itself.  < Our > real purpose is to fit < ourselves >  

to be of maximum service to God and the people about          
  you                                                         
< us >.  It is seldom wise to approach an individual, who     
                    your                                      
still smarts from < our > injustice to him, and announce      
       you        given your life to God                      
that < we > have <   gone religious     >.  In the prize      

ring, this would be called leading with the chin.  Why lay    
  yourself                            a fanatic      a        
< ourselves > open to being branded < fanatics > or < >       
             bore?  You                                       
religious < bores?  We > may kill a future opportunity to     
                                     he                       
carry a beneficial message.  But < our man > is sure to be    

impressed with a sincere desire to set right the wrong.  He   
                                   your                       
is going to be more interested in < a  > demonstration of     
                    your                                      
good will than in < our > talk of spiritual discoveries.      

         Don't              advice                            
     < We don't > use this <      > as an excuse for shying   

away from the subject of God.  When it will serve any good    
          you should be                        your           
purpose, <    we are   > willing to announce < our > con-     

victions with tact and common sense.  The question of how     
                     you have                                 
to approach the man <   we   > hated will arise.  It may be   
              you                   you         dome          
he has done < us > more harm than < we > have < done > him    
              you                                             
and, though < we > may have acquired a better attitude toward 
       you                                           your     
him, < we > are still not too keen about admitting < our >    
                                       you                    
faults.  Nevertheless, with a person < we > dislike, we       
 advise you to                    your           He is an     
<             > take the bit in < our > teeth.  <        >    
 ideal subject upon which to practice your new principles.    
<                                                         >   
 Remember that he, like yourself, is spiritually sick.        
<                                                     >       

< It is harder to go to an enemy than to a friend, but we >   
                                         Go                   
< find it much more beneficial to us.  We go > to him in      
                                .  Be sure to confess your    
a helpful and forgiving spirit <     , confessing our     >   
                           express your           of it       
former ill feeling and < expressing our > regret <     >.     

                         should you                           
     Under no condition <   do we  > criticize such a person  
    be drawn into an argument with him                        
or <               argue              >.  Simply < we > tell  
          you realize you                                     
him that <      we       > will never get over drinking       
        you              your                                 
until < we > have done < our > utmost to straighten out the   
         You                           your                   
past.  < We > are there to sweep off < our > side of the      
street, realizing that nothing worth while                    


 


 78                                                           
                            you           .  Never try        
can be accomplished until < we > do so < , never trying >     

to tell him what he should do.  < His faults are not >        
 Don't discuss his faults.     Stick to your                  
<       discussed.  We stick to our         > own.            
     your                                     you             
If < our > manner is calm, frank, and open, < we > will       
be gratified with the result.                                 

     In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens.         
                    you                                       
Sometimes the man < we > are calling upon admits his own      
        ;                                                     
fault < , > so feuds of years' standing melt away in an       
               will you                                       
hour.  Rarely <  do we > fail to make satisfactory pro-       
          Your                  will                          
gress.  < Our > former enemies <    > sometimes praise        
       you                       you                          
what < we > are doing and wish < us > well.  Occasionally,    
           cancel a debt, or otherwise                        
they will <                           > offer assistance.     
                                                       you    
It should not matter, however, if someone does throw < us >   
                      You              your                   
out of his office.  < We > have made < our > demonstration,   
       your                                                   
done < our > part.  It's water over the dam.                  

                                     Do                       
     Most alcoholics owe money.  < We do > not dodge          
  your                  Tell                you               
< our > creditors.  < Telling > them what < we > are try-     
             .  Make                     your                 
ing to do < , we make > no bones about < our > drinking;      
                                       you                    
they usually know it anyway, whether < we > think so or       
         Never be                           your              
not.  < Nor are we > afraid of disclosing < our > alcoholism  
                            you                               
on the theory it may cause <   > financial harm.  Approached  

in this way, the most ruthless creditor will sometimes sur-   
         you.  Arrange                   you        and       
prise < us.  Arranging > the best deal < we > can < we > let  
                    you                your                   
these people know < we > are sorry < .  Our > drinking has    
       you                  You              your             
made < us > slow to pay.  < We > must lose < our > fear of    
                              you                    you      
creditors no matter how far < we > have to go, for < we >     
                         you                                  
are liable to drink if < we > are afraid to face them.        

               you                                            
     Perhaps < we > have committed a criminal offense         
                   you                                        
which might land < us > in jail if < it were > known to the   
                You                    your                   
authorities.  < We > may be short in < our > accounts and     
    can't                   You                               
< unable to > make good.  < We > have already admitted this   
                                       you             you    
in confidence to another person, but < we > are sure < we >   
                              your                            
would be imprisoned or lose < our > job if it were known.     
                                                  your        
Maybe it's only a petty offense such as padding < the >       
expense account.  Most of us have done that sort of thing.    


 


                                                           79 
       you have            your wife.  You                    
Maybe < we are > divorced <     , and     > have remarried    

but haven't kept up the alimony to number one.  She is in-    
                                              your            
dignant about it, and has a warrant out for < our > arrest.   
That's a common form of trouble too.                          

     Although these reparations take innumerable forms,       
there are some general principles which we find guiding.      
    Remind yourself            you                            
< Reminding ourselves > that < we > have decided to go to     
                                              .  Ask          
any lengths to find a spiritual experience < , we ask > that  
  you            the                                          
< we > be given <   > strength and direction to do the right  
                                      consequence to you      
thing, no matter what the personal < consequences may be >.   
  You             your                          ,             
< We > may lose < our > position or reputation < > or face    
            you                  You                 You      
jail, but < we > are willing.  < We > have to be.  < We >     
must not shrink at anything.                                  

     Usually, however, other people are involved.  There-     
        you                                                   
fore, < we > are not to be the hasty and foolish martyr who   
would needlessly sacrifice others to save himself from the    
alcoholic pit.  A man we know had remarried.  Because of      
resentment and drinking, he had not paid alimony to his       
first wife.  She was furious.  She went to court and got      
an order for his arrest.  He had commenced our way of life,   
had secured a position, and was getting his head above water. 
It would have been impressive heroics if he had walked up     
to the Judge and said, "Here I am."                           

     We thought he ought to be willing to do that if neces-   
                              ,                               
sary, but if he were in jail < > he could provide nothing for 
either family.  We suggested he write his first wife admitting
his faults and asking forgiveness.  He did, and also sent a   
small amount of money.  He told her what he would try to do in
the future.  He said he was perfectly willing to go to jail if
she insisted.  Of course she did not, and the whole situation 
has long since been adjusted.                                 


 


 80                                                           
         If                             is going to           
     < Before > taking drastic action < which might >         
                        , they should be consulted            
implicate other people <  we secure their consent >.          
 Use every means to avoid wide-spread damage.  You cannot     
<                                                        >    
 shrink, however, from the final step if that is clearly      
<                                                       >     
 indicated.        , after seeking advice, consulting         
<          >  If < we have obtained permission, have >        
                           involved, and asking               
< consulted with > others <       , asked      > God to       
 guide you, there appears no other just       honorable       
<             help                     > and <         >      
 solution than       most                 one, you            
<             > the <    > drastic < step is indicated we >   
      take your medicine.  Trust that the eventual outcome    
must <   not shrink.                                      >   
 will be right.                                               
<              >                                              

     This brings to mind a story about one of our friends.    
While drinking, he accepted a sum of money from a bitterly-   
hated business rival, giving him no receipt for it.  He sub-  
                            taken                             
sequently denied having < received > the money and used the   
incident as a basis for discrediting the man.  He thus used   
his own wrong-doing as a means of destroying the reputation   
of another.  In fact, his rival was ruined.                   

     He felt < that > he had done a wrong he could not        

possibly make right.  If he opened the old affair, he         
       sure                                                   
was < afraid > it would destroy the reputation of his         
                                                own           
partner, disgrace his family and take away his <   >          
            livelhood                                         
means of < livelihood >.  What right had he to involve        
those dependent upon him?  How could he possibly make a       
public statement exonerating his rival?                       

                         He finally                           
     < After consulting with his wife and partner he > came   
to the conclusion that it was better to take those risks      
than to stand before his Creator guilty of such ruinous       
slander.  He saw that he had to place the outcome in God's    
hands or he would soon start drinking again, and all would    
     lose                                                     
be < lost > anyhow.  He attended church for the first time    
in many years.  After the sermon, he quietly got up and made  
an explanation.  His action met widespread approval, and      
today he is one of the most trusted citizens of his town.     
                   three                                      
This all happened <     > years ago.                          

                            you        serious                
     The chances are that < we > have <       > domestic      
             You are perhaps                                  
troubles.  < Perhaps we are > mixed up with women in a        
          you                                                 
fashion < we >                                                


 


                                                           81 

wouldn't care to have advertised.  We doubt if, in this       
respect, alcoholics are fundamentally much worse than other   
people.  But drinking does complicate sex relations in the    
home.  After a few years with an alcoholic, a wife gets worn  
                ,                                             
out, resentful < > and uncommunicative.  How could she        
be anything else?  The husband begins to feel lonely,         
sorry for himself.  He commences to look around in the        
night clubs, or their equivalent, for something besides       
             You may be                                       
liquor.  < Perhaps he is > having a secret and exciting       
                                       me                     
affair with "the girl who understands <  >."  In fairness     
                                                    you       
we must say that she may understand, but what are < we >      
going to do about a thing like that?  A man so involved       
often feels very remorseful at times, especially if he is     
married to a loyal and courageous girl who has literally      
gone through hell for him.                                    

                               you                            
     Whatever the situation, < we > usually have to do some-  
                      you             your                    
thing about it.  If < we > are sure < our > wife does not     
               you                                            
know, should < we > tell her?  Not always, we think.  If she  
                              you                             
knows in a general way that < we > have been wild, should     
  you                                     you                 
< we > tell her in detail?  Undoubtedly < we > should admit   
  your           Your wife                                    
< our > fault.  <   She   > may insist on knowing all the     

particulars.  She will want to know who the woman is and      
                         you                                  
where she is.  We feel < we > ought to say to her that        
  you                                              You        
< we > have no right to involve another person.  < We > are   
                 you             ,                            
sorry for what < we > have done < > and < , > God willing,    
                                            you               
it shall not be repeated.  More than that < we > cannot do;   
  you                                                         
< we > have no right to go further.  Though there may be      
justifiable exceptions, and though we wish to lay down no     
rule of any sort, we have often found this the best course    
to take.                                                      

     Our design for living is not a one-way street.  It is    
                                               you            
as good for the wife as for the husband.  If < we > can       


 


 82                                                           

forget, so can she.  It is better, however, that              
    you do          needless                                  
< one does > not < needlessly > name a person upon            
                   her natural                                
whom she can vent <           > jealousy.                     

             There                                            
     < Perhaps there > are some cases where the utmost        
                         Perhaps yours is one of them.        
frankness is demanded.  <                             >       

No outsider can appraise such an intimate situation.          
           you will                                           
It may be <  that  > both will decide that the way of good    

sense and loving kindness is to let by-gones be by-gones.     
      of you                                                  
Each <      > might pray about it, having the other one's     

happiness uppermost in mind.  Keep it always in sight that    
      you deal                                                
< we are dealing > with that most terrible human emotion –    
                                             you and your     
jealousy.  Good generalship may decide that <            >    
 wife attack                                            ,     
<           > the problem < be attacked > on the flank < >    
                                              You have to     
rather than risk < a > face-to-face combat.  <           >    
 decide about that alone with your Creator.                   
<                                          >                  

      Should you                                              
     <   If we  > have no such complication, there is plenty  
  you                                                         
< we > should do at home.  Sometimes we hear an alcoholic     

say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober.      
              needs to                                        
Certainly he <  must  > keep sober, for there will be no      
home if he doesn't.  But he is yet a long way from making     
good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so          
shockingly treated.  Passing all understanding is the         
patience mothers and wives have had with alcoholics.          
Had this not been so, many of us would have no homes          
today, would perhaps be dead.                                 

     The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through  
the lives of others.  Hearts are broken.  Sweet relationships 
are dead.  Affections have been uprooted.  Selfish and incon- 
siderate habits have kept the home in turmoil.  We feel a man 
is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough.  He is    
like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find 
his home ruined.  To his wife, he remarked, "Don't see any-   
thing the matter here, Ma.  Ain't it grand the wind stopped   
blowin'?"                                                     


 


                                                           83 

     Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead.     
  You                                                         
< We > must take the lead.  A remorseful mumbling that        
  you                                           You           
< we > are sorry won't fill the bill at all.  < We > ought    
                   your                               your    
to sit down with < the > family and frankly analyze < the >   
          you                                                 
past as < we > now see it, being very careful not to criti-   
             Never mind their           .  They               
cize them.  <       Their    > defects <       > may be       
                                    your                      
glaring, but the chances are that < our > own actions         

are partly responsible.  So < we > clean house with the       
                                                 your         
family, asking each morning in meditation that < our >        
               you                                            
Creator show < us > the way of patience, tolerance,           
kindliness and love.                                          

                                           You have to        
     The spiritual life is not a theory.  < We have to >      
  live it               your                                  
< live it >.  Unless < one's > family expresses a desire to   
                                , however,             you    
live upon spiritual principles <          > we think < we >   
                   leave        alone.  You                   
ought < not > to < urge > them <     .  We > should not talk  
                                                 to them      
incessantly < to them > about spiritual matters <       >.    
                             Your practice                    
They will change in time.  < Our behavior > will convince     
                 your                 Remember                
them more than < our > words.  < We must remember > that      
ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic       
out of anyone.                                                

                                you                           
     There may be some wrongs < we > can never fully right.   
     Don't                         you                        
< We don't > worry about them if < we > can honestly say to   
   yourself          you                        you           
< ourselves > that < we > would right them if < we > could.   
             you              see                             
Some people <   > cannot < be seen > – < we > send them       

an honest letter.  And there may be a valid reason for post-  

ponement in some cases.  But < we > don't delay if it can     
                    Be                            and         
be avoided.  < We should be > sensible, tactful, <   > con-   
          .  Be                                               
siderate < and > humble without being servile or scraping.    
    one of                you are to               your       
As <      > God's people <    we    > stand on < our own >    
                          on your belly                       
feet; < we > don't crawl <             > before anyone.       

          you                                        your     
     If < we > are painstaking about this phase of < our >    
               you                          you               
development, < we > will be amazed before < we > are half     
                    You                                       
< way > through.  < We > are going to know a new freedom and  
                        You                                   
< a new > happiness.  < We > will not regret the past nor     
                                You                           
wish to shut the door on it.  < We > will comprehend the      


 


 84                                                           

word serenity and < we will > know peace.  No matter how far  
                 you               you                 your   
down the scale < we > have gone, < we > will see how < our >  

experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness   
                                 You                          
and self-pity will disappear.  < We > will lose interest in   
                                      your                    
selfish things and gain interest in < our > fellows.  Self-   
                           Your                               
seeking will slip away.  < Our > whole attitude and outlook   

upon life will change.  Fear of people and of economic in-    
                     you.  You                                
security will leave < us.  We > will intuitively know how to  
                                        you.  You             
handle situations which used to baffle < us.  We > will sud-  
                                      you         you         
denly realize that God is doing for < us > what < we > could  
              yourself                                        
not do for < ourselves >.                                     

      You say          are                         .          
     <  Are  > these  <   > extravagant promises < ? >        
  They are                                                    
< We think > not.  They are being fulfilled among us –        

sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  They will < always >    
                 you                                          
materialize if < we > work for them.                          

                                 step ten                     
     This thought brings us to < Step Ten >, which suggests   
  you                                                         
< we > continue to take personal inventory and continue to    
                                right       you               
set < right > any new mistakes <     > as < we > go along.    
  You                                      life         you   
< We > vigorously commenced this way of < living > as < we >  
             your           You                               
cleaned up < the > past.  < We > have entered the world of    
                   Your                                       
< the > Spirit.  < Our > next function is to grow in under-   

standing and effectiveness.  This is not an overnight         
                                 your life time               
matter.  It should continue for < our lifetime >.  Continue   
          yourself                                            
to watch <        > for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment,  

and fear.  When these crop up, < we > ask God at once to      
                  Discuss                                     
remove them.  < We discuss > them with someone immediately    
   .  Make                       you                          
< and make > amends quickly if < we > have harmed anyone.     
                              your                            
Then < we > resolutely turn < our > thoughts to someone       
  you                                               your      
< we > can help.  Love and tolerance of others is < our >     
code.                                                         

           you                                                
     And < we > have ceased fighting anything or anyone –     
                                 your                         
even alcohol.  For by this time <    > sanity will have       
             You                                              
returned.  < We > will seldom be interested in liquor.        
             you will                     you would           
If tempted, <   we   > recoil from it as <         > from     
               You will                                       
a hot flame.  <   We   >                                      


 


                                                           85 
                             .  You                           
react sanely and normally < , and we > will find that this    
                               You                  your      
has happened automatically.  < We > will see that < our >     
                                            you               
new attitude toward liquor has been given < us > without      
                           your                               
any thought or effort on < our > part.  It just comes!        
                              You                             
That is the miracle of it.  < We > are not fighting it,       
              you                          You                
neither are < we > avoiding temptation.  < We > feel as       
         you                                                  
though < we > had been placed in a position of neutrality     
 .  You feel                         You                      
<     –     > safe and protected.  < We > have not even       

sworn off.  Instead, the problem has been removed.  It does   
               you.  You                     ,                
not exist for < us.  We > are neither cocky < > nor are       
  you                                                         
< we > afraid.  That is our experience.  That is how we       
react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.          

     It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of         
                     your              You                    
action and rest on < our > laurels.  < We > are headed        
                 you                                          
for trouble if < we > do, for alcohol is a subtle foe.        

We are not cured of alcoholism.  What we really have is       

a daily reprieve < contingent on the maintenance of our >     
                                                    you       
< spiritual condition >.  Every day is a day when < we >      
 have to                                                      
<  must > carry the vision of God's will into all of          
  your                                                        
< our > activities.  "How can I best serve Thee –             

Thy will (not mine) be done."  These are thoughts which       
               you                 You                        
must go with < us > constantly.  < We > can exercise          
  your                                   you                  
< our > will power along this line all < we > wish.           
It is the proper use of the will.                             

     Much has already been said about receiving strength,     
inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge     
                 you                                          
and power.  If < we > have carefully followed directions,     
  you                                                         
< we > have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into        
  you                     you                                 
< us >.  To some extent < we > have become God-conscious.     
  You                                                         
< We > have begun to develop this vital sixth sense.  But     
  you                                                         
< we > must go further and that means more action.            

       Step eleven                                            
     < Step Eleven > suggests prayer and meditation.  < We >  
     Don't by                                                 
< shouldn't be > shy on this matter of prayer.  Better men    


 


 86                                                           
                                                 you          
than we are using it constantly.  It works, if < we > have    

the proper attitude and work at it.  It would be easy to be   
                                                  give you    
vague about this matter.  Yet, we believe we can <  make  >   
some definite and valuable suggestions.                       

             you awake tomorrow morning, look back over       
     When < we retire at night, we constructively review >    
  the        before           you                             
< our > day <      >.  Were < we > resentful, selfish,        
           ,                   you                            
dishonest < > or afraid?  Do < we > owe an apology?  Have     
  you                      yourself                           
< we > kept something to < ourselves > which should be        
                                               you            
discussed with another person at once?  Were < we > kind      
                                     you                      
and loving toward all?  What could < we > have done           
                you                yourself                   
better?  Were < we > thinking of < ourselves > most of the    
                 you                     you                  
time?  Or were < we > thinking of what < we > could do for    
                  you                                         
others, of what < we > could pack into the stream of life?    

< But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse >   

< or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our use- >    
                               you have faced yesterday,      
< fulness to others. >  After <  making our review we   >     
                       for any wrong.  Ask to be shown        
ask God's forgiveness <           and inquire         >       
      to do.  Thus you keep clean as you live each day.       
what <     corrective measures should be taken.        >      

                Next,                                         
     < On awakening let us > think about the twenty-four      
                  Consider your                               
hours ahead.  < We consider our > plans for the day.  Before  
  you                             guide your                  
< we > begin, < we > ask God to < direct our > thinking       
   .  Especially ask                                          
< , especially asking > that it be divorced from self-pity,   
                                     Then go ahead and use    
dishonest or self-seeking motives.  < Under these condi-  >   
  your common sense.  There is nothing hard or mysterious     
< tions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, >  
   about this.                                     Clear      
< for after all > God gave < us > brains to use.  <     >     
 your thinking of wrong motives.  Your                        
<               Our                   > thought-life will     

be placed on a much higher plane < when our thinking is >     

< cleared of wrong motives >.                                 

                  through your        you                     
     In thinking < about our  > day < we > may face inde-     
           You                                                
cision.  < We > may not be able to determine which course     
                 you                                          
to take.  Here < we > ask God for inspiration, an intuitive   
                            Relax                             
thought or a decision.  < We relax > and take it easy.        
    Don't                Ask God's help.  You will be         
< We don't > struggle.  <         We are often       >        
                                             you              
surprised how the right answers come after < we > have        
   practiced a few days                                       
< tried this for a while >.                                   


 


                                                           87 

What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration       
                                          your                
< gradually > becomes a working part of < the > mind.  Being  
                                           making your        
still inexperienced and < having > just < made conscious >    
                                            you               
contact with God, it is not probable that < we > are going    
       divinely                       the time.  That         
to be <        > inspired < at > all <    times.     >        
 would be a large piece of conceit, for which you             
<                                             We > might pay  

< for this presumption > in all sorts of absurd actions and   
                      you will              your              
ideas.  Nevertheless < , we   > find that < our > thinking    

will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of        
                  .  You will                                 
inspiration < and guidance.  We > come to rely upon it.       
 This is not wierd or silly.  Most psychologists pronounce    
<                                                         >   
 these methods sound.                                         
<                    >                                        

        You might                                             
     < We usually > conclude the period of meditation with    
                you                                           
a prayer that < we > be shown all through the day what        
  your                             He give you                
< our > next step is to be, that < we be given > whatever     
  you                          every situation.  Ask          
< we > need to take care of < such problems.  We ask >        
                                         .  Be                
especially for freedom from self-will < , and are > careful   
                          yourself            You             
to make no request for < ourselves > only.  < We > may ask    
       yourself                                               
for < ourselves >, however, if others will be helped.         
          Never                        your                   
< We are careful never to > pray for < our > own selfish      
               People waste                                   
ends.  < Many of us have wasted > a lot of time doing that    
 ,                                                            
< > and it doesn't work.  You can easily see why.             

          curcumstances                         your wife     
     If < circumstances > warrant, < we > ask < our wives > or
  a friend            you                               you   
< friends > to join < us > in morning meditation.  If < we >  

belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite  
                   be sure to                                 
morning devotion, <    we    > attend to that also.  If       
 you are        a member of a               body, you         
<       > not <  members of  > religious < bodies, we >       
    might                                                     
< sometimes > select and memorize a few set prayers which     

emphasize the principles we have been discussing.  There      
                               If you do not know of any,     
are many helpful books also.  < Suggestions about these  >    
            ask your                                          
< may be obtained from one's > priest, minister, or rabbi     
 , for suggestions                                            
<                 >.  Be quick to see where religious people  
are right.  Make use of what they offer.                      

          you                        ,                        
     As < we > go through the day < we > pause < , > when     
                       .  Be still                            
agitated or doubtful < ,          > and ask for the right     
                      It will come.  Remind yourself you      
thought or action.  < We constantly remind ourselves we >     
are no longer                                                 


 


 88                                                           
                    .  Humbly say to yourself                 
running the show < , humbly saying to ourselves > many times  
                                You will be                   
each day "Thy will be done."  < We are then > in much less    

danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or       
                     You will                                 
foolish decisions.  <   We   > become much more efficient.    
 You will                               you will       be     
< We do  > not tire < so > easily, for < we are > not <  >    
                                 you                          
burning up energy foolishly as < we > did when < we were >    
                                  yourself                    
trying to arrange life to suit < ourselves >.                 

                                   Try it.                    
     It works – it really does.  <       >                    
                          undisiplined                        
     We alcoholics are < undisciplined >.  So < we > let God  
             you                                              
discipline < us > in the simple way we have just outlined.    

     But this is not all.  There is action and more action.   
                                 What works?  We shall        
"Faith without works is dead."  <                     >       
 treat them in the                which                       
<       The       > next chapter <     > is entirely devoted  
      step twelve                                             
 to < Step Twelve >.                                          


e-aa discussion of Into Action


]

Working With Others (comparison)

Comparing “Working With Others” 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 7 < Chapter 7 > WORKING WITH OTHERS
Practical experience < PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE > shows that nothing will so your own much insure < > immunity from drinking as intensive spiritual work with other alcoholics. It works when other < > twelfth suggestion activities fail. This is our < twelfth suggestion >: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fatally fail. Remember they are < very > ill. The kick you will get is tremendous. < Life will take on new meaning. > To watch people come back to life < recover >, to see them help others, to watch lonli- ness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives. Perhaps you are not acquainted with any drinkers who want to recover. You can easily find some by asking a few and doctors, ministers, priests < or > hospitals. They will have your help be only too glad to < assist you >. Don't start out as an evangelist or reformer. Unfortunately a lot of prejudice exists. You will be handicapped if you arouse it. Preachers don't like to be told they don't < Ministers > and doctors < > know their business. They usually < > are < > competent and you can learn much from them if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics. So cooperate; never criticize. should be your To be helpful < is our > only aim.

 


 90                                                           

     When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous,   
find out all you can about him.  If he does not want to stop  
drinking, don't waste time trying to persuade him.  You may   
spoil a later opportunity.  This advice is given for his      
                      must                                    
family also.  They < should > be patient, realizing they are  
dealing with a sick person.                                   

     If there is any indication that he wants to stop, have   
a good talk with the person most interested in him – usually  
his wife.  Get an idea of his behavior, his problems, his     
background, the seriousness of his condition, and his reli-   
gious leanings.  You need this information to put yourself    
in his place, to see how you would like him to approach you   
if the tables were turned.                                    

        Usually                                               
     < Sometimes > it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge.
The family may object to this, but unless he is in a dangerous
physical condition, it is better to risk it.  Don't deal with 
him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family   
needs your help.  Wait for the end of the spree, or at least  
for a lucid interval.  Then let his family or a friend ask him
if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme
to do so.  If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn 
to you as a person who has recovered.  You should be described
                                       a                      
to him as one of a fellowship who, as < > part of their own   
                    a                                         
fellowship who, as < > part of their own recovery, try to help
        ,                                                     
others < > and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to 
see you.                                                      

     If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon
him.  Neither should the family hysterically plead with him to
do anything, nor should they tell him much about you.  They   
should wait for the end of his next drinking bout.  You might 
place this book where he can see it in the interval.  Here no 
specific rule can be given.  The family must decide these     


 


                                                           91 

things.  But urge them not to be over-anxious, for that might 
spoil matters.                                                

            The                                 represent     
     < Usually the > family should not try to < tell your >   
   you                                                        
< story >.  When possible, avoid meeting a man through his    
family.  Approach through a doctor or an institution is a     
better bet.  If your man needs hospitalization, he should     
                           ,                                  
have it, but not forcibly < > unless he is violent.  Let the  

doctor < , if he will, > tell him < that > he has something   
 new                                                          
<   > in the way of a solution.                               

                               let                            
     When your man is better, <   > the doctor < might >      
suggest a visit from you.  Though you have talked with the    
family, leave them out of the first discussion.  Under these  
conditions your prospect will see he is under no pressure.    
He will feel he can deal with you without being nagged by his 
                                                      will    
family.  Call on him while he is still jittery.  He < may > be
more receptive when depressed.                                

     See your man alone, if possible.  At first engage in     
general conversation.  After a while, turn the talk to some   
                         Say                                  
phase of drinking.  < Tell him > enough about your drinking   
habits, symptoms, and experiences to encourage him to speak   
of himself.  If he wishes to talk, let him do so.  You will   
thus get a better idea of how you ought to proceed.  If he is 
not communicative, give him a sketch of your drinking career  
up to the time you quit.  But say nothing, for the moment,    
                                                           ,  
of how that was accomplished.  If he is in a serious mood < > 

dwell on the troubles liquor has caused you, being careful    
                      preach                                  
not to moralize or < lecture >.  If his mood is light, tell   
him humorous stories of your escapades.  Get him to tell      
some of his.                                                  

     When he sees you know all about the drinking game,       
commence to describe yourself as an alcoholic.                


 


 92                                                           

Tell him how baffled you were, how you finally learned that   
               as well as weak                                
you were sick <               >.  Give him an account of the  

struggles you made to stop.  Show him the mental twist which  
                                                 Do           
leads to the first drink of a spree.  < We suggest you do >   
this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.  If he  
is alcoholic, he will understand you at once.  He will match  
your mental inconsistencies with some of his own.             

                                                        you   
     If you are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic, <   >  
 may                                                          
<   > begin to dwell on the hopeless feature of the malady.   
Show him, from your own experience, how the queer mental      
condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal        

functioning of the will power.  Don't < , > at this stage     

< , > refer to this book, unless he has seen it and wishes    

to discuss it.  And be careful not to brand him < as > an     
alcoholic.  Let him draw his own conclusion.  If he sticks    
to the idea that he can still control his drinking, tell      
him that possibly he can – if he is not too alcoholic.        
                                                       is     
But insist that if he is severely afflicted, there < may be > 
little chance he can recover by himself.                      

                                          a sickness          
     Continue to speak of alcoholism as < an illness >, a     

fatal malady.  Talk about the conditions of body and mind     
                                           focused            
which accompany it.  Keep his attention < focussed > mainly   
                               If doctors or psychiatrists    
on your personal experience.  <                           >   
 have pronounced you incurable, be sure and let him know      
<                                                       >     
 about it.                                                    
<         >  Explain that many are doomed who never realize   
                             who know the truth               
their predicament.  Doctors <                  > are rightly  

loath to tell alcoholic patients the whole story unless it    
                                , but                         
will serve some good purpose < .  But > you may talk to him   
                                      ,                       
about the hopelessness of alcoholism < > because you offer    
a solution.  You will soon have your friend admitting he has  
many, if not all, of the traits of the alcoholic.  If his own 
doctor is willing to tell him that he is alcoholic, so much   
the better.  Even though your protege may not have            


 


                                                           93 

entirely admitted his condition, he has become very curious   
to know how you got well.  Let him ask you that question, if  
           If he does not ask, proceed with the rest of your  
he will.  <                                                 > 
 story.  Tell him exactly what happened to you.               
<        Tell him exactly what happened to you. >             

Stress the spiritual feature freely.  If the man be agnostic  
                                    he does not have to       
or atheist, make it emphatic that < he does not have to >     
  agree with your conception of God                           
< agree with your conception of God >.  He can choose         

any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him.      
  The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a        
< The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a >      
  Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual    
< Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual >  
  principles.                                                 
< principles. >                                               

     When dealing with such a person, you had better use      
everyday language to describe spiritual principles.  There    
is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain  
                                   ,                          
theological terms and conceptions < > about which he may      
already be confused.  Don't raise such issues, no matter      
what your own convictions are.                                

     Your prospect may belong to a religious denomination.    
His religious education and training may be far superior to   
yours.  In that case he is going to wonder how you can add    
anything to what he already knows.  But he will be curious    
                      religious                               
to learn why his own <         > convictions have not worked  
 ,                     have given you victory                 
< > and < why > yours < seem to work so well >.  He may be    
an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient.     
To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and  
unselfish, constructive action.  Let him see that you are not 
there to instruct him in religion.  Admit that he probably    
knows more about it than you do, but call to his attention    
                                                     there    
the fact that however deep his faith and knowledge, <  he >   
   must be something wrong,                            Say    
< could not have applied it > or he would not drink.  <   >   
    that perhaps you can                           fails      
< Perhaps your story will > help him see where he <     >     
     to apply to himself                                      
<  has failed to practice  > the very precepts he knows       
           For our purpose you                                
so well.  <        We         > represent no                  


 


 94                                                           
                                     You                      
particular faith or denomination.  < We > are dealing only    
with general principles common to most denominations.         

               our                        telling him         
     Outline < the > program of action, < explaining > how    

you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your      
      ,                                                       
past < > and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful        

to him.  < It is important for him to realize that your >     

< attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in >      

< your own recovery.  Actually, he may be helping you more >  

< than you are helping him. >  Make it plain he is under no   
obligation to you, that you hope only that he will try to     
help other alcoholics when he escapes his own difficulties.   
    Show                                                      
< Suggest > how important it is that he place the welfare     

of other people ahead of his own.  Make it clear that he is   
                                                   ,          
not under pressure, that he needn't see you again < > if he   
doesn't want to.  You should not be offended if he wants to   
call it off, for he has helped you more than you have helped  
him.  If your talk has been sane, quiet and full of human     
                          probably                            
understanding, you have < perhaps > made a friend.  Maybe you 
have disturbed him about the question of alcoholism.  This is 
all to the good.  The more hopeless he feels, the better.  He 
will be more likely to follow your suggestions.               

     Your candidate may give reasons why he need not follow   
         your                 will                            
all of < the > program.  He < may > rebel at the thought of   
a drastic housecleaning which requires discussion with other  
people.  Do not contradict such views.  Tell him you once     
                                    if                        
felt as he does, but you doubt < whether > you would have made

much progress had you not taken action.  On your first visit  
                     fellowship                               
tell him about the < Fellowship > of Alcoholics Anonymous.    
If he shows interest, lend him your copy of this book.        


 


                                                           95 

     Unless your friend wants to talk further about himself,  
do not wear out your welcome.  Give him a chance to think it  
over.  If you do stay, let him steer the conversation in any  
                                                        make  
direction he likes.  Sometimes a new man is anxious to <    > 
 a decision and discuss his affairs                           
<            proceed               > at once, and you may be  
                    proceed             almost always         
tempted to let him < do so >.  This is <  sometimes  > a mis- 
take.  If he has trouble later, he is likely to say you rushed
him.  You will be most successful with alcoholics if you do   
not exhibit any passion for cru- sade or reform.  Never talk  
                                                           :  
down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop < ; >
                 your                                         
simply lay out < the > kit of spiritual tools for his inspec- 
tion.  Show him how they worked with you.  Offer him friend-  
ship and fellowship.  Tell him that if he wants to get well   
you will do anything to help.                                 

     If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects  
you to act only as a banker for his financial difficulties    

or a nurse for his sprees, < you may have to > drop him       

until he changes his mind.  This he may do after he gets      
         again                                                
hurt < some more >.                                           

     If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you       
                   be sure to                                 
again, ask him to <          > read this book in the interval.
                       is to                                  
After doing that, he < must > decide for himself whether he   
                        is          to                        
wants to go on.  He < should > not <  > be pushed or prodded  
by you, his wife, or his friends.  If he is to find God, the  
desire must come from within.                                 

     If he thinks he can do the job in some other way,        
                         spritual                             
or prefers some other < spiritual > approach, encourage him   
                                 You                          
to follow his own conscience.  < We > have no monopoly on God,
  you                                             you         
< we > merely have an approach that worked with < us >.  But  
point out that we alcoholics have much in common and that you 
would like, in any case, to be friendly.  Let it go at that.  


 


 96                                                           

     Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond  
at once.  Search out another alcoholic and try again.  You are
sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness
                                 It's                         
eagerness what you offer.  < We find it > a waste of time     
 and poor strategy                                            
<                 > to keep chasing a man who cannot or       

will not work with you.  If you leave such a person alone,    
 in all likelihood he will begin to run after you, for        
<                                                     >       
     will                                                     
he < may > soon become convinced that he cannot recover       
    alone                                                     
< by himself >.  To spend too much time on any one situation  

is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and    
                        fellowship                            
be happy.  One of our < Fellowship > failed entirely with his 
first half dozen prospects.  He often says that if he had     
continued to work on them, he might have deprived many others,
who have since recovered, of their chance.                    

     Suppose now you are making your second visit to a man.   
He has read this volume and says he is prepared to go through 
           twelve steps of The Program of Recovery            
with the < Twelve Steps of the program of recovery >.  Having 

had the experience yourself, you can give him much practical  

advice.  < Let him know you are available if he wishes to >   
          Suggest he                his            with you   
< available if he wishes to > make < a > decision <        >  
          you                                                 
and tell <   > his story, but do not insist upon it if he     
prefers to consult someone else.                              

     He may be broke and homeless.  If he is, < you might >   
                                       .  Give                
try to help him about getting a job < , or give > him a little
                         , unless it would                    
financial assistance < .  But you should not > deprive your   
family or creditors of money they should have.  Perhaps you   
will want to take the man into your home for a few days.      
But be sure you use discretion.  Be certain he will be wel-   
comed by your family, and that he is not trying to impose     
upon you for money, connections, or shelter.  Permit that     
and you only harm him.  You will be making it possible for    
him to be insincere.                                          


 


                                                           97 
      will                                ,                   
You < may > be aiding in his destruction < > rather than his  
recovery.                                                     

     Never avoid these responsibilities, but be sure you are  
                                            Self-sacrifice    
doing the right thing if you assume them.  <    Helping   >   
 for                                                          
<   > others is the foundation stone of your recovery.  A     
kindly act once in a while isn't enough.  You have to act     
the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.  It may mean the    
loss of many nights' sleep, great interference with your      
pleasures, interruptions to your business.  It may mean shar- 
ing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and    
relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums,   
hospitals, jails and asylums.  Your telephone may jangle at   
                                           will               
any time of the day or night.  Your wife < may > sometimes    
say she is neglected.  A drunk may smash the furniture in     
your home, or burn a mattress.  You may have to fight with    
him if he is violent.  Sometimes you will have to call a doc- 
tor and administer sedatives under his direction.  Another    
time you may have to send for the police or an ambulance.     

< Occasionally you will have to meet such conditions. >       

      This sort of thing goes on constantly, but we           
     <                                         We  > seldom   
allow an alcoholic to live in our homes for long at a time.   
It is not good for him, and it sometimes creates serious      
complications in a family.                                    

     Though an alcoholic does not respond, there is no        
reason why you should neglect his family.  You should         
                                 in every way                 
continue to be friendly to them <            >.  The          

family should be offered your way of life.  Should they       
        ,                                                     
accept < > and practice spiritual principles, there is        

a much better chance < that > the head of the head of         
the family will recover.  And even though he continues        
to drink, the family will find life more bearable.            

     For the type of alcoholic who is able and willing to     


 


 98                                                           

get well, little charity, in the ordinary sense of the word,  
is needed or wanted.  The men who cry for money and shelter   
before conquering alcohol, are on the wrong track.  Yet we do 
go to great extremes to provide each other with these very    
things, when such action is warranted.  This may seem incon-  

sistent, but < we think > it is not.                          

     It is not the matter of giving that is in question, but  

when and how to give.  That < often > makes the difference    

between failure and success.  The minute we put our work on   
   social                                                     
a <      > service plane, the alcoholic commences to rely upon
our assistance rather than upon God.  He clamors for this and 
that, claiming he cannot master alcohol until his material    
needs are cared for.  Nonsense.  Some of us have taken very   
                                   job                        
hard knocks to learn this truth: < Job > or no job – wife or  
no wife – we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place  
dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God.      

     Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that   
                                        No person on this     
he can get well regardless of anyone.  <                 >    
 earth can stop his recovery from alcohol, or prevent his     
<                                                        >    
 being supplied with whatever is good for him.                
<                                             >  The only     
condition is that he trust in God and clean house.            

     Now, the domestic problem: There may be divorce,         
  seperation                                                  
< separation >, or just strained relations.  When your        
                         restitution                          
prospect has made such < reparation > as he can to his        
family, and has thoroughly explained to them the new          
principles by which he is living, he should proceed to        
put those principles into action at home.  That is, if        
he is lucky enough to have a home.  Though his family         
be at fault in many respects, he should not be concerned      
about that.  He should concentrate on his own spiritual       
demonstration.  Argument and fault-finding are to be          
                 leprosy                                      
avoided like < the plague >.  In many homes this is a         


 


                                                           99 

difficult thing to do, but it must be done if any results are 
to be expected.  If persisted in for a few months, the effect 
on a man's family is sure to be great.  The most incompatible 
people discover they have a basis upon which they can meet.   
                              will                            
Little by little the family < may > see their own defects and 
admit them.  These can then be discussed in an atmosphere of  
helpfulness and friendliness.                                 

     After they have seen tangible results, the family will   
                 join in the better way of life               
perhaps want to <           go along           >.  These      
                                                     ,        
things will come to pass naturally and in good time < > pro-  
vided, however, the alcoholic continues to demonstrate that   
he can be sober, considerate, and helpful, regardless of what 
anyone says or does.  Of course, we all fall much below this  
standard many times.  But we must try to repair the damage    
immediately lest we pay the penalty by a spree.               

                              seperation                      
     If there be divorce or < separation >, there should be   

no undue haste for the couple to get together.  The man should
                  ground                                      
be sure of his < recovery >.  The wife should fully understand

his new way of life.  If their old relationship is to be re-  
       ,                                            old one   
sumed < > it must be on a better basis, since the < former >  
did not work.  This means a new attitude and spirit all       
around.  Sometimes it is to the best interests of all concern-
ed that a couple remain apart.  Obviously, no rule can be laid
                                       new way of life        
down.  Let the alcoholic continue his <    program    > day by
day.  When the time for living together has come, it will be  
apparent to both parties.                                     

     Let no alcoholic say he cannot recover unless he has his 
family back.  This just isn't so.  In some cases the wife will
                                                     your     
never come back for one reason or another.  Remind < the >    
prospect that his recovery is not dependent                   


 


 100                                                          

upon people.  It is dependent upon his relationship with      
God.  We have seen men get well whose families have not       
returned at all.  We have seen others slip when the family    
came back too soon.                                           

                           prospect                           
     Both you and the new <  man   > must < walk > day by     
     walk                                                     
day <    > in the path of spiritual progress.  If you persist,
                               to you                         
remarkable things will happen <      >.  When we look back,   

we realize that the things which came to us when we put our-  
                                   for us                     
selves in God's hands were better <      > than anything we   
could have planned.  Follow the dictates of a Higher Power    
and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world,     
no matter what your present circumstances!                    

                                                    must      
     When working with a man and his family, you < should >   

take care not to participate in their quarrels.  You may      
                                                    you may   
spoil your chance of being helpful if you do.  But <       >  

urge upon a man's family that he has been a very sick person  
                                                     them     
and should be treated accordingly.  You should warn <    >    
against arousing resentment or jealousy.  You should point    
out that his defects of character are not going to disappear  
over night.  Show them that he has entered upon a period of   
growth.  Ask them to remember, when they are impatient, the   
blessed fact of his sobriety.                                 

     If you have been successful in solving your own          
domestic problems, tell the newcomer's family how that        
was accomplished.  In this way you can set them on the        
right track without becoming critical of them.  The story     
of how you and your wife settled your difficulties is worth   
               preaching or                                   
any amount of <            > criticism.                       

     Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of  
things alcoholics are not supposed to do.  People have said   
we must not go where liquor is served; we                     


 


                                                          101 

must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink;
we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we  
   mustn't                                                    
< must not > go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles

if we go to their houses; we mustn't think or be reminded     
                                Experience proves             
about alcohol at all.  < Our experience shows that > this is  
       nonsense                                               
< not necessarily so >.                                       

     We meet these conditions every day.  An alcoholic who    
cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is some- 
thing the matter with his spiritual status.  His only chance  
for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap,  
and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch
and ruin everything!  Ask any woman who has sent her husband  
to distant places on the theory he would escape the alcohol   
problem.                                                      

               Any                                            
     < In our belief any > scheme of combating alcoholism     
which proposes to shield the sick man from temptation is      
doomed to failure.  If the alcoholic tries to shield him-     
      ,                                       will wind       
self < > he may succeed for a time, but < he usually winds >  
                                        Our wives and we      
up with a bigger explosion than ever.  <        We      >     
                                  foolish                     
have tried these methods.  These <       > attempts to do the 
impossible have always failed.                                

     So our rule is not to avoid a place where there is       
            if we have a legitimate reason for being there    
drinking, < if we have a legitimate reason for being there >. 
That includes bars, nightclubs, dances, receptions, weddings, 
even plain ordinary whoopee parties.  To a person who has had 
experience with an alcoholic, this may seem like tempting     
Providence, but it isn't.                                     

     You will note that we made an important qualification.   
Therefore, ask yourself on each occasion, "Have I any         
 legitimate                                                   
<   good   > social, business, or personal reason for going   
                 Am I going to be helpful to any one there?   
to this place?  <                                          >  
 Could I be more useful or helpful by being  somewhere else?  
<                                                           > 

< Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure >    

< from the atmosphere of such places? >"                      


 


 102                                                          

If you answer these questions satisfactorily, you need have   
                    You may go                  whatever      
no apprehension.  <    Go    > or stay away, < whichever >    
seems best.  But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground    
before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly  
good.  Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. 
Think of what you can bring to it.  But if you are            
 spiritually                                                  
<           > shaky, you had better work with another         
alcoholic instead!                                            

      You are not to                                          
     <      Why     > sit with a long face in places where    
there is drinking, sighing about the good old days.  If it    
is a happy occasion, try to increase the pleasure of those    
there; if a business occasion, go and attend to your business 
enthusiastically.  If you are with a person who wants to eat  
in a bar, by all means go along.  Let your friends know they  
are not to change their habits on your account.  At a proper  
time and place explain to all your friends why alcohol disa-  
                                             no decent person 
grees with you.  If you do this thoroughly, <   few people   >
will ask you to drink.  While you were drinking, you were     
withdrawing from life little by little.  Now you are getting  

back into the < social > life of this world.  Don't start to  
          from life                                           
withdraw <         > again just because your friends drink    
liquor.                                                       

     Your job is now to be at the place where you may be      
of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go     
 where there is drinking,                                     
<        anywhere        > if you can be helpful.  You should 

not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such   
   a mission                                                  
< an errand >.  Keep on the firing line of life with these    
         ,                                                    
motives < > and God will keep you unharmed.                   

     Many of us keep liquor in our homes.  We often need it   
to carry green recruits through a severe hangover.  Some of   
                                  in moderation,              
us still serve it to our friends <              > provided    
          people who do       abuse drinking                  
they are <             > not <  alcoholic   >.  But some      
of us think we should not serve liquor to anyone.  We never   
argue this question.                                          


 


                                                          103 

We feel that each family, in the light of their own circum-   
stances, ought to decide for themselves.                      

     We are careful never to show intolerance or hatred of    
drinking as an institution.  Experience shows that such an    
attitude is not helpful to anyone.  Every new alcoholic looks 
for this spirit among us and is immensely relieved when he    
finds we are not witch-burners.  A spirit of intolerance      
                               would                          
repel alcoholics whose lives < could > have been saved, had   
                our                                           
not been for < such > stupidity.  We would not even do the    

cause of temperate drinking any good, for not one drinker     
               is willing                                     
in a thousand <  likes   > to be told anything about alcohol  
by one who hates it.                                          

     Some day we hope that Alcoholics Anonymous will help     
the public to a better realization of the gravity of the      
    liquor               .  We                                
< alcoholic > problem < , but we > shall be of little use if  
our attitude is one of bitterness or hostility.  Drinkers     
will not stand for it.                                        

       After all, our troubles were of our own making.        
     < After all, our problems were of our own making. >      
  Bottles were only a symbol.  Besides, we have stopped       
< Bottles were only a symbol.  Besides, we have stopped >     
  fighting anybody or anything.  We have to!                  
< fighting anybody or anything.  We have to! >                


e-aa discussion of Working With Others


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