Physiological and psychological methods alone have failed to do this. A friend of mine, who is a prominent psychiatrist, told me that at a convention on social betterment which he attended, when the problem of alcoholism carne up, the consensus was that it was being best handled by a group of people who call themselves Alcoholics Anonymous, and I know they really are a wonderful group of people. Since they have been effective in handling one of our major social problems, we should become familiar with their procedure.
First, the one who is so unfortunate as to have the drink take, him, must reach a place where he frankly admits: “I am in the grip of a force which seems to be greater than I am. I am absolutely inadequate to cope with this situation.” This is an honest and open confession, and it takes a sincere person to make it. Pride is put aside and so is prejudice. In recognizing that force he is obsessed by a greater than he is the alcoholic does not condemn himself and he shouldn’t. He condemns the act, and not the person. He starts with this simple, honest proposition: “Here is something in my experience which I am not big enough to handle.”
This is the crisis in his experience. His next step is to say: “There must be a power greater than I am. There must be a presence which holds me close to itself. I must belong to it and be one with it. It can wish only that which is good for me. Why not trust it?” Following the confession comes what might be called the great acceptance: “There is a power greater than I am. I am going to trust it.” He is reaching his hand out and placing it in the hand of God.
And he is right, for there is a power greater than all of us. If there were not we wouldn’t be here. And sooner or later everyone will have to come to the position that Alcoholics Anonymous have come to. We owe a great debt of gratitude to them, not only for the good they are doing to those who so particularly need their help, but for what they are doing for all of us. We all need the same confidence, the same faith and the same trust in this Life that the alcoholic needs.