Early 1940's Philadelphia
"Intro To AA" Pamphlet
INTRODUCTION TO AA
1537 Pine Street
New Club House
219 South 36th Street
Phone: BARing 9698
Public - Thursdays
Members - Mondays
pamphlet is an attempt to set forth a few of the rudimentary
ideas of A.A. Its purpose is to give the new member a
working knowledge, so that he will have some understanding of
the purposes, functioning and organization of A.A. What is
covered here, we hope will give a prospective member an idea of
how to at least start the A.A. program.
since the A.A. idea is ever evolving and developing, each new
member is strongly advised to circulate freely at meetings and
elsewhere with other members. It is, in fact, only by
intimate personal discussion that a full understanding can be
attained. All older members are willing and anxious,
without obtrusion, to assist new men along this line.
I. What do the letters A.A.
II. What is A.A.?
A.A. is a
group of people for whom Alcohol has become a major problem in
their lives and who, admitting it, have decided to do something
about it. They have, on the evidence of their own lives,
decided that for them Alcohol is a poison, and are honestly
attempting to build a satisfactory mode of living without the
use of Alcohol in any form.
III. What is an Alcoholic?
Alcoholic is any person whose indulgence in Alcohol continuously
or periodically results in behavior such as to disrupt his
normal relations with his or her work, family or society, and is
of such a nature as to cause him or her serious trouble.
Alcoholic is any person whose mental or physical condition is so
affected as to, in fact, seriously jeopardize his or her normal
relations with her or his work, family or society. While
the actual damage may not have been done, it is merely a matter
of time or luck when something serious will occur.
Therefore, so far as the necessity of their giving up drinking
is concerned they are Alcoholic.
Alcoholic is any person who experiences an abnormal craving
after drinking, and, who finds it necessary to use Alcohol the
next day as a medicine or drug to alleviate the very condition
which Alcohol itself has created.
Alcoholic is any person who under any or all of these conditions
finds it impossible to discontinue both its constant or periodic
IV. Am I an Alcoholic?
that if any person will with brutal honesty face the questions
raised in Paragraph III, he or she can definitely determine
whether or not he is an Alcoholic.
V. Is it a disgrace to be
While we do
not feel it to be a happy state, we do not consider it a
and Psychiatry now both admit that the urge for Alcohol by an
Alcoholic is far beyond the indulgence of a whim. That the
necessity for Alcohol by an Alcoholic cannot be permanently
overcome simply by medical therapy, or by mere will power alone.
are advanced that the cause is a peculiar chemical makeup of the
body resulting in a physical allergy, or that it is an emotional
instability or immaturity; that it is due to a character
deficiency or lack of will power, or to an escapist complex,
inferiority complex or numerous other idiosyncrasies. Any
one of these may be true in whole or in part.
for simplicity, we have chosen to identify it as an allergy
resembling the unfortunate situation of a diabetic with an
insatiable, ungovernable desire for sugar.
VI. How soon will I be cured?
If you mean
when will you be able to drink in a normal way again, the answer
is, never in this life. Overwhelming evidence of medicine
and psychiatry is that once a man has stepped over into the
classes as described in paragraph III, no person can ever drink
the other hand, you mean when will you be free from the desire
to drink the answer is, that alcoholic type of drinking being a
way of life both in thought and action, the rapidity with which
you succeed in changing your fundamental outlook on life,
determines the time when you will be free. This, in turn,
depends almost solely on the degree of sincerity and energy with
which you throw yourself into the program. Some get almost
instant release; for others it is a matter of weeks, or in rare
cases months. Our case histories prove that, if a person
definitely decides to give up drinking, and if he is not
mentally impaired, no failure is possible, provided he honestly
and energetically follows the program.
VII. Why can A.A. help me
where others could not?
combines the basic and essential elements of sound Alcoholic
therapy. It advises you to seek medical help for your
physical deficiencies, if any; a return to your God for your
spiritual well-being; the righting on your part, insofar as it
is possible, of all past wrongs in order to relieve your mind of
inner conflicts. It furnishes you with social and physical
activities for the release of nervous energy and the correction
of intravert type of thinking. A.A. offers friendships and
understanding such as you have probably not known in years.
It gives opportunity for sympathetic mutual discussions to give
relief to your complexes, repressions and self-recriminations.
it gives you an opportunity to help others in the same manner
you will be helped.
VIII. What do I have in common
with such a Group?
to having a common Alcoholic problem you will find that A.A. is
as representative a cross-section of our community life as could
be found. Members of the group include representatives of
every profession, trade and skill. There are business men,
laborers, employee and employer, men and women, young,
middle-aged and elderly, scholar and student. It is truly
representative of many walks of life, social, economic,
political and religious. There is little doubt that you
will find types to your liking and in harmony with your tastes.
IX. Is A.A. a religious group
admitting that we ourselves nor any human relationship or agency
have been able to help us so far as the drinking problem is
concerned, and that we are desperately in need of help from
somewhere, and are willing to accept it, if it can be found - if
that is religion - the answer is, yes.
no dogma, no creed, no ritual.
It does not
intrude into a member's conception of the Spiritual.
However, we believe that an appeal for help to one's own
interpretation of a Higher Power and the acceptance of that help
is the indispensable factor in working toward a satisfactory
adjustment to life and its problems.
X. Are there dues, fees, etc.?
no dues or initiation fees. A voluntary collection is
taken at each meeting to defray current expenses for meeting
halls, refreshments, etc. The more fortunate financially
contribute $1.00 monthly.
A.A. stresses the fact that there are no salaries of any kind or
any financial emoluments to any member, whomsoever.
XI. What form of Government
does A.A. Have?
throughout the country (of which there are approximately 150)
selects its own method of conducting its own business affairs.
The group by whom this pamphlet is prepared has adopted the
following simple procedure. It has an Executive Committee
of five, elected by the Group at large at a regular monthly
business meeting. Each member serves for one month, and at
the expiration of the month a new Committee is elected.
Executive Committee elects a Chairman from among their own
number who serves at its discretion.
addition, one member is elected to the House Committee for six
months who serves with the Executive committee in order to have
continuity in the affairs of the Group. There is also a
Treasurer, Secretary, an Entertainment Committee and such other
Sub-Committees as may be deemed necessary for the efficient
functioning of the Group elected by the Group at large.
XII. How do I become a member?
a member of a Group almost automatically. There is no
formal initiation or induction. If, after examining
yourself honestly and courageously, you admit to yourself you
are an Alcoholic, that you sincerely want to stop drinking once
and for all, you have only to attend the meetings, make an
energetic sincere effort to be guided by the advice and
experience of those about you, and try with complete sincerity
to live up to its principles, to become a member.
continued sincerity of purpose, half your battle is won; without
it neither A.A. nor anyone else can help you.
demonstrating his or her honesty and sincerity of purpose in his
or her desire to stop drinking will have recourse to a list of
names, addresses and telephone numbers of the Group who will be
glad to furnish advice and assistance.
feel the need of advice or companionship, do not hesitate to
call on or phone any member on the list. If he or she is
occupied, he will assist you in getting in contact with some
other member who is available. That is an essential part
of each member's work, so don't feel you are imposing.
have decided to become a member, make it as much a full time job
as possible (regaining your former life of complete sobriety is
a twenty-four hour a day job. Get active; ask the
committee if there is any work you can do.
your business to meet and know every other member. Do not
be afraid of appearing too forward. We always try to know
everyone by their first name; you do the same.
your wife, husband or any other close relative you choose, to
the meetings. The better informed your relatives are as to
the program, the better position they are in to cooperate with
you in this important program for your readjustment.
at first naturally feel closer to one or two members, but it is
important that you broaden your contacts and develop as many
friendships as possible.
act like a "patient" too long, become the
"doctor" and get out and get yourself some patients.
ever, at any time, imagine you are being slighted. Time
and a little logic will prove to you how wrong you are.
Alcoholics are inclined to hyper-sensitivity - so fight this
with all your intelligence.
and will do for you what it has done for thousands. If you
are sincere in your desire to stop drinking, you can. No
one can cure you. You must help yourself. A.A. gives
you the tools, and shows you how to use them. It is up to
you to do the work.
are meetings nearly every evening during the week in various
parts of the Metropolitan area. If you desire any
information regarding them or if you wish to get in personal
contact with a group, address your communication to:
P.O. Box 4735, Philadelphia, Pa.
first meeting you attend be sure to personally give your name,
address and telephone number to the Secretary, if you desire to
become a member.
publishes a 400-page book entitled ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, which
is obtainable at the Clubhouse or any public library.
every victim of alcohol, friends of victims, physicians,
clergymen, psychiatrists or social workers to read and study
this book, as it deserves the careful attention of any one
interested in the problem of alcoholism.
book will give them, as no other treatise known, an inside view
of the problem which the alcoholic faces and represents the
pooled experiences of 100 men and women who have been victims of
alcohol, many of them declared hopeless by the experts, and who
have won their freedom and recovered their sanity and
unhappiest person in the world is the chronic alcoholic who has
an insistent yearning to enjoy life as he once knew it, but
cannot picture life without alcohol. He has a
heart-breaking obsession that by some miracle of control he will
be able to do so.
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.
and DOES show these people a solution to their problem and its
greatest recommendation is - IT WORKS!
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