Visits Federal Pen on Different Mission

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Atlanta Journal, MORGAN BLAKE – March 25, 1945

Visits Federal Pen on Different Mission

SUNDAY MORNING at 6:30 this columnist arose with the dawn. It was the earliest since Al Martin used to get me up before day to go fishing. The purpose of this unusual proceeding was to visit the Federal Penitentiary for a meeting with Alcoholics Anonymous group there. The Pen operates on Easter time; it is 9 o’clock there when it is 8 o’clock in Atlanta. The A.A.’s meet every Sunday morning at 9 o’clock. My comrade on the trip was an old buddy, “Herbert B-29 Flynn,” a member of the Atlanta group, one of the finest guys I know.

There are 43 members of the A.A.’s at the prison and for more than an hour we had  most enjoyable fellowship. The membership out there has been growing steadily since its formation some months back. Sitting in with us were Dr. Harris Lipton, psychiatrist at the Pen; one of the assistant wardens, Herbert Cox, and Richard Jordan, brilliant editor of The Atlanta Christian, Pen magazine.

Most gratifying reports were made concerning former members who have been released from prison and are now active members and leaders of groups outside. The lessons these men learned in the A.A’s at the prison are proving valuable to them and none has renewed acquaintance with John Barleycorn, who has played such a dominant part in their law violations.

I was much impressed with the caliber of the men of the prison A.A’s, and as I spoke to them
I felt the Spirit of God very strongly . I have every confidence in their sincerity, their forthrightness.

Great Influence for Good

The other day I was talking with a famous Atlanta neurological and he told me that alcoholism was a more acute problem with the medical profession than it has ever been.

“I am very frank to say,” he declared, “that Alcoholics Anonymous is doing the best work with alcoholics of all other agencies put together.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a combination of the skill of the doctor, the psychiatrist and the religious leader. The most vital factor is the recognition that willpower of the individual is futile and that God is essential in the transaction. Humility is a basic Christian virtue, and whether the alcoholic is a Christian or not he must acquire that humility before there is any hope for him. Most all alcoholics are full of ego and the first step is to get this out of their system.

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