Atlanta Journal, Blake, June 5, 1943
Says Alcoholics Anonymous’ Is Continuing Constructive Work
ONE OF THE FINEST opportunities for practical missionary work in this city is afforded by “Alcoholics Anonymous.” It is a national organization devoted to the reclamation of victims of the drink habit. And Atlanta has a very active chapter, composed of all classes of society.
I have been in touch with the working of this organization since it was established in Atlanta some two years ago, and I can bear testimony to some of the remarkable cases of regeneration it has been responsible for in the lives of both men and women.
Several articles in this column have been devoted to the work of this club and the readers know that is an organization composed of ex-alcoholics who have been reclaimed themselves and who are seeking to help others.
These men and women in the organization are specialists in their line, just like cancer specialists, tuberculosis specialists, etc. I do not mean that they are physicians, but they know all the angles and alibis connected with the drink habit, and therefore are better qualified to help than many well-disposed social workers who know nothing of what an alcoholic goes through.
The executive director of the organization is Bert Flynn. While it is an anonymous organization, Bert has asked me to use his name because he says, “I was known as the town drunkard in Atlanta for 25 years, and the fact that I have now been free from the habit for two years may be a message of hope to many others.”
For ten years Bert Flynn has been close to my heart and prayers because I have known that no nobler heart ever beat in a human bosom and that if he could ever be reclaimed he would be a great power for good. I am thankful that my prayers and those of many others were finally answered, and that for two years he has been a completely changed man, an active Christian soldier and an inspiration to scores of others.
It was the Alcoholics Anonymous group that brought Bert through to victory, and he is just one of many others I could name. He is a real leader of men and with the grace of God in his heart he will be more and more useful for good deeds.
The Steps to Victory
The creed of Alcoholics Anonymous is in 12 steps to victory, which are as follows:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Became entirely ready to have God remove our defects of character..
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such persons wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry it out.
- Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Six Women Workers in Club
Alcoholics Anonymous now has six women who have been reclaimed from the drink habit and are actively engaged in helping members of their sex who are victims. They are doing a splendid work.
The organization is not a “new religious sect” as some people seem to think it is, but religion is the motivating power behind it. Men and women victims seeking help are told that their only hope is to depend entirely on a “higher power” than themselves, whatever they want to call such power. In my connections with the organization I have found out that in the outstanding cures the “higher power” always turns out to be God.
An Appeal to the Churches
As stated in the opening paragraph of this article, I know of no more constructive missionary work than this organization is doing. The great majority of its members have identified themselves with churches and are loyal members of these churches.
For this reason I feel I can appeal with all my heart to the members of the Christian Council of this city composed of ministers of all the denominations to give support and encouragement to Alcoholics Anonymous. The churches can help this constructive work considerably in many ways. I feel sure that nearly all the churches have members who are having a hard battle with the alcohol habit. The churches can put the Alcoholics Anonymous in touch with these people.
There are no dues and assessments in Alcoholics Anonymous. All of its funds are voluntarily contributed. It is deserving of financial support from the churches and from men and women of good will and fine hearts everywhere.
Several ministers of the Gospel have visited the weekly meetings of the organization and are wholeheartedly behind it. They can testify as to the splendid results it has achieved and how worthy it is of support.
The clubrooms are at 57 Broad Street, right in the center of the city, and the mail address is Box 1215, Atlanta. Public meetings are held each Friday night at 8 o’clock. If you have never attended one of these meetings, let me urge you to do so. I have been to many and always am inspired and thrilled.
Morgan Blake was first a sports columnist and then a religious commentator for the Atlanta Journal. He became a open supporter of Alcoholics Anonymous in Atlanta on the Op-Ed pages of that newspaper. Though not a member of AA himself, he gave up drinking in 1923 through his church. His praise of AA was by becoming a witness to the recoveries that were being accomplished. This article is one of a series that documents his support of Alcoholics Anonymous.