Aa history Lovers 2006 moderators Nancy Olson and Glenn F. Chesnut page

Download 14.05 Mb.
Size14.05 Mb.
1   ...   57   58   59   60   61   62   63   64   ...   96

has to pass many hours of the day when he is alone and must depend on

his own

inner strength. These are the hours when practice of these

principles in all

his affairs must cease to be a conventional, superficial acceptance

of them

and become a master of the heart and the will.
Sackville also wasn't fond of celebrity speakers. He urged that we


every speaker, silver-tongued or tongue-tied, at his real value of


another alcoholic who is doing his best to stay recovered himself and


to help us to do the same. And he thought that the increasing

numbers of

conventions and the like were diverting time and effort from our


purpose. He added, however, that these dislikes of his were "very


ripples in a sea of contentment."
Sackville died in 1979.
Special thanks to Louise H. of Belfast, and Ann P. of Spokane,


for information on Sackville and A.A. in Ireland.
--- End forwarded message ---
++++Message 3624. . . . . . . . . . . . Rockefeller Dinner Transcript


From: Bill Lash . . . . . . . . . . . . 8/1/2006 11:00:00 PM


Mr. Nelson Rockefeller, after the dinner, called the meeting to order and

expressed regret that his father would be unable to be present, but that Mr.

Scott, president of Lockwood Greene Engineers, Inc., would take over the

meeting at this point,

Mr. SCOTT: "It is a very difficult situation to pinch hit for Mr.

Rockefeller, but Nelson and I have agreed between us that we are going to do

the best we can. Mr. Rockefeller asked me particularly to say how much

interested he was in the work that is being done and how very sorry he is

that he cannot be here, and how much he appreciates the fact that you

gentlemen have come out to hear what is to be said.

My own experience with this group dates back to December 1937. I was asked

to attend a meeting in Rockefeller Center and I met some fifteen or eighteen

men there and I heard a story that thrilled me from the start. Mr. Wilson,

Dr. Smith, Mr. Mayo and some of the others who are here tonight told of

their experience in getting control over alcoholism. The thing that

particularly impressed me as a businessman was that this was done without

any theatrics, without any strong appeal to the emotions, without any

effects or any activities, which perhaps a conservative person might

criticize. What they had done, it seemed to me, had gone back to the

techniques of primitive Christianity, where one person told the good news to

another. And it did not seem to make much difference whether the person they

told it to was a Jew, a Protestant, a Catholic or nothing at all. If he

observed the techniques which had been developed and reached out into the

unknown and asked for help, the help came.

I am not here to make a speech but to introduce the other speakers. I first

want to introduce my friend Bill Wilson, who is at my right. Of this group

Bill Wilson here has been the leader. He is almost, if not entirely, the

originator of the undertaking. I know you will all want to hear from Mr.

Wilson, and now I present him to you--Bill Wilson."
Mr. WILSON: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Rockefeller, friends and guests: If there is

one thing that most people would like, it is to recover the good things they

have lost. With us who have been alcoholics one of those good things is the

regard of our fellow men. Therefore we are especially grateful to you

gentlemen because your coming here is a mark of renewed confidence, and we

want to thank you for the opportunity of presenting the little story of what

has happened.

I might start off by giving an account of a man whom I have not seen for two

or three years. His experience so well illustrates the nature of the problem

with which we have been dealing. This man was a rich man's son, and I


pay him no greater tribute than to say that he was very successful in

business; I think that is a real tribute. He was a person of dignity, good

taste, education. He had a great many friends. Well, he did a conventional

amount of drinking, and that went along nicely a number of years, and then

he found that he began to get drunk, very much to his own consternation, for

he had looked down upon people of that type before.

I have indicated, I think, that he was a person of character, and great

force of character. Therefore the question immediately arises in


mind: "Why didn't he stop?" But he did not.

Little by little matters got worse and he began to go from one hospital or

cure to another. He consulted psychiatrists. He began to make a study of

himself, and of this thing, which is called alcoholism. Little by little the

realization dawned on him that although he might have been foolish in

drinking too much, now he had become sick. In desperation he went to Dr.

Jung in Zurich, who is considered by many physicians the world's


authority on the alcoholic mind. There he was under treatment, I believe,

for a long time. In the course of that treatment he said to Dr. Jung:

"Doctor, you are for me the court of last resort. Will you please tell


how serious this is and where I get off?" And the doctor said:

"It is this

serious. I have never seen one single case where the alcoholic's mind

was in

the state that yours is that ever recovered." And our friend said:


recovered? Are there no exceptions?" And the doctor said: "Yes,

there are

some exceptions - those cases where men have had so-called vital spiritual

experiences." An expression of relief went over our friend's

face as he

said: "Well, Doctor, I am a good Episcopalian. I used to be a


before I got so bad." The Doctor shook his head. "That is not

enough to

expel this obsession which you have, this so-called compulsion

neurosis." So

our friend said, "What next, how do I get one of those things?"

"Well," the

Doctor said, "I don't know. Certain orders in the Catholic

Church have had

success with alcoholics. The Salvation Army...priests and ministers

partially...Christian Science.... But these successes have been

only occasional,

sporadic." And he added, "I don't know whether the

lightning will hit you or

not. You might try. Otherwise you may as well shut yourself up, because if

you don't you will die."

That is a typical statement of the alcoholic's dilemma. It describes

in a

loose way a condition in which we have gone from habit to obsession, to

insanity. And the very strange thing is that while this is going on, many of

us seem to all outward appearances to be sound and able citizens in other

respects. Our minds waver, and we wonder what in thunder is the matter.

Recently I attended a dinner given by the Research' Council on

Problems of

Alcohol. Several of the country's leading authorities on the subject


At the end of the meeting, the chairman, urging the need for research,

called attention to the fact that all of these authorities were in serious

disagreement as to the fundamental cause.

We laymen don't pretend to say just what it is that has ailed us. We

know it

is deadly. We know it to be hopeless unless the key is turned in the lock to

the extent that it has been turned for the members of our group who now

number between four and five hundred.

I might refer briefly to my own experience...

(Here Mr. Wilson gave his own experiences as an alcoholic and in discovering

a way out for himself which after seventeen years' continuous drinking


brought him to a condition which leading medical authorities on alcoholism

pronounced hopeless, has enabled him to be sober for five years. This

experience is given in full in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous,"

so it seems

needless to recount it in this necessarily concise report.)

After I had been free from liquor for several months I went to the city of

Akron on a business trip, a business trip which promised a great deal to me.

It meant perhaps the presidency of a small company; it meant coming from a

state of having no business friends or prestige whatever to a state of easy

circumstances, and I counted a great deal on it. When I got there the matter

bogged down into a proxy fight. Now that was a state of affairs that would

have formerly thrown me into a tailspin at once. I was walking up and down

the corridor of the hotel without any sure way of getting home, the bill

unpaid, and the old thinking started to come back - well, after all, I ought

to go into the bar and think things over, I see some nice people in there,

etc. - that vague thinking that so often precedes the first drink, even

though one may have had delirium but a month before. That sort of thinking

was started but immediately I had a feeling of alarm which was new to me. I

began to wonder if I should not try to be helpful to someone else in that

same position.

I had tried to do some alcoholic work prior to this business trip, although

without much success. So after inquiring about a little bit, I ran across

the gentleman who sits over there, his name is Dr. Bob Smith of Akron. A

great many of us hope and believe that Dr. Bob Smith will be known in time

to come as the Louis Pasteur of alcoholism, because he has personally done

more about it than anybody else, and it was in Akron really that the thing

was worked out and so many things were proved of.

Bob said afterwards that he expected to spend only fifteen minutes, but as a

matter of fact we spent several hours together. I told him of my experience,

what I had found, and we talked about drinking. Shortly after that he had

one little relapse and that was the last. He has had no more alcoholic

trouble since.

He himself explains it this way: "For the first time in my life I


with someone who knew by personal experience what the problem was, and

because of that identity of experience you were able to carry to me

convictions that I did not have before; one as to my hopelessness and two as

to the absolute necessity of finding a spiritual basis for living."

Now Bob is a doctor. He knew a great deal about the problem. He had tried

many avenues of escape and among those was the religious solution. He had

tried them earnestly, and still with no success. Therefore we stumbled upon

one of the principles upon which we now operate, and that is that one

alcoholic talking to another seems to carry conviction, or, as you might

say, packs a wallop that the outsider, no matter how understanding, cannot.

That summer in Akron, while my business dragged along into a lawsuit, Bob

and I found that we had to work with others to stay alive ourselves. We kept

scouring around for prospects. A couple were fat failures. Two fellows we

succeeded with, and then I came back to New York.

Now I am going to take you on with an account of what happened after I left,

because to my mind that is where the real story of this thing begins. There

were then three fellows in that town who felt that they must help other

alcoholics to get well or die themselves. Then they found that when they

tried to help these people, and as they found they could help them, they

loved to do it. Now that is exactly what we have all discovered, each in his

turn. That is why this organization needs little driving power from the top.

Surely if each of us were a member of a conventional organization, and the

undertaker and the asylum were just around the corner unless we were

reasonably diligent, such an organization would function pretty smoothly.

Meanwhile, as an avocation - and that is what it is with all of us - I did

some work here in my spare time. I was going on in business then. A few of

us sprung up about New York. I began to go back to the hospital over on

Central Park West and talk to patients there, and they began to return to

their communities and in some cases they started to work. When we came down

to about two years ago there were about forty of us whom we thought had


Then we began to say to ourselves: well, here, we owe it to other men in

this dilemma to let them know how they can get well. Moreover we felt that

we ought to have a book which would represent a pool of our experience down

to that particular time, feeling that enough had been proved to be surely of

distinct help. Another thing we felt necessary was the matter of getting the

advice and counsel of people outside our group. And so it was that the

Alcoholic Foundation came into being.

Well, then the book was written and that book, I hope, has no theory in it.

It is all our own experience as we see it, and it sets out in detail the

methods that we employ, so that an alcoholic at a distance, be he a person

of enough determination and substance, can take hold of that hook, follow

its directions and get well. As in fact some men seem now to be doing alone.

To continue with what had happened out in Akron. By the time the book was

published last April there were about one hundred of us, the majority of

them in the West. Although we have no exact figures, in counting heads

recently, we think it fair to state that of all the people who have been

seriously interested in this thing since the beginning, one-half have had no

relapse at all. About 25% are having some trouble, or have had some trouble,

but in our judgment will recover. The other 25% we do not know about.

In Akron the club had got up to a membership of forty or fifty when some

people in Cleveland began to hear about it. One of those fellows was a chap

who is here tonight, by the name of Clarence Snyder. Clarence began to work

around among people in Cleveland and began to attend Akron meetings - this

goes back some two years - so little by little a nucleus was formed in

Cleveland of people who were getting well.

By this same spilling over method two men appeared after a time in Chicago,

and in the fall of this year they were joined by a woman alcoholic who had

some means and spare time. I was there, for the first time, by the way,

about two weeks ago. I found thirty people there in that Chicago group whom

I had never seen. Twenty-six of them had had no relapse.

The book is finding its way over the country. It is being used by doctors

and sanitariums. The Alcoholic Foundation, to date, as the result of

publicity and the book, has had about a thousand inquiries. Fortunately

these inquiries are on the whole very good material, because they emanate

from people and families who have tried about everything else. Those men and

those women having alcoholic trouble who write in and demand personal

contact are prima facie good prospects.

The results, so far as percentages go, are beginning to be impressive with

the lapse of time. Enough has been demonstrated to be worth while, eminently

worth while. But what the final verdict of medicine will be I do not know.

We have here tonight Dr. Blaisdell, who is head of the Rockland State

Hospital. The doctor thinks enough of us to allow us to talk to committed

alcoholic cases, and ten of them have been liberated since last summer.

About twenty more are just now coming out.

Our group over in Jersey numbers, oh, say forty. I should think about

one-third of that group are people who have come out of Overbrook, the

county place over there. And we have some men in this room who have been out

of Greystone for a year or so without any relapse. We are finding that the

asylum boys and girls, as we call them, are very good prospects, provided

they are not otherwise impaired. It is obviously not difficult to convince

them that they are "behind the 8 ball." And if we carry that

conviction to a

man once, he accepts a spiritual solution for his difficulties rapidly.

To date, more than 400 of us know that we have found an answer to the

alcoholic riddle.

So that is, in effect, what is going on, and the opportunity of coming here

to tell you gentlemen about it is deeply appreciated by all of us of

Alcoholics Anonymous."

Mr. Scott then introduced Dr. Foster Kennedy as one who has been in touch

with this group and who knows about what they are doing, ending in these

words: "I suppose most of you know Dr. Kennedy by reputation. But for


that there may be some obscure people here who do not, let me say that he is

a neurologist, born and trained as a physician in Ireland and England. He is

now Professor of the Clinical Division of Cornell Medical University, and in

charge of Alcoholics in Bellevue. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of

Edinburgh, the Royal Society in London and served during the World War with

distinction. And if you are interested in the further record of his degrees

and medals, I refer you to Who's Who."
DR. KENNEDY: "Gentlemen, I am exceedingly glad to be here. I had a


and patient who became interested in this movement. She had a very unhappy,

in fact quite desperate situation. It has not been one of the complete

successes of this group, but she at least has stayed in the course longer

with the aid of these ideas than at any other time in her adult life, and

the effect of these doses still is working in her and I believe she will

reach health. I am sure she will.

I don't think I ought to make a long speech. You have been told in


and most affecting language the story of this movement. I think I perhaps

might be allowed, if it has not already been spoken of before I was able to

get here, to speak of a review that appeared in the Journal of the American

Medical Association."

MR. SCOTT: "It has not been referred to."

Dr. Kennedy then read to the audience a review which appeared in the Journal

of the American Medical Association of the 14th of October. It was a review

of the book "Alcoholics Anonymous." At the outset the reviewer

spoke of the

seriousness of the psychiatric and social problem represented by addiction

to alcohol, stating: "Many psychiatrists regard addiction to alcohol


having a more pessimistic prognosis than schizophrenia...."

"Schizophrenia," Dr. Kennedy interpolated, "is at the

moment the fashionable

name for dementia praecox. That is the progress that has been made regarding

this disease in thirty years. (Laughter) Each ten years we medicos have

another name for these things and it is wrong now to speak of schizophrenia

as dementia praecox. But it is a serious condition."

In continuing with the review which described "Alcoholics

Anonymous" " a

curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious

exhortation" . .

. and closed with the words: "The one valid thing in the book is the

recognition of the seriousness of addiction to alcohol. Other than this, the

book has no scientific merit or interest."...Dr. Kennedy


"I did not like that review much and I sent a letter to the editor of


Journal of the American Medical Association and asked him to put it among

the, oh, trivia, or whatever they would put it in. But he wrote a very

decent letter back and said he thought no good purpose could be served by

publishing my letter. One never likes to see one's child aborted, so I

thought I would read you my reply here:


An unsigned review appeared in the Journal of the American Medical

Association October 14th of ‘Alcoholics Anonymous,' the story of

how more

than 100 men have recovered from alcoholism. The cheapish tone of the review

is surely a reflection on the thoughtfulness, the experience, and the innate

kindliness of the reviewer, and not at all indicative of lack of humane

spirit in the Journal.

The aim of those concerned in this effort against alcoholism is high, their

success has been considerable and I believe medical men of good will should

aid these decent people rather than loftily condemn them for not being


One might ask the reviewer to produce a book on the subject of alcoholism

concocted by him out of "pure science." Medicine, surely, is

Science touched

with emotion. It is quicker and more precious in vivo than in vitro. This

group of workers I have regarded as enlisting Belief and the herd-instinct

to fortify and implement emotionally men's actions. In doing so they


chosen well-tried weapons. It would be unfortunate if the opinion of your

"Cynic Anonymous" be given too wide credence by our profession

which has

never before refused to use faith to move mountains.'

I thank you."

In presenting the next speaker, Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick, D.D., Mr. Scott

said in part:

"I will not attempt to introduce Dr. Fosdick to this audience. I know


course that you all know him perfectly well. I simply want to say one thing

about him in addition to these other qualities. I consider him my guide,

counselor and friend. Dr. Fosdick."

DR. FOSDICK: "Mr. Chairman and friends: I suppose we all wish that


problem of alcoholism could be solved by prevention rather than cure. There

is a famous test of sanity: namely, turn a faucet into a basin and ask the

patient to dip out the basin. If he starts to dip out the basin without

turning off the faucet first he is probably an imbecile; if he has sense

enough to turn off the faucet first the chances are he is normal. We wish we

could turn this faucet of alcoholism off. I don't know how we are

going to

do it. We tried prohibition and that did not work. But I sincerely hope that

this movement which starts on the curative side of dipping out those who

have fallen into alcoholism may indicate a coming psychological revolution

in this country against the mad extremes to which the use of alcohol is

Download 14.05 Mb.

Share with your friends:
1   ...   57   58   59   60   61   62   63   64   ...   96

The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2022
send message

    Main page