Practical experience shows that nothing will ensure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill.
Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.
Perhaps you are not acquainted with any drinkers who want to recover. You can easily find some by asking a few doctors or hospitals. They will be only too glad to assist you. Don’t start out as an evangelist or reformer. Unfortunately a lot of prejudice exists. You will be handicapped if you arouse it. Ministers and doctors are competent and you can learn much from them if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics. So cooperate; never criticize. To be helpful is our only aim.
When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you can about him. If he does not want to stop drinking, don’t waste time trying to persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity. This advice is given for his family also. They should be patient, realizing they are dealing with a sick person.
If there is any indication that he wants to stop, have a good talk with the person most interested in him – usually his wife. Get, an idea of his behavior, his problems, his background, the seriousness of his condition, and his religious leanings to see how you would like him to approach you if the tables were turned.
If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him. Neither should the family hysterically plead with him to do anything, nor should they tell him much about you. You might place this book where he can see it in the interval. Urge the family not to be over-anxious, for that might spoil matters.
(Continued next week)
Reprinted from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page #88-89, with permission of AA World Services, Inc.
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DNA Newspaper Mumbai Edition Published Date: Jul 31, 2012