From the September 1944 magazine.

Do You Know:

ABOUT A. A. TELEPHONE TECHNIQUE

It was in Washington in the Spring that the telephone technique of A.A. saved me from a tumble. I had just accepted an invitation to dinner from an old bingeing companion who had laughed gaily when I told him not to order extra liquor as I was "not drinking." He had heard that before--and when I had finished talking to him I felt that "liquor flash" and I knew I was going to drink that night--unless something new had been added by my five months in A.A. For never in my B.A.A. days had I been able to shake off the obsession when the flash had taken shape as a picture. I paced the floor, but the picture built up--just a few this Friday night, slightly mellow at the races tomorrow, none or just a few beers Sunday so as to be in shape for work Monday. Perfectly logical, said Screwtape. I tried to pray but no go as I was too jittery--and then I thought of the name of the New York A.A., now living in Washington, which my sponsor had had me put down in my A.A. telephone book. I called him, explained my predicament and after a two-minute conversation I told him he did not need to come around as my alcoholic picture had vanished. I stayed sober because I talked on the telephone with a man I had never seen but who, I knew, would understand my problem and offer help. Small wonder then that in the more than two years that have passed since my Washington experience (miracle, if you like) I have always considered the telephone as one of the best "gadgets" in the A.A. kit of practical aids. And thank God I reached for it before (and not after) the drink. So to new members: Get yourself a "little black book" and in it put the names and telephone numbers of those A.A.s you meet; and carry it with you; and at the first sign of a liquor flash (or even before if you are feeling low) get on the phone and talk to a fellow A.A. But do it before, not after, the drink. That matter of timing is the crux of the whole technique.

-- J.A.D.

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