From the March 1945 magazine.

DR. Sam Parker of Kings County Suggests "Criteria for A.A. Work in Hospitals

Experience has proved that A.A. is an invaluable aid in the rehabilitation of hospitalized alcoholics. All hospitals should be encouraged to develop wider cooperation with A.A. in planned programs of handling alcoholics. To avoid disappointments and friction, both A.A. and physicians should understand that such a program must be based upon definite objectives in order to achieve some success. The hospital, on the one hand, must not make the error of exploiting A.A. to get rid of its cases indiscriminately, and A.A. members, on the other hand, should not be misguided to assume a missionary responsibility for any kind of alcoholic between four walls. The experience of A.A. has demonstrated that the alcoholic must have something to work with in order to make progress. Medical experience can teach us that there must be certain criteria in the choice of hospital material for successful cooperation with A.A. The occasional difficulties between hospitals and A.A. can be traced to a disregard of these criteria by either the hospital or A.A. members.

Alcoholism is the first symptom of an emotional disorder. Alcoholism is an addiction like many other habits. Alcoholism differs from almost all other addictions, however, in that it eventually causes serious physical complications which, in their final stages, may become irreversible or uncurable. In this respect, alcoholism begins as a personality disorder, but may become a serious physical disease. Medical science has not proved universally successful in the handling of the personality basis of alcoholism, and this made the success of A.A. a great contribution; but medical science can be especially effective in the treatment of the physical complications of alcoholism, where A.A. is impotent. Thus, A.A. should be guided by medical opinion on this point and the hospital should exhaust its resources in the medical care of the alcoholic before considering him as a prospective referral to A.A.

-- Sam Parker, M.D.

Brooklyn, New York

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