From the May 1957 magazine.

The Yes and the No of It

AS CHILDREN two of the first words which appeared in our limited, monosyllabic vocabulary were "Yes" and "No." At that time of life we used these words in the innocence of simple desires--an uninhibited "For" or "Against." When was it, along the line of our developing maturity, that we bogged down in the matter of will power in the application of "Yes" and "No" to more complicated choices? Surely the active alcoholic--and even the sober AA member--seems all too frequently, when asked a question or offered a choice of action, to come up with the wrong answer.

In the years I spent qualifying rather thoroughly for membership in AA, it never entered my mind to answer anything but an emphatic "Yes!" to the offer of a drink, regardless of how many I had indulged in already or what my condition was at the moment. This consistent disregard of the consequences of "just one more" seemed to puzzle my family and friends who generally knew when they had had enough. It never occurred to them, in all probability, and certainly not to me, that the real answer for me was to say "No"--and mean it--to the offer of the first drink. When I finally said "Yes, I am an alcoholic!", it was the right answer for the first time, is still the right answer, and I hope, in my case, always will be.

-- A.T.

New York City, New York

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