From the February 1955 magazine.

Prisoner AA

NO man, who has not served time in prison, can understand or appreciate the problems that face inmates. A conducted tour of the penitentiary, talks with the men, and even letters to them cannot give one the insight necessary to be of much help. There is always a barrier between: one man has freedom, the other does not. Though friendship can develop, it is a friendship of strangers, and it takes something more than that to bind these two opposites together. This is where AA can fill the gap.

The AA program does not recognize walls. It is immune to the conditions which break down an individual relationship, the difference in social levels, of intellect, of experience. AA takes no heed of this. It has one primary law, help your fellow man and do it by example rather than by instruction. It is a strange organization in that it wants only failures for members. Nor does it advertise its virtues or actively seek converts. The man who needs help must want it before AA can be of any value. When this is asked, then this group of anonymous men, who have fought through the temptations of alcohol to respectability and compassion for others fighting the same battle, are ready to give aid. They show the way that they have taken to restoration of character and tell the beginner that it is up to him whether he wants to follow that course. If he does, it will call for personal honesty, a selfless devotion to helping others, and a belief in a power greater than himself. He is told that others stand beside him, ready to help, but that they cannot make him take the first step, he must do that himself.

-- H. T. B., in "The Pioneer

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