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February 1945

A. A.s Country-wide News Circuit

To sum up the symposium on alcoholism recently conducted in Cleveland by The Research Council on Problems of Alcohol, science seems to be standing on the threshold of the alcohol problem, and the "area of agreement" on what is known is small indeed when compared to the area of agreement on what is not known. Dr. Abraham Myerson observed: "We are not failing to treat the alcoholic as he should be treated because we do not have time, nor because there aren't enough psychiatrists, but because we don't know how." A second doctor remarked that there is still a slight moral stigma attached to drinking and society doesn't want the alcoholic treated as a sick man, it wants him punished. A third doctor agreed that, in the eyes of society, the alcoholic, like the person who acquires a venereal disease, is somehow "having fun." Society will pour out millions to treat cancer and infantile paralysis because the victims are obviously not "having fun," nor is their disease sort of a just price they are paying for fun previously had. As Dr. Myerson put it, the key word for science is research; the key word for the public is education--chiefly in the idea that the alcoholic is not enjoying himself and deserves to be treated seriously. The final conclusion of the symposium was that the key word for the alcoholic himself is "will"--will rooted in a positive belief that he can win his fight, and that the fight is worth winning. . . .A.A.s, we think, are apt to question strongly that word "will"--when the enemy is alcohol.

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