They Stopped In Time - p. 279

Among today's incoming A.A. members, many have never reached the advanced stages of alcoholism, though given time all might have.

Most of these fortunate ones have had little or no acquaintance with delirium, with hospitals, asylums, and jails.  Some were drinking heavily, and there had been occasional episodes.  But with many, drinking had been little more than a sometimes uncontrollable nuisance.  Seldom had any of these lost either health, business, family, or friends.

Why do men and women like these join A.A.?

The seventeen who now tell their experiences answer that question.  They saw that they had become actual or potential alcoholics, even though no serious harm had yet been done.

They realized that repeated lack of drinking control, when they really wanted control, was the fatal symptom that spelled problem drinking.  This, plus mounting emotional disturbances, convinced them that compulsive alcoholism already had then; that complete ruin would be only a question of time.

Seeing this danger, they came to A.A.  They realized that in the end alcoholism could be as mortal as cancer; certainly no sane man would wait for a malignant growth to become fatal before seeking help.

Therefore, these seventeen A.A.'s, and hundreds of thousands like them, have been saved years of infinite suffering.  They sum it up something like this:  "We didn't wait to hit bottom because, thank God, we could see the bottom.  Actually, the bottom came up and hit us.  That sold us on Alcoholics Anonymous."

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