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Archie T., "The Man Who Mastered Fear"
T., Grosse Point, Michigan.
(OM, p. 332 in 1st edition, p. 275
in 2nd and 3rd editions, p. 246 in the 4th edition. Titled
"The Fearful One," in the 1st edition. It was
rewritten and renamed for the later editions.)
eighteen years in running away; and then found he
didn't have to run. So he started A.A. in Detroit."
Archie's date of sobriety
was November 1938.
He came from a good
upper middle class family in Grosse Point, Michigan.
By the time he was twenty-one he had lived in foreign
countries for six years, spoke three languages fluently,
and had attended college for two years.
Then, family financial
difficulties necessitated his going to work. He entered
the business world with every confidence that success
lay ahead. He had endless dates and went to countless
dances, balls and dinner parties.
But this was suddenly
shattered when he had a devastating nervous breakdown.
Doctors could find nothing physically wrong with him.
Psychiatry might have helped, but psychiatrists were
little known in his town at that time.
Recovery from the nervous
breakdown came very slowly. He ventured out of the house
for a walk, but became frightened by the time he reached
the corner. Gradually he was able to do more, and even
to work at various jobs. He found that alcohol helped
relieve his many fears.
His parents both died
when he was thirty, leaving him a sheltered and somewhat
immature man, on his own. He moved into a "bachelor
hall," where the men all drank on Saturday nights and
enjoyed themselves. Archie drank with them, but also
drank himself to sleep every night.
With bravery born of
desperation and abetted by alcohol, he married a young
and lovely girl. But the marriage lasted only four years,
then she took their baby boy and left. He locked himself
in the house and stayed drunk for a month.
The next two years he
had less and less work and more and more whisky. He
ended up homeless, jobless, penniless and rudderless,
the problem guest of a close friend whose family was
out of town. When the family returned his friend turned
Archie over to a couple, perhaps Oxford Group members,
who knew Dr. Bob, and who were willing to drive him
to Akron. The only stipulation they made was that he
had to make the decision himself. What choice did he
have? Suicide or finding out whether this group of strangers
could help him.
Dr. Bob put him in the
hospital for a few days. He then stayed with Dr. Bob
and Anne for ten months. He was in bad shape physically,
mentally, and spiritually. At first Dr. Bob thought
he was "kind of simple."
He was penniless, jobless,
and too ill to get out during the day to look for work.
Anne nursed him back to health, and while in their home
he got down on his knees one day for the first time
in thirty years. "God. For eighteen years I have been
unable to handle this problem. Please let me turn it
over to you." Immediately, a great feeling of peace
descended on him, intermingled with a feeling of being
suffused with a quiet strength.
He did not want to go
back to Michigan, preferring to go someplace where he
could make a fresh start. But Detroit was where he had
to return, not only because he must face the mess he
had made there, but also because it was where he could
be of the most service to A.A. In the spring of 1939,
Bill W. stopped off in Akron on his way to Detroit on
business. He invited Archie to accompany him to Detroit.
They spent two days there together before Bill returned
to New York.
He made amends where
he could, and delivered dry cleaning out of a broken
down jalopy to his one-time fashionable friends in Grosse
Point. With a nonalcoholic friend, Sarah Klein, he started
an A.A. group in Detroit.
The date of his death