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"Smile With Me, At Me"
Harold S., Brooklyn, New York.
(OM, p. 340 in 1st edition.)
Harold was an early New
York member. He probably stopped drinking in February of
1938, but slipped in June of that year.
Through his long drinking
career he held many and various jobs. He was an accomplished
violinist who had played with some well-known orchestras,
a radio engineer, a ballet master, and hairdresser. At the
time he enlisted in the Navy during World War I, he was
working as a host at a celebrated Restaurant and Cabaret.
Having been a radio operator in the navy, he soon became
interested in amateur radio. He got a federal license and
made a transmitting radio set. Broadcasting radio was just
in its infancy then, so he began to make small receiving
sets for his friends and neighbors. Finally he worked up
quite a business and opened a store, then two stores, with
eleven people working for him. However, within three years
time he had lost both stores, probably in large part due
to his drinking.
He drifted from one job
to another, peddled brushes, did odd jobs such as painting,
and finally got established with a well known piano company
as assistant service manager. But when the stock market
crashed in 1929 he lost that job. He worked for one of his
old competitors who owned a radio store, until his drinking
got so bad and he was in such poor physical condition that
he had to quit.
His family was concerned
about his drinking. His wife had to go to work and, so that
they would have someone to care for his son they moved in
with his parents.
His wife contacted a well-known
psychiatrist and Harold saw him for a few months. He doctor
advised hospitalization from three months to a year, Harold
knew he would just go back to drinking as soon as he was
What he thought and wanted
at the time was "not to want to want to take a drink." He
knew it could only be done by himself, but how?
After going to as many as
six or eight other doctors, some of his own friends advised
his wife to make her plans for the future as he was a hopeless
case, had no backbone, no will power, and would end up in
Finally, his father, a physician,
put him in a private New York hospital (probably Towns).
When he was there ten days a new friend, "a true friend"
asked if he really wanted to stop drinking. And if he did,
would he do anything no matter what it was? The program
was explained to him, and he met the other members.
After about fourteen weeks,
he took the first drink. It took him several tries to get
back, but he realized that there was something that he failed
to do in those simple steps. He had slipped away from quite
a few of some of the most important things he needed to
do in order to keep sober.
One morning, after a sleepless
night worrying, he turned to the Bible and found help. He
returned to the group, and began to turn his life over to
the care of God.
For a time during 1939 meetings
were held in his home.