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Biography: "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 released.

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 the gutter.

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.

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