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"Another Prodigal Story"
Ralph F., Springfield, Massachusetts? Darien, Conn.?
(p. 357 in 1st edition.)
Ralph had his last drink
on June 6, 1938.
He begins by telling of
his last drunk. He and a man he met at the bar planned how
they would convince his wife that he had been about to commit
suicide and how his new friend had saved his life, so that
she would be sympathetic rather than angry at his drunken
state. When the man started playing with a gun, Ralph got
nervous and ran away.
Only the day before he had
been in an accident. A Good Samaritan saw his condition
and got him away quickly, before the police came, and drove
him home. He was dreadfully drunk that day and his wife
consulted a lawyer as preliminary to entering divorce action.
He swore to her that he wouldn't drink again and within
24 hours, he was dead drunk.
Several months previously
he had spent a week in a New York hospital for alcoholics
and came out feeling that everything would be all right,
but soon began drinking again.
The next morning was June
7th. He remembered the date because the day before was his
daughter's birthday. And that, by the grace of God, was
his last spree.
His wife, who had threatened
to leave him, ordered him to get dressed because she was
taking him to New York to the hospital.
His wife pleaded with the
doctor to please do something to save her husband, to save
her home, to save their business, and their self-respect.
The doctor assured them
that he had something for him this time that would work.
Four days later a man called
on him who stated that he, too, had been there several times
but had now found relief. That night another man came. He,
too, had been released from alcohol. Then the next day a
man came, and in a halting but effective way, told how he
had placed himself in God's hand and keeping. Almost before
Ralph knew it, he was asking God to help him.
Some alcoholics feel a strong
resentment against such a spiritual approach. But Ralph
was ripe for it.
The following day was Monday
and one of these men insisted that Ralph check out from
the hospital and go with him to his home in New Jersey (This
may have been Hank P.) He did, and the next night he was
taken to a meeting at Bill W.'s home in Brooklyn, where
there were more than 30 men like him.
When he returned home, life
was very different. He paid off the old debts, had money
enough for decent clothes and some to use in helping others.
He also worked hard for A.A. He is believed to have started
the group in Darien, Connecticut, and at the time he wrote
his story there were four in that group. He also may have
been the Ralph who worked in the pressroom at A.A.'s second
International Convention in St. Louis in July of 1955.
This prodigal had come home.