Ward of the Probate Court
ABOUT the time of my graduation from high school, a state
university was established in our city. On the call for
an office assistant, I was recommended by my superintendent,
and got the position. I was rather his choice and pride,
but a few years later, I met him in a nearby city and
"panhandled" him for two "bucks" for drinks.
I grew with this institution
and advanced in position. I took a year off for attendance
at an engineering college. At college I refrained from
any hilarious celebrating or drinking.
War was declared.
I was away form home on business at the State Capitol
where my mother couldn't raise objections and I enlisted.
Overseas I was on five fronts from Alsace up to the North
Sea. Upon relief from the lines-back in the rest-area,
"vin rouge" and "cognac" helped in the let down from trying
circumstances. I was introduced to the exhilaration of
intoxication. The old spirit, "What the hell? Heinie may
have you tagged," didn't help toward any moderation in
drinking then. We had many casualties but one of the real
catastrophies was the loss of a pal, a lieutenant who
died from the D.T.'s over there, after it was all over.
This didn't slow me up and back in the States I had a
big fling before returning home.
My plans were to cover
up with my mother and the
Ward of The Probate Court
I was to marry, that I had become addicted to alcohol.
But I exposed the fact on the day our engagement was announced.
On the way I met a training camp buddy, got drunk, and
missed the party. Booze had got over its first real blow
on me. I saw her briefly that night but didn't have the
guts to face her people. The romance was over.
To forget, I engaged
in a super-active life in social, fraternal, and civic
promotion in my community. This all outside my position
in the President's Office of the State University. I became
a leader-the big flash in the pan. I organized and was
first commander of the American Legion Post-raised funds
and built a fine memorial Club House. Was Secretary of
Elks, Eagles, Chamber of Commerce, City Club, and active
as an operator and officer in political circles. I was
always a good fellow and controlled my drinking, indulging
only in sprees in private clubs or away from home.
I was deposed from
the executive position at the college by a political change
in the governorship of the State. I knew the salesmanager
of the Securities Division of a large Utility corporation
in Wall Street, and started out to sell securities. The
issues and the market were good and I had a fine opportunity.
I was away from home and I began to drink heavily. To
get away from my drinking associates, I managed to be
transferred to another city, but this didn't help. Booze
had me, my sales and commissions diminished, I remained
almost in a continuous stupor on my drawing account until
I was released.
I braced up, got sober,
and made a good connection
a steamship agency, a concern promoting European travel
and study at most all important universities in Europe.
Those were the bath-tub gin days and for drinking in and
about my office, I held out in this position for only
I was now engaged
to be married and fortunately I got another position as
salesman for a large corporation. I worked hard, was successful,
and drinking became periodical. I was married and my wife
soon learned that I was no social drinker. I tried hard
to control it, but could not. There were many separations
and she would return home. I would make pledges and a
sincere effort and then my top would blow off again. I
began here to take sanitarium treatments to satisfy my
wife and folks.
I had a great capacity
for drink and work. With the help of turkish baths, bromo-seltzer
and aspirin, I held to the job. I became top-notcher in
the entire sales force of the country. I was assigned
to more special territory and finally into the market
of keenest competition. I was top rate in salary, won
bonus awards and was bringing in the volume. But there
was always the drawback my excessive drinking made at
times. I was called in once, twice, and warned. Finally
I wasn't to be tolerated any longer, although I was doing
a good job. I had lasted five and a half years.
I lost my wife along
with my job and fine income. This was a terrible jolt.
I tried for a hook-up, but I had a black eye marring a
good record. I became discouraged and depressed. I sought
relief with booze. There began the four black years of
Ward of The Probate Court
had returned home to the community where I had been so
prominent. these were dry days still and I hung out at
the clubs with bars. I got so I would last on a job but
a few days, just until I could get an advance for drinks.
I began to get entangled with the law-arrested for driving
while intoxicated and drunken and disorderly conduct.
My folks heard of
the cure at the State Hospital. I was picked up drunk
and sent there by the Probate Court. I was administered
paraldehyde and came to in a receiving ward among lunatics.
I was transferred to another ward of less violent cases
and I found a little group of alcoholics and "junkers"
(dope addicts). I learned from them the seriousness of
being a ward of the Probate Court. I felt then if I ever
got released the old devil alcohol would never get me
in a jam like this again. In times of great distress such
as this, I would pray to God for help.
I was fortunate and
was released after eleven days and nights barred up in
the laughing academy-"bug house." That was enough. I wanted
no more of it. I took a job as manager of a club and put
myself to the old acid test. I was going to really assert
my will power. I even tended bar part of the time, but
never imbibed a bit. This lasted about three months.
I went to an annual
convention of my overseas division and came to locked
up in a cheap hotel room, new shoes, suit coat, hat and
purse missing. I must have slipped badly.
Then followed much
drinking and trouble. After a few arrests for intoxication,
the law decided another so-
to the State Hospital would tame me. They jumped the stay
this time from eleven days to eleven weeks. It was getting
tough for me. I came out in good physical condition and
held a fear of getting probated again, thinking the siege
might be eleven months. I got another job and stayed dry
for about two months and off to the races again.
I became terribly
weak-couldn't eat and tried to get nourishment from booze
and mostly only bootleg at that. One time, I just made
it into a hospital and another time a police patrol took
me to the hospital instead of the jail. I suffered badly
from insomnia. As many as three shots in the arm had no
I would get in shape
and back at it again. I was going to battle it to the
finish. The time came when I was to be paid my soldier's
bonus. I had the limit or maximum coming. Friends advised
my folks to send me to a Veterans Hospital before I got
this money in my hands. I was probated again, held in
a county jail for two weeks and sent again to the asylum.
This was my summer resort for three months. I was on the
waiting list for the Veterans Hospital but I got into
such wonderful physical condition from eating and working
our of doors that I was released.
I reached home full
of resentment against my folks for their having my money
tied up under a guardianship. I went out and got saturated
and landed in jail-I had been free from the asylum door
about eight hours. Behind bars again so soon-this was
bad. However, I was freed again next day and this was
my last confine-
Ward of The Probate Court
with the law. I began to use my head, I continued to drink
but kept under cover or hid in the "jungles" with the
In a few months an
old friend came along. He located me a few times in saloons.
We had been drinking pals in the early days, particularly
at the club houses. He had heard of my predicament. He
himself had quit drinking and looked fine. He encouraged
me to visit him in a nearby city.
I wanted to quit drinking,
but hadn't much faith in ever getting away from it. I
agreed to go into a hospital as the patient of a doctor
who had been an alcoholic for many years and was now a
It is almost uncanny-in
just eight days I left there a different person. This
doctor in plain words was a wonderful guy-he spent many
hours with me telling me his experience with alcohol.
Others of his band, which was then small, visited me-told
me their stories. They were all strangers to me, but treated
me as a friend. I was impressed with their interest and
fellowship. I learned the secret. They had a religious
experience. I was willing, and renewed my acquaintance
with God and acknowledged Him as a reality.
I found it easy. I
cam to life and have been free now for many years. I hope
never to take another drink. I am building up a reputation
again and nearly every day am complimented on my appearance.
I have a new outlook
on life. I look forward to each day with happiness because
the real enjoyment it is to me to be sane, sober, and
respectable. I was existing
from one drink until the next, with no perception about
circumstances, conditions, or even nature's elements.
My acquaintance with God-lost and forgotten when I was
a young man-is renewed. God is all-loving and all-forgiving.
The memories of my past are being dimmed by the life I
now aspire to.