Still, I got a new and better job. One which gave me more
time to relax and where drinking was permitted during
working hours. People were beginning to criticize my drinking
habits and I scoffed at them. Hadn't I earned ten thousand
dollars that year? And wasn't this the middle of the depression?
Who were they to say that I couldn't handle my liquor?
A year of this and I was fired.
Other jobs followed
with the same net result. After each experience of this
kind I would sit down and figure out the reason why it
happened. I always found a good reason, and usually people
accepted it and gave me another chance. For weeks, sometimes
months, I wouldn't touch a drop and because I could do
this, I reasoned that there was a real excuse for that
last bender, and since that excuse no longer existed I
could start to drink moderately again.
I usually did-for
a while. Then I would step up the consumption about one
glass per day until I reached the stage where all of the
past unhappy experiences associated with drinking were
brought back to my mind. Soon I was crying in my beer,
full of self-pity, and off again to a flying start toward
a floundering finish.
How many times this
happened, I don't know. I don't even want to know. I do
know that during this period I completely smashed nine
new automobiles and
never scratched. Even this didn't convince me that there
might be a God who was looking out for me i n answer to
the prayers of others. I made many friends and abused
them terribly. I didn't want to, but when it was a question
of a friendship or a drink, I usually took the drink.
In a final effort
to escape, I went to New York thinking I could leave my
reputation and troubles behind me. It didn't work. I was
hired by eight nationally known organizations and fired
just as quickly when they had checked my references. The
world was against me. They wouldn't give me a chance.
So I continued my drinking and took any mediocre job I
Occasionally I dropped
into a church half hoping that I might absorb something,
anything, that might help a little bit. On one of these
visits I saw and met a girl who I felt could be the answer
to all of my problems. I told her all about myself and
how I felt sure that with her friendship and love everything
could and would be different. Although born in New York
she was "from Missouri." I would have to show her first.
She had seen other girls try to reform men by marrying
them and she knew it didn't work.
She suggested praying
and having faith and a lot of things that seemed silly
at the time, but I really got down to business and started
doing some serious bargaining with God. I prayed and prayed.
In all earnestness I said, "If You will get this girl
for me then I'll stop drinking for You." And "If You will
only get me my original job back, I'll drink moderately
soon found out that God didn't work that way because I
didn't get the girl or the job.
Six months later I
was sitting in a small hotel on the west side of New York
full of remorse and desperate because I didn't know what
would happen next. A middle-aged man approached me and
said in a very sincere voice, "Do you really want to stop
drinking?" Immediately I answered "Yes," because I knew
that was the correct answer. He wrote down a name and
address and said "When you are sure you do, go and see
this man." He walked away.
I began to think,
"Did I really want to quit? Why should I? If I couldn't
have this girl and I couldn't ever have a good job again,
why in the hell should I quit?" I tucked the address into
my pocket along with a nickel for subway fare, just in
case I eve r decided to really quit. I started drinking
again, but could get no happiness or release regardless
of the number of drinks.
Occasionally I would
check up to see if the address and the nickel were still
safe, because I was being tortured with one thought this
girl had given to me. "You must be decent for your own
sake. And because you want to be decent, not because some
one else wants you to be."
A week later I found
myself in the presence of the man whose address was in
my pocket. His story was incredible. I couldn't believe
it, but he had the proof. I met men whose stories convinced
me that in the ranks of men who had been heavy drinkers
I was a n amateur and a sissy.
What I heard was hard
to believe but I wanted to
it. What's more I wanted to try it and see if it wouldn't
work for me.
It worked, and is
still working. For weeks I was bitter against society.
Why didn't some one put me wise to this before? Why did
I have to go on like that for years making my parents
unhappy, abusing friends, and passing up opportunities?
It wasn't fair t hat I should be the instrument to make
I believe now that
I was given this experience so that I might understand
and be of use in helping others to find a solution to
this and other problems.
When I decided to
do something about my problem, I was reconciled to the
fact that it might be necessary for me to wash dishes,
scrub floors, or do some menial task for possibly many
years in order to re-establish myself as a sober, sane,
and reliable per son. Although I still wanted and hoped
for the better things in life, I was prepared to accept
whatever was due me.
Once I became sincere,
good things began to happen to me. My first experience
in overcoming fear was three weeks later when I applied
for a position with a national organization. After numerous
questions I was finally asked why I had left the company
I ha d been with six years. I replied that I had been
fired for being a drunk. The manager was flabbergasted
and so completely astounded by the truth that he refused
to believe me. I referred him to my former employer but
he refused to write him-but he did give me the job.
It has been six and
a half years since I made that decision. Those years have
been the happiest years of
life. The little girl, who was big enough to tell me the
nasty truth when I needed it, is now my wife.
Eight months ago I
went to another city to set up a new business. I had sufficient
money to last me several months. What I wanted to accomplish
could have been done under ordinary circumstances in about
two weeks. The obstacles I have encountered and over come
are hard to enumerate. At least twenty times I have been
sure that I would be doing business within the next twenty-four
hours and at least twenty times something has happened
which later made it seem that the business never would
While I am writing
this I happen to be at the low point of the twenty first
time. Money is exhausted. All recent developments have
been unfavorable, everything seems on the surface to be
wrong. Yet I am not discouraged. I am not blue. I feel
no bitterness toward these people who have tried to obstruct
the progress of the business, and somehow I feel because
I have tried hard, played square, and met situations,
that something good will come from this whole experience.
It may not come the way I want it, but I sincerely believe
that it will come the way that it is best.
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