the breaking up of our home, my Father went west and took
up his work and became fairly successful.
Then it was decided
that I should be sent to a preparatory school so to a
midwestern school I was sent. It didn't last long for
I got into a jam and left.
I went to Chicago,
wrote my Father and he sent me fare to come on west, which
I did. I started in to High School after I got there,
but I had no companionship, for my Father was away most
of the day and when he came in he always spent the evenings
reading and studying.
This all caused me
to become very bitter towards anything religious, because
I felt that I was only in his way when he wanted to read
his religious books and he took only enough interest in
me to leave a dollar on the dresser each morning to buy
my meals with. It caused me to become so hostile towards
anything religious that I formed a hatred against religion
which I was to carry for years.
During the time which
I spent by myself, I had found that I could buy wine and
loaf around saloons and it wasn't long before I had formed
a taste for drink. I was only about fourteen years old
then, but I looked eighteen.
When vacation time
came I wanted to go to San
My father willingly let me go and after seeing the sights
of that city I decided I wanted to go to sea and see the
world, so it was only a short time before I found myself
signed as an apprentice at sea and leading a new life.
In the meantime my
mother had married again. I knew she was well taken care
of so my letters were few and my visits home were years
apart, and through the selfish interest I had taken in
myself I never gave a thought to how worried she might
be over me. I had become a person wrapped up in my own
life only and giving no thought of anyone else.
Starting to sea out
of San Francisco brought me in and out of port there a
great deal so I considered San Francisco my home, and
as I had arrived there about 1905 I knew the old San Francisco
of before the earthquake where the lid was off and vice
flourished at all times.
In my young life I
saw all and knew all and considered myself well able to
play the game as others did.
I developed into a
steady drinker and, when going to sea, was sure I took
enough liquor along to take care of me for the trip. When
we arrived at a foreign port we would go ashore and proceed
to see the sights which mostly started at the first saloon.
If American liquor was not to be had or was too high in
cost then we would drink their native drink, and as I
look back it hardly seems possible that I have a brain
left to remember with for I have done about everything
possible to destroy it by over-indulgence in alcohol.
I have been to most
of the ports in this world; have
in some for some time; have put in a winter in Alaska;
lived in the tropics; but no time did I ever find a place
where I could not get liquor.
I quit the sea when
I was just past 20. I had become interested in construction
work, also had studied some art and learned the Freco
decorating trade. Eventually I went into the building
trade and have followed that ever since.
I had always made
good wages or made good at contracting, but was ever a
rolling stone, never staying in one place long and drinking
just the same as in my seafaring days.
I had always a certain
respect for myself and I carried my liquor well for years;
knew enough not to make a show of myself and stopped when
I had enough.
Then came the war.
I was 29 years old and was in Texas when I went into the
army and went overseas from there. After leaving Texas
I found out that we were stopping in my home town for
an hour and I received permission to call my mother when
we arrived there, so fortunately I was able to get her
down to the train before I left. I had not been home in
11 years and I then told her if I came back alive I would
come home to stay.
I had not been in
the service long before I was a high ranking non-commissioned
officer, for I had learned army discipline years before
in the army transport service and while in this country
and when behind the lines in France this gave me a chance
to get my liquor when my buddies couldn't.
But when we got to
the front lines it was the first
in years that I was unable to get my daily share of alcohol
but, when it was possible, I never missed.
On into Germany for
six months where I made up for lost time. "Schnapps"
was barred to American Troops but I got mine. After coming
back to the U.S. I received an honorable discharge and
came back to my home and mother.
Then I started trying
to break away from liquor but it did not last. The last
few years found me in all kinds of mixups for I had at
last developed into an alcoholic.
When I drank I would
get to the state where it required a doctor to straighten
me out. The times I have had to rely upon doctors are
numerous. I even tried sanitariums for relief. I had plenty
of suffering thrown in but still I would drift back again
to that first drink and off again I went.
I wanted to quit but
each time I drank it was worse than before. The misery
that my mother went through was unbelievable for I had
become her sole support. I was willing to try anything
if I could only get a release from this curse. I knew
it was breaking up my home and I was losing everyone that
was dear to me.
For a few months I
was successful in discontinuing drinking. Then all
of a sudden I fell again. I lost my position and thought
I was through.
When I was told of
a doctor who had been successful in overcoming alcohol
and was asked to go and see him in a nearby city, I consented
but with a feeling that it was just another cure.
From him and a number
of other men, however, I found it was possible to become
a man again. He sug-
my entrance into a hospital to clear my mind and build
me up. Meals had become a thing of the past for me. I
had lost all appetite for food but forced myself to eat
a little to survive.
This doctor told me
that unless I was sincere in wanting to quit drinking,
I would be wasting his time and mine and also money in
doing this. My answer was I would try anything that would
I went into the hospital
and started to build my body up again through proper nourishment,
and my mind through a different method than I had ever
A religious awakening
was conveyed to me through some unseen force. I at one
time would have laughed at such a possibility because
I had tried it and failed because I had not applied it
properly. I, at last, was shown the way by these men to
whom I am now most grateful.
I am now 50 years
old, unmarried, have become sane and sensible again, have
made my mother happy and brought back those who were dear
to me, have made many new friends, mix where I never mixed
before, received back my old position. I have the respect
of my fellow men and have learned how to actually live
and really enjoy life. It has been nearly six and a half
years since I have found this new life and I know as long
as I do the few things that God requires me to do, I never
will take another drink.
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