was born in a small New England village of about
7,000 souls. The general moral standard was, as
I recall it, far above the average. No beer or
liquor was sold in the neighborhood, except at
the State liquor agency where perhaps one might
procure a pint if he could convince the agent
that he really needed it. Without this proof the
expectant purchaser would be forced to depart
empty handed with none of what I later came to
believe was the great panacea for all human ills.
Men who had liquor shipped in from Boston or New
York by express were looked upon with great distrust
and disfavor by most of the good townspeople.
The town was well supplied with churches and schools
in which I pursued my early educational activities.
father was a professional man of recognized ability
and both my father and mother were most active
in church affairs. Both father and mother were
considerably above the average in intelligence.
for me, I was the only child, which perhaps engendered
the selfishness which played such an important
part in bringing on my alcoholism.
childhood through high school, I was more or less
forced to go to church, Sunday School and evening
service, Monday night Christian Endeavor and sometimes
to Wednesday evening prayer meeting. This had
the effect of making me resolve that when I was
free from parental domination, I would never again
darken the doors of a church. This resolution
I kept steadfastly for the next forty years, except
when circumstances made it seem unwise to absent
high school came four years in one of the best
colleges in the country where drinking seemed
to be a major extra-curricular activity. Almost
everyone seemed to do it. I did it more and more,
and had lots of fun without much grief, either
physical or financial. I seemed to be able to
snap back the next morning better than most of
my fellow drinkers, who were cursed (or perhaps
blessed) with a great deal of morning after nausea.
Never once in my life have I had a headache, which
fact leads me to believe that I was an alcoholic
almost from the start. My whole life seemed to
be centered around doing what I wanted to do,
without regard for the rights, wishes, or privileges
of anyone else; a state of mind which became more
and more predominant as the years passed. I was
graduated with "summa cum laude" in the eyes of
the drinking fraternity, but not in the eyes of
next three years I spent in Boston, Chicago and
Montreal in the employ of a large manufacturing
concern, selling railway supplies, gas engines
of all sorts, and many other items of heavy hardware.
During these years, I drank as much as my purse
permitted, still without paying too great a penalty,
although I was beginning to have morning "jitters"
at times. But I lost only a half day's work during
these three years.
next move was to take up the study of medicine,
entering one of the largest universities in the
country. There I took up the business of drinking
with much greater earnestness than I had previously
shown. On account of my enormous capacity for
beer, I was elected to membership in one of the
drinking societies, and soon became one of the
leading spirits. Many mornings I have gone to
classes, and even though fully prepared, I would
turn and walk back to my fraternity house because
of my jitters, not daring to enter the classroom
for fear of making a scene should I be called
on for recitation.
went from bad to worse until sophomore spring
when, after a prolonged period of drinking, I
made up my mind that I could not complete my course,
so I packed my grip and went South and spent a
month on a large farm owned by a friend of mine.
When I got the fog out of my brain, I decided
that quitting school was very foolish and that
I had better return and continue my work. When
I reached school, I discovered the faculty had
other ideas on the subject. After much argument
they allowed me to return and take my exams, all
of which I passed creditably. But they were much
disgusted and told me they would attempt to struggle
along without my presence. After many painful
discussions, they finally gave me my credits and
I migrated to another of the leading universities
of the country and entered as a Junior that Fall.
my drinking became so much worse that the boys
in the fraternity house where I lived felt forced
to send for my father, who made a long journey
in the vain endeavor to get me straightened around.
This had little effect however for I kept on drinking
and used a great deal more hard liquor than in
up to final exams I went on a particularly strenuous
spree. When I went in to write the examinations,
my hand trembled so I could not hold a pencil.
I passed in at least three absolutely blank books.
I was, of course, soon on the carpet and the upshot
was that I had to go back for two more quarters
and remain absolutely dry, if I wished to graduate.
This I did, and proved myself satisfactory to
the faculty, both in deportment and scholastically.
conducted myself so creditably that I was able
to secure a much coveted interneship~ in a Western
City, where I spent two years. During these two
years I was kept so busy that I hardly left the
hospital at all. Consequently, I could not get
into any trouble.
these two years were up, I opened my office downtown.
Then I had some money, all the time in the world,
and considerable stomach trouble. I soon discovered
that a couple of drinks would alleviate my gastric
distress, at least for a few hours at a time,
so it was not at all difficult for me to return
to my former excessive indulgence.
this time I was beginning to pay very dearly physically,
and in hope of relief voluntarily incarcerated
myself at least a dozen times in one of the local
sanitariums. I was between Scylla and Charybdis
now, because if I did not drink my stomach tortured
me, and if I did, my nerves did the same thing.
After three years of this, I wound up in the local
hospital where they attempted to help me, but
I would get my friends to smuggle me in a quart,
or I would steal the alcohol about the building,
so that I got rapidly worse.
my father had to send a doctor out from my home
town who managed to get me back there some way
and I was in bed about two months before I could
venture out of the house. I stayed about town
a couple of months more and returned to resume
my practice. I think I must have been thoroughly
scared by what had happened, or by the doctor,
or probably both, so that I did not touch a drink
again until the country went dry.
the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment I felt
quite safe. I knew everyone would buy a few bottles,
or cases, of liquor as their exchequers permitted,
and it would soon be gone. Therefore it would
make no great difference, even if I should do
some drinking. At that time I was not aware of
the almost unlimited supply the government made
it possible for us doctors to obtain, neither
had I any knowledge of the bootlegger who soon
appeared on the horizon. I drank with moderation
at first, but it took me only a relatively short
time to drift back into the old habits which had
wound up so disastrously before.
the next few years, I developed two distinct phobias.
One was the fear of not sleeping, and the other
was the fear of running out of liquor. Not being
a man of means, I knew that if I did not stay
sober enough to earn money, I would run out of
liquor. Most of the time, therefore, I did not
take the morning drink which I craved so badly,
but instead would fill up on large doses of sedatives
to quiet the jitters, which distressed me terribly.
Occasionally, I would yield to the morning craving,
but if I did, it would be only a few hours before
I would be quite unfit for work. This would lessen
my chances of smuggling some home that evening,
which in turn would mean a night of futile tossing
around in bed followed by a morning of unbearable
jitters. During the subsequent fifteen years I
had sense enough never to go to the hospital if
I had been drinking, and very seldom did I receive
patients. I would sometimes hide out in one of
the clubs, of which I was a member, and had the
habit at times of registering at a hotel under
a fictitious name. But my friends usually found
me and I would go home if they promised that I
should not be scolded.
my wife were planning to go out in the afternoon,
I would get a large supply of liquor and smuggle
it home and hide it in the coal bin, the clothes
chute, over door jambs, over beams in the cellar
and in cracks in the cellar tile. I also made
use of old trunks and chests, the old can container,
and even the ash container. The water tank on
the toilet I never used, because that looked too
easy. I found out later that my wife inspected
it frequently. I used to put eight or twelve ounce
bottles of alcohol in a fur lined glove and toss
it onto the back airing porch when winter days
got dark enough. My bootlegger had hidden it at
the back steps where I could get it at my convenience.
Sometimes I would bring it in my pockets, but
there~ were inspected, and that became too risky.
I used also to put it up in four ounce bottles
and stick several in my stocking tops. This worked
nicely until my wife and I went to see Wallace
Beery in "Tugboat Annie", after which the pant-leg
and stock-racket~ were out!
will not take space to relate all my hospital
or sanitarium experiences.
the benefit of those experimentally inclined,
I should mention the so-called beer experiment.
When beer first came back, I thought that I was
safe. I could drink all I wanted of that. It was
harmless; nobody ever got drunk on beer. So I
filled the cellar full, with the permission of
my good wife. It was not long before I was drinking
at least a case and a half a day. I put on thirty
pounds weight in about two months, looked like
a pig, and was uncomfortable from shortness of
breath. It then occurred to me that after one
was all smelled up with beer nobody could tell
what had been drunk, so I began to fortify my
beer with straight alcohol. Of course, the result
was very bad, and that ended the beer experiment.
all this time we became more or less ostracized
by our friends. We could not be invited out because
I would surely get tight and my wife dared not
invite people in for the same reason. My phobia
for sleeplessness demanded that I get drunk every
night, but in order to get more liquor for the
next night, I had to stay sober during the day,
at least up to four oclock. This routine went
on with few interruptions for seventeen years.
It was really a horrible nightmare, this earning
money, getting liquor, smuggling it home, getting
drunk, morning jitters, taking large doses of
sedatives to make it possible for me to earn more
money, and so on ad nauseam. I used to promise
my wife, my friends, and my children that I would
drink no more - promises which seldom kept me
sober even through the day, though I was very
sincere when I made them.
the time of the beer experiment I was thrown in
with a crowd of people who attracted me because
of their seeming poise, health, and happiness.
They spoke with great freedom from embarrassment,
which I could never do, and they seemed very much
at ease on all occasions and appeared very healthy.
More than these attributes, they seemed to be
happy. I was self conscious and ill at ease most
of the time, my health was at the breaking point,
and I was thoroughly miserable. I sensed they
had something I did not have, from which I might
readily profit. I learned that it was something
of a spiritual nature, which did not appeal to
me very much, but I thought it could do no harm.
I gave the matter much time and study for the
next two and a half years, but still got tight
every night nevertheless. I read everything I
could find, and talked to everyone who I thought
knew anything about it.
good wife became deeply interested and it was
her interest that sustained mine, though I at
no time sensed that it might be an answer to my
liquor problem. How my wife kept her faith and
courage during all those years, I'll never know,
but she did. If she had not, I know I would have
been dead a long time ago. For some reason, we
alcoholics seem to have the gift of picking out
the world's finest women. Why they should be subjected
to the tortures we inflicted upon them, I cannot
this time a lady called up my wife one Saturday
afternoon, saying she wanted me to come over that
evening to meet a friend of hers who might help
me. It was the day before Mother's Day and I had
come home plastered, carrying a big potted plant
which I set down on the table and forthwith went
upstairs and passed out. The next day she called
again. Wishing to be polite, though I felt very
badly, I said, "Let's make the call," and extracted
from my wife a promise that we would not stay
over fifteen minutes.
entered her house at exactly five oclock and it
was exactly eleven fifteen when we left. I had
a couple of shorter talks with this man afterward,
and stopped drinking abruptly. This dry spell
lasted for about three weeks, when I went to Atlantic
City to attend several days' meeting of a National
Society of which I was a member. I drank all the
Scotch they had on the train and bought several
quarts on my way to the hotel. This was on Sunday.
I got tight that night, stayed sober Monday till
after the dinner and then proceeded to get tight
again. I drank all I dared in the bar, and then
went to my room to finish the job. Tuesday I started
in the morning, getting well organized by noon.
I did not want to disgrace myself, so I then checked
out. I bought some more liquor on the way to the
depot. I had to wait some time for the train.
I remember nothing from then until I woke up at
a friend's house, in a nearby town. These good
people notified my wife, who sent my newly-made
friend over to get me in my car. He came and got
me home and to bed, gave me a few drinks that
night, and one bottle of beer the next morning.
was June 10, 1935, and that was my last drink.
As I write nearly four years have passed.
question which might naturally come into your
mind would be: what did the man do or say that
was different from what others had done or said?
It must be remembered that I had read a great
deal and talked to everyone who knew, or thought
they knew, anything about the subject of alcoholism.
This man was a man who had experienced many years
of frightful drinking, who had had most all the
drunkard's experience known to man, but who had
been cured by the very means I had been trying
to employ, that is to say, the spiritual approach.
He gave me information about the subject of alcoholism
which was undoubtedly helpful. Of far more
importance was the fact that he was the first
living human with whom I had ever talked, who
knew what he was talking about in regard to alcoholism
from actual experience. In other words, he talked
my language. He knew all the answers, and
certainly not because he had picked them up in
is a most wonderful blessing to be relieved of
the terrible curse with which I was afflicted.
My health is good and I have regained my self-respect
and the respect of my colleagues. My home life
is ideal and my business is as good as can be
expected in these uncertain times.
spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned
to others who want and need it badly. I do it
for four reasons:
Unlike most of our crowd, I
did not get over my craving for liquor much during
the first two and one-half years of abstinence.
It was almost always with me. But at no time have
I been anywhere near yielding. I used to get terribly
upset when I saw my friends drink and knew I could
not, but I schooled myself to believe that though
I once had the same privilege, I had abused it
so frightfully that it was withdrawn. So it doesn't
behoove me to squawk about it, for after all,
nobody ever used to throw me down and pour any
liquor down my throat.
- Sense of duty.
- It is a pleasure.
- Because in so doing I
am paying my debt to the man who took time
to pass it on to me.
- Because every time I
do it I take out a little more insurance for
myself against a possible slip.
you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic,
or have any other form of intellectual pride which
keeps you from accepting what is in this book,
I feel sorry for you. If you still think you are
strong enough to beat the game, that is your affair.
But if you really and truly want to quit drinking
liquor for good and all, and sincerely feel that
you must have some help, we know that we have
an answer for you. It never fails if you go about
it with one half the zeal you have been in the
habit of showing when getting another drink.
Heavenly Father will never let you down!