(p. 317 in 3rd edition.)
They Stopped in Time
"Sergeants, doctors, girl friends - everybody seemed to be picking on him. But he couldn't be an alcoholic at his age, could he?"
This man was only twenty-four years old when he wrote his story for the 3rd edition. He started drinking about age thirteen.
He didn't do well in school so quit at seventeen and joined the Army. He was in trouble from the beginning. While still in basic training he got drunk almost every night. He couldn't take orders from the head cook when on K.P. and threw a garbage can at him. He was reported to the company commander. After basic training he didn't drink for three months because he was in school at night. He thought this meant he had no drinking problem.
He was sent to Viet Nam where he stayed drunk or sick from a hangover for a year. When he came back from Nam he met a girl he liked, but she would not put up with his drinking and told him to leave.
Next he was sent to Arizona where his drinking increased even more and he started having blackouts and was thrown in jail for speeding and drunk driving. Then he re-enlisted and was sent back to Viet Nam. There he tried suicide twice and wanted to kill his sergeant, so they sent him to a psychiatrist.
When he returned to the States he met a wonderful girl and got engaged. But she soon dropped him, and he still couldn't believe it was his drinking.
He began needing a drink in the morning, and missing work because he was still too drunk to stand up. He became very paranoid and thought everyone was against him. It was the same when they sent him to Germany.
He began hallucinating, and was finally hospitalized, but drank again as soon as he was released. He finally realized he couldn't quit. He talked to the first sergeant and the battalion commander and they put him in contact with an A.A. member.
He had trouble trusting the A.A. members and admitting he was an alcoholic, but eventually did. But he still couldn't stop drinking so was hospitalized again, this time in a rehabilitation center. When he got out he continued to go to A.A. and finally realized that the people in the groups only wanted to help him get sober and to stay sober themselves.
A.A.'s Twelve Steps showed him the way to sobriety, if he wanted it. And he wanted it. A.A. gave him a new way of life. He did have a slip, but was told not to worry about yesterday, because nobody can change it, and not to worry about tomorrow, because it hasn't come yet. Live twenty-four hours at a time. And it works. He said "I'm a twenty-four year-old alcoholic - and I'm happy."