Biography: Archie T., “The Man Who Mastered Fear”
Archie T., Grosse Point, Michigan.
(OM, p. 332 in 1st edition, p. 275 in 2nd and 3rd editions, p. 246 in the 4th edition. Titled “The Fearful One,” in the 1st edition. It was rewritten and renamed for the later editions.)
Pioneers of A.A.
“He spent eighteen years in running away; and then found he didn’t have to run. So he started A.A. in Detroit.”
Archie’s date of sobriety was November 1938.
He came from a good upper middle class family in Grosse Point, Michigan. By the time he was twenty-one he had lived in foreign countries for six years, spoke three languages fluently, and had attended college for two years.
Then, family financial difficulties necessitated his going to work. He entered the business world with every confidence that success lay ahead. He had endless dates and went to countless dances, balls and dinner parties.
But this was suddenly shattered when he had a devastating nervous breakdown. Doctors could find nothing physically wrong with him. Psychiatry might have helped, but psychiatrists were little known in his town at that time.
Recovery from the nervous breakdown came very slowly. He ventured out of the house for a walk, but became frightened by the time he reached the corner. Gradually he was able to do more, and even to work at various jobs. He found that alcohol helped relieve his many fears.
His parents both died when he was thirty, leaving him a sheltered and somewhat immature man, on his own. He moved into a “bachelor hall,” where the men all drank on Saturday nights and enjoyed themselves. Archie drank with them, but also drank himself to sleep every night.
With bravery born of desperation and abetted by alcohol, he married a young and lovely girl. But the marriage lasted only four years, then she took their baby boy and left. He locked himself in the house and stayed drunk for a month.
The next two years he had less and less work and more and more whisky. He ended up homeless, jobless, penniless and rudderless, the problem guest of a close friend whose family was out of town. When the family returned his friend turned Archie over to a couple, perhaps Oxford Group members, who knew Dr. Bob, and who were willing to drive him to Akron. The only stipulation they made was that he had to make the decision himself. What choice did he have? Suicide or finding out whether this group of strangers could help him.
Dr. Bob put him in the hospital for a few days. He then stayed with Dr. Bob and Anne for ten months. He was in bad shape physically, mentally, and spiritually. At first Dr. Bob thought he was “kind of simple.”
He was penniless, jobless, and too ill to get out during the day to look for work. Anne nursed him back to health, and while in their home he got down on his knees one day for the first time in thirty years. “God. For eighteen years I have been unable to handle this problem. Please let me turn it over to you.” Immediately, a great feeling of peace descended on him, intermingled with a feeling of being suffused with a quiet strength.
He did not want to go back to Michigan, preferring to go someplace where he could make a fresh start. But Detroit was where he had to return, not only because he must face the mess he had made there, but also because it was where he could be of the most service to A.A. In the spring of 1939, Bill W. stopped off in Akron on his way to Detroit on business. He invited Archie to accompany him to Detroit. They spent two days there together before Bill returned to New York.
He made amends where he could, and delivered dry cleaning out of a broken down jalopy to his one-time fashionable friends in Grosse Point. With a nonalcoholic friend, Sarah Klein, he started an A.A. group in Detroit.
The date of his death is unknown.