(p. 474 in 3rd edition.)
They Lost Nearly All
“From a Canadian reservation to overseas bars to New England lockups, an Indian traveled a long trail that finally led him home to A.A.”
One source claims that this story may have been first published in the A.A. Grapevine in 1972 as “Son of Tall Man.” This has not been verified.
Maynard was born on a Maliseet Indian reservation in Canada, the oldest of thirteen children. He apparently was raised as a Christian as he says he was an altar boy at the church on the reservation.
He had his first drink in his early teens. But he was afraid of his father, whom he calls “Tall Man,” so he didn’t drink much in the beginning. But he thinks he was an alcoholic from the first drink.
When he was twenty-one his cousin came home from the U.S. Army on leave. Maynard stayed with him at his aunt’s house in Maine. That night they drank beer at a tavern and his cousin gave him drinks from a bottle of “hard stuff.” Maynard had his first blackout.
He joined the Canadian Army, but could not run away from his problem. He found that canteens served drinks to Indians in uniform. His heavy drinking and blackouts continued for the next two years.
When he came home his father met him and they drank together. Soon he was getting arrested and to avoid going to jail he kept moving from one place to another. He tried going on the “water wagon” for a few months.
In Connecticut some policemen tried to help him, but soon tired of him and bought him a one-way ticket to Canada, packed his clothes and put him on a train.
He considered suicide, but didn’t want to cause more pain to his parents. Then he remembered hearing of an Indian who was in A.A. He found him and they talked. He took him to a meeting in a small town in Maine. He did not drink again. He jumped from the first step to the twelfth and tried to help his brother. Two weeks later his brother joined A.A. and stopped drinking.
Eventually he and his brother went back to Canada to carry the message to Tall Man. Two years later Tall Man also got sober and started a group on the reservation.
Tall Man died sober, five years before Maynard wrote his story for the 3d edition. A newsletter reported of Tall Man: “With tireless devotion and humility, this venerable Indian gentlemen traveled thousand of miles humbly pleading for sobriety. He planted many seeds, and it will be many moons before another rises to walk in his shoes.”
Maynard tells Indians: “Don’t be afraid to join A.A. I once hear people say only Indians crazy when drunk. If so, A.A. full of Indians. Join the tribe!”