Tom L., Akron, Ohio.
(OM, p. 287 in 1st edition.)
Tom’s first date of sobriety probably was November 1935. (He slipped in December 1937.) His wife, Maybelle, approached Dr. Bob for help.
Tom grew up on a farm and had little education. During and after World War I, he worked in factories for high wages. He married Maybelle, an “able, well-educated woman who had an unusual gift of common sense and far more than the average business vision, a true helpmate in every way.”
Together they started a neighborhood grocery store, which prospered, then they bought another. But when the Great Depression hit they lost it. Tom took factory jobs when he could get them, and eventually opened a restaurant. His wife worked with him.
But Tom soon developed a serious drinking problem which eventually caused his wife to confront him and they separated – but for only a week.
They sold their restaurant and Tom took what jobs he could get, but these were hard times. He stayed sober for periods of time because he could not afford the money to drink.
When things improved financially, Tom’s drinking got worse. Tom was doing roof repairs and spouting installations, but his wife often had to start the men to work in the morning, do shop jobs, keep the books, and look after the house and family.
Tom became increasingly difficult at home, and Maybelle would quietly ask friends and business associates to drop in casually to talk to him. But they ended up by mildly upbraiding him. When things got truly bad Maybelle left him again, but after a time she returned to try to salvage what she could.
Finally Tom admitted to his wife that he wanted to stop drinking but could not. He asked her for help, and she was eventually referred to Dr. Bob.
Dr. Bob asked if her husband wanted to stop drinking, or was merely temporarily uncomfortable? Had he come to the end of the road? He visited them the following morning, and hospitalized Tom.
After a relapse, he and his wife talked it over, and knew it had happened because he had stopped following the program. He acknowledged his fault to God and asked His help to keep to the course he had to follow.
Dr. Bob often called Maybelle for help with the wives of other alcoholics. On one occasion he told her to get hold of Annabelle G., the wife of Wally G. (“Fired Again” in the 1st edition), or her husband would be drunk before he was out of the hospital two hours.