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"Riding the Rods."
Charlie S., Akron, Ohio.
(OM, p. 303 in 1st
probably came to A.A. in May of 1937.
to his story, when he was fourteen years
old, he ran away from the farm where he
lived, befriended some hobos, and hoped
on a train with two of them headed for Detroit.
When they arrived one of them, Tom Casey,
took Charlie under his wing, got them both
a room with a kindly Irish landlady. Tom
looked after Charlie for the next two years,
taught him what not to do, made him start
a bank account and keep it growing.
quickly found a job, but missed Tom. Soon
he started to drink, lost jobs, his bank
account dwindled, and disappeared entirely.
He was broke and homeless. Soon he was hopping
freights again. He found and lost one job
tired of city life, he found a job on a
farm. Soon he married a young schoolteacher,
and needing more money, he moved to an industrial
city in Ohio [Akron]. He made up his mind
to leave liquor behind and get ahead. Soon
he had a job, a nice home, and an understanding
wife. They had a small circle of friends.
He began to try social drinking. But soon
he became the bootlegger's first morning
finally decided he was just no good and
his wife and children would be better off
without him he hopped a train for Pittsburgh.
After a while he took another back home.
He went back to work, but continued to have
trouble. He tried suicide several times.
When he became dangerous, his wife had him
placed in a hospital, where he was placed
he fell into casual conversation with another
patientanother alcoholic. They began
to compare notes. This man told him of a
group of about thirty men who had found
a way to stay sober. He had tried and had
stayed sober for a year. He planned to go
back to it when he was released from the
asked his wife to try to find this group.
She was skeptical, but the next day Charlie
had a visit from Dr. Bob. When he was released
from the hospital, his friend, who had been
released a few days earlier, introduced
him to several of the other members.
later, when Charlie wrote his story, he
said that the way had not been easy, but
helping others had strengthened him and
helped him to grow. He had obtained a measure
of happiness and contentment he had never
known before. He knew he would have difficulties
every day of his life, but now there was
a difference. Now he had a new and tried
foundation for every new day.
may have been the firstbut probably
not the lastto be 12th stepped by
a relapsed A.A. member.