(p. 369 in 3rd edition.)
They Stopped in Time
"This secret drinker favored the local Laundromat as a watering hole. Now, she no longer risks losing her home, her self-respect, or her laundry."
One source says this woman's date of sobriety was April 1973.
Her father was a big Irish oilman who came up through the "school of hard knocks" and so had to be a two-fisted drinker. Her sweet mother said he had a "weakness." The author realized that something was wrong and developed a great sense of insecurity.
She married at nineteen and had six children. In the beginning she and her husband drank on social occasions, but without problems.
Then a series of tragedies occurred. Her father died from falling down a flight of stairs while drunk, after his death her sweet mother took up drinking and died of cirrhosis of the liver; then her five-year-old girl was killed by a neighbor's car. She couldn't take all the stress and was soon admitted to a state hospital for the mentally ill. After a few months she was "released and left the world of insanity, only to return to the world of alcoholic insanity."
Her husband disapproved of her drinking so she would gather up the soiled clothes and go the Laundromat, buying alcohol on the way. She would get drunk at the Laundromat, lose shirts, and once lost the entire wash. (During this time she was considering doing laundry for the neighbors as a part-time job, so that she could spend all her time at the Laundromat.)
Finally her husband decided he wanted a divorce and told her to leave because she was "unfit as a mother, a wife, and a laundress."
Fortunately her sister-in-law knew of a place that helped alcoholic women, a halfway house. There she found A.A. and learned that she didn't have a "weakness" but the disease of alcoholism.
One night, a few weeks after joining the Fellowship, she was surprised and delighted to see a familiar face -- her husband. It is unclear whether he was there because he, too, was an alcoholic, or whether it was an open meeting that he attended to learn about the disease in order to help her. She says only "he was learning, too."
They resumed their marriage, moved away from the street of sad memories, and found a new home. But for her, what is more important is "I found a new life in Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm very active in A.A. work and active at home, too, with my family. I still wash clothes, lots of them, but I no longer lose them at the Laundromat. That's right! During three years in A.A., I haven't lost so much as one shirt."