the first week of March, 1937, through the grace of God,
I ended 20 years of a life made practically useless because
I could not do two things.
First, I was unable
to not take a drink.
Second, I was unable
to take a drink without getting drunk.
Perhaps a third as
important as the other two should be added; my being unwilling
to admit either of the first two.
With the result I
kept trying to drink without getting drunk, and kept making
a nightmare of my life, causing suffering and hardship
to all those relatives and friends who tried so hard to
help me and whom, when I was sober, I took the greatest
pleasure in pleasing.
The first time I drank
anything strong, or in greater quantity than a glass of
beer, I got disgustingly drunk and missed the dinner which
had been arranged for me in honor of my coming marriage.
I had to be taken
home and remained in bed the following day; more sick
than I thought a human could be and live. Yet, until five
years ago I periodically did the same thing.
Making money was always
pretty easy when I was sober and worked.
All right when sober-absolutely
helpless with a drink aboard. But I seemed to have had
the idea that making
or a living was something to take or let alone.
I got into the real
estate business-began to neglect business, sometimes with
four houses under construction, wouldn't see any of them
for a week or even longer-sometimes paid good money for
an option, then forgot to exercise it. I made and lost
plenty of money in the market.
Understand, I wasn't
actually drunk all of this time but there seemed always
to be an excuse to have a drink, and this first one, more
and more often lead to my becoming drunk. As time went
on, periods between drunks got shorter and I was full
of fear; fear that I wouldn't be able to do anything I
agreed to do; fear of meeting men; worrying about what
they might know of my drinking and its results; all of
which made me quite useless whether I was sober or drunk.
Thus I drifted. Breaking
promises to my wife, my mother, and a host of other relatives
and friends who stood more from me and tried harder than
humans should be expected to, to help me.
I always seemed to
pick the most inopportune time for a binge. An important
business deal to be closed might find me in another city.
Once when entrusted to purchase for a large customer,
I agreed to meet his representative in New York. I spent
the time waiting for a train in a bar; arrived in New
York tight; stayed tight the week; and came home by a
route twice the distance from New York.
Worked weeks, by long
distance, wire, letters, and personal calls, to contact
possible business connections under proper conditions
and finally succeeded, only to
up tight or get tight and insult the man whose friendship,
or respect meant so much.
Each time there was
the feeling of regret, inability to understand why, but
a firm determination that it would never happen again-but
it did-in fact the periods between became increasingly
shorter, and the duration of each binge longer.
During the aforementioned
period, I had spent thousands of dollars, my home was
broken up; half a dozen cars smashed up; I had been picked
up by police for driving while intoxicated-plain drunk;
had sponged and borrowed money; cashed rubber checks;
and made such a general nuisance of myself that I lost
all the friends I had. At least they felt unwilling to
be a party to financing me while I made a more complete
ass of myself. And I, on my side was ashamed to face any
of them when I was sober.
My friends secured
jobs for me; I made good on them for a time. I advanced
quickly to night superintendent in a factory but it wasn't
long until I was missing, or worse, turning up drunk;
was warned-warned again; finally fired. I was later rehired
as a factory hand and mighty glad to have it-advance again-then
back to the bottom-always the same process.
I drank continuously
and when I drank, sooner or later, and generally sooner,
I got drunk and threw everything away.
During the early part
of 1935 my brother secured my release from the city jail.
On that day by sincere but non-alcoholic friends I was
shown what might be done about my drinking with the help
asked for this help, gratefully accepted it, and in addition
to losing my desire for drink, asked for and received
the same help in other matters. I began to earn my living
and in my new found security, was unashamed to meet people
I had avoided for years with happy results.
Things continued well,
I had two or three advancements to better jobs with greater
earning power. My every need was being met as long as
I accepted and acknowledged the Divine Help which was
so generously given.
I find now, as I look
back, that this period covered about six or eight months,
then I began to think how smart I was; to wonder if my
superiors realized what they had in me; if they were not
pretty small about the money they paid me; as these thoughts
grew, my feeling of gratefulness grew less. I was neglecting
to ask for help-when I received it as I always did, I
neglected to acknowledge it. Instead I took great credit
for myself. I began to take credit for the non-drinking
too-it came to me strongly that I had conquered the drinking
habit myself-I became convinced of my great will power.
Then someone suggested
a glass of beer-I had one. This was even better than I
thought-I could take a drink and not get drunk. So another
day, another beer until it was regular every day. Now
I was indeed in the saddle concerning drink-could take
it or leave it alone. Just to prove it to myself, I decided
to march right past the place I usually stopped for beer,
and I felt pretty good as I went to the parking lot for
my car. The longer I drove the greater was my pride that
licked liquor. I wa s sure I had-so sure in fact that
I stopped and had a beer before I went home. In my smugness
I continued to drink beer and began occasionally to
So it went until
inevitably, "as darkness follows the sun," I got drunk
and was right back where I had been fifteen years before,
slipping into a binge every now and then-never knowing
when they would come-nor where I would wind up.
This lasted about
eight months-I didn't miss much time from work-did spend
one ten day stretch in the hospital after a beating
I got while drunk-was warned a few times by my superiors-but
was "getting by."
In the meantime
I had heard of some men who, like myself, were what
I had always scoffed at being-alcoholics. I had been
invited to see them, but after twenty years of drinking,
I felt there was nothing wrong with me. They
might need it; they might be queer; but not me.
I wasn't going to get drunk again.
Of course I did,
again and again, until these men not only contacted
me but took me under their wing.
After a few days
of "degoofing" in a hospital, these men came to me one
by one and told me of their experiences. They didn't
lecture-didn't tell me I should quit. But they did tell
me how to quit. THAT WAS IMPORTANT and simple too.
was that we simply acknowledge we had made a pretty
dismal failure of our lives, that we accept as truth
and act upon what we had always been taught and known,
that there was a kind and merciful
that we were His children; and, that if we would let
Him, He would help us.
I had certainly
made a mess of my life. From the age of 20 I had thrown
aside everything God had seen fit to endow me with.
Why not avail myself of this all wise, ever-present
This I did. I ask
for, accept, and acknowledge this help, and know that
so long as I do, I shall never take a drink and what
is more important, though impossible without the first,
all other phases of my life have been helped.
There are, it seems
to me, four steps to be taken by one who is a victim
Have a real desire to quit.
Admit you can't. (This is hardest.)
Ask for His ever present help.
Accept and acknowledge this help.
Dick's story was renamed "He
Had to be Shown" in later editions).
for more resources on Dick S.