Ralph F

Authors of the Stories from the Book

Biography: "Another Prodigal Story"

Ralph F., Springfield, Massachusetts? Darien, Conn.? 
(p. 357 in 1st edition.)

Ralph had his last drink on June 6, 1938.

He begins by telling of his last drunk. He and a man he met at the bar planned how they would convince his wife that he had been about to commit suicide and how his new friend had saved his life, so that she would be sympathetic rather than angry at his drunken state. When the man started playing with a gun, Ralph got nervous and ran away.

Only the day before he had been in an accident. A Good Samaritan saw his condition and got him away quickly, before the police came, and drove him home. He was dreadfully drunk that day and his wife consulted a lawyer as preliminary to entering divorce action. He swore to her that he wouldn't drink again and within 24 hours, he was dead drunk.

Several months previously he had spent a week in a New York hospital for alcoholics and came out feeling that everything would be all right, but soon began drinking again.

The next morning was June 7th. He remembered the date because the day before was his daughter's birthday. And that, by the grace of God, was his last spree.

His wife, who had threatened to leave him, ordered him to get dressed because she was taking him to New York to the hospital.

His wife pleaded with the doctor to please do something to save her husband, to save her home, to save their business, and their self-respect.

The doctor assured them that he had something for him this time that would work.

Four days later a man called on him who stated that he, too, had been there several times but had now found relief. That night another man came. He, too, had been released from alcohol. Then the next day a man came, and in a halting but effective way, told how he had placed himself in God's hand and keeping. Almost before Ralph knew it, he was asking God to help him.

Some alcoholics feel a strong resentment against such a spiritual approach. But Ralph was ripe for it.

The following day was Monday and one of these men insisted that Ralph check out from the hospital and go with him to his home in New Jersey (This may have been Hank P.) He did, and the next night he was taken to a meeting at Bill W.'s home in Brooklyn, where there were more than 30 men like him.

When he returned home, life was very different. He paid off the old debts, had money enough for decent clothes and some to use in helping others. He also worked hard for A.A. He is believed to have started the group in Darien, Connecticut, and at the time he wrote his story there were four in that group. He also may have been the Ralph who worked in the pressroom at A.A.'s second International Convention in St. Louis in July of 1955.

This prodigal had come home.


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