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originator of Cleveland's Group No. 3, this one
fought Prohibition in vain.
ENOUGH, I became aquainted with the "hilarious life"
just at the time in my own life when I was beginning
really to settle down to a common-sense, sane domesticity.
My wife became pregnant and the doctor recommended the
use of port or ale . . . so . . . I bought a six gallon
crock and a few bottles, listened to advice from amateur
brewmeisters, and was off on my beer manufacturing career
on a small scale (for the time being). Somehow or other,
I must have misunderstood the doctor's instructions,
for I not only made beer for my wife, I also drank it
As time went on,
I found that it was customary to open a few bottles
whenever visitors dropped in. That being the case, it
didn't take me long to figure out that my meager manufacturing
facilities were entirely inadequate to the manufacture
of beer for social and domestic consumption. From that
point on, I secured crocks of ten gallon capacity and
really took quite an active interest in the manufacture
of home brew.
We were having card
parties with limburger and beer quite regularly. Eventually,
of course, what with all the hilarity that could be
provoked with a few gallons of beer, there seemed to
be no need of bridge or
poker playing for entertainment. The parties waxed more
liquid and hilarious as time went on, and eventually
I discovered that a little shot of liquor now and then
between beers had the tendency to put me in a whacky
mood much quicker than having to down several quarts
of beer to obtain the same effect. The inevitable result
of this discovery was that I soon learned that beer
made a very good chaser for whiskey. That discovery
so intrigued me, that I stayed on that diet almost entirely
for the balance of my extensive drinking life. The last
day of my drinking career, I drank twenty-two of them
between ten and twelve a.m. and I shall never know how
many more followed them until I was poured into bed
I got along fairly
well with my party drinking for quite some time, but
eventually I began to visit beer joints in between parties.
A night or so a week in a joint, and a party or so a
week at home or with friends, along with a little lone
drinking, soon had me preparing for the existence of
a top flight drunkard.
Three years after
I started on my drinking career, I lost my first job.
At the time, I was living out of town, so I moved back
to the home town and made a connection in a responsible
position with one of the larger companies in the finance
business. Up to this point I had spent six years in
the business and had enjoyed the reputation of being
My new duties were
extremely confining and my liquor consumption began
to increase. Upon leaving the office in the evening,
my first stop would be a saloon about a block away.
However, as there happened to be several saloons within
that distance, I didn't find it necessary to patronize
the same place
evening. It doesn't pay to be seen in the same place
at the same hour every day.
The general procedure
was to take four or five shots in the first place I
stopped at. This would get me feeling fit, and then
I would start for home and fireside, thirteen miles
away. On the way home numerous places must be passed.
If I were alone I would stop at four or five of them,
but only one or two in the event I had my mistrusting
wife with me.
Eventually I would
arrive home for a late supper, for which, of course,
I had absolutely no relish. I would make a feeble attempt
at eating supper, but never met with any howling success.
I never enjoyed any meal, but I ate my lunch at noon
for two reasons; first, to help get me out of the fog
of the night before, and second, to furnish some measure
of nourishment. Eventually, the noon meal was also dispensed
I cannot remember
just when I became the victim of insomnia, but I do
know that the last year and a half I never went to bed
sober a single night. I couldn't sleep. I had a mortal
fear of going to bed and tossing all night. Evenings
at home were an ordeal. As a result, I would fall off
in a drunken stupor every night.
How I was able to
discharge my duties at the office during those horrible
mornings, I will never be able to explain. Handling
customers, dealers, insurance people, dictation, telephoning,
directing new employees, answering to superiors, and
all the rest of it. However, it finally caught up with
me, and when it did, I was a mental, physical and nervous
I arrived at the
stage where I couldn't quite make it to the office some
mornings. Then I would send an
of illness. But the firm became violently ill with my
drunkenness and their course of treatment was to remove
their ulcer in the form of me from their payroll, amid
much fanfare and very personal and slighting remarks
During this time,
I had been threatened, beaten, kissed, praised and damned
alternately by relatives, family, friends and strangers,
but of course it all went for naught. How many times
I swore off in the morning and got drunk before sunset
I don't know. I was on the toboggan and really making
After being fired,
I lined up with a new finance company that was just
starting in business, and took the position of business
promotion man, contacting automobile dealers. WOW .
. . was that something??? While working in an office,
there was some semblance of restraint, but, oh boy,
when I got on the outside with this new company without
supervision, did I go to town???
I really worked
for several weeks, and having had a fairly wide acceptance
with the dealer trade, it was not difficult for me to
line enough of them up to give me a very substantial
volume of business with a minimum of effort.
Now I was getting
drunk all the time. It wasn't necessary to report in
to the office in person every day, and when I did go
in, it was just to make an appearance and bounce right
Finally this company
also became involved and I was once more looking for
a job. Then I learned something else. I learned that
person just can't find a job hanging in a dive or barroom
all day and all night, as jobs don't seem to turn up
in those places. I became convinced of that because
I spent most if my time
and nary a job turned up. By this time, my chances of
getting lined up in my chosen business were shot. Everyone
had my number and wouldn't hire me at any price.
I have omitted details
of transgressions that I made when drunk for several
reasons. One is that I don't remember too many of them,
as I was one of those drunks who could be on his feet
and attend a meeting or a party, engage in a conversation
with people and do things that any nearly normal person
would do, and the next day not remember a thing about
where I was, what I did, whom I saw, or how I got home.
(That condition was a distinct handicap to me in trying
to vindicate myself with the not so patient wife).
came to the point where I had no friends. I didn't care
to go visiting unless the parties we might visit had
plenty of liquor on hand and I could get drunk. Indeed,
I was always well on my way before I would undertake
to go visiting at all.
After holding good
positions, making better than an average income for
over ten years, I was in debt, had no clothes to speak
of, no money, no friends, and no one any longer tolerating
me but my wife. My son had absolutely no use fore me.
Even some of the saloon-keepers, where I had spent so
much time and money, requested that I stay away from
their places. Finally, an old business acquaintance
of mine, whom I hadn't seen for several years offered
me a job. I was on that job a month and drunk most of
Just at this time
my wife heard of a doctor in another city who had been
very successful with drunks. She offered me the alternative
of going to see him or her leaving me for good and all.
Well . . . I had a job,
I really wanted desperately to stop drinking, but I
couldn't, so I readily agreed to visit the doctor she
That was the turning
point of my life. My wife accompanied me on my visit
and the doctor really told me some things that in my
state of jitters nearly knocked me out of the chair.
He talked about himself, but I was sure it was me. He
mentioned lies and deceptions in the course of his story
in the presence of the one person in the world I wouldn't
want to know such things. How did he know all this?
I had never seen him before, and at the time hoped I
would never see him again. However, he explained to
me that he had been just such a rummy as I, only for
a much longer period of time.
He advised me to
enter the particular hospital with which he was connected
and I readily agreed. In all honesty though, I was skeptical,
but I wanted so definitely to quit drinking that I would
have welcomed any sort of physical torture or pain to
accomplish the result.
I made arrangements
to enter the hospital three days later and promptly
went out and got stiff for three days. It was with grim
foreboding and advanced jitters that I checked in at
the hospital. Of course, I had no hint or intimation
as to what the treatment was to consist of.
After being in the
hospital for several days, a plan of living was outlined
to me. A very simple plan that I still find much joy
and happiness in following. It is impossible to put
on paper all the benefits I have derived . . . physical,
mental, domestic, spiritual, and monetary.
This is no idle talk. It is the truth.
a physical standpoint, I gained sixteen pounds in the
first two months I was off liquor. I eat three good
meals a day now, and really enjoy them. I sleep like
a baby, and never give a thought to such a thing as
insomnia. I feel as I did when I was fifteen years younger.
Mentally . . . I
know where I was last night, the night before, and the
nights before that. Also, I have no fear of anything.
I have self confidence and assurance that cannot be
confused with the cockiness I once possessed. I can
think clearly and am helped much in my thinking and
judgment by my spiritual development which grows daily.
From a domestic
standpoint, we really have a home
now. I am anxious to get home after dark. My wife is
ever glad to see me come in. My youngster had adopted
me. Our home is always full of friends and visitors
(No home brew as an inducement).
Spiritually . .
. I have found a Friend who never lets me down and is
ever eager to help. I can actually take my problems
to Him and He gives me comfort, peace, and happiness.
From a monetary
standpoint . . . in the last few years, I have reduced
my reckless debts to almost nothing, and have had money
to get along on comfortably. I still have my job, and
just prior to the writing of this narrative, I received
For all of these
blessings, I thank Him.
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