The Salesman


Welcome back my friends to the big book podcast. My name is Howard and I'm an alcoholic sober since nineteen eighty eight one day at a time in this episode the Fifteenth Story from the Personal Stories Section of the first edition of alcoholics anonymous published in nineteen thirty nine. It's entitled the salesman and was printed only in the first edition of the big book. It's one of those stories that listeners may be hearing for the first time that prominently featured Dr Bob and other early members of a personally helping another alcoholic achieved sobriety and now the salesman I learned to drink in a workmanlike manner when the law of the land said I couldn't and what started out as a young man spun became a habit which in its later existence laid me by the heels many a time and almost finished my career teen years. Were uneventful with me. I was raised on a farm but saw little future in farming. I was going to be a businessman took a business. College course acquired a truck and a stand in the city market of a nearby town and started off. I brought produce from my folks place and sold it to city customers and there were plenty of them with bulging pocketbooks. Back of me was the normal life of a farmer son. My parents were unusually standing people. My father was a lifelong Conrad till the day of his death. The business theory I'd learned in college was now being practiced and I was equipped beyond many of my competitors to be materially successful soon. I had expanded until I was represented in all the city markets and also in another city in nineteen twenty one we had the forerunner of the later depression and my customers disappeared successively. I had closed my stands and was finally wiped out all together being a young man of affairs I had begun to do a little business and social drinking and now with time on my hands I seem to do more of it following a year of factory work during which time I got married. I got a job with a grocer as a clerk. My Grocer employer was an expert winemaker and I had free access to his cellar. The work was monotonous in the extreme behind the counter all day when I had been used to driving around attending a business meeting people and building for what I thought was a great future I marked to a milestone the death of my father. I missed greatly. I kept hitting the wine with just occasional use of liquor leaving the grocery I went back into the produce business and out people went back to liquor again and got my first warning to quit before it got me. I was anxious to get with a concern. Which would give me an opportunity to build up again and landed a job. With a nationally known biscuit company I was assigned to a good business region covering several important towns and almost at once began to earn real money in a very short time. I was the star salesman of the company winning a reputation as a business getter. Naturally I drank with my better customers for on my route. I had many stops where there was a good business but I had things rather well under control. And in the early days of this job I seldom wound up my day's work with any visible effects of drinking. I had a private brewery at home which was now producing fifteen gallons a week most of which I drank myself. It is typical of the attitude. I had toward alcohol at that time. That when a fire threatened total destruction of my home and garage I rushed to the seller and rescued my most precious possessions a keg of wine and all the beer. I could carry and got pretty indignant when my better half suggested that I had better get some of the needed effects out of the house before it burned down. My home. Brewing gradually became a bore and I began to carry home bottles of powerful bootleg whiskey starting with a half pint every night and winding up with a cord as my daily after allowance. For Time I kept on the job. Spacey my drinks and route and very little of them in the morning hours. I just couldn't wait until I got home to drink. In a very short time I became an all day drinker chain store managers and quantity buyers. Were both my guests and hosts and every now and then we had prodigious parties finally in a reorganization shakeup resulting in new district managers with a pretty poor territory. Deal for me. I gave the company two weeks notice and quit. I had bought a home but in the year and a half following I had little income and finally lost that I became satisfied with just enough to live on and by the liquor I wanted then. I landed in the hospital when my car was hit by a truck. My car was ruined entirely that loss and my injuries. Plus recriminations of my wife sort of sobered me up. When I got out of the hospital I stayed sober for six weeks and had made up my mind to quit. I went back in the business where I had been successful salesman but with another company when I started with this concern I talk things over with my wife and made her some very solemn promises. I wasn't going to touch another drop of liquor by this time. Prohibition was a thing of the past and saloons and clubs where I was well known as a good customer and a good spender became patrons. I rolled up my business until I was again. A star but after the first four months on the new job. I began to slip. It is not unusual in the drinking experience of any man that after time of sobriety he comes to the conclusion that he can handle it in. No time at all liquor again became the most important thing in my life and every day became like another steady drinking in every saloon in club on my route I would get to headquarters every night in a top heavy condition. Just able to maintain equilibrium. I began to get warnings and was repeatedly fired and taken on again. My Wife's parents died about this time. In unfortunate circumstances all my troubles seemed to be piling up on me and liquor was the only refuge. I knew some nights I wouldn't go home at all and I did go home. I was displeased when my wife had supper ready and equally angry when she didn't I didn't want to eat at all and frequently when I underestimated consumption of the amount of liquor I brought home. I made extra trips back to town to renew the supply my morning ration when I started out with five double whiskies before I could do any business at all. I would go into a saloon trembling like a leaf tired appearance and deathly sick. I would down to double whiskies feel the glow and become almost immediately transformed in half an hour. I would be able to navigate pretty well and start out on my route. My daily reports became almost illegible and finally following arrests for driving while intoxicated and on job at that I got scared and stayed sober for several days not long afterward. I was fired for good. My wife suggested I go to my old home in the country which I did continued drinking convinced my wife. I was a hopeless case and she entered sued for divorce. I got another job but didn't stop drinking. I kept on working. Although my physical condition was such as to have required extensive hospitalization for years. I hadn't had a peaceful night's sleep and never knew a clear head in the morning I had lost my wife and became resigned to going to bed some night and never waking again. Every drunkard has one or two friends who have entirely given up hope for him but I came to the point where I had none that is none but my mother and she devoted soul had tried everything with me through her people came to me and talked but nothing they said some were ministers and others good. Church members helped me a particle. I would agree with them when they were with me and as fast as they went away. I'd go after my bottle. Nothing suggested to me seemed to offer a way out. I was getting to a place where I wanted to quit drinking but didn't know how my mother heard of a doctor who had been having marked success with alcoholics. She asked me if I'd like to talk to him and I agreed to go with her. I had known of course of the various cures and after we had discussed the matter of my drinking fairly thoroughly. The doctor suggested that I go into the local hospital for a short time. I was very skeptical even after the doctor hinted there was more to his plan than medical treatment. He told me of several men whom I knew who had been relieved and invited me to meet a few of them who got together every week. I promised I would beyond deck at their next meeting but told him. I had little faith in any hospital treatments meeting night. I was as good as my word and met the small group. The doctor was there but somehow I felt quite outside the circle. The meeting was informal. Nevertheless I was little impressed. It is true they did know psalm singing nor was there any set ritual. But I just didn't care for anything religious if I had thought of God it all in the years of drinking. It was with a faint idea that when I came to die I would sort of fix things up with him.

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