From the March 2012 magazine.

Rebuilding a Life

In sobriety, he was able to put the pieces of his life back together again

After getting drunk for the first time at age 16, I could see clearly that my ability to control and enjoy alcohol was going to be a problem. Weekend high school drinking was the limit during those formative years, but after the military basic training and then college, my drinking became even more uncontrolled.

During my junior year at UCLA in 1962, I was reading a medical journal in the library one day when I ran across an advertisement for weight reduction. This interested me because my drinking had given me a bloated beer belly. The diet pill ad promised intellectual excitation, creativity, a feeling of euphoria, suppression of appetite and—best of all—a cure for alcoholism. I tore the page out of the medical journal and arranged a trip out of the country to buy this prescription drug over the counter. Over time, it became complicated having to always keep a supply on hand to "treat" my alcoholism, but I managed.

-- Tom F.

Oceanside, California

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