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Tough Times

Sobriety and fellow AAs helped him to face life's challenges

Alcohol was a big part of my life growing up. When I was a baby, teething, my mom would rub whiskey on my gums. This was a doctor-recommended treatment in the 1950s. My personal theory is that this was when I developed my love of alcohol. When I was a few years older, I was served wine mixed with ginger ale at Sunday dinner, and always tried to get more. My parents kept a well-stocked bar in the house and there was always beer in the refrigerator. They had cocktails every evening and entertained regularly, so I was constantly exposed to drinking.

I spent my formative years in...

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