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From the September 2012 magazine.

September 2012: Ed, We Think You Have a Problem

His wife was on his back, and now his boss? Time to take drastic action

Thirty years ago last July I attended my first AA meeting, not because I thought I was an alcoholic, mind you, but because I had been on a four-day drunk that was a reaction to a meeting with my boss. In the same room where I had been hired two years earlier, he sat across from me with two open files in front of him. One contained copies of my expense accounts, and the other receipts for repairs to my company car. He did not mention the files, but he made sure I could see them. Then he got right to the point of the meeting: “Ed, a couple of people at the office and I think you have a drinking problem. We want you to get treatment for it. If you do, we will keep you. We like much about you and you’ve done some brilliant work for us; but if you don’t agree to go into treatment, I want your resignation. I’ll give you until Monday to decide.” Those succinct words started and ended the meeting.

I left his office in a rage; I needed to get drunk. That was how I dealt with all stressful situations. I knew from past experience that getting drunk in New York City was not a good idea, as I had more than an hour to drive. I had survived some frightening experiences, often in blackouts.

-- Ed P.

Gloucester, Massachusetts

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