From the September 2019 magazine.

My first 30 years

I just turned 80 years old. I started drinking at age 16 and drank until I turned 50. I was one of those alcoholics who was lucky. I was able to keep my job and raise four kids and I never got a DUI. Back in the ’50s and ’60s they gave you a break if you got stopped driving drunk. Not now. My son is 50 and he’s had two DUIs and hasn’t driven in eight years. He’s still drinking and not ready for help.

On my 49th birthday, my younger brother threw a party for me. At one point, I asked him to make me a highball. I watched him put half a shot in the glass and add a lot of mix. I told him to put more booze in it. He just looked at me and said, “I think you have a problem.” He was the first person ever to tell me that. I didn’t speak to him for almost a year.

-- Tom L.

Des Plaines, Illinois

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