From the September 1965 magazine.

To Tell Or Not to Tell?

What happened when a professor told his biology class about his own experience with alcohol

I DID not plan for the great exposé to occur on that day. It just sort of happened. I teach a course called human biology. There are 100 students in the course this semester, divided into two sections. I was discussing foods and telling what they are: proteins, fats, carbohydrates and--alcohol. I explained that alcohol in very small quantities acts as a food, in larger quantities a stimulant, then a depressant, and finally as an anesthetic. I hesitated and I guess my AA training to date pushed me over the brink. I realized I was telling the truth but not the whole truth and therefore I was being dishonest. So out it came. I told them that alcohol works that way in most people but there is a very sizable group who react quite differently and unpredictably--the alcoholics. I told them that I know because I am one and that I don't dare touch the damned stuff.

A teacher can always tell when he has the absolute attention of his class. There was complete silence and every eye was turned on me. Well, I couldn't very well stop there. The result was an hour and a half spent with each section discussing alcoholism. The questions came thick and fast both in class and after. One student asked, "Wouldn't we know it by now if we were the alcoholic type?" No! It took me about thirty-five years to find out. And of course not even my best friends could tell me, because I wouldn't listen to them. I told them of one of our booklets which asks twelve questions to determine if an individual is an alcoholic. Of course during the drinking daze I wouldn't even read the questions. When I finally sobered up enough to read them honestly, I found I was not only an alcoholic but a Phi Beta Kappa alcoholic. I scored yes on almost all of them.

-- F. J. T.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

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