From the March 1974 magazine.

Your Friendly Bartender

Over the years he's learned a lot about people and alcoholism

HI! MY NAME is Vance. I'm your friendly alcoholic neighborhood bartender. When I first came to Alcoholics Anonymous in October 1963, I was debilitated, depressed, and dying. That's why I never took another drink, even though I've served over one million of them since.

Alcohol is for those who can handle it. More power to them. I can't. When I drink, weird things happen. Jobs, friends, loved ones are whisked away from me as if by magic. I awaken in strange places. I exist in limbo, desperate and lonely. That beautiful intangible called happiness somehow eludes me. A few of my customers are like that. I read it in the lines of their taut faces, hear it in the hollow ring of false laughter. It's a concrete reminder of what I used to be like. It helps keep me from temptation.

-- V. W. C.

Long Beach, California

This is a preview. To view the full article, use the link below to begin a free 7-day trial!