From the January 1996 magazine.

Getting Stupid

I grew up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood where everybody drank. Booze was no problem in the beginning. I always had beer but it didn't bother me then. I played sports and was fortunate enough to become a professional in hockey and golf, and I made a living that way for a long time--but I destroyed my career through booze. During World War II, I was a paratrooper in North Africa, and after I came home I started to drink heavily. I crossed that line they talk about in the Big Book--the invisible line into alcoholism.

I got into a lot of scrapes; one night I was drunk, drove through a guardrail, and rolled the car over a few times. I climbed back up to the highway and a state trooper came along. He said, "Have you been drinking?" I said, "Of course I've been drinking. What do you think I am, a stunt driver?" They took my license away so I went and got a bicycle, and I got arrested three times for drunken driving on a bicycle. I hit the cop on the corner, I hit the side of the police cruiser, and I hit the traffic box in the middle of the town square.

-- Phil L.

Malden, Massachusetts

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