From the July 2010 magazine.

Out of the wilderness

A teacher and canoeist finally accepts that drinking has made his life unmanageable

At the age of 12 I had a sip of beer and immediately spit it out because of its bitter taste. I swore I'd never drink beer again. The next experience was in 1946, when I entered college. Ninety percent of the students in my freshman class were veterans of World War II, most of whom had learned to drink in the service. To fit in, I learned to drink beer. After the first beer, it didn't taste so bad. In college my drinking was limited to parties and a few weekend forays to bars with my fraternity brothers. We were never asked our ages.

Although I drank occasionally after that,...

-- BILL H.

Ann Arbor, Mich.