Among many employers nowadays, we think of one member who has spent much of his life in the world of big business. He has hired and fired hundreds of men. He knows the alcoholic as the employer sees him. But let him tell you:
I was at one time assistant manager of a corporation department employing 6,600 men. One day my secretary came in saying that Mr. B- insisted on speaking with me. I told her to say that I was not interested. I had warned him several times that he had but one more chance. Not long afterward he called me on two successive days, so drunk he could hardly speak. I told him he was through – finally and forever.
My secretary returned to say that it was not Mr. B- on the phone; it was his brother, and he wished to give me a message. “I just wanted to tell you Paul jumped from a hotel window last Saturday. He left us a note saying you were the best boss he ever had, and that you were not to blame in any way.”
Another time, as I opened a letter which lay on my desk, a newspaper clipping fell out. It was the obituary of one of the best salesmen I ever had. After two weeks of drinking, he had placed his toe on the trigger of a loaded shotgun – the barrel was in his mouth. I had discharged him for drinking six weeks before.
Still another experience: A woman’s voice came faintly over long distance. She wanted to know if her husband’ company insurance was still in force. Four days before he had hanged himself in his woodshed. I had been obliged to discharge him for drinking, though he was brilliant, alert, and one of the best organizers I have ever known.
Here were three exceptional men lost to this world because I did not understand alcoholism as I do now. What irony – I became an alcoholic myself! And but for the intervention of an understanding person, I might have followed in their footsteps. My downfall cost the business community unknown thousands of dollars, for it takes real money to train a man for an executive position. This kind of waste goes on unabated. (Continued next week)
Reprinted from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page #135-136, with permission of AA World Services, Inc.
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DNA Newspaper Mumbai Edition Published Date: Dec 18, 2012