Living Recovery

A man who knew the founder of A.A. has had a 70year quest to help other problem drinkers

IT WAS ON A COLD DAY in 1934 that James Houck hit bottom. Newly wedded and living in Frederick, Md., he was getting drunk every weekend--and sometimes even during the week--on home brew. He had recently been in a drunken-driving accident in his employer's car, and his drinking had estranged him from his wife Betty. "We were not married a month," Houck says, "before I told her I was sorry I ever saw her." Houck had begun drinking early, at age 5, when he would sneak sips from his mother's bottle of dandelion wine, then make up the difference with water....

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