For twenty years I was a hard drinker

For twenty years I was a hard drinker. My father was such before me, and two brothers followed in his footsteps. Whiskey was more to me than bread and meat, and since I was twenty years old I have hardly known the time when I would hesitate between taking something to eat or something to drink; if I could not get both, I would always take the drink. I drank because I liked it, not because I wanted to get drunk, and my capacity for drinking whiskey without becoming beastly drunk was notorious. I have gone through all the horrors of the earlier stages of delirium tremens, and there is scarcely any experience that occurs in the life of a confirmed drunkard but what has been mine.

I have frequently tried to quit, but my appetite was too strong for my good intentions. My life has been passed in the West, some of the time on the frontier where no higher power was ever regarded than a Winchester or a Colts 45, and where whiskey was more generally drunk than water.

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February 23, 1899
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