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A riveting account of an alcoholic’s journey

1 March 2010 1,372 views No Comment

Ross Fitzgerald is today a prolific writer; a distinguished historian and a well-known public figure. He is also an alcoholic.

At the age of 25 he was a broken man who, in a few short years, had gone from being an honours graduate from Sydney University to a man who, after many admissions to mental hospitals, living on what few wits remained to him, and having exhausted the patience of his many friends, had reached the nadir of his life with death closing fast upon him.

Last year he celebrated two events: his 65th birthday, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of his life as a non-drinker.

As the title of this memoir indicates, it is a riveting account of that life journey whose successful outcome he attributes almost entirely to the comradeship he found in Alcoholics Anonymous; it is, however, clear that much credit is due to his wife Lyndal.

In the preface, Fitzgerald makes the critical remark which, like many such, carries within its apparent simplicity a great understanding: “The fundamental fact is that, if, each day, I don’t pick up the first drink of alcohol, I can’t get drunk.”

David Christie, The Newcastle Herald, 13 February 2010