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I was a sales representative for several companies involved in man’s wear for over fifty years. The last 25 years, I had an agency that enabled me to select and represent companies, calling on independent men’s wear retailers in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.  


During my fifty years I have encountered many tragic situations related to alcohol. Sales reps who became alcoholics, lost their employment and, in some cases, their families. Unfortunately, I can recall two alcoholics in my family and two in my wife’s family.  


My wife and I decided thirty years ago to give up drinking any form of alcohol. When I would attend weddings, parties and company sales meetings, I would always have a soft drink in my hand. This habit deterred anyone from coaxing me to have a drink.  


One situation that ‘made my day’, as the saying goes, was at one of the company’s sales meeting that I attended many years ago. During the ‘Happy Hour’ each day I would pour myself a ginger ale drink. One particular sales rep, Bert, approached me and said, “I notice that you are only drinking soft drinks”. I replied in the affirmative that I did not drink alcohol. His next statement has been with me all these years.  


“Good. I am an alcoholic, Ernie, and I have been dry for two years and I will spend my time at these ‘Happy Hours’ with you. I was so pleased to know that I was able to encourage Bert. We always spent time together during the sales meetings over the years.  


One year he told me that he, his wife and children had reunited. 


Ernie Stirrup

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