When a young woman forecasts her married future, she must consider his ability to let it alone, rather than take it.

Miles Cooper

WALTER was a victim of that five-dollar word for bashfulness-"inferiority complex." His affliction became acute in the presence of a pretty girl, when he most wanted to impress her with his worldly ease of manner. He brooded over his feelings until they almost made him crazy. Then something happened.

Out of respect for his mother, Walter had never had an alcoholic drink. But when she left on a long visit to an old friend in the West, he was persuaded to attend a party. Standing awkwardly in one corner of the crowded, noisy room, a reck lessness born of unhappiness came over him, and he accepted the tall, strong highball offered to him by a maid. He swallowed it quickly, and his shocked, exhilarated senses awoke to a new perception, particularly of his own admirable qualities. He started to have a good time; he felt tingly and excited ; smooth sentences fell from his lips easily, and he reveled delightedly in his own wit.

That dark-eyed girl in the light green dress-she was the type he liked. With a second glass in hand, he approached her, fell into the patter he had always envied, the sparkling repartee he had never shared before.

They danced together, drank a great deal more, and finally Walter suggested that they leave. It was too stuffy. Kitty was disposed to agree to anything and they left singing, arms about each other's waists.

The question a prudent man has asked is Will she keep her looks ? The young woman may ask: Will he keep his senses? It is, perhaps, a question for the psychiatrist to unravel.

The question a prudent man has asked is Will she keep her looks ? The young woman may ask: Will he keep his senses? It is, perhaps, a question for the psychiatrist to unravel

That night was the beginning of the rise and fall of a drunkard. Alcohol was to Walter the gateway to a magic country where he was everything he wanted to be, it meant escape from his mother's domination, it meant, to himself, that he was "a real man" at last. After several weeks spent constantly in Kitty's gay company, he seized a moment when his courage was at its new height to ask her to marry him. Kitty whooped with joy, flung her arms around his neck, and made it very clear that she would like nothing better.

Half an hour later, they fell asleep in Walter's car, parked in front of Kitty's hotel, with Walter holding the small, slack hand that wore his school ring-the only substitute for a wedding band he had had.

The morning was gray and disillusioning. Without the false animation and optimism that alcohol gave them, they regarded each other coldly and indifferently as they discussed their plans. Walter wired his mother, wincing inwardly as he imagined what she would say, and Kitty packed lackadaisically to move to the two-room furnished suite in the apartment house Walter selected.

The first two months they got along fairly well, going out almost every night, determined to make the best of a hasty bargain. But Kitty was nursing a bitter grievance, and Walter knew all about it. She was affectionate and liked to cuddle under his arm in the car, or while he relaxed in the little sitting-room before they retired. Walter had been so shy of girls all his life, that he still felt a surge of the old paralyzing awkwardness from time to time. He'd take a stiff drink, pull Kitty into his arms and kiss her. Then he'd draw away, shaking his head in some bewilderment, and pick up his glass.

After a while, Kitty avoided him. She accepted cynically the passionate, tentative embraces that were never carried any further. She began to flirt, a little, with other men, and the crowd talked about them, giving their marriage only a short while longer. Walter didn't seem to mind. Under the infrequent spells alcohol wove for him, he had little time to puzzle over his marital failure. His mother refused to see him. Kitty had so many appointments without him. Nobody wanted him-not even himself, so he drank to forget and forgot to stop.

Not all drinkers would be content with such a situation. Often the fright experienced by alcoholics at the discovery of their marital failure is the shock that brings them to the doctor's office. Alcohol still bears an undeserved reputation as a stimulant to love. In reality it may stimulate physical desire, but its ultimate effect is to make marital relations impossible.

Yet novels and the movies still sometimes feature "drunken or gies"; the idea that alcohol figures in unlicensed behavior is traditional, caused, in part, by its power to let down the barriers to uninhibited behavior.

The story of the alcoholic is a vicious circle. Driven to drink, perhaps by an original, deep-rooted sense of inferiority, or some other personality upset, the alcoholic discovers that he has become incapable of carrying out the instinctive drive of Nature, which rebels at the damaging substance that is undermining the body, and shows it through its resistance to normal activity. The drunkard seeks to escape the dismaying knowledge of his failure in more drinking, during which he can dream and imagine the satisfactions he cannot accomplish in real life.

The association of alcohol with physical release is so prevalent that many men who inhibit all normal desires under a too-strict upbringing finally turn for release to the uninhibiting power of the drink. An unhappy marriage, financial difficulties, unwillingness to face the realities and problems of adult life also act as drives.

On the other hand, men who are unable to marry for economic reasons, and thus have no physical outlet, may resort to alcohol to deaden the natural demands of the body.

In any event, most drinkers remain under the impression that alcohol is an aphrodisiac, never realizing even in the face of their blocked responses that while it enables them to indulge in behavior previously repressed, at the same time it makes the new behavior futile, since potency is lost.

Another question doctors consider in the treatment of alcoholics is the repressed attraction to the same sex which is often found at the root of the habit. Clinical reports list patients who, normal in everyday, sober life, behave abnormally when intoxicated, which may indicate that alcohol releases a latent or underlying tendency.

Dr. Edward A. Strecker, of the National Conference on Alcohol, pointed out that because of the emotional immaturity existing in so many excessive drinkers, traceable to early parental over-dominance and over-indulgence in many cases, it can be said that alcohol is used to evade the mature tackling of life-problems. This avoidance of reality would include mating activity and all the responsibility it entails; because the drinker who has never grown up is, in a sense, biologically inadequate to start with. The dreams in alcohol are usually of a promiscuous nature, with no place for the family and home-building instincts.

To go back for a moment, let's understand that alcohol is a chemical. It is broken up in the body and changed into substances that the body throws off through the lungs, kidneys and skin. The amount of alcohol a person can take, break up and throw off depends upon the health of his organs. One person can burn up, as a fuel or food, a definite amount of alcohol without getting drunk; another person cannot. If a person drinks more than his body can handle, the extra amount circulates in the blood and in this stage alcohol is a poison.

The average man who "takes a drop" now and then will probably not suffer harmful effects (or good effects) as far as his intimate life is concerned. But, in excess, and this article deals chiefly with habitual, excessive drinking, the effect on physical life and the reactions of the body becomes very apparent; these are established facts.

Alcohol, like every other poison, at first acts as a stimulant. It speeds up all the vital functions of the body. But after the early stage of excitement, there comes a time of depression, indifference, in which all the functions of the body are slowed down.

The most outstanding effect of alcohol is the gradual separation of the upper nerve centers from the spinal nervous system, which carries brain impulses to the rest of the body. Take away good judgment, clear thinking and logical reasoning ability, all mental functions; and the individual loses control of his safety, his ethics and his regard for the laws of society. The drunken man may become more amorous, the drunken woman lose her dignity, reserve and perhaps her coldness; their physical experiences may be more satisfactory for a very brief time. But invariably, the constant use of liquor leads to a basic inability to respond, a condition which is usually incurable.

Finally, this biological failure in the man, so painful to his ego, is a prominent factor in the development of a mental disease known as alcoholic paranoia. The husband who fails in his marriage, and causes profound unhappiness to his wife, finds her becoming cold, and believes that her attitude is due to her marital infidelity. He thinks she is having a clandestine affair with another man. Such a delusion, combined with actual physical disability, frequently ends in insanity or crime-the murder of the wife. Our daily tabloids give ample proof.

Alcoholic jealousy is another example of the way the poison twists normal, values. Unfortunately for those who may be nursing hope even now, any woman who marries an alcoholic hoping to bring about his reform is saddling herself with a well-nigh impossible burden. She must also consider that the child of the excessive drinker is likely to inherit the tendency, and be less able to make a good life-adjustment than the child of temperate parents.

Some of us believe that the legal, moderate use of alcoholic drink has added a little more happiness or gaiety to life. It can only do this if each individual discovers just how much alcohol he is able to "take" safely, and adjusts his portion accordingly. As in most other things in life, the middle ground, the road of compromise, is the wisest course to follow.