More than seventy years before the Betty Ford Clinic opened in 1982, Charles Towns opened a treatment center on Central Park in Manhattan in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the United States. The likes of W. C. Fields, Lillian Russell, and John Barrymore eventually required the services that Towns Hospital provided. He had perfected what been called the world's only known opium cure in China after having been sent there as a United States drug treatment ambassador. Upon his return, he gave his secret remedy away and had it published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. How can it be that this most persuasive and influential personality of the 1910s can be almost entirely forgotten today?
Author of Poseidon and the PC, Gary Neidhardt is a retired software executive and American history lover living in Lilburn, Georgia. He has been interested in the history of recovery from alcohol and drugs for many years.
He literally stumbled upon Habits That Handicap by Towns, which is his only work that remains in print. At first, this book mainly gathered dust until a friend of his had his picture taken in front of the building that used to be Towns Hospital. Eventually that picture peaked Gary’s curiosity, which has led to this book and Gary’s ongoing research into the history of this fascinating personality.
William F. Doverspike, Ph.D.
For those interested in the origins of AA founder Bill Wilson’s 1934 white-light experience at Towns Hospital in New York, Neidhardt shares an encyclopedic knowledge not only of the history that led up to this experience but also of the life of the man who laid the psychopharmacological foundation of Wilson’s final detoxification… Neidhardt’s biography of Charles B. Towns reflects meticulous attention to details while describing the larger perspective of pre-AA attempts at addictive disease recovery and the political forces that became associated with this almost forgotten movement.