• King Charles of New York City a most fascinating man

The New Book by
Gary Neidhardt

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?

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Gary Neidhardt, Author

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.

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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.

William F. Doverspike, Ph.D.
  • 5/16" Away from Death the WWII Patrol Craft

Poseidon and the PC:

The Letters of Lt. Paul W. Neidhardt

The hull of the ship consisted of 5/16-inch welded steel plate. Crews joked that this thin hull was just thick enough to keep out the water and small fish. They also said it protected the ship from tin fish—torpedoes. Her hull was so thin a "tin fish" can go right through without exploding. Poseidon and the PC documents the adventures of Lt. Paul W. Neidhardt (USNR) through one hundred and fifteen of his letters written to his wife during World War II.

Long before ‘PC’ became equated with a “personal computer” or “politically correct,” the two letters were associated with “Patrol Craft.” These World War II ships had the mission of performing convoy escort duty and antisubmarine warfare. The PCs were meant to relieve the larger, far more valuable ships from the often monotonous duties of sailing at the speed of the slowest ship in a convoy. The 174 foot long PCs were so small that they were considered safe duty as more worthy targets were always available...


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  • Bobbie B. in the Grapevine

    [Editor Note: These AA Grapevine articles were written about the “Forgotten Fantastic Communicator,” who is described most recently on this web site. As thousands of AAs owe their sobriety to her, logic and compassion seem together to dictate that she deserves to be remembered with honor for giving her life to the fellowship so that […]

  • The Fantastic Forgotten Communicator

    Many are familiar with the early beginnings of AA and the start of the little office in New York. Bill W. and Ruth Hock became the heart and soul of the AA Headquarters, which later became the General Service Office (GSO).  During this pioneering time, there was a third significant contributor in that office. Bill W. […]

  • Charles B. Towns in the Atlanta Constitution, January 13, 1917

    Here is an editorial that appeared in the Atlanta Constitution editorial page on January 13, 1917 regarding “The Drug Problem.” The article was written in response to a pamphlet written by Charles B. Towns regarding the “Federal Responsibility in the Solution of Habit-Forming Drug Problem.” The drug-addict was pictured as a victim. If was to […]

  • Drug Evil Target of Fierce Attack

    In spite of all these things the sale of habit-forming drugs has steadily, alarmingly increased; it has grown until its magnitude is such that it constitutes a National threat. These are not the words of an enthusiast. Any reputable physician who has made a study of the situation will indorse them

  • Not Larger Asylums, But Fewer Commitments

    “Excessive alcoholism sets up a physical depreciation. Simply to deprive the patient of alcohol brings about delirium and permanent mental lesions, unless something is done for him.”

  • Visits Federal Pen on Different Mission

    Atlanta Journal, MORGAN BLAKE – March 25, 1945 Visits Federal Pen on Different Mission SUNDAY MORNING at 6:30 this columnist arose with the dawn. It was the earliest since Al Martin used to get me up before day to go fishing. The purpose of this unusual proceeding was to visit the Federal Penitentiary for a […]

  • A.A.’s Casting Their Nets

    It was typical of many Morgan Blake columns to contain multiple subjects within the same column. The first two sections involved World War II. The discussion of Alcoholics Anonymous begins afterwards. Atlanta Journal, MORGAN BLAKE, January 2, 1945 Hard-Boiled Hermann’s Proclamation IT IS our duty and our task in the coming year to carry war gain into the […]

  • Says Alcoholics Anonymous’ Is Continuing Constructive Work

    Bert Flynn, the Atlanta town drunk “that everybody knew,” was proudly announced as being sober for the last two years as a miracle.

  • A Remarkable Meeting at City Prison

    The other night I participated in one of the most remarkable meetings I have ever attended.

  • MORGAN BLAKE, Says AA’s No Competitors of Christianity

    Morgan Blake received a letter expressing concern that AA might be a cult disguised as a tool of Satan. Blake responded that AA was a blessing and not a curse.