Tommy was raised in New York’s Staten Island. He was eleven years old when his father gave him his first drink, declaring Tommy to “be a man, now.” But his regular drinking started age 13 with friends. His mother beat him when he came home drunk. Tommy’s drinking continued though his teenage years, dropping out of school by age 16 and working for a living. His job allowed him to save money each week in order to go out drinking. But his drinking took up too much of his time and he soon lost his job and Tommy wound up homeless. Attempts to get into a better job, including the New York City police department, where all thwarted by alcohol.