Ever since we opened our doors in 1967, we've been a family business for a family problem. And it all started with our grandfather, Gene Duffy.
Finding The Bottle
Born into a middle class home in New York, Gene was the only Irish kid in a tough Italian neighborhood. He grew up to become a successful businessman in the construction industry. But little by little, he began to drink. Not everyone knew it, but he was an alcoholic. Before long he found himself on Chicago's skid row.
One day as he sat waiting to give blood--so he could get a few dollars to buy another drink--someone from A.A. came up to him, and his life was changed forever. He started attending meetings, and a miracle happened--he was sober. He would go on to help many others who attended his A.A. meetings and always told them,
"This program will work if you don't drink, you read that book, and you go to them meetings. If I had a crystal ball, and told each of you in this room, what is going to take place in your life in the next few years, if all you do is this: don't drink, read that book, and go to them meetings. You would not believe what I say, you would think I am talking crazy."
Finding a New Calling
While waiting in the San Francisco airport, Gene began thinking a lot about what he wanted to do with his life--should he really spend the rest of life working in the construction industry? Gene then picked up his A.A. Thought for the Day book and opened it to a random page--but the page happened to be the page for his birthday, October 27.
The text on the page leapt out at him:
I can help other alcoholics. I am of some use in the world. I have a purpose in life. I am worth something at last. . . . God has given me a new lease on life so that I can help other alcoholics. He has let me live through all the hazards of my alcoholic life to bring me at last to a place of real usefulness in the world. This is my opportunity and my destiny. . . Will I give as much of my life as I can to A.A.?
From then on he tried as much as possible to help others who suffered from the disease of alcoholism.
Founding Duffy's In Northern California
One thing led to another, and Gene, passionate about his new calling, started a treatment center in partnership with some others; unfortunately, the center failed, and he was left with only a car and a few dollars to his name.
Before he left San Francisco, Gene decided to attend one last A.A. meeting--and it was at this meeting that a man told him about the old hot springs resort in Calistoga. "You should go look at it," he told Duffy.
Duf and his wife took the trip to Calistoga. They saw that the place needed a lot of work, but they also knew it had promise.
The other problem was--they had no money.
Still Gene decided to go ahead and meet with the owners of the resort--an area church. When the church's deacons heard what Gene's plans were for the place, they decided to let him move in and just pay them rent as he got the money.
The Duffy family started working furiously to clean the place up. And a month later, they welcomed their first guest. Now, more than 40 years later, over 34,000 people have been helped through the work of Gene, his family and the great staff of Myrtledale.
Leaving An Amazing Legacy
Gene Duffy was passionate about helping people. Those who knew him in the old days knew that he would do everything to convince you that the disease of alcohol and drug addiction absolutely kills people. Today, this passion still lingers in the form of a loving, warm, compassionate environment--committed to doing everything to help those struggling with an alcohol or a drug addiction.
Gene often told people,
"I sorta consider myself, perhaps the luckiest man in A.A. I am not only doing on a daily basis what I have to do to maintain my sobriety, I am also doing what I want to do. I don't know how much luckier you can get. Every bit of this is a direct result of practicing the principles of A.A in all my affairs. That is how this place came about. Its essential that I maintain my sobriety, not only for the good of myself, but for the opportunity to shed a little goodness in the lives of other people."
One of the Twelve Promises say you will find a new freedom. Gene Duffy found his freedom through helping others. We hope you or your loved one can find a new freedom at Duffy's as well.