Great-grandad pens emotional book

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A MOVING book has been written by a great-grandad who battled alcohol addiction and suffered tragedy at the hands of the disease.

James Differ (79) was only 15-years-old when he started drinking - leading to a 28-year battle with the booze. During those turbulent years, he served time in prison for assault and robbery, lost jobs and saw the devastating affect it had on his wife, May, and their nine children.

Tragically three of their sons have passed away.

James hit rock bottom when he considered taking his own life.

But thanks to the kindness of strangers, his faith and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), he turned his life around.

His book ‘Two Bites at the Cherry’ is dedicated to his late wife May.

James was born in Freeland Place in Kirkintilloch and grew up in the town.

For several years James had his drinking under control, but the death of his son Colin, aged seven months, to silent pneumonia in 1962, saw him turn to the bottle once again.

The turning point for James came in February 1977, aged 43.

He explained: “I was sitting in a pub in Kilsyth and decided to commit suicide for the sake of the kids. I was in a terrible state with the drink.

“As I was walking from the pub I got into a fight with a man I had taken money from the night before.

“A man from the Church of God came and took me away. As I went to leave the church, the man’s wife stopped me and said, ‘if you go out there you will die’. She said a prayer for me.”

For some unknown reason James decided to go to the Burngreen Hall and little did he know there was an AA meeting taking place.

Since then he has not touched alcohol.

Sadly, tragedy struck the family again in 1993 when James and May’s son Hugh died following alcohol and drug problems. He was 19-years-old.

In a further devastating blow, their son James, who also battled drink addiction, committed suicide – aged 36 – three years later.

‘Two Bites at the Cherry’ was released last year exclusively for the Kindle through the Amazon website and has received good reviews.

See this week’s paper for the full story.