The Legacy of Gene Duffy


Patrick: What I know about Gene Duffy is he
was absolutely passionate about helping alcoholics and addicts who were suffering. Mike: My dad was a skid row alcoholic in Chicago
who got sobered up through Alcoholics Anonymous. Through some divine guidance, we believe,
he was led in his heart to start a program that he could give back and help those who
were in need of the same treatment he received. So in 1967 my dad found this place in Calistoga,
CA, and started Duffy’s Myrtledale Lori: Gene Duffy was powerful, very, very
powerful, and when he spoke, you listened. It didn’t matter what, you listened. Gene: “Many who are real alcoholics, and that
includes you sitting out there right now, by every form of self-deception and experimentation
will try to prove yourself the exception. Those are the ones who are going to die who
sit right here in this room tonight. Because of their self-centeredness, their ego, their
stubbornness, their refusal to accept the evident truth that’s sitting right in front
of them, are going to try to drink or use again.” Patrick: Now his style of helping them was
different probably than what is seen at Duffy’s here today. You might say that the style now
is a little bit kinder and gentler. Shelly: Gene Duffy, my grandfather, he was
a very rough man. He got his message across; there was nothing left unturned. You knew
that when he raised his voice, he meant what he said, and he said what he meant, and you
listened to it. Gene: “Let there be no doubt in the minds
of anybody in this room right now: there is no mortal human being who has the power to
predict the outcome of any future event. No one knows what’s going to happen to him the
next time he drinks, especially you!” Shelly: I have fond memories of him speaking,
of filling Duffy’s, the parking lot full on the weekends when he was the speaker here.
As many people as he could he tried to reach with his message. He was a phenomenal speaker. Patrick: One of the things that you see in
some of the videos is that real life and death issue that addiction is. It comes across;
he doesn’t mince his words when he lets people know that the disease of alcoholism, of addiction
absolutely kills people. Gene: “Contrary to what you believe, we know
how serious this problem is. Recovery has a life and death proposition; each of us in
this room certainly has an opportunity to get drunk, but there sits no one in this room
who knows whether or not he or she have run out of opportunities to recover.” Patrick: He was absolutely committed to helping
people live a good life, to get sober, to get clean. Mike: After my dad’s passing in 1993, my younger
brother Gene took the reins of leadership here at Duffy’s. A couple years ago, I became
the president at Duffy’s, and we’re now training a third generation, still holding true to
the foundational principles that my dad established here. Shelly: My grandfather was very much a businessman,
but he had great integrity, and I try to let that lead me each day in what I do. He was
a caring, giving man in the community, just his compassion, and I hope I have a bit of
that in me. And often when we’re wandering the buildings
and a door opens, we jokingly say, “Come on in, Gene Duffy,” or, “Oh there’s my grandpa,
come on in, you’re late for the meeting.” Lori: He was a powerful guy. And he loved
this place.

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