D L Henderson
4 min readJun 5, 2018


I have no way to get this letter to Mr.Shelton, and I am risking exposing myself with my email. So, I hope someone knows how to forward this to him and that he will read and consider it.

April 11, 2018

Dear Mr. Shelton,

My name is David, I am 68 years old, have 5 children, and 4 grandchildren. I am supposed to be old enough to be learned and wise. But I am still learning, and I am still dealing with the devils in my head.

I certainly enjoy you all on “The Voice,” your antics and your mentoring of others in the art and craft of music. I listen to and love most genres of music and rely on music to keep my head above water.

If you would please indulge me a few minutes…

You remind me of my Dad, like you were cut from the same cloth. So, I respect you for all those reasons.

If I may, this year, your affection for whiskey stood out to me. I like whiskey too, especially Scotch whiskies. But I became concerned for you, because what happened to me could also happen to you.

I had worked hard to be good at what I did. What I did was work hard. One job I had at a seed mill they called me “bull,” because at the start of the day, I would put my head down and push all day (to get the seed out to the farmers for Spring planting). My great Grandfathers were farmers. So, it was kind of in my blood — that sunrise to sunset thing.

However, it’s the next job that contains what I am trying to share with you. I became a department Union steward to serve my coworkers. I went to school on my own dime to become a better steward, the best steward that I could be. Eventually, I became the Chief Steward for the plant My co-workers elected me the Local #110 Union President. So I worked full time (and plenty of overtime) at the coffee creamer “dairy” also became acting business agent for the Local in addition to my other responsibilities, became a sometimes husband and father…and began to stop at the nearby tavern…instead of going straight home. It wasn’t just a few times I drove home drunk or had to have my wife or kids come and get me…

After about 30 years at the “dairy,” suspicious activity (actually, non-activity) was becoming apparent to me. All in all, my only purpose became to give my co-workers fair warning that we were all losing our jobs. We found out before they wanted us to that the plant was moving out of State.

Not only was I losing my job, and losing all my friends at work, I was losing the only righteous and unselfish thing I had ever done. ( We had to be working full time to be a Union Rep.)

I began stopping at the bar more often, staying longer — even starting a tab that ran up the credit card bill. My family faded into the background. I would drink until I blacked out, but still acted as if I was awake, kept functioning but never remembered anything…

Eventually, I went back on company property drunk and got into it with someone. I don’t know to this day what exactly happened, btu when I “came to m senses,” there were city cops on the corner being deterred by one of the department stewards. It wasn’t good. So, I was fired. Couldn’t argue with the company about that. I came back on their property stone drunk.

What happened happened because as I discovered, I am a “binge alcoholic.” If the whiskey doesn’t run out, I’m still drinking.

It was also a nervous breakdown. My cheese had slipped off my cracker.

I don’t leave my yard that much anymore. I can’t socialize anymore (I get very paranoid).

I still have a beer or two, a glass of wine now and then and one or two or three whiskies…only at home and only what my wife will tolerate…or when I see it drinking me instead of me drinking it.

Now, I’m blind in one eye and losing sight in the other, have no job, no retirement pension, no particular use and instead of being a provider for my family… Well, you get the picture.

So, finally I can come to the point:

What caused my slow motion downfall? Here’s my theory, which is not a theory at all: No church, no Bible study, no praying, no including in my life the best Friend I have ever had, who is the “ever present help in time of need.”

This is why I am writing to you, Mr. Shelton. I hope you will be wiser than I.

Now I am working to get right with God.

I hope you will. too.

If you have never known Him you must first realize He is real. Remember to ask, seek, and knock. Remember He loves you. He died for you. Remember whoever goes to Him, He will no way turn away. Read His Word;seek His face.


David Henderson


P.S. — Alan Jackson has a nice “old-timey” album you might enjoy.



D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between