Matt Talbot was a drunk. He came to this state partly as a result of nature and nurture, as his father was an alcoholic, as were most of Matt’s brothers. Born into a poverty stricken home on May 2, 1856 in Dublin he became an unskilled laborer who blew most of his wages on feeding his addiction to drink. The worst thing he did to buy alcohol was to steal a fiddle from a street performer and sell it for booze. Penniless in 1884, he took the pledge not to drink and kept it for the remainder of his life.
However, turning away from alcohol was only a small part of his transformation. In order to truly change one’s life it is never enough to turn away from something. We must also turn to something. Talbot turned to God. He began to attend daily Mass and read books and pamphlets on the Faith. He repaid his debts and, after a fruitless search for the fiddler whose fiddle he stole, donated the money he wanted to pay the fiddler for his stolen fiddle to the Church for Masses to be said for the fiddler.