From the April 2013 magazine.

April 2013: "Coffee soothes nerves of troubled men"

How an old yellowed photo led this newcomer to believe

A long line of men waiting to be fed every day was right across the street from my house. As a boy, I would stand there watching, trying to understand. Why would my father be there and not at home? I wondered. He left the house before I was born, but would visit us every now and then. I remember thinking he loved to drink and live on the street more than he loved me. I also thought I would never be like my father, because he was weak. I hated him for that.

Now, many years later, I was 51 years old and sleeping on my sister’s couch again, because I had nowhere else to go. After many years of jail, rehab, divorce and losing everything I owned, I was a drunk just like my dad. A rehab had sent me to AA meetings again, and one of the groups listed on the schedule they gave me was named after that dreaded part of town from my childhood. So I went—three times a day, seven days a week.

-- James B.

Montgomery, Alabama

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