From the September 2011 magazine.

Facing Our Fears

Getting sober was only the first spiritual challenge she was able to face with the help of AA

I was born in Chicago in 1959 and raised a good Catholic girl. I went to church every Sunday and attended a Catholic school until the eighth grade. My journey into the world of alcohol, parties and men began when I met my friend Margaret in high school. By the time I was twenty-one years old, I had become a waitress and bartender in nightclubs. I moved to a small cabin in Wisconsin, where I had my first drunk driving accident on my way home one night. The next morning, I awoke to find myself in the hospital having plastic surgery to reconstruct my nose. My mother, worried about me, took me to a charismatic healing mass.

Even though I did not quit drinking, I did begin to think about changing my lifestyle and my career. After taking an associate degree in early childhood education, I began working with children in a wilderness program in the boundaries water canoe area in Minnesota. Someone there suggested that I go to Al-Anon to get a better perspective on how to deal with youth at risk. I was still drinking. On August 28, 1986, after about a year in Al-Anon, I got drunk and someone took my keys away because I was too drunk to drive home. I admitted the truth about myself. I haven't had a drink since.

-- Chris L.

Missoula, Montana

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