From the September 2011 magazine.

Web Exclusive: Cleaning up after the Hurricane

A manual labor job in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina proves to be this woman's spiritual, sober foundation

"I began to work the next day, sanding walls. What a way to start detoxing. The physical work allowed me time to reflect."

I have fought the program for 13 years. I did everything the Big Book says not to do. Today, I am coming up on three months of sobriety. How it all transpired is truly a testament of God's will for me and the people who helped to carry that out.

After short periods of sobriety I decided to join AA. At one point in my recovery. I went to meetings everyday and was a month short of two years. The problem was I wouldn't do the "we" part of Step One. Being raised by a drug-addicted mother and a sexually abusive father, childhood was full of fear, poverty and foster care homes. At a young age I decided to never trust or depend on anyone but myself. If things didn't work out, I only had myself to blame.

-- Nancy B.

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