Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published January 2012.

Web Exclusive: Looking Back

An oldtimer reflects on getting sober at a young age

Arriving battered and hopeless in AA back in 1983, I was a 25-year-old with all the concerns and unhealthy attitudes that plague some young alcoholics.

I didn't seem to belong in the sober world, but no longer could hide out with active drunks in darkened barrooms. I'd never really fit in with my age group during junior high or high school, but new in AA I also felt out of place in meetings surrounded by gray- and white-haired old-timers. After all, I'd been hanging out with blackout drunks, guys who thrived on 151-proof rum, car races by beer-fueled drivers, petty vandalism, shot-and-a-beer bloodbath bars and 4 a.m. closing hours. How could I possibly take this straight-laced AA bunch seriously?

-- Don S.

Burlington, Connecticut

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