Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published February 2012.

Web Exclusive: Not Too Young

Alcoholism doesn't discriminate, so why do people in meetings?

There are as many ways to make others welcome in meetings as there are to make them feel separate. I used to say to myself that I was different from the people in the program because I was too young. Because I was too young, the Steps didn't apply to me, people didn't understand me, and I would have to keep drinking until the number of years I'd been drinking reached a competitive level.

It did not occur to me that I wasn't going to live long enough to prove my point. The fatal nature of alcoholism hadn't penetrated my denial yet. I have heard numerous times over the years comments in meetings like the following: "I'm glad to see so many young people here today." "I'm glad you got in here before it got too bad." "You young people are lucky you were spared the years of hell I had to go through." "You were smart to stop so soon." And sometimes I have heard a doubtful "If you stay …" accompanied by a lifting of eyebrows.

-- Amber M.

Florence, Kentucky

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