From the April 2012 magazine.

April 2012: Hope in Every Port

No matter where he goes, AA is there for him

I grew up in Rock Island, Ill., and got sober in Sydney, Australia, as a result of one of those searches for a geographic cure. That always reminds me of a guy who moved to another town because he thought everyone in his town was awful. He found that the new people were pretty nice for about six months, but then they got as bad as those in the place he’d left.

When I stopped drinking in 1974, all but one meeting a week in Sydney were in what we call the ID format, with members mostly telling their drinking stories. At my first U.S. meeting in L.A., while between flights at the airport, I thought they were doing it wrong because it was not what I was used to. Over the next few weeks I went to meetings in the Quad-Cities, Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Colorado Springs. The meetings I went to were more recovery oriented, carrying the message rather than the mess, and I found myself seeking meetings like those in Sydney when I got back.

-- Jim F.

Devonport, Australia

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