From the August 2012 magazine.

August 2012: Mary Poppins Returns

A woman goes back to thank the biker who showed her a new way of life

As unlikely as it may seem, my first introduction to AA was at a meeting of bikers. I say it was unlikely because I am a 5 foot 2, 125-pound red-haired woman who looks about as dangerous as Mary Poppins. I was 18 years old, living in my first apartment in the small coastal town of Hoquiam, Wash., and I had struck up an acquaintanceship with a 20-something man who rode a motorcycle and lived in the apartment house behind mine. I will call him Gary. One day, when I saw my neighbor starting up his bike, I began chatting with him. He asked if I wanted to take a ride with him out to Westport, 30 miles or so farther out on the coast. He said he was going to a meeting (didn’t specify what type of meeting) and invited me to come along if I felt like it. Taking a cruise on that scenic route on a sunny day definitely sounded like a great idea to me, so I cheerfully accepted. Well, when we got out there I discovered we were at an AA meeting held in a lighthouse/coast guard station. Everyone there (except me) wore a leather jacket that had “Alkie Angels” printed on it. It was the coolest thing I had ever been a part of. I knew this guy was a total gentleman and that I was safe not only in his company, but with the entire group of these rough, tough-looking characters. I was both grateful and amazed by it all.

It was a typical meeting, I realize now, but I experienced it as the most unique, unbelievably welcoming, and non-judgmental gathering I had ever attended. I simply could not have imagined such a thing as even being possible, much less pictured myself as a part of it. At some point they asked me if I would like to share, and all I could say was: “Wow! I’m so glad you guys have this meeting and are allowing me to sit in on it! Thank you. I am enjoying being here with you all and listening to what you have to say. This is so cool!” I don’t remember God being mentioned much, but I sure remember the honesty and the forthright way that they spoke about their daily lives. That all these big, scary-looking bikers were talking about feelings really blew me away. When we got back home, I was still smiling and shaking my head in disbelief.

-- Morgan M.

Burlington , Washington

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