Magazine

From the April 2014 magazine.

No Roads to Bethel

A GSR stays sober airlifting Big Books for a remote Alaska town

I got sober in the mid-1980s, in Anchorage, Alaska, an urban community of around 250,000 with many meetings at all times of the day and all days of the week. After several years of sobriety, I completed my college degree and became the GSR for my home group. I applied for a better job, got hired, and moved to Bethel, a small, remote community located about 400 air miles west of Anchorage. Back in the 1990s, Bethel had a population of about 5000. To this day, there are still no roads to Bethel. It’s accessible only by air, except for the summer months when barges loaded with goods can navigate the river because it’s not frozen.

When I arrived in Bethel, although several AA meetings were listed on the local schedule, attendance was sparse, sometimes with just two or three people present. I committed to going to at least two or three AA meetings each week. In the evenings, while taking a walk I often listened to a speaker meeting on cassette tape (yes, this was before CDs and podcasts.) Also, I traveled to Anchorage or another town or city every couple of months. Some trips were to attend an area assembly or the Pacific Region AA Service Assembly (PRAASA) or a regional forum.

-- Jo B.

Anchorage, Alaska

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