From the January 2015 magazine.

A New World

He had no idea he was entering a life of softball, snorkling, dancing and joy

When I arrived in AA in 1983, I was trembling, defeated, mistrustful, confused, and most of all, desperate. At 25, I was still clinging to the illusion of the drinking life as flashy and glamorous, with loud rock clubs, foxy young women and sporty muscle cars. My first image of sobriety, in contrast, looked like a swamp of depressing gray: Friday and Saturday nights in a musty church basement, sitting on a folding metal chair and sipping coffee from styrofoam, while some ancient guys in plaid shirts talk about their Higher Powers. Ugh.

But the gift of desperation can carry us an awful long way. And for me, it did. In those early weeks, AA members showed me one of the best lessons I would ever learn: young peoples’ meetings were an excellent place to end my denial. I could hardly say now that AA was fine for old people, but that I was just too young.

-- Don S.

Burlington, Connecticut

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