From the April 2015 magazine.

Welcome back, sucker

After 11 years, he stopped going to meetings and an old friend returned

I’ve been sober 24 of the past 26 years. Before finding AA, I had lost my business and my home and I was living on the streets. I ate other peoples’ leftover pasta and meatballs out of dumpsters and I knew that the best cigarette butts in town were in a three-foot sand ashtray outside of the theme park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Every day I’d fill my empty cigarette pack with 20 almost perfect butts that had been hastily stubbed out by tourists.

In 1988, I crawled into my first AA meeting. Desperate and alone, I discovered a power greater than myself that spoke through the people in AA. I loved meetings; I made the coffee, and I cleaned up afterward. And every time I emptied an ashtray, I remembered Hershey, Pennsylvania. I also thanked God each time for this privilege I had never earned. I chaired many meetings and even spoke in jails. I had a sponsor and I sponsored others. I got my business up and running again, and my wife let me back into her life “little by slowly.” Most important, I discovered a loving God who promised me that if I followed the Steps and asked for help I’d continue feeling happy, joyous and free.

-- Larry K.

Manhasset, New York

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