From the October 2012 magazine.

October 2012: Paul, the kind of AA

Words and love from a tattooed biker changed this woman's life forever

When the Big Book says we are people who normally would not mix, it’s telling the truth. I am reminded of this when I’m in the grocery store with my three small children and a large, bearded, tattooed biker stops to chat for a few moments. The looks we receive from passersby never fail to make me chuckle. However, within those relationships are the truly special bonds that develop the unexplainable ties that we find to another human being for no other reason than the common solution we have found from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

I remember the first time Paul spoke to me. I was a newcomer, struggling with the whole idea of sobriety. I had seen him smoking outside the meetings and witnessed the respect that the other members of the group treated him with. As best as I could tell he was someone “important”—with a hundred years of sobriety. That day I shared about an experience I had with my 3-year-old son and the angels he told me he saw. After the meeting Paul came up to me and said, “Hey kid, you don’t know you got it, but you’ve got it. Keep coming back.” I was so excited that the King of AA (as I decided he must be) had spoken to me. I did not see at the time that what I had shared was the beginning of a psychic change and the recognition of a belief in a power greater than myself.

-- Richelle L.

Export, Pennsylvania

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