From the October 2012 magazine.

October 2012: Chip off the Old Block

We pass on the gift, because that's what we do

As I near my fifth anniversary, I find myself in a reflective state, and my one-year anniversary comes to mind. It was during the celebration of my first anniversary when I repeated what so many others in the rooms of AA have said before: “I stand here not to congratulate myself, but to show the newcomer that this program works.” I also gave credit to the old-timers, who have passed on their own wisdom, and who cared for me when I was unable to care for myself. Truly, I was to learn, we keep each other sober, sometimes in the most unforeseen ways.

A week before that meeting, I had made an uncomfortable call. It was to my former boss, a long-time family friend. I had left his employment in disgrace by missing every Monday and Friday due to hangovers and drinking on the job. But I also knew he was in AA, and that he and my father were the best of friends. An enormously tall behemoth of a man with a shock of red hair and full red beard, who answered to the name “Big Bob,” he had attended my father’s funeral when I was only 15 years old. He wept like I’ve never seen anyone before or since; his enormous size only made the scene more vivid and horrible.

-- Adam K.

Fresh Meadows, New York

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