From the April 2016 magazine.

Back From Hell

At 20 years, he decided to take a break from AA. What followed was years of detoxes, psych wards and pain

When I arrived in AA in 1984, I carried all my possessions with me in a half-full trash bag. I was blessed with a sponsor who knew the Steps and lived in the solution. He possessed the patience and perseverance it takes to work with a low-bottom, hardheaded drunk like me. I became very close with him and his family and we worked the solution together for five years. Then he started to become a bit distant in the last year we were together, before he fell to the disease and died in 1990. The entire AA community in our area was shocked in disbelief as he had been a backbone of support for so many of us.

It was a good while before I learned enough about living to be able to get and keep a job. At three years sober, I was living in the large parking lot of a recovery clubhouse, doing odd jobs there to earn enough money to live on 50-cent sandwiches that a nearby store sold at closing time. I kept the club clean and stocked, went on Twelve Step calls and stayed sober.

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