From the November 2012 magazine.

November 2012: Cold Morning, Warm Meeting

As Thanksgiving nears, a group of men who have each others’ backs share their sadness and joy

It was around 7:30 a.m. on a cold Saturday morning just two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I wanted to go inside, get a cup of coffee, and talk to the guys just as I normally do prior to the 8:00 a.m. mens’ AA meeting. But standing next to the door was one of my friends, Bruce D., who I have known since he got sober some 14 years ago.

I asked if he was OK and mentioned that I noticed he had left the meeting early the previous night. Apprehensively, I waited for my friend to speak. He moved closer, tilted his head slightly, looked me in the eye and, in a voice slightly more than a whisper, as if straining from yelling at a ball game the day before, he said, “I’ve got lung cancer, but it’s not like I haven’t paid my dues. I’ll be 70 years old soon, and for years I smoked and drank like there was no tomorrow.” Suddenly, the thought of talking to the fellows about the football game did not seem so important.

-- Tom S.

Ripon, California

This is a preview. To view the full article, use the link below to begin a free 7-day trial!