From the December 2012 magazine.

December 2012: Tired of AA

After 20 years of recovery, he let go of the gift that saved his life

I came to Alcoholics Anonymous to stay in 1986. I went to meetings, did service, followed suggestions, got a sponsor, worked the Steps. I went on old-fashioned Twelfth-Step calls, and I sponsored people. My entire life changed. For the first time in over a decade I was able to live without a drink or a drug for a full day, then a week, then months, then years.

Slowly but surely I was transformed by the people in AA. I became a good husband. The woman who had kicked me out of her life let me back in. We were married and have remained happily so for almost a quarter of a century. I was transformed from an unemployed and unemployable bottom-rung-drug-dealer to a responsible, trustworthy employee, valued by employers and co-workers in every job I ever had, consistently promoted to positions of responsibility. I was transformed from an academic-probation-college-drop-out to a graduate with highest honors. I was transformed from a spitting-stinking-glowering-street-wretch to a loving, doting father of three, whose favorite part of the day was curling up at night with my kids to read them bedtime stories. Employers counted on me, teachers respected me, friends liked me, parents trusted me with their precious little ones, sponsees sought my guidance and I was no longer the black sheep—even my family liked me! In all these ways my life was changed completely!

-- Adam N.

Santa Cruz, California

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