From the January 2013 magazine.

January 2013: Still a Great Ride

An old-timer returns to his beloved young peoples’ group, where, long ago, he learned to survive the ups and downs of early sobriety

I joined AA in November 1973, when I was 21 years old. I was sick, sad, sorry and suicidal yet again. In AA I learned that pills, pot and alcoholic cough syrup were considered slips, so my actual sobriety dates from January 1974. Shortly after that, a young woman who was sober six months at the time—and living in a nearby garage—showed up at my apartment and insisted I attend a young peoples’ meeting with her. It was in a church hall in a nearby beach community. Off I went, and even though I was sick, depressed and anti-social, other young people there welcomed me and exchanged phone numbers with me. It was in that hall that I heard the words that inspired me to take some actions for my recovery, and it was in that hall that I found the sponsor who took me through the Steps. I took my Third Step there with him. Frequently, after the meeting, we would all go to a nearby amusement park and ride the roller coaster—an apt metaphor for the ups and downs of my early sobriety.

I recently attended the 41st anniversary of the founding of that group. The young woman whose idea it was to start the young peoples’ group led the anniversary meeting; she has now been sober for over 42 years. There were several other people there who were in their teens and 20s when they joined the group well over 30 years ago. One man there joined AA in 1959 when he was 21 years old and finally got sober in 1961, so he’s been sober more than 51 years now.

-- Paul C.

Oceanside, California

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