From the August 2017 magazine.


Full of shame and remorse, she just wanted everyone to go away. Turns out all she needed was a loving hand

I crawled my way into my first meeting of AA. I was off the street and defeated utterly. I was 24 years old. I looked terrible and smelled even worse. I was jittery, lost and had an attitude of defiance that hid a wall of shame that was 10 feet thick and 100 feet tall. I was dressed highly inappropriately as well. Years later, friends who saw me that first day said I was wearing the tube top of justice and the hot pants of freedom.

I judged everyone I saw immediately and harshly just to beat them to the punch. I thought if I hated you first, then somehow I would be the winner. My bravado was the only survival skill I had left. I sat in the back of the room with my head down for a week on what some members referred to as “death row.” I was arrogant and judgmental, but too scared to leave and too afraid to go back out on the streets.

-- “Shoeless” M.

Austin, Texas, USA

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