From the June 2018 magazine.

Felt like home

How the warm welcome at a shelter meeting helped her take off a “backpack” of fear and shame

I had never been to a homeless shelter before, but the first AA meeting of the day near me was held there at 7:30 a.m. I was shaking, crying and sweating as I drove my car across the bridge to go there. A friend of mine who knew about AA (I knew nothing) had encouraged me to try the program. I wasn’t convinced, but after planning my suicide and being too afraid to carry it out, I was desperate.

At the shelter I saw people who lived there and many other people who were walking in from other shelters. I sat in my workout clothes in the small room where the meeting would be held. I knew no one, but was surprised to see many others who weren’t homeless. People actually looked pretty good. That showed me that you didn’t have to lose it all.

-- Janis L.

Bangor, Maine

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