From the July 2018 magazine.

Putting me back together again

With sound AA advice and a good sponsor, a member with mental illness finds her way

When I came into the rooms, I could have been a 12-Step poster child. There wasn’t a room I didn’t belong in. My dad was in AA, so my first foray into anonymous waters was a dip into ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) when I was in college. In those days (1986), it was a maelstrom of messed-up kids from messed-up homes. Walking into the meeting every Wednesday night was like entering a Mecca for resentment. I never worked the Steps or got a sponsor. All I recall is wanting to hook up with the sickest guy in the room, a pattern of behavior that took years of recovery to undo.

Despite graduating Phi Beta Kappa and getting all kinds of awards, my first job out of college was as a cocktail waitress at the Yellow Kittens Tavern on Block Island, Rhode Island. By then, I had been cocktail waitressing for years. Since neither The New Yorker nor Ms. Magazine hired me out of college, I took that as proof that I was worthless. By the time autumn came, all that was left on Block Island were me, the town drunks and a gaggle of witches. 

-- Jessica M.

Brooklyn, New York, United States

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