Magazine

From the February 2019 magazine.

License to not drink

My first memory of Clem is from 1982, when our young people’s bid committee had just been chosen to host the following year’s round-up. Clem sidled up to me and offered the very sensible suggestion that we not over-commit for the banquet. He had chaired that young people’s round-up in 1980, and I was to chair it in 1983. As we talked, Clem gestured toward his truck. My eyebrows went up as I asked him why my sobriety date was on his license plate. Clem informed me that was his sobriety date. In all the years I’ve been in AA, Clem’s the only other person I’ve met who has the exact same sobriety date as me—month, day and year.

We became friends after that. We call each other every year on our sobriety birthdays. We just talked again for number 44. Clem invited me up to his part of the state to speak a couple times. When he got married, he and his new bride spent part of their honeymoon with my wife and me. For my 40th AA birthday, Clem drove more than 500 miles to surprise me at a party, and I was honored to present him with a 40-year cake that day. Over the years, we both have continued to stay active in our AA meetings. We still sponsor and do service, Clem in institutional work and me in general service.

-- Paul C.

Oceanside, California

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