From the July 2005 magazine.

A Different Life

AA in a small Guatemalan village

I began to drink when I was eighteen years old. I used to do it whenever I had a party to go to and needed courage to ask a "patoja" (girl) to dance. I got married when I turned twenty-two, just as my alcoholism began to develop. I felt free and began to work on my own, but my life was a disaster. I was pushing my wife and children out of the house, and I decided to sell my mother's land, which was my inheritance.

One day, in 1970, I went to have some drinks in a nearby village. As I was returning home, I felt the sudden need to cry. When I got home, I told my wife; "This is where I stop drinking." I gave her a quetzal and I told her to buy the last four beers that I would ever drink. She drank one, my friend another, and I drank the last two. The next day, I asked my wife to make me a "purga" (purgative), and ever since then I never drank again. Thank God, after two years of my sudden and forced stop, a friend invited me to an AA meeting. My first group was "Grupo 4 de Mayo." After a while, some people suggested that I start a group within my own community, and so I did. That is how "Grupo Concepcion Cerro Gordo" was born.

-- Leonidas M.

Aldea Cerro Gordo, Santa Rosa Guatemala

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