From the March 1989 magazine.

Are We Too Successful?

In the June 1988 issue you solicited opinions on how AA is changing. My opinions have never been too popular at local meetings, so if you do not publish this piece, I will understand. I have only been around the program since 1982, so I cannot speak with any authority about the "old days." But I do have seven years' worth of continuous sobriety and AA involvement to refer to.

One of the things I have felt in the program is the pain and loneliness of leaving a meeting after listening to the old-timers (and even some newcomers) discuss the warm and caring relationships they have had with their sponsors. As a newcomer, I sobered up through the program, then later went through treatment (still sober) because of a continuing problem with depression. I remember as a newcomer announcing at meetings my need for a sponsor and then watching people quietly move away from me after the meeting as if to avoid any involvement at all. I remember being turned down a number of times when I became bolder and actually singled out an individual to ask. Most were booked up, some didn't have the mandatory twelve months' sobriety, and none returned my phone calls. I remember how I finally obtained a sponsor and communicated with her largely via her answering machine because she was really quite busy.

-- Marilyn J.

Fox Lake, Illinois

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