From the August 1971 magazine.

Now I Want Myself

The first life she lived had no meaning

I WRITE as a hobby, not as a vocation. However, I feel it only fitting that I pay respect in writing to AA, which has given me the wonderful life I now lead, one day at a time. Now I know who or what I am--an Aquarian black woman, thirty-one years of age, who is proud to know that she was once a drunk but is now a sober alcoholic.

I was about thirteen months old when my natural mother died. My aunt came South and brought me, the youngest of seven, and my two brothers, who were just a few years older, back to Chicago. I was raised under a very strict religious and moral code. I found no outlet for my yearning to be loved and appreciated. My new "parents" had to go off to work, placing us in a nursery school. As we grew older, they left us home alone sometimes. I would look out the window and watch the other children playing and wish I could join them; but my aunt, in trying to protect us from the "bad kids" in the neighborhood, always gave us little chores to keep us busy and out of trouble. From this, I believe I developed the feeling of being a loner.

-- F. H.

Chicago, Illinois

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