From the March 1988 magazine.

The Gift of Need

Sometime early in 1970 after slipping around for a year and a half, I got a few people together started what I later learned was the first young people's group in western Massachusetts. I was so newly sober that I was ineligible to speak, but I was asked if I wanted to help clean up after, I remember feeling grateful at being included. After eighteen months in and out of sobriety, I had acquired a "loser's" aura that was hard to shake.

The first few years were a whirlwind of activity. Conferences, service meeting, commitments--even a jet junket to Memphis and the International Conference of Young People in AA where we put in a bid to have the conference held in Springfield. Houston beat us by one vote. What a heartbreaker! We had raised $3,000 from area AAs to make the trip and had wisely included a few old-time area service people, both for guidance with AA Traditions and to help fend off flack from less progressive old-timers who felt this bunch of young upstarts needing curbing. "What do we need young people's groups for?" we heard. "We don't need all this talk about drugs." But other old-timers were with us.

-- J. N.

W. Springfield, Massachusetts

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