From the April 2001 magazine.

Don't Bypass the Moment

I staggered into my first AA meeting in March 1978, so hungover that I could barely stand up. I had been drinking around the clock for a long time and knew that if I didn't stop, I would die. Two friends accompanied me, for both physical and moral support, since the idea of never taking another drink as long as I lived filled me with fear and dread. That was the only thing I had heard about AA: you just didn't drink, period. Fortunately, I had never heard of the Twelve Steps or a Higher Power, which was just as well since if I had known what lay in store for me, I probably would have run straight to the nearest bar.

This first meeting I attended was held in midtown Manhattan, where, I later learned, the group met every Wednesday evening at 5:30, attracting people from surrounding offices. I was surprised to see how many well-groomed people there were and even more surprised to find them smiling, laughing, talking animatedly among themselves. Laughing? What was there to laugh about?

-- Joyce E.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

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