From the October 2009 magazine.

A few 24s

When the voice says she no longer needs meetings, a long-timer holds onto her seat

It's been awhile--a few 24s--since that fateful night in November 1981 when I walked into my first AA meeting thinking, This is it--my life is over. Thank God, I can still remember that night as if it were yesterday--how terrified I was to walk into a room full of strangers. Funny how it never bothered me to do the same thing drunk. But somehow that night I knew the jig was up--that indeed this was my last stop. "I was on my way to my own funeral," as I would later hear in the rooms.

Walking into the Metropolitan Group on the Upper East Side of Manhattan could be intimidating. The room was gigantic, and everyone had a clear view of you as soon as you came in. That night a man greeted me at the door and introduced himself, and then had the audacity to ask me if I was an alcoholic. I quickly set him straight by stating, "No--but my mother was." Then he winked at me and as I lurched along the wall to the coffee and cookies (my meal for the day) at the back of the room, I remember thinking, These people are very bold. I mean, what business is it of his anyway?


Pomona, N.Y.

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