From the November 2009 magazine.

A death in the family

A home group becomes a community when an anchor of the meeting dies

Most of us who are regular members of an AA group feel ourselves to be a part of a community cemented together by common desperation--to paraphrase the Big Book, like passengers from a sunken ship who find themselves in a lifeboat on the open ocean. That sense of cohesiveness and mutual interdependence is particularly strong in my home group, which meets at 7 A.M. six days a week and numbers among its members people who have been showing up, sharing and making themselves of service virtually every day for years. That they are anchors goes without saying--but what does a group do when it loses one of its anchors?

Recently, we were faced with just such a circumstance. If there was any one individual whose presence seemed to define our meeting it was Stevie G., a tall, vigorous 61-year-old computer wizard with a heart of gold. It was fortunate he was also stubborn, for in the early days some members of the group, AA "purists," were reluctant to welcome a man who talked a great deal about drugs and made liberal use of profanity while sharing. He did stay, chalked up sober time and established himself as a person willing and capable of working with difficult, poly-addicted sponsees. He volunteered at the jail, performed many tasks for the home group and found time to fix innumerable ailing computers for his friends.

-- MARTHA S.

Eugene, Ore.

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