From the July 2010 magazine.

The longhouse

A Native American compares AA to the shelter that houses an entire clan

Today is the potluck to celebrate all the AA birthdays for the month. We have a big cake and tons of food and really great fellowship. There is no place I would rather be than right here. There is no place I would rather be than right here. There is no one else I would rather be than me and no other Fellowship on the planet that speaks higher about the gifts of healing than this little AA gathering way out in the back country of Central Arizona. It's the Red Road meeting and we are just upriver from the local Indian Reservation.

My outer face smiles as I watch my brother take a cake for one year of sobriety, but my inner face cries for my sister in the hospital being treated for alcoholism. Bittersweet, this sobriety. According to Indian Health Services, 97 percent of Native Americans will die, either directly or indirectly, from the disease of alcoholism. I am powerless. I never have to pick up a drink, one day at a time, for the rest of my life and by that I am empowered by my Higher Power.

-- FRAN D.F.

Rimrock, Ariz.

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