From the October 2010 magazine.

Where everybody knows my name

It took only five months for this newcomer to see the healing power in her home group

I GREW up watching a lot of TV sitcoms, and recall "All in the Family," where Archie Bunker sat for hours in his chair saying, "Shut up, Edith, and get me a beer." I also remember the show "Cheers," where everyone hollered out "Norm!" and the theme song about "where everybody knows your name, where they're always glad you came." Truthfully, I always loved that feeling of walking into a bar, having he bartender pour my beverage of choice, and people chime out my name, welcoming me home.

My story is not a scripted show with built-in laugh tracks, but it is truly a reality show. Most of my family was out of state, so as a hard-working single woman, loneliness was one of the things that led to my drinking more. It was also one of the things that I struggled with as I began my sobriety, letting go of many friends and activities that had come to define my very existence. Yet as I write, I realize that I'm beginning to have a new home.

-- JILL M.

West Bend, Wis.

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