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Grapevine : January 2011
has the same impact today. Being sober in 1982 at 19 was such a very lonely experience, it's al- most hard to describe. Everyone I met my age was in the midst of the "wild life." In my entire city there were only three other AA members under 21 and none of us liked each other. When I faced problems in AA and asked other members for help, they would just look at me and tell me, "When I was your age I was drunk! Sorry, I don't know what to tell you--- you're going to have to figure it out yourself." Well I did, often with hor- rible results. I often share that I have made all the same mistakes any other person has made, either in AA or not. Only I couldn't say, "Yeah, I did that, but I was drunk when I did it." I had to admit that I made those same mis- takes sober and had to stand up and be accountable for my actions later. I found it was all just a part of growing up, only I grew up in AA, literally. I stayed through the end of my teens, through my 20s, through my 30s, and now through most of my 40s. I didn't just read the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions and Twelve Con- cepts; I have made them a part of my life and learned to live their principles. My life today is absolutely incredible. Because I got sober so young, I am able to reach just about any young person who walks into AA and let them know that AA will work at their age, that alcohol doesn't see age, sex or heritage---it's an equal opportunity destroyer. I usually direct them to the local Young People in AA meetings and also try getting them involved in our Local Young People's Commit- tee, which supports other larger state young people's conferences. In Cali- fornia it's ACYPAA, which stands for All California Young People In Alco- holics Anonymous, something that I had the privilege to chair here in 1999. Two years ago our area was awarded the ACYPAA conference again, and with an entirely new group of young people running it, became the largest ACYPAA conference to date. I have literally watched a fellowship rise around me. Today there are several thousand "young people" members in this state alone, something I nev- er dreamed I would see. Today I am a part of a growing number of once young people in AA who have stayed sober for many years and found a life, and lifestyle, that is so far beyond any- thing I could have ever hoped to have all those years ago when I stumbled back into AA for the last time. Jamie L. Oceanside, Calif. In my entire city there were only three other AA members under 21 and none of us liked each other. 48 January 2011