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Grapevine : August 2011
The benefits from being a sober member of Alcoholics Anony- mous for over 25 years are immeasurable, but they are so much greater when you've spent over 20 years with the same home group. My home group in AA has become my family and helped me maintain my sobriety as I have lived life on life's terms. Each of my experiences with marriage, parenthood, divorce, death, disease, and an empty nest, have brought me closer to my AA family. I have leaned on them for support and they have shared their experience, strength, and hope with me. They know me better than my biological family. In November of 2005, I was told that I was entering kidney failure caused by a hereditary disease known as Polycystic kidney disease. The doc- tor told me that I would need a trans- plant within the next year or so, and I needed to start searching for a do- nor. My whole world came crumbling down as I became plagued by self-pity and depression. My home group was of great support, as usual, as I suffered with my illness, and they helped me to get through this without drinking. I prayed that God would send me some newcomers to work with. I needed to get out of myself and start serving others. My prayers were answered as I gained three new sponsees. These ladies helped me feel useful in a time when I couldn't do the things I nor- mally do. They were a blessing as we became friends, benefiting each other. They encouraged and prayed for me when I was disabled and no longer able to work. As a single mother of a teenage girl, I needed all the support I could get. They helped me remain hopeful, reminding me the AA pro- gram had taught me that God hadn't brought me this far to drop me. Thankfully, God blessed me with a donor -- a man who was a virtual stranger. My donor had to lose 50 pounds before they would perform the transplant and my condition worsened. I started dialysis in May 2007, and attended as many meetings at this time as I could, because that was where God sent me his strength. Finally, the time came for my transplant in Denver, Colorado, on July 18, 2007. After the operation, I had some difficulties with my new kidney, so I spent 17 days in the hospital, the first week in ICU. When I was able to re- ceive phone calls and cards from my AA family, they lifted my spirits tre- mendously. Finally the day came that I could leave the hospital to start the next part of my recovery in a transplant house. It had been almost three weeks since I'd been to an AA meeting. This was an awfully long time for me to be away from my family. I really needed a meeting, but I was so weak and my immune system was so fragile, that it aagrapevine.org 17