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Grapevine : January 2012
4.0 grade point average, and I’m em- ployed as a counselor and a manager at a treatment center. I attend three to four meetings every week. my fam- ily and me are closer than ever, and I no longer regret my past. most im- portantly, I love my life and the man I’ve become. I have no idea where the future might take me, but there’s one thing I accept completely and know for certain ... I am a grateful recover- ing alcoholic. David M. Toledo, Ohio ceremonies everyone was talking about. The hall was packed; more than 1,000 people showed up. A man in a suit came up and started to talk about unity and how it only takes one person to get excited about his recovery to get people involved. it was the guy i was with—he had created this vision for the Bloom- ington young people before he had moved. Their theme was “Plant a Seed”—and boy did it. There were more than 2,000 young, sober, crazy, fun people all there for real recovery. i wanted it. i wanted what they had, their fellowship, the love of the program, the late nights of talking, the smoking like a chimney, the all-night dance ... it was all there for me to take. i didn’t sleep the rest of the conference, afraid to miss something. iwasonsuchahigh after leaving that confer- ence, i told my sponsor i was never going to miss another iSCYPAA as long as i was sober. i was changed; my recovery was changed. i had this feeling that i had a higher purpose in recovery, that it wasn’t just about hitting meet- ings. i really felt that this YPAA experience should be shared by all young people so they didn’t feel alone like i did when i first got sober. My purpose was going to be to serve young people! My first efforts went to getting people to iSCYPAA every year. Three years later, Wisconsin (WiCYPAA) started our own young peoples’ conference. i have recently rotated off advisory council to WiCYPAA and continue to work with the YPAAs. i am now working on the bid for the international (iCYPAA), learning about a whole new group of people. i have met people from all over the U.S. and Canada. i believe i was at a time in my sobriety when i felt that if all i had to look forward to was smoking cigs and playing cards, you might as well have shot me. i can’t express my gratitude and love for that first YPAA that changed my sobriety and gave me a purpose to focus on. i have missed only one iSCYPAA in the last 20 years and continue to support the conference that changed my life. two years ago i was given the highest privilege of sharing my experience, strength and hope at iSCY- PAA—what an honor! Thank you YPAAs and all you do for those who are coming through your doors! Tina H. Waukesha, Wis. aagrapevine.org 29 GRAPE_22-29.indd 29 11/22/11 3:57 PM