Mon 20 Jun 2005


Mary does a dance every morning when she wakes up.


She can’t wait to start the day because there are new challenges out that door, she says. She has an infectious energy shared with a loving family. She works and contributes to her community.  Life is wonderful.


But it wasn’t always that way.


There was a time when Mary (not her real name to protect her privacy) was living a nightmare. Somewhere, she says, between not wanting to live and not wanting to die. A crippling disease had taken hold.

 Alcohol had so consumed her that she could no longer function.


Often termed “bottoming out,” Mary confided her problem to a friend and started the road to recovery by signing up for Alcoholics Anonymous.


“I had no idea I suffered from the disease of alcoholism,” Mary, a Huron County resident, said during an interview. “I just wondered what was wrong with me.”


“I was sick and tired of living the way I was living -- with the booze.


I didn’t know there was another way. I didn’t feel that the drink was causing the problem. I was tired of myself and tired of life.”


So, she reached out and went to a meeting.


That first step, taken by millions worldwide, changed her life.


It’s been 15 years since Mary had a drink but she still takes it one day at a time. She no longer thinks about having a drink but is well aware that just one could lead to a dangerous place. Thoughts these days are positive and optimistic, a far cry from the demons that once haunted her outlook.


70 years


Since its humble beginnings in Akron, Ohio, AA, celebrating its 70th year, has gone on to help countless people rid themselves of the disease.


Mary’s strong connection to the program has her well aware of the anniversary and she will bring her optimism for life to the Alcoholics Anonymous International Convention June 30-July 3 in Toronto.


Held every five years since the first in Cleveland in 1950, it is a chance for AA members world wide to gain new friendships and share their stories.


“It’s a celebration,” says Mary. AA has a presence in some 180 countries and 80 of those are expected to send members to the convention.


The numbers alone – two million members – speak volumes about the appeal and effectiveness of the program.


Mary is just one of those who have allowed the AA’s 12-step program into their lives. Mary practices those principles on a daily basis. The program has taught her how to live life without drinking and how to contribute to society. “I didn’t do reality before.”


Now, the greatest feeling Mary gets is knowing she is a contributing member of society and she continues to win out on a day-to-day basis.


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