June G. got sober in Venice, California, in 1972, and in this audio recording of the AA speaker meeting at the 2000 Torrance Roundup, she shares her recovery story. It’s a heartbreaking tale of a violent childhood spent in an alcoholic home, self-hatred, self-mutilation, and, of course, alcoholism.

It’s also a beautiful, funny story of a journey in recovery that’s nothing short of miraculous.

June’s first obsession in life wasn’t alcohol, but suicide; from an early age, she cut herself, and she even attempted to overdose on baby aspirin as a young girl. “Life was far too painful for me,” she recalls. “I knew rage and anger. By the time I got here, I hated everything about myself for as long as I could remember.”

June didn’t drink to be social, and she has no cute stories of drunken shenanigans. She drank to blot out her feelings, period. When she finally got to AA, her self-hatred was so great that she couldn’t stand to catch a glimpse of herself when she passed by a window.

But one day, at about seven years sober, she realized, “I wanted to be tall and skinny, I wanted my curly red hair, I wanted to be from Venice. I didn’t want your mother, your boyfriend or your car. I wanted to be who I was, I wanted to feel like I was feeling, and I had never had that experience in my whole life. I can’t tell you how AA accomplished that… but it did. Through the principles of AA and the actions I was taught to take, I don’t see what I used to see, I don’t feel the way I used to feel, and I don’t act the way I used to act.

“I couldn’t believe that was possible for someone like me.”

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