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“It saved our lives”

Alcoholics Anonymous hosted a community outreach lunch yesterday in downtown Spokane. Men and women working the 12-step program asked people from different professions to the luncheon meeting to raise awareness about AA.The folks in recovery told their stories. Almost to a person, they said that getting sober saved their lives.They didn’t mean it just metaphorically. They meant that stopping the booze stopped the physical decline which would have led, eventually, to a premature death.

How do you approach a co-worker, a family member or a friend who you suspect is alcoholic and in physical and or emotional danger because of it?

Best bet: Say you are concerned about the person, and have materials in hand, such as an AA brochure that lists meetings. There are AA meetings nearly around the clock, every day of the week. And a 24-hour number: (509) 624-1442.

Don’t expect gratitude. Most people you approach will express outrage, and they may even stop talking to you.One of the speakers, Diane M., (AA members don’t disclose last names) said she was in denial when first approached and insulted that someone would think she had a drinking problem. But eventually, she was ready to hear the message and get sober, which she’s been now for nearly 30 years.

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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