Addictions Feed

On My Mother's 40 Years in AA

Dear Mom,

Forty years! I really can't begin to express my gratitude and amazement and appreciation for the choices you made so many years ago and for God's grace in leading you by the hand to the people He knew would support you.

Photo of Mom on Couch (2)

Even now as I write this, I am weeping tears of love and gratitude for all the people who sat in AA meetings with you, especially in those earliest days and months. They obeyed that inner nudging to speak up and share something of their own "experience, strength, and hope" that I know was the Perfect thing my mom needed to hear that day in order to make it one more day . . . at a time.


I imagine every AA meeting, every phone call, every hug, every poignant and sublime slogan, every person you crossed paths with, were all steps that lead you through and between your particular 12 Steps. And now, here we are, 40 years of taking steps later, stopping briefly at this juncture to look back and reflect on all of your support, your discipline, your diligence, your prayers, your tears and your joy.  I am so grateful for you, for dad, your therapists, and your sponsors along the way. And I am grateful for your ever-expanding circle of friends who have loved you through each step of this 40 year journey. Congratulations, Mom!


With all my love,



Note: This was the card I gave my mother on January 11, celebrating her 40th AA birthday. She went on to add another four years of recovery in AA before her death in 2012. Sitting at her 9:00 am AA meeting, she doubled over in pain and died two days later from a perforated bowel. She had just finished the script for her autobiography, so my dad and I got it published the following next year.


Her friend, Sandy Brewer wrote: "Mary Roush is someone you should know, and if you did not have the opportunity to do so while she was alive, it's not too late. Her spirit lives on through her family, friends, the myriad of people she touched throughout her life, and her own words in her forthright, inspiring memoir, The First Eighty Years Are the Hardest. Mary tells her life story of childhood challenges, health problems, and near death experiences that ultimately dropped her off into the abyss of alcoholism. Her book is truly about learning how to feel, deal, and heal. Without anger, bitterness, or victimization she guides us through her life of recovery, forgiveness, and unfolding wisdom. Her story offers an opportunity for all of us to rediscover the healing grace within our own being. Mary will always be treasured for her passion and compassion, kindness, generosity, and courage to keep trying until she got where she wanted to go. And arrive, she did! No wonder so many of us love and appreciate her. Godspeed, Mary."    

Sandy Brewer, Ph.D.  Author, Pursuit of Light: An Extraordinary Journey

You can find The First Eighty Years are the Hardest: Feeling, Dealing, Healing by Mary Roush on Amazon