Student Voice

Moorpark College offers residents in recovery and those still struggling a safe place to gather

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Moorpark College offers residents in recovery and those still struggling a safe place to gather

To celebrate a members 10th year of sobriety, cake and candles were brought to the meeting. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

To celebrate a members 10th year of sobriety, cake and candles were brought to the meeting. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

To celebrate a members 10th year of sobriety, cake and candles were brought to the meeting. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

To celebrate a members 10th year of sobriety, cake and candles were brought to the meeting. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

By Shannon Holst

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For the last ten years, Moorpark College has opened their doors to Alcoholics Anonymous, giving those in recovery and others still struggling with addiction a safe place to gather.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step, international nonprofit organization that focuses on helping those struggling with addiction. The fellowship’s stated purpose is to enable its members to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety”.

Founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio, the organization emphasizes a twelve-step and twelve traditions program that has helped thousands of people in their journey towards sobriety.

Every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., in room 138 of the Administration Building, residents from multiple cities throughout Ventura County, come together to encourage one another and lend support. Open to anyone affected by addiction, including narcotics, over-eaters and family and friends of addicts, the group appeals to those in the early stages of recovery.

“This is a good meeting in that it targets newcomers. We only talk about the first three steps,” said a Thousand Oaks man, who is 29 years sober and wished to remain anonymous. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. [We] came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, and made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

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Literature on the 12 step program and a life of sobriety are laid out by the refreshments for attendees. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

As more and more group members shuffled in it became obvious that they are a family. They greet one another with smiles and jokingly banter back and forth, creating a playful and calm atmosphere that makes the experience in no way uncomfortable, but rather inviting.

Longtime AA regular, John S. of Simi Valley recently celebrated his thirtieth year sober. He credits his success with the ability to laugh at himself and stay positive.

“I was a black-out drunk, it scared me into the program,” he said. “You have to have a sense of humor and nurture it.”

Addiction is not uncommon in today’s world. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 17.6 million adults in the United States suffer from alcoholism and an estimated 88,000 people die every year from alcohol-related issues, making it the third most preventable disease in the world.

While some people may be more likely to develop an addiction, often due to a family history of abuse or addictive personality traits, anyone who uses alcohol or drugs is at risk of developing an addiction.

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Before the meeting began, members poured themselves some coffee and shared how AA had helped them. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

“It attacks everybody,” said a Simi Valley man, who is 27 years sober and wished to remain anonymous. “I knew I was an alcoholic because when I drank, I drank to get drunk. I didn’t drink just to have a few drinks.”

Comparing addiction to a chocolate bar, he went on to describe how easy it is for someone with a drinking problem to consume too much.

“It’s like the little squares of a chocolate, it’s supposed to be a portion. But it’s not, the whole thing is a portion,” he explained. “Too much is almost enough.”

If you or someone you know might be struggling with addiction, please contact the Student Health Center or call (805) 378-1413.

Moorpark College campus AA Meetings are free and open to the public. To find a different location, please visit the Alcoholics Anonymous website.

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