SOBERING TIMES FOR A.A.

AMID CULTURE CLASHES AND GLOBAL GROWTH, THE GROUP TURNS 60

Alcoholism used to be a secret held close, known only to the sufferer's loved ones, and carrying a harsh social stigma. But anyone walking the streets of downtown San Diego last weekend would have seen little sign that any of the estimated 60,000 recovering alcoholics and Al-Anon members attending the Alcoholics Anonymous convention there were anything but loud and proud. Celebrating the group's 60th anniversary, participants from 72 countries sporting first-name-only registration badges flashed smiles and offered greetings to the people they passed along the San Diego waterfront.

Clearly in its prime, the nation's preeminent alcoholism-treatment organization is also undergoing something...

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