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  • A friend, a new acquaintance really,
    took me,
    because I asked,
    to a basement in the city.

    In this basement were a group of people with whom I had nothing in common. I, me, of the perfectly normal childhood, the hale and happy life, the undramatic existence, was sitting in a room filled with people who had fallen into the abyss and were trying to make their way out.

    All the stories were the same.
    Every single person had
    into a deep dark hole
    and the only person who could help them
    was someone who had also once
    into that deep dark hole.

    I sat in a basement of fluorescent lights
    listening to people tell their stories,
    32 days
    (lots of clapping)
    24 years
    (more cheering)
    (peaceful nods)
    7 years
    (and still counting)
    2 weeks
    4 months
    (you go girl)

    There are basements like this all over the city, my friend tells me. He says at any time, any hour, you can find a place like this. A place where your pain can be shared, your story listened to with the unique compassion of a fellow sufferer.

    My life has never known abysses from which there is hardly any return, I have never experienced a hole from which I could not climb out. I have never known that there are stories being told in hidden basements all over the city. But I am not entirely surprised that our city shelters these tales told about the depths of despair, where recovery is counted in days.
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