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 Progress Not Perfection



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Post greetings and messages –congratulate a member on an anniversary, thank your sponsor or another member, send a holiday greeting, or ???

Members’ writing

For YOUR  poetry, essays, or other forms of sharing – please contact us to contribute!


This web site is for YOU – District 5 members and members from around the world – and we created this page as one way for YOU to share your experience, strength and hope with other visitors to this site! The bulletin board and area for sharing can be another way to facilitate a “loving interchange of help among members.”  You can share your writings, ideas, thoughts, wisdom, humor, poetry, questions, sayings, gratitude, topics for meetings, “learning experiences” you’ve had, congratulations to others, art – anything Al-Anon related that you would like to share!  To share on this page, please send us an e-mail at! 


Please note that in keeping with Al-Anon’s Traditions and principles – we cannot post messages or information about groups, programs or enterprises other than Al-Anon, no matter how worthwhile they may be. We cannot post quotes or material from literature that is not Al-Anon “conference approved” literature. We cannot post full names or personal contact information for you or for others, so please include either your first name, first name/last initial, or initials; or you may post as “anonymous” or with a non-identifying nickname (e.g. “Serenity Sam.”)  


You are welcome to share your personal experiences and feelings related to messages posted by others. Please consider that in Al-Anon, we share our experience, strength and hope to help others and ourselves; we do not provide direct advice to others, or tell another person what to think, what to do or how to act. Please feel free to share things that you have learned at meetings or from others – but please remember that personal information and stories that you hear from others in meetings must not be repeated outside of the meeting.



Also check out our pages for sharings on the Al-Anon slogans, the Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions and our Gratitude List page.

To share on this bulletin board, please send an email to:



ACCEPTANCE is often the answer to finding serenity. Would you please consider sharing YOUR experience with “acceptance” – what does it mean to you?... what Al-Anon tools help you to accept things you cannot change?

E-mail to send YOUR share about “acceptance!”

Sharings on “Acceptance”

































Accept the things I cannot change - the Serenity Prayer has been very instrumental in helping me realize that I have no control over anything but my own attitude. I have no control over what others say or think or do. When people that I am involved with - (whether I want to be involved with them or not!) -  don’t do as I would like or what I may think is best, I can get very frustrated and my irritation can ruin not only my own serenity, but the entire atmosphere. If I can take a moment to THINK about how my reactions might affect a situation then I am working this program of recovery. No matter how strongly I WANT certain situations to be different, my pouting and ranting aren’t going to change things. I have to work on ME and when I truly practice acceptance, sanity - my inner peace - is at a good level! My sponsor constantly reminds me that Acceptance is the key. I do believe she’s spot-on! ~ Anonymous  01/01/15


It was about four years ago that I made an appointment to have my eyes checked.  Perhaps I might need a pair of reading glasses, I assumed.  My struggle to focus resulted in many headaches, making reading impossible. After the customary eye exam I was literally shocked to discover the extent of impairment. My prescription glasses brought my whole world into focus. I now admit to myself that I avoided taking care of my eyes simply because I loathed glasses. That was childish on my part. Having visual clarity now feels like a gift that I just now decided to unwrap. While my glasses compensate for my poor vision, Al-Anon works much the same way by enabling to accept the reality of my life with grace. For most of my life I viewed the world through a blurred reality. Distorted images filled the landscape of my interior world. My attempt to remedy this was to occasionally put on a pair of rosy colored spectacles. However, I discovered that another lends was available. to me. This lens provided the strength that I did not know was available to accept my world that was very shaped by alcoholism. A sponsor, Al-Anon literature and meetings continues to “increase my vision”. And of course I still remind myself to wear my glasses.~ Lisa 12/28/13


Acceptance is sometimes easy for me and sometimes very difficult. When I don't accept a situation how it is or a person how they are, I end up trying to control or change them, which never goes very well. When I do accept people, places and situations how they are, I can enjoy everything more fully and stay in the moment. Acceptance doesn't mean that I have to like everything or everyone, just that I am remembering "it is what it is." This has especially helped me with family situations. When I remember to accept my family exactly how they are, whether or not they ever change, I am able to have a great time with them. ~Anonymous  12/22/12


I came to Al-Anon hoping to change my daughter’s behaviors.  I wanted to find out how to get her clean and sober, how to help her want to be the person she could be if drugs and alcohol were not in the way. I did everything I could do to help her stay clean after treatment, but she relapsed. She has been in and out of recovery. She is currently in relapse, but she knows how and where to get help and I have hope that she will keep making the effort for recovery. I also know today that nothing I can do will “make” her stay clean and sober. I can encourage her, believe in her, and love her, but pushing her, believing her when she lies and tells me what I want to believe, and trying to make her do what I think will help her, will not help. Accepting my daughter’s addiction and that I can not make her condition change is painful and difficult but it’s reality, and it is necessary for me to accept this reality for my own sanity and to be able to help my daughter. I am afraid for her, but I also have hope. Acceptance of the reality of my daughter’s addiction and its effects on her allows me to be afraid without acting on my fears, which only makes things worse for all of us. ~ Marty 09/05/08



June 2015 Topic:  Forum Article “Why Do I Still Go To Those Meetings?”


                                  I am struck by many similar feelings like the author of the article.  I came to the rooms a real mess, but found support, love, no judging and a much better focus for my life, so I kept attending.  Since I began ‘getting busy and getting better’ in Al-Anon Service, there have been tremendous rewards with even more support of like-minded folks!  Much like my numerous family members affected by alcoholism, I struggle with doing the next right thing consistently.  I falter and slide back into old behaviors, when I want to grow and flourish in all aspects of my life.  Can I be a support to others, or give away a smile, kind word or listening ear to another member dealing with the harsh realities of problem drinking in their lives?  The Al-Anon program and the Declaration have saved my life, so why wouldn’t I continue to carry the recovery message by going to ‘those meetings’?  Many Al-Anon tools and gifts come to my mind while writing this, and I wouldn’t have been aware of them, or have the ability to be GRATEFUL, without the program.  As the share states: “Someone was there for me. Can I do less?” ~ Anonymous 6/15/15





SPONSORSHIP! Share YOUR experience with sponsoring others, being sponsored, what sponsorship means to you, tips for sponsoring or being sponsored, or other ideas - please e-mail to send YOUR share about “sponsorship!”

Sharings on “Sponsorship”


Finding a sponsor was something I didn't want to do right away, but was encouraged to do so a few times, when I first started coming to meetings. This was definitely a great suggestion and I'm glad I took it! I am very lucky to have a wonderful sponsor who "has what I want," and is available if I call as well as to meet up to talk about steps. Several times I've been upset about situations beyond my control and her snips of wisdom from the program have helped me get back on track. ~ Anonymous 2/9/13                   


The truth of the phrase: "You must give it away, to keep it" is very accurate when it comes to Sponsorship in Al-Anon from my personal experience. How can you gauge your rewards, while offering Experience, Strength and Hope to a newby in the Program? One very important piece of “giving it away” is taking TIME to answer questions, take a phone call and be a sounding board to those struggling to know if they indeed belong in Al-Anon. It has given me more exposure to study of Steps, Traditions, Concepts, Slogans and basics of Al-Anon. Also, introducing a relative newcomer to other literature than perhaps a Daily Reader, and studying it together benefits both of us!! Please consider stepping out of that Comfort Zone to support new members of the Al-Anon Fellowship. I've definitely received even more than I've given away, plus making another member feel even more welcome, while finding a better way of life. ~ M.S. 7/21/08



PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION- please e-mail to send YOUR share about “progress not perfection!” 

Sharings on “Progress Not Perfection”


Progress, Not Perfection 

As a person who has constantly strived to be “perfect” since being a little girl, progress and not perfection has been a type of awakening for me. Through sharing at meetings, beginning to work through the steps, and in personal relationships, realizing that sharing imperfections does not mean abandonment has provided a huge sense of relief in my life.  Remembering progress and not perfection allows me to have human flaws.  I can remember now that old behaviors are hard to change, but I can change them if I work at it.  I can remember that even if I take “two steps forward, one step back,” every minute is the beginning of a new 24 hours and I have another chance to act in a healthier way and treat others and myself the best I can.  I can remember that who I am now is probably not who I will be in a year or even a week.  I can celebrate small changes and accomplishments and know that if I keep coming back, more positive changes will come.  I can accept myself. ~ Angela B., Ann Arbor, MI 6/14/12


Progress not perfection reminds me to try to be the best me I can be, rather than to try to attain unrealistic goals or strive to fulfill an image of what I imagine others may expect of me or of what I imagine “perfect” would be like. “Progress” reminds me to take action, not to just wait and hope for situations to improve but to actively work to make change happen. Not perfection reminds me to practice acceptance, have realistic expectations, and to keep trying to do the right things regardless of whether the outcome is exactly what I wanted it to be. By practicing the Steps and principles of the Al-Anon program, I make progress. Even if the progress is not always consistent and never will be perfect, and even though there will always be things I will never be able to change no matter how much I may want to change them, I can make progress towards changing the things I can change and towards being a better me.  ~ Judy A., Plymouth, MI  5/15/08



CHANGING RESENTMENTS - Resentments can be tough to live with AND tough to change – but the tools of Al-Anon can help! How have you dealt with resentments - what has worked for you, what challenges have you found, what difficulties are you working on? Please e-mail to send YOUR share about “changing resentments!”

Sharings on “Changing Resentments”


When I work toward changing resentments toward others, I have been suggested to pray for them, which has helped me. I also try to remember the phrase "bless them, change me," as well as the fact that "I'm not that different from them." Making a list of resentments I'm holding and why has also helped me see if there is a pattern and what I need to work on in myself. ~ Anonymous  02/09/13


I came to Al-Anon deeply resenting that I had been told to come to Al-Anon!  However, my son was in Dawn Farm treatment program and I felt I had to cooperate with everything that was recommended in order to be able to help my son recover from drug addiction. All I wanted was for my son to get clean and sober. It took me weeks to be able to relax enough to really listen to what was said at meetings. Eventually I started hearing that “detachment” was not abandonment or lack of caring, that “letting go” was not giving up or refusing to provide appropriate help at the right times, and that others in Al-Anon deeply cared about their loved ones but had learned the differences between what they could and could not change about the circumstances that led them to Al-Anon. Detachment with love has helped me to accept the situation as it is (my son is in relapse) without resentment, and to keep the doors open while setting limits and not enabling his disease. I am grateful to Al-Anon for helping me to love my son while hating what his disease does to him, and for helping me to have hope for our future instead of despair over the present. ~ M.W.; Ypsilanti, MI  02/21/08


Here is how Al-Anon helps me to change resentments:

- Working the Steps helps me identify the resentments I have and their causes. It also helps me to identify how I respond to things that cause me to have resentments, and what my role is.

- I may not be able to change the things I resent, but I can change my responses, and the Steps, slogans and other program tools help me to respond with acceptance, love and forgiveness to things I otherwise might feel resentful towards.

- Al-Anon helps me to see that not everything is about me, and to not take things personally. Resentments don’t last as long or seem as bad when I realize things are not personal. ~ Amanda  01/22/08


Changing Resentments:  I sometimes resent people who have what I want.  I have problems with not wanting to let go of material possessions.  I save way too much because I might need it later or it is too good to let go of. Three of my family members have no problem tossing out or passing on. I am working on letting a family member help me sort thru and pass on material items I can't let go of.  Only because of Al-Anon am I even letting this person help me.  ~ Mary  01/22/08



TRUST - please e-mail to send YOUR share about “trust!” 

TRUST the process! I was so confused when I came into Al-Anon. WHY does the alcoholic drink? WHAT can I do to stop the madness? Work the Steps? HOW do I work these Steps? Listening to the wisdom of those who came before me, reading the literature, and learning from my sponsors (then and now) continues to help me trust that this program always has the answers. Members who have less time than I have in Al-Anon also share things that help me. Life has its ups and downs, whether I’m with a practicing or a recovering alcoholic. I still laugh at myself for thinking that I didn’t have to work the Steps in the order that they are written!  Trusting the process makes it easier to work toward recovery. And having a Higher Power is just one of the many gifts this miraculous program has given me.  ~ Anonymous  03/23/15


I grew up in a home with little to no trust. The mother that was supposed to love, protect and guide, didn’t. Well that is how it seemed when she was never there emotionally, supportively, or to protect us. She was too worried about her own state of affairs. She couldn’t cope with a husband who left her for another woman. Not only left her, but left her with 3 little girls to take care of. Three little girls that were a burden, so she took this pill to feel better, this pill because she was having a break down, and this pill because now she can settle down and go to sleep. After all, our father - whom she wouldn’t let see us when she could get away with it, said things about him to us that were not true - he had created this mess, after all. I won’t get into the boyfriends that touched us improperly, and she said we were lying and that we just didn’t want her to be happy.  I was sent to live with my aunt (my mother’s sister) - the woman who is my mom. She took me in and I am forever grateful to my aunt and uncle for loving me. I could always trust that I would be loved, protected, and guided by these two wonderful people and my adult male cousins. They took me in and raised me as their own.  I married a very wonderful man, who drank a few beers now and again. Over the years his drinking increased. He had succumbed to the disease of alcoholism. He would make very well-meant promises to do something, make something, go out to dinner, or go out on a date….only to have the majority of those very well-meant promises to not ever come to fruition. Now I said ‘very well-meant promises” and he really did mean it at the time. I am the one who allowed him to not keep those promises. I would just keep the hurt in, like I always did to keep the peace. I thought that if he loved me enough, he wouldn’t break the promise this time. I have found in Al-Anon that I can trust. I can trust my higher power to watch over me and guide me. Just like my aunt and uncle did when my higher power gave them to me. I can see now that my higher power was with me back then. I can trust that my husband may or may not remember the promise he made, but I can trust myself to not set such expectations on another person. I know my husband loves me; he may not show it in the ways I thought he should, but he shows me in his way. I can trust that my higher power will continue to teach me how to really trust in others again.  ~ Kim G. 03/22/15


I have to trust that others will do the right thing for them. I can’t control them as I have learned in Step 1. I can only hope they will do the best for themselves.  I also have to trust that I do what is right for me. Trusting other people can be hard because of that “control” issue again. Letting Go and Letting God is good for me to remember. ~ Cheryl B.  03/18/15


Trust is something that has to be built over time. It does not come right away. We have to love and trust ourselves before we are able to trust others. Trust is an emotion you have to be comfortable with before using it. With some, trust has to be linked with your own higher power for it to work. ~ Christine M.  03/17/15


This isn’t as simple as it appears, really. Trust is a really huge ACTION, but as I’ve found in my working at it, is SO worth doing! End result for me has lead me to a more serene life. Whether I start by trusting my Higher Power, or myself, doing so is worth every effort! ~ Anonymous  03/16/15



SERENITY - please e-mail to send YOUR share about “serenity!” 

Sharings on “Serenity”

One especially restless night as I lay praying for sleep to come when my ‘wasband’ did not show up yet again, I began ‘analyzing’ the Serenity Prayer as I repeated it over and over and over. Not that it isn’t perfect just the way it is, but I came up with this version….. my version!.….. “Higher Power - grant me inner peace when I accept the fact that I cannot change anyone or anything, take away my fear of letting go, and when I get in Your way - let me know!”  ~ Diane  04/17/15


I feel like I'm constantly praying and striving for serenity. When I think of serenity for myself, I think of staying in the moment, enjoying the day, and accepting myself and the world exactly as they are. It might not include an overjoyed feeling of happiness, but a feeling of inner peace. Lately I have felt this more and more often, and have been much more able to stay in the day and accept my flaws. When I do these things, I can feel the serenity around me. ~ Angela 11/06/12


Serenity for me is about feeling like I can deal with what happens. I may not be able to make things go my way, but I will be able to make good decisions and cope with the outcomes. Al-Anon helps me to have the tools to do this. Before, I would expend all my energy trying to make things come out “right.” Today I know that all I can do is do my best to do the right things; I have no control over how those things will turn out. To me, serenity is truly about accepting the things I can not change while having the courage to do the right thing even when it’s hard to do. Sometimes this means taking action and other times it means letting go. I make the best decision I can and feel OK with that. To me that’s serenity. Thanks for letting me share. ~ Julie K. 11/01/07



“BAREFOOT” TOPIC board – Please e-mail to share about  YOUR topic!

Sharings– this board is for YOUR topics!



other messages from Al-Anon members to/for other members! (Note: you can post a message or a card and we can help

make a card on request.) – Please e-mail to have a card or greeting posted!



                  GREETINGS and MESSAGES

Date posted

Greetings – Messages will be posted below!





THANK YOU to long-time Alateen Sponsors, Kim and Mary, for being such awesome and great gals, showing up for a crowd, or just one teen! You both deserve BIG KUDOS and THANKS! Good luck in all future endeavors!


I wanted to say thank you to the program for everything! I have recently come out of a very rough patch in my life, and the women of the program have been extremely supportive to me! Especially to the ones that I call and talk to on a regular basis, thank you so much! Your support and encouragement mean more than you could possibly know! Thank you so much for your knowledge of the program and passing on what you have learned! I could not have gotten through this without everyone's support and I am extremely grateful!!!~ Anonymous


Happy New Year from District 5 Al-Anon – please click here for a card from us to you!




Archived 2009 messages and cards – please click here to read them!

Archived 2008 messages and cards – please click here to read them!

Archived Winter 2007 Holiday cards from District 5 and its members - please click here to read them!




This area is for YOU to share your original work – poetry, essays, photos, art or other forms of expression. Serious or humorous, your

expressions are welcome - please e-mail us at to contribute!



                  MEMBER’S WRITINGS

Date posted



I grew up in a family with generations of addiction and emotional insanity. As a child, I remember trying to function at school, but mostly being preoccupied with what was going on at home. My family tried many geographical moves. This, in addition to my parents being emotionally unavailable, meant that I was very lonely. As the oldest child, I took on the role of reading the emotions in the parents and trying to protect my siblings. I left my own interests aside so much, in order to try to manage abusive reactions, that when people at school would ask me what my favorite possessions, movies, colors, or music were, I never had any answers. I reasoned that I was just more of an emotions person than a materials person.

Several relationships with sexually, emotionally, verbally abusive addicts landed me in Al-Anon. I finally found fellowship and language to explain the inherited reactions, emotional baggage, self-destructive solutions to life on life's terms that I had learned. For a long time, I had been taking care of other people like I had tried to protect my siblings and take care of my parents as a child. I got a sponsor right away and called every week, and attended meetings every week. Meetings that read conference-approved literature and follow traditions and do not have crosstalk are the most helpful. It is where I grow the fastest.

Through program I have learned that there is no way I could have behaved any differently before program. I learned to believe this lie growing up: that self-destruction is the way to solve problems. All the suicidal, addictive or unstable tendencies are different methods of trying to solve problems this way. All my obsession with other people's problems and trying to fix my alcoholic fiancé, and controlling everyone at work is a way to sacrifice myself and throw effort, energy, and arrogance into every situation to force a solution. Al-Anon offers a different way to live, that I did not see before. I also learned growing up how to focus on someone else so that I wouldn't feel my own pain. Recently I realized that I still do this, despite attending Al-Anon. It's why I need to keep coming back! In my relationship with my alcoholic, it is so easy for me to always be thinking about his process, his recovery, his needs, his feelings. For example, when he asks me where I want to go to dinner, I say three options and let him pick. When he asks me what I want to do on Saturday and I give an answer, if his face looks like he doesn't want to do that then I backpedal and minimize my own wants, or feel guilty the whole time we are doing what I suggested. This is not OK, and I cannot blame the alcoholic for this. I am constantly refusing to see myself, have needs and feelings, have preferences and inclinations, have likes and dislikes. This also means that I am constantly refusing to accept my own pain, my own joy, my own Moment. I need Al-Anon to do this! Program has offered me a new way to live through positive action that can make my life more serene and fulfilling on the inside. Every week I learn a new tool. I learn to take care of myself and see myself, and my program friends encourage me and validate that this is a good thing, not a selfish thing. New behaviors and choices feel strange, uncomfortable, and scary, but every time I try them the results are so positive that I keep believing that program logic works, even though it contrasts so much with the family logic I grew up with and with the logic my alcoholic throws at me every day. I have learned to care for my body. I have learned to value sleep. I have learned to build and protect safe spaces. I have learned to leave. I have learned how to stay. I have learned to say No. I have learned to say Yes. I am starting now to learn what music I like or what colors I don't like, what my preferences are and how to verbalize them. I have learned to be responsible for my own happiness and wellbeing. I have built a life that does not fall apart if someone I love in my life falls apart. I have learned to love and detach, to separate from my family and love them from a safe distance. I have learned that my higher power can and will and wants to help me with everything from what I eat for lunch to how I spend my money. I have learned that I can love without loss of self, and that I can give anything over to my Higher Power to take care of that I cannot take care of myself. Most importantly, I have learned to choose myself over choosing people-pleasing situations or harmful interactions. I never have to sacrifice myself again, for any reason. There is always a choice, there is always a way out in program that preserves my safety, my dignity, my serenity. I have learned that Emotional Recovery is way way way way more advanced that mere Emotional Sobriety, and my life is rich and spiritually wealthy because I adhere to a healthy, steady program. ~ Anonymous


Hi, I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon and ACA.   I feel very lucky to be here! I grew up in an alcoholic household and really, an alcoholic family, on both sides.  I came to Al-Anon while trying to “improve” a relationship.  I had been meaning to try it (but avoiding it) for a couple of years after reading an Adult Children of Alcoholics book and finding out that pretty much the entire list of traits applied to me.  I resisted coming, though, (and looking at my family as a group, as well as looking at myself); until I thought that Al-Anon could help me improve this relationship.            After various events and about a year of coming to meetings, I was left with myself to look at.  I had gone to ACA meetings a couple of times as well, and always had the hardest time sharing at these meetings (and I had a hard time sharing at any meeting for several months). Both programs have helped me in so many ways.  I definitely seem to apply things very slowly, although things I hear and read have definitely sunk in.  For me, behaviors I have learned and traits I have are very engrained, so I have to use as many tools as possible to start working on unlearning some behaviors that are counterproductive to my life, and to decide how to handle character defects and whether they can be turned into an asset or if they just have to go completely.   I am still pretty much starting at this, but I am excited to keep coming and learning new ways of handling situations and to re-start the steps with a different perspective. I am very grateful to have the support of several program members, whether it is answering phone calls, emailing, texting, working on steps, or listening at meetings. I feel like I am very new at actually working the program, even though I have been listening and sharing for a while.  I am trying to really accept that I will need help with this for a long time (and probably forever, and that is okay!).  I have learned that there are many solutions or ways to handle things, and I can consider them before acting.  I have learned that recovery looks different for each person, and I can choose the way that seems to make the most sense to me, and can change it anytime.  (This has been helpful when deciding how to handle family situations; I still am involved with my family and would like to keep my relationships with them, at least so far.)  Even though I forget these things often, I can call someone or go to a meeting and be reminded. J  I am very grateful to the program for everything and it has made a huge difference in my life, in every area!  Thank you. ~ Anonymous



I’m Patty from Ann Arbor.  Maybe we've met.  Maybe not.  I go to a lot of Al-Anon meetings in Ann Arbor.  I've been attending since 2006. My New Year's resolution is to be happy.  That would involve knowing myself and what pleases me, and then doing it, no matter what anyone else feels like doing.  Putting the care of me before others is hard to do. 
My dad drank, my mom raged, I'm an adult child of an alcoholic, and codependent.  I married a man just like me and had two daughters who are adult children of an alcoholic.  Now I have granddaughters who are codependent.....What I have learned in the last 3 or so years is that I do not have control over anyone except myself.  I can control my actions, my thoughts, and, on a good day, my emotions.  It's sort of like meditation.  The urge, thought, emotion, impulse comes and I acknowledge it and let it go.  If I am around those that I love I can simply say what I'm feeling.  That usually does it.  The emotion seems to easily melt away when I can voice it as an observation and not get into the energy of all the drama. So now I practice being happy, positive and compassionate---for myself and others.  I let the squirrel that races around my head screaming at me to “Do something” go play in the trees.  I imagine what I would say or do for a friend or child who is feeling the pain I feel and find that I can nurture myself.  Sometimes I even do it! It is also hard for me when my beloved doesn't like me taking care of me.  Today I heard that I am "self centered."  I'm thinking that that is a good thing.  It's my 50th birthday today and I have come a long way to be able to be centered and grounded in myself.  Much Love, ~ Patty 


A letter to my alcoholic Father – by Donna C ....

I wrote this letter when I was 28 years old ... I am now 60 and I still read it and understand the burdens we as alcoholic children endure.  The pain never goes away even after the person dies.  The drink was so much a part of us and our childhood that it is still part of you now ... (please click here to continue reading Donna’s letter and sharing!)



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