Stories of Recovery

Kim Taylor

When I first walked through the doors of the Alano Club of Santa Barbara I was a hopeless disaster suffering my “Rock Bottom” due to my addictions. I was staying at the Rescue Mission and they put us out at 6 am every morning so I would walk to the Alano club which provided me a warm place to go, get a cup of coffee and hit a 6:45am AA meeting where I received a message of hope. I kept going back every morning, I got a sponsor, started working the steps and began putting the pieces of my life back together one day at a time.

Everyone I met at the Club gave me so much love and support when I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I was full of fear and guilt and felt like a total failure, I was at the jumping off point the Big Book talks about. It was through the connections I made there, that I was given a place to live and the next thing I knew I had a job, got a car and was working toward getting my baby out of foster care.

My sobriety date is June 21st 2012 and it all started one morning when I walked into the Alano Club and my transformation began. Today I have an amazing life. My son and I have been inseparable for 3 years now, I have a great job and I am truly happy, joyous and free. I am a now a contributing member of the Alano Club and I enjoy all of the Holiday fundraisers and BBQ’s. I will continue to work my program, stay sober and practice my 12th step with a strong desire to be of service and give back that which was freely given to me. I could not be more grateful.

Paula Michal

The Alano Club of Santa Barbara holds a very special and personal place in my heart for many reasons.  I first came to the Alano Club in the 1980s when I found myself desperate to learn a new way of living.  I attended recovery meetings at the Club and those meetings saved my life.

Ten years later, my father was the guest speaker from Van Nuys at the Sunday Night Speaker Meeting.  My two sisters and I gave him his 35 year cake that night and we heard his story for the first time.

Most significantly though, 3 years ago I brought my combat Veteran son to meetings at the Club in an effort to help him with his self-medicating for P.T.S.D. suffered as a result of serving in Iraq.  We weren’t able to save my son, but my hope is that we will be able to expand our Club meetings to serve the Veterans in our community who so desperately deserve our help.

My service on the Alano Club Board is driven by my passion to serve the Recovery Community.  I am humbled daily as I seek to do all that is within my talents and abilities to serve our membership, those who hold meetings here and anyone who walks through our doors seeking assistance.

My sincere desire is to see the Club stay open into perpetuity; so that anyone who reaches out for help will be greeted by a smile, a warm handshake and a feeling of welcome.  I love watching people change their lives in order to become the special, beautiful and amazing individuals they are meant to be.  This is by far the greatest gift the Alano Club of Santa Barbara has to offer.


Armando Rivera

“I am honored and grateful to have been asked to share what the club has done for my family and me. From the beginning of my recovery, the club has always been part of my journey to sobriety.

Thankfully, the club was founded in 1963, and in 1964, I attended my first meetingand also became a member. I relapsed twice in the next five years, the club was there in 1969 when I walked through the door and began my new, happy, joyous, and free life.

It was the AA meetings, functions, dances, dinners we put together, and being a bingo caller that kept me busy. Most of the relationships and fellowships were created around the pool table and hanging out together after meetings that
made me realize what a sober life was all about. Thanks to my first sponsor, the manager of the club, who made it possible to call him at almost any time I needed help.

I have been a board member 6-7 times also during the transition from the old club to where it is to today. I was one of the persons that created the lease option contract from Mr. Gene. We got it painted, cleaned, and ready to go.

Years later, we executed a lease with option to buy and now it is all ours. My goal is to pay off and burn the mortgage so it will be here for all of us and for future alcoholics and addicts to achieve sobriety.
May God bless us all and with his help and our efforts (as a whole) the Alano Club will live forever. Remember not the Alamo but the Alano Club.”

Steve E.

“The Alano Club is a place that I started coming to in 1983, on a court card. I did over 1,000 meetings there in one year, every morning, noon, and evening! I hated AA and the Club. That’s because I was not a part of and did not want to be a part of. That was my disease talking to me.

When I got sober in 2003, I met my sponsor at the Club and started doing the program and found the Club to be a very safe place to go and to meet others just like me. Our program states that we are like people who normally wouldn’t mix. That is so true at the Club also. I fell in love with the Club after I was invited to join their Board of Directors in 2007! I saw then and still feel very strongly that this Club must stay open! This is a place where healing takes place. It allows the newcomer to learn about fellowship and the program, and gives people a safe place to be. I know for a fact that many families are still together, many people still maintain their sobriety, and that Santa Barbara is a safer place because of the Alano Club.

If I ever need to remember “what it’s like out there” all I need to do is come to the Club and look for the newcomer who is coming in off the street of alcoholism. That helps keep me in my seat and staying sober!!!!!”