They call it the largest Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the world — thousands of recovering addicts who journey to Akron each year for Founders Day: The anniversary of the beginning of the group that has helped millions battle the beast.

A heavy rain that sent those in the stadium at the University of Akron scrambling for cover just before the beginning on Saturday night’s gathering didn’t slow down the event which featured recovering alcoholics whose battle over booze ranged from one day to 61 years.

There’s a common bond among those who seek help through AA and that bond draws people together from all walks of life. Businessmen exchange hugs with bikers and those who arrive in Akron as strangers leave with new friends.

I know. I’m an alcoholic and — with the help of AA — I’ve kept the beast at bay for 17 years and five days as I write this. But it’s still an ongoing battle that must be fought one day at a time.

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