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Member Stories – Larry Z

I first attended Schizophrenics Anonymous in the summer of 1987. I found it to be a friendly group of individuals, with background similar to mine, who struggled with many of the same symptoms that I endured for years. I liked the non-threatening atmosphere and thought that it might be a nice place to make a friend or two. It was hard to speak when my turn came, but I felt that the understanding and compassion of the members would excuse the confused words that I nervously spoke. I returned the following Sunday and every Sunday since.

Looking back, I can see that I have received much more than I had hoped for. I have formed friendships that have added meaning to my life. I learned to accept my paranoia and have discovered that there is life and beauty beyond the rigid limits imposed by fear. The humanity of the members has helped me to survive the occasional trauma of social awkwardness on my part.

By beginning to accept myself with all my weaknesses, I have discovered inner strengths that have permitted me to grow as a person and contribute to society. I still can’t work, but have been able to volunteer two days a week at a community mental health clinic. I also have been entrusted to start and lead a chapter of Schizophrenics Anonymous there.

The main benefit I have received is the confidence that I will continue to grow and become a more complete person. I am a participant, struggling day-by-day towards a fuller existence. I am no longer a spectator, passively recoiling from symptoms, afraid and alone. I hope to be able to work full-time someday and to find a soul mate to spend the remainder of my life with, but I can optimistically accept my poverty and emptiness because I am actively working to improve myself. With Schizophrenics Anonymous I am rebuilding my life. I know that I will succeed at becoming the very best that I can be.