William, West Palm Beach, Florida
I live in West Palm Beach. I’m quiet, suburban, sober, and have been HIV-positive for about twenty-five years. I work for an architect and live alone, quite happily, I might add. Most of my free time is spent helping others in Alcoholics Anonymous. Life is rich but not terribly complicated. I came to West Palm Beach after spending about thirteen years in New York City. I was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and raised here in North Palm Beach. I went to college in Florida and then Columbia University for graduate study. I was out by the time I arrived in New York. I believe I became HIV-positive within the first two years of being there. Like many others, I became depressed over the years from seeing so many friends and lovers die. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to cope with anything except booze. Life became increasingly difficult, as my self-esteem slipped away. Totally defeated, I moved back to Florida in 1995 and got sober a couple months later. It turned out to be a good move. Through going to meetings I have met the large and varied friends that I have today. My family is all here. Life is low-key, and while I was away West Palm Beach grew into a lovely town. Today, I don’t modify my behavior to meet someone else’s expectations. This positive attitude always keeps me in good stead—I’m grateful for the life I live.