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May Wilkerson May Wilkerson

Podcast: Former “Teen Alcoholic” Talks About Leaving AA After 21 Years

Tina Dupuy became "AA famous" after getting sober at age 13. "This American Life" explores why she left the program, and what it's like to return to "normal" drinking after decades in recovery.

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Tina Dupuy Photo via

After a tumultuous pre-adolescence, Tina Dupuy got sober at the tender age of 13. She went on to become “famous” in Alcoholics Anonymous for telling her unique story at speaking events. But at 33 years-old, after 21 years in recovery, she began to question her identity as an alcoholic. The latest episode of This American Life, which is about major life changesincludes an interview with Dupuy.

“I would wonder what if. What if I drank?” says Dupuy. “Really, what would happen? But I mean, in the Alcoholics Anonymous book, it says if you don’t think you’re an alcoholic, go drink. And if you can drink normally, awesome.”

What’s it like to return to “normal” drinking after decades in recovery? Dupuy certainly isn’t the first to do such a thing, but her story is remarkable. You can listen to it here.