Once upon a time I was thrown into sobriety. It was either that or die and so far, after a bunch of 24 hours, I am still alive. I turned up – after a stint in residential treatment – in a room full full of people claiming to be clean and sober who all looked impossibly pleased with life. To me, who was feeling very disgruntled and annoyed with existence itself, this had to be a lie.
There must have been people just as pissed off as me but I don’t remember noticing them, just the smilers. The huggers. The ones who wanted me to call them and to stay after for coffee. Oh hell no! I sat away from “them” on a bench under the windows. I did listen. I heard my story and it came from unlikely places. There were commonalities in the experiences of white men born in the ’50’s. Young people who got sober quickly – reading the signs far sooner than some of us. I heard my story shared by single mothers and women in Prison – all walks of life.
Gradually listening each day there was no longer a “them”, it became “us”. The structure each day of reading literature began to give me a strong foundation to build skills I needed to learn to live a sober life – with the help of these confident, happy people who already had these skills. I stopped being disgruntled – and became balanced and pleased with my life.
Unfortunately change happens, and I don’t like it at all! When I moved there was no replicating the group where I got sober. That strong foundation is something I got take with me and people I met in early recovery there in that room have remained an integral part of my network today.
Last week I traveled back to that group to visit and it was like coming home. Slotting into a familiar routine, seeing much loved faces, being welcomed back, getting embraced by my first sponsor and being able to sing her praises to someone new and just feeling comfortable is priceless. People say you can’t go home again but I disagree. I did and it was wonderful!