After nearly a decade of trying to give up booze quietly, I met a wise woman in adolescent recovery and she shared with me her secret. Long-term success for recovery is hyper-dependent on a community. Until very recently, mostly, that “community” was found solely in the basement church meetings of AA. I love and appreciate AA, a community which began nearly 90 years ago. It has been a lifeline to millions of people. But it alone was not doing it for me. I need something a little different. It is hard for me to relate sometimes because I’m catching myself before my elevator takes me down.
Fortunately, there is an emerging body of recovery tools and communities (physical and online) where one can create and share their healing experience. It’s working for me, finally, after years of trying to get this right. My tools include AA and Al-Anon, since I’m the daughter of an alcoholic. But for my true recovery, I’ve found community in the gardens of online programs, schools, blogs, and meet-ups. Like the slogan “90 meetings in 90 days”, it requires vigilance to show up daily to these places and take part. It requires considering drinking wine (for me) in a new way, focusing on the physical price for pleasure. Focusing on the myriad of ways drinking wine affects all areas of my life — from numbing out, not being present, fighting off constant fatigue, daily obsessions about when wine o’clock begins, and just the inexcusable lack of authenticity. Wolfie (that inner voice that wants to keep me imbibing in booze) is a soul stealer. I’m so grateful I’ve finally found a tribe.
On Day 65, I’ve lost interest in drinking. My brain is healing — didn’t even know how many deficits I had! I’m having lively, interesting discussions. I’m not focused on how much wine is left in the bottle or my glass. I’m not declining invitations because they interfere with my need to drink. I’m calm. My lens is shifting — things that once bothered me before seem minute. My compassion and love for others are growing. I’m building a community of like-minded women who I interact with daily online, via text, on the phone and in-person. This community shares stories, worries, triumphs, shortcomings. It’s a far cry from the picture perfect connections we make on Facebook. It’s real and loving and honest and the perfect antidote to drinking.
Recovery = Community. There are many many outstanding places to connect and commune and recover. Here are just a few that have led my way in 2017. It’s been the best decision of my life.