Newcomer Tip 6: Getting Connected
This is a blog series that will be focusing on a tip every few days for newcomers. These tips are not a replacement for going to meetings and working the 12 steps. They are to be used in addition to meetings and steps. The first few months of sobriety are hard. These are some ways to help get you through it.
The last blog was about getting Higher Powered, how to connect with your higher power. Today we will discuss the benefits of being involved in the recovery community.
Join a *support group – whether you join a Christian based group, like Celebrate Recovery or 12 step groups like AA or NA, it’s essential to get a social support network. A recovery network can provide wonderful value, help and wisdom to your recovery efforts. On the Resource Page there is a list of women’s meetings and links to different groups in the Washtenaw County area.
We’re All Newcomers Once
Addiction is a lonely disease. It isolated us and even when we were around other people, we felt disconnected to them. After a while it seemed foreign to be socially connected, but you must try!
Keep in mind that the same mind that is trying to keep you sober, is the same mind that is trying to get you drunk and high. Talking with other alcoholics and addicts about your thoughts and opening up might be the one thing that gets you through the day. There is so much wisdom from people who have been sober three months, three years, or thirty years, because at one point in time they were newcomers too. They know exactly how you feel!
How I Got Connected
When I was newly sober being around other people and connecting was so uncomfortable to me that my sponsor had me take a service position as the door greeter at my 12 step meeting. It was a three month position and I did it with another girl. I would arrive a half hour before the meeting started and say, “Welcome to Pathfinders!” and put out my hand. Sometimes people would greet me with a hug. The whole process made my skin crawl but I put on my fake smile and got through the first few weeks.
Did I quit? No! I was a stubborn drunk and I was going to put in my “time” as the greeter (it felt like doing time). Do you know what happened after a month? That fake smile turned in to real smile. I started getting to know my group members. I started becoming comfortable talking to them. Touching people didn’t make make skin crawl anymore.
You Won’t Die From Discomfort
It turns out my sponsor was pretty wise. She had me doing the very thing that made me feel uncomfortable so that I would walk through that discomfort and get to the other side. My journey of getting connected to a fellowship of recovering people started with me putting out my hand even when I didn’t want to.
You will have to do a lot of things in recovery that will make you feel uncomfortable. There is no recovery without discomfort. I promise you this, you won’t die from being uncomfortable. In fact, it might save your life.
Another Resource to Strengthen Your Recovery
I enhanced my recovery by becoming a part of the Ann Arbor Women’s group. The first event I attended was the Women’s Recovery Retreat, and then I went to a lake picnic. Since then I have gone to around 30 events, I attended my fourth retreat this summer and I have been a helper, leader and coordinator at a multitude of events. Becoming a part of A2WG has been a life change experience for me. Maybe it will be for you too. Check out the upcoming events and retreats section of the website. Follow this blog (you can sign up right on this page), get on the email list to receive recovery event emails. It’s just another way to connect to other people and strengthen your recovery.
In the next blog we’ll be talking about becoming disciplined in sobriety and how it can help you stay sober and sane.
Do you have any experiences attending meetings or A2WG events? Has being part of a support group helped you? Share in the comments section. Sharing is caring. 🙂
Peace, Love & Sobriety,
*A2WG is not affiliated with any other support group or organization.