2020 was a heck of a year, wasn’t it? My favorite commercials were the ones where 2020 is a woman who meets Satan on Match.com. So apropos!! But guess what? If you’re reading this, you made it through it. For some of you, your recovery program is stronger than ever, but for others, you may feel as if you’ve gotten lost somewhere or as if you’re not as connected to your recovery as you were before all this. Don’t worry, this is completely understandable and totally normal. What we went through with this pandemic was unprecedented! We people in recovery had to adapt. We can be grateful we learned that we can stay connected and continue building a solid program of recovery by whatever means necessary. 2020 taught us to keep putting one foot in front of the other as a community.
I really missed all those warm hugs I used to get from my sober friends. I missed the intimacy of small, in-person, group meetings and the fellowship of large group meetings. I remind myself, though, the important thing is I stayed sober. My takeaway from 2020 is: if I want to continue to stay sober, I have to make sure my program is working for me, today, on today’s terms.
In my first 30 days of sobriety, women supported me by picking me up from rehab and taking me to meetings. At one of these meetings, I recall being rather proud of myself for sharing my thoughts with the table. During my share, I expressed how my 8 year old and I were doing pretty well. I would be done with rehab soon and the plan was for us to live in a transitional home together while I figured out our next steps. The meeting ended. The lady sitting next to me stood up and said, “Kids don’t live in halfway houses!”
Imagine someone throwing a bucket of cold water on you while you’re sleeping peacefully. I can still remember feeling the shock from her statement. The lady happened to be the sponsor of the woman that brought me to the meeting. She tried to explain that her sponsor is very outspoken but is an amazing person and sponsor. I already had a sponsor but something clicked. I called the lady and asked her to sponsor me as soon as I got back to the rehab facility, even before I took off my coat. She said “yes” and, I’m proud to say, she has been my sponsor and friend since.
I’m sitting in the pick-up line at my son’s elementary school four years ago. I arrived really early so I had some time to do some sponsor suggested reading. I had gotten through a couple chapters when a light came on in my head. The realization was as clear and as startling as if someone covered my head with a big bell and rang it, cartoon style. I immediately called my mom and brother, and proclaimed, “We’re codependent!”
Still early in my recovery from alcoholism at that point, I obviously didn’t take any time to process this insight, nor did I resist taking my family’s inventory–two no-no’s in my recovery program. My first responses to the realization were not perfect, and may be laughable now, but my acceptance of this relationship debilitating aspect of my personality was definitely progress and it began to change my life for the better. Far better.
I Am Responsible: The Top 5 Reasons to Stay Involved In the Recovery Community
If you have been in the recovery community for more then a year, consider yourself a recovered alcohol or addict, have taken the 12 steps, helped newcomers and attended a gazillion 12 step meetings, WHY should you stay involved?
Isn’t It Someone Else’s Turn?
When I did all of those things above, my life got good. Really good! I got married in recovery, had a baby, got my white picket fence dream house, did volunteer work for my community and my church, had money and new cars, I was respected and became a contributing member of society. Why did I even NEED to continue helping drunks and addicts. Wasn’t it someone else’s turn? Hadn’t I done enough…? Occasionally those thoughts cross my mind, but luckily it doesn’t happen often, and thankfully I don’t listen to them and this is why: