Is Being Unique in Recovery a Good or Bad Thing?
Have you ever heard of the term “terminally unique”? Basically it refers to people who think they are so different that recovery won’t work for them. If it’s one thing I’ve learn through listening to almost forty 5th steps is that we are all the same. We all have the same petty resentments (different circumstances), same fears and the same insecurities. What’s the #1 fear that shows up in every 5th step? The fear of not being liked or being judged. EVERY 5th step! Even mine.
You Be the Judge
So thinking you are unique is most likely a bad point of view to have. It is simply not true, and it can stop you from doing the necessary steps to stay sober because, seriously, why try if you don’t think the program is going to work for you?
What about a recovery organization? If you read the statement at the top of the home page of the Ann Arbor Women’s Group website it says that A2WG is “unique in its mission.” Is being unique a good or bad thing? I’ll let you be the judge.
What Makes A2WG Unique?
Connecting Women in Recovery
Having a healthy, sober, support network in recovery is essential to long-term sobriety. You hear it at meetings all the time, but making a network of sober friends can be a challenge, especially if you are the more introverted type.
The main mission for A2WG is to bring women together in creative ways so that they can make those vital connections. They do events, workshops and retreats that are fun, informative and inspirational. The goal is for the ladies to have a group (A2WG) outside of their 12 step meetings where they can meet and bond with other sober women. It’s still the individuals responsibility to socialize and get phone numbers (we can’t do EVERYTHING) but that’s much easier to do at an A2WG event then grabbing a stranger after a meeting and asking for their number.
No Charge (or unlimited scholarships)
Trying to find an addiction treatment program in the United States that doesn’t charge is a task. Even though many treatment organizations like Dawn Farms or Home of New Vision give out ample scholarships and do their best to accommodate as many people as possible, they are limited. Thank God for 12 step recovery programs! They are always free.
A2WG events are also free. Sometimes there is a suggested donation or a minimal charge, but if they do charge they typically offer unlimited scholarships. A2WG has very little overhead so most of the grant money received goes right into the events. A2WG is run by volunteers but a few people get small amounts of money like the child care providers and some of the retreat speakers but most of the costs are the facilities we rent and the services.
On July 26, 2015 there is a canoeing/picnic event. We are going on a 1.5 hour canoe trip from Argo to Gallup park in Ann Arbor. Afterward A2WG has rented out a pavilion for a picnic lunch for 2.5 hours. There will be free food, games, a 12 step meeting and lots of fellowship, and fun! About once a year A2WG makes an event a “family” event where it’s not just women. Partners, children and dogs are welcome too! I am so there with my dog!
What is the cost to attend? $7 a person if you are going on the canoe trip and A2WG offers unlimited scholarships. If you don’t canoe and just go to the picnic, it’s totally free. Kids are free period. So, the bottom line with A2WG is if you have no money, it’s no problem. It’s rare for us to turn anyone away (see “The Exception” below).
Free Child Care
A few years back one of A2WG’s board members was a single mother and she was having a hard time getting to meetings due to her parental obligations. She made the comment to the A2WG board, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was an organization that provided free child care so mothers like me could attend their meetings.” BAM! A2WG told her to make it happen.
The Ann Arbor Women’s Group free child care program has been thriving now since December of 2010. It started out one night a week and only provided free child care to women, but the need for single fathers and family members of addicts was there too, so now the program provides child care to alcoholic/addict men, women and *Alanons. The program now services four meetings and is available two nights a week (Wednesday and Fridays). The kids are AWESOME! You have to check out the video on the A2WG child care page. So cute!!!
The only exception to the “free” rule is the Women’s Recovery Retreat, a three day retreat in Port Huron, MI. The retreat center charges A2WG quite a bit of money (it’s soooo worth it though), so they fundraise for scholarships. They give out as many scholarships as they can raise. That typically amounts to around 20 or so scholarships, approximately $3500.
Most of that money comes from the bakery fundraisers. It takes a lot of volunteers and a lot of bakers to raise the money needed for scholarships so if you want to get involved in this mission, fill out the form on the Get Involved page. A2WG gives $1000 from the grant money it receives to scholarships, the Alano Club gives a scholarship every year, and A2WG receives a few private donations from some kind folks in and out of recovery (maybe you’ll be a donor this year? ;)). The more money they raise, the more scholarships are given out.This is the only event where A2WG is limited.
BUT the local one-day retreats always have unlimited scholarships.
What is coming up for the summer of 2015? Lots of good stuff!!
- June 18th- Labyrinth/Nature Walk at Matthaei Botanical Gardens register
- July 26th- Canoeing/Picnic register
- August 7-9th- Women’s Recovery Retreat register
- September 11th- Comedy Show Fundraiser (info coming soon…)
The Serenity Book Club- Meets at Grand Traverse Pie Company on Zeeb Rd. in Ann Arbor (map) the last Wednesday of the month. No cost. No registration needed, just show up. Free.
To my knowledge there are no other organizations like the Ann Arbor Women’s Group in South East Michigan, maybe even all of Michigan, and possibly the whole United States! A2WG truly is “unique in its mission.” So, I’ll ask the question again, is being a unique recovery organization good or bad?
What upcoming A2WG events are you going to attend? Have you been to an A2WG event before? Used the free child care program? Share your experience.
Peace, Love & Sobriety,
*A2WG is not affiliated with Alanon