Trying to get sober alone is essentially an impossible task, or at least that is what I believe. There are people out there who have managed to put down drugs and alcohol without a fellowship of any kind, by simply mustering up all the grit they had and just quitting, but for most people, this is not likely to happen. One of the biggest struggles of addiction is the intense isolation and lack of connection to the human race. The introduction of a support network is critical to sobriety especially early recovery. We need to experience the hope that people who are already sober can bring to us, and we need the guide posts of experience that other’s have in order to know that we are headed the right way. Most of all we need others in order to have a healthy recovery because without meaningful relationships life is just empty. A huge factor as well as fellowship in early sobriety was the addition of a geographical change to Florida from Virginia. This brought me into a supportive environment and taught me critical skills in building my tribe. We need other people in order to recover.
That is really the point to this—yes, maybe you could get sober on your own, but why would you want to? You’d be missing out on so many amazing experiences that having a tribe in recovery can bring. You’d miss out on the fun that you can have with friends in recovery. The late nights of being ridiculous and sober and you’d miss out on sharing the struggles and triumphs of recovery with others. You’d miss out on having people who know all of you, inside and out, and you’d miss out on the experience of them still loving you, even though they know all of your secrets.
Having people who truly know me, and who still accept me despite my messiness, is one of the cornerstones of my recovery. It has been an integral part of my recovery and I’m not sure where I would be without my tribe. You see I had never really experienced authentic human experiences before.
Before I got sober, I felt like a black sheep always on the outside. My family was there for me and so were my children, but they didn’t really understand me. They didn’t understand why I drank the way I did, or why I felt the way I did, and so I mostly just felt like an outsider all of the time and I believed that there was something fundamentally wrong with me.
It wasn’t entirely their fault though because before I got sober I couldn’t really be honest with people. I could let them somewhat into my reality, but only a few steps in the dark recesses of my mind. I was afraid that if I truly exposed myself to others that I would be rejected outright and so I hide my true self away for years and years. But it was more than just hiding when I really examine this the reality is that I had no idea who I was and so I presented the person I thought I needed to for each situation. Changing as needed in order to fit in. This was exhausting to say the least.
Once I got sober I came to understand that I could only recover as myself. I couldn’t recover as the actor playing Rose, and I couldn’t recover as the person I thought you wanted me to be, but only by being honest would I be able to overcome the malady with which I suffered.
Becoming myself and allowing others to see the real me allowed me to create meaningful relationships, the likes of which I have never had before in my life, and this is because they were based on honesty and not deception.
The friends that I have in my life today know all of me. All I have to do is call them with a certain situation or problem and they already are aware of exactly how I am feeling and what thoughts are brewing in my mind. It’s like alcoholic ESP and on more than one occasion this has saved me from doing something stupid.
It is more than just having people who truly know you that makes having a tribe an integral part to a healthy recovery, but it is also the fact that we all crave community. It is a human instinct to seek out community and having people around you that of like mind and can relate to you is an important part of developing as a person. For years I felt like I didn’t fit in and because I felt like I had no community I just wallowed in self-pity and continued to drink and use drugs, because “no one understood”, but finally finding a community in which I fit in has made such a dramatic difference in my life.
This idea of needing a tribe, community, friends, or whatever is not my own but is actually built into the very Steps themselves. The 1st Step states We admitted, implying more than one person. It doesn’t say I admitted, by myself, alone in my room, and told no one. It says We, and this is because Bill Wilson and the first 100 were aware of the fact that in order to recover from this disease we need a we.We need people who can help to guide us and people that we can help to guide, and we need people who can help support us when we feel like we just can’t take another step.
There have been a number of occasion in my sobriety when I felt like I just couldn’t make it. This past year was really just one long, I don’t think I can do it moment and my friends saw me through it. They helped me deal with the transition of moving back home after being away from my family for 2 years. They spent countless nights of the phone with me, listening to me cry and they never abandoned me.
So all that I am trying to say is that if you are sober, or if you are thinking about getting sober, go out and find your tribe. Doing so might seem frightening at first, because let’s face it, most of us aren’t great with relationships, but there is no greater place on earth to meet lifelong friends than in the rooms of recovery. You will find some of the nicest and most understanding people that have ever lived and in time you will come to call them family.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.