Alright, you’ve decided to get sober and you’re attending 90 meetings in 90 days. It’s the classic Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) invitation to new recovering addicts. If you want to get sober you’ve got to attend a meeting every day for the next three months. You need that level of support to keep you clean.
For many, when they begin to attend 12-step meetings, they soon discover that those attending meetings are one by one coming up to them and making their introductions. Every older timer there is suddenly your best friend. Every man and woman who is not in your own shoes – new to AA and trying to find their way – is welcoming you in like family.
It’s the best sober living experience there is. You’re not an outsider like you’ve always been. You’re not marginalized like you’ve always felt. You’re no longer trying to fit in. Here, in the AA community, everyone there knows what it’s like to be at the beginning of recovery. It’s a tender place to be and it’s a place that for many recovery addicts never goes away because some are always vulnerable to relapse and having to start all over again.
So, the best sober living experience is that kind of welcome, that kind of community embrace, that kind of acceptance. No matter who you are and what you look like, you’re there because you want to get sober and that’s all that matters. That’s going to automatically make you a welcome member of the family.
But you know, that’s not all. That kind of accepting community is essential for continued sobriety. For many, once they realize that they are not alone in the alcohol or drug recovery process, there’s hope. There’s hope that it’s possible to get sober, especially when at each meeting there are many others who have gotten sober and having maintained their sobriety for years.
Furthermore, belonging to a group can heal that sense of separation, from others and from yourself. Being with others who are in recovery can provide you with a listening ear, honest feedback, and therapeutic experiences. For instance, hearing stories of those who share their feelings and fears that perhaps you are familiar with too but only when you hear it said out loud do you realize that you’ve experienced that too. In other words, relating to the stories of others can be incredibly healing for learning about yourself. It’s an extension of the best sober living experience described above – being welcome for all that you are, including your feelings, passions, and intensity. In this way, perhaps one of the greatest benefits of being in a community with others who are also maintaining their sobriety is the fact that it can be similar to group therapy. Recovering addicts can support one another by sharing personal stories and providing a level of support that family and friends who are not on the same path cannot.
The best sober living experience is that sense of welcome, that embrace of others no matter who you are, and that warm acceptance because you’ve decided to join thousands of others marching towards sober living. And in that place of welcome and feeling supported, within that feeling of hope, there’s perhaps a sense of determination. If others can get sober, then you can too. If others have been where you are and have dug themselves out of the mud, then you can too. If others have crossed the threshold from addiction to sobriety, then it’s possible. No matter what you’re going to keep choosing sobriety. You can feel it inside. You’re going to commit to moving upward and onward, despite the steps backward. This is the best sober living experience there is.
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