Gripping my plastic red cup, as I do at most house parties I’ve ever attended, I survey the scene. To my left, a man dances a familiar dance, flailing his arms like that of a wacky waving inflatable tube man. To my right, a woman dips her toes into water. Waves of laughter fill the pool. I feel my feet begin to tap as if they want to enjoy this moment. Is it possible? Am I actually having a good time at a sober function?
I’m speaking with friends I’ve never met. I’m eating with colleagues from the other houses. I’m partying with Transcend, sober. Beanbags whirl past my ear into corn holes, music lifts me into contentment, and communal hope reassures me that I’m in the right place. I am an average of the people who I surround myself with, and the strangers surrounding me today strive towards graciousness.
Today, America honors heroism in the face of war. The Transcend community unites in gratitude, celebrating our own efforts to serve our community while remembering those who fell battling the disease of addiction. I sip from my plastic red cup, as I do at most house parties I’ve ever attended – but this time there will be no hangover and I can reflect on this memory with gratitude and pride to be part of a safe and supportive sober community.