March 13 is a significant and profound day for me. One year ago today, my little brother passed away as result of alcoholism. I remember his struggle with addiction and how desperately I wanted him to get the gift that I had been given. He entered a recovery house, did well for a few weeks, and then fell prey to the illusion that many alcoholics and addicts succumb to: “I don’t need to be here, I can do this on my own.” He overdosed shortly thereafter. Self-sufficiency failed him, as it had me and countless others. Until I surrendered to the idea that I could not get sober and stay that way without a constant stream of support, I struggled with my addiction.
My sober journey started out in a recovery house, where I lived for the first nine months of my sobriety. I was told repeatedly that an addict-alcoholic by him or herself was in bad company. We need the support of our tribe. One alcoholic talking to another is the key “identification” factor that makes this fellowship flourish. Newcomers need to be in the company of sober peers, not old acquaintances of the past. There is no substitute. It is hard to imagine not having a safe place to sleep, a flock of friends to attend meetings with, and people to talk to at just about any hour. At that time, the inside of my head was like a psychological theme park.
It has been over 30 years since I shared a room with 4 other women. At the time, I complained bitterly. Looking back, I remember those days fondly and actually miss the camaraderie. Although I do not live with a group of recovering alcoholics, I cherish my sober brothers and sisters. And it all started with the early, formative days, where I learned habits that would keep me in good stead for a lifetime.Share post