04 July 2021
Thinking back I don't think it was so common to talk about sobriety openly around the time I got sober which is almost five years ago now. I mean, I did in groups, but there wasn't the ease of chatting on-line so much as there is now. Maybe we can thank the pandemic for that, it's made us all fairly proficient with online meetings, something I hadn't done before, and now we're all jumping on and inviting people into our homes, even if it is virtually!
I joined forums when I was newly sober, often under an assumed name, and I never met anyone, because I didn’t know how to find people like me. I felt like there was a lot of shame attached to my addiction, and while I’m not saying that’s gone, the freedom in which we can meet now can only help shake that feeling off. The more we can share our experiences, the more normal we realise they are. The forums were helpful of course, but there was an element of writing and then hoping someone would write back, which of course you'd have to log back on to check. With social media it’s much the same. You know people are out there but maybe not quite as and when you need them. Meeting in some form of virtual chat room on the other hand allows you to chat instantly almost as if you are in the same room.
I'm one of many who run free drop in lounges now for those who are on their sober journeys. It's not formal or pressured but there's at least one on per day, every day, so wherever you are in the world if you need to chat someone should be available. It provides support when you need it and a place to talk to those in a similar situation without judgement. It can really help through the tricky times.
I heard something the other day that got me thinking because it was so true. You see, when you meet someone else in recovery, you don't have to know them or even like them, because right from that first moment, you have something in common with them. It's unlikely you'll be able to shock them, because they've probably had some shocking moments too, and you won't have to explain anything, because you know what, they've been there!
It's quite liberating finding your sober community. I'm not saying you have to limit your activities to just sober groups or even social activities to just sober people, but adding them in is quite a help. You suddenly have a group where you can let your guard down and be you. I'm not saying you have to relive every moment of your journey, or dissect all of your actions but I’ve found, rather than packing them away and leaving them in a box, letting them out helps you let go. At least it has for me.
I find it a relief to talk to people who are like me. It’s nice to know we aren't the only ones, that we might find things challenging, but there are other people out there who do to, and like them, we can overcome it.
The sober community is growing, we’re getting stronger, individually and together. We’re finding we can turn our backs on the way we lived and the reliance on the substance we thought helped us. We can live better lives and I for one am grateful that I found a tribe of people who can help me, as I can help them, as we journey down our paths.
Have a great day everyone.