When one is new to recovery, everything about it can be confusing and even intimidating. The purpose of this entry is to alleviate some of those confusions and intimidations. Happy reading and recovery, dear friends!
New to This…
Being new to recovery means many things. It can mean that you are still physically, mentally, and emotionally detoxing from alcohol/drugs. Being unaware of what comes next is often another part of being new to recovery. It is a confusing, painful and yet hopeful time. One thing is for certain though, those of us who have experienced new recovery can attest to the fact that you are more sensitive to things than you are used to being. You are used to existing in a somewhat numb, hazy, or blacked out state while abusing alcohol/drugs and now everything affects you differently. I mention this because it is meant to set the stage for what most of us commonly experience in early recovery, the feeling of not belonging.
No Matter What Your Brain Tells You – YOU ARE WELCOME HERE
That feeling of not belonging may linger while we attempt to give recovery a go. We may walk into a 12 Step meeting and feel the desire to run, or sit through the whole meeting and decide afterwards it sucked because we didn’t feel welcome. This is untrue though. No matter what our foggy, detoxing brain tells us – WE ARE WELCOME!
The nature of the disease of alcoholism/addiction is to try and convince us that we need it in our life, no matter what. Our addicted brain will come up with any excuse whatsoever to convince us not to give recovery our full try. So when we enter into a certain meeting and get a not so pleasant vibe, or get no vibe at all – our addicted brain may tell us, it is not for us. This is a common and ultimately life changing moment, when we have the power to decide to turn off that part of our brain – and just give recovery a try, no matter what.
Every single one of us with sustained long term recovery have fought through that moment. We are here to talk about how deciding to stick around and give recovery our full effort try – is the reason we are alive today!
You Will Find Your Way – If You Try
Whatever you do, don’t give up on your recovery based on one or a couple experiences. Try different avenues of recovery. Go to a lot of meetings, you will find your herd. It’s that simple.
If you go to several AA meetings and never get that warm & fuzzy vibe, KEEP GOING. It is hard to connect with anything in the beginning. We are physically a wreck and our brain is fighting for its addiction life. Just keep going, find someone who gives you good vibes and ask them what other meetings they enjoy. Then make plans to meet them there. This is how I found my way in recovery. I opened my mouth and asked for help.
“That meeting was full of snobs and I don’t want to go back!”
When I made the decision to drag my 11 day sober body to a 12 Step meeting, because I had nothing to lose from trying it, I chose the town South of my own – because I did not want to possibly see anyone I knew. It went exactly as it needed to, I met the man who would become my Sponsor that night at my first meeting. I then got in with a crew of guys in recovery in the town South of my own and went to meetings for a week.
After a week of seeing I had nothing to be afraid of in meetings, I went to the meeting in my town, just down the road from my house. They did things a little differently, and I didn’t get the chance to announce myself to the group (as all the meetings in the other town allow for newcomers to announce themselves at begginning). After the meeting I helped stack chairs and stuck around a bit, but no one came to talk to me. So I bolted and called my new Sponsor to tell him about the experience. That is when I said the line two paragraphs up and declared my hometown meeting a bust.
The Reality of Things
My Sponsor had been to that meeting. He knew the chairperson and he assured me that I just needed to give it another try. I bucked at this, at first (I was hyper-sensitive and had a skewed perception due to early sobriety). My Sponsor then did me one better, he promised to come with me the next time and bring all the guys from the town South.
He was true to his word. We rolled in five guys deep and my Sponsor introduced me around. I met the chairperson and was offered or “voluntold” about my first service position in recovery. I became the coffee clean-up person, and that helped teach me about service. It was truly a magical experience.
See, what I perceived was a bad experience, my Sponsor showed me the truth of it. It was actually a great regular meeting, I just didn’t try to talk to anyone and was in a bad mood myself. The coming months, attending every week to do my service position, I came to love that meeting. I felt comfortable enough to get some heavy things off my chest in that room. Broke down crying twice. And I can honestly say I would not be the sober person I am today without that meeting.
Don’t Give Up – No Matter What, No Matter What
Don’t ever let an experience sour you from the process. One meeting, one person or one day do not fully represent what recovery can do for you. It can and will save your life. It will give you a new sense of freedom and happiness you didn’t know was possible. If you don’t believe me, this guy I know from the town South of me will show you the truth 😉
This blog was written from the experience and perspective of one alcoholic/addict with long term recovery…
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