Monday, July 12, 2010

Recovery is a cultural phenomenon

On July 4, I was having one of those days. Not a bad day, just one of those days with too many options, and too many people to try to accommodate, and an inflexible schedule of my own to boot. By the time I had finished with my obligations, I had only a couple of hours to get ready and make it to several barbeques before darkness fell. I drove by the first party twice, all the way up into the canyons, back through and down another ,and back up again. The valet was full and the parking was terrible, and I was already spun- like most alcoholics, I don't do well under pressure. I was inclined to just go home and read a book.

I got a call from a friend who was at the party that asked me to just park and come up. Okay. That helped give me some direction. So I found a parking spot, except it said No Parking, but it was the only place to put a car in a half mile vicinity. And so, I was gripped by indecision again. Ug! I think we all know what this is like. TO top it off, I had just had a big chocolate-y coffee drink with whipped cream. So I sat, thinking.

Suddenly a little hummingbird came whipping up the road and landed. It sat right in the middle of the road. And sat. Until I got out of my car, and began walking towards it, at which point it flew off. But it got me out of my car, out of my indecision, and walking towards the party.

And what a party! Over 300 sober people, all having a blast. Its amazing to see, all these people having the time of their lives without alcohol. And not just 300 people in one space; most of us know each other. That is the beauty of recovery in LA; its a close knit tribe. When I was using, I would know a few people at any gathering, but not like this. Not to the point that it takes two hours to say hello to everybody. Honestly, in my using days, this is what I wanted. I often drank and popped pills to quell the anxiety of walking into a party. Why anxiety? Fear of rejection. 

In recovery, there isn't rejection by the tribe. Its complete inclusion into the life I always wanted. Its a large group of people who are there to help and love each other, and who have helped and loved me. The LA tribe not only know me; they know my two daughters as well. We gather for holidays; tree trimming, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve. My kids call several of my recovery friends when they need to talk. They have dozens of uncles and aunts. This is the village that is helping raise my children. What a beautiful thing for them to get to experience!

Bottom line of this blog is this- because I am sober, I am able to walk through indecisiveness that used to cripple me into total inebriation. I didn't drive by the party once and go home; I drove back again. I picked up the phone, which I didn't do in my using. I sat and paused while sitting at the only parking spot. I was aware enough to see a sign when it was given to me. I recognized the hummingbird to be a more important sign than the one that said 'no parking.' And I got to have, as a result, a beautiful night surrounded by my tribe. I got to see two friends who have been struggling for almost 20 years celebrate their first 2 year mark of recovery in all that time. 

I love my life in recovery. The whole point of the upcoming channel is to be able to show others what we have; we know it isn't like this all over the country, and that we have a really special set of circumstances here in LA. But the main thing is that people who are considering getting sober see what is possible in sobriety, which is EVERYTHING. Anything you want can happen. It is anything you want it to be. We also want to show the cultural movement it is becoming; it is no longer a thing of shame, but a thing to be proud of. Surviving the addiction and thriving in sobriety is like coming home from war. Its a thing to celebrate, every day. And its the celebration that is the energy behind the recovery movement. Its exciting to think of how world views are changing as a result. Its beautiful to think of all the families healed, the kids who get their parents back, the parents who get their kids back, the relationships rescued, the hurts I stood at that party, with all those 300 people, I thought about all the lives that have improved as a result of their sobriety. Lets just say for argument's sake, 50 people, and that is a low number. That's 15,000 people who's lives have been positively impacted by recovery. 

That is the most exciting thing I can think about. Now I think about the number of people on our facebook fanpage, 4800 fans. If we again say that for each one of those people, 50 peoples lives have been improved- that is 240,000 people. Really think about this for a minute. Seriously, what could be more miraculous? We, who were destined to wrap around a tree, land in jail, we who couldn't leave our house without a handful of pills, who lost our jobs, woke up not knowing where we were- WE ARE CHANGING THE WORLD NOW! This is miraculous. MIRACULOUS. Amazing. Beautiful. Stunning. Breathtaking. Poignant. I challenge anyone not to agree that this is one of the most significant movements in history, and I am honored to be a part of it.

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