Updated: Sep 12
Let me start by saying I feel blessed to have been raised in the Episcopal church, which had a strong community. A large cathedral in Trenton, NJ, was home to me every Sunday for the first 14 years of my life. I learned how to be involved during those years. Through Sunday school, the children's choir, the Christmas pageant, being an acolyte, and being a youth group member taught me how to be involved in the community.
Fast forward through the chaos of my progressive and destructive days, landing me in the Twelve Steps of recovery. My community again began to form. My first commitment was showing up to meetings every day. Soon to follow, I committed to washing the ashtrays after the meeting. This set the tone for my recovery. In the following years, I took many coffee commitments, speaking commitments, group party commitments, and service to my home group as an involved group member.
Today, my commitments are still rooted in my recovery program through sponsorship of others and leading meetings. Additionally, I commit to building community through yoga classes, training, workshops, and outings.
All of these commitments keep me in the community. The recovery community has connected me to the Higher Power of my understanding. Additionally, being in a community gives me strength and understanding, teaches me how to better interact with people, and, most importantly, keeps me from isolation.
When I have pulled too far back from being in the community, I have found myself sinking into depression, resentment, and anxiety. A dangerous place for me to be. Today, I seek balance. I certainly need time for myself and to simply be in my own life. The people in the community I serve, both in my Twelve Step program and out, are unique, truthful, deep, honest, raw, passionate, colorful, funny, and deeply spiritual. The very best part is they get me, and I get them.
NOTHING compares to this deep sense of union with my fellows. If you have not experienced this connection, I strongly encourage you to be a part of it. Take commitments and let some people in so they can get to know you. Get to know them. Show up consistently. Continue to show up. Do the best you can. Build your community slowly.