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 member of the youth group taught me how to be involved and in 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 took the commitment of washing the ashtrays after the meeting. This set the tone for my recovery. In the years to follow 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 community. Community, for me, has been essential to keeping me connected to the Higher Power of my understanding. Additionally being in community gives me strength, understanding, teaches me how to better interact with people, and most importantly keeps me from isolation.
In the times I have pulled too far back from being in 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 simple be in my own life. The people in the community I serve both in my Twelve Step program and out are amazing, truthful, deep, real, raw, passionate, colorful, funny, deeply spiritual beings and 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. Take commitments and let some people in so they can get to know you and you them. Show up consistently. Continue to show up. Do the best as you can. Build your community slowly, just build it.