Yesterday I flew with my daughter to Minneapolis for detox and treatment - an event I could only imagine in a faraway fantasy. She called unexpectedly, after not talking to me for six months, and asked for help with the most desperate of states of heart/mind… begging to either die or get sober.
I grew up in an alcoholic family. As such I wasn’t imbued with a healthy sense of self. I struggled with issues of low self-esteem. I searched desperately for parental validation and proof that I was loved and worthy. I was a child dealing with a very adult issue. I had two alcoholic parents, and I didn’t have the coping techniques to deal with their alcoholism.
On March 11, 2023, The New York Times ran a commentary by Maia Szalavitz titled “People Have a Right to Nonreligious Rehab” questioning the connection between religion/spirituality and recovery, and we felt it was important to present The Retreat’s view on the issues raised in this article.
When I first got sober, I mean the very day I stopped drinking and getting high, I wondered to myself and out loud to anyone who was unfortunate enough to hear me speak, “what am I going to do with myself now?? This is going to be SO BORING!”
On March 1st, meteorological spring started. On March 13th at 2 am, we will spring forward. And on March 20th we will experience equal amounts of sunshine and darkness as we usher in the spring equinox. Shakespeare wrote in his play Julius Caesar to, “Beware the Ides of March.” But from this author’s perspective, it looks like spring has finally spung and that’s a good thing.
Bill Wilson, the co-founder of the program Alcoholics Anonymous, achieved sobriety in December of 1934. One day in the spring of 1935 he came home in the middle of the afternoon. Utterly dejected, he turned to his wife Lois and said, “I’ve worked with drunks for the last six months and not a one of them is sober.”
Oft times we see the new year portrayed as a newborn child. Reflect for a moment on the wonder that a newborn instills in all of us. Think about the sense of hope and renewal that stirs within you when you see a newborn babe. Who isn’t moved by the site of a newborn resting peacefully within the arms of its loving parent?
Sponsors come from all levels of society, all cultures, and every gender identity. There are certain traits good sponsors share. These core traits are foundational to good sponsorship.
We often hear in self-help meetings, “Have an attitude of gratitude”. For those of us who may not be feeling grateful, this can often come across as cliché and trite. But there is age old wisdom in the saying.
When I first came into the program, I was told by my sponsor and home-group members that I had to change the faces and places. I didn’t understand the phrase so I asked for clarification. They told me I had to find a new group of friends and a new set of hang-outs. For a 15-year-old, this was a monumental task. My peer group was everything to me. But I knew if I was going to stay alive and stay sober, I had to heed their sage advice.