Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oh baby, it takes a village

Figured I'd get my Wellness Wednesday post done early today. I want to talk about the importance of community in sobriety and in life. I'm so mindful lately of the village that surrounds me, supports me and helps me persist in creating the life I want to create. I'm a participant in a number of communities, both formal and informal. My formal communities include a yoga community, business communities, an artist's community, the AA community, a writer's community, the LSR community, and now a blogging community. All of these are important to me, but it's the informal community that I've created around myself that really sustains and supports me, that keeps me going when I don't feel like it anymore and that I fall back on again and again for inspiration and love. My informal community consists of a handful of people that I connect with on a deep level, that I can speak with about anything and that share a commitment to the same values that I hold dear. It consists of an ex-lover, a neighbor/spiritual mentor/friend/buddy, a couple of AA women and my family. I keep these people tightly woven around me so I don't fall too hard.

I especially want to speak about the AA community I'm involved with because it's probably the most difficult for me. Now, many in AA will argue with you 'til the cows come home that it's not Christian-based, it's not fundamental, dogmatic or rigid. I disagree on all points. I've been around it and around it and I've even wanted to change my mind about it, but it hasn't happened. Here's the thing, though. It's the only sober-based face to face community available. Which brings me to one of my favorite subjects: choice. It's sad to me that there aren't more choices. It's sad to me that people go to AA and if it doesn't work for them, they often leave feeling there's something wrong with them. It's sad to me that the majority of people who use AA to good advantage also believe there's something wrong with those people, that they're either not "working the program" or they're "constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves". I've built up a strong backbone for sticking to my own beliefs, but the peer pressure in AA is as intense as any I've ever seen and most people that go there for the first time are in an extremely weak and vulnerable state. The saddest part, and one I know from first hand experience? People will go back and go back and go back and try it again and again, because it's the only thing out there. I would like to propose, if you're one of those people, that you go if you want to, take what you need and leave the rest. That's one of the principles too, you know. Use it.

I really didn't intend to go there when I first began this post, but I must've needed to. My primary point is that village, community, whatever you want to call it, is one of the finest things in my life. I'm really, really glad it takes a village. Thanks for being part of mine.


lunarmusings said...

I resonate with this on so many levels. It does take a village. We are not meant to go through this world alone. And yet one of the most wonderful things about being an adult I have found is the choice to take what you need and leave the rest. There needs to be some flexibility on all of our parts to allow each individual to find and express their own path. My process of growth in a particular area will not ever look like yours in the same area. Its one of the beauties of life. It is sad that as a group people can sometimes get stuck in the "it has to look this way" mentality.

Kikipotamus said...

Recently my beau and I were up in Muskoka for vacation and we saw the strangest sign over the corner space of a strip of little businesses. It said Evidence Based Resuscitation. There were a few people standing outside smoking and drinking coffee. We had fun guessing what on earth EBR meant. My guess was that it was an alternative to AA. I was wrong, but you are right. It's too bad there is only one organized support group out there for folks to turn to.

Angela said...

Evidence Based Resuscitation. What was it?

Thanks both of you for your comments.

Kikipotamus said...

EBR is a new way of teaching resuscitation to paramedics, first-aid givers and medical personnel.

Journey Through Life said...

I admire you for speaking up about your thoughts on AA and also for sticking to your guns about what is right for you. I tried to do this in the church once, find a place within it that felt right for me. But it just wasn't possible. Their way or the highway as it were. Not quite so blunt but there you go.

Perhaps you should start something yourself??!!


bella said...

Here, here.
I used to think it was easier and better to go it alone. Not so messy.
Then when I began reaching out and seeking connection I thought it would be a group of people who were all alike, all like me. Now, my tribe, my village is spread across this country and beyond, is eclectic and beautiful and crazy wild and here, I belong.