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.