Community and Recovery

In recovery from alcoholism, I learned early on I could not do it alone.  I bowled on a recovery league at a local alley every Saturday night for my first six months of sobriety.  I attended the recommended “90 AA meetings in 90 days” when released from the 30-day detox unit where I got sober.  Over the last three decades, although the circumstances and settings have changed, every day I am mindful that I am a part of a 12-Step recovery community, along with supporters, friends, and family.

Today, I find the early days of my cancer diagnosis to be very much the same.  Nearly one year ago I formally joined Rayne Memorial Methodist Church.  At about the same time I began attending weekly meetings of the School for Contemplative Living.  Two weeks ago with a handful of friends we began a 12-week study of the book It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron.  One of these friends commented on the significance of my joining in with these three groups/organizations over the past year, then receiving my cancer diagnosis, and now supported by and being in community with these new friends/pilgrims on these roads together.  I could not agree more.

In the same way the meetings and activities in my early days of sobriety were less about drinking and more about living life, while today my friends ask for my health updates, our community is more about living in our own God’s World.  I am blessed by a spouse and inherited family over the past twenty years, combined with my birth family, and that new community of friends to share life today.

Alcoholism is often called a disease of isolation.  I am incredibly blessed to have years of sobriety to unlearn that isolation and to build relationships and be in community.  Community in my living with cancer has already shown its value.  I am grateful to in this web of interconnectivity, putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, not just in disease recovery, whether cancer or addiction, but in a celebration of living into our true selves as our Gods intended for us.

This week I get some final testing done (PET scan and MRI) with a treatment plan soon to follow.

As I noted in my last post, were it not for the 12-Steps of Recovery, if I were even alive, today I would be drunk and cursing my misfortune.  Instead, today I have choices – next on the list being a review of the book I just bought The Louisiana Urban Gardener, in preparation for the fall sale at the New Orleans Herb Society’s in two short weeks!

8 thoughts on “Community and Recovery

  1. I’m so glad your blog came up in the Reader today! I found myself so encouraged by your gratefulness for the community around you. Thank you for sharing your story; grace and peace to you as you take the next steps regarding your cancer.

    • Shawn, thanks so much for your very kind words and support. Yes, my wife and I were able to retire here to New Orleans after we had both lived here years before and moved around from Jackson MS to Memphis TN in the last few years. We do love this place.

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