A big part of sobriety is being able to live life! Getting sober I thought my life was over and that I wouldn’t have fun anymore. Which has been far from the truth. In early recovery getting connected with other likeminded people who had want I wanted in sobriety was crucial for me. Once I began to meet others and make friends I realized it was only the beginning. I put myself out there, raising my hand and getting out of my comfort zone which was very new to me.
I began to form sober support in a fellowship of individuals that understand those feelings of inadequacy, wanting to isolate, and being uncomfortable in my own skin. Once I realized that I wasn’t alone and that there are people who understand and genuinely care, I started opening up. I got involved with a young people’s service committee that helps other individuals in sobriety. I remember the first event I ever went to with almost two weeks sober. I reached out to an old high school friend of mine who posted on social media that she was sober and for anyone struggling to reach out. I saw that post when I was still drinking and that stuck with me. When I reached out, I was so nervous and fearful of being rejected. But I did it anyways! Little did I know by reaching out that day, it would change my recovery journey. This friend of mine responded immediately and invited me to a campout going on that weekend! I ended up going. I got in the car and drove out to Wading River which is a little over an hour away from me. When I got to the campsite, I remember being so fearful and hesitant about getting out of my car. A million thoughts were racing through my mind: “I only know one person here. What if I don’t get along with anyone? What was I thinking saying yes?” But people had already seen me pull up to the site so I thought, I can’t leave now. Staying was the best decision I made. That weekend I made genuine connections with people, who are still my friends today. For the first time in my life, I met people who understood the crazy thoughts going through my mind. In the past I would try explaining how I felt to people I thought were my friends and they would look at me like I was crazy or couldn’t relate. I met my people. In my first year of sobriety, I would have panic attacks which I never had before; I didn’t realize what I was feeling until I explained to someone those feelings. The people I’ve surrounded myself with are so understanding and supportive and I am beyond grateful. After the campout, people started reaching out to me to see how I was doing and invite me places. In the past, I remember wanting genuine friendships with people but my drinking got in the way of that. So, by people reaching out to me and being included, I finally felt a part of.
After the campout, I joined the committee that hosted the campout and continued getting involved. The following summer there was a boat party and Luau that I went to. Before I knew it, I had events and places to be every weekend in the summer. I continue to have fun in sobriety! And as time goes on, I realize I don’t need to go to every event to feel included and worthy. I would get really bad FOMO and fear that people would forget about me which was all in my head. Once I realized that, it became easier for me to balance my recovery, fellowship, and personal life. As I continued to stay sober, my sober network has expanded. Picking up the phone and calling people has been important for me to stay connected. And the following year at the campout I was able to be that person who supported and befriended people who were new and apprehensive like I had been. It all comes back full circle: Reaching out to the newcomer and being there for others!