Why am I going to SheRecovers in NYC?

Because Annie invited me. That’s the plain and simple answer. Despite the fact that there are 263,000 members in the SheRecovers FB group (you think you’re alone? You’re not!) I may have never connected with this beautiful community. That’s because for several years, I have drifted from the rooms of recovery, and aside from my own day-to-day commitment to not drink, and sharing through my writing, I have not sought out a space–beyond my own head–to actively work on recovery. I wandered from the pack and began a solo journey. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing (although MANY would disagree), but it can be dangerous; the animal that walks alone is far more likely to be eaten.

After speaking with Annie, one phone call led to another and within days I was connected with Dawn, the founder of SheRecovers, who started her journey of recovery twenty-seven years ago, when I was just ten; four years before I had my first drink.

Dawn lives over 3000km away from me and is a grandma, but over the phone we were able to cut through the niceties quickly and speak candidly about our addictions: our poison of choice, how we each manage tough times, when our cravings creep up. It was decided shortly thereafter that I would join the team of bloggers at SheRecovers NYC.

I’m here now, and while part of me is a little nervous and unsure of what to expect, I feel grateful to be connected to the herd once again.

My departure from AA wasn’t a conscious hard stop, but rather a gradual one that happened around the time my pregnancy began to show. Even though I had been sober for years, I didn’t like the idea of sitting in a dank church basement while others secretly eyed my belly wondering if I was drinking while pregnant. Of course, I don’t know for sure if anyone thought that, but I do know that in the past, I sat staring at pregnant women, wondering the same things: Is she on the verge? What does the future of that child’s life look like? Is she secretly poisoning the fetus? Dark thoughts.

There is no doubt that AA saved me; it is the first place I advise struggling alcoholics to go, I always know I can return, and I do dip in here and now when friends get medallions. But the early days of organizing a nursery, folding tiny clothes in pastel hues, picking out drawings of happy teddy bears and arranging picture books clashed hard with attending night meetings where rage and sadness were so thick in the air that you could prick it with your finger.

I wanted something different and began to question whether there wasn’t something else out there, a recovery room that was bright, positive, sunny even. Somewhere I could go during the day that didn’t involve passing through a cloud of cigarette smoke. So I ditched them altogether and replaced them with prenatal yoga classes. Once my son was born, I became so overwhelmed with the demands of motherhood that the search for a brightly lit positive space for recovery disappeared.

Now, I’m sitting in a hotel room on West 38th Street drinking coffee, trying to hammer out my thoughts before I step out into the rain and go for a walk. This evening, I will head to the Financial District and meet sober bloggers from all across North America. Tomorrow, I will stand hand-in-hand with 500 women who’ve fallen further than they ever thought was possible, and against all odds, have risen back up. All the women here know that we are living second and third lives. We all know that for years, it was possible our addictions could kill us. We all know that recovery is not a short stint but a lifelong journey.

I purchased the plane ticket and booked a hotel room, but my being here is bigger than me. Roll your eyes you might, but when you let go of control, things have a way of just happening. The universe gently pushed me in this direction; I felt the push and moved forward.

We all have the power to rewrite our script, and sometimes all it takes is one woman to help you tilt the compass. In my life, I’m lucky there have been dozens and dozens. I’m here today because of Annie. Thank you for bringing me back.