Fellowship in recovery is very important, especially early on.
Getting sober is a landmark decision. You let go of an old life and start a new one. It can be scary: Will it work? Can I do it? What does life without alcohol mean? These are all questions I had when I got sober.
The beauty of fellowship is being with like-minded people who have already walked in your shoes. They understand the fear and the uncertainty. They also have the experience of how to manage life without alcohol. That is really just the beginning of fellowship in recovery.
As I began to work a 12-step program I found myself making decisions about everything in a new way. I never had, as an adult, made a decision about anything without alcohol. That seems elementary, and it is. But in recovery, I always had my sponsor to talk to. The fellowship gave me an entire network of people to talk to. Invariably, someone in my group had gone through what I was experiencing. There were times I was facing something my sponsor had never experienced. He would always steer me to someone in the group who could help.
Fellowship in recovery also gives you the ability to socialize with people.
It is important, especially early on, to surround yourself with people who want your success in sobriety. Dinners after a meeting, having coffee before a meeting and even hanging out with people outside of the group setting helps stabilize a life without alcohol. You can have more fun than the perceived fun you had sitting in a bar. Believe it or not, it’s true.
Fellowship in recovery also gives you the opportunity to celebrate victories and setbacks in sobriety. Some people have relapsed and will relapse again. The support group is critical in these times. The safety net that “all you have to do is get back on the horse and keep riding forward” is crucial in times of a setback. Celebrating victories and milestones in recovery is indescribable. The joy you feel for someone else cannot be put into words.
Fellowship in recovery took on a whole new meaning when I was the one that people would talk to about what they were going through. As I grew in my sobriety, I had experiences that could help someone else. That seemed to make the puzzle pieces all come together. I could then see that maybe I had done something for the sole purpose of helping someone else.
There are so many layers to fellowship in recovery. You are on the receiving end one day and the next you are offering what you have. Having like-minded people to support you and to support is really awesome.