“We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful.” … “The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us.” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 17
Throughout the time of drinking and using, the relationships with others in life suffer; be it with loved ones; employers and coworkers; even those we encounter during the course of routine, day-to-day activities. The inability to maintaining anything like healthy communication with those close to our lives is near-impossible. Many times, while under the skeletal umbrella of addiction, we seek out those who are like us, unhealthy, hurting, and hiding or, conversely, we shun all, favoring isolation.
In recovery, we encounter people with whom, at first glance, we may seem to have nothing in common. Slowly there is the realization that the connection between alcoholics and addicts goes far deeper than race, religion, socio-economic status, sexual preference, et al. There exists an understanding that while there is separation on the outside, the same disease resides within and forms a bond which can rival those to whom we are closest. One of the first places this is realized is in rehab, among others who are adrift in the same boat. There we find the shared life preserver which contributes to keeping drowning at bay.
It is with others’ experiences, strength and hope, in whose footsteps we follow. As they guide with a lit torch, which earned its fire from those who went before them, they help find the way through what seems like a path buried beneath the earth, where no light is thought to live. The beacon of sobriety shines and as it burns brighter the further we travel along the path, its illumination shows the way toward a compassion for our fellows coupled with peace and serenity.