By Kira L. Residence XII Alumnae Community President
Since a young age I took pride in the fact that I was a survivor and could take care of myself and thought I could get through anything that I just needed to work harder. When I was hurt or felt abandoned I covered that up by telling myself I did not care about the other person and that it did not matter because I did not need their support or love. I kept all these emotions locked down tight with alcohol, drugs, nicotine, and food. I worked harder to control the outer circumstances in my life and was convinced this was the way out of all the pain, hurt, and chaos in my life. My first go at sobriety was 1988 and I managed to get clean and was motivated entirely by fear to maintain my sobriety. I never got a sponsor or built a sober community, and thought that if I just focused on building all the things in my life that would make me look like a successful person (i.e. marriage, kids, advanced degree, successful career) that I could stay sober. I know now that I never got out of the “frequency of addiction” characterized by being numb, in delusion, and alone. After 12 years living as a dry drunk I started drinking again and found myself just where I left off but convinced this time that I could manage and that I deserved to drink because it gave me the relief from life I needed to function. I knew I was an alcoholic but my addict voice told me I did not care having alcohol as a mechanism to not have to feel the pain was more important. Eventually my ability to numb out and make everything on the outside of my life look normal was falling apart. I reached the point of realizing that the addiction in my life was no longer working and that I could not live with or without alcohol. I experienced a moment of clarity and was given the gift of hope that I had the strength to allow myself to try and get sober again. I know today that this was a spiritual awakening and a gift from my higher power.
I was very angry about losing my friend alcohol, desperate to be sober, and had perfected isolation even when being surrounded by people. I had no idea how to ask for or accept help because it was so contrary to my lifelong survival skills. I met a Residence XII alumnae at an AA meeting and she helped me understand how Residence XII could provide the help I needed in early recovery. She is just one of many teachers that have shown up to cross my path in recovery and help me understand the next indicated step and the importance of sober community. I knew in my heart that this time I could not maintain my sobriety without following all the guidance that includes being honest, open, and willing to accept help. It has never been easy for me to open up and allow people really know me, and I spent a lot of time feeling very awkward and not part of the recovery community. I was introduced to the Residence XII alumnae community through my sponsor and immediately realized how I felt safe, accepted, and surrounded by strong women dedicated to their sobriety. Participation in the alumnae community has become a vital part of my recovery and the rewards I have been given are many. I have met all the women I currently sponsor at alumnae events, and I know I can always rely on this community to help me in any time of need.
The Residence XII alumnae community is open to everyone and it is a wonderful way to build your recovery network and be of service. The alumnae community meeting is the third Tuesday of every month at 5:30 before sober gals and anyone with 90 days of sobriety can participate. We host many activities that anyone can get involved with regardless of sobriety time or interest in participation with the monthly alumnae community meetings. In the coming year we are forming teams to work on the following activities:
- Monthly potlucks with the inpatient women;
- Annual 3-day summer retreat;
- Monthly alumnae panels on Sunday evenings;
- Monthly inpatient and family panels;
- Transportation assistance for getting Residence XII inpatient women to meetings;
- Candlelight meeting in December;
- Summer picnic;
- External events like Sounders and Mariner game nights; and
- Bridging the gap between treatment and living in sobriety.
You can learn more about these activities or signup to be part of these teams by visiting the web site
This past December when I looked around the circle at the end of the candle light meeting and saw the over 300 women standing together to celebrate their recovery I truly felt part of a community. Today I get to live in the “frequency of recovery” characterized by being awake, in truth, and together and for that I am truly grateful. I hope by reading this you may be motivated to reach out and become an active participant in the alumnae community that hosts these activities. If you have any questions you can fill out the alumni request form on the residence XII website and well get back to you.