com·mu·ni·ty – a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
It takes a village, right? But what if you live in a world where the concept of the village is long gone and you live the nuclear family life that started after World War II. That is our story. The saying actually goes “it takes a village to raise a child”, but I like to think of it more as “it takes a village to be a human”. For millions of years we operated as tribes. To be without community equaled death. What does it equal now?
Communities aren’t gone but they aren’t the same. Generally they can be found in churches, schools, and sometimes in the workplace. There are exceptions. Some neighborhoods are still very community based but for the most part we live in our own boxes and keep to ourselves as a society.
Fortunately, there is a place where community is strong and thriving and it can be found in recovery. It takes a village to get sober and to stay sober. Without support of others who have been in our shoes, it can seem like an impossible task.
Not only are we dealing with an evolutionary mismatch in the human race, now we have the toxic life that addiction hands us to deal with. As alcoholics and addicts we have to learn in recovery to live life on life’s terms. That means learning how to have meaningful human interaction. Perhaps we’ve lost the ability to do just that. If we isolate and don’t learn how to make healthy connections with other people, there is a greater chance of relapse. But don’t despair, there is always hope and possibility. Once we can lean on others who share their experience, strength, and hope with us, we realize that maybe being sober and being part of a community isn’t impossible at all.
This is partly why rehab helps people feel successful while they are there. That deep connection of the human experience and support of each other to kick this disease in the behind creates a strong bond. But once they leave treatment, they begin to feel lost and doubtful of their ability to stay sober out of that setting. That is why it is crucial that community play the largest role in recovery. Sober living houses or jumping into a program of recovery can connect those missing pieces to keep the alcoholic or addict immersed in their sobriety.
Whether you have 10 days sober or 10 years, everyone benefits from finding their tribe. Check out these resources, for more information about community: