ENTRY: Positive ‘Stepping Stones’

Yesterday, I chaired the peer-support group that I came up with called, “Stepping Stones.”  I would never have been able to make the opportunity a reality if it weren’t for the perpetual support and overall guidance of my own counselor (and also group co-chair!).  To honor her privacy, I will refrain from mentioning even just her first name.  But thank you, A, you’ve already made an enormously positive & lasting impact on my life.

So far starters, I’m usually never that nervous when prepping to get up in front of people.  I mean, hey, I’m a musician, and playing live shows is one of my favorite non-drug-induced rushes!  This day, though, I was, much to my bewilderment, actually a bit rattled upon starting the conversation.  My goal with this discussion group was to first acknowledge and then discuss some key historical aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous.  If you don’t know, AA is a worldwide, mutual-aid fellowship group that anyone struggling with any sort of addiction can join.  As I firmly believe, I don’t think there is a silver bullet when it comes to “getting past addiction” and achieving long-term sobriety.  However, one cannot deny the lasting mark that Alcoholics Anonymous has made since its unofficial “inception” in post-Prohibition America, almost nine decades ago.  Faithful Protestant and self-proclaimed hopeless alcoholic Bill Wilson was responsible for getting AA off the ground in Akron, OH, after having attended, and subsequently drawing on, the faith-oriented self-improvement meetings put on by parishioners that called themselves the Oxford Group.

My aim with this discussion group was to review at least one or two major historical tidbits from AA’s evolution.  The reason for my calling the group Stepping Stones was that it was the name that Bill Wilson and his wife used when referring to the Dutch Colonial that they’d purchased in upstate NY as a way to advance their cause.  Stepping Stones became a meeting point for addicts/alcoholics to receive unlimited assistance in combating their sickness.  The home served as a calm, quiet, discreet haven for these people to detox in peace and privacy, and attend countless meetings.

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After we discussed the Stepping Stones location (it’s still standing), I passed around some pictures of the establishment that I’d purchased from their online gift shop.  My original intention was to engage in an open-ended discussion, thereby utilizing AA’s historical aspects as the inspirational catalyst for the talk.  It went really well.  There were 10 people, including myself, that attended.  I was very pleasantly surprised by this, as my goal was for half that amount to attend.  I knew I would be happy if at least one person came, besides me and my counselor (the co-chair).  In fact, the group was such a success, that we will definitely be holding another Stepping Stones group at the clinic next month!  I was thrilled when I found this out after yesterday’s meeting.  More importantly, however, this was my first official “duty” since becoming a certified recovery coach.

I am elated about this certification.  I have so many ideas right now, too, for which I’m extremely thankful.  It’s cool for me because, as a recovering addict, I can help other addicts, no matter which phase of the recovery process they’re in.  That whole idea honestly invigorates me.  I was using hardcore drugs for around roughly 4-5 years.  But for one and a half years of my time being “active,” at the end, that was the worst.  Well, now, I can actually use that life experience to my advantage.  Having the certification is the necessary credential I can use to gain leverage in the bureaucratic sense (and get chances like this one).  Putting the NCRC behind my name, yes, it’s an unbelievable accomplishment that I am so glad to have completed.  Yet, the real knowledge about addiction and chemical dependency definitely comes from my years actually doing it.  It’s a “proof in the pudding”-type deal.  Before the certification, I could only associate loss and overall major negativity with my time using.  Well, now, this is something positive that can come as a result of that difficult and miserable time in my life.

Will post again very soon;
Love,
Louis

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