Hi Mountainside Community,
As all of my cohort in December 2019 know, I may have agreed to come to Mountainside willingly, but was skeptical of saying that I was an alcoholic. I arrived at detox several days sober and didn’t have a ‘rock bottom’ to speak of. I didn’t get a DUI. I didn’t lose a job. I was just numbing myself with alcohol after my mom’s death in November of 2018.
I’m so fortunate that I had a caring brother and family friend that saw that drinking was only going to lead to bad things. I remember very clearly the words of one of my fellows in detox when I would recite my mantra, “I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. I didn’t lose anything. I didn’t destroy anything,” to which he added the single word “Yet.” That was a wake up call. In my first AA meeting, I decided to approach the Mountainside experience with an open mind and an open heart. I became willing to put in the work.
During my 37 days at Mountainside, I spent a lot of time listening and found myself identifying with my peers, rather than comparing myself to them. I asked a lot of questions and heard the diverse stories from my group of both men and women. I felt like a part of a community, even as I still struggled to be honest with myself.
Most importantly, I learned to pause and not react immediately. I took the time to read, think, and absorb, rather than shut myself off. I learned to ask for help. I learned that regardless of the substance that you’re addicted to, we are a tribe that speaks the same language, and are there to support one another. We can’t – and shouldn’t – go through it alone.
I am so thankful for the men and women I met at Mountainside, as well as the staff. You’ve helped me become honest with myself, my HP, and my sponsor. I now actively look for ways I can support newcomers. In my home group, we have a sentence in the secretary’s report that I think is particularly fitting: “We all came here on different ships, but we are now in the same boat.”
Being an active part of this group and connecting regularly to my alumni friends, in person, online, or on the phone, has been so beneficial to my sobriety and my happiness. I’m thankful for all of you and my continued connection to Mountainside. These ongoing relationships are the backbone of my sobriety and a constant reminder to be honest with myself and continue to reach out to a fellow alcoholic who is still sick and suffering. That I can use my experiences and what I have learned to help others is a great reality to wake up to every day. Hugs to all.