At the inaugural Texas Rally for Recovery, Marsha Stone began her address with “These are my people.” As the poignant words moved me, Déjà vu grasped my spirit. Where had I heard those words?
“Welcome to your tribe,” my mentor said to me. I looked around the circle. I didn’t see my tribe. Instead, I saw before me a group of women from all walks of life…young to old, homeless to millionaires, drop-outs to degreed professionals.
I thought, “Marsha’s crazy. These women couldn’t possibly be my tribe. They are hard-core drug addicts and serious alcoholics. I’m nothing like these women.”
Over the next four months, I learned how wrong that hasty judgment was. From day one, I was taught to focus on the similarities, not the differences. The differences, I was told, is what separates me from my fellows.
I used differences as bricks to build a prison of isolation and solitude. I employed any prejudice—age, religion (or lack thereof), sex, political affiliation, economic status, education—to keep you away. Completely disregarding God’s will and direction, I hand-picked the people in my life. I selected individuals based on the delusion of security. By the time I arrived at BRC Recovery however, I was alone.
I had absolutely no control over the make-up of the community God placed me in. The expectation from the onset was to get in unity—to let these women get to know me and for me to get to know them. Establishing relationships, especially with other women, was a novel idea.
To begin, I had to set aside all prejudgments. Once I began relying upon God rather than myself, the message of fellowship.
As it turns out, I am just like those women in that circle. They are my tribe…my people. Our tears and blood have mixed on the battlefield of addiction. Our disease is the same. We have a common purpose. came in loud and clear. I was completely amazed at how fast my lifelong prison of loneliness fell. I learned that fellowship is much deeper than mere social activity. Fellowship means being a part of a group, having or sharing with others certain things in common such as experiences, beliefs, fears, concerns. Further, it is a partnership that involves working together and caring for one another. As the concept of fellowship took root in my heart, I learned to accept anyone God placed on my path. I look at people through His loving eyes instead of my judgmental ones.
“High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.”
Vickie Bing is the Alumni Coordinator for BRC Recovery. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington. Vickie is a former high school teacher and an Air Force veteran. You can read other posts on her blog at The BRC Recovery Blog.