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Remembering the Newcomer In Us All…

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Today was a beautiful day, as I show up to his in-laws front door, “Knock-knock!” Answers come to a barking dog and smiling face. I walk in and the father in law has to make the snide but necessary remark of "no nonsense shall be had here," not acknowledging my six years in recovery but for the sake of his son-in-law’s newfound sobriety; it was a must of tough love. His wife greets me in her pajamas, but you could tell that there was a sense of calm after the storm about her. And then meeting their beautiful daughter, pure bliss shot over us as we engage in a long stare while you could see the birthing and rebirthing taking place between us all. I wasn’t just helping a newcomer, but I was rediscovering the reason I stay sober, and my inner newcomer itself; as we take life one step at a time…

We start off on our way to Starbucks and my mind was foggy. Clearly I’d stayed up too late the night before, although you could see that he was nervous to engage, too. It took him a while to open up, and with no shame of my own I wasn’t decent until the hot chocolate hit my lips. And then the talks of recovery started!

Oh my, how I’ve forgotten what it was like to be nervous and jittery just stepping out of my comfort zone to try and find what was right for me, my family, and my recovery. But God saw it, he was trying!

"I don’t have many sober friends, and to be honest… I’m nervous"

“I don’t have many sober friends, and to be honest… I’m nervous,” he said. I reassured him that he was in good hands, and not only that, but I might need his sober friendship just as much as he needed mine. And while I sit back and take back the time to when I was a newcomer to recovery, Lord, how we are so alike. With the off tangent questions to keep the conversation going it felt like we could sit there for hours, although I wouldn’t want to worry his family by taking him too far hostage! But frankly? I got lost in myself and the essence of truly giving back some of the knowledge that helped me, that he, he really had no clue about…

I don’t think of this as saving someone else’s life or giving them someone to look up too, because they should do those both for themselves. But what I truly got out of it was the fact that when I was early in recovery I was just like him. And if that shred of hope towards our likeness gives any example of what he might be able to accomplish with another day clean, it’s that someday he could be sitting in my shoes with six years of recovery, spreading that same message that I did today. And with all the humility in my heart, I felt a connection between him and I that was unbreakable. It was something that couldn’t be torn by simple humanly pleasures like substances. It was the struggle that made us brothers, because our understanding didn’t matter of difference in years, but was something we could both gain a sense of relief from knowing that we are one in the same. We are brothers in arms, fighting an everyday humanly struggle. And God bless him for teaching me, and taking me back to my roots, because it’s not every day that true ground work steps right in front of your feet. And it started with a simple, “Hello, I’d like to learn from each other.” Whether he knows he did it or not; he did. And that’s what saved my life, just like it’ll save his…

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I listened to him and held myself accountable for my actions and what I say, but so did he. You could see the recovery feeding off of each other’s humility. And that is why remembering the newcomer in us all must be present, as every day is a new journey and we not know whom we will be helping, or who will be helping us in return. Today I’m truly blessed that I was able to share recovery road with a new brother in arms in a special way that made this road a two-way street for us both to grow and prosper from.

So listen, and if you’re struggling, hold yourself accountable to reach out. Because even if you have a few days clean and sober, you may be not only be saving your life, but giving someone like me with years of recovery a reason to push on and know why I stay sober and continue to help other lives and save my own life with every breath I take. Each day is a miracle. So cherish it with a fire that only true empathy brings. Togetherness, unity, and sanctity through the miracle known as giving back. Amen and God bless.

Task for today:

Go share your story with someone who’s never heard it. Then, ask them to share theirs no matter what kind of journey they have been through. I promise you’ll learn something about yourself you never knew, as well as them…

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