The Society of Our Fellows
Isolation and “Lone Wolf syndrome” are extremely common modes of operation for alcoholics and addicts. The reason why going solo is so popular among people like us is complicated. It’s partly because we are defiant, independent people, and partly because we are often very emotionally sensitive people. We like to do our own thing and we get frustrated when something stands in our way, so we go it alone. We also like to try and feel good all the time, and many of our actions, habits, and behaviors can cause harm to those around us. We don’t like hurting people or making them sad, so we find it easier to live alone as much as possible. The problem is that going it alone does harm in its own way, too.
We can’t avoid our way into or out of relationships. No matter how independent, isolated, or alone we make ourselves, we are part of a network of people that’s bigger than us. We have family, we have friends, and we have multiple communities that we are a part of by default, — no matter how hard we try to distance ourselves. This is especially true after we’ve entered recovery. Whether we like it or not, relationships are a part of our lives, even if we avoid them. We live in a community, a state, a country. No man is an island and our behaviors affect people, even if we don’t think they do.
Now that we’ve admitted we are alcoholics or addicts and found our way into recovery, it’s time to pay attention to our relationships, how we’re connected to people, and how we interact with them. Whether it’s something we care about or not, our life in recovery begs us to take full responsibility for our interactions with others. In fact, the book Alcoholics Anonymous says that our very lives as alcoholics and addicts in recovery require the constant thought of others and how we may be of service to them.
No One Recovers Alone
This is not a saying or a catchphrase — this is pure fact. None of us have and none of us can. We need other people at literally every step of our recovery. Much of the literature of recovery is clearly geared towards improving how we get along with others, and even more of it urges us to be helpful to others. In fact, our recovery requires us to be of service to others as often as possible. Anyone with a little time under their belt will tell you that a life in recovery is well worth the price of admission, and the price of admission is pretty darn fair. Help others, work the 12 Steps, and you get a life like you never imagined. What a bargain!
But first, however, we must accept the fact that we need people. Without other people, we would have no sponsor, no trudging buddies, no one to help us. Imagine going to a meeting and being the only person in the room! We wouldn’t exactly strengthen our recovery that way. We need to ask others for help to learn how to work the 12-Steps and live the recovery lifestyle. And once we’re stable on our feet, we can turn our attention to giving back all the help that was given to us.
Recovery Is Largely About Others
This may sound strange, but when we look closely it’s clear. Much of the recovery literature, and indeed much of the work involved in the 12 Steps, is about others. To be sure, the work and the readings help us improve, grow, and find peace. But to a large extent, they help us do this so we may be better for other people. At multiple points in the literature of recovery, we are told how important it is that we begin to think of others before ourselves and help with their problems. At multiple steps in the 12-Step process, we are taught how to behave better in all our relationships. We are guided and instructed on how to become better versions of ourselves for the benefit of others. Of course, we benefit from this, too — probably more than most people. But our minds are meant to be turned to how we may help meet the needs of others at all times. When we live like this, our higher power tends to take care of whatever we might need for ourselves.
It says in the book Alcoholics Anonymous that the 12-Step process will help us get ourselves and our lives in order. This is a by-product of the 12 Steps, but it is not their purpose. The purpose of recovery is to help us fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our higher power and our fellow human beings.
Right now, we may not understand the importance of the society of our fellows. But it would be of great benefit to us and everyone else if we remained open-minded about saying goodbye to isolation and loneliness. We need other people — and frankly, they need us.
At Jaywalker Lodge, the society of our fellows is a big deal. We have inspired an active and ever-growing alumni community around the Lodge. Our alumni come back weekly for meetings, “family” meals, and even for service opportunities. That’s right — our alumni come back to serve the larger recovery community and the larger Colorado community, too. Fellowship is such a big deal around here that our men return just to help us help out! But fellowship begins on the inside, and we do our best to facilitate a close-knit, honest, and intimate environment where every man can be themselves and learn how to open up to others. By accepting help, we learn how to give help, and pretty soon being of service is the brightest spot in our lives. Before we know it, we’re part of a community that makes life happier and fuller every single day. If you’re ready to be part of something special, call Jaywalker Lodge now at (866) 529-9255.