Finding Growth in Joy & Freedom During the Covid Pandemic

Initially when I read the theme to submit an article for the Essay, I wondered about the paradox and challenge of finding such growth. I was intrigued by the focus. However, the more I reflected on my experience, the more I could honestly say that I had grown in joy and freedom during these Covid times.

Early on in the lockdown in March of this year, my spiritual guide invited me to go deeper, to be still and reflect and recognize what is most important in life, and to listen to the truths that I usually wouldn’t with all the kinds of activity that I am involved in at this time in my life. The basic questions of who am I, where am I going, what matters the most in life…

In an SA phone meeting, one of the shares included a fellow member who heard his first sponsor ask him if he had a hobby. He thought it odd and the question didn’t make sense to him but he continued to share that later on like 20 years later, he came to realize the value and meaning of having a hobby that would serve his recovery well.

I thought about the hobbies I have tried over the years: fishing, running, drumming. When noticing my garden I decided to take up gardening as my hobby. It has been a great joy getting into the process of uprooting, transplanting, pruning, clearing the weeds, etc. The slower pace of working the earth, the discoveries of weeds, roots of weeds and their impact on the plants reminded me of my character defects and shortcomings and the ongoing work with my HP to lessen their impact in my life.

Within two to three weeks, one of my local SA groups decided to go with the Zoom meetings. Even though I missed the face to face encounters, I began to appreciate the zoom meetings. I was able to freely gather with other SA fellowships that normally I wouldn’t due to the distance and time spent going and coming back from a meeting on a work night. I appreciated the shares of other groups that have their own ways of carrying the message and this experience helped strengthen the unity I felt with and for other members. It has been a joy to encounter other SA fellowship meetings via Zoom since there were several I have known that are mature and solid in carrying the message.

Having participated in the Sexaholics International Marathon (SIM) of last year, I was open to the Asia Pacific Unity (APU) event in April of this year. This was very powerful for me as I heard from members of different SA fellowship groups of the Asia Pacific Region. Personally I came into the rooms of SA in the Pacific and was fortunate to get on Skype meetings with SA members from Australia, Europe and Asia. I was a loner on the small island and began an SA meeting. I was able to connect with SA members via phone and Skype was so important in helping me persevere and continue the process even if I was the only member in the face to face meetings. I stayed up till 2am my time as part of the APU event and decided to be a part of the planning committee for the following year.

Thanks to SIM I completed the survey of the experience of that event and my name was forwarded to the APU planning committee. Even though I am not tech savvy, I persevered and was able to make announcements to local fellowship groups of So Cal (South-California), three of the SA phone meeting fellowships, the SA-Net fellowship and to all the SAs I have in my phone book. One of the local So Cal fellowships started to have old-timer speaker meetings once a month via zoom. Wow! One hundred participants from all over the world. To hear a fellow member with 36 years of sobriety share his experience, strength and hope in a way that I had not heard before, gave me hope.

I heard Mike C. share on the process of “developing a culture of sobriety” and an intentional growing of the application of the principles of the Traditions in the local fellowship group. What growth in freedom and joy I heard when he shared how his group grew through sharing the message, as sobriety became the foundation for their recovery that is positive, progressive and powerful!

As our local Intergroup continued to meet via zoom, I noticed the listing of members of the different service positions and GSR’s for the represented fellowship that had a blank for Spanish translation contact. I thought I knew enough Spanish to carry the message as I was able to develop this skill in my career. I submitted my and my sponsor’s name to be two members who would communicate in Spanish with any Spanish speaking newcomer.

Within a short time, I got a phone call from one of the Intergroup service members who asked me to contact a lawyer who had a client that she believed needed to go to SA meetings. The Arizona fellowship decided to start anew the Zoom meeting in Spanish for the newcomer in So Cal and it continues today. I formed a contact list from a few members who speak Spanish in the local fellowship.

As I joined a few Zoom meetings in Spanish, I was asked if I wanted to connect with a Spanish SA WhatsApp group that included a few South American countries. How glad I was to read reflections from the Real Connection in Spanish and also from the Big Book. Then with the WhatsApp Spanish fellowship, there were announcements of conventions, workshops, Speakers, First Step shares in Spanish.

Throughout this experience, I realize the three keys to recovery remain: Open Mindedness, Honesty and Willingness. They are indispensable for recovery and they work no matter the situation, circumstance, Covid or no Covid, international or local. These three keys are vital to continue growth in Joy and Freedom given these ongoing Covid times. Our Higher Power is present and active. So are we as we seek to do His will, one day at a time, as a fellowship sharing our ESH through faithful service that bears fruit in good times with trust and unity of purpose.

Kiko S., California, USA

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