Recovery By Walking

Like most people in SA, I have had to make adjustments in the way I practice my program routine. I had been a regular at the noon meeting near where I worked. With four meetings a week, it offered me a safe haven where I could finally face myself and what better way to break up the work day. I have to admit, I really depended on going there. I had heard old-timers reflect on their first time meeting in the same room decades prior. It seemed we would meet there forever. Little did I know what was coming.

With the first wave of COVID-19 we saw our lives and meetings change right before our eyes. The last meeting we held in person was on a Friday. Somebody in the group had recently set up a conference call a few days prior, so we were able to pick up without skipping a beat on the following Monday but this time in a call-in format. And it has kept going to this day, for which I’m thankful.

The continuity of this meeting has helped me stay sober. In a way, having meetings over the phone has saved time as well. Suddenly, attending more meetings became easier. Although they are virtual now, my average number of meetings in a week has gone up. That is certainly a plus. But after a while, I could feel the effect of only seeing and hearing people through my phone. Something was missing: the hugs, the going out for food afterward, the facial expressions that helped me understand what someone was sharing. I decided this new meeting format would work but I needed to find a way to supplement the fellowship I was lacking.

So a few months into the pandemic, it started with a walk. I reached out to a fellow member about going for a walk in a local park. He was already an avid walker so he jumped on the opportunity. We walked and talked, smiled and laughed, checked in, and encouraged each other. It was great to see a friend from the program in a safe setting that also included exercise with an opportunity to share and have fellowship. Who else can I get honest with about my addiction than other addicts? I need this fellowship. Sure we could have talked on the phone, but this was better than a phone call. It was self-care with recovery built in and a healthy way to stay connected.

We started walking a few days a week and it caught on with others as well. Now I’ve gone on walks with several members. It’s led to finding other ways to meet outdoors at coffee shop patios, parking lots, and park benches. I am even planning a day soon to hit baseballs in the same park with a few program buddies. This recreational type of fellowship with 1 on 1 or in small groups helps me feel “part of” instead of “apart from.” This is what I was missing.

I hope once we start having face to face meetings again, that I still meet with others in this way. It has improved my program and brought me closer to my fellows. I also pray if anyone is struggling and feels like something is missing, that God show them a way to stay connected. This is what worked for me. Instead of dying slowly in isolation, my program is expanding into new territory. One day at a time and by the grace of God, I can get through this pandemic and stay sober.

Robinson N., Georgia, USA

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