I entered into recovery as a teenager. I recall the nurses giving me an evening pass from the detox centre to go see the Lion King on my 19th birthday. From there I moved into a halfway house with other female addicts. I did my best to fit in. I was a very “low bottom” so they told me. I had a really hard time that first year. I had no idea how to connect to people, especially other women. I kept to myself mostly. I couldn’t carry on conversations all that well, and my outside appearance matched my insides perfectly. My entire wardrobe, make-up collection and hair accessories consisted of nothing but black, and I powdered my skin an even lighter shade of white to accentuate my expiry date. Those were indeed different times.
One morning, as part of my rehabilitation, I had to get on a bus at 7:00 am and head to a 12-step meeting in another part of the city. I remember it was a cold morning. I had about six months clean, and there was a frost on the ground. As I waited for the bus I became more and more intolerant, but a new voice was beginning to immerge. The voice of reason and sanity, a quiet voice at the time, but she whispered to me, “Be patient. Breathe. It’s okay. There’s no rush, it’s just cold out.” By the time the bus finally arrived I was so caught up in the mantra that I must have started coaching myself aloud. Because when the doors opened, the old bus driver offered me a special smile which caught even him off guard. “You’re in recovery!” He announced with a wink and a nod.
I remember that day as being my first taste of real fellowship. This warm comforting wave washed the cold from me, and I took the seat nearest his. I nodded, and nearly choked up. He asked if I was new, and I nodded again. He then began calmly reassuring me to hang in there. “It’s supposed to be uncomfortable,” he said. “If you were comfortable right now you’d be going the wrong way.” He laughed, and I found myself laughing with him. He didn’t care that I looked as if I was about to drink the blood of the living, and I didn’t care that he was old enough to be a character from one of the Cocoon movies. We were family, and for the duration of my trip we spoke recovery.
When we reached my destination, I bid him a good day. But as I stepped off the bus he said something peculiar to me as the doors were closing. I turned to him and waved, but it would take me a while to realize what his reference meant. I would later discover the man was in a completely different program. I was recovering from substance abuse, while he was recovering from sex addiction. But that morning, during that whole drive, we didn’t once mention our substances. We spoke of the insidiousness of addiction. We spoke of the challenges of finding ourselves again. We spoke a familiar language, and we were family.
That frigid December day in 1994 would be considered the birth of Recovery Wire Magazine. I knew then, and have always known since, that once we pass into the realm of addiction, despite all our other differences, we are connected in a very special way. Our fellowship extends beyond the safety of our familiar resources. We might be in a 12-step program, we might not be, but what bonds us is the memory of what it was like to be caught in a cycle so potent and overpowering that at times it superseded our primal instinct to survive. If you can relate, you are not alone, and this magazine is for you.
Dee Christensen, Editor in Chief, Recovery Wire Magazine
Recovery Wire Magazine is a bi-monthly publication for people who have been impacted by addiction. Our mission is to unite and educate the broader recovery community by providing a medium for discussing addiction related topics. Our aim is to reinvent what it means to be a person in recovery, by publishing a trendy and provoking recovery-based magazine. Subscribe to our FREE digital edition.