Being a drug addict or an alcoholic is nothing to be proud of, or is it? Two years ago when I found myself getting out of control due to alcohol, I did not want anyone to know. I would drive 45 minutes away every night just to go to an AA meeting. I didn’t want to bump into anyone I knew or who knew me.
I was so ashamed of being powerless over alcohol. It seems so easy to a non-alcoholic to just stop drinking, but when you’re an alcoholic it is almost impossible to put that drink down.
AA is all about anonymity, but if you want to be open about your recovery and your disease that is your own personal choice. For me I have found that being open and honest about my recovery has opened so many doors for me.
Out here in LA the sober community is huge. There are all walks of life that come into the rooms of AA. You have got everyone from the top 1% to the man who can’t even scrape up a penny a day.
In the Big book of AA it states something about a group of people who would not otherwise mix. That is so true in my case. Since being in LA I have every type of friend possible. I have the rich millionaire, the famous movie actor, the homeless man, the ex-con and the homophobic.
It is great to have such a diverse group of friends that can all relate to just about each other’s stories. You would be surprised just what an alcoholic looks like. There is no face to alcoholism, but there is a stereotype of the alcoholic being the bum on the street. Just being in AA I have realized that, that stereotype is so far from off.
Out here in LA you are bound to bump into another person in recovery wherever you are. You can be in the local Starbuck, church, park, restaurant or even the super market.
When someone asks me what I am doing here in LA or why I moved I ask them if they want the truth or if they want me to make up a story. Everyone tells me the truth so I tell them, that I came out here to LA to continue my sobriety.
Almost everyone who I tell that to either knows someone else in recovery or is themselves in recovery. I have yet to have a bad experience or to be judged for being in recovery. It is great to have that kind of support and to be that welcomed.
I was in a restaurant just the other night where I was talking with my waitress who happened to be from right outside Philadelphia, and had moved here to pursue here acting career. She then asked me why I had moved out here and I explained that I was in recovery and moved out here after rehab to start my life fresh. She was so awesome about it saying how she thought it was so admirable for me to want to get better.
After diner as I was walking out she chased me down and gave me her number. She told me that two of her best friends are in recovery and that they usually go out on the weekends to go bowling or just hangout and watch movies, and welcomed me to join them any time since I was knew to the area. It was a great feeling that she understood and put herself out there to welcome me to LA.
I do not see a point in hiding or keeping my recovery a secret. For me when people say “we are only as sick as our secrets”. I feel like if I kept my recovery a secret I would avoid certain people, places or things. Further holding me back from where I really want to be to in life.