One of the biggest surprises of my sobriety has been my ability to form new friendships with other women. I've always had a small cluster of close female friends, but living a sober life has expanded my tribe and no one is more taken aback than me.
In late September, I had the opportunity to spend time being of service to my best friend who was undergoing treatment for her cancer at UCLA Medical Center. I reached out to a friend I've only "met" through social media and she allowed us to stay at her home for almost a week while she was traveling. The kindness of this gesture moved me to tears. I've never met her, and yet, I know her. I've read her writing and seen glimpses of her life and world through Instagram. We share mutual, in real life friends and if the table was turned, I know I'd offer my house up to her in a hot second.
Women you meet on the internet are good.
Another girlfriend of mine, along with her husband, picked up my son from school and took him to dinner and dessert on a school night, so that my husband and I could celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in San Francisco for the entire day and into the evening. It's hard to ask for help when it comes to taking care of my son now that I'm sober. I often feel like I have so much making up to do for all the times I wasn't around. My girlfriend didn't bat an eye when I asked and I think she quite enjoyed it, too.
Women who love my kid are friends for life.
I make an effort every single day to communicate with another sober woman. It's usually through texts, emails, irregular phone dates and social media, but I make sure to reach out at least once a day - no matter what. I do this for me and I do this for them. It helps me to stay focused on my sobriety and I'm pretty sure it helps them to feel seen and heard, too. I'm part of a daily gratitude circle that consists of eight women in recovery from alcohol. We've been emailing daily gratitude lists every day since April 1st of this year. It's such a beautiful way to get to know these women on a much deeper level and a pivotal piece to my own recovery.
Women in my gratitude circle help me to see the gifts of imperfection, the beauty of living simply and help me to find the good in hard or uncomfortable situations.
I've purposely made time for coffee dates, shopping and late afternoon rendezvous with friends over the last 30 days . The opportunity for connection on a grand scale for me comes every Tuesday evening when I attend my AA women's meeting. This weekly gathering is always buzzing with great energy, strong women and a chance for me to connect with my sponsor. After the meeting, many of the women go for tacos and deeper conversations where stories and phone numbers get swapped freely.
Women in recovery make me want to be a better person.
I flew to Las Vegas over the weekend to ring in my best friend's birthday, along with 11 of her closest girlfriends. It was magical to commune with other big-hearted, genuine, open women and feel nothing but love for them. I think it took my best friend getting cancer for me to want to get to know the women she now considers close friends, friends I'd never met before. I love Kacy so much and I'm learning that to love her is to also love her friends. She has a strong, mighty tribe and I'm not surprised by that. Getting to witness it firsthand really moved me. Seeing just how much she is loved and cared for by these women was like a salve for the part of me that wishes I could be beside her through every bit of her recovery. I'm so grateful these women are there for my friend when I can't be. As soon as I hugged each of these women, I knew we would become friends, too. Baring witness to how much they loved my best friend was the biggest takeaway from the weekend for me. Those women are givers of the highest order.
Women can heal.
The energy and supportiveness of the women in my life over these past 21 months has felt genuine and holy. I've done quite an overhaul on myself since February 3, 2015 and many in my circle of friends have watched my transformation in real time. I like knowing that I'm part of something bigger than myself and, for me, that something has been my lady tribe - sober women, female professors, lifelong friends, online friendships, texting with friends all over the country, local friends, the mothers I know through my son's school, my sponsor, my sister. While many of these ladies have been here all along, I feel like I'm seeing them through a new lens and noticing how powerful their presence is in my life is now that I'm out from under the veil of alcohol. I don't know. I feel more open to everything now that I've removed booze from the equation of my life and relieved that I don't have to overthink why these women are in my life, just that they are and it means everything to me.