Today, I’m announcing Voices in Recovery, a website that provides a place for people in recovery whose voices are not always heard to share their experience, strength, and hope. This project came about when I started looking for stories from agnostics, atheists, and other minorities and not being able to find them.
The site isn’t an AA site. I am someone who abused alcohol, drugs, people, and food. It helps me to hear that I’m not alone, so I decided to create a collection of stories to help others find their story. I want to all sorts of recovery stories, and I will label them accordingly. People who visit Voices in Recovery can easily find speakers to whom they can relate.
I’m asking people to record their story or type them if they want and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please be sure to let me know how to label your story, whether it be a story involving recovery from alcohol, drugs, self-harm, and if it’s the voice of an alcoholic, addict, Al-anon, etc.
Allow me to share some of my story as it may help explain why I am motivated to do this work.
My sobriety date is Mar 27, 2012. I met my sponsor while drunk in a meeting and a fellow member jokingly told me that a woman who was at the meeting, and who repeatedly had to reign in my drunken self, was now my sponsor.
I am grateful to him, she is an amazing sponsor. She never once told me I had to believe in God and never once told me but helped me through the steps and is still there for me today. After a couple of years, I started to explore the concept of my higher power in a different way. Up until then I was trying to find a definition that fit the entity I thought I had to believe in, but couldn’t—a God like those who were around me believed in.
At the suggestion of a friend, I considered starting an agnostic AA group. I attended a meeting in another city an hour and a half away named Agnostics and Others, in Raleigh NC. I spoke with the founder of that group and then myself and others co-founded a group in Fayetteville NC under the same name, Agnostics and Others. We had some support here but to my surprise we also had a lot of hostile opposition.
My view of AA changed drastically. There were people vocally wanting to stop the announcement of our group. People who used to say hello and hug me at meetings stopped talking to me altogether, some to this day still haven’t said a single word to me. I’ve had women say to my face that I couldn’t say certain things and basically make me feel unwanted in a program that helped save my life.
I stopped attending AA for about a year and started listening to speakers on the Internet. I love, love, love, hearing people share their stories even if the speaker is deeply religious. I still feel connected to their experience. For me it isn’t about trying to make people not believe in God and/or prayer. I feel like recovery is about showing love and support regardless of whether someone is deeply religious or like me, not religious at all.
I am an alcoholic, and addict, and bulimic. I no longer drink, or do drugs, or use food to control my life. When I share, and someone tells me (which they have) that I can’t talk about drugs or food struggles, but ONLY alcohol, then I’m not really being totally honest. That is why I want to include all kinds of recovery shares on this site. Because everyone deserves a life free of addiction.
It’s been several years since the Agnostics and Others meeting was created and there are still people who are trying to get rid of the group. Our group was on the intergroup agenda. I’m here for the love and support not the negative hate.