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I feel like I have a secret. That secret is the most amazing group of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and we have many nicknames. We call it our tribe, our squad, spiritual gangsters and on and on it goes. When one of us is down, someone will start a group text and we all pile on the love. We have developed truly unique and priceless friendships. There have been many tears, but not all have been sad. So many times these tears are healing tears. The kind you get when you realize that all you ever wanted was to belong and feel valued…and that you know in your heart that you really are.

I have watched these people walk to the edge of disaster, stand at the abyss, and through the pull of love, they come back. I have feared for my friends and prayed to God for their return. Some I have lost, but most have been saved. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without them. I shudder to think of it. These are people who give my life meaning that can’t be fully explained and joy so big I think my heart will burst. We are not a glum lot! I have laughed so hard my face hurt. The kind of laughter that bursts from your face so fast you don’t even have a chance to control it. The kind of laughter where you look over at your friends, make eye contact and you know they know you know. Ya know?!

This is a group that meets earrrrrrly. Every day too. The 6am, willing to go to any length, badass, full of deep wisdom and humility kind of group you would ever want to be a part of. The kind where everyone is welcome and included. Maybe it’s the time of day that filters out the bullshit. Maybe setting the time so early attracts the ones that want it the most. But whatever “it” is, it’s fucking awesome. In my 22 years of recovery, I’ve never experience anything quite like it.

My deepest and sincerest hope, is to share a little of what we have. Having said that, this is not “affiliated” with any 12 step program. This my friends, is an outside issue. I know some people will get mad. I know some people will be happy. I also know that every decision we make is either rooted in fear or love, and just for today, one day at a time, I choose love.

I’m choosing to share as much as I can, respecting the appropriate boundaries, with the hope that love will heal what hurts, and to get this message to as many people as possible. And while those of us sharing are not professional therapists, counselors or experts, we can share our stories of recovery and lessons we have learned to bring hope to those who have lost it. Take what you like and leave the rest.

I do hope you join us, as we trudge this road to happy destiny.

Arlina