Since I got sober in 2004 I’ve moved 12 times. Prior to getting sober I had moved over 20 times. You’d think after you get sober, you stick around for a while as your life isn’t bat shit crazy anymore. One of the many gifts when you get sober is that you aren’t shoving everything you own into heavy duty garbage bags, tossing out furniture because you’re too lazy to deal with it and leaving a messy dirty apartment in your wake. I’d like to think that I became a much more organized and methodical mover after I got sober, but no - not really. I tend to de-clutter more, but now I have more clutter; more books (about recovery), more boxes of step work and journals, and many more tres important spiritual healing things that I must cling to. Besides the new spiritual library, there are now God Boxes, Coin boxes, AA scrapbooks and boxes of saved “Sobriety Birthday” cards. I have, however, become much more strategic about my moves as I’m not skipping out on roommates or leases anymore. I’m a bit more accountable to myself and others now. My moves actually mean something, they have purpose. The early sober ones were for nicer and bigger apartments; apartments that had an Ocean view, closer to the local Clubhouse and affordable as my piggy bank had savings since I wasn’t spending all my money on drugs and booze. I was now a real grown up. Yay for me!
My 4th move in sobriety was the big one. The cross-country I need to go back to Philly and move in with my sick Mother, find a real job and become reacquainted with the snowy winter wonderland move. It had been 10 years and I needed to do the right thing. I needed to be that sober daughter to my mother and siblings and establish a life back home again. If I wasn’t sober, I’m sure I wouldn’t have left San Diego, as my selfish self would have had a zillion excuses not to move back. So, I sold all my furniture, packed up my Acura sedan and carved out just enough space in the back for Lucy to curl up and slobber out the window with her ears flowing in the wind. I cried from Encinitas until I reached the Arizona border. I then heard Elton John on the radio, “Philadelphia Freedom”. I got it. Ok.
Lucy and I drove for 5 days taking the southern route and within days of our arrival the Snowmaggedon blizzards of 2010 took over and within 4 days there was over 60 inches of snow. What had I done? Reality set in and there was no more walking over to Swami’s beach for my evening meditations. My main respite was that Lucy loved the snow and she could run around all day in it. I was miserable, broke, cold, and not connected in local AA. I was homesick for my San Diego scene. The day after we arrived though I ran to the local clubhouse and did what my San Diego peeps told me to do. I shared about where I was and how I had just moved home and that I was living with my sick mother. I didn’t have a job nor was I happy to be home. The thought of a drink sounded pretty good. I hadn’t been to a meeting in over a week and my grim reality was setting in. After the meeting women ran over to me like I was a newcomer and gave me their numbers, told me which meetings to check out and told me to keep coming back. I was almost 6 years sober and I felt like a newcomer, except I wasn’t in an alcoholic fog, I wasn’t crying or hung over and I wasn’t as vulnerable. I had some time. I knew the deal. I felt raw and green. I spent 3 years in Philly and immersed myself into the Malvern Center Fellowship – I made women friends, I got a sponsor – I reconnected with old friends (who were now sober) and I met my now husband. Mission Accomplished! We left Malvern in 2013 and spent a year in Baltimore before moving to the Sunshine State.
Our move to Florida was fueled by the we are so done with Winter. It was my 11th move in sobriety, my 4th move to a new Fellowship. This move was no different than the other moves, so I had to put myself out there again and tell the Fellowship what was going on with me and open up again to someone new. I was able to get a new sponsor pretty early on and she was exactly what I needed. God put her in my life for a reason and I felt like I knew her for years. I could tell her anything and everything and not feel judged. She got me and I got her. That’s how this deal works; you have to keep coming back and realize that it works if you work it.