A number of the members from around New Zealand (and one from Australia!) had organised themselves to travel to central NZ where I live to hook up for the weekend. They organised their own flights and car rides... booked into the same motel where possible (some even sharing rooms!) and partook of a series of meals and get-togethers in cafes and restaurants.
I met up with them for a late lunch yesterday at a pub in town. They'd organised a private area and we came together for 3 hours.
I shared many warm hugs.
I shed many tears.
I heard many tales.
I listened to singing, poetry and prose.
I spoke briefly and answered many questions.
I had numerous moments when I paused mentally, looked around and really took stock of what was happening. Here I was sitting in a room full of people - most of whom I had never met in person before - and I felt incredibly comfortable and in the right place.
I felt like I was with my tribe.
The truth is my whole life I have been fiercely independent. I’ve never been what you could call a ‘joiner’. I didn’t play sports so I wasn’t in any teams. I never managed to stick at any music groups or anything like that. I didn’t do that many organised extra activities. I didn’t feel like I fitted in at high school... I always used to joke that I had ‘job commitment phobia’ because I would chop and change my jobs so often...and mentally I've always kept myself on the outer. I always felt like I was ‘pretending’ to be one of the gang – whether it be the 'cool kids' gang at school or the TV journalists gang at work or whatever.
I've always felt in a bit of a bubble. Booze helped me maintain the bubble I think. It put a wall up between me and everything else. It helped me to not care - a self protection mechanism. If I don’t care about this group or this job or this whatever then if it goes it can’t hurt me.
I was always trying to stay one step ahead of things going.
Maybe this is why when I set about getting sober I embarked on it as a purely solo mission. Me in my bubble fixing myself. I don’t need anyone else. Fiercely independent me.
Little did I know that getting sober would finally lead to me finding my place. The group I belong to that I don't have to pretend that I feel a part of. My tribe.
To be sitting in that room yesterday felt incredible. I felt at home. Really at home.
Love, Mrs D xxx