The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”
– Johann Hari
As humans we are wired for comfort and will recoil from any discomfort which is why Addiction is such a pervasive disorder and is hard to treat. In fact, it happens to have a very poor recovery rate compared to other chronic conditions.
When life feels like it is giving out more than our share of what we can handle, it may not seem surprising that we will do anything to distract ourselves from the uncomfortable feelings that will steadily rise to the surface, until it is virtually impossible not to self sooth in ways that we have grown accustomed to.
It may start with having that drink you know will deliver that ‘oh so good’ feeling that you have been chasing all day. It may be more subliminal like a creative project such as working on your business and you may have forgotten that there is a family waiting for you to come home. Maybe it comes in the form of average modern-day behavior which is to lose many hours or perhaps most of your day zoned out on social media or the latest Netflix.
Whatever form it may come in for you, know that is a choice to distract yourself, disconnect and self sooth in a manner which may be the demise of you. Eventually, you may even convince yourself that you actually prefer these ‘activities’ than having real meaningful connection with the people you love.
Real connection means speaking the truth, taking a vulnerable risk and praying that someone will be there to catch you as you take the dive into the unknown.
Loneliness is not just a feeling but rather a condition and it is real and painful. To suffer is to be human, we feel that we are the only ones in the world who may be wondering; are we good enough or working hard to tame our inner critic while often comparing ourselves to each other, so that we feel better about ourselves.
How we view ourselves is critical. If we are feeling unlovable or believe we are better soldiering on by ourselves, we are missing out on the greatest joy of all; which is meaningful connection which may be the antidote to our loneliness.
But what if we created a new paradigm where we can share honestly, and be vulnerable in a safe container and know that we are completely supported for the greatest good of all?
This is the primary purpose of community and tribe. It is what has catapulted the success of 12-Step Recovery support groups world-wide.
Community may come in different forms. In Recovery circles there has been the emergence of different support groups have aswell. Yoga, 12YSR, SMART Recovery, Buddhist Recovery and She Recovers, to name just a few.
Tribe can come in many different forms. You may think of a tribe that has cultural or religious ties, but may also come in the form of support groups, families, friends, religious, spiritual communities, business masterminds, and simply bringing like-minded souls together to create real meaningful connections for the highest good of all.
In fact, it can have a positive impact on our health, and studies are now linking social ties to reduction of risk for disease by lowering blood pressure heart rate and cholesterol says Dr. Laura Klein, “that friends are helping us to live longer.”
This past year, I joined a Mastermind Group which focuses on supporting the female entrepreneur while leveraging the community, providing and receiving support. One of our past trips we contributed collectively to a house building project called Project Mercy in Tijuana Mexico, by giving of our time and resources.
The response was overwhelming for the family who received the house we built and to the 12 Souls who came together. We became a family that day, by putting the needs of others, before our own. We will forever remember when we handed this family the keys to their new home and the overwhelming emotions we all experienced and connected us, forever.
In my attempt to always grow and learn, last month, I attended the book launch of Lori Harder who speaks to this very subject in her latest book; A Tribe Called Bliss.
Lori speaks passionately about the necessity for tribe and without it we can be known to tear each other down as compared to build each other up, offering a vessel for each of us so we may reach our highest potential. In her book she offers a blue print for how you can start our own tribe and provides the structure to launch and run it successfully.
Sisterhood has been on the rise as it becomes more evident that we cannot get all our needs met from our primary relationships. In fact, I am my happiest when I’m with my tribe, because I am aligned in my integrity and know that I am unconditionally supported and connected to something far bigger than myself.
Community is not just available to Women, Men are coming together for connectivity and healing as well! Welcome to the 21st Century!
Now more than ever the climate is ripe to find a tribe or community and it has never been easier to do so. It may even be under your very nose or in your community. Look for opportunities in your workplace, or when you drop the kids at school, maybe it is a local 12 step meetings, or simply random connections that you get the intuitive knowing to pursue further.
Today, all you need to do, is turn to the social media arena or Facebook and you will find numerous like-minded groups of people with similar interests and more recently there have been plenty of opportunities to build those relationships on-line and develop off-line and nurture with meetups and live retreats.
The intimacy experienced when meeting in person after sharing intimately online translates beyond what most of us would have expected. The tribe provides us with a soft place to fall when times are hard, and a place to be celebrated when you are rocking it beyond what you could have imagined.
Next time you think no one will understand you and that you are better off alone, just remember that self-reliance is simply overrated. We are better together than apart!