The modern-day sober virtual community has given me access to meet people from around the world in recovery that I likely wouldn’t have crossed paths with. I have always found benefit in connecting with people in recovery with approximately the same amount of time or more than what I currently have.
With this two-year-old new access card, I’m finding new ways to connect with like-minded people in recovery that also have shared interests and long-term recovery. Finding long-term women in recovery, that you share multiple things in common, is like being granted access to a lush valley in the mountains that is full of Unicorn farms. That is why I am so excited about this new monthly series, Time Takes Time, with my good friend and Calm Coach Lane Kennedy.
Lane and I have been developing our friendship virtually since late last spring 2021. We’ve never met in person and that really doesn’t matter. Over time, our contact has become more frequent between the Clubhouse app, emails, text messages, FaceTimes, Zooms, and Marco Polo. We’ve even watched TV shows together from the comforts of our own individual homes. More than once! If we lived in the same city, we would add regular in-person contact to the list of ways we nurture our friendship. I have zero doubts.
Lane’s voice is like butter and I find her tone incredibly calming. Her language is engaging, insightful, articulate, and sometimes challenging. (which I like) When I spent time thinking about why I feel such a strong connection to her, what always comes up for me is the fact that she’s been sober even longer than I have … by a decade. As the year 2021 came to an end, Lane began her 25th year in long-term recovery. I never dreamed I would get to the length of time I have currently. And when I think of where I will be a decade from now, I wonder what that will look like. Who will I be? Will I be alive? Are my parents still alive? Is my son ok? Will I still be sober?
I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. I literally have to take my sobriety one day at a time. The longer I stay sober, it’s become harder and harder to find other women in long-term recovery. Lane and I decided to loosely define long-term as 10+ years and longer of clean/sober time.
So why is this important to me?
I adore connecting with people in early recovery. My personal definition of early recovery is the first five years. But, that wouldn’t have been my definition when I was three years sober. And by sober, I mean sober-sober. (if you know, you know.)
Around the five-year mark is when numerous things fell into place that created a big shift in my life. My 10th year of sobriety also had a shift that was more like an earthquake, and a story for another time. In May of 2021, I celebrated 15 years. I shifted so much I never left my house and launched a sober multi-media online self-published magazine thanks to a global pandemic that started the year before.
Also, side note, it feels incredibly weird to write about March 2020 as something that happened two years ago. Is it just me, or is time different now? And by different I mean, I’m more thoughtful about how I spend it.
Unless you’ve experienced these significant shifts of time paired with a change in course of your life, it’s harder to fully connect with someone else that hasn’t had the same experiences. Ok, not harder, just different. But talking with another person, like my friend Lane Kennedy, who’s had similar significant shifts at similar times in her recovery, a lightbulb went off. For both of us.
As much as we love having recovery talks with people in early recovery, it’s not the same as talking to someone with the same amount of time, or more. Then I realized, when I was in early recovery, talking to someone with 15 years or 25 years was always different than talking to someone else in early recovery. Because times takes time. You can’t buy your way there faster. There’s no book, public speaker, podcast, retreat, or coaching program that can accelerate your growth experience like actual time. Authentic-time can not be faked.
Time is not the only factor
But time isn’t the only factor. You have to layer in spiritual practice and spiritual growth. A belief in something greater than yourself. If done properly, you become more concerned about helping others instead of only thinking of your own selfish needs. You practice faith continually over the years, which naturally ebbs and flows. Some years are better than others. Some memories of the early years fade and you have a new way of living. You want to talk about it with someone who gets it. Actually, in comparison, your problems get really classy compared to your pre-sober problems. Lane has the get-it factor.
This is why I’m excited to partner with her on a new monthly series called Time Takes Time. Anyone can be an active listener to the conversations. But the conversations are between the old-timers. People that have put in the time.
Think about it this way. You will always remember the group of people you went to school with whether it be elementary, high school, college, etc. Even when new people come into your life. If they graduated the same year of high school as you did, you have a bond. And you immediately share in at least one shared life experience. (Shout-out to all my Centralia Tigers! Class of ’93)
The opposite of addiction is connection. That’s a phrase frequently mentioned in recovery circles. And, the connection with others that have the get-it factor on specific topics, can change the power of the conversations based on the shared experiences of time.
Time Takes Time is going to be spaces in virtual places for old-timers to talk about all the old-timer things. Think of it as a virtual Sober Senior Center. We enjoy the connection with each other and the uniqueness that has to offer, and we really love to see visitors. (Like, a lot!)
My friendship with Lane is a sisterhood. I never had an older sibling. Sometimes I imagine this is how that might feel. In addition to her smooth as lucite voice, she also has great hair, stylish frames, and is almost always wearing a signature neck scarf. It suits her because she’s a recovered woman comfortable in her own skin. Something I’ve made a lot of progress on, but still have a long way to go. It’s also like a team. She’s on the varsity team, while I’m over here hustling on the Junior Varsity sidelines looking up to her.
Friends, we hope you enjoy this first Time Takes Time conversation. We’ve been building a sober database of old-timers from Instagram from all over the country and around the world. Different backgrounds, different cultures. Plus, of course, our own in-person connections that were collected over the years of pre-Covid days. Connections will be made and conversations will flow. And, hopefully, we’ll all grow in whatever ways we’re supposed to.
We hope you decide maybe you want to follow along too, or perhaps you can’t wait to tell us the year you’re the class of.
Yours in service,
Alysse Bryson, Class of 2006, and Lane Kennedy, Class of 1996
Connected Calm Life With Lane Kennedy
Welcome to a little time. A special episode dedicated to Time. In this episode, I’m joined with previous guests — we share and answer your questions. Enjoy!
- Sober at 18
- Does drinking take the edge of life?
- Finding my own way, my path that feels right for me
- How to use the fellowship to save your life
- What do you do when your hit with cravings or darkness?
- Pandemic living
- Online recovery does it work long-term?
Special Guests include: Alysse Bryson, Founder of The Sober Curator, Amy Liz Harrison, Author Eternally Expecting, Catherine Just, Artist, Photographer, and Spiritual Guide, and Kristina Dennis, Recovery Coach (all of these women are also sober moms)
PLEASE NOTE: In this case, Long Term Recovery is being defined as 10+ or more of sober/clean time
Connected Calm Life Host: Lane Kennedy, Sober Curator – San Francisco