Community is certainly one of the biggest buzz words in the recovery field now a days. And for right reason. Finding a healthy community where you can share your life with other individuals is one of the greatest keys to long-term healing.
Why? Because when you elevate vulnerability & transparency over isolation & secrecy, the former will always win out over the latter. Every time.
But as powerful as the word “community” is, I think to some degree it’s been thrown around so much that we lose the actual meaning of the word. What does community actually mean?
I started to think of the root word inside community: “commune”. This got me even more curious. Then, a simple dictionary search came up with a very specific definition:
“to share one’s intimate thoughts or feelings”
Broken down even further underneath the definition is the origin of the word:
I definitely wasn’t expecting the dictionary to shed that much light on a term I’ve used so frequently in recovery! But the implications are huge! The kind of community we should experience in recovery is so much more than a meeting. So much more than a check-in. So much more than a bunch of men (or women) sitting in a room talking to reach other.
It’s the literal unveiling of my heart for all to see. It’s being willing to speak the things inside that hurt the most. It’s sharing what makes me angry and what drives me crazy. Community isn’t merely meant to be a social club. It’s meant to be a safe place where we can join our lives with others and we can see transformation happen.
My first true exposure to real community came almost 13 years ago from within a small group of men who met to find sexual purity together. The key word there is TOGETHER. Thinking back on that group, there were some of the manliest of men I’ve ever met. Tough guys to say the least. But one thing every man in this group shared: A mutual respect, love, and dependence upon the group.
We all NEEDED each other.
I quickly learned that it wasn’t just that I needed this group, but that this group needed me. That’s community! And that’s where real life is found. I’ve said it many times (and I’m sure I’ll say it many more) that a man cannot find long-term success in recovery without being apart of a community. Whether that is in person or online.
Zoom and other online video services have made it incredibly easy to share community with others online from the privacy of your own home. I’m so thankful for Small Groups Online, which offers weekly online Zoom meetings for men, women, spouses, pastors, and many others to meet together to find freedom & healing. If you haven’t checked out SGO, go to the website to get a walkthrough of what you can expect from Small Groups Online.
It’s time for all of us to step back and re-examine what we’ve always thought of as community. Community is probably not what you think it is. It’s so much more. And it’s happening as we speak. I want to encourage you to find a few safe, healthy, loving people you can meet with and begin sharing your story with. If you don’t feel like you have an abundance of those people in your life, try checking out a service like Small Groups Online or another online support group or program. They are out there.
You were made to know and be known by others. It’s not easy opening up. It takes practice. It takes time. You can do it. Go do it today.
Frank is passionate about helping individuals live with sexual integrity. He also works alongside his wife Tracey in helping spouses who have been devastated by their partner’s addiction. Frank & Tracey live in beautiful southern Delaware with their two children: Nathan and Addison.