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As we go to print with this Journey issue #14, I’m reflecting on this past year.

Last year at this time, it seemed like my life was a 1,000 piece puzzle that someone had taken out of the box but there was no cover to show the picture the pieces were supposed to make.

We had just gone into lockdown, everything seemed scary, and there was no clear visual of what life would look like.

This morning I realized it was similar to the early days of recovery. All I knew was that I didn’t want to keep living the way I was living, doing what I was doing, and yet I didn’t know things could be any different.

Thankfully, I landed in a half-way house, Evodia, and the staff there gave me a framework by which to start living a new way of life. The women there (12 of us) and those who showed up for support provided a picture of what life “could” look like.

I “could” feel comfortable in my own skin, I “could” find stacked moments of peace and serenity on a daily basis—this type of living seemed more accessible to me by virtue of others’ sharing their personal experiences.

But first things first.

For me that meant a focus on my physical and emotional well-being—a stable and safe place to live and making informed decisions on healthy choices that were now available to me.

It meant surrounding myself with people who had been where I had been but weren’t living in that world anymore, and taking the suggestions they offered on my new path.

My initial thought was that I was so different. That I had led a very different life and didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. But the reality is that many of us feel that way. We call it “terminal uniqueness” and it’s common in the recovery community.

But eventually, I found my people, my peers. Eventually, I found others I could connect with on a deeper, spiritual level and today I am still a seeker and grateful for my own path.

For some of us, finding and building community with our peers takes a few extra steps, and in this issue we look at various accessibility challenges and successes.

Amy Paradyz explores several of these groups in Accessing Recovery Supports. In Coming to Faith, Niki Curtis writes about letting go of past personal experiences to access a faith that works.

Recovery is a process of change and change is constant. When we participate in community, we’re not alone at any time. Our excerpt article from the book Stealth Camping with Me and Hundreds of My Closest Friends, is from an anonymous traveler who has attended AA meetings in 48 different states.

In our next issue, we’ll debut a new column, “The Anonymous Path,” personal recovery stories with first name/last initial only—for those who want to share their lived experiences recovering in a 12-step community while respecting the longstanding tradition of anonymity.

And finally, a big welcome to Bruce Campbell, our new Northern Maine Accounts Coordinator with decades of personal recovery in addition to program and community building experience.

Our goal is to be available statewide by the end of 2021 and with this issue, we start expanding into the Bangor area!