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Where It All Started by Ashley N.

Where It All Started by Ashley N.

I moved back to the area where I grew up at the beginning of the pandemic. I got clean in Tampa and my homegroup had been in Tampa for the last 15 years, so moving away from my support network was a bit scary. I had attended meetings in my hometown’s area many times in early recovery, so I already knew people there, but things were much different in 2020 because all of the 12-step meetings were on Zoom. I didn’t get a chance to connect with anyone in person for quite some time after moving back home and I was feeling very disconnected. But as always, God had something great planned.

Right before the New Year one of my friends in recovery (who lives in my hometown) approached me about supporting a new meeting that was starting there. I didn’t think much of it at the time but assured her I would attend. I went to the first meeting and to my surprise, the meeting location was literally across the street from the house I had lived in while in high school and college. There were about 20 people at the meeting. It was nice to be at a meeting in person, see some familiar faces and meet people I had not met before. I went to the meeting the following week and there were a not as many people there, but just about enough that everyone got to read a reading and the hour was consumed with many different people sharing. After attending the meeting for a few weeks, I decided to make that meeting my homegroup.

That meeting has been my homegroup for almost 2 years now. The weekly attendance varies from anywhere from 10 people to 2 people – just enough to have a meeting! Sometimes I get frustrated because I chair the meeting, read ¾ of the readings, make announcements and do the keytags, and then there are other times that I am so grateful to be a member of a homegroup across the street from the place where I was the first time I picked up a drug. God truly has a sense of humor – one that I don’t always think is funny, other times I can see the irony in and say “I see what you did there, God.”

There have been a handful of times that someone has walked into my homegroup that I grew up with. I have memories of playing outside with them, going to their birthday parties and having sleepovers at their house, long before either of us had ever picked up a drug. Talking with these old friends after the meeting really gave me clarity on why I was there and each one of those interactions have been spiritual awakenings for me. God always knows what he is doing and today I am grateful for the opportunities to have spiritual experiences.

My name is Ashley and I am an addict. My clean date is April 4th, 2006. My homegroup is At the End of Road on Tuesday nights at 6:30 pm in Mulberry, Florida. I hope to see you at a meeting soon!

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