Last week, staff and volunteers got to bear witness to the purpose and love of Recovery Café Longmont. A woman who had heard about us through a friend brought another woman to visit our Café. What started out as a site visit quickly proved to be a much more meaningful encounter.
The woman was a secretary at a local church, and the woman she brought was struggling with alcoholism. She didn’t know how to help this struggling woman, so she brought her to the Café.
The two women — the loving, guiding hand and the struggling woman — sat across from a RCL volunteer and staff member, both of whom had lived experience in recovery. Through tears, the struggling woman made a vulnerable confession of her drinking and her sustained losses. She had lost custody of her toddler-aged children, was on the brink of losing her second job in 6 months, and was becoming all-too familiar with the Boulder County Justice System. She was drinking every day, all day, and had all the familiar emotions of someone struggling with alcoholism — shame, anger, hopelessness, fear.
The group listened to the woman as she spoke through sobs and fragments of sentences and stories. Her speech was symbolic of her own brokenness. When her story was told and the weight lifted off her chest, the volunteer and staff member shared their own recovery experience, strength and hope with her as she held the hand of the woman who brought her. Suddenly, she wasn’t alone anymore. There were others who knew her pain and had a found a way out, and the woman who didn’t share her experience knew that a Kleenex, listening ear and a gentle mindful touch are powerful acts of connection. The woman told her story, and no one judged or backed away from her vulnerability.
The struggling woman made plans to meet the volunteer at a 12-step meeting that evening. She smiled, hugged and thanked all of the women repeatedly. The air was lighter after that hour-long conversation. The woman could breathe again. No, her problems weren’t resolved in that hour. But she wasn’t alone anymore. She had community, she had a plan and she had hope. This is what Recovery Café Longmont is all about.