By: Roberta Romero


I love this time of year. When you wake up and the temperature may be 70 degree’s, but you can tell by the smell in the air and the feel of the sun, it’s Fall, not Spring. The cooler temperatures revive me and I like getting back into the routine of work and school for my kids. But now “school” means college and an empty nest.

This is my second year of a child free home. I won’t lie, the first year was a bit rough, mostly because I didn’t know what to expect, and worse, I had NO CONTROL over what would happen. That’s when I became especially grateful for the tools I learned at Residence XII. While my twin daughters launched into almost adulthood, I was able to lean into the 12-Steps and find support and community with my alumnae sisterhood.

I had no idea the gift of my kids leaving would reignite my fire for sobriety. This happened for two reasons. One, I had MORE TIME. I was surprised to see just how much more, after I realized I didn’t have to cook and clean and entertain for 5. Now it was just me and my husband! Wow, who knew I liked him so much-ha! And two, I had a network of Residence XII sober women I could engage with. Sometimes it was at meetings, sometimes grabbing coffee, and many times it was a simple phone call or text.

Over the years I had been told by my sponsor and others to build a network with my sober sisters. At the time I did as I was told, never thinking about the long term, I just followed by example. So day by day, meeting by meeting, year by year, I nurtured and grew my sober community. Yes, it helped me in the short term, but now that investment is paying off in ways I could never imagine.

When I think about it, my twins were 5-years old when I graduated out of Residence XII. My sober sisters have helped me guide them through puberty, high school and now launched into college. As my needs and emotional sobriety went through the wringer, my women came to my rescue. And as my sponsor points out, now I’m able to share my experience, strength and hope with others-this is the circle of recovery that sustains me.

So now, I’m taking flight into the next phase of my life. I hope you’ll join me!