I wouldn't be sober now if it weren't for the internet.
Maybe some people can do this completely on their own, but it can't be easy.
Johann Hari's Tedd talk on addiction (for more, see my post here) concludes with the words the opposite of addiction is connection. And connection is what AA have provided for alcoholics the world over, and what the sobersphere gives us today.
The reason I think connection is so crucial is that it is so very easy for us to give up on ourselves, to push the self destruct button in a moment of stress, fear, boredom or raging hormones. We're used to letting ourselves down, after all.
But, the more connections we have the more difficult it becomes to activate the ejector seat. Because we're letting down other people too. Our children. Our partners. Our AA sponsor. Our sobersphere buddies. And all of them have their hands out ready to catch us when we're falling.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I picture all of us round the world - so different in terms of culture, background and circumstance, but utterly united by common fears, experiences, hopes and dreams. It makes the world seem smaller, and our reach across it so much broader.
I remember feeling the same when I had my first baby. Buoyed up by all that serotonin and oxytocin, I felt 'at one' with all the other new mothers around the world.
Then the sleep deprivation kicked in, and I began to realise that mothers spend an awful lot of time criticising each other rather than supporting each other.
The sobersphere, however, is generally a really warm and accepting place. We look for similarities rather than differences, and we know (from bitter experience) that no-one is perfect.
We find the sober community when we're looking for help, then we hang around to give back. It's twenty first century karma.
Which is why I've found the news this week so shocking.
Fort McMurray in Canada has been burning for days. All 88,000 inhabitants have been evacuated. 1,600 of their homes, shops, schools and offices have been reduced to cinders.
In the old days I would have seen this news and felt a fleeting compassion for the people affected, then been jolly glad that I was okay, and carried on with my day.
But now I don't just see nameless strangers, I think of all those women like us. Women wrestling with all the day to day challenges of home, family and work, and dealing with issues like addiction, divorce, redundancy and so on. And now....facing this biblical style disaster.
And most of all I think of Anne and her family who live in Fort McMurray. Anne who has inspired all of us in the sobersphere by sharing her life, hopes and dreams (see her blog here) for the past two years. Anne who is safe, but must be dealing with the most unimaginable situation.
So, please send your love and strength to Anne. And Anne, if you find this post, point us in the direction of a funsdraising page so that your virtual community can do something to help rebuild your real one.
Love SM x