By Alejandra Hamel
After completing my first stint in rehab a year ago, I came to a BIGVISION event for the first time. I was really nervous walking into an event where a lot of people already knew each other. Many already felt more comfortable socializing sober and didn’t feel like newbies in the recovery community. Today, I feel grateful that I came to an event despite my anxiety, and I’m excited to begin firsthand helping others seeking recovery. I look forward to spreading the word about our events and why it’s so beneficial to be a part of them.
BIGVISION works to break the stigma of addiction and host fun, varied sober events in New York City for young people in recovery. The organization was started by Eve Goldberg after she lost her son to an accidental opiate overdose in 2014. I’ve attended many events — from adrenaline-filled trapezing to energetic cooking school, cozy knitting, and spending a breezy evening on a catamaran — and the best part is that all the events have been safe, away from the alcohol and drug-fueled social outlets I frequented during my teens and in college. I’ve met incredible people that know what it’s like to go to a sobriety meeting for the first time, or to tell your parents that you’re struggling and need more help. That makes all the difference: when you feel less alone in your experience.
I believe that the hardest part about attempting to navigate life as a sober person in your 20s (though it is hard at any age) is that you are bombarded by a list of questions in your head that can feel stifling to say the least. These include:
- Will I ever have fun again?
- Do I have to ditch all of my old friends?
- Will I ever not feel bitter that I can’t indulge on Super Bowl Sunday, or have drinks to cut the edge off during a first date?
- What is sobriety really going to be like for me?
- Will I be too awkward sober?
For people who have spent their formative years partying, associating bonding with friends and family with drinking and meeting up with old friends to include recreational drug use, these questions are jarring and overwhelming to confront. Eve has created a sober network that recognizes these questions are pressing, powerful, and persistent while working to create a way to talk back to them. BIGVISION shows those in recovery they can still have fun, try new things, break out of their comfort zone, and meet new people. Eve has shown me that life doesn’t have to stop being fun after you get sober.