I had just turned 21 when I entered the SA fellowship. I immediately knew SA was the program for me but I didn’t feel comfortable in the local fellowship since everyone else was at least twice older than I was. Fortunately for me there was one other young adult at the meeting who was visiting the country. He became my very first SA sponsor and dear friend in the fellowship. Still I considered my age as an obstacle and even an excuse against some suggestions fellows gave to me. For instance, some fellows from my home group suggested surrendering my computer and internet usage because I kept relapsing with those technologies. “Easy for you maybe. But unlike you, I am brought up with the internet!”, I said. I was astonished when another young newcomer joined our meetings who had given up his internet with ease. He shared that he just tried it out for one week and then stuck with it. One week sounded doable for me. One week at a time. I was sad when he left the fellowship and even more when my sponsor’s vacation ended soon after.
A long sober fellow from my home group introduced me to some young adults from other countries. We started a whatsapp group for young adults which is still active today and currently has more than 60 members! I was so happy to finally be in contact with other young members. We shared experience, strength and hope with each other but also funny jokes, anecdotes and memes.
When the twelve steps were read aloud in the meetings I couldn’t imagine myself sponsoring any time soon. Who would want to be sponsored by someone younger than himself?! I certainly didn’t want to. But as I worked the steps and shared my experience on the meetings someone asked me to sponsor him. I assumed that he thought I was older than him. I remember shying away from any topic that could reveal my age, like the fact that I was still living with my parents.
Eventually I learned to live the slogan “Focus on the similarities instead of the differences”. Calling members from the meetings, even the very “old” and “weird” ones, has helped me a lot in experiencing that they are actually very much like me! I began feeling very comfortable in the fellowship and joined in all the fun activities we organised like going to the cinema, museums, concerts, etc.
After the latest SIM convention our whatsapp group for young adults has seen a tremendous growth. We even started a weekly Young Adult Zoom Meeting!
Now, with over 4 years of SA sobriety and recovery, I have gradually received wonderful gifts such as a full-time job, mortgage, drivers license, lease car and even a bald head with glasses. It has also been a wonderful experience to hand over the title of being the youngest member of my home group. Even that service position has a limited term. I still have a few years to enjoy being a ‘young adult’ according to the definition made in our group conscience. But you know, growing up in SA is great; each day it’s getting better and better.
Ferdinand, The Netherlands