Our Accounting & Administrative Assistant, Dawn, attended the Oxford House Convention in Washington D.C. on September 4th. She recounts her experience.
How did you get invited to go to the Oxford House Convention? We had a drawing in the chapter – anyone in any of the houses in our chapter could put their name in the hat and they drew 2 people to go. They drew my name!
How long have you lived in an Oxford House? Since I left The 24 in May of 2020. I went straight from The 24 to there.
What was your favorite session at the conference? The Women’s Conference because it was all women. It was really good. We were in the room with everyone from all the Oxford across the US. We sat at tables with people we didn’t know and got to know them. We did a craft together and really enjoyed talking about the different houses and where we are in our recovery. I really enjoyed getting to know women in recovery from different states. I had this misconception that I wasn’t going to get along with other women. I used to isolate myself and hang out with only men. I think women don’t share common problems in addiction with each other. Sharing solutions to a common problem creates lasting friendships in recovery. We bonded in our alcoholism or our addiction. Before that, it was not a thing to do because we would keep it secret and isolate, not know our worth and look at other women as competition. This was a new experience for me. I think everyone really wants to have that connection with other women. We are mothers, workers, we have families. It makes sense for us all to have this bond.
How long were you in Washington D.C. and tell me about the travel experience? We were at the conference in D.C. from Thursday through Sunday. I haven’t been on a plane since you could smoke on a plane! I got to the airport early like 6am in the morning. This couple was on my plane and they helped me get through security and they let me sit with them until others I was traveling with arrived. They even bought me a sandwich. They were Christian and understanding. I felt like God put them right in my path so I wouldn’t be scared. I was so nervous to travel, but I did it! I can take an Uber anywhere now. I can tell you how to go through TSA. I am so comfortable with travel now. I took off on faith and prayed.
Did you meet any new friends? I did! I met a lot of people who were in my chapter that I had never met before. I saw a few people from The 24 and was able to share a room with them. We buddied up together. On Friday, we were able to go to Capitol Hill and the White House. I just enjoyed myself. I had a good time with friends in recovery and we literally had a blast. I created a bond with people from different houses.
What is your biggest takeaway? Understanding the way Oxford works and how it is a continuation of the recovery process. Also, how to be a house in unity and not divided. How not to single people out, but to include people. Not only is this a place of recovery but this is out home. The entire dynamic works like that. We are all involved, we all have a position in the house and we are all equal. I learned a lot of new things and now I just want to be helpful and give back. It keeps me sober. It’s my service.
Anything else you want me to know? We were coming off the first flight and we had a layover in Houston. We were getting a coffee and we see this man who looks like a pilot. We went up to him and had so many questions: how long have you been flying? How high does the plane go? We keep walking and talking with him and realize he was our pilot. He said he has 6 months before he retires and assured us he was going to get us to D.C. safely. He must have talked to us for 20 minutes. He wanted to put our fears to rest. He said, “Always remember, in the sky, God always has my back and we are going to get there safely.” The entire trip God was there with me easing my fears. I came out of my shell this trip. I was super excited and honored to be able to represent my Oxford House.