Kimiko values inclusion and believes the best way to help people is to meet them where they are. Though, she may prefer a more secular and practical approach to recovery for herself; she can easily adjust and relate to someone who values spirituality, and who is comfortable using spiritual language to describe their experience. As she shares her story in this episode, we learn that Kimiko has turned what were once personal liabilities into assets that help with her recovery and daily life.
Key Points Discussed
- The value in sharing our stories.
- Importance of inclusion.
- Growing up in a diverse family and being exposed to other cultures at a young age.
- The impact of her mother’s mental illness and how not discussing it, further added to the stigma.
- Developing coping mechanisms to survive.
- Initial addictions to food and relationships.
- Her mother’s death impacts her drinking.
- Learning self-compassion.
- A therapist urges her to get sober.
- AA meetings in Los Angeles
- Don’t judge all of AA based on the experience of one meeting.
- Adjusting to the move from Los Angeles to Savannah
- Discovering the secular AA meeting in Savanah.
- Initial reservations about secular AA meetings.
- How secular AA helped enrich her sobriety.
- Sponsorship being about the person she sponsors, not about her.
I learned to smile and be the people pleaser and all those things growing up so I could survive. I used food as my first addiction to calm myself.
I found an outlet when I was younger to express myself creatively and I learned how to meld into whatever was around me. Just figure out what you needed, and I would be that person. It was hard to find out who I was.
I started drinking when my mom died. That relationship has always been a painful one for me, and one that I am still coming to terms with.
It got to be where the most important thing in the world, I was endangering. I was driving with my kid in the car. He was little. He was 2 ½. It was the one thing I thought I was going to do perfectly, I was going to do my best, and I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of that.
I am sober today and I have soft spot for being a sponsor to women with babies and children of all ages.
I became very comfortable in AA in Los Angeles. We had a small community, particularly a small community of women who were Buddhist, the Loving Kindness Group.
The thing about secular AA, and I have to say, I have more sponsees and I am more involved in AA. I ended up starting a women’s secular meeting …. It strengthened my sobriety. My sobriety right now is so much stronger, and richer and deeper.
The women that I’ve met in secular AA and the sponsees that I have had, have been kind of the anchor of my life.
And the way I sponsor has changed too. It’s more about who I am sponsoring than about me and what I have to say, or following the book.
My personal opinion is that AA needs to open up. I see it changing slowly, but they are holding on tightly to how it used to be.
This episode is the edited version of a livestream interview conducted April 2, 2022, on the Beyond Belief Sobriety YouTube Channel. You can join us every Saturday at 12:00 PM Eastern for live conversation.