The Recovering Girlfriend Confluence…

Erin Schaden
5 min readMar 27, 2022


So I spent last night with two girlfriends. Then I spent the morning with them too. And I have to say that I am so grateful for the entrance of these two women in my life. Sober sisters whose journeys have led them to this geographic location and into a large gap in my heart.

To be clear, they do not replace The Tribe or Elizabeth or any of my other dear wonderful girlfriends. But they augment my life in ways that have been missing for a long time.

In early recovery I had running buddies, women that were in my life and if you saw one of us you saw the other ones too. We were in it together going through life, one meeting, one day at a time. Ups, downs, losses, gains. All of it. Sober, day after day. Holding each other up and sometimes back so that we didn’t kill someone, or say something that would make the lives of others harder or our own…

When I was drinking, I was so alone. And I felt so old. So fucking old at 25. And there was not one woman in my life that I trusted…because I was not trustworthy. My friends were men because they were easier and I always knew what they wanted. They were just easier to be with and they didn’t play games. Silly female games of who likes who better, who is fatter, thinner, richer, poorer. I just didn’t know how to play these games. This is not to say that I didn’t think like this; I was threatened but for the most part, I kept my insecurities to myself.

Since getting sober I have been blessed with close female friends. It is one of the greatest gifts of my recovery. I have The Tribe and they are my core, my heart and my soul. But most of them do not share my affliction. And it has been a long time since I really felt a part of a recovery circle of women. I have a lot of girl friends in recovery but not running buddies, not a “if you see one, you see the others” kind of deal in a very long time.

And I think, I pray that I don’t jinx it, but I think, that it is happening again. There is the core, two other women who make up the core, a trio. But there are others that swim in the periphery. Sometimes orbiting closer and sometimes floating away a bit. Never severing the connection, always connected but sometimes more distant.

And just like that, we are together, three (which is historically a horrible number of girls) but this time it works. I love them, I support them and I aspire to be more like each of them. We are all very different but there is this related core that seems to expand beyond the shortness of time we have known each other.

Today, they took me to brunch for my sobriety birthday after the meeting. Invited other women I am coming to love just like them. Bringing in this female energy, surrounding me with love and light. And I felt it today. I felt the love. And for someone who walked through life feeling misunderstood and alone for most of her life, this gift of being seen and heard and loved felt so fucking good.

Once upon a time, female friendships were the source of so much pain, heartbreak and misunderstanding. Today, that is mostly healed, evinced by my ability to be with these women, the two and the more and to love them with an open, loving heart. Wanting them each to be granted health, prosperity, love, friendship and joy. And endeavoring to do my best to give it to them. It felt good to have it reflected back today. Really life affirming for such a source of hardship to now be a bedrock of love, support, admiration and adoration.

And I think maybe I have finally grown up to see that there was never a competition, it was only insecurity that stopped me from being able to see and feel the love. I have been blessed with many great girlfriends in my life, and the only one that didn’t know that was me.

So today, after twenty-seven years, I am grateful for the females in my life, all of them. The ones that are close in geography, and the ones that are only close at heart. Thank you my sisters, all of you, the new and the not-so-new, the younger and the older. All of you have made me into the best version of woman I have ever been. I learn from your example, I ride the tide of failure and success with you, I go up when you do and when your heart breaks so does mine.

So to my new sober sisters thank you for being you. Thank you for loving me and showing up for me. Thank you for sound baths, inappropriate dinner conversations in family run establishments, for your weirdness that matches so perfectly with mine, for the sharing, for the laughter, for the brunches may they never cease (although sunny is preferable to cold), for the opportunity to grow beside you one day after the next. Thank you.

And to all the other women in my life: The Tribe, my mother, my daughter, all my Ventura women, my sponsor, my roommate from college, my DC women, my Maine sober sister Alex, Elizabeth my fellow intrepid author, Maria, Christina, my sponsees, my trainer, my female colleagues, my Santa Barbara gals new and old, and every woman I have ever come across from that day until this, thank you for teaching me, sometimes things that I didn’t want to know.

And to the women at the Del Ray Club in Bethesda, Maryland thank you for that day back in 1997, when I landed in your midst, angry and hurting, thank you for the magic that happened that day where you ceased being the enemy and became something else entirely: The foundation of all that is good and holy in my life.

Thank you God for the women. May they reign supreme lives and may we never forget that our femaleness is one of the best assets we have.



Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out for more.