Freedom and Joyful Recovery

wpid-20130915094649.jpgThe New York City premiere of The Anonymous Peoplepresented by The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, is tomorrow evening at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

More about the screening and what freedom and joyful recovery means in a bit.

My sweetie and I decided to come into the city early for some touristy stuff that we’ve never had the opportunity to do for all the years we’ve been coming here. On Sunday, after a fabulous night in the coolest hotel in lower Manhattan, we ferried out to Liberty Island to see the Grand Lady herself up close and personal.

Lady Liberty

There are many, many interesting facts I could tell you about her construction or her transport from France or how the journalist, Joseph Pulitzer, raised money to construct her base here on this side of the world while she was traveling in 214 cargo boxes.

She was dedicated in the New York Harbor in 1886 by President Grover Cleveland, former mayor of New York City. A bit of irony: A lady was dedicated as a symbol of freedom but no women were allowed on the island for the ceremony. Angry suffragists hired boats and got as close to the island as they could to protest.

While there are 354 steps to the crown, we huffed and puffed up 175 or so just to get to the base. Yes, we called it quits there. I’m not ashamed to admit it that my knees and feet were killing me.

Symbolism for you and me

Liberty, freedom and independence are the tenants of our American way of life. I loved learning little tidbits like the design of a broken chain partially hidden by her robes. Then there was the notion that she faces the southeast to greet the people entering the harbor by ship from the Atlantic Ocean to begin their new lives.

But it was the words I heard during our audio tour of the island and the statue that had the greatest impact. I suppose the feelings of the those first coming into the harbor to Ellis Island were written down somewhere and kindly folks recorded their impressions.

Most talked about the months and sometimes years that it took to venture between their old and new lives, about how they were scared and uncertain about what lay ahead for them.

They had endured abominable conditions just to see the symbol of liberty and feel the incredible rush of knowing they were home. More than that, hope and determination entered their hearts in a way they couldn’t have imagined. They felt an instant sense of pride and companionship for the road that lay ahead.

As a person in long-term recovery from the disease of addiction, I feel a kinship to all those brave souls who traveled through hell to arrive at the gates of their heaven.

When I sailed into the harbor of recovery, my own chains unshackled, leaving the old life behind. Although I was scared as hell, when I saw the light burning and the bright faces waiting for me at my first 12-step group, I knew with no reservation that I had arrived home.

I’ll hold memories of Lady Liberty close to my heart, along with all she represents, tomorrow night as we celebrate our own form of freedom. Don’t worry if you can’t make the NYC premiere of The Anonymous People, there are literally dozens of screenings being shown across the country.

Learn more at

P.S. For those of you who keep track of such things, I’m only writing one blog post per week for the next couple of months. I’m trying to practice some self-care while working and taking my first grad school class.

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  1. Galen Pearl says:

    When I lived in Paris, my apartment was not far from the statue in the middle of the Seine that was the smaller model of the Statue of Liberty. Whenever I walked down to the river, I always thought about the connection between our two countries.

    • Beth says:

      Yes, Galen, it was fascinating to learn the history about how she was designed, constructed and shipped. My parents always told me that the older I got, the more I would be interested in history. Darned if they weren’t right!

      Hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful weekend!

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