Finding safety and serenity at the Soul Sangah

The Soul Sangah is an intimate event rooted in the tradition of twelve-step support groups but with a broader door that is open to everyone. It meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month, and they had their first group this past January.

If you are struggling with addiction, the Soul Sangah welcomes you with open arms. And if you are struggling with life, the Soul Sangah welcomes you, too. If you are lonely and want to be around people who will listen, this group is there for you.

Timothy John Buford and Sara Joren are the two Shala members who co-facilitate the group. Like many of the connections taking place at the Shala, their partnership happened through serendipity, with a little help from GV.

“I knew I wanted to hold space to support members of the Shala, but I didn’t have any idea about what the group would look like,” said Sara. Going on to say, “GV introduced me to Tim the night before the Shala annual planning meeting, and the following morning, we were a team.”

Sara is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri and Colorado and certified in addiction counseling in Colorado. She describes herself as “incidentally sober,” meaning her life’s current trajectory and the people she surrounds herself with don’t involve drugs or alcohol. Tim is in recovery and has a good length of sobriety under his belt. He’s part of other twelve-step groups, and he has led and facilitated traditional twelve-step groups.

“Some of the twelve-step groups have a lot of structure, and people need that,” Tim said. “With the Soul Sangah, we wanted to break down the format to have the least amount of structure that still allowed us to hold space for a broader group of people struggling with a wider range of issues.”

Both Tim and Sara are fascinated by etymology, and so their first group only used one word for a topic: “disciple.” Not in the sense that one must be disciplined, but in the original sense of the word discipulus, which means “student, learner, or follower.” They asked the group to consider what they might want to learn or follow and opened the floor from there.

The Soul Sangah embraces confidentiality and anonymity, but without saying who was at the first meeting or what was said, at a few people found a bit of magic in their first meeting this past January. “It was a really good meeting,” was the refrain I heard from multiple members. The members I spoke with all said they planned to return next month. And they encouraged me to come, too. And now I encourage you.

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