The Fab Five

How a group of strangers came to CITC for help with sobriety—and found a family

Lillian Grant sat down next to a stranger in the Nat’uh lobby and felt compelled to invite her to Warrior Down,* CITC’s weekly recovery talking circle.

That stranger was Lulu Bradley, who was scared about embarking on her sober journey. Meeting someone who was on the same journey helped her make the first step.

Maria Legend also joined Warrior Down—and discovered a secret sister in Lillian: Both women were Tlingit and were about the same age. With Lulu, they began taking beading and skin sewing classes.

Vince Goodlataw had just gotten out of treatment for substance misuse when he joined the Warrior Down group; his wife, Davina, was still in outpatient treatment when she started accompanying him. Soon, Vince was getting texts from his new “sober buddy,” Lillian.

Before long, all five of the new friends had a group text going.

“It’s not just friends—it’s family. This is family,” Davina said as she looked around at the other members of the “Fab Five,” a nickname given to the group by CITC’s Navigation team when they saw how close the new friends had grown. “I’m really happy that we’ve met one another because if we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t be where we are right now.”

Davina and Vince know firsthand how important it is to have sober, supportive friends. Both had sought treatment in the past. While they each achieved sobriety before, the lack of a good network of sober friends took its toll.

“At CITC, we’ve met more people that are sober than we ever have,” Davina said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had this much respect [given] to us or had anyone even try to care. I didn’t even know what friends were until I came here.”

Davina Goodlataw, Lulu Bradley, Lillian Grant, Maria Legend, and Vince Goodlataw all came to CITC as strangers–then became fast friends who supported each other through their recovery journeys.

Maria remembers first meeting Davina and Vince when they joined the talking circle recovery group. She had come to CITC ready to focus on herself.

“It was different this time,” she recalled. “I was more serious about my recovery. People like Lillian were very supportive and encouraging.”

Maria was so grateful for the encouragement she received from her new friends and from CITC that today she’s working on paying forward that encouragement to others. She recently earned her certification as a peer support professional and hopes to work at CITC, providing recovery support and guidance for others.

“These four were my safety people,” Lulu shared. At first, it was sometimes hard for her to attend recovery meetings. But she would text the others and find out who was going—and knowing she would have a friend around made things easier.

“Even when they weren’t there, I was like, all right, they’re here with me in spirit,” she said.

A lot has changed for the “Fab Five.” They are all taking steps to move forward in their individual journeys. But they still have the group text; they still meet, on occasion, for beading class or just to hang out.

“I’ll text you,” Lillian promised as the group collected their things and got ready to go their separate ways. According to the others, everything started with Lillian—as the “magnet” who brought them all together.

“I don’t know what made me feel like I needed to talk to Lulu, that first day,” Lillian admitted.

Whatever it was, she’s still reaching out. “I tell everybody, ‘You should apply, you should come to group. It’s fun, you’ll learn new things. And you’ll make new friends.’”

Ready to make new, sober friends? Check out one of the CITC Recovery Services Peer Support groups, which meet on a regular basis, in person and virtually. Or take the first step on your recovery journey by contacting our Recovery Services department today.

*Recently, the Warrior Down group was replaced with Wellbriety group meetings.