Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lesson Learned....

       I have made many friends since joining AA. I did not have much support prior to sobriety. Yes 'we all have family. Yet if they are not well versed in the curable disease of Alcoholism then how could they affectingly support us or guide us to AA or recovery? I was consumed with loneliness and despair. I felt like an ocean without life. I've tried many people on for size. I've had many disappointments and had attracted many unhealthy souls. Probably, because, I attract where I'm at, had high expectations or both. I gained a few and have lost a few. Then again I was extremely emotionally unhealthy. Today I can honestly say that I am healthier and have been trying on new friends for size and for the most part many have stuck by my side. I don't understand why they love me but I do know I value each and every one. I hope they choose to stick around for a while longer. I believe there is a process in finding soul friends or intimate friends. You know the "real" friends not to be bought or anything crappy like that. Trial, error and trusting that what flows in my direction is healthy because I can look myself in the mirror and smile from my heart.
       I have learned in this process that there are different types of friends. Superficial and Intimate. These two seem to be the two categories friendshipsfall under. They can definitely be broken down even further. I will not attempt to explain levels/types etc, at this point. I would lose focus in this entry. However, I will give a general description to the two types above. Superficial are for the most part the most damaging. These types of relationships cause us to lie and act in ways that we don't even like to admit. For example the only time they have anything to say to you is when they bump in to you somewhere unplanned and they may say something like "Ive been thinking about you and haven't heard from you in while. How are you?" A response I have been known to use in this type of situation is "the phone works both ways. My number hasn't changed since my last voice mail to you or the last time you called during a break up."  That's a small example.
       I call my response passive aggressive for sure. Obviously unhealthy to my spirit. I'm sure this caused a negative reaction in the other. I could choose better. The other type of friendship is intimate. In my world an intimate friendship is some one who calls to check on your state of being because you've been MIA, they know your having a hard time transitioning, got some disturbing news, haven't heard from you in a while, because you were on their mind or to verbally vomit all over you just to clear their mind. Other times they call they may want to get together and spend time with you, have dinner, come over and visit etc. There are many reasons friends call on each other.  I have not even begun to scratch the surface. I've had a recent experience thats effected me in a big way. Although this experience hurt, I am grateful for it.
       One of the people I had met through AA became an intimate friend. We started off with books and things discussed carried on from there into spirituality, sharing personal experiences from our childhoods and the topics for conversations grew. I was drawn to this person beyond my own understanding. Just about every day there was text communication; a morning hello or bidding of a good night or both. There were a couple of times where my friend had trying experiences and I recall a disconnect from communication that would last a few days. After a short time we would reconnect. Each time it seemed as though the communication level deteriorated a little after each event that occurred in their life. My friend would rationalize the effects of the events yet there was never a direct connection to the heart on these issues. We would discuss the lack of sharing during those times. I also shared with my friend that it seemed as though they were not human or that they were perfect with regards to coping with these trying times in their life. My friend agreed that not discussing may be counter productive to coping or healing from these events.
       One evening my friend came over for a visit and stated that they'd like to try sharing on for size and they did share their experience. I was amazed at the effort my friend put into sharing. I was honored that I was trusted to be the reciever of this information. Then it happened. My friend's relative came into town and stayed a week. The communication dropped drastically. I was waiting for the week to be over so that our communication would be somewhat back to normal. A week had passed and an entire weekend and communication between us was nearly non existent. I began to worry given I had some deep information about my friend's past and history with this relative visiting my friend. I thought any day now my text inbox would be filled with messages, as once very recently was. I sent an ocasional text here and there just to hear back and be sure they were not off line for good.
       I finaly reacted to the isolation or noncomunicative friend. I sent a text that said something  along these lines "I feel like you don't care about me. Are we even friends? Are you sober?" Still no responce. I believe I had received a response the following day.  I'm sure I have left out a text or two from myself to my friend, but that's not the point. They claim that their behavior towards me was not meant to hurt and that they were keeping a close watch on their mental state and so on. I responded by saying "I don't think isolation from friends was healthy and that I just don't understand that." I asked if I was the only one being ignored or if this was something being done to all their friends. I asked if it was a pattern of theirs. In what I thought would be my final text, I also said that what I had to learn was why I attracted this situation into my life. I said something along the lines of your isolation and your lack of communication and you're this and I had no idea you were so disconnected from people and so on. Pretty crummy of me. After sharing our series of texts with someone who "doesnt have a dog in this fight" I began to wonder if I had over reacted. The following evening as I was preparing to meditate I asked that I be shown the lesson to be learned and that I was willing to see clearly what it was.
       Well I asked and I received. I discovered that as a result of the lack of communication I no longer felt connected and I felt insignificant. I felt that after all the sharing and trusting and connecting I thought we had done was fake. I began to question my sanity. Did I attract this situation because I am so very broken? Was I thrown away by this person because they got what they wanted from me and what was it they wanted? Wasn't I a good enough friend? Did my friend lie to me about the things they shared with me? Was any of it real? The bottom line is I was crushed that for two weeks I was dropped like a hefty bag of trash in the dumpster just before monthly pick up. It truly hurt me and made me sad. Then there was a shift in perspecctive. I was able to spot all this because I am my friend. My friend was a mirror presented to me by the universe or God. I have behaved in these ways. This is the lesson that I was to learn. I am now on the receiving end of isolation and being kicked to the curb. Now I know how all those people I have dumped in the dumpster felt. When I experienced a trying time in the past I gave up on myself.
       So during these times I would say stuff like, "why even bother talking about any of my problems with anybody? It doesn't help fix the situation. Why even go to work? Why even try? I'm not good enough. I never was and will never be." Now, I know what it felt like to those friends who met me along my journey in life, that only wanted to be there for me and help me feel like I'm not alone. Yet I had already given up on me and so I consciously kicked them to the curb. As a matter of fact I still do this. The difference between now and then is it's not as drastic as I did in the past; it's a bit more passive. Now a days, I will isolate for a few hours rather than weeks. I don't wipe the friend slate clean, I utilize them in the healing and coping process. I recognize that all the self rationalization in the world will not heal the heart. The lessons I have learned are that I can't do life alone, I still in some way give up on me and push people away. I am even considering that I may have a fear of abandonment looming in my soul. I understand my friend's isolation, behavior and because I can relate I understand myself a little better. I can accept them and forgive them. More importantly, I have forgiven myself for being so harsh in the past and in the present.  I value all of my life's experiences.