If you don’t think we support each other out here in sober-blogging-land, just try posting a milestone. Thank you all for the love and support that you showed me yesterday. It made my anniversary even better.
Many times when we get sober we lose our former support network and find new ones through blogging, AA or other methods (how DO adults make friends anyway?). Often our former tribe drifts away and we discover that the only thing we really had in common was the booze. Or that without the booze there’s no real conversation. Or that (mostly in the beginning) they aren’t able to forego drinking while you get your sober legs. They can’t fathom an event without wine or a cocktail. (Which brings up a whole host of other issues that are none of my business.)
I’ve noticed that I have friends who I believed were really, really close friends that have faded into the mist because I don’t drink and there are certain function I won’t attend either because I’m uncomfortable or, more likely these days, this introvert doesn’t have to pretend to be the life of the party anymore. (Damn that is one long run-on sentence.)
It’s not them…it’s me.
They are still the same people they’ve always been. The same friends I fell in love with back in the day. It’s just that I was presenting a false version of myself back then. That Sherry wasn’t the real me. That Sherry needed alcohol to be, what she perceived, a real person. She was lost and a little broken and whoever she was, she fit very well with those friends.
But five years ago all that changed. At first it was ugly because I hid or, worse yet, tried to pretend I was fine when really I wasn’t. I would see these people and put on a false happy and them, being my friends, would see right through it. Later, as I began to get more comfortable in my sober self, I noticed the texts were more and more infrequent (mine and theirs), the invitations dried up and that we just grew apart. It hurt but in realizing who I really am, I’ve had to resolve myself to the fact that I can’t please everyone and not everyone is going to like the new me.
That’s okay. I’m sad but not a bit angry. It is what it is.
But some friends stay. Some like the before, during and after of you. Some have seen you at your best and your worst and love you anyway. Some let you be strong for them at one moment, and then vulnerable and needy the next. Some understand that the time, distance and circumstances of life may not allow you to see each other but that you’re still friends…no matter what.
I am blessed to have several friends like that. Most I left behind in my hometown but I have some here too.
Yesterday I came home to a greeting card. It wasn’t a late Christmas or New Year’s card. It was a beautiful card celebrating my 5 years with a lovely message inside written in her own hand. It was a tribute to my sobriety and, in many ways, to our friendship. Thank you KC, you have no idea what that meant to me. I love you.
So for those of you out there who feel like you’re losing friends because of your sobriety let me assure you that you are not. You’re just mining for gold.