To have real friends, you have to be a real friend. Having friends is one of the perks of being sober. I have been weird my whole life. Seriously, really weird. I have never been popular or in the “it” crowd. After the rape and when I started to party I thought I had friends. I didn’t. When I got sober from ecstasy and stopped partying, all my “friends” were gone. My phone that constantly rang was silent. Alcoholism is a little different. That was a gradual decline and a little more quiet. I sloughed off friends because me-under-the-influence chose alcohol over them. I chose alcohol over everything, over living. When I got sober, I found I missed people. I had spent so much time focused on drinking I had forgotten how to really interact with people. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a social person. I guess that is what happened. Alcohol made me the opposite of who I really was. I feel bad for the people that are in recovery that are shy and liked alcohol to talk. That was not me. I need no help talking. I think that is just an excuse though. You should never use a chemical as an excuse to alter who you really are. I was excited to have time to spend learning about myself and the people around me.
I knew I use to have some awesome people in my life before. As I got to know them with my sober view, I got to see how truly amazing these people really are! I have also come to see the good in mostpeople. There is a reason to be friends with everyone. I can be judgy sometimes and I am working on that. It is hard to be sober in an alcohol filled world. I have found that the people worth knowing don’t need alcohol to have fun. If you do, you’re boring. Just kidding! I don’t and can’t hang out with you all that much though. It isn’t positive for my sobriety. It isn’t good to stand in front of temptation no matter who you are. The devil is in charge of temptation. He is one sneaky cunning jerk . Why put yourself in bad situations? I know I have a problem with addiction. Most things don’t bother me. Sometimes they do and I remove myself from that place or situation. I have very supportive friends that love me and are there for me. They know I am ok with them drinking around me. Sometimes, they elect not to. I have a friend that doesn’t around me. She knows it is ok, but to support me she doesn’t. It is nice to have someone with you that doesn’t have a drink sometimes. I know that is silly, but you don’t feel as alone. This post really wasn’t supposed to be about alcohol. Truly, that is an alcoholic’s life. I always think about it, if it’s there. If it is not, I am worried if people are not having a good time and it is my fault.
Now that I am sober and not worried about my next drink or “having a good time” I am able to build quality relationships. When I interact with people, I can really get to know them. Something I am really working on is focusing on them. Not me. I know, shocking! Really though. People are really great! There is something that God struck me with earlier this year that really stuck. “It’s not about you.” It’s not. When you take the focus off of you and put it onto others, you will be surprised at how wonderful life can be. Serving and giving is the key to my sobriety, but I think it is also a really fantastic way for everyone to go about life. This life is only temporary. God has us here for a short time before we go to heaven. What did we do with our time? Over time, I have developed meaningful friendships.
I had a job that I thought I was going to retire from. It didn’t work out. I was confused for a while and frustrated in my prayers. I realized later that I was meant to meet certain people at this job. They are still friends of mine and are special to me. You never know how God is planning to use you or vice versa. He always has a plan. Being faithful and patient throughout that plan can be difficult. Another reason why He has placed certain people in your life is to support you through rough times. God desires you to have companionship. He created us! Surrounding yourself with positive people who inspire you to be better and bring out the best in you is the goal.
I am more amazed by my friends on a daily basis. To have friends, you have to be a friend. You have to give. There is no better feeling to give someone exactly what they needed or wanted at the perfect time. I am not talking just physical gifts (however, that doesn’t hurt). I also mean gifts like listening, doing, serving, noticing or anything that your friend desired. I find it much easier to notice these things when I am sober. I can take the focus off of me and be aware of what is going on around me. Is there somewhere your friend would like to go that you don’t really love, but would do for them? Is there something they would like to do, plan it for them. Sometimes I see things that remind me of my friends and send them a picture. Just knowing that someone is thinking of me is nice. Little notes are also a fun thing! I got a thank you card in the mail the other day. I texted thank you for my thank you card. Haha. A simple card can go a long way. Everyone likes to know they are part of a team. That they belong.
Time is limited these days. I sometimes miss the days that I thought I was bored. Bored! When does that ever happen? I wish I could explain that to my younger self. That, along with a million other things, but where would the fun in that be? We all know that. Taking the time to send a quick message is all it can take sometimes. Nothing can replace face to face, live meeting though. I had a friend meet me for cupcakes! How awesome is that!? It is interesting how The Golden Rule applies to almost everything, if not everything. Treat people how you want to be treated. What would you want? Would you like that? I am not a friend expert. I am still learning how to be a good friend after coming close to destroying my friendships. Honesty. That’s always a good thing, too. Be real. I have been blessed to have gained some amazing friendships along this amazing journey called life. It takes work to maintain that relationship, but it is that work that is the fun part. When you give with no strings attached, your heart will become full. I promise. When you happen to know those people and your giving nurtures relationships, your life will be happy and full.
~ A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17
~ One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others. – Lewis Carroll