Forming True Partnerships…

Friends have been tricky for me. I swing wildly between wanting to make more and deeper connections with others and then not wanting to be around anyone – isolating. This morning we talked about how alcoholics struggle to form true partnerships with others. I am not sure that I totally agree with this but I am wrong about so many things, so I am stepping lightly as I speak to this topic. I don’t have droves of friends. I have a few VERY close friends. These women know my struggle around alcohol. They know lots about me. I am vulnerable with them – not because I wanted to be but because at different times I came to the end of myself and reached out to one or another for support. That is something that is hard for me to do but each time I have done it the result has been a deepening of our relationship. I have had other very good friends but I SUCK at maintaining them. Is this my way of sticking my elbows out and inching them out of my life? Or is it that those friendships were just for a season in my life? I know that not all friendships are meant to last a lifetime and there are many relationships that I am relieved to have moved past.

Today I am golfing with one of my very close friends. She was also my biggest drinking buddy. Sometimes I have relapsed when hanging out with her because I want it to be like “old times” and drink along with her. It is tough work trying to rework the “rules and boundaries” in a friendship. Especially around drinking. But this is a friendship that is TOTALLY worth the work.

Last night I went out with friends who do not drink. We went to a cool spot and listened to some live music. I have held this couple at arm’s length because they do not drink. But now I am trying to cultivate a friendship or more friendships with folks who don’t drink because I think that will help me with my recovery. I did not spend too much time agonizing over the folks in the restaurant who were having wine. There was no debate in my head: should I? shouldn’t I? One more? How fast can I get home to drink how I want to? Will the liquor store be open by the time we get the hell out of here because I might not have enough to get where I want to go? Do they think I am a lush? Such a relief. With the debate off the table, I have the gift of being present which is something I never was when I was trying to hide how I drank. We enjoyed the music, some food, caught up and then went home to READ and REMEMBER what I had just read and then to sleep. As I was waking up early this morning, I felt gratitude for not being hungover. I felt proud of the woman who showed up at the restaurant last night. She was classy. She did not gossip. She did not laugh too loud. And best of all she did not repeat herself. If I had been drinking last night would have been a lot different and NOT in a positive, life-affirming way.

So onward with my sober life. New adjustments. Making new sober memories. Hopefully making some new sober friendships. And redefining and evolving some old friendships for the better. And if necessary, pruning relationships that do not support my soul’s life goals. It’s all so much better, even the mundane or downright shitty days as long as I do this one thing: don’t pick up the first drink… So, SanPellegrino on the golf course for me today. Maybe I will hit the damn ball straighter!!!


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