TO GET A FRIEND...YOU NEED TO BE A FRIEND
Have you ever been “too sophisticated” to have friends? I have and I didn’t even recognize it. I had plenty of acquaintances and I mistook this for friendship. The years of “getting ahead” had robbed me of the ability to know the difference and , before I knew it, I was in my 40’s and receding further into myself with every passing day.
In 1978 my husband and I moved to North Carolina from New York state. He had been in poor health for a long time and it was about all we could do to hang on. We literally didn’t have the energy or the will to form new alliances. I knew people at the hospital where I worked but these were superficial friends at best. We entertained very little and concentrated on making a living and meeting our financial and family needs.
By the time I joined AA in 1989 I was almost completely closed off from any close relationships. I was to find that this is not an unusual occurrence, especially for my age group, and that few people are adept in this field. Over the years I had built a wall around myself. It was my “safe zone” and I, literally, was afraid to knock it down.
Luckily I had a wonderful sponsor who came to my aid. She was the first person that I had trusted in a long time and we were able to share everything. She insisted that I hitch up with other women in the program and, when I resisted, she taught me to put my ego ( and fear) aside and to think of someone besides myself. This was a huge step for me. I had no idea that I had become so self-absorbed and as I slowly started to open myself to my fellow AA members I found that the rewards were amazing.
Working with others puts my own concerns into perspective. In one day last week I held a young girl with the new diagnosis of cancer. That same day I celebrated with a friend who had a new job and I shared phone conversations with 2 newly sober females.
My life today is full of ideas and opportunities that I didn’t even know existed when I was entombed within my self-made walls. My friends are many and varied and it all started when I “got out of myself” and realized that you have to be a friend in order to have one.