Saturday, June 09, 2007

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.

13 Comments:

Blogger KGMom said...

True true words--being a friend helps one get friends.
I am glad you now have friends around you--and you know you have friends in blogland!

8:09 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Yes, very true. A real friend is to be celebrated and pampered, so to speak. Losing one is a terrible thing.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

I love your raw insight into what being a friend truly is..and finding yourSELF first is the key to it all indeed.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I understand what you are saying.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

There's so much truth there, Ginnie. I'm sure you are a wonderful friend.

Hugs,
laurie

12:46 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

I admire your honesty and willingness to open up. Friends are a treasure.

6:09 AM  
Anonymous caroline said...

Wow Ginnie!
I have so many reactions. First, your presence in the blog-net has enriched my life so much. I appreciate the way you reach out in such an authentic fashion. No hyperbole in your comments!

Also, I'm relieved to hear that it's not just me. Now that I am 48, it seems like an impossible challenge to make new friends. I love the ones I have, but I'm in a new city. I have to be brave.

Finally, I just did a drawing that illustrates your point so well. I wasn't going to post it because it reveals such a shortcoming. But you have inspired me. Maybe I'm not the only one who remains insular.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment about the Dalai Lama moment. You made me see it in a new light.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Kitem said...

Caroline brought me here, and even though I know how to make friends and have plenty of them, your words struck a chord. I think i, also am "receding further into myself with every passing day". Must be strong and deep inside because i am crying while writing these words.

5:48 AM  
Blogger Maya's Granny said...

The best thing we can do for ourselves is look to see who needs help and give it. It is by reaching out that we become reachable.

And it doesn't surprise me at all that you know this full well.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

I find the older I get, the more hermit-like I become. But thankfully, that seems to manifest in not wanting to be in superficial social situations rather than not reaching out to my friends. I am blessed with some very good ones.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Yes...very true. A good friend is to be deeply treasured.
But the older I get, the more I'm finding that holding on to that friendship also requires a fair amount of work. In these busy lives we have, sometimes it's easy to let something quite special begin to drift.

3:01 PM  
Blogger MICHAEL said...

SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN

With ministers, and the world's religions, I parted right there. When they talked of a God personal to me, who was love, superhuman strength and direction, I became irritated and my mind snapped shut against such a theory.To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claimed Him. His moral teaching -- most excellent. For myself, I had adopted those parts which seemed convenient and not too difficult; the rest I disregarded.My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.

It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would!

Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough. At long last I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view.

The real significance of my experience in the Cathedral burst upon me. For a brief moment, I had needed and wanted God. There had been a humble willingness to have Him with me -- and He came. But soon the sense of His presence had been blotted out by worldly clamors, mostly those within myself. And so it had been ever since. How blind I had been.

At the hospital I was separated from alcohol for the last time. Treatment seemed wise, for I showed signs of delirium tremens.

There I humbly offered myself to God, as I then I understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch. I have not had a drink since. Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.
These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric. There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never know. There was utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though the great clean wind of a mountain top blew through and through. God comes to most men gradually, but His impact on me was sudden and profound.For a moment I was alarmed, and called my friend, the doctor, to ask if I were still sane. He listened in wonder as I talked. Finally he shook his head saying, "Something has happened to you I don't understand. But you had better hang on to it. Anything is better than the way you were." The good doctor now sees many men who have such experiences. He knows that they are real.
While I lay in the hospital the thought came that there were thousands of hopeless alcoholics who might be glad to have what had been so freely given me. Perhaps I could help some of them. They in turn might work with others.There is no mention of JESUS CHRIST in the BIG BOOK or 12 STEPS. Wilson was used by SATAN to delude millions of people.

John 3:16 (chapter 3, verse 16 of the Gospel of John) is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible. It has been called the "Bible in a nutshell" because it is considered a summary of some of the most central doctrines of traditional Christianity:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

A typical interpretation of the verse might go as follows:

* For God so loved the world... - God is a God of love and this love motivates his action in the rest of the verse
* ...that he gave... - there was God giving something, his son as a sacrifice
* ...his only begotten[1] Son... - the human Jesus of Nazareth is also the Son of God, and also the Second Person of the Trinity
* ...that whosoever... - that salvation is open to all who will believe
* ...believeth... - being saved is based on belief or faith, rather than based on human works.
* ...in Him... - the belief being in Jesus, the Saviour
* ...should not perish... - implies the fate of those who do not believe, that is the doctrine of hell
* ...but have everlasting life. - shows the reward of those who believe, that is the doctrine of heaven
* PEACE BE WITH YOU
* MICKY

3:00 PM  
Anonymous cazzie!!! said...

Please don't make me cry. This web is actually right.-TO GET A FRIEND,YOU NEED TO BE A FRIEND.



My regards,
cazzie.

11:29 PM  

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