It may seem like a weird thing to say, but I’m new to friendships. Yes, I’ve had friends over the years, but to be honest, I haven’t known how to be a good friend to anyone. Least of all myself. I haven’t been capable of consistency, and most importantly, I haven’t been able to trust anyone. Many people who I’ve chosen to be close to, and who I have attracted have also not been worthy of my trust, so that has added largely to my vicious cycle. Luckily, there have been one or two wonderful exceptions to this rule too.
At one point in my life, I lived under the illusion that I had many friends. With all of these people, I shared one common interest: alcohol. For me alcohol was the social lubricant I needed, and without it I wasn’t really able to communicate with most people, though I didn’t realize it then. For years I had thought of myself as a party girl, and I thought that my drunken conversations with people qualified as strong friendships. I was mistaken in both. When I ceased my “party life”, I soon became aware of how unable I was to actually speak to, and to hang out with people. Subsequently, I withdrew into a cocoon. Only a handful of people were allowed in. Well, two people actually.
Now, after three and a half years of being dry/sober I am finally beginning to open up and let people in. But to me friendships are daunting! I have become so accustomed to being the lone wolf–the one who keeps her distance, the one who doesn’t need anyone… It feels so much safer. I find most people terrifying!
But seriously. I have a number of new people in my life, and with most of them, my relationship is in a fragile, unfamiliar phase. I’m learning to communicate in a way that is not overwhelming or offensive to the other person, and to become consistent. The rules that I learned about relationships when I grew up no longer apply. Much of that was bullshit, and I’m learning a different way, baby steps. This is my opportunity to thank those friends who have remained in my life, despite my inconsistency and isolation, and those who are now coming into my life bringing new hope, support and love. With all of these people I wish to build deeper relationships than I’ve been capable of before. I think I’m ready now to be vulnerable, to be seen. Bit by bit, little by little.