Salute to My Friends!
I had the opportunity this past Saturday to spend the day up the canyon at the Theater in the Pines at Sundance attending our annual ARP conference. This was an absolutely wonderful experience! I drove up there with the most awesome people and experienced some much needed laughter along the way.
When we first arrived there were some people making leaf crowns and my dear friend Carlyn and I got one! Here is a picture of us together sporting them:-) Isn't she just gorgeous!?
(picture and name posted with permission)
We had the opportunity while there to listen to some wonderful speakers and learn from each of their recovery journeys. We also had the opportunity to listen to and participate in a very powerful and spiritual sharing meeting which is always awesome. It sure helps solidify my own recovery to hear others share their experience and especially learn the tools of recovery they have utilized along their path.
During dinner (it was scrumptious BBQ chicken Sloppy-Joes stuff, potato salad, chips and watermelon) I was carrying on a conversation with one of my awesome friends that I drove up with and out of the blue it hit me.. "she is your friend, she is REALLY your friend"... and all of a sudden I was filled with the utmost gratitude for the very special friends I currently have in my life.
During my teen years and early twenties I didn't really associate with good people. As I began recovery I was worried that I was going to have to give up all of my friends and in doing so, be left completely alone. I already didn't have that many friends so to do this was a huge leap of faith. I am very loyal and so having to let people go was heart wrenching for me. I came to find however, that what I perceived as loyalty was more codependency. I felt I needed them to the point that my existence depended on them; a belief that obviously isn't healthy.
I remember one day a couple of years ago being faced with the decision to block one of my best high school friends on facebook. She kept posting extremely inappropriate content on her news feed; content that I would never want my children to see or anyone else visiting my wall. I asked her to please not post that type of content; that children could see it, in which she responded: "It's my life and my wall and I'll post what I want." I respect that and I thought at first of just limiting what I see, since facebook has filters, but then I thought - why? Why would I keep people in my circle that I feel I need to sensor? I came to the conclusion that for my own recovery, I needed to do some serious pruning of my friends. This was a gut wrenching process and I thought I was going to hurt a lot of peoples feelings as well as mourn the losses of those friendships myself. But I didn't find either to be true. We (those friends and I) had grown so far apart that after deleting them neither of us really missed the other (I assume, since they never contacted me again).
That process cut my friends list about in half and I was worried that I'd been totally stupid in cutting those ties, but I decided to have faith and just spend good quality time working on myself and not so much worrying about others (Besides, it's kind of awkward to re-invite someone once you've deleted them hah! Come on, you know you've been there). A miracle began to occur after a time though. The more I worked recovery, and the healthier I got, the more new friends I began to accumulate. Not just friends as in people with bodies, but good healthy friends. Friends from all over too, not just from my recovery circles. I was able to give more of myself and also let more people in. I have found the most awesome friends in my ward, in my recovery circles, in my World of Warcraft guild (I know my geek is totally showing now) and I've even found long lost cousins doing Family History work mixed with facebook! It's important to note also that not all of my friends are LDS - I don't think being a specific religion matters at all when it comes to having good friends. What matters the most is integrity, love, laughter and the ability to roll with life's waves that toss us about without giving up on one another.
I am so grateful for (and to) those I call my friends. I am also grateful for the friends I have yet to meet (and I welcome you wholeheartedly into my circle).
I love you guys!