I have a group of girlfriends I hang out with. While I have known each person for varying lengths of time, four since the early nineties, this will be our fifth Christmas together as a group. We are all in the same income bracket, share similar ideals, and we all work. Our group has a doctor, an environmentalist, a teacher, a film producer, a pilot, and me: a “diverse business manager” (according to my resume. I’m still figuring out my true purpose.) Most of us have significant others. I am closer to two than to all. While I am also pretty close to my sister and my cousins, this girls’ group has been my go-to-group of friends whenever I wanted to have a drink. They have been incredibly supportive during the last ten months and will probably continue to be. Hanging out with them has been easy but every now and then I find myself pulling away from the group. Things are changing again.
I’ve been thinking lately about all of the “growing” I’ve been doing. It can make for a lonely sort of life, waiting for things to change, get uncomfortable, then comfortable again and settle down. Deciding to explore self-awareness and making a conscious decision to try to understand what influences, motivates and distracts me, is a rather solitary trip. It is not a subject most people talk about and these days it’s foremost in my mind. Not many people are interested in this sort of journey. At least, not many people around me.
While I’m not going around blabbing to the world about all the theories and feelings I express here on this blog, I’ve found much of it is too “heavy” for cocktail hour conversation. This actually feels odd to me as I find psychology and philosophy fascinating and quite enjoyable.
Then again, there are some days I just miss my ‘old’ life. I don’t miss the alcohol at all, but I miss the camaraderie of drinking with girlfriends. It feels different now, even though my friends are wonderful about my choices. And sometimes it is a bit lonely because I opt out of hanging out. And then, to be honest, sometimes I just miss feeling more carefree. I would not change my sobriety for anything but every now and then I miss not thinking so much about being sober, and about improving, and about goals. I have been struggling with all of this for the last couple of months and last night I came across this quote:
“…be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again;” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
So I have decided that I am going to be patient through this change and more understanding of what my friends need too. What they want and need out of our girls’ group hasn’t changed. I’m the one whose needs have changed. I love them all dearly and if I want them to remain in my life I have to focus on what I appreciate about our friendships. I have also decided to make a greater effort to socialize in places where the central focus is not alcohol. I will keep you posted on my “new friendships quest”.