Throughout the various stages of being in recovery, the major players in my life always seem to shift. For two years now, there has been a solid foundation of people as I have remained active in my recovery… striving every day to learn more, do more, be more. Year one is blurry. A foggy memory of trudging through life, newly sober and inherently absorbent. Everywhere I went, I looked to see what I was to learn, accomplish or be. I am guessing at this time next year, year two will be blurry as well. My memory fails me often… events become distant wonders, actions become second nature and life is passing me by.
When I returned to my hometown in 2011, I forced myself to interact with people whose lives revolved around recovery. Although I was unable to stay sober for that first year and into the second, I still surrounded myself with these individuals and soaked up as much knowledge as I could. Becoming friends with people from various walks of life, I had a foundation. My foundation consisted of numerous sponsors and other supportive friends. Eventually some of those friends became a memory…either stepping outside the circle of recovery, or stepping outside the circle of friendship. Sometimes both. Additionally, some of those friends became a part of my family.
It feels like now, at two years in, the shift of friendships is pulling closer. Some friends are becoming memories, some are becoming family and some are simply changing. As life continues to evolve, human nature allows us to adjust ourselves accordingly. What I needed one year ago, was an external experience. As I felt as though I was looking at life for the first time, I experienced everything I could. I went to concerts, on road trips, and had adventures I never knew were possible. This year, at least right now, the experience has become internal. I seek a new level of spirituality (some of those external experiences brought me closer to God than anything internal), a better understanding of who I am and who I want to be.
I have always felt deeply, and that emotional part continues to grow. As I feel more deeply, experiencing overwhelming emotions, I strive to understand. I have learned again that I have a voice… I can tell my friends and family what I need from them. I am able to express myself in an assertive way without being so full of sarcasm that all I feel is anger. These are the gifts that recovery has given me. It has shown me how to illuminate who I am, who I feel I need to be, while exploring the will of my higher power. It has given me a light to guide the way, instead of fumbling through the darkness.
So, I look at my friends and my family, I watch how our relationships evolve… growing and changing over time, and I thank God. The gratitude is not because my friends are coming or going. My gratitude is because I can watch friendships take on a new shape, feeling safe and secure knowing that those who love me, and those that I love will never really leave… we will all just continue to evolve.