When your friends are all bottles of booze and the people standing in front of them, you can forget how to relate to people.
Maybe I couldn’t relate, even before my alcoholism. That might have been part of the problem. But, whatever the problem, the chicken or the egg, it’s resulted in loneliness. It’s always been easy for me to have my family and a boyfriend. It’s finding friend friends that’s hard for me. I feel like there’s a strange ebb and flow. Since I was young, friends came into my life, then, faded out.
It seems like everyone around me has these really great friends. The type of friends that meet you for coffee on a whim. Friends that bring a quart of chicken soup to you when you have a cold. Friends who sit next to you with a box of saltines as you puke, your head in a toilet. Friends that call you at 3AM because they had a dream about their ex and, was it a sign? Should they break up with their boyfriend, friends.
I don’t have those friends. Well, not anymore. I had those type of friends in college, but, coffee dates were pill popping sessions at the apartment. The vomiting, the result of a few too many lines and more than a few too many drinks. And, if anyone ever called me at 3AM, it was from an NYC bar, drunk as shit, slurring, ‘it’s an hour and a half to last call! Come out!’
It’s a problem. Like tonight. Lars had other plans, so, here I am, alone on the couch. Contemplating the nothingness and the everythingness of being. There are only so many TV series to watch, magazines to page through, scarves to crochet, and books to read. Eventually, life requires human contact. And, as fond as I am of the adorable, dorky cashier at Trader Joe’s, the three minute encounter we have every other day can’t be defined as friendship, I don’t think….
So, I’ve been particularly grateful for one of the men in my treatment center, I’ll call him Pete. He’s fun, smart, and gets me. We sit around between groups talking about our boyfriends and mini dramas. We share a lot of the same insecurities. We just click. And, the more time I spend with him in treatment, the more I feel like I need him in my outside life. I’ve managed to keep my world outside of recovery separate from the little world within it. But, as I make my plans to merge the two, I feel like I need to take an ally with me.
It’s strange how sobriety is allowing me to let people in again. How it’s asking me to let people in again. As if sobriety is were a little friend inside, one that’s been starved and lonely, for a long, long time. Drinking filled so many holes in my life. A missing God, a missing boyfriend, missing friends. The drink gave me all those things at the price of taking everything else away. And, as I sweep up the floor, slowly as it may be, I keep finding puzzle piece after puzzle piece. All these little fragments that were so lost, I’d forgotten they were ever there. And, with faith and work, I get to have them back.
When I step back from the table and look at my puzzle, there are still a lot of holes. But, with each passing week, it seems to complete itself. Each gap gets smaller. The corners are all in place. I can already start to see the whole picture. I like it, even though it isn’t what I expected.
I know that one of these days my puzzle will be fully assembled, but, it will never be finished. It’s not the type of puzzle that you mount and frame. It’s the puzzle that’s always on the table, that you keep returning to, and, that’s what I like about it. It’s one of those magical puzzles where the picture changes, and every new piece you snap in, is a little victory.