Sunday, November 22, 2009


I'm going to put this out there--I have issues with friendship. Seeing my past through the lens of my present life (that is, at least somewhat through a lens of recovery), I realize that a lot of the issues I've had with friends over the years have arisen from how some pretty ridiculous codependent tendencies. I never would have said so at the time. I always thought that my self-sacrificing, caring, tag-a-long ways were an asset--I could be counted upon, I could listen like a champ, I could pick you up from a bar and pay your tab and drive you home only to have you forget to pay me back. Multiple times. (Wait--I did mention I was terribly, blindly codependent, right?)

And so, looking back on my so-called "best friends" through the years, I realize just how f***ed-up some of those relationships really were. My best friend in high school and into college was someone I thought would be there for me forever. Until the day I called to invite her to my birthday party, and she informed me that she had moved months ago and thought my birthday had already happened (without bothering to call, mind you). At that point, I realized that I had been giving much more than my fair share to the relationship and getting nothing in return. Of course, I realize now that a great deal of that problem was my own failure to set boundaries, my own inability to ask for what I needed, and my own introvertedness preventing me from seeing that there were lots of other people with whom I could spend my time. The person with whom I became close next is still a very good friend to me, but even then, I can see now that I was always giving a little more than I got. Not that my friend L was a bad friend, but she was very needy--a trait that my inner codie couldn't help but love. And so the pattern went, with me getting close to someone who turned out to drain me in some way, whether financially, physically, or emotionally.

I mention this because D and I were having fun discussing our friends a few days ago, and I realized that the person I would currently call my best friend (a lovely lady that I'll call Sue) is none of the things that I have found in best friends past. Sue is supportive and kind and caring. She calls me when she has problems (but does not expect me to fix them all for her), and is open for me when I have problems. Just last week, she came with me to an awards night because she was truly pleased that I had done well on a recent assignment. More than that, I feel that I am capable of doing things with her and for her without over-extending myself or drifting into dangerous codie territory. She is the best friend I have always wanted and never found, and I am incredibly grateful to have had her stumble into my life.

The cool thing about it is that I knew Sue was an amazing, wonderful friend before this--but only the other day in our discussion did I realize that I probably wouldn't have been able to have this friendship without a little solid recovery under my belt. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm sure something in my Helpful, Fix-it nature probably would have either allowed even this friendship to become unhealthy or would have just kept me from forming such a bond so quickly and easily. And that is just another reason, this Thanksgiving week, that I am so grateful for this blog, the people who read it, and all the other awesome recovery resources I've found since I started it.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! May you be pleasantly stuffed and may the tryptophan kick in before anyone mentions the healthcare debate (or maybe that's just my family--oh,well). :-D