There are people that I once had relatively close relationships with, that I will never see again.
In a general sense, this is simply a fact of life. People change, lose touch, grow apart, and fail to reconnect over the course of time. It’s just something that happens. It can be saddening to the point of heartbreak, to watch once-prosperous friendships dissolve and fade. But as with intimate relationships, if the other party loses interest in maintaining the connection, there is no way to “force” the mutual care back into existence.
One of the discussion topics in today’s meeting got me thinking about the various acquaintances in my personal life, and how some of those relationships might be effected by my commitment to sobriety. I realized there are whole pockets of social groups I will probably never interact with again; not because my recovery caused some kind of falling out between us, but rather by the nature of our most common shared experiences. Namely, engaging in social drinking, and rarely anything more than that.
For example, I had two roommates I shared a house with for roughly six months of my time in Rochester (overall a little more than a year). They were cool guys, and we had some mutual friends that were alumni of my fraternity at Geneseo. But outside of sharing a living space with them, most of our interactions revolved around alcohol: bar hopping on weekends, house parties, a Super Bowl party, a trip to Buffalo for a Bills game, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, etc.
As the A.A. Promises state, however: “I do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.” Those were important social functions to me, as part of my Rochester experience. I mean, I attended my first-ever NFL game with their crew – there’s no denying that was a great time. But as I move on with my life of sobriety, I just can’t really picture myself reaching out in attempt to reestablish that base we once had. It would be interesting, as I’m sure we’ve all grown since we last spoke, but I just don’t see it happening.
Go Bills! We saw an exciting victory over the Raiders early in the 2011 season…but as with every other season, they squandered a promising lead and ended in the gutter.
And I’m fine with that. It was an integral part of my life at the time, but my life is different now. What matters more to me at present is evaluating the state of my truly close friendships, and ascertaining that despite past habits of bonding over alcohol, I will still be able to enjoy their company and mutual benefits. That is work I plan to invest serious effort into.
Thinking about it, I also realize that there is a good chance I would eventually end up burning many of these bridges among people who’s friendships I value so dearly. One can only spend so much time being viewed as “that guy” before those he surrounds himself with become less interested in his survival, and more in their own livelihoods. I would actually expect my social circle to ostracize me, were that to become the case.
Luckily for me, I chose to sober up and get my shit together.
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