Old Friends, New Light

Old 06-28-2011, 01:40 PM
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Old Friends, New Light

Did you ever find you see old friends in a new light, and I don’t mean a good light, after starting recovery?

These are not alcoholics and its nothing directly to do with alcoholism, but I have couple of pals I fish with who I find utterly unbearable at times now.

They are constantly bad-mouthing people for fun, poor taste humour, general negative and begrudging.

I suppose I was vaguely aware of it before and may have even joined in to a small extent, but now it seems to violate everything I learned in Al-Anon.

What made this all worse were a couple of harmless lies I picked up on. Sure I must be super-sensitive to dishonesty now.

My reaction was mixed: I resented the time I wasted with them listening to the stinking thinking, but at the same time I was grateful to be able to recognise how they were and feel so distant from it.

Maybe I'll even end up grateful for the alcoholic in my life? O

I certainly see them on a long list of non-alcoholics who might benefit from a 12-step programme!!!
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:40 PM
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Yes. I feel the exact same way as you. I recently removed myself from alot of my old friends because we are not on the same page anymore mentally or emotionally. I've grown up. I've experienced life in a different way than my old friends have. I was with an Alcoholic. When you survive a relationship with an A, and you come out on the other side, you really get a good understanding of what you can and cannot tolerate in other people. You no longer accept bad behavior and people crossing your boundries like you might of before. You can also identify unhealthy behavior/people more quickly.The thing is, as you change in your recovery, so will the world around you and the people in it. I embrace my recovery and all the changes in my life. And yes, I am thankful for going through my toxic relationship because I have such a clearer view on the world than I ever did before. I feel so much smarter and empowered. I feel like I can accomplish anything and no one is going to bring me down.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:49 PM
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I have noticed that after starting in Al-anon too, I posted this today on my facebook it sort of summed up how I felt about certain friendship I realized I was in:

Your life is like a flower bed, you have your flowers(friends who love you just for you, give as much as they recieve, always there no matter what) and you have weeds(people who are selfish, who only care about what you can do for them, who really don't think of you as a true friend) in order to have a beautiful garden you have to take the time to get rid of the weeds so your flowers can grow.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:18 PM
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I just want to say thanks for posting this question because it is exactly how I am feeling with many of my relationships right now. It is a very confusing place to be.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:16 PM
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Me too!! Actually, I've been 'weeding my garden' bit by bit over the last couple of years and it's looking pretty good!

Be true to yourself.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:58 PM
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Sometimes as we evolve, grow, and change, our outlook on life also changes. When those people in our life cast shadows, or try to rob us of our true joy, I think it's only natural to let go. As a society we are drawn to each other by common interests, when we no longer share the same focus, or vision it becomes difficult to sustain any type of relationship. The common ground becomes a hole and somebody has to fall in it.

If we never step forward, we will always be in the same place.......
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:24 PM
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I try to remind myself of what Marie says -- I like to think of it like "just because it doesn't last forever doesn't mean it wasn't meaningful."

When I change, it only makes sense that I might grow a different direction from my former friends. Doesn't mean they're doing something wrong or I'm doing something wrong. It might just be time to explore other people.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:47 AM
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Luckily, I mostly had good friends around me before my AW went into rehab. They were my support system.

But I know that when I started my program...all of a sudden all kinds of problems seemed like candidates for a twelve step program!

"When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:32 AM
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I feel like it's important to keep in perspective that this change in feelings is about US and not about them. We don't judge others as 'good' or 'bad', but rather we more clearly define how we ultimately want our lives to look.

This was brought home to me in a recent family therapy session with my daughter. She's a hyper kid -- she always has been. She's been told her whole life by people that she's annoying and she 'needs to calm down'. She was in tears as she said to our therapist, "I can't help it -- this is just the way I am!" I really felt her pain. I know I've been guilty of saying those things to her occasionally, but mostly I love the way she seems to always be cheerful, smiling and full of energy! The therapist said, "You have to remember that whatever criticism they have is ultimately about THEM -- maybe they've had a bad day, or they are jealous that they don't feel as energetic as you, or they're trying to concentrate on a serious problem. Whatever it is, their comments are more a reflection of them, rather than pointing out a character flaw in you."

How true that is.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:05 AM
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I know that's still one of my worries about my friend/coworker; that during the changes he's probably experiencing in rehab, he might change his feelings about he wants to relate to me. I know that's selfish and it's not my problem, it's his, but I would like to continue to maintain our friendship and to support him. I guess I'm thinking that because our friendship is also tied to the workplace, and that if he is having issues with work as part of his recovery, he will want to keep me at a distance. I am still not sure when/if he is coming back to work, and am still respecting his request not to contact him. So am just trying to be patient and not worry about something that I cannot change, tho that's hard. Thanks for listening!
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