I haven’t read much in all the books and articles on alcoholism and addiction that I’ve read over the years about one subject that I think deserves more attention. It is one of the greatest benefits of being in a fellowship with others who are also trudging the path of recovery. One of the most wonderful gifts of 12 step fellowships, I believe, is friendship. When you think about it this is huge. Many of us never had a true friendship before sobriety or recovery. I know I didn’t. I was always too busy fighting the world by myself. Even when drinking and partying with others, even when I hooked up with someone special, inside I was really alone. I had an invisible wall built of resentments and distrust and anger, as well as insecurities and self-doubt. No one could really get in, but I was never able to get out either.
But I’ve made friends in the rooms of recovery, true soul friends, friends of the heart, friends that are there for me and love me just the way I am. There is no special criteria for this type of friend. Rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, Christian or non…the bond is much deeper. We understand each other’s pain, struggles, and need for love. What we offer each other is love that doesn’t judge, doesn’t hurt, doesn’t abandon. We connect at the heart level. We have a common enemy and a similar goal. We understand each other’s wounds on a gut level. We love each other as we do our own children, wanting to help others to be the best that they can be, wanting to take away their pain and their troubles if only we could. I couldn’t have this type of friend before. I wasn’t ready or capable. But somehow, once I started to heal and look beyond myself for help and strength, I found a kind of unconditional love in the fellowship that let me open my heart. I found true companions for the journey.
For this I am extremely grateful.