Over the years I’ve been guilty of one serious flaw regarding friends – I throw them away. In my life I’ve lived in over a dozen cities in seven states and in each and every one of them I made wonderful friends who I thought would be with me for the rest of my life. I’m sad to say that is not true. I’m not good of keeping them once I move on. I don’t stay in touch. There have been a few times that I would call now and again, but each time I’d call there was less to say and longer uncomfortable silence.
It’s not something I dwell on, typically, but yesterday I was feeling a little nostalgic. I randomly picked names of old friends and searched to see if they were on Facebook. I found many of them. I would look at the pictures they’d posted. I’d see pictures of their children who I never met. I’d see them with other long time friends that I thought I’d keep in touch with forever. Group photos of outings where I should be in the picture, but was never asked to come along. It’s not their fault I wasn’t asked. It was the fault of the numerous times I’d been asked to join them on excursions and I always turned them down. Turn them down enough and eventually they stop asking.
There are many reasons why I didn’t stay in touch, one of them is lack of money. I’ve always been terrible with money. It never mattered how much I made, it was never enough. I have always lived paycheck to paycheck and it scares me that it’s possible that I always will. Living on the west coast and traveling to see friends on the east coast is too costly for me. Today I can’t travel because of my daughter. She lives in the Midwest and every dollar I spend on vacations is one dollar less I have to see her. I struggle each year to visit her more often.
Another reason I’ve lost touch is due to my alcoholism. When I was in the worst and final stages I didn’t care about anyone. I did happen to go back east during that time because my father was dying. I went to one of my old friends homes and asked if I could borrow money. I hadn’t seen or talked with him in years and when I finally do show up I ask for money. I can’t remember how much. It was either $200 or $2000. I was a blubbering mess because I had a relationship that ended very badly – violent, actually. In addition I had not had any drugs or alcohol in awhile and my brain was having a hard time dealing with reality. Fortunately I was not given the loan.
Now I’ll play psychologist. Another reason I’ve lost touch with others is due to emotional reasons. It’s easier for me to forget and move on, than to deal with the pain of the loss. Now, I have no idea if this is true or not, but there has to be some other reason and that’s the best I can come up with. It makes me feel both sad and guilty to have pushed my old friends away. My pdoc keeps telling me that I need to move on from the old Bradley. Old Bradley was undiagnosed with bipolar and did things that only old Bradley would do . New Bradley is being treated and would not do the many things that Old Bradley did. I don’t know if that is true. I hope it is. I have too many good friends today that I’d hate to lose touch when the time comes to move again.
11 comments on Old Friends
The gift of recovery is that we get to LEARN how to live one day at at time. I could not live that way during the stage of my life that formed my deep seated emotional conflicts that drive my behavior if I am not conscious. Nice post thanks
Thank you, shoe. Living one day at a time has made a huge difference in my life. Sometimes I have to take it one hour…or even one minute at a time.
I have thrown away many friends and didn’t even know that’s what was happening until I got better. I can’t save all the lost friendships, but I can keep from losing more. How about dinner, Bradley?
I would love that, Teri
You aren’t going to be able to get rid of me! Shoe is right and so is our pdoc, you are a wonderful friend now and need to give yourself a break. As someone who has only left one state, I can tell you that I think it is pretty hard to keep up with old friends. Many of us struggle with this.
The Internet has been a haven for me having friends and in something akin to regular contact. Maybe it wasn’t people from meatspace per se, but that was okay. The friends gathered online are usually accessible in a useful easy way, such as forums (or blogs). Sometimes they come into my ‘real’ life, and that’s okay too. But I’m also an introvert with low social needs, so it’s that much easier and saner to do most of my interaction behind text. 🙂
At one point, Raeyn, the only social network I had was playing the Sims. I just couldn’t handle real life conversation. The online world Second Life was a haven for me at one point as well. A lot of opportunity to interact and make new online friends. It’s generally used to have fun, but they also have support groups for alcoholics, depression, anxiety, etc. You may want to check it out if you haven’t already.
Growing up with a parent with AIDS has shown me that I don’t respond to traditional talking therapies. As for support groups, I’m such a mother bear that I’d absolutely never work on myself — I’d be taking care of everyone else.
I can seriously relate to your last paragraph about it being easier to move on, than to actually deal with it. That’s what I’ve done every time I have broken up/gotten broken up with/lost a friend/pet/family member. I just can’t handle grieving.
Grieving is tough, aireeinn. I do the same with friends who have died. I tend to shut down until the time passes that I can open up again.
As do I. You are definitely not alone in that defense mechanism! <3