I’m not sure why, but I tend to have trouble with friends, or more precisely, making and keeping friends. Don’t get me wrong, I do have friends, two is the exact number. I guess you could add my husband to that shortlist to make three. I used to have lots of friends. When I drank and used, my social diary was extensive. There was rarely a weekend that I stayed home and I looked forward to being out.
As I got a little older and became a part of the recovery community, I met new people and there were coffee and recovery events, meetings, meetings after the meetings, you know the drill. But I never really seemed to gel with anyone specifically. I thought I did for a while. There was a group of women at my homegroup, some of which I’d known in my drinking days, that I got friendly with. We met up all the time, texted daily and I thought that I had really found my people. Then I saw a picture on Facebook of one of the women in the group who had a 40th birthday celebration. Everyone was there, including the other women from the group. I didn’t get an invite. Why? I don’t know. I was really hurt and felt so rejected. It caused me to leave my home group and find another one because everything felt so awkward from then on. There would be polite hellos when they saw me, but they made no secret about the fact I wasn’t included anymore.
It’s always been this way
This is nothing new for me though. I have experienced this since childhood and became a bit of a loner quite early on. In my teens, I guess my ability to socialize was due, in no small part, to alcohol. I’m not even sure if, back then, during my partying days, anyone really liked me. All know is that I felt relaxed when I was drunk and I loved to party. I always felt socially awkward as a child and definitely as a teenager and that hasn’t really changed much. I’m good with people I know really well, but strangers are terrifying to me. If I can’t connect on some level with someone in a new group in the first five minutes I’m screaming inside to leave.
Due to my past trouble with friends, I much prefer to avoid social interaction where I have to talk to new people. I tend to spend a lot of time at home and I’ve even found a way to work from home. I keep myself busy but there is always this low-lying level of loneliness simmering under my skin. Sometimes that feeling is very present and can become overwhelming. I envy my husband’s ability to interact with everybody. When I’m with him at social events I definitely do better but then feel a little like I’m a burden. The fear that seeps into me is stifling and I almost leave my own body sometimes. I can observe my own awkwardness if that makes sense.
Finding a solution
I’ve attended online recovery meetings and talked to therapists, my sponsor and my doctor about this but I’m yet to find a solution. I know that I’m the common denominator here and maybe because I was rejected from and early age by friends, I’ve come to expect it so maybe make it happen. It’s one of the promises that hasn’t come true for me, but it’s something I’m willing to keep working on. I also understand that there are millions of people just like me out there in the world. Acceptance of how it is for now, keeps me ticking over, and maybe having trouble with friends is something I’ll always struggle with.