PERSONAL STORY: Learning to Be a Friend

Having been through the 12 steps, I am most grateful for recognizing that my ability to form healthy relationships was severely deficient.

Granted this knowledge, I began to ask for help from my fellow [12-step] members and my higher power to be willing to better understand and overcome this debilitating consequence of my disease.

I heard people discuss the freedom that [recovery] gave them to find a sincere voice or to go places or do things that they could never do before. This showed me how my [addiction] robbed me of my chances to feel good about the few things that I did well. I never knew how to communicate to others my dismay, insecurity, or fear over the situations in my life.

As a sponsor, I have learned to listen more sensitively to others whose marriages or significant relationships suffered in early recovery when the blinders dropped. They then saw the hard work facing them if they were to try to find true partnerships in recovery.

People told me that to have friends, I would have to be a friend. Often this simply meant to continue doing service and to stop expecting a return on my investment. It also meant taking an interest in people that I felt that I had nothing in common. I could engage them in a discussion and find an area of recovery, or life situation, we had in common.

The transformation that recovery brings is amazing. Examples of pure unselfishness have replaced anger and insecurity. I can talk more freely about the less attractive aspects of my personality without fear of being judged. Many benefits have come from this: true friendships, acts of unconditional service, and inner peace.

Recovery has changed my life!

– N.R.

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