This is a guest post from the amazingly talented and lovely Cathy Taughinbaugh whose inspiring writing supports many, as they come to grips with addiction in one form or another. My hat is off to Cathy for the sage advice which seems to flow so easily for her, and as one who is blessed to not be dealing with this challenging problem, I still find so much value in her words.
And for those of curious minds who want to know why I’m sort of missing in action currently, it’s because I’m here:
I’ll tell you more about this in my next post. See more about Cathy after her wise words.
As the year comes to a close and a new one begins, it is a wonderful time to reflect on our lives and the support systems that we have in place.
My immediate thought is always of family. A close second are my friends who have been there for me through thick and thin.
There is a group of women that I reconnect with each year, usually in the spring, but sometimes in the summer.
It’s a group of six and we have known each other since elementary school. One of the women I have known since kindergarten and the rest I’ve known since second or third grade. It is a unique situation. I had one of those childhoods where I did not move around a lot. I lived in the same home from age 2 through age 18. That longevity of staying in one place cements friendships and there is an understanding that cuts through time. There is definitely something special about the friends you grew up with.
At some point over 20 years ago, my friend Carol suggested that the group meet once a year. Because of work schedules, we usually only have 3 to 4 days to get together. We are all Californians, so our first trip was to Lake Tahoe, by the Nevada border. We have since then visited almost every major city and resort up and down the state. We ventured outside the border twice, once to Las Vegas and once to Portland.
I would love to say that we mountain climb or go bungie jumping when we get together, but the group is a bit more sedate. Like many women shopping and spa treatments are usually involved.
That is not to say that we are complete couch potatoes. One year three of us ran in the Bay to Breakers when we stayed in San Francisco. Recently, we biked our way through Portland, and usually we explore by foot whatever town we are visiting.
But that just scratches the surface. We reconnect every year not because of what we do, but because of what we say. By sharing our stories, we have supported each other through our struggles and we have celebrated the joys in our life. Laughter is always involved and we don’t leave a get together without many good laughs.
Breast cancer, substance abuse, divorce, death of a sibling as well as our parents, are just some of the challenges that the group has gone through. We’ve watched our children grow, get married and two have become grandmothers.
We’ve helped each other start again, and we’ve connected over the challenges of raising a family, our relationships with our husbands and being single. We often reminisce about our high school years. With friends like these, so much is already understood.
We meet as a group only once a year, but we know that we are only an email or phone call away the rest of the time.
Friendships come and go for a reason during one’s lifetime. Some friends seem to be there for the long haul, while others are there for only a short period of time. Some you need just to get you through a certain period of your life and some remain soul mates.
Good friends are there for each other. They can be the key to easing through life and finding yourself again when tragedy strikes. They give us someone to confide in, to share our pain and to hold us up when the going gets rough.
When we reach out to others, it brings joy into our life. Our friends can raise our spirits and can be there to celebrate the happy times. We rely on them to be concerned for our well fare. The best of friends will listen to our honesty and and will allow us to bare our soul.
Our close friends reflect who we are. We surround ourselves with those that make us laugh, will sit with us when we cry and cheer us on when we need an extra boost.
As we start this new year, our friends can be a source of encouragement. Reach out to your friends when you need some support. Notice, as well when they need you. Be the one that is willing to listen. We can all get through this life together when we encourage each other.
I loved this post from Cathy, it’s so encouraging, and we want to encourage one another I know.
After discovering substance abuse had become an issue with her children, Cathy Taughinbaugh, a life and recovery coach, founded Treatment Talk, (http://treatmenttalk.org) a website dedicated to sharing and support for addiction, recovery and treatment. Cathy is committed to educating parents, young adults and teens about the dangers of substance abuse.