Community has become hard for me - actually I think it's always been hard for me, but due to a falling out with a number of friends I'm finding even harder to trust than I used to.
I've made babysteps over the last year in rebuilding community and making friends. First I began going to OA meetings and met some wonderful people who were a supportive community of mostly women who understand what it's like being controlled by addiction. That was a wonderful discovery for me. I still have a hard time relating to these women outside of meetings though - it's hard for me just to pick up the phone to say hello - I mean why would anyone want to waste their time talking to me - I'm awkward and uncomfortable in social situations and I just don't know what to say. Having said that I continue to push myself out of my comfort zone. After being in OA for a while, I and my family joined a homeschool co-op that meets once a week during the school year. This has been important because I've begun working on finding community for my kids. We've lived in isolation for a couple of years now, so this is important work we are doing as a family.
It's hard - I'm not going to lie to you. Sometimes I hate it. Not only have been going to this co-op, but I also have been teaching classes. Teaching is a bit easier then I expected; it's the social niceties that I find difficult. I have a hard time keeping up my side of a conversation. I just don't know what to say a lot of the time. I tend to keep my passionately held believes to myself and I absolutely avoid conflict - I don't think it really serves any purpose - I feel people have the right to their beliefs and opinions whether I may or may not agree with them. I used to enjoy a good debate especially if it was with someone I loved. Now that I've lost a number of people I loved because they disagreed with me, I find it hard to disagree with anyone - I'd rather just keep my mouth shut. I'm not likely to change anyone's mind anyway. Live and let live.
Yesterday I reconnected with a family that was part of a community I was once very involved with. I'd drifted away from them and then closed down. I was able to explain to them what happened and they were so wonderfully supportive and understanding. I'll be honest I still felt a bit awkward, but I also felt loved and accepted for who I am and that was a gift. I am so grateful that my friend was willing to reach out to me and invite me to their home. They are a lovely family that I have quite a bit in common with, so it was good not to have to hide - I still did a bit, but it was nice knowing I didn't have to.
I guess I'm coming to understand that community still has a place in my life and I've really short changed my children this last couple of years in the idea of "protecting" them. Sort of backfired. I just ended up with unhappy lonely children. We as a family are rectifying that, but it takes time and I'm still standoffish. It's hard watching my kids jump in with no regard to their feelings. Everyone is their best friend and I'm so worried they are going to get hurt, because I did. I lost my 2 best friends. But - that is just part of life and it's my job to be here to help them learn to deal with hurt when it happens, to help them heal and pick themselves back up and try again. I do this by example and that's just what I'm trying to do.
Community is important and I don't have to have just one community. I'm a multifaceted person, so it would make sense that I would have more than one community to find support and friendship.
So today I'm grateful for community. My community of OA, my homeschooling community, my Facebook community, and my very small community of family and friends. Thank you all for being there for me and letting me be there for you.