In 2016, I chose sobriety. And I lost my friends. Early sobriety was some of the loneliest time in my life, and I was confronted with nowhere to go with the emotions I felt about suddenly having no friends. My usual go-to (vodka) was no longer available to me. My partner since 2001 (the hubs) was in emergency surgery. It was me and my journal, facing a very long few days of being painfully present for every. damn. thing.
This isn’t a post about my sobriety, although that’s at the start of it. What I want to share is how I found my way to a much better group of friends. Now, nearly three years sober, I say several times per day how much I love my friends. I spend time with these amazing humans and ask myself how I got so lucky to have so many really phenomenal people to talk with, always ending the convo with, “I love us!” because we’re just so dang good together.
Truth is, I bought my friends.
When I look at how each of these incredibly meaningful friendships entered my life in the past three years, I see a place where I spent money.
• I started paying for private Pilates. My trainer is one of my best friends now. I see her 3x/wk. but it’s not just about fitness anymore.
• I paid to do money mindset work in an online program with an acquaintance who has now become a close friend I’ll be traveling with early next year.
• I paid to attend a workshop in LA and a fellow attendee is a long-lost friend from the early ’90s. We reconnected and are the best of friends, getting together fortnightly.
• I enrolled in a sober coaching program and my sober coach is now one of my best friends an ocean away, so we Zoom monthly.
• I hired a friend of a friend to do a business reading for me and we are now biz besties with regular phoners that go on for hours.
I bought my friends.
And I have zero regrets. I just invested in a Liz Gilbert writing retreat for next year and I’ll be meeting up with a few of the LA-based participants next month and I’m certain I’m going to make friends both then and next year in Fiji. I’m seriously contemplating investing in deeper work with Tara McMullin and team, and I do feel as though I already have friends in her network.
Here’s what I *learned* this week — and this post was prompted by my answer to the convo in that very What Works network about what our businesses have taught us this week: I remember when I heard Denise Duffield-Thomas talk about buying into a better friendgroup. I was appalled.
Nuts-and-bolts, she was talking about how we have to invest in ourselves and in our businesses and sometimes the upgrades we seek in our lives come from simply being in masterminds with people who VIBRATE HIGHER than those we spend time around on the daily.
Back when I heard her say that (we’ve been online friends a long time), I heard more of a “buy into groups of people who think they’re better than you, so you can deserve to be with better people, which eventually will rub off on you and make you better,” message.
Woof. What a bunch o’ low enoughness bullshit, right?
All she was saying is that when we pay to be in certain rooms with people who’ve also paid to be there, the CULTURE is different. The RESPONSIBILITY to keeping a healthy mindset is agreed upon. The FOCUS is healthier.
And once I got sober, I couldn’t maintain the low enoughness that allowed my previous friendships to exist for so long. I vibrated too high to continue with that peer group. They’re wonderful people… but I was never going to be enough to really be loved the way I am now. Because I provide myself with unconditional love. And their friendship couldn’t stick around when I loved myself enough not to need them the same way.
That’s what enoughness is, really. An unfuckwithable resting state that still feels all the good and bad in life but weathers everything from a really OKAY place. I am safe. I am whole. I am enough.
Once I started investing in groups where others would not be intimidated by my resting state but instead would value what I could contribute… once I started showing up in the world not needing people to remind me I was worth having around… once I started running in circles with people who ALSO have higher enoughness than non-sober-me surrounded herself with… I suddenly looked around to realize I have a whole new friendgroup.
And I bought access to them.
Best investment of my life.