Friends. What exactly does that word mean? Not the Websters or the Wiki definition, but what does it mean to you? I suspect that, like so many other topics, it has a different meaning depending on who you are talking to. I also think that what stage of life you are in make some difference as well, but that just might be me. But lets look at this a bit more.
We all have friends, or at least what we call friends, but again, the definition depends on you. I think what we really have is a range which spans the gamut from "one and done" acquaintances to people you trust with your life, and everything in between. If you fall somewhere at or above the half-way mark, you are known as a "friend". Below that you are an "acquaintance". But then what about the various sub-divisions within that range or group?
For instance, I have acquaintances, friends, and true friends. But what is the difference? Well, for me, acquaintances are the bulk of my range and, because I am not only picky, but older as well. Then I have those who I call friends. My opinion on this category is as follows-if you take the time and effort and energy to call someone a friend, you be there for them in the good times AND the bad.....even when it may be painful or cost you personally in some fashion.
Then I have true friends. This is a very short list, and just gets shorter all the time. It is made up exclusively of those who I was, and am, willing to die for, as well as those who have extended me the same favor. Primarily made up of the men and women with whom I served with and/or commanded in the military, although there are others who were not combat buddies.
But now it gets a little crazy. What about this place and the people you meet here? Well, for the most part they will probably fall under the category of acquaintances, for the simple fact that you will in all likelihood never meet them in person-and how can you be a friend with someone you have never met face to face? In my world-you can't. But now, what if this person you have never met face to face was directly instrumental in saving your life? Do they get moved to the short list? How the hell does THAT work?
There are people here who I have never met, and probably never will. And yet, if they call, I will move heaven and hell to help them, up to and including great personal sacrifice, if needed. Regardless of their location! Not because of their advice, or the willingness to share that advice, but because they chose to be there for me when I needed someone......and they did not bail when it got tough!
When you are stuck in the depths of an addiction, there is no sun. There is no light, there is no hope. There is only mind-numbing despair and the chains with which you have bound yourself.....and you lost the key to that lock long ago. And for someone to willingly step into your cesspool-without hope of reward or profit-with their hand extended in an offer of help, knowing full well that your shit is going to stick to their boots.....what do you call that?
Before I go any further, I would like to thank those who made the effort and who did not quit on me. I would be lost, and probably dead, without you. And you will NEVER be forgotten.
But to move on. It has been my great pleasure to meet a few of the members of the forum in person, and what I have seen from these three separate individuals re-enforces my ideas. As many here may know, I have offered to guest any member who might be in my area passing through or just vacationing here. About a year ago, I had a member from the U.K. express an interest in coming to Colorado to "see the Rockies", among other things. Now admittedly, this member is a person I call friend, but we have never met in person, however, she is my friend!
She flew into Denver, we picked her up, and she spent a full month with my family and I. And we had such a good time that she did it again just a couple of months ago, another month with me and the wife and the kids! Then, I had the opportunity to meet another member, who traveled all the way from Arkansas to Colorado to get here and visit. Justin and his wife are thinking about moving over this way, so I told them I would show them around the place a little.
Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about meeting them, but it went off well.
And I want to put this out in the open air.....regardless of what you as another member might think about Booty Love, he is good fucking people. Does he have his problems? Of course he does, we all do! Are they problems which can destroy a life, relationship, family, and hope for the future? Absolutely! But that is who we are and what we do here.....deal with problems that crush the soul. Does he need help? Who here doesn't? Will you help him?
Will you help him? My opinion is that he is on the cusp. He has made unbelieviable progress, both on his own and with the help of family, but he is in a fragile place. Not just because of drugs, but because of life destroyed due to drugs. And yet, he has not quit. He put his head down and came out swinging, and he moves forward one step at a time. Small steps, to be sure! But small steps forward.
Now, many of you are no doubt thinking "Booty Love? He's a loudmouth!" or "arrogant" or any number of other things. But I would like to put forth that he is not the same member that he was several months ago. For one thing, he is clean now, and we all know what kind of difference that makes. And he speaks from experience. And he needs help. And at the end of the day, is that NOT what we do? Help others? Regardless of our personal feelings, we repeatedly go out on a limb for others, even when we know that 9 times out of 10, that limb is going to snap off underneath us.
Well, this particular limb might be shaky, but I have a good feeling about it. I see what he can be, instead of what he was.....and I have decided to call him "friend".
I am merely passing on what others saw in and felt about me. Shaky, but worth taking a chance on. And how do you repay that trust and favor? By doing the same for others when it looks like the odds might not be in your favor, but taking the chance anyway. And what is the reward? Most of the time, it is falling down when they do. But every now and then, you get to stand back and watch while someone that you believed in moves farther than you ever did. And that is what makes taking the chance worth it-to see someone succeed because you believed in them, when they didn't believe it was possible.
At least, that is what the person who took the chance on me said. And she was right.
Change the person, change the world. Simple on the face of it, and yet, when you really think about that statement, there are so many different layers to it that it is not even remotely funny.
Take a chance. Make a friend.
Change your world!