“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” – Helen Keller

Friendship is a hard thing to define because there are so many different aspects to being a friend. Sometimes you need someone to just listen and not say a word. Other times you need advice, because you feel lost. Sometimes, you just need someone to help you move a big heavy sofa from the basement up to the attic. That’s when your really find out who your friends are!

I recall a Saturday night many years years ago when I was out for a night of drinking with my three best friends. People who are inebriated tend to make plans that rarely actually happen because no one remembers them, but on this particular evening we pledged to wake up early play golf the next morning. We drove to he golf course individually and miraculously, we all pulled into the parking lot right at 8 am.

As we were pulling our golf clubs out of the trunks of our cars and comparing the sizes of our hangovers, we suddenly realized that we forgot to assign someone the task of bringing beer. Horrors! The law at that time prohibited the sale of alcohol before noon on Sunday. More horrors! What would we do? Each of us blamed the other for not remembering to take care of this crucial responsibility, and we promptly decided that we simply could not play golf without booze. We didn’t want to spend time together talking about life, issues, problems, relationships, success, or even the weather. We just wanted to get drunk as skunks and drive around in golf carts like idiots. We put our clubs back in our trunks and drove home to go back to sleep.

At the time this seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do, but years later as a sober, recovering alcoholic I am sad about what happened that day. One of those friends died a couple years ago as a direct result of alcohol, one appears to be on his way, and the other I lost touch with. I wish now that I had that day back.

I like the quote by C.S. Lewis “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”

When I first came into the meeting rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous I thought I was only one with the terrible and shameful problems I was fighting. I quickly learned that there were a lot of people with very similar issues, and many were far worse. But these people were committed to solving their problems, and before too long, so was I. My friends in AA are true friends. They will listen, offer advice, and I am certain they would help me move a heavy sofa from the basement if I asked them to!

Whenever given the opportunity to speak to young people I like to share this story and tell them to be careful about who they choose for their friends. Were my three friends “bad” friends? No! We shared many wonderful experiences and also helped each other through some tough times. They didn’t force me to drink, I did that on my own and eventually become an out-of-control alcoholic. But looking back I wish I would have expanded my circle of friends to include people who didn’t focus so much of their lives around alcohol.

If you are unhappy, you think alcohol might be making your life worse, and your friends can’t or won’t relate to that, i assure you there are friends to be found in recovery. They will listen, and share their experiences so you will see that you’re not alone. I urge you to click on this website – http://www.aa.org/ – and then click “AA near you.” Meetings are free and you will not be judged.