Sometimes I get to meet a kindred spirit who has wandered through life not knowing there are others like them. That’s the cost of hiding your true self – you don’t get to connect with others when you lose yourself.
My newest brother and I spent a couple hours together recently. I told him what I’ve overcome and how I did/do it. More importantly, I told him he can do what I’ve done and that there are lots of us who’d not only be happy to help him but would be better for it.
We talked like men too rarely do – about vulnerable things. Like not being good enough and other lies we were taught as children.
We spoke of depression and how it makes us want to isolate and how isolating makes us depressed.
We talked about disappointment and how having too many of those in your life tends to dictate our behavior and choices in the present.
We discussed being fathers and other terrifying undertakings.
We talked about our “addictive personalities” which is a term people like me use to describe having a hole in your heart that makes holding onto anything good nearly impossible.
His composure was nearly perfect throughout our time together. He’s a man’s man – good looking, athletic, and stoic, but he’s drowning on the inside.
I told him I’m the neediest man he’s ever met. I need every single one of the people in my life today and I need people I haven’t even met yet.
As I was leaving him, he thanked me and said, “You’ve given me a lot to think about.” I laughed and told him he must have missed the point I was trying to make. “Don’t think, don’t drink, don’t be an asshole to yourself and get lots of accountability for your goals.”
That’s how complicated life is – that shit that brings you down? Stop doing it. That stuff that feeds your soul? Do a lot more of that. Most of all, stop going through life alone, stuck in your head, and for f@ck sake, stop trying to figure things out and just do the next right thing.
Stop complaining about how fake people are and find the ones who are genuine. The problem is, nobody tells you where to look. I have found my people in places most only look to out of necessity. I have found my people in the halls of AA and NA. I have met my people in psychiatric hospitals, homeless shelters and group therapy sessions.
You know that Facebook meme we’ve all seen? “I don’t care whether you’ve stood with the great. I wanna know if you’ve sat with the broken.”? I love that sentiment, but there’s a piece that’s missing:
Yes, I have sat with the broken. I have related, identified, and loved them. I also stand with people in all forms of recovery and no one shines like they do.
Come find your tribe.