Loyalty is my middle name - until I feel like you crossed me, until I feel like you used me, or until I completely withdraw for no apparent reason. Maybe that's an addiction characteristic, or maybe I just have some underlying issues, but the fact is...sometimes I just completely withdraw from the world.
During my drinking days, I'd withdraw for weeks at a time. My dad called it, "going dark." The thing that drove me up the wall is when he would ask me "why." I DON'T KNOW WHY! I really don't. Well...at least I didn't. Now I know why I went dark:
I hold things in, and I am selfish. I'm passive-aggressive. I'm an introverted extrovert. My shame and guilt (and outright rebellion) kept me from answering my phone. And if I went a few days without talking to you, I'd have to eventually explain "why", and I didn't know why, so I kept ignoring you. I did that in my relationships, my close friendships, and in my family. If I'm not careful, I still do it today.
Hopefully this level of transparency doesn't catch you too off-guard. I'm so imperfect, it actually baffles me that people are interested in my life. I talk about God, and 10 minutes later I'm dropping F-bombs. I write a blog post about how I'm loyal, and then I realize there's a dear friend I've blacklisted for absolutely no reason.
In the spirit of truth, there's another reason I go dark. It's because I'm scared to get close to you. I'm scared to let you in. Which is incredibly weird, because I also love having deep, meaningful relationships. I drank heavily for many years. A lot of it was just to have a good time, a lot of it was addiction, and a lot of it was fear and resentment. As I write this, I have 2.5 years of sobriety, and my life has SKYROCKETED. My happiness, my creativity, and my overall sense of freedom are at an all time high. But I still have a lot of work to do. I have a lot of work to UNDO.
The habit of going dark and pushing people away is not something I'm proud of. But I did it for years, and now I have to work every day to be a good friend. A true friend. The kind of friend that gives and expects nothing in return. The kind of friend who doesn't abandon the friendship just because I feel like I got the short end of the stick.
Sorry this post wasn't LOL material. Sometimes I feel the need to be real with myself, and to let the world know what I deal with, because it helps me erase that old, nasty habit of holding everything in. I hope this encourages you to reach out to someone you've pushed away. It's ok to get the short end of the stick sometimes. It's called understanding. It's called forgiveness. It's called unconditional love. And that's the man I have to be today.
On that note, I'm going to apologize to a dear friend that I pushed away for no reason, and I'm going to do it right now. Hopefully this will encourage you to do the same thing today!