North Star

Early on, when I was falling apart, a friend gave me the advice to, "find someone who has what I want and do what they did." I looked around a room of strangers sharing experiences and literally picked out a person who was wearing a shirt I liked and decided I would follow her lead... for the time being. Although I quickly learned that she did have more substantial things that I wanted- a relationship, character, a voice- our connection would be short lived because she also had something else I knew well- problems. Finding a sponsor in Al-Anon was harder than I thought.

At first I tried calling a few people with easily accessible numbers and reached out to them instead of screaming alone in my head. It was a relief, but brought about a hint of shame when I thought about the verbal onslaught of relationship woes I threw at them. It was no wonder that they didn't openly bring forth the offer to be a sponsor. Still, they did offer meaningful advice when I needed it most and a weekly reminder that growth takes time, but acknowledging the progress along the way helps.

I decided to think of these people as my North Stars. I read what they read and wrote what they wrote. I went to the meetings they frequented and reached out from time to time. To be honest, that was actually a LOT of progress in a short period of time, considering I was emerging from a relative recluse into a person stumbling into church on a near daily basis in a depressed daze. Hands down, what helped me the most was hearing their honest recollections of how they got from their bottom to anywhere above that point. Amazingly, a lot of the people I connected with were actually happy. Many were in new phases of their relationships or had started over with a more compatible match. As I learned to develop friendships- to be a listener, to share reciprocal experiences without judging, to offer help when asked (not all the time), I was able to grow outside of just the meetings.

Originally, I thought I wanted a map for recreating the work of salvaging a relationship. I wanted to put all the work into building myself up so that I would be compatible for my children's Dad. Or, if not him, then someone else who would complete our family. That may have been a noble cause, but it wasn't enough to sustain my growth. I had to go deeper and figure out what was really missing in my life. For me, it was the love of self, family, and friends. That's going to have to be enough for now.

Ultimately, I found a group of friends just like me. Smart, tech-savvy single moms who were all looking for the same thing- a tribe. I would say that finding a tribe is even better than finding a North Star because, second to motherhood, it is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.


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