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A man who has been in AA for over three decades said that the community of men has been crucial in supporting each other in their relationships with intimate partners. It takes talking to other men to get the emotional grounding that we all are dealing with the same kind of stuff, he said. Our struggles aren't just about our own personal problems, it's the nature of the beast. That can be incredibly calming and helpful. So much of marriage, and life, is about sitting with uncomfortable feelings, and not reaching for the quick fix that won't work in the long run. Ladder-types are individuals who are in a continual state of ascent in their lives. Life for them is a journey of change, evolution and progress. At each stage of their development, these people find friends who aid and encourage them and who in turn they aid and encourage. One can imagine, say, the life of a politician whose career is dotted with such friendships. At college they hang out with malcontents who inspire them. During their twenties they are nurtured by mentors who discipline them. The trouble that ladder-types find with friendship is that through no fault of their own this succession of friends produces people who rarely get on with each other. The malcontents will despise the mentor, as complacent, who will critique the powerful, as crooked, who will be irritated by the wise, as corrupt. So, passing friendships are a consequence of the ladder-life that such individuals lead, with later phases of their careers inevitably abol-ishing or infringing upon the earlier, with friends ditched as a result. The ladder-type has a philosophy of friendship which says that it is a mistake to expect or to try to cultivate close, life-long relationships. It was an evening of two strong-minded males expressing their need to win. I was a miserable spectator. The fault was mine, not theirs. As Samuel Johnson said of a widower remarrying soon after the end of an unhappy marriage, I exhibited the triumph of hope over experience. I should have known better.

I knew their political differences. I'm the one who placed them across the table from each other with no one else to distract them. In hindsight, I'm convinced their behavior would have been different in an office setting. In that workplace environment, they'd display appropriate workplace behavior. They'd be cordial and professional. Evolution! He had all of the pieces of a massive puzzle that he was now driven to put together. This puzzle was his chief interest and driving force for the rest of his life. Darwin had sent back to England massive numbers of specimens, specimens to which he would now have access. He had taken voluminous notes on the voyage, and kept careful personal journals, all of which miraculously survived. Now he sat with the great questions: What did it all mean? Could he solve the puzzles with which he had been confronted? From the moment of his arrival home, Darwin was a man possessed. 7 Charles Darwin had learned some crucial lessons on HMS Beagle over the course of his five-year voyage. This sometimes means confusion, lack of control, or feeling broken before you feel whole. It means understanding not knowing as a positive capacity, rather than as failure or ignorance. People who pray, people who meditate, have a model for this. They assume that it takes time for mysteries to clarify. The artist Georgia O'Keeffe famously said, Nobody sees a flower--really--it is so small it takes time--we haven't time--and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

A spiritual practice helps us to know that seeing takes time; and that sometimes it can take a long time to see because we resist painful realities. All this can be hard, and it isn't made any easier by the demands of the culture: to shift our moods by the clock, to treat impatience as a virtue, and to confuse self-certainty with emotional health. Addictions run in families via genes, behavior patterns, and the interaction of the two. Regardless of the source, one of the overarching features of addiction-generating households is a vacuum of healthy coping with emotions, and a tone-deaf demand that people ignore their feelings as the price of being accepted and cared for. Amity is sacrificed on the altar of progress. The second type of individual who is good at friendship, the circle-like, is different. They also collect around them individuals with different characters, dispositions and talents but in a way that diffuses any awkwardness or antagonism. Typical of such a person might be the celebrity. They count amongst their friends people as diverse as their management team, their peers, a handful of journalists, their family, their favourite charity-workers and even some fans. The force of their charisma provides the focus for this circle of friendship, showering it with warmth, and so like the sun, powering it over long periods of time. To be a friend with the circle-type is like being known by the host of a party who greets you with smiles and small-talk, champagne and charm. Such friends do not really share that much, beyond their association, and so wind away the hours talking about this and that, conspiring in indecision and perhaps in all honesty becoming nuisances to one another. It is prudent to form friendships only with the industrious', Nietzsche concludes. He also suspects that such relationships are untrustworthy because when the dynamism disappears from a friendship, but the individuals concerned cannot quite bring it to an end, they constantly strive to re-establish their intimacy with each other - by dwelling on theold times' or college days; My big mistake, though, was a failure to anticipate their behavior in the after-hours environment of dinner at a restaurant - when both men considered themselves off-duty, free to say anything because it would have no business repercussions. Proper anticipation would have led to. Peter Drucker famously said, Half the leaders I have met don't need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop. It's no different with our environment.

Quite often our smartest response to an environment is avoiding it. If we're returning home late at night, we don't take a route through a sketchy high-crime neighborhood. If we've given up drinking, we don't hang out at a bar. If we're fair-skinned and burn easily in the sun, we skip the beach. If we detest our neighbor Todd, we politely turn down his invitations to visit. Above all, he had learned the value of perseverance, the value in coming back again and again to a complex problem. It's dogged that gets it done! He had also had a taste of the deep fulfillment of perseverance, and the sense of excitement that lies beneath a slow, systematic, even plodding movement toward understanding. He learned these lessons in the main from Robert Fitzroy. But in order to solve the massive conundrum now facing him--what does it all mean--he would in coming years simply have to move beyond what he'd learned from Fitzroy. Upon his return to England, Darwin's noble adversary had become not just Captain Fitzroy, but the entire religious, cultural, and scientific paradigm of creationism. In order to successfully confront this prevailing paradigm, Darwin would need every item on our earlier list of the components of adversarial intelligence: Perseverance. Flexibility. Endurance. Perspective. It can take a lifetime to see this for what it is, and to heal from the harm. But, when a person begins to peel away the layers--whether through being confronted by a loved one, or finding the strength to confess secrets, or going to therapy, or hitting bottom--the self-awareness the person finds is lifesaving. As one recovering alcoholic said to me, Once you have this self-awareness, you can't ever go backward. You can't pretend you don't have it. Things change forever.

A core difficulty of the rough patch is finding that our usual coping strategies don't work anymore, including our use of drinking and drugs. We know from the recovery and addiction fields that the basic precepts for overcoming an unhealthy relationship to drugs are pretty much the same precepts that underlie healthy relationships to other people. We try to see, accept, and understand our emotions. We try to look at the big picture about where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed and try to align our actions with our values. We speak the truth to our partners and to our friends, and we make amends for harm done. the past, not the future. This is a sign that habit has become a substitute for any real affection or closeness. Neitzsche is not saying that a shared past is not important to close friends. Rather, he's arguing it's not enough. His observation about the future orientation of the best friendships is an arresting one. It's so crucial because the quality that the future has, which the past does not, is newness. The future is a place of possibility and growth; to look to tomorrow is to step up into the not-yet and unknown. Conversely, the past is a place that can't change; it roots us but, without the future, constrains us too. We're generally shrewd about avoiding environments that present a physical or emotional risk or are otherwise unpleasant. On the other hand, we rarely triumph over an environment that is enjoyable. We'd rather continue enjoying it than abandon or avoid it. Part of the reason is inertia. It takes enormous willpower to stop doing something enjoyable.