smiler is the "official" welcomer - she's got the thaankless job of being moderator. she has my condollances. i'm a nobody around here, so i can give you a really unofficial welcome. so consider yourself unofficially welcomed. i'm glad you found this place.
as for friends, well i've found thi8s dysfunctional family to be pretty good with support, advice (some of it actually pretty good), and non-judgemental acceptance. i hope this is what you are looking for. it is probably what you've found.
i look forward to your posts.
That light at the end of he tunnel? It's an on-coming train.