Welcome to FitDay. I enjoyed reading your story. It's a good thing that your friend can tell it like it is and you can accept it and go from there. Many people have to be coddled but in many cases that just aids in the problem.
Do you have any prospects for work lined up? You seem to be doing well with that, especially considered you spent almost 1/2 your line there... and all of your adult life there.
Good luck man! Stay around and post a lot! We are reading, even if we all don't respond.