The Value of Friendship and the Difference During and After Addiction
I have been thinking recently about the qualities of the friendships I have today, how important they are to me and my lifestyle, and how different they are now as opposed to when I was an addict. The relationships I have today with people, particularly my friends, are completely different than the relationships I had with the people I considered friends when I was abusing drugs. I realized how appreciative I am of the people I have in my life now, and how good it feels to be surrounded by people who have my best interests at heart, with a mutual respect and appreciation for one another. It is a stark contrast to my life as an addict.
As an addict I surrounded myself with the type of ‘friends’ that provided the least resistance to the way I was living. In other words, addicts. People who I could be around and not feel bad about using the types of drugs that would terrify most people. Addicts are driven by one thing, drug dependency, and there is little to no loyalty among addicts masquerading as friends. This reminds me of a time where I felt betrayed by someone that I considered a friend, a person who had stolen my drugs. How could he? After everything I have done for this person! The irony being that I remember doing the same thing to somebody else, not even a day later. It is not uncommon to get your feelings hurt as an addict, and it’s even less uncommon to do hurtful things to other people while justifying these actions in your head.
I am sure you have heard the saying ‘smiles are contagious’, and the opposite is also true. I lived that opposite as an addict. When addicts congregate together, at least in my experience, there is a whole lot of misery to go around. Being dependent on a substance to get out of bed is not an existence that sparks a lot of happy faces, and just as people can lift you up, they can also drag you down. That is exactly why overcoming addiction is not simply removing drugs from the equation and expecting everything to be okay. It is about finding a new way of living and growing as a person in the process, and a big part of that is being around people that support that new way of life.
The friends that I have today not only support my drug-free lifestyle, they are a huge and beneficial part of my life. We laugh together, lean on each other during the hard times, support each other through challenging times and, perhaps most importantly, we lift each other up instead of dragging one another down. For so long the relationships in my life were so turbulent I forgot how good it felt to have healthy relationships with my friends. I forgot how good people could be to one another and just how positive of an impact a good friend could have on my life. I know that, at the end of the day, I am the one who keeps myself clean and sober and far away from the life I had as an addict. I also recognize one of the key ingredients to that formula is the people I choose to surround myself with and have as a part of my every-day life. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.