Maybe taking that first step toward sobriety/recovery is actually the best thing you can do, for yourself and your friends.
If your group of friends is really into yoga or eating sushi, then there’s a pretty good chance you know the difference between warrior one and warrior two and can eat with chopsticks like a true boss. The same rule also applies if your friends are really into using drugs or drinking. It’s better to use with someone than to use alone. Right? After all, misery loves company.
It’s easy to justify bad behavior when you’re not the only person doing it, which is why friends struggling with addiction can actually make the problem worse for each other. Are your friends keeping you company, or enabling your substance abuse and addictive behaviors?
Do they say that your efforts are pointless because rehab never worked for them? Do they go on and on about how AA/NA is a crazy cult that just wants to brainwash you? If any of these reactions sound familiar, then your friends are not helping you take a step in the right direction.
Well guess what: if your friends are making you feel guilty about getting sober/clean, it is probably because your courage to change is forcing them to think about their own problems… and they are scared, too.
True friends will always try their best to be supportive, whether that means encouraging you to get help, or just being a good listener during the decision process. If your “friends” want to keep you stuck down in the chaos of addiction, then maybe they really aren’t your friends. Be a good friend to yourself do what’s best for you.
Here are 7 warning signs that your friends are making your addiction worse.
1. They Help You Justify Bad Behavior
Are your friends cheering for you when you try to take 25 shots on your 25th birthday, even if you puke up the last few in front of everyone? Was the blackout you experienced last weekend no big deal, or even celebrated as “epic” by your crew?
If your friends aren’t calling you out when your behavior becomes dangerous, they are probably making your addiction worse.
2. They Can’t Do Normal Activities Sober/Clean
If your friends don’t partake in normal activities without involving substance use, they are most likely enabling your addictive patterns. Can they go hiking without bringing a few joints in the backpack? What about going to a concert without eating mushrooms first?
Or, do they ever have a chill movie night without involving a few bottles of wine? If your friends can’t do normal everyday things without using something, it’s likely you can’t either.
3. They Discourage You from Getting Help
Whether it’s checking into an inpatient rehab program or just casually attending 12-step meetings, if you bring up the mere possibility of getting help, how do your friends react? Do they automatically respond with negativity and sarcasm? Do they mock you and discourage you from getting the help you may need?
4. They Push You to Use More
Do you ever go shot for shot? Line for line? Do they tell you they have “the best stuff” and that you need to try it? If you’re feeling like having a quiet night at home to relax, do they insist on picking you up and bringing you out to the bar for “just a few drinks”? And we know it’s never just a few drinks.
5. They Don’t Have a Life Outside of Drugs
Does a typical night with your friends mean sitting in someone’s living room or basement and using drugs? Does your evening often end the next morning when the sun is already up? As a result, are your days dedicated to nursing hangovers and searching for the next high?
Do any of your buddies regularly hit the gym or spend quality time with their families? If your whole social scene revolves around using or procuring drugs, your friends are definitely making your addiction worse.
6. They Say You Can’t be Friends Anymore if You Get Sober/Clean
Do your friends tell you that it would be too weird to hang out when you’re sober or clean and they’re not? Do they become distant if you talk about getting help for your addiction? Is the fear of losing your friends and social life one of the main reasons why you haven’t pursued getting the professional help you may need in order to start a new healthy and sober life?
7. They Aren’t Your Real Friends
Real friends will support your decision to create a healthy, productive and sober lifestyle, even if it isn’t a choice they are ready to make for themselves right now.