incredible-marketing Arrow

Leaving Behind Drinking/Using Buddies

“Stick with the winners” is a common phrase heard in the rooms of recovery meetings. Making changes to our social life can improve our ability to maintain our sobriety. Keeping friendships with people who are actively using drugs, however, can have the opposite effect and bring us closer toward relapse. We will reach a point in our recovery when we can be around anyone and in any setting without being tempted by drugs and alcohol, but in early recovery we may find it helpful to distance ourselves from those in our social circle who are still actively using.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.  Drugs of abuse alter the brain’s structure and function, resulting in changes that persist long after drug use has ceased. This may explain why drug abusers are at risk for relapse even after long periods of abstinence and despite the potentially devastating consequences.” We are never cured of addiction or alcoholism, and should keep our recovery as our top priority. If we feel that being around others who are actively using or living in active addiction could cause us to consider drinking or using again, we should distance ourselves from them for our own safety.

According to the NIDA, “Science has taught us that stress, cues linked to the drug experience (such as people, places, things, and moods), and exposure to drugs are the most common triggers for relapse.” Avoiding these cues in early sobriety can keep us from experiencing the stress associated with relapse. The social aspect of addiction recovery is just as important as the psychological and behavioral. Although it may be difficult, and we may feel guilt over distancing ourselves from those who we felt were our friends while using, we must make the best decisions for our sobriety.

We will not have to spend our entire lives avoiding others in active addiction. In fact, we will often spend considerable time doing our best to help them once we have come far enough along in our recovery. By this point in our recovery, we will not feel temptation if we are around people in active addiction. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “In our belief scheme of combating alcoholism which proposes to shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure. If the alcoholic tries to shield himself he may succeed for a time, but he usually winds up with a bigger explosion than ever. We have tried these methods. These attempts to do the impossible have always failed.” In the early stages of sobriety, we may find it helpful to avoid people who are still using, Eventually, however, we will be strong enough in our recovery that we will not be tempted by their drinking or drug use, and we may even be able to help them, too, discover a life of happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety.

Your life can become one of physical, mental, and spiritual health in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists with spiritual guides and holistic experts to help you develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431