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Should I Avoid Friends Who Still Drink?

Being around old friends who still drink or use drugs can be a problem in early sobriety. Past drinking or using buddies can expose us to stressors that can be catalysts for cravings. Often, when we look back at these friendships, we see that the only common bond was drug use. They were not friendships we would want to maintain in sobriety and only serve to damage our chances of making a successful recovery.

Researchers identify stressors as a major cause of relapse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “A drug-associated cue can be anything that a person with a substance use disorder associates with their previous drug use—the tactile feel of a pack of cigarettes, the sights or smells of a place where they have used drugs, or even a conversation that triggers a memory of drug use.” Our past friends are but one example a drug-associated cue that can cause us to begin feeling nostalgic for past drug and alcohol use. Dr. Peter Kalivas of the Medical University of South Carolina explains, “These cues become woven into the fabric of people’s lives, making it hard to avoid them and increasing the chance of relapse.”

There may be instances where these people truly are our friends or loved ones. Fortunately, we will not have to avoid them or end our relationships with them. However, first we must thoroughly engage in a program of recovery that gives us a defense against the first drink or drug. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains that we will reach a point in our recovery when “We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality – safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience.”

To reach this point, we must stay actively engaged in our recovery and focus on our spiritual fitness. In the early stages of sobriety, it may be helpful to avoid people in our lives who are drinking or using, but we will reach a point in our recovery when we can go anywhere and be around anyone without falling victim to stress-induced cravings.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. 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, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431