Old friends and recovery:
Q: Do you have to stop seeing all your old friends
in order to recover?
A. It depends
When I was first getting off alcohol and drugs, many of my old friends
were just like me. I knew that being around drugs and being around
people using them was a bad idea. Exposing myself to the wrong influences
would have been a set-up for relapse. It wasn’t easy to let go of
some of my longstanding relationships. At the same time, though, I was
meeting new people who were also in recovery. I quickly learned that
my new lifestyle and old friends were kind of like oil and water—they
just didn’t mix.
After several weeks of sobriety, I started to see these old relationships
in a different light. I tried to talk to some of my old friends about recovery.
A few of them actually quit using. Others began to avoid me. I stayed
busy concentrating on not using. It was a little depressing, in a way. I
wanted so much to help them change, but many just weren’t interested.
This is a difficult time for the recovering person. There is a sort of
lag-time between leaving old unhealthy relationships and developing
new and better ones. It doesn’t happen overnight—but it will happen.
Trust the process and trust God to provide. For myself, I knew what was
at stake. I had to do this or soon return to the old life. The void in my
social life was going to be filled one way or another. This is one more reason
why support groups are important.
Recovery means making many changes,
and some are more difficult than others.
Ask Joe, old friends and recovery Ask Joe, old friends and recovery Ask Joe, old friends and recovery
I am including this story of “Jenny’s Pearl Necklace” at the request
of my wife Judy. It is one of her favorites—all about “letting go, and letting
God.” Time and time again Judy and I have found that once we were
willing to trust God, He would surprise us with a blessing far beyond anything we would have dreamed.
The story of “Jenny’s Pearl Necklace” touches everyone in a different way—as we are all at different stages of our journey.
This “Q & A with Joe Herzanek” is excerpted from Part 5 of “Why Don’t They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.”
MORE ASK JOE:
> Is a relapse—failure?
> Self-Tests: Codependence
Old friends and recovery Old friends and recovery Old friends and recovery