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Daily Archives: February 3, 2022

Why I Gave Up My Old Friends to Stay Sober…

Notice the title wasn’t “Why I gave up my old friends to get sober”?

The words in my title were chosen carefully, because I didn’t give up my old friends to get sober. The court system helped me out in that regard. The court gave me a chance, and I used it. It’s as simple as that. Now, where this gets fun is those aforementioned “friends”. The first “friend” I hung out with after I got back from treatment invited me to celebrate his birthday at a bar. Even though it’s glaringly obvious to those not in the throes of alcoholism this isn’t a very friendly thing to do, I didn’t really think about it like that until just this morning and that was almost 29 years of recovery ago.

Please allow me the dalliance of fast forwarding to last night for a minute. A friend talked about struggling with his friends a meeting last night. He’s newer and is going through those growing pains that I’m all to familiar with. After the meeting we spoke about what was going on. He’d gone on a short weekender with some old friends and, of course, one had to be tied on. Now, my friend stayed sober and actually ended up leaving, but he was surprised that they took it as far as they did – enough he actually had to split. Beers and shots, then the hard drugs came out and he bolted immediately.

Looking at this from outside I could see exactly why I got a whole line of new friends all those years ago. One of those friends hurt, too. He’d been my best friend since I was five and we did everything together up until I quit drinking. The rest weren’t such a big deal, but I almost relapsed because of the bar incident and I wasn’t taking any more chances with my future. I cut all ties, and that was it – and I haven’t looked back, once. My life is too important to chance it.

The interesting twist was, and this was apparent when listening to my friend at the meeting last night: what kind of friend would get loaded in front of a newly sober fella trying to put his life together? All too often, the alcoholic thinks he or she is the problem, that there is something wrong with them that they can’t walk into a situation with drinking and partying friends and be okay, especially early on. The twist is, it’s not about the alcoholic at all. What kind of friend would put someone in that spot in the first place?

I took that all the way back to that friend’s birthday celebration at the bar. What kind of friend invites a clear alcoholic to a birthday party at a freaking bar (and in my case, my alcoholism was a no-brainer)?

I will use this experience as an example for the rest of my days helping others in recovery. The answer is, no real friend would do that. And that’s exactly why I gave all of mine up to stay sober.

And that is one in a long list of reasons why I’m still in recovery. It’s easy to bounce off the wagon when it hits a bump if I’m sitting on the edge. If I sit in the middle of the wagon, surrounded by real friends who want nothing but the best for me, when that wagon hits a bump I’m not going anywhere. And for that, I am grateful.

Recover hard, my friends. It’s freaking worth it.