Friendships can be a huge source of strength when you’re entering or working through recovery. Friendships can be any length but the important thing that you make sure of when in recovery from addiction is that the friendships you support and nurture are the healthy ones, ones where you have support and kindness regardless of your mistakes alongside the ability to enjoy each other’s company without drugs or alcohol and even do things such as go to the cinema, go shopping or go to museums together. It’s entirely possible that in the throws of your addiction you threw caution to the wind in terms of who you chose to spend your time with, and many times the people you engaged with while battling your addiction (whether you had identified it as a problem or not) were not the best people with which to associate.
For example, when drug users or alcoholics engage in their addiction, they will do things like spend hours at the pub, go round someone’s house or hang out in parks to drink or do drugs. The people they meet through these actions are sometimes addicts themselves or can be enablers who only casually and socially do these things but are happy for someone with which to do them. This is where the concept of “drug friendships” or “drinking buddies” comes into play. While many people are able to have a drinking buddy or two that never spirals out of more than the odd Friday night at the pub, many people will actually start to elevate these acquaintances over lifelong or long term friends and even family because with them they can engage in their addiction without being made to feel bad about it, and it’s almost even encouraged.
Often you’ll hear the term “one for the road” or “oh, what’s one more?” in terms of people encouraging addictive behaviour and it’s very easy to get swept up in the momentum of these moments. For those who engage in stimulant drug use such as cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA etc (especially MDMA) the euphoria surrounding the situation can cloud judgement and make you think that the people with which you are partaking the drugs are your best friends and no one understands you better. This is incredibly dangerous thinking and can lead to having to separate yourselves from these people which can cause horrendous issues with them texting, calling and coming to your house, desperate for you to get back into the fold because after all, “you guys were so close”. This isn’t the case at all and it’s actually an effect of the drug that causes an illusion of closeness, and one of the side effects of drugs, particularly MDMA (Ecstasy) is often listed as “inappropriate bonding”.