Addiction leads to isolation and deep depression. We often leave behind our loving friends and family in exchange for friendships with others who are also using or drinking. These friendships are often superficial and quickly dissolve one we are no longer willing to engage in addictive behaviors. We may initially feel lonely, but leaving behind our drinking and/or using buddies is a necessary step to take if we are to be successful in our recovery. The change in our social circle from real friendships to drinking or using buddies often exacerbated our addictions. We felt validated when we are in a group with others who engage in alcohol or drug abuse, and it minimizes the reality of our problem because we see others drinking or using the to the same extent as we are. According to the National Institute of Health, individual drug and alcohol use is increased when in a group “that intends to get drunk, that has at least one member who regularly gets drunk, and that has discrepancies in its expectations regarding drug use,” and that the influence of the group on an individual may be greater “if an influential social group member models either restraint or heavy drinking. The influence of “drinking buddies” is greater than that of peers in. Alcohol expectancies and the size of the group are also important. Increases in the group size have significantly predicted growth in alcohol expectancies, and expectancies predicted growth in alcohol use, heavy alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems (e.g., fights)” Groups that engage in alcohol and drug use are simply more likely to cause us to drink or use more, even if we intended moderation. When we make the decision to become sober, we must recognize that maintaining friendships with people who exacerbated our drinking and drug use can easily cause us to consider relapse. In order for treatment to be effective, it is necessary to use a variety of therapies to address the social aspects of our addiction. We can use our time in treatment to objectively look at these friendships and come to the realization that we should be willing to let them go if we are to move forward in life as happy and sober individuals.
You can change your story by choosing sobriety. Addiction doesn’t have to control your life. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in Orange County, California, is dedicated to providing you all the tools needed to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For more information, please call today: (877) 279-1777