Thinking about your fresh start in recovery and after Rehab, may find you fondly reminiscing about the good old days, the times you caroused and partied with your “old friends” before getting serious and getting clean. But there’s an insidious danger in falling prey to these kinds of thoughts. And there’s definitely a big red stop sign that should rear up if you start believing that maybe you can go back to hanging out with your former using pals.
The truth is that you won’t get the truth from them. Here’s what your “old friends” won’t tell you after drug rehab.
It would be a cold day in sunny Cape Town or some other hot place that would have to freeze over before your former drinking and drug-using buddies would be honest with you and tell you that it’s not a good idea for you to hang around with them.
Why are you unlikely to ever hear this statement from them? For one thing, if they’re not sober themselves, not having gone into drug rehab like you did, they’re up to the same old routine of using, coming down, searching for drugs, and using again. If you resume hanging out with them, you’re going to be subject to tremendous temptations – situations you just can’t afford to get involved with.
Drugs Will Kill You
No drug or alcohol addict is going to come right out and admit that drugs will kill you. This is especially true if these are your hard-core using friends with whom you spent many a night in utter oblivion.
While your former friends may instinctively know that drugs are bad for their health, they’re addicted, so the consequences likely don’t matter. If they do, they don’t matter sufficiently for them to want to do anything to stop their self-destructive ways. They know that they’re killing themselves, but they either don’t care or can’t help themselves right now.
If you come around, they surely won’t breathe the truth to you that drugs will kill you, not when they’re hanging onto their high so desperately themselves.
You’re Life Was Down the Tubes While You Were Using
Even the most hard-core addict knows a bald-faced lie when it’s being told. Isn’t it amazing how many former addicts see their drug-using days as something other than what they really were – a descent into a pit of misery and pain, of trampled lives and destroyed relationships, of financial ruin, run-ins with the law, possibly jail time, and seriously compromised health?
Your friends who are still using still wear those rose-colored glasses. They’re still in denial about the reality of their current existence. They cannot and will not tell you the truth about your former life of addiction. You’re far more likely to hear how great it was, to be enticed by endless stories about the glories of this episode or that binge.
You simply can’t afford to let yourself become ensnared by the fabricated or greatly exaggerated tales your drug-using friends will tell you.
I Stole Money From You
Depending on what your particular situation was, relative to your former friends, you may or may not hear this one. But if you lived with another addict or were close friends or lovers with the person, and both of you were using hard-core at the same time, you’re likely to have been the victim of theft on the part of that individual. Therefore, you’re not likely to get the truth from that person about the incidents of theft from you.
It could have been money that went missing, or valuables that disappeared around the house. Your car may have been stolen. You know yourself how tempting money laying around can be to an addict jonesing and needing to get high. You may have even engaged in this behavior yourself. Thinking back, did you ever admit such a thing to your pals? Probably not. It just isn’t in the lexicon of a hard-core user.
If You Start Using Again, It Will Be Tougher To Quit
Here’s another statement that you won’t be very likely to hear from your former friends who are still doing drugs and alcohol. Getting right to the crux of the matter, if they cannot see or refuse to see what drugs are doing to themselves, how can they be clear-headed enough to warn you off from getting back into drugs again?
Right, the answer is that they can’t see this eventuality. More likely, what you will hear is that you can quit anytime you want. That’s the lie that all addicts tell themselves, and it perpetuates no matter how long they’ve been addicted or how long they’ve been clean. Until they can be honest about the disease of addiction – as in going through with drug rehab and working their recovery – they’re going to continue to exist in the netherworld of a vicious cycle of addiction.
Just One Time Will Cause You to Relapse
Similar to the statement that it will be tougher to quit if you start using again, you also aren’t likely to hear this one: Just one time will cause you to relapse.
What is likely to come out of their mouths is that surely you can use just this once and it won’t hurt you. After all, goes the reasoning, it’s just one time. Just do it once, for old time’s sake, be one of the gang, have a good time. What can it hurt?
The reality is that it could hurt plenty. All your hard work can be tossed aside and you could wind up back on the bottom. As any addict knows who’s gone through drug rehab, there is no such thing as being able to take one hit, one drink, pop one pill. It never works that way. Like the potato chips that you just can’t put down, only potato chips aren’t addicting, drinking and drug use are absolutely not something that you can get involved in, not even one time, without causing yourself a whole lot of trouble and pain.
Everything I Told You About My Life Was a Lie
When we’re addicted, we embroider our lives with a fabric tightly woven of lies. What you also won’t hear from your friends who are still using is that everything they told you about their lives was a lie.
What’s far more likely is that they’re still engaged in so much self-denial and an intense and overriding need to make their lives seem better off than they really are. They’re still lying to you, and it’s not about to change just because – or even especially because – you’ve gone through drug rehab and are now in recovery.
Try Meditation – It Works
Addicts aren’t generally very spiritually inclined. They don’t allow themselves introspection or contemplation of the mysteries of life. As a consequence, they’re usually so caught up in the need to find drugs, to use drugs, and then to seek out drugs again, that all thoughts of spirituality or meditation – similar, but not the same concepts – never surface. If they do, they are fleeting and quickly gone.
So, another statement you’re never going to hear from your former drug using friends is to try meditation, or that it works.
I Feel Really Guilty About What I Did to You
Guilt is another emotion that hard-core addicts do everything they can to submerge so deep that it never comes to light. They cannot admit to themselves the reality that their actions have caused, let alone admit to you that they are ashamed or feel guilty about getting you involved with drugs and helping to perpetuate your growing addiction to drug use.
If you do hear such a statement, is that a good sign? Is your former drug-using friend coming to a realization that a lifestyle consisting solely of drug use is a rapid downward spiral? It could be, but perhaps you aren’t the right individual to try to convince your former friend that getting help to overcome addiction is a good idea. This is better left to those in recovery with more solid months of sobriety. You could offer to have someone speak with your friend. That would be the charitable and smart thing to do.
It isn’t that you wish your friend harm. You obviously want the person to get help. It’s just that you’re not strong enough to be in the same environment as the person who’s still using, albeit one who may profess to wanting to get help. The proof is in the doing. You may, for example, in conjunction with other caring family members, loved ones and close friends, be part of an intervention conducted by a professional, followed up by immediately transporting your friend into rehab. But you cannot do it alone, nor should you even try.
I’m Clean. Honest, I Am
Would you believe this lie, if you told it to another person during the days of your deepest addiction? If you’re holding out the false hope that your former drug-using friend is clean, you’re engaging in fantasy. If you go around your friend, you will instantly realize that it is a lie. You’d be able to see the bloodshot eyes, the nervous twitches, and the gauntness of frame, the pale skin, the sores or abscesses, and other signs of chronic drug use. While it may stab at your heart to see such indications of continued drug use, there is absolutely nothing that you can do to change the situation. As you know yourself, unless and until a person admits to addiction and accepts help to overcome it, there’s nothing that anyone else can do to change the reality.