BY: Marc McMahon
Hopefully, nobody lied to you and told you that the getting, maintaining, and staying clean part of recovery was going to be easy. If they did I apologize for them telling you that because the truth of the matter is; It is not. When we decide to get clean and sober whether for the first time or for the tenth, there are going to be drastic changes that are going to need to made in our lives in order for us to succeed.
I can remember way back when I first tried to get clean and went to my very first inpatient treatment stay. I had it set in my mind and I told everyone I knew this as well. That I was only addicted to cocaine and alcohol nothing else. So that is all I was going to get treated for and after my 28 day miracle cure ended I was going to return back to my home and resume my life as a former addict, who now smoked copious amounts of marijuana and I thought that was perfectly OK.
I also declared to all who would listen that this b.s. about not being able to hang out with my old friends when I returned just because they still drank and used was horse crap. I caused a big ole fuss about that one. I thought why should I be punished just because all the weak willed individuals who tried this recovery thing before me could not still hang with their old buddies and not use, does not mean I can't!
It just made perfect sense to my 26-year old delusional mind, I mean perfect, and you could not tell me any differently. As a matter of fact during the last week of my inpatient stay the family came down for a week of family counseling before I completed and during one of those sessions my mom called me out on all of the above to my counselor and oh boy did he tear me a new asshole. I was so mad at my mom and felt so betrayed that I almost left treatment without graduating.
Never the less what did I do? Yup, you guessed it. I graduated a now non-addicted normie or at least that's what I thought in my mind anyways. So I went back home and was so excited to show my friends that I no longer used or drank that I invited them all over for a barbecue to show them first hand. Things went well for most of the night, my new found recovery and pursuit of a better life were the highlight of the evening until it happened.
Must have been about 1:30 in the morning I think. It was definitely about an hour or so after the punch bowl got spiked with L.S.D. (without my knowledge, great friends huh?) and about a half hour after I seen the last line of cocaine go up a persons nose when it was time for a toast.
Mind you now that the entire party is flying high as possible on acid so the toast I am about to tell you about seemed totally appropriate. "Let's raise a glass my friends with my friend Marc and drink to his new future and his victory over addiction." With the raise of my glass and the cheers of my friends my new found sobriety was gone within the first 36 hrs of me leaving treatment! My fucking family was devastated as you could only imagine.
But imagine walking into my house and seeing me tipping a glass of beer as a toast after they had just scraped together there whole savings to get me into that treatment center to begin with. My mom just stood in my door way and put her arm around my wife and they wept. What did I do, my dumb ass as arrogant as ever said we don't allow party poopers here, either you grab a glass and join us or leave there are no other choices. The next time I seen my wife she was packing her belongings into a u haul truck and ya know I could not even blame her.
Our addiction is so smart, so baffling, and so powerful that we must be vigilant at all times and when we are at rest it be best if we have a higher power to guard over us and keep us from evil. If you are new to recovery you are undoubtedly going to cross this bridge, I think it is one we must all cross at one point or another in our recovery and it is one we must cross unscathed in order to come out sober on the other side.
I tell you this story because your heart and your mind are going to tell you that some people who are still using its OK for you to be around still. That maybe by hanging around them and showing them your new sobriety that some how through osmosis they will contract it too. This is a thought I have had and many others I know. Do not be mistaken my friends!!
Now Hear This; You cannot get your friends sober, YOU CANNOT!! If you choose to try and do more then just lead by a distant example you are running the risk of relapsing and possible dyeing or worse yet killing somebody else on accident. I don't tell you this story to scare you just to forewarn you. Bottom line is this my friends, if you choose to spin the roulette wheel of hanging out with using friends while you are trying to be sober then you will undoubtedly get the grand prize, based on my experiences which is.
They are going to get you high, long before, you can get them sober. Please believe that!
About the Author: Marc is a 48 yr. old Author, speaker, and soldier against the disease of addiction. He resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Marc’s hobbies include writing, Mt. biking, hiking, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Marc is also the proud father, of one very outstanding young man. As Marc always likes to say “Be blessed, my friends.”