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Old 01-09-2014, 10:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Changing Friendships


I'm starting to realize that my friendships cannot stay the same and it's making me sad. It's not just people that are my "drinking buddies" because if I lose them, it's not that big of a deal (beyond not ever having any plans, of course, but I'm getting used to being a bit of a hermit these days).

It's some of my girlfriends that I am very close to and really enjoy who aren't able to deal with it very well and so there starts to be a distance between us. Honestly, I think it's because a few of them have drinking problems as well and it's no fun at all to know that I am calling myself an alcoholic when they know that we all have very similar drinking patterns. I started imagining how it would be if even just one of these women realized this was when they wanted to stop as well and we could go through it together.

I just don't know how much to share with my girlfriends that I've told. Several of them seem uncomfortable talking about it or even hearing about it at all. I'm obviously not going to force it on them but that is how the distance starts -- because right now I'm ALL about the sobriety. It's a huge part of my days and nights and all the moments in between. I want and need to talk about it.

Anyway, anyone else having these issues? I found the most beautiful passage about it the other day and I even thought about sharing it with my two close girlfriends because it captures my fear so wonderfully -- that I will somehow lose their friendship. Here's the passage, by the way, from a blog that is incredible (theextraordinary-ordinary.net):

Not long after I quit drinking, maybe a week, I sat with one of my best friends at a coffee shop. She asked what this was like, how I was doing, and I just looked out the window. I said I just can’t explain it, that everything is so different somehow and even though there’s this new peace, it’s just so much. I said that I feel like a new person and that scares me because starting over is hard.

She started to cry with me and she reached for my hand and said, we’re going to be okay. And that was it, exactly what I needed to hear. I was scared that we wouldn’t be…at all. That I had somehow irrevocably changed the we of our friendship by turning my half upside down and inside out in a way that maybe wouldn’t fit the us of so many years.

I don’t think I could walk around in life without knowing she’s out there thinking of me and calling me friend. It’s always been there, this comfort in a kindred replica of me, alive in her person, totally understanding who I am. A soul reflection, a heart monitor.

We’re going to be okay.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I had this problem too. To be honest I think part of it was that I was too intense about my sobriety with the few people who knew about it, and too distant with the ones that didn't. Having sober friends who were going through the same thing made all the difference to me, and eventually I have been able to be more honest in a calmer way with my other friends. It's worth not worrying about it too much for now and just waiting to see what happens x
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The ones worth hanging onto stick around
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I went through something similar as well! I had to drop a lot of friends in order to keep looking forward to my sobriety! I still manage to keep onto 2 of them but that's only because they supported me! Yes, I was heartbroken at first!

I've been working the steps and recently just finished step 5! Mean while I have thought about the friends I've lost but realize if they were truly friends they would support me and want me to get better than out drinking! Sometimes it hurts when they don't support you but in the long run you will be a happier person if you continue to work on your sobriety!

On a good note! Since I've been going to treatment and AA regularly I have found and made so many new friends from all races, ages and genders that I'm happy to call them my friends and I know they are supporting me and want to see me moving forward!

Stay strong and keep moving forward into your sobriety! It does get better if you believe and use the tools that are put in front of you!

Take care,
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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To a certain extent I have experienced this with family members also. It is said, but at the end I think you will realize a lot of those people you don't want in your life. Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I lost a few friends but I gained (or regained) more Jackie
My experience is real friends will stick around

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Old 01-10-2014, 08:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I became a complete hermit when I first got sober. For the first 5 or 6 months. It's just what I had to do for myself. I went to work, meetings, IOP and home. I am now almost 9 months sober and have met new people and have reestablished old friendships, those I had before my crazy drinking days. It is hard to be in recovery and to be around those who are active in their addiction and especially hard to be around those who don't realize that they are an alcoholic. You just want to fix them... But you need to do what is best for yourself. You are not alone in this situation.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I have many good friends I've known for 30+ years, many are excessive drinkers. I have made no secret about my having quit drinking, and most of them have been very supportive. I don't feel I need to discontinue my friendship with them, but I darn sure need to be very cautious how I associate with them. As for any hopes my sobriety will lead them to do the same, I can only lead by example, when and if they're ready they will approach me. I have a couple long sober friends who I reached out to when I was ready, the example they had been setting had not escaped me for many years.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Drinking made me an introverted loner. I have made loads of new friends via AA in the last few months. These are people I meet outside meetings, go on walks with and things like that. It is great!
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Pattyj ditto know what you went through! I'm currently 37 days sober and all I do is work, meetings, and IOP! But honestly doing the three is what is keeping me sober! If I find myself getting bored or down when I'm at home I hit a meeting!

I've learned we all have to find our own ways on dealing with or disease! But meetings and my sponsor help out a great deal!
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Dbj: It will get better. 37 days is amazing! But it's also the very beginning. Don't get frustrated if you're still doing just those 3 things for the next few months. The end pay off will be well worth it! I watched a whole lot of TV, just to make it through the hours.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Just wanted to add that I'm struggling with friendships now also. Two months sober and have almost cut off all communication from my previous friendships. I feel bad about it. Like I'm leaving them behind.
One friend refuses to believe I'm an alcoholic, so I can't really put myself in any situations with her unless I'm prepared to go into details about my drinking days. I'm not ready for that because I'm afraid if she learns the truth about how bad my drinking was, she won't want to be friends anyway.
Another friend is someone I really want to help get sober but I know she's not ready, so I'm trying to be friendly but from a distance. She's a mess and frequently says she should quit drinking but then never does.
Then there is my old best drinking buddy. Sorry to say I don't think I can salvage any relationship with him except for a "hey, how's it going?" When I see him around town. He is still in the depths of heavy drinking and denial and doesn't want anything to do with change. I think it scares him to see me step out of that life and want more for myself. He doesn't want to admit there may be any problems with how he is living life.
Even though I feel bad about losing friendships, I know that it's necessary in my path to stay sober. Climbing and clawing my way out if that life sometimes requires losing negative people along the way who may try to grab onto me to pull me back down.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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People fear sobriety. It is like a black cloud to some and others do not understand why we would go to such lengths. Some people will not see that you have a problem even if there has been serious consequences and "the problem" is staring you and them right in the face. This journey is not for others to understand, it is your journey. That being said, I would think that surrounding myself with people who are on the same mission would help.
There is a separation that takes place due to the lifestyle change. It has happened with many of us. You will know who your true friends are in the end. Drinking alcohol does not equate to friendship, and if it is starting to look this way I would walk away gracefully.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:57 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Siesta: 2 months is great and a hard won achievement! You will feel bad about losing those friendships but be selfish and think only about yourself. You'll eventually come out on the other side but you have to hibernate for a bit to be able to do that. Keep climbing and clawing your way out!!
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:57 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Siesta, I could have written your post word for word! I also have a few friends who, when I told them I'd quit drinking, literally said "No way! There is no way YOU'RE an alcoholic." I didn't have the nerve to say "You're only saying that because you don't know the extent of my lies and deceipt." I'm not in a place where I want to share that with anyone who hasn't also been there -- I fear the judgment otherwise. That's part of the appeal of this site -- no judgment, no shocking anyone with nightmare stories. Just acceptance and support.
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I agree Jackie.
For me, getting sober has involved many lifestyle changes, some obvious such as avoiding bars/ drinking events but others more subtle which have happened over time such as me wanting to eat better and become healthier/exercise etc.

Whilst it seems obvious to let go of 'drinking buddies' the thing that has surprised me the most has been people who I thought were 'light' drinkers who seem to have a problem with me not drinking anymore. They think it's sad or I'm boring. It's hard at first but this isn't my problem -it's theirs and I've just let their comments go and not let it bother me.
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
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It's surprising how much losing someone you thought of as a good friend hurts. I'm going through that at the moment and it feels just like breaking up with a partner except without someone to talk to about it! I think part of why it's happening for me is because my life is changing and theirs isn't, I think they may be jealous and sub-consciously trying to sabotage me. It's painful but I have to believe that the space that losing my best friend has created will be filled by something beautiful.

I liked your quote, if your current friends can't say that then new ones will. x
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:09 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I have made no secret about my having quit drinking, and most of them have been very supportive. I don't feel I need to discontinue my friendship with them, but I darn sure need to be very cautious how I associate with them.
This sums up my situation as well. Some of my friends were more supportive than others, but in general I have no complaints. A few guys still wonder why I don't hang out with them at parties or the bar anymore. "Just drink Pepsi", they say. Alas, for me that doesn't work.

It's not that I CAN'T hang around them when they are drinking. I simply DO NOT WANT TO. And since my sober life has been pretty positive so far, I see no reason to start putting myself in uncomfortable situations.

Making new friends, on the other hand has been difficult. But I don't mind, really. I can be pretty social and friendly, and when I'm ready for more people in my life, I'll make it happen.
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