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Old 04-09-2019, 04:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How did you break away from your friends that drank/used


Morning all (morning here at least...)

I'm just curious how you all managed to stop hanging out with your friends who continued to drink/use once you stopped? I have a few friends who still drink, who I love deeply, and miss when I separate myself from them. I've heard that isolating is not the best idea.

Thanks all, hope you enjoy the day!
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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For me, during my sober times, was I'm "cutting down", or "alcohol doesn't do it for me", "trying to get in shape".. Lines similar to that. It worked, so they never pushed me to drink really. But unfortunately most of my friends were sober and they broke away from me. Getting blackout drunk messaged got old for them.
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I had a big problem with this, and still do at 160 days sober. But...it is WAY easier comparable to 30 days sober. I did isolate the first 60 days. It was best for me though. Things change. There are several variables:
1) as you get sober, you start doing sober things, and sober things usually involve folks who don't really drink
2) I found a few friends who I drank with didn't really come around anymore once they found out I don't drink, making me realize how much of friends we were
3) I found that I myself stopped calling a few folks once I got sober, as my interests changed
4) my real close friends who still drink and know I don't respect me and we are still great friends...I emphasize RESPECT because those who are truly close to you will give you this

I think the biggest thing I have learned over 5 months being sober is that my interests changed. Trying to hang on to a social life involving a lifestyle I was also trying to leave behind was contradictory. All I am saying is that I found myself not wanting to head to a bbq if the sole purpose was to sit on a deck/porch for 5hrs and drink, even if my close friends were there. Guess what...thats ok! It just changes a bit, not a deal breaker for those who are close to you. But those who you may have been linked to through alcohol, well they might fade away.

Also, if I do hang out with some of my close friends I tend to keep it on a time frame, rather than endless hours of nothing...watching them drink. I just don't want to do that. See above though (my interests have changed). All I can say is that I feel different now. Friendships are still solid with those I love.

*In short, don't confuse "isolation" from the realization your interests may have changed and you don't choose to hang out with those folks. That's growth not isolation.
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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When I first got sober it was all over the phone,
I just couldn't be around my friends who were drunks like I was.
I isolated a lot and concentrated on myself.
I had many friends at work and, to my surprise, didn't care whether I drank or not.
In fact, one came out to me as being a recovering heroin addict, Another was sober and in AA.
So I threw myself into work in early recovery and stuck with my friends there.

This has been over ten years ago, so you'll have to forgive my memory. But early on I stayed to myself and concentrated on sobriety,
I was amazed when my true friends didn't care whether I drank or not,
They were like, 'Oh. Okay'.
And if they are true friends, I believe they will support your decision.
So, best to you and I do hope your friends understand and support you.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There were a few friends that I slummed with as a drunk. They had little to offer, other than they drank as much as I did. I just walked away without looking back. I did have some moderately drinking friends, and I noticed a slightly altered relationship with them, less time around them than before, and an awareness that I might have to leave if their drinking freaked me out. But those relationships are mostly in just a different phase. I still consider them friends, and I'm always happy to see them. Some moderately drinking friends were obviously not as moderate as I thought when I got sober. I don't know how I missed that before, but I don't see this group very often.

I never experienced any dramatic feeling of tearing myself away from old friends. In some cases, I was happy to let them go. The changed relationships seemed natural to me, and happened mostly on their own as I came out of the fog. While I did make some conscious decisions to see less of certain people, I never felt like I was sacrificing anything.

After a couple of years of trying to find a way to drink without consequence, I finally got to a point where all I wanted was to stop. So what some people view as sacrifice were not sacrifices to me at all. It was more like natural change, except for the cravings at the beginning. That was the hardest part. The rest of the changes, I let them happen on their own.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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On reading the posts before mine, I do remember something that was similar to isolation, but it was isolation from my normal group of friends. In truth, since my recovery started in AA, and since I attended 93 meetings in 90 days, I was probably around more people for at least 1 hour a day, than I was when I was drinking. They were just not the type of people I would normally befriend, and none of them were from my long time group.

But in AA, while I loved discussing sobriety, there was a more serious air and purpose for the get togethers. This was more important than stopping by and seeing old friends for a drink, so even that isolation (if it can even be called that) might be a bit of a stretch. It was more like my associations with recovering alcoholics left me little time for anything else.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Only 1 guy I used to hang out with had a drinking problem. He refuses to admit it, refuses to stop, and refuses to get help. I don't hang out him anymore, because all he ever does is sit at the same bar every night, and chug drinks until he's blacked out.

My other friends were always just social drinkers, and I still hang out with them all the time. Had to have "the talk" with them a few months ago. Told them about my problem, how I won't be drinking anymore, and that's that. I also told them to feel free to drink around me, and that I'm perfectly comfortable with that. Maybe I got lucky to have such great friends, but they were all super supportive, respectful, and a lot of them have cut back on drinking themselves. We do a lot of other stuff together now, like hiking, kayaking, etc.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I let go of 99% of the people I drank with. That is all we were, drinking buddies. None of them caled to see how I was after I sobered up, so it was really apparent as to what kind of relationship we had.
I deleted their numbers from my phone, I got rid of facebook and then I moved 45 mins away from everyone!
I was isolated for a little while, but I needed it. I needed to be within my own head and space to get a grasp on what I was going to do with my life, come up with a plan and execute it.
Removing toxic people from my life was the best thing I could have done for myself. I have no regrets!
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Cold turkey.

The only one I specifically communicated with was a text to a grey area kind of bf who was one of my biggest enablers - I told him I was finally getting sober and asked him not to contact me. He has respected that for 3+ years; I have not yet made amends I possibly should, because I am not sure it is good for either of us for ANY communication to be re-established.

For the first 90-100 days, I only spent time with my parents, people I saw at my safe (fast food) job, and the people I slowly got to know in AA. After that, so in the summer of 2016, I started reaching out to friends I knew would support my sobriety to get together in person. Thankfully, somehow, I knew instinctively that I HAD to create a world that ONLY people who deserve of my table are given a seat. Period. Whether alcoholics or not, and my circle has both, only people trying to live their own best lives get my time, attention and love.

This is life and death for me, and the saying "people, places and practices" is central to my life. MY sobriety has to come first, no matter what. And if other people's feelings get hurt? Well, that's not a life and death issue.

Now, I socialize broadly when I want, w/in the sober community and beyond, but I'm tirelessly selective about who gets my emotions and support.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindPines View Post
Morning all (morning here at least...)

I'm just curious how you all managed to stop hanging out with your friends who continued to drink/use once you stopped? I have a few friends who still drink, who I love deeply, and miss when I separate myself from them. I've heard that isolating is not the best idea.

Thanks all, hope you enjoy the day!

Tell them the truth. You have determined that overall, I am not the best person I can be when intoxicated. (that's why serious athletes don't get drunk the night before an event). There are lots of things a person can do with good friends that don't require drinking to excess.
Hiking is one example. When you are out in nature, it easier to gain a different perspective on life. Any person that insists you drink or says your are a better person drunk, is either drunk themselves or not a friend or both. People change when they hurt enough and have to, or when they learn enough and want to.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Just as an addendum, I have two great friends I've known for over thirty years.
One is an alcoholic and one drinks.
They are still my best friends and I've been sober over ten years.
When my alcoholic friend comes over, I buy him beer to drink here.
The other friend drinks wine in front of me.
They've never asked me why I quit drinking. Thy are true friends in the best sense of the word and we would do, and have done, anything for each other.

But I wasn't around them in early sobriety. We lived in different cities.
Since I never had a family, their friendship with me has endured through thick and thin.
We know each other, We trust each other. We love each other.
They are relationships, to me, that go beyond alcoholism.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I didn't socialise for the first 2 months of sobriety, I just kept to myself .
These days, I only go out to social events that the main event is non drink related.
If it's just about the drinking, then I don't go.
Most of my friends were heavy drinkers, I don't see them now as they lost interest in me when I stopped, but that suits me fine. I have a whole new sober life now, which is so much better.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:42 AM   #13 (permalink)
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People who love you - your actual friends - won't give a sh!+ if you drink or not. Won't matter to them a bit. And I think with your acquaintances who still drink, most of them won't care either. The only events I avoid completely are the ones that occur solely for the purpose of drinking. All others you will still be able to attend eventually. To echo others' advice, I think in the short term (a year??) you should strictly avoid all settings where alcohol is any sort of factor. But eventually you will still be with all of the people you love and care deeply about. You just won't be drinking with them. Trust me when I tell you that whole dynamic is not nearly as big of a deal as most of us self-centered addicts think it is. Good luck and keep posting.
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:34 AM   #14 (permalink)
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This is likely an uncomfortable truth but oh well:

Most of your friends from your drinking days are probably losers. When I was drinking, I was a loser and my friends were losers. Speaking strictly for myself, here is what I was accomplishing while still active in my addiction: wasting my most precious commodity (time), slowly committing suicide by poison, and sitting around feeling sorry for myself and being resentful.

Believe it or not, in my old circle of friends I was the only alcoholic. After I started gaining some time and momentum in sobriety I knew they weren't going to last much longer in my world for two reasons. First I could sense that they were becoming silently resentful towards me for making improvements to myself. The old crabs in a bucket mentality is no joke.

But I was becoming resentful towards them as well. At least my life sucked because I was drunk 24/7. Once I took a really good look at them I saw a bunch of people who were willfully pissing away their lives without the benefit of drug addiction. Out of shape. Shoveling fast food down their gullets. Up to their necks in debt. No goals or prospects for the future. Physically sober but definitely not emotionally or spiritually sober.

I cut off contact and never looked back.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Just kind of happened for me. I started by not showing up at the usual haunts for happy hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Told folks i was "taking a break" and "getting in shape". Which was largely true. But things going on in my body....well, I knew I could never return to that.

Twice a week was the minimum. Oftentimes 3 or 4 days a week, and once a month or so on weekends.

Same old crap. Same old boring, childish conversations. Yeah, hell of a lot of fun, but facts are facts, we were just together to drink and get stupid. Weren't too many deep conversations going on.

Didn't realize how dumb it all was until I started hanging out again after a couple months, feeling strong enough to not drink. I grew bored quickly. Both on a nightly and long term basis. It just is not fun hanging out with a bunch of people getting drunk when you are not. Where the drinks and hours just flew by before, now the minutes were dragging painfully on.

I still see and hang out infrequently with a couple of close friends, but many I don't even hear from. That's fine, some of them were merely tolerable when I was drinking. And when I'm not, we have just about nothing in common, no deep connection, and for me, it just became borderline painful to listen to the nonsense and watch the antics.

Yeah, I miss it though. Had a hell of a lot of fun. And when I pass our haunt and look up to our spot on the patio, I long for it sometimes. Cracking open the first one on a warm night in anticipation of hanging out with friends was great. It was fun. But it was also time to move on. Had I not over indulged too many times, perhaps I wouldn't of had to move on. But I am where I am, and not putting myself in an early grave requires I take a different path now.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:56 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I had a big problem with this, and still do at 160 days sober. But...it is WAY easier comparable to 30 days sober. I did isolate the first 60 days. It was best for me though. Things change. There are several variables:
1) as you get sober, you start doing sober things, and sober things usually involve folks who don't really drink
2) I found a few friends who I drank with didn't really come around anymore once they found out I don't drink, making me realize how much of friends we were
3) I found that I myself stopped calling a few folks once I got sober, as my interests changed
4) my real close friends who still drink and know I don't respect me and we are still great friends...I emphasize RESPECT because those who are truly close to you will give you this

I think the biggest thing I have learned over 5 months being sober is that my interests changed. Trying to hang on to a social life involving a lifestyle I was also trying to leave behind was contradictory. All I am saying is that I found myself not wanting to head to a bbq if the sole purpose was to sit on a deck/porch for 5hrs and drink, even if my close friends were there. Guess what...thats ok! It just changes a bit, not a deal breaker for those who are close to you. But those who you may have been linked to through alcohol, well they might fade away.

Also, if I do hang out with some of my close friends I tend to keep it on a time frame, rather than endless hours of nothing...watching them drink. I just don't want to do that. See above though (my interests have changed). All I can say is that I feel different now. Friendships are still solid with those I love.

*In short, don't confuse "isolation" from the realization your interests may have changed and you don't choose to hang out with those folks. That's growth not isolation.
My thoughts exactly. Well said
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:56 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I had to change a lot of things. One of those was my social circle. I'd ended up in a group that drank as hard as i did or worse.

Some of them supported my not drinking but most drifted away.

I didn't isolate tho - I reconnected with old fried whom my drinkign had driven away and I made new ones.

The friends I lost I consider weren't true friends anyway - the only connection we had was drinking.

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Old 04-09-2019, 05:20 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Its one of the harder things we "usually" need to do. The social circle changes. My social circle changed, yet I still consider my old circle my friends, I don't drink and party with them. At all. If they are true friends they'll understand what and why you are doing what you need to do.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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My neighbor used to be my drinking buddy. I think my quitting saved him from being an alcoholic. He really cut down when I quit. Other friends I continue to hang with one or two. I just donít hang out with them as often.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:30 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I went out to dinner with 3 of my drinking friends. One of whom was visiting from out of town.
I had shared my DUI with my other two friends and told them to keep it close to themselves.
3rd friend asks why I'm not drinking, before I could say anything, other two friends jumped in and said James sometimes chooses not to drink. 3rd friend accepts this and we had a great night with no alcohol for me.
As JimmyJL says ... it's all about RESPECT
Besides my friends don't have a problem, it's not their fault. I have the problem, no good blaming everyone around me. No one can force me to drink.
No Respect ... Not a Friend
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