Let me clear this up; drugs kill people all of the time. In 2009 the National Center for Health Statistics reported that over 60,000 people died in the United States from drugs or alcohol. That is not to mention the number of people who died from collateral damage, such as cirrhosis, suicide, homicide, etc. Comparatively, rattlesnakes killed no more than 5-7 people per year. You would be about 1,000 times more likely to get killed by drugs and/or alcohol yet we still use them. If you are wondering what snakes have to do with this, stick around.
Basically, you should be more worried about the drug use. Yet we put ourselves in dangerous positions for relapsing. We will go visit our old friends or family that are still actively using, finding any excuse that we can to be around them. We will invent reasons to have people over to our house even when we know that they are either in active addiction or we are pretty sure that they are no longer using. My favorite excuses follow (Blanks are filled in with whoever the person is, either friend or family):
- _______ told me that they stopped using last week, so I want to go to their house and hang out to help them stay sober.
- Well it is my ________, what do you expect me to do? Tell them that they can no longer be part of my life?
- _______ promised me that they would not use around me if I come over.
- _______ told me that if they come over to see me, they will leave it in their car.
- I can be around it and not use.
As for people who you have had in your life for a while; length of knowing them is not reason to be around them. I don't care if they are your mother or father. If they are using, it is a recipe for disaster! Many people have used with their parents, brothers/sisters and best friends. We may have known people for our entire lives, but that does not matter when it comes to staying sober. It reminds me of a message I heard on an answering machine once. "Hi, this is ________. I am not home right now because I am busy making changes. If I don't return your call, it's because you are one of the changes I am making."
We may have to make changes that hurt. We may have to be uncomfortable for a while. That is okay, what we are comfortable doing is what got us to where we are today. For a lot of us, that is not a good place. What I am comfortable doing hospitalized me, killed me, got me put in prison and took away my friends that had futures. You have to ask yourself this question: "Is being around ______ worth losing my freedom and possibly my life over?"
What about those great friends and glorious family members that let us know that they will not use around us? They care about us so much that they would rather be around us high and stay in our lives and risk our sobriety than just not be around us at all and know that we are sober and trying to do better. What good friends...........
After I quit doing drugs I moved to Springfield. I ended up working at Ruby Tuesdays in the Battlefield Mall for 6 years to put myself through college. A couple of times a year I would see one of my friends, we will call him B, that I used to deal drugs with. Every time I saw him our interaction was the same. He would stand at the front of the restaurant and I would see him. I would walk up to the door and he would disappear by the time I got to the front of the restaurant into the mall. I never got a chance to speak to him, because he was gone. The year after I quit working at Ruby Tuesdays I was in the mall doing some Christmas shopping. I was tapped on the shoulder and it was B. Conversation went as follows:
"David, I heard you had got clean. How have you been doing?"
"So now you want to talk to me! Why have you avoided me? I have seen you probably a dozen times, and every time that I would come up to talk to you, you were gone. What's up with that?"
"Sorry, I just wanted you to know that I was still alive. I had heard that you had gotten clean and I did not want you tempted to get high again from being around me high or by asking me for some."
"So why are you talking to me know? I guess that means you are doing good?"
"I actually got clean a year ago, David, but I am not doing well. I got caught, and I have to turn myself in next month to do 10 years."
We then went to Ruby Tuesdays and got something to eat. Over lunch he updated me on all of the people we used to run with who were either still alive and using, in prison or dead. I was the only one who dealt that he knew had gotten out from the group we used to hang out with. Can you guess what the lesson to this story is? He was my friend, and because he was my friend he refused to talk to me. He knew that by talking to me he could jeopardize the new life I was creating.
The logic behind what he did is simple. I used drugs/alcohol with him. He knows that it is something that I have an affinity to. Because of that, I may be tempted if he were to be around. If not today, then maybe 6 months down the road when I have a bad day. Maybe I get fired, or some one that I care about dies. I see him, I ask him for drugs and I use. It is that simple. I will actually elaborate on it more in the second post about Stinking Thinking.