We love our friends, but sometimes they can be a little full-on. When you’re at school your parents will often tell you they don’t want you to fall in with the wrong crowd. And they’d be right to do so. After all, it can get you in detentions, in trouble with your parents and even with the police sometimes. It can have a knock on effect for the rest of your life.
However, we don’t ever really get given that kind of advice when we’re in our 20s, 30s and beyond. It’s up to us to decide. And when we’re already in that inner circle, it can be very difficult to see just how much damage your friendship group can be doing, particularly when it comes to addiction.
As we get older, we don’t see our friends down at the local village hall or in the park, we see them in more social situations such as the pub, nightclubs or gatherings like weddings, and with that comes drink and in some cases drugs too.
Which can be a contributing factor towards addiction, an illness that is severely damaging to health, relationships and careers.
But is it your friends that are causing it? If you’re finding yourself more and more reliant upon drugs or drink then it’s almost certain you have a problem with a substance, and here’s how to tell if your social environment is a contributing factor…
Do you only see your friends in certain situations and places?
If you only see your friends in certain places and situations where alcohol is free-flowing and drugs are available, then the answer is quite simply yes. If you’re going to the pub three times per week and consuming multiple drinks over that time, then yes seeing your friends is a major factor in your problem with alcohol.
Similarly, if you’re considering rehabilitation for drugs, your treatment therapy sessions will help you identify that if you more often than not take drugs when you are with your friends, then that is hugely enabling and causing your addiction.
Do your friends have problems with alcohol or drugs?
Addiction can breed addiction and if you’re around someone else that is suffering from addiction, then it’s not unusual for you to fall into that habit too. While you’re enabling this, they’re inadvertently creating a problem for you.
If you have noticed that one of your friends may also have a problem, then offer them support and it may be that you can go through the rehabilitation process together.
Did your friends introduce you to the substance?
While it’s not your friends’ fault that you’ve become addicted to a substance, if they introduced you to that substance, then being around them is a contributing factor, as in effect if you hadn’t been around them, you wouldn’t have taken the substance.
Of course, your own willpower is a factor here, but in order to battle addiction you need to remove yourself from potentially toxic environments and if friendship groups are actively giving you alcohol or drugs, it may be time to remove yourself from those situations and get the help you need.