Today I want to discuss the difficulties of having positive and supportive friendships during recovery. I’ve only started my recovery journey about a month and a half ago, and have been sober for a week. During this week of sobriety, I have been faced with challenges and temptations from social situations on two separate occasions. The first time, was my friend Red’s 26th birthday last Monday. In Wisconsin, there are a couple of bars that give you unlimited free drinks on your birthday. He knew I was in recovery and decided to ask me to be designated driver anyway. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it but I felt guilty that I had no money to get him a birthday present so I thought it was the least I could do to make sure he had a good birthday. It was a group of 6 of us, and even though everyone knew I was the designated driver a few of them kept offering me drinks. I would say no but then they’d say “Oh come on its just one sip it won’t hurt!” Feeling the peer pressure I gave in and had 3 sips of different alcoholic beverages throughout the night. I didn’t feel anything from it but I felt a wave of guilt and the desire to drink more. I was able to exert self control but it was extremely difficult going from bar to bar and then finishing the night at the local nightclub. Whilst at these drinking establishments all I could think about was wanting to go home, I hated being there. After the nightclub they decided they wanted to meet at this one couple’s house to play Magic the Gathering (a card game) all together. We got there and we started playing cards while they passed around marijuana. It was another difficult situation because that was my other drug of choice. I was able to resist, this time. However, only two of my friends at this point knew I was in recovery. I feel very proud of myself for being able to resist the temptations that night, but I’ve been thinking, are my friendships with them worth constantly being around my addictions? The second incident was last Wednesday. My Buddhist sponsors invited me, Red, and my other friend Kayla, to dinner to celebrate Red’s and my belated birthdays. I arrived to Red and Kayla’s apartment to pick them up to go to my Buddhist sponsor’s home. I waited in their apartment as they finished getting ready. At this point they are the only two friends of mine that knew I am in recovery. They decided to smoke marijuana before we left and Kayla offered it to me but I declined. We immediately left to go to our Buddhist sponsor’s home to do our evening practice before we went to Lambeau Fields Stadium to eat at the restaurant, 1919. Everyone ordered alcoholic beverages except me. However, Kayla again pressured me to try her drink again using the excuse that it’s only a taste. I again caved to the peer pressure but only took a taste, not even a mouthful. Still I felt so much guilt, and hurt because I feel like she doesn’t respect my recovery. After we left the restaurant I took them back to their apartment and Kayla invited me to hang out for a little while. I nervously said yes and she invited some of her friends over to smoke marijuana. She again offered me marijuana and then after I said no she then said she was proud of me. I feel like she is sending very mixed messages. I feel like I’m writing a book here but to get to the point as I was sitting there while everyone was under the influence I felt out of place, like I didn’t belong. I felt like this wasn’t my life anymore and that I now had very little in common with them. I have been contemplating things and I feel like it may be a good idea to back off on my friendships with them. Unfortunately, after being an addict for 7 years, this leaves me with almost no friends. However, I am fortunate enough to have a positive, loving family and boyfriend. Sometimes it gets lonely but I’m wondering, is this a normal thing that people go through in their recovery? By that I mean, having to back off of certain friendships and almost starting over again. I have been having so many realizations lately and I feel like I almost have to recreate my life. Has anyone else had a similar experience during their recovery? I would love to hear your story. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful night!