I try not to write posts here unless I’ve fully articulated my thoughts, but I’m having trouble with this one.
I’ve been working on not judging people based on limited information, or one aspect of their life. I’m getting better at that. But something that’s been bugging me lately is that a lot of my friends consume a lot of alcohol, or are into drugs or pot. I’m not saying that they’re awful people or anything, they’re good people, otherwise I wouldn’t be friends with them. But this aspect of their life bothers me. I’m not entirely sure why; maybe it’s because I’m worried that their habits will become destructive or harmful over time (or already are harmful or destructive). (Some of my family members are already at a harmful stage of substance abuse.) Or maybe it’s that I just don’t like the idea of alcohol/pot/drug use. If I can’t articulate my problem, it’s like it doesn’t exist…I don’t know anymore.
Some people, I already knew they were into these things beforehand, but finding out that other friends are into these things when I never thought they would be makes me wonder what other things they may be “hiding”. And then I think, “we’ll, if I’m reacting like this, of course they’re not gonna be comfortable talking to me about it”. But the fact that someone might be hiding something from me makes me wonder if they’re hiding something else from me. Or makes me wonder if they’re judging me right back for my choice not to use. I have trust issues to begin with.
I also understand that I don’t know why an individual would choose to start using, like, no one really knows what’s going on in someone’s personal life. So I’m working on not throwing moral judgements around because maybe there’s a ”good” reason why someone felt like they needed to start using.
I also feel like, and perhaps this is just my individual experience, I feel like there’s this mentality from users towards people who aren’t users where they feel like their use somehow makes them more mature vs people who won’t even try alcohol/drugs/pot/etc.
I’m tired of being the only one in a crowd who isn’t a user. I have no desire to try any of these things and I don’t see the fun in them to begin with. Perhaps that is just my personal opinion. I feel like I can’t go anywhere or be around anyone without the pressure to use or have the feeling of being left out, or like I’m being made fun of or thought of as immature for choosing not to participate in something that I feel like would be harmful to me.
I wonder what it’s like for people who are trying to remain sober and free from drugs and alcohol and pot when these things are so normalized in society. There are other ways to enjoy life, right? Why can’t I find people who I like who aren’t users? Why am I the only one who doesn’t use? I feel like there’s rejection on both sides of this argument. Rejection of non-users towards users, and vice versa. Maybe my perception is off. Maybe people are more accepting of me than I realize. Maybe I’m the one in the wrong here. I don’t know, anymore. Maybe I just wish that didn’t feel like I’m the only one who feels the way that I do.
I need some advice.
I try not to write posts here unless I’ve fully articulated my thoughts, but I’m having trouble with this one.
Listen to me plz dont ever take drugs or drink alcohol to fit in… It sounds like you have your head on your shoulders and I can tell you this with out a doubt if you get involved in all that stuff it will take you know where real fast. Your dreams and thngs you loved will no longer be important. Your life will crumble dont be affraid to be different . Different is good stay strong hearted in not giving into it and stand out frombthe crowd… Plz always stay true to your own self.If they cant understand thats not who you are then they where never true friends my love:heartpulse:
I understand doing your best to not judge even if you don’t agree with a person’s choices or actions. When you’re young there is a lot of pressure to fit in and be part of the crowd. It’s understandable to feel out of place or like you don’t belong if you are around people who drink and use drugs. That peer pressure can be overwhelming. I remember that time all too well. You’re trying to figure out who you are and who you want to be while also trying to learn about the world around you as well as learning about others. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and follow your own path even if it diverges from what the crowd is doing. We get in our own heads and doubt ourselves and wonder if people really like us even if we don’t follow the crowd or do all the things they’re doing. Sometimes just having a conversation and being as open and honest as possible about it can help clear the air and address it. People who genuinely care about you and like you will support you and respect your choices. They will like you for who you are as a person and they will understand. Keep doing your best to follow your own path and be your best self. <3
Thank you for your reply
I always try to be true to myself, but it gets harder and harder every day when I don’t see what I’m looking for out in the world. I have dreams that I want to keep aiming for and eventually achieve; I hope I can get there someday without regrets and not feel alone in my beliefs. I pray that people who use substances will no longer feel like they need to in order to be happy.
Thank you for your reply
The weight of the peer pressure can be so overwhelming. The disappointment I feel from poor choices, whether those choices are my own or the choices of others, that is also a crushing weight that I bear.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to have a conversation with my friends and we’ll be able to see eye to eye on the subject of substance use. Part of why this is difficult for me is because I have so few friends and people that I’m close to that I’m afraid to lose anyone, even if it’s not healthy for me to be around them. When I’ve spent the time trying to get to know people, it sucks when things don’t work out. It’s tiring to finally feel like I can trust someone, maybe even love someone, then I either realize I shouldn’t have or for whatever reason we go our separate ways. I love knowing a diverse group of people, with different ideas and beliefs; I like having the opportunity to learn from others about the world around me, but when it comes to things like substance use, I’d like to be on the same page.
I hope I can follow my own path with strength from within, and from kindness from people like yourself.
The song “Irreversible” by Erra sums up this entire situation. You can listen to that for assurance that you’re not alone.
As for judgment from others, I’ve never known anyone to judge someone negatively for making good choices. When I was in high school and didn’t partake, no one who did thought any less of me for it. And when I got older and started enjoying a few drinks, I never looked down on anyone who chose not to drink. In college we had a friend who attended every party and never drank, but that never mattered to us. We were just glad he was there to revel with us.
If being around people who drink and smoke makes you uncomfortable, by all means pray for them to make better choices. Prayers are never a waste, they’re great acts of love. But also look for new friends who don’t do those things. You don’t have to dump all your current friends to look for new ones, but don’t cling so hard to the old friendships and open your mind to new ones. They’ll be weird at first because they’re new, but you can make new friends if you look in new places. From there, you can choose whether to keep in touch with your old friends or slowly move on. If they’re good friends, they’ll reach out to you and say they miss you. At that point it shouldn’t matter if they drink or smoke, that is the mark of a quality friendship. If they don’t reach out, “let go with love” (a highly helpful Al-Anon concept I’d recommend everybody look up). People change, and people grow apart. It’s part of life and growth. You learned a lot from your current friends, and that is something you can take with you into the future forever.
Drugs will take your ambitions away and the ability to be the beat that yoi can be. Sometimes people use drugs to try to mask an underlining issue that at times are hard to bare not realizing the drugs destroys your ability to ever recover from whats causing the pain and often times people cant return from the impact of the drug they will have given up on everything and all that crosses there minds is the drug how they will get the drug and a life of painful ups and downs with chaos plaugeing there lives … I cant stress enough to you to find a different outlet dont go down that route . Even if you feel at times you are alone and nobodys there i promise it wont always be that way but if you use drugs that hopelessness and the feeling of worthlessness will consume you… Im always here if you need to talk keep shinning beautiful:purple_heart:
I would suggest hanging out with older people. 25, 30 and 40 year olds don’t have the drama and politics of what you use. Older people see it as more (beer, weed, ect.) for them. You obviously don’t fit in with some of those people and probably won’t even know a lot of them in 10 years.
If you don’t want to do drugs or alcohol that is totally okay. I never saw what the big deal is but then again I have family members that are alcoholics and what it did to them has affected everyone around them. I have friends who choose the party lifestyle and now feel they need it all the time. I consider myself straight edge (no drinking, no drugs, no alcohol. There are more variations of it but I just do the basic of those principles.) When I tell people this most of the time they are cool with it every once in awhile I have someone that always tries to get me to “break edge.” There are other ways to have fun without drinking and drugs and there are a lot of people out there who like you don’t use and that is okay. If your current friend group judges you or pressures you into using just so you can be their friend then they are not really your friend. It is okay to not talk to them if you feel they will bring you down. I get the pressure from peers and wanting to fit in, believe me I want to feel like the cool kid and that I am accepted but after awhile it becomes who you realize who your true friends are. Stay strong and be true to you and do what you are comfortable with.
Honestly I can relate to this.
Growing up in a family that was surrounded by addicts and alcoholics and friends who were into pot, smoking and the like, I quickly grew towards wanting to not be involved.
I’m the opposite of you. Where, you felt like there is a mentality where users act like they may be more mature than those who don’t use, for me, the mentality I have experienced has been swapped. It often feels like those who use around me, be it friends or not there’s always been this uncomfortable mentality that I didn’t feel comfortable with. People acting dumb or talking like they’re so cool. I do not enjoy the bragging and boasting that so many feel need to be done when they smoke or drink. “WOOHOO 420 BLAZE IIIITTT!!!” - I don’t think it’s cute. The need to brag about the status of being drunk or high doesn’t appeal to me. Nor does drinking or using appeal to me as a way to enjoy myself. Even further, it bothers me when people use it as an excuse for their behavior. “Well, I was drunk!”
Like you, I try to not judge people for what they choose to do. We all have our own way of being and enjoying ourselves. And not everyone that uses acts that way. Some friends of mine smoke pot but do it very privately and quietly. Some of my friends sometimes talk about it, but not excessively. And that’s okay. I don’t judge my friends that do. I try to love everyone.
However, in my direct social circles, I do not participate in groups that heavily drink, party and get high. It is NOT my environment. I involve more with people who enjoy other things. I rarely drink. And NEVER out of my own home unless with my partner. Like a single light drink over a meal? And even then I don’t think I’ve ever had an alcoholic beverage out of my home except a couple times years ago. I only drink wine at home. Only a few times in a year if that. My partner doesn’t drink. He never has. He’s never smoked and he’s not interested. His best friend enjoys a drink, likes to party and be social and that’s great! But he’s never strained our friendship or been crazy over the top with it. He doesn’t act immature and needlessly boast.
It just depends how people carry themselves. But yes, it sucks when your friends are into these things and you’re left feeling like the only person who doesn’t. Leaving you to feel like a third wheel.
It may be worth finding and investing in friends and relationships that love and embrace some of the things you do. Over the last few years I’ve made new friendships with people that are more like me and my partner. People who appreciate a quiet night in. Movies. Board games. Music.
You don’t have to be a party goer to be fun and likable. And not wanting to be doing these things or feeling uncomfortable with it doesn’t mean you are judging someone. It just means it’s not for you. And that’s okay!
Not for me either. I don’t mind my friends who do, but yes, I distance myself from those who feel the need to brag, boast and act childishly. Just not my thing or the type of people I want to be surrounded by.
No crime in that.
Thank you for your advice
Making new friends is hard for me, but it’s something I’ve been making efforts towards. Being shy and introverted, I have a hard time opening up to people in person. I’m a bit braver behind a keyboard so it’s easier to make connections with people online, like through Twitch. I’ve been trying to find new, chill streamers to watch and that’s helped me to feel less alone sometimes.
You learned a lot from your current friends, and that is something you can take with you into the future forever.
I’ve been trying to keep this in mind, that even if my current friendships may fade, that I’ve learned a lot from the people I’ve spent time with. I’ve learned new things about the world and most importantly, even though it may not always seem like it, I’ve learned a great deal about being patient and how to love others who are unlike myself.
Thank you for your advice
I get addicted to/attached to things (whether substances or things like video games) fairly easily. The downward spiral and the cycle of abuse that happens when being a user is what I fear. People make fun of the “not even once” philosophy but I know that I can’t handle “even once”. I don’t want to get a taste for anything that could be harmful to myself and/or others at a later time.
Thank you for your input
I’m in my early 30s; a lot of my friends are younger than me. I have noticed to at least a small degree that those older than myself are more considerate of my non-use. Back when I was in high school, someone I knew was a stoner, but she wasn’t like a lot of the people I know now - this person was totally accepting of people who weren’t users. Sadly, I wasn’t able to become closer friends with her because she was murdered (non drug related).
There are probably a lot of people I won’t know or won’t be close to in 10 years, but it hurts right now to know that I’ve put effort into friendships that ultimately might not last. I guess all I can hope is that I can learn good things from my friends and that they can learn good things from me.
Thank you for sharing your experience
I consider myself straight edge as well, though I often forget about the term. Some people, like my work colleagues and people at church, respect this. But there are other friends who, as you say, try to get me to “break edge” because things like alcohol use are normal to them.
I hope that I can find more friends who live a straightedge lifestyle. It would be nice to have more friends who share similar beliefs in terms of how to enjoy their time.
Thank you for your wise words
I actually experience this a lot, too! The bragging, the need for people to celebrate use and flaunt it bugs me so much. I feel like people use their non-sober states to excuse poor behavior. I feel like such a third wheel in these situations because everyone is reveling and I’m just so uncomfortable.
I’m hoping that I too can find a group of people that enjoy more quiet time or things like board games and a similar music taste. Ironically, some of my recent friends who are stoners actually have the same taste in music that I do. I feel like that helped foster a bond of mutual respect; they are also older than myself so perhaps they were pleasantly surprised that someone who is young and might seem uncool/prudish likes something that they also think is cool.
2020 has started off with a better mindset for me, so perhaps this will be the year that I “find my tribe.”
This is counterintuitive, but I’ve found I come out of my shell when I’m doing something I enjoy alone. It’s something a lot of people fear, and I was no exception. A few years ago, a girlfriend and I broke up days before we were supposed to go on a road trip, but I decided that since I had the time off I’d take my own trip to clear my head, and it was transformative. Without friends there as a crutch, I learned to enjoy my own company, and I got to choose my level of engagement with the people around me. I learned that it’s okay to strike up conversations with strangers because they carry no consequences. Since then, I’ve formed good friendships and gotten married, but I still enjoy going to shows, bars, coffeeshops, and even restaurants by myself occasionally. I haven’t made any lifelong friends like this, but I’ve had good conversations with interesting people, and most importantly I’ve had fun by myself, doing whatever I want to do and nothing I don’t. Give it a try, and ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen?
This realization is very important and mature. No one wants to admit they don’t think they can handle something. The “taste” you mention is a sensation that you can’t take back or forget, a Pandora’s Box.
When I was living away at college in a dorm, I was lucky enough to have a single room. At some point, I started leaving my room to study in random places around campus. I’d explore by myself and find a quiet spot and enjoy some time alone and free from the opinions of companions. Granted, it would have at times been nice to share experiences with friends, but it’s nice to have time alone sometimes so that I can form my own opinions and enjoyments about things without the influence of others or worrying that someone might be judging me. The first time I went to see a movie alone, it seemed very awkward, but most of the time no one wants to go with me and I still want to see a movie! Recently, I received a gift card from someone for a local restaurant. I was thinking of taking the opportunity to ask a friend to come and for me to be more social, but I suppose there’s no shame in going by myself, either. And maybe next time I see her, I’ll have an experience to share.
Thanks again for the advice!
Hi, I hope you’re in better spirits today.
I want you to know that I support you’re perspective 100%.
I am the father of a single son, Britt. When Britt was 3 his mom decided that adulting and parenting wasn’t for her so she left, we got divorced and I was a single dad with a beautiful young boy to take care of. I remember how much fun Britt and I would have just being alone together.
His mom would take him on Tuesday after school and I would need to pick him up on Wednesday after school and he was with me until the next Tuesday. I loved being a dad, father and loved and still do love my son.
But the ripping apart of our family finally started getting to Britt. Being an only child he felt alone regardless of being with me or his mom.
It was a tough situation, I ran my own business and had to work a ton of hours. I made sure that Britt had every opportunity for socialization and he played in the recreational soccer and baseball leagues, but really loved and had a passion for basketball and he was good at it .
So from about the age of 11 on Britt played in competitive basketball leagues , was always a starter and had a very bubbly personality. He made many friends, and under the circumstances they weren’t always a good fit. We lived in a very affluent area and most of his friends had intact family units, which was a magnet for him and for which I am grateful. But it also MAGNIFIED that he was different. He lived with his dad (or mom) but not a family.
Being the social bug, Britt was an instigator and was excited and anxious to try new things and influence his friends. He started out at 12 openly smoking pot. His mom thought nothing of it. I had smoked pot in junior high and high school but I grew out of it. Britt on the other hand consumed it like an expert, and took and influenced his friends to join in. Britt is bipolar and marijuana did help him with that when he would take controlled micro bits… but it began to consume him and his life to the point that it led to other drugs and alcohol and pretty soon Britt was high all the time, sold to his friends, and recently got his fourth DUI which will be a felony. He has already filed for bankruptcy, had cars and motorcycles processed and is waiting for the outcome of his 4th felony DUI. He is 32 and drugs and alcohol have ruined his life.
When he decided he just wanted to live with me I put down FIVE GROUND RULES THAT WERE NON-NEGOTIABLE:
- Either go to school or work full time at a job. He flunked out of school and changes jobs because he can’t deal with structured settings so he has been unemployed a lot. And what does he turn to DRUGS.
- To pick up after himself and keep the house clean which rarely rarely happened.
- Pay his bills. I have ended up spending $1000’s trying to keep his credit in good standing.
- Be kind to others that are invited to the house including those who live there… This never happens as he sees anyone but him as a threat.
- No abuse albeit drugs, alcohol, physical, mental or emotional.
Do you know how many times I did NOT keep him accountable to these five simple rules…??? He ran over me ragged almost non stop until something bad like an arrest would happen and then he’d play the sympathy card, and I’d bail him out again and again. This went on from age 14-32. I would always acquiesce always give in always give another chance knowing the consequence of following through with accountability was in both our interests. In this way I failed him, he failed me and it was horrible.
I went to councilor upon councilor trying to find a way not to have to follow through with consequences and every single one of them said “if he doesn’t follow the rules you can’t let him live with you”. It was so hard to deal with.
Finally on August 29th 2019 when he stole money from my checking account that was the last straw. I drove him to a hotel and texted his mom who hasn’t seen him in over 10 years and told her I was passing the baton to her regardless. Fortunately, his mom has an uncle who is a psychologist and pharmacist and has now more family… they’ve all passed away and he lives in the same area as I do. So his mom called her uncle and begged that he let Britt live there, which thank you to miracles he did.
However, because I finally had the courage to put my foot down and hold Britt accountable he hates my guts and has cut me off from ALL communication. I’m devastated. I lived for my son, did everything I could for him and I miss him to the point of wanting to just commit suicide sometimes, but I know if I did, he would hurt worse… so I just silently, sadly, live an extremely difficult, anxious and very depressed life. I lived for Britt. The problem however, I never made Britt live for Britt.
Britt now lives in a different state finally with his mom again while he awaits his sentencing hearing. I’ll try to call or text once or twice a week but get no response, I’m being punished for finally doing something I should have done when he was 22 not 32. And maybe life would be different.
What I do know and have come to realize is that drugs of any sort even simple marijuana has a slow moving affect on ones attitude and perspective of life. To put it simply, when your kid loves pot more than he loves you there is something wrong.
So I’m on board with you… I can’t be around people who have substance abuse or physical, mental and emotional abuse issues that have been the result of drug or alcohol abuse.
I just can’t. I need to do a lot of self healing. Forgiving myself for trying too hard and ignoring what I would see day to day right in front of me. I hate myself for being a source of the cause for my son and have learned that I need to heal and love myself again before I can love someone else. But I also know to steer clear from substance abuse of any kind in my personal relationships at this point.
Thank you for letting me share my story, and believe in yourself because you’re right allowing yourself to be intermingled with those even those you love dearly will be a determent to loving yourself. And if you can’t love yourself you can’t love others… I have found that this is the impact of living with and allowing others with substance abuse issues. I love them too, I just can’t be around them for my own sanity
Thank you for sharing your story.
I’m sorry that your relationship with your son is so strained; I’m sorry that substance abuse has affected his life and the lives of those around him.
It is really hard to give tough love, especially if it means having to let go in some way. I know that long term I won’t be happy around certain people, but it is hard for me to break away when I feel like it is all I have. I’m just trying to take the good things for now and hope for the best. Someday, hopefully I’ll be able to find happiness within and be able to share it with like-minded people.
Praying for you and your son.