If they are your mate they’ll wait

I made some amazing friendships during my using/dealing days but one of the most complex parts in my early recovery was stepping away from some of those friendships. This was made worse by knowing that they weren’t bad people; in fact, it was quite the opposite. They never gave up on me when I fucked up and understood my pain better than anyone. We shared a unique bond. Each of us was running away from something, but our shared camaraderie helped keep us sane, in our own insane way. Our lives revolved around dodging and breaking the rules and resisting the notion that we had to conform to social norms.

I’d come to depend on the friendships as much as I did the drugs, my mates knew more things about me than my own family. At first, being alone, was hard, I missed the adrenaline highs and the lifestyle I’d grown accustomed to and when money was tight it was hard not to be tempted back to my grafting ways, to make some easy money. But I didn’t because I knew deep down that once I did, it would be a slippery slope back to using and at that time I had too much to lose.

I knew if my recovery was to stand any chance, I needed to stand on my own two feet and go it alone. Some people saw my stepping back as rejection, some even took it personally and accused me of thinking I was better than them, which wasn’t true I just needed to work on being a better version of myself.  My support network had shrunk and had been replaced with just my Community Psychiatric Nurse, my GP and my parents and siblings, all of whom supported and encouraged me and guided me to stay on track. There were some days when I didn’t recognise my new self, going straight felt alien to me but I persisted.

I can look back now and see that I was just a lost soul; we all were. I had no hope or aspirations, apart from surviving day to day. Nowadays instead of drug dealing, chequebook fraud or fencing stolen goods I have a job and like to think I’m giving back to society as opposed to taking or stealing something. I’m still the same person the only thing that has changed is my outlook on life. Instead of the glass being half empty now it’s always almost full.

I also learned another valuable lesson.

I’ve come to learn who my true friends are because they waited for me and are back in my life today. Some are no longer here, and others are still entrenched in a life of crime and drugs and that’s ok, because who am I to judge? I have been that person too.

I came to understand the difference between who had been my associates and friends. I realised that a large majority of my “so-called mates” were only my mates because of the drugs and our friendship was a transactional one.

If your recovery is going to stand any chance sometimes, you must learn to let go of old friendships to allow new people in.

But before you do that remember the only relationship/friendship that truly matters is the one you have with yourself.

I wrote a little farewell poem

If you are my mate, then you would wait

I know we have been mates for years

But I need to step back from my old peers

It’s time to split

I’m sick of this shit

It’s time to say my goodbyes

Time to cut my old ties

I’ve been reckless for too long

But now I’ve got to stay strong

Our friendship has been a blast

But I need to cut my connections from my past

It’s time to go straight and amend my old ways

Away from the chaos and my old blagging ways

For my recovery to stand any chance

I need to make a stance

It’s time to start afresh

Time to sort out my mess

I still feel vulnerable and confused

But I’ve got too much to lose

I need to make some new connections

To help steer me in the right direction

You see you are a trigger from my past

And if I’m around you, I fear my recovery won’t last

This isn’t goodbye forever

Just until I get my shit together

I’m hoping that those of you who really care

Will still be there

But if in the meantime you have a change of heart

Or decide you need a fresh start

Please come knocking at my door

And I’ll share with you what recovery has in store

But for now, please hear my plea and let me be

And remember what I said before

It’s not goodbye forever

It’s just while I get my shit together

Hopefully, I’ll see you on the other side



I don’t write for financial reward or gain. I just want to help share my lived experience with others hoping that it helps. And I just love to write, so if ya fancy getting the occasional email (NO SPAM) with the most up-to-date blogs from yours truly, please feel free to subscribe at the bottom of the main page.

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