Who Are Your Friends?
Throughout life, the people we surround ourselves with often reflect our own beliefs, and the people we call friends one day aren’t always the same the next. As we grow and change, for better or worse, our friends change with us. We are a reflection of who we surround ourselves with. I grew up hearing, “you are who you surround yourself with,” but until I got clean, I didn’t really understand what that meant.
“... you are who you surround yourself with…”
Recovering addicts go through all kinds of different groups in their past because the search for drugs or alcohol determines who they surround themselves with. Whether it is a bunch of strangers at the bar or a drug dealer selling weed and cocaine, the people associated with every day are a reflection of their addiction.
My mother always told me not to hang out with friends who have bad grades, because she wanted me to stay away from those who caused trouble and didn’t go to school. I didn’t understand why she would do that and I used to say that she doesn’t really know them as much as I do. As a typical kid, I didn’t listen to her advice, but boy, do I regret it now.
Actually, I regret every time I didn’t listen to my mom because everything she told me was for my benefit. I hung around students who barely passed the class and I became a low-grade student also. I hung around friends who smoked cigarettes and I became a smoker; I hung around people who were out all night and I became one of them also. I don’t blame them for my actions, I was the one who decided to hang out with them, but being around that group of people didn’t help me at all.
Through my addiction years, I was the kind of guy who liked to get high and didn’t care about what I was taking. I see now that through those years I changed my group of friends based on my search for a high.
The first time I did cocaine I got it from a guy who did the drug right in front of me, and when he offered I agreed. When I tried acid for the first time it was from a friend who wanted to share his experience with us and got us the acid. When I went clubbing, my “best friend” was the one who would buy me shots and I ended up an alcoholic. My first Xanax was offered to me by a girlfriend, and I ended up on Xanax for the next 22 years. I then had Xanax users as friends, as we just found each other and became close.
People who share something become close automatically—it just happens that we attract people who share our values, and are comfortable around people who do the same kinds of things we do ourselves. It’s like when you get a job in a specific field and you end up with all your friends working in that field. You have things to talk about and share things in common.
If you are trying to see where you are in life and what kind of future you have, look at the people around you. Ask yourself where your best friend would be in 5 years, and you might see where you will be in 5 years.
So, we should always surround ourselves with good and ethical people so that we can rise higher. We need people who will help us be better people and help us achieve our dreams and goals. You are a magnet. Likes attract likes. If you are negative you will draw negativity, if you are positive you draw positivity. Whatever you are, that’s what you draw to yourself. If we keep surrounding ourselves with losers, we will never be winners.
If you surround yourself with 4 people who own a business, if your goal is to own a business, it is very likely that you will be number 5 owning a business. When you hang out with these businessmen, they will be talking about business and what they do to maintain and advance their work, so to you, this is training that gives you ideas and motivations. You will know everything you need about that skill and eventually, you will become a businessman.
Personally, I always ask myself when I meet someone new if they represent the person I am trying to be. I think about what my Mom would say and if this person reflects my own goals for the future. If the answer is NO, I know that means there is something wrong, and that means this person is not good to be around and won’t help me on my own path of recovery.
What I have learned is that you should surround yourself with good company who will help you rise and achieve your goals, people you can learn from, who will be there for you when you need them. It won’t always be easy, but I know if I aim for high goals, I will achieve whatever I put my mind to. I know it will work for you as well, so just don’t give up and keep trying no matter what!