Addiction is a jealous pimp that doesn't allow much time for friends. There are using buddies. There are cordial dealers, if you are lucky. There may even be a few "running partners". Friends, however, are in short supply.
I was always a sensitive kid, prone to tears of frustration or anger. I can't claim to have made many friends until I got involved in the punk rock/hardcore scene in my teens. In the lyrics of the music, I found a community. We were all running from something, it seemed. Unfortunately, many of us ended up in the same exact place- the bottom of a bag of dope. Of the friends I had back then, I would estimate 1/3 are dead, 1/3 are off drugs, and 1/3 are struggling with either drugs or mental health issues are both.
When I got into that police car February of 1998, I didn't know what was in store for me besides a bunch of sickness. I did know that "clean" or "recovery" could not be any fucking worse than the daily grind of a drug user. In other words, my hustle was tired. This made me open to new ideas. There is no way I could have been more desperate at that moment. I, personally, believe my "rock bottom" had come years before. This was something entirely different. This was a willingness to try something different. I am very fortunate it worked out for me. I had made a decision that if it didn't work, I was going to go on methadone for the rest of my life. I was 100% okay with that alternative. I knew that would be the only plan B that would work. Life had something else in store for me. I'm grateful. Trust me.
Now, at 18 years off drugs, I get an ENORMOUS amount of grief about why I stay connected to active drug users and people in early recovery. Why do I do it? First, "they" are "me". They need someone to show that the outside world does indeed give a fuck about their health and well being. Secondly, why not? It is not like I am shaking hands in shooting galleries. People generally contact me through social media and we connect anonymously. It is a different kind of friendship, yes, but not inauthentic. Sometimes, the most real a person can get is with a total stranger.
So know that someone out there cares on the other side of this keyboard.