When I was in college my friends and I liked to party, which I always thought was normal until it wasn’t.
Two weeks before my graduation I entered a drug treatment center. I think I was lucky to be able to get professional help. I also think I was lucky because I got to take a little vacation away from my friends, stress at school, and family issues I created. I learned a lot in the four weeks I spent there, one of the things I remember the most was “people, places and things,” and “rescue risks recovery.”
If I’m being honest, I didn’t think either of these things applied or mattered to me, most of my friends weren’t going to be asking me to get high with them on the weekends, that was always me. Plus, a decent amount of my friends didn’t do drugs and were what I call a “normie.”
Once I “graduated” from my treatment and went home, I remember seeing on Facebook the statuses of the people I had met about going back, or worse, not being able to go back. I was just happy I got the treatment I needed, I wasn’t depressed, my care coordinator helped me fix my legal issues and credit problems, and I had time while I was in treatment to work on a resume and finding a job.
About six months after my returned home, I heard from one of my college friends. She said she missed me and wanted to hang out, she swore she was also sober and had a job, and so I decided to make plans with her. We went to a meeting and then got coffee and talked about our “glory days.” It felt so good to sit down with an old friend and be able to just talk and look at how far we had come from our party days.
It wasn’t long after that first meeting with her that she texted me and asked if I wanted to come to a bar crawl with her. I was confused why two sober people would go to a bar crawl, but I shook it off and decided, against my better judgement, to go anyway. When I got to her house, she was already drunk. She told me that she was fine, she was “just drinking” and it didn’t mean anything since she wasn’t going to do drugs.
I don’t know why I co-signed her B.S. but, I did, I even agreed to be her designated driver. However, that night she ended up doing cocaine, and I didn’t hear from her again after that for what seemed like forever.
I went to my alumni meeting one night and talked to my counselor and friends in recovery about my friend’s drinking. They warned me again that rescue risks recovery and that I need to leave it to the professionals. My counselor told me to have her call them, or if she wasn’t ready to talk on the phone, try the online messaging. My counselor even reminded me that someone is there to answer 24/7 and they will know how to help her more than I can.
I knew they were right, that I wasn’t a professional and I wouldn’t be able to give her the personalized care she needs to deal with her drug addiction or severe depression and anxiety. I was only me, and I know it takes a team of people to help build a long-lasting recovery. I knew I had to be supportive from afar.
So, I texted her one last time with the information for the treatment center I went to, and told her about the 24/7 helpline, the personalized care for people with dual diagnosis, and the legal help they offer. She texted me back a week later with one word, “Thanks.”