Leila went to rehab for alcohol for the first time in 2015 and met a number of people she quickly considered friends. She lived in a sober living home with a number of women in recovery after she finished treatment. She was naturally outgoing and trusting, and had never in her life been around so many addicts. Once Leila and her friends were discharged from treatment, they all stayed in touch, and people began to relapse left and right.
Leila was brought down by all of this, especially when her close friend Katie called her one night at 3am and explained that she was in a park with some guys she just met, getting high, with no place to live. Over the next few days, Leila put her own life on hold as she tried to get Katie the help she needed. The last time she saw her, Katie told her she wanted to die to be with her deceased boyfriend, and hugged her and thanked Leila for being a good friend.
Katie was luckily scooped off the streets days later and went back to rehab. Leila, on the other hand, began feeling more and more jaded. She no longer let as many people into her heart and didn’t take it upon herself personally to help when someone was brought back down to her knees. Leila had learned that sometimes the amount of energy you expend on someone in addiction just isn’t worth it.
The Balance of Loving Your Fellow Women in Recovery and Keeping a Distance
It’s natural to be supportive of your fellow women in recovery and to want to help them. However, it’s an unfortunate reality that many people in recovery will relapse, and sometimes this can even lead to death. If you yourself are new in recovery, it is essential that you always put yourself first, no matter how bad you may feel for a friend.
In Leila’s case above, she was putting herself in danger to help a friend. The day she met up with Katie, a cop could have stopped by her car and found Katie with heroin on her. Leila had sleepless nights worrying about her friend and was too tired and concerned to look for a job the next day. This is where the line needs to be drawn.
In Recovery from Addiction, You Must Be Your Priority
It can’t be stressed enough that an addict must want to get better on their own. If they don’t want it, they will relapse, and they are likely to bring someone down with them. As a person in recovery, you need to put yourself first so that you don’t end up getting dragged back into addiction by someone who is not as strong as you. It’s a lot easier to pull someone down than to lift someone up.
Sometimes distance is necessary. This comes back to codependent relationships, where a person feels like part of their identity relies on the presence of another person. This kind of relationship is a breeding ground for relapse, so it is important to keep a healthy distance from people that are relapsing and realize that while you can love them from afar, you cannot get consumed with their struggle.