Battling the Stigma of Addiction through Friendships in Recovery

By Cassidy Webb

When I initially decided to get sober, I had burnt all the bridges with any relationships I had. Whether I had lied, manipulated, or stole, the actions as a result of my drug addiction destroyed all the relationships in my life. I was a selfish person, and drugs were the only thing that mattered to me. The only friendships I had were parasitic. It was all about what I could get from others.

I took the first step to recovery from drugs and alcohol by entering a dual-diagnosis treatment facility. I was terrified and had no idea what to expect, as I had never been to treatment before. To my surprise, I was welcomed by both the staff and the other clients with open arms. I began doing group therapy sessions, which gave me the opportunity to share with and connect with people who had the same goal as me: to maintain long-term sobriety. I began to form strong bonds with the people in my therapy group, because I was honest and vulnerable with them. I began to see the benefits of being genuine and loyal in relationships with others.

Once I got out of treatment and started outpatient therapy, I continued to reach out to the women who I had met in treatment as well as other women who had a significant amount of time in sobriety. These women understood the things I had been through and they seemed to know all the answers to my questions. I was terrified of relapse, so I ran every major decision by another person before proceeding with my decisions.

I have never experienced such strong, supportive relationships like the ones that I have made in sobriety. Two of these women in particular never cease to amaze me. Somehow, they both always seem to answer the phone when I call. It doesn’t matter what time of day or what is going on in their lives, they are always there when I need them. Another benefit of having these women in my life, is that I am now held accountable for my actions. These women care about the well-being of one another and we make sure we are all doing the things we need to do to maintain our sobriety.

One of these women in particular, became more than just a supportive friend to me. She was a spiritual teacher. She was adamant that believing in a higher power relieved her of the obsession to drink and use drugs. I had never believed in God, and I had a huge resentment towards organized religion. Over time, I came to believe that she was still sober because of her faith in God, and she encouraged me to believe in and pray to a God of my understanding. I began to pray and meditate. Slowly I started to believe that there really was something greater than me. She taught me that I would never be alone if I developed a relationship with my own personal God.

Through another relationship I developed in sobriety, I was offered a job that I absolutely love doing. It involves shedding awareness and battling the stigma around the disease of addiction. I work with other sober women and we get to share our experience, strength, and hope with others in aspiration that it will help somebody else recover from addiction or alcoholism.

The friendships I built with sober women made me realize that I will never be alone. I don’t have to worry about feeling judged, inadequate, or self-conscious because these women loved me at my worst, so I know they will love me at my best.

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Cassidy Webb is a 24 year old avid writer from South Florida.  She works for a digital marketing company that advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.

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