Most addictions end up being relationship killers. It doesn’t matter what you are dependent on; you are spending time with your addiction but not always time with your friends or family. Take gaming, for instance, or other technology you can spend your time on. You might be in your room alone for hours playing a game, watching YouTube videos or TV. Even if a friend is with you, are you spending quality time getting to know each other having a real friendship or are you partners in crime stalking a fellow classmate on social media?
This may come as a shock to you, in this technological age, but there are cooler ways to have fun instead of having your face planted in some kind of electronic device. You could be sharing face-to-face time with friends, getting ice cream together, taking a hike, shooting hoops or just having a normal conversation; whatever you chose to do can end up being a pretty memorable time with your besties.
I don’t remember the TV episodes I watched, but I do remember climbing a hill by my house with my best friend. We chatted about this and that, shared secrets, hopes, and dreams and bonded as true friends as we trudged up the hill. We knew we could count on each other when needed and would always be there for each other. I also remember going to a teen hangout and us ordering ice cream brownie delights. This is still one of my sweetest memories. Sweetest ice-cream brownie delight, get it?
Instead of developing life-long relationships, you might be trying to kill the enemy or get to the next level of a game. You could also be watching endless puppy and kitty videos on YouTube or Facebook. However, none of these pastimes can come close to being with friends and spending time with them on real adventures, no matter how small.
If your best friend isn’t into gaming or spending hours watching YouTube videos or watching TV, you are going to have to make a choice. Spend time with a real human or your smartphone, gaming console or TV.
Now, let’s take a look at getting drunk or high. You might be doing this by yourself, and if you are, how are you going to develop any kind of real relationship with someone that way? If you are with friends, are you cultivating a real friendship based on shared interests, values and the fact that you get along well and like each other’s company or are you spending time with people who just want to drink and get high and that’s the basis of why you spend time together? If so, aren’t those friendships only superficial?
And what if you want to drink but your best friend since grade school doesn’t? What if you want to do drugs, but the group you hang around isn’t into that? What if you smoke and the person you want to ask out on a date can’t stand cigarette smoke? We talked about making choices earlier, and you might have to make this choice, spending time with your friends or spending time with your compulsive habit. Addictions can ruin relationships worth having.
What would you rather have memories of, being alone giving in to your destructive obsession or out having fun with friends and dating the person you want to ask out?
The sad fact is you may lose close friends because your addiction ends up meaning more to you than they do. How sad is that? You have some great friends, and you are all tight. You go everywhere together and have a blast. But drugs or alcohol enters the picture, and everyone has a decision to make. If you choose to say, “Yes,” to drugs and/or alcohol, you can probably tell some of your close friends, “Goodbye.”
What do you and your friends like to do?
How would you feel if you lost your friends because your addiction meant more to you than they did?
How is your choosing an addiction over them going to make your friends feel?
If the reason you spend your time with people is to share the experience of drinking or doing drugs, you may start to believe they are truly your friends. You are experimenting together, and maybe you have a shared feeling of risk. You may feel like you are all pals and good buddies. But what happens when you graduate and go your separate ways? Will you stay ‘best buds’ or will you just be left with your habits and possible addictions?
Friends who don’t toy with a possible addictive habit are able to overcome emotional adversity on their own, develop life coping skills, and have goals and plans for the future. They tend to remain good friends after high school because they have more of an emotional and caring real friendship with you rather than a “let’s get high or get drunk” connection.
Which friend is more likely to be there for you when you need them, the drinking buddy or the friend who is always there for you when you have a bad day and need someone to talk to?
Which kind of friends would you rather have, ones that will stick by your side and help out or ones who would rather get high or drunk than be there for you?
Addictions not only affect the person with the compulsive habit and their friendships, they affect the family as well as in ways you would never have guessed. If you have parents who are paying attention and doing their best to raise you, there could be a conflict if they can see an addictive pattern taking shape. If you come home drunk or high a few times, they will ‘raise the red flag’. If you spend too much time playing games, watching TV or on social media and not enough time on homework and your other responsibilities, you can probably bet there will be a discussion on that fact in your future.
Parents usually want the best for their kids, and if they see something that can jeopardize that, they are going to step in and intervene before any harm comes to you. I totally understand that you are wanting to make your own decisions, however, I hope you understand why they don’t want something like trying a beer out of curiosity to turn into alcoholism. They don’t want you to cave into peer pressure to try a drug and have you overdose on it. And why they want to see you out in the sunshine enjoying time with friends instead of holed up in your darkroom by yourself, killing people on a video game.
If your parents start to see this kind of behavior, they will probably have a ‘chat’ with you about it. The main battle will ensue if they see you doing these things on a fairly regular basis, especially drinking and using drugs, which is illegal and can cause you a great deal of harm.
Sometimes these conversations can go well; there is mutual respect and understanding. Other times these discussions can turn into an argument and a full-blown screaming match. Your parents may ground you and then keep an eagle eye on where you go and who you’re hanging out with. You may feel like they are invading your privacy. However, if you are drinking or doing drugs especially, you’ve lost their trust. You want to do what you want to do, they want to stop you, and the conflict continues.
Now you and your parents are always at odds with each other. You have a hard time talking to each other and maybe even have a hard time being in the same room together. If this happens, instability and stress at home is a given, and it’s going to be hard to make things more stable and less stressful, but with patient communication on both sides, you can do it. Remember, your parents love you and they just want to help you!
Can you really blame your parents for wanting the best for you and trying to stop any addictive, self-destructive behavior?
They won’t turn a blind eye to what you are doing because they care. Hopefully, you won’t listen to them with deaf ears; at least hear them out. I know it may not seem like it now, but most times parents do know best, and they want the best for you. There have been many teens who thought they knew better and, when they grew up, found out their parents weren’t as dumb as they thought they were. Their next thought is usually, I wish I would have listened to Mom and/or Dad at the time. How do I know this? At one time I was one of those kids who thought I knew better than Mom or Dad. Later, I found out how wrong I was.
How do you think your parents would react if you fell into an addictive behavior? What would they say or do? How would that make you feel?
If your parent/parents aren’t the caring kind, I hope you care enough about yourself to stay out of any sort of behavior that could harm you or others. I know I would care if you did anything that would hurt you.
Any kind of addiction can get in the way of life and disrupt it. Addicts are blind to the hurt they cause their family and friends. As you struggle with your addiction, the ones closest to you struggle as well. All this drama is really something you’d be better off avoiding.
Do you want friction and drama in your life, especially, if you can help stop it from happening in the first place?
This is an excerpt from the e-book ‘Stomp Out Teen Struggles – Addictive Behavior’ by Aunte Bee.