Old Using Buddies Can Become New Sober Friends

I’ve been visiting Los Angeles for a couple of weeks. It’s always interesting to return to the scene of where most of my meth damage was done.  But it has me thinking about the times… and the people.

The meth journey was DARK, no doubts there. But it’s also true to say, for me, I met at least three amazing people, all now sober, while we were all neck deep in the throws of addiction. One of these men, perhaps my closest friend in recovery, is actually – wait for it – my former dealer. So anything’s possible, right?

Since sobriety, I’ve met two couples (one gay, one straight) who successfully quit together and grew their love and relationship stronger through recovery. Both speak of their partners as “my best sober friend.”

Though most of my so-called friends from my using days were there for the high and couldn’t be counted on for anything, except maybe to steal some of my stash if I wasn’t looking, it’s not true to say that all the souls I met during that bleak time were dark. True, some were mean, thieving and bordering on evil. But most were broken, wounded, hopeless and sick. And I did meet at least three men, who once they became sober, became people of amazing character. And I’m proud today to call them my friends.

So “for today,” as the NA book says, I’m grateful for the few brilliant bright souls I met during my darkest days. Three of them who I know have survived. The others have vanished like vapors in the wind. Whenever I’m out and about here, I’m on the constant lookout for familiar faces from my using days. But I rarely come across someone I knew from that time (well over 2 years ago now). Let’s face it, many of them are either institutionalized or dead.

There’s a Zen saying: From a withered tree, a flower blooms. I get that. From the withered tree of my using days, three flowers have bloomed so far. And who knows? As I’m in L.A. for almost another week, I could, by sheer fate, run into a former using buddy who is now sober. I would really like that, a happy ending to a wonderful working vacation.

But, for today… I’m thankful for my three sober friends who travelled my particular path with me.