My friends drink as much as I do. Are they alcoholics too?

So you’ve noticed that your drinking has become a problem for you. You’re starting to think about quitting or cutting back. Then you look around and see your friends drinking as much as you have been and wonder… What about them?

Start with yourself

When you’re first decide to cut back on your drinking or quit altogether, the only person you need to worry about is you. That might sound selfish, but it’s not. It’s hard enough to quit drinking as it is. Getting sucked into other people’s recoveries is stressful, and stress can be a trigger for you to drink. You won’t be able to help your friends much if you keep relapsing yourself.

That said, it’s not a bad thing to want your friends to make the same healthy choices as you. You can talk to them about it, provide encouragement, recommend treatment options that have been helpful for you… But you can’t take responsibility for what they choose to do with your advice.

Are your friends a negative influence right now?

Not everyone is going to understand your reasons for changing your own drinking habits. Hopefully your friends will be willing to help you avoid your triggers and have sober fun. But if they insist on drinking a lot while you’re around, they might not be the best influence for you right now.

It doesn’t really matter whether they won’t stop because they’re alcoholics, or because they just don’t understand. The point is that you need some time away from alcohol, and you need to surround yourself with people who support that goal. It’s hard, but you need to ask yourself whether you need some distance from these friends for a while.

Ultimately it’s up to your friends to decide whether drinking is a problem for them—and what to do about it. In the meantime, do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

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