Turning Over a New Leaf


Over the years I’ve met a slew of characters. Some eccentric, while others seem to steer off into dangerous paths. And for the past year I’ve quickly learned who my real friends are. It’s crazy how I had to practically reach rock bottom and go to rehab to come to this realization.

I remember the exact moment when I met who I used to call my best friend. It was five years ago and we both happen to be at a Veil of Maya show in South Jersey. He practically rammed into me trying not to get into the mosh pit, and we ended up chatting for a bit and exchanging numbers. It turned out that we had a lot in common: we both loved books, craft beers and international cuisine, we had the same taste in movies and as an avid movie lover that was very important to me, and our upbringings were vastly different but we had the distinct honor of being disappointments to our parents.

Once our roles of “best friends” solidified, we confided in each other about everything, but it wasn’t until college started that everything changed. Looking back on it now he was my enabler, never once stopping me in my downward spiral. He was always encouraging me to have one more drink, or to keep up with whatever diet I was on at the time. And, at the time I thought he was being a friend, but I’ve gained a lot of perspective since then.

After coming home from treatment in Pennsylvania, he invited me out bar hopping. It was less than 24 hours after being discharged and I was already reverting back to my old ways. It was even worse the second time around. He convinced me to skip classes which came back to haunt me and instead of graduating on time I have another semester to go. But again, at the time, I felt invincible, and together we felt as if we could get away with anything—as slaves to our addictions, we would say just about anything to get what we wanted.

A few months after my relapse I knew things had to change. I couldn’t live the reckless lifestyle I clung to for so long. I was neglecting school, my health and relationships with family and friends, and I had to let him go as my friend. It’s never easy letting go of someone you thought was a friend, but when they’re dragging you down, it’s the only option. After realizing I had to get my shit together I changed my number and focused all my energy on recovery. I’m proud to say it’s been five months since and I feel free of my demons and I intend to keep it this way. It’s extremely important for me to openly talk about this because I know several other college students going through similar situations, and I know that if I could do it anyone else can.

Juggling school and trying to overcome certain addictions is extremely difficult, and cutting off negative influences was even harder, but I managed to do it and it’s for the better. I’m actually enjoying my classes for once, and with a clear mind. I occasionally wonder what he’s up to, but I’m on a different path and I can’t wait to see where it’ll take me.