Dear Hope: Afraid I Will Start Smoking Again
I have recently stopped smoking pot. I used to smoke all the time. I would get stoned before going to class and I just didn’t give a shit about anything. I was failing everything. Then a new family moved next door to us. They have a son my age and I thought he was a complete nerd. I didn’t want to be friends with him but my mom made us hang out. I would barely talk to him at first, but then I actually started to like him. He’s cool. He doesn’t drink or smoke which is totally new to me. At first I would get stoned when we hung out then I started to feel guilty. Then after two months I realized I hadn’t smoked in a while. Plus I started doing better in school. My problem is my old friends don’t understand. They are pissed that I won’t smoke anymore. They don’t understand why I hang out with him. I’m afraid I will start smoking again just because I hang out with them alot. What should I do?
You need to do what is right for you. Your improved grades and new friendship show that you have been making great decisions. When it comes to your old friends, it sounds like they do not respect some of the changes you’ve made.
They are having what they consider “fun” and they want you to join in. They want things to be the way they have always been. It’s hard to see change in others because it makes you review yourself. They might even be feeling a little guilty. Change can be hard, even when it’s good.
You cannot change who they are, but you can expect them to respect your decisions. Be straight with them. It’s still you. You’re just not smoking pot anymore. Explain that you want to hang out, but you don’t want them to be pressuring you. If they are good friends, they will get accept you not smoking and get over it.
If you feel too tempted or they keep pressuring you, it’s time to move on. You need people around you that are supportive of your choices. Even though it’s hard to let go, it can sometimes be necessary. Don’t feel guilty if you need to move on. Instead, focus on all the positive things in your life. You have a new friend that sounds great and your grades have improved.
Friends are an important part of life. They should support you, not hold you back.
Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.