A silly Facebook game got me thinking this week. It was one of those silly things that says “click to find out which of your friends is a good influence or bad.” Of course, everyone gets a giggle about the names they see on the list.

That’s just a silly game BUT, I have come to recognize that IT MATTERS WHO I CHOOSE to surround myself by.

When I was young, I didn’t believe that. I believed that I am who I am that that just because the person next to me wants me to be someone different, doesn’t mean I will.

I remember my mother encouraging me to spend time with certain friends because she thought they were a good influence and, likewise, discouraging me from others because she felt they were a bad influence. I didn’t really like that because she and I didn’t always see eye to eye about that.

You know what? She was right!

When surrounded by people who do certain things on a regular basis, that certain thing begins to seem pretty normal. I remember when I first started running. I worked hard to build distance to 3 miles. When I ran my first 5K race, I was shocked to see people running to warm up before the race. Gee, isn’t 3 miles far enough? I thought running 5 or 10 miles was excessive and a marathon downright strange. I joined the local running club and made a bunch of friends. It wasn’t long before I was making plans for early sunday morning training runs of 20 miles or more. Normal changed. It changed because of the influence of friends. Years later, a similar thing happened with dog sports for me. When I first got my first dog, never would have believed I would driver more than 30 minutes somewhere for a class or a show. Now I think nothing of driving 7 hours to take a 1 hour private lesson with a good trainer. My normal changed because of the influences of those around me.

These are pretty superficial things but will say the same holds true for other things in life.

One of my biggest fears when thinking about living sober was that life would become no fun. Friends would get together for drinks and I woulnd’t get to drink with them. How boring will that be.

BUT….I had to change some things. I had to learn what my triggers were and avoid them. Certain people and places are for me. I don’t have to worry about being bored at the bar watching a bunch of people getting drunk because I don’t do that. I made the decision to take care of ME and surrounded myself with people who are positive and activities that matter.

Will you do that with me?

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Alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using.

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