Bad association spoils useful habits

Posted: August 25, 2012 by Keith Townsend in Uncategorized

I had a great childhood friend growing up who we’ll refer to as Sean.  Sean and I were about 3 days apart in birth.  We rolled pretty heavy until a couple of years after high school.  Near the end of our deep friendship I had to take the advice of my mother who would constantly preach, “Bad association spoils useful habits” to me and my brothers.  For a very long time I didn’t consider Sean bad association.  He seemed like a great hearted guy.  But a conversation I had with a family member a few months back reminded me that feeling a certain way and having a great heart are not the same.  My family member had gotten involved in activities I don’t approve of and when I challenged him on it he responded, “These are things I do not who I am.”  It reminded me of Sean’s response when I challenged him on some life decisions.

It’s also something Sean had told me many years ago when he decided to make a turn in life I didn’t approve.  Sean came from what was essentially a middle class family.  His parents weren’t struggling to feed his family.  But Sean had goals and ambition but no obvious means by which to achieve his goals.  So, he decided to start selling crack cocaine to reach his financial goals.  Now, Sean and I where friends and we had many deep conversations so it wasn’t uncomfortable for us to talk about this topic.  I asked him why he would choose to contribute to the madness that was taking hold of our community.  He had family that was addicted to crack and I did as well.  I told him we had a moral responsibility to not be a part of what was causing so much destruction in our neighborhood.

Sean, had obviously given this a lot of thought even before I asked him about it and he had already reasoned why he should take this route.  I’m not going to sugar coat it or pretend to justify Sean’s rationale.  Sean wanted material possessions so selling cocaine was a way to attain his material goals.  I had to make my own person decision at this point.  Sean was a good friend but he decided to do something I was adamantly against.  I still love(d) Sean but he was no longer someone I could be around a daily basis.  This long time childhood friend had become “bad association” and if I didn’t want to eventually water down my own convictions about drugs I had to change the nature of our relationship.

This was one of most difficult things I had to do as a young adult.  To walk away from a friendship I cherished for so long.

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