I don’t see it as much different than alcohol. With either, if you’re thinking you should cut back, you probably should (speaking to myself here, too, sometimes). Obviously, there are some differences, but if you cut back and don’t feel like it’s affecting you in other ways, maybe it can stay.
Concerning the friend thing, well, that’s kinda what happens when you leave where you’re from. But in our case, with Iraq and having lived elsewhere for a while, even if you did go back there, it wouldn’t be the same.
I grew up in a small town in Indiana and once I left, I noticed that I couldn’t really reconnect with the few parts I liked. Most of the people I knew were still doing similar things as before, maybe with some kids, maybe not. I felt/feel I’ve gone too far and done too much. The couple I stay connected from there is largely because my wife’s Facebook profile.
I still don’t know what to say about the friend thing. I’m usually pretty content with my own company. And the Gods, of course.