When I started programming, I wished I had another avenue to meet and connect with those that shared a like passion for code. Frankly, it's fairly difficult to strike up a conversation with most people about coding. If you work for a large organization you may have plenty of workmates to chat with, however, many programmers are working alone for small organizations.
User groups provide a great way to meet other passionate developers in the local community. The act of attending a user group can mark you as a developer that has drive and passion. When I moved to the Houston area, I joined the NHDNUG (North Houston .Net User Group) and quickly started to reap the benefits of information I received at the monthly meetings. One speaker talked about Software Craftsmanship and the tools of the trade causing me rethink how I approached programming. That talk also led me to NCrunch - a tool that I can hardly imagine not having.
I've since become a board member at our local user group. My role has been small but I still enjoy the participation. My wife refers to our meetings as "Nerds Anonymous" :) If you've got a programming addiction, its time to find a user group near you.