It's good that you're even asking these questions! I run into many folks who aren't interested in playing better. And a lot of great answers as well. I hope you'll let me throw in my two cents...
As far as practice, I'll repeat an axiom that my teacher several years ago was quick to use: Practise music, not minutes. Keeping this in mind has made me a better practicer and a much better player than I'd ever have been without.
As far as getting a group of friends together to play with, what's worked well for me is to sit in at a few jam sessions in my area and get to know some of the folks who frequent them. Then when I've gotten to know whose company I enjoy and who has similar tastes and attitiudes towards music, I'll invite a few of them to come over for a pot of stew and to bring their instruments along. It kills multiple birds with one stone, since I love to cook for friends, and we'll all end up jamming by the end of the evening.
Just a thought.