Making New Friends in Recovery
When you suffer from addiction, one of the hardest but most important steps to getting clean is getting the help you need. While addiction treatment centers are great for shorter-term rehabilitation, the true test comes once you leave and are forced into recovery on your own. This is why it’s important to make friends in recovery.
As incredible as it would be to simply kick your addiction and move on with the rest of your life, the truth is that the aftermath is not so easy. You are likely to face temptation and fight against your addiction for the rest of your life, so setting yourself up to succeed is crucial to your long-term well-being. The best way to do this is by making friends in recovery.
Why You Need to Make New Friends in Recovery
Fighting addiction can be very difficult. Just like many other diseases and mental illnesses, your support system can make or break your recovery. Dealing with addiction and its aftermath is incredibly taxing on you mentally. It is important to have someone to go to share your feelings to prevent them from boiling over. However, not everyone in your life is a positive influence.
Friendships: New and Old
Forming sober relationships can be key to your recovery in the same way that negative relationships can sabotage it entirely. Choosing the right environment and relationships can make or break your sobriety.
As social beings and creatures of habit, humans naturally fall into certain behaviors around specific people. In many cases, you’ll find that you spent a lot of time with certain individuals that were toxic to your health and either encouraged or ignored your abuse. If you fall back in with the same crowd and end up in similar situations, you are more likely to return to old habits. You want to leave your past life behind you so that you can look to the future. It is not always possible to cut people out entirely or avoid any triggering of past memories or habits as a result of the relationship. You may find that moving away from even the oldest of friends can be crucial to continued recovery if they negatively affect you.
Forming a New Support System
Recovery gives you the time and opportunity to take an account of your relationships and add new ones that can be beneficial. As emphasized by “12 Steps” programs, support groups, and addiction specialists all over the world, recovery is much harder to do alone. The more time you have to spend alone inside your own head, the higher the chance your brain convinces you to relapse.
Distractions in the form of lifestyle changes and habits can go a long way. There’s no better way to accomplish this than finding new, positive relationships with people you can confidently call a friend.
Addiction can be incredibly lonely. Perhaps it was that loneliness that may have contributed to you self medicating with drugs. It’s important to remember that socializing can help to prevent the need to use drugs. When you spend time with supportive friends, you are able to keep your mind off of drugs. You should be able to talk to these friends when you’re struggling, and enjoy the happiness that naturally comes with positive relationships.
How to Make New Friends in Recovery
If you fall back in with the same old crowd as you did when you were using, you’re more likely to pick up those old habits. You may choose not to share your past with your new friends, and that’s okay. You can engage in relationships with people who have common interests or you may choose to spend time with those who know about addiction and recovery. This allows you to build your own support group, which can consist of friends from places like:
Work or School
Addiction can be taboo in professional or scholarly environments. But it’s important to understand that not all relationships need to be based on your recovery. What is most important is that you find people who share similar interests. This gives you something new to talk about and provides new activities to do with them to keep you happy and healthy.
Sometimes you just need to talk to someone who can empathize with you during your recovery, meetings or support groups provide just that. These groups include like-minded people who want to do the same thing you do. They want to socialize, vent, and build new relationships instead of going back to their old lives. In many cases, this is where you’ll find pillars of your support system such as a sponsor to help keep you on track.
Recovery Groups Online
Relationships aren’t exclusive to in-person meetings. The Internet opens up an incredible number of relationships with both newly sober individuals and people looking to chat. Message boards, group chats, and other communities can go a long way towards helping you to keep busy, vent, get advice, or even give advice to someone whose shoes you were in not too long ago.
Break the Cycle with Addiction Treatment
Before you can begin recovery, you first need to make the choice to get help. Addiction is incredibly difficult to kick alone. It’s important that you seek expert help to ensure your detox is safe and that you have the tools you need to succeed after leaving the rehab program.
At SpringBoard Recovery, our holistic rehabilitation methods excel at addressing the complex issue of addiction. Physical, mental, and emotional treatments ensure that you not only kick the chemical addiction but also helps put you in the right place to build the new relationships you need to stay sober.
Get on the right path to recovery today with SpringBoard Recovery.
- American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323465
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm
- University at Buffalo: http://socialwork.buffalo.edu/resources/self-care-starter-kit/additional-self-care-resources/developing-your-support-system.html
- Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/06/02/9-core-behaviors-of-people-who-positively-impact-the-world/?sh=4a5141956b41
- Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/developing-healthy-relationships-to-maintain-abstinence-69450
- Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-for-staying-clean-and-sober-67900
- U.S. News: https://health.usnews.com/health-care/for-better/articles/2017-02-10/finding-friends-after-addiction-rehabilitation
- PsychCentral: https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-addicts-are-often-lonely-people#1