Leaving rehab is an overwhelming experience for most people. The future can seem daunting, as life looks completely different than when you went into treatment. One of the main concerns people often have is: how will I make new friends? They wonder: will I be able to stay sober? What if I can’t make new friends? Where can I meet new friends? You can walk through each of your questions and take different steps to help you make friends after addiction treatment.
For some people, getting sober means giving up most of their past friendships, and that’s okay. This time can seem sad and isolating, but keep supportive friends and family members close to you in your recovery during this period. Keep in mind that you will make new friends in a matter of time, it just takes time to rebuild your social network and make connections with other sober people.
You can meet people by volunteering, finding support groups, and engaging in various sober activities. Always keep your morals, values, and goals for sobriety at the forefront of your mind and look for them in others.
The Importance of Sober Friends
Having sober friends means having fewer temptations to use drugs or alcohol. This is because they don’t engage in using substances, even on special occasions. This can help your recovery greatly. Another perk of having sober friends is that your schedules will often line up more often. You don’t have to avoid them when they are drinking or using, since they don’t drink or use. Sober friends won’t ever use drugs or drink alcohol in your presence, creating less of a temptation for you.
You can also befriend those that are now sober but have gone through addiction. This can help you make deeper connections with others that can empathize with you. These individuals can support you on bad days and celebrate you on the good ones because they understand what you’re going through. You’ll feel less judged and less shame when hanging out with them.
Making Friends After Treatment
The process of finding and making friends after treatment doesn’t have to be a complicated task. You can ask your treatment center for local support groups, meetings, resources, aftercare programs, and more. You can use these groups as opportunities to meet other sober people.
Group therapy sessions are another good option. However, make sure you are participating in the group appropriately and not just using it as a hangout spot. Remember that you need to stay committed to your recovery no matter what.
Having a sponsor can also help you expand your friend network. Sponsors not only help with your sobriety, but they can introduce you to new people in the sober network.
If you join a support group or outpatient program, be sure to read the rules first to ensure you are not breaking any rules by making friends and swapping contact information.
Putting in the Work
Finding friends when you are in recovery takes time. This is because you must search out other sober people that will not tempt you, which may be harder than you think. Keep these things in mind when trying to grow your social network.
Determine the Kind of Person You Want to Be
Before making other friends, build a friendship with yourself. Discover who you are and what your goals, morals, and values are. Think about how you want to come across to others. Set boundaries and think about the qualities you are looking for within yourself and your friends. You can do this by taking an honest inventory of yourself.
Addiction often brings out selfish behaviors in people. You must learn to be humble and listen to others. This will help you grow as a person and make new friends. By listening to others, you are likely to learn a lot. Listen to their goals, what they hold closest to their hearts, what traits they value most, and the quality of their sobriety. Active listening can tell you a lot about a person, helping you to decide who you want to spend your time with.
Listening also allows others to be vulnerable with you, which can allow you to be vulnerable with others. This creates a safe space and also teaches you who you can trust.
Actions speak louder than words. Ensure that the people you surround yourself with are actually working to maintain their sobriety rather than just preaching it to others. Watch their daily actions to see if they are maintaining their sobriety and supporting you as much as you are supporting them. Remember that friendship is a two-way street.
Trial & Error
Finding friends is a process of trial and error. Not everyone you meet will be a good friend or even an ideal sober friend. Always hold your morals and values close to heart. Do not settle for someone that does not actively support your sober life. Having a bad friendship isn’t a sign of failure, but rather a lesson. Learn from it and move on.
Giving up old friends can be hard, and making new sober friends can be even harder. Life after addiction treatment can be daunting, but there are resources available to you and steps you can take to make the process easier. Look to sober spaces to join and expand your social network. Ensure that the new friends you are making after addiction have the same goals and morals as you, helping you support your sober lifestyle. Having sober friends can help you avoid temptations and keep you on track in recovery. For more resources on sober groups, activities, and more, contact NorthStar Transitions today at (303) 558-6400.