People typically think the most challenging parts of recovery are the withdrawal process, going through therapy, and learning how to healthily cope with the negativity life throws at you. While these are difficult, what is often left out is the part of recovery where you have to let go of past friendships to benefit from a happy, healthy, sober life. Sometimes, these friendships have been formed over many years but may have led you down the dark path of addiction. For this reason, it is crucial to let go of past friendships that no longer serve the life you want to live and open up to new friendships with those that openly support your recovery. Sober friendships are vital to maintaining recovery over time. Without them, you may be tempted to go back to the life of active addiction.
Letting Go of Toxic Friendships
Saying goodbye to those you have been close with for years can be extremely difficult. However, you must realize that those you love the most can also hurt you the most. During addiction, you are more likely to hang out with individuals that enable your using habits and isolate yourself from those trying to encourage you to get help. In recovery, however, you cannot put yourself in the company of those that enable your addiction -- it is a recipe for relapse. Even years after you get clean, seeing these people can be a potential trigger and put your sobriety at risk.
A harsh realization you must come to is that those that played a role in your addiction are no longer your friends. Until they can prove to you that they support your recovery and show you their encouragement, it is best to leave them in the past as you focus on your sobriety and your future. To say goodbye, be very clear in saying that you are a different person and focusing on your sobriety now. Do not leave the door cracked for those from your past; they will find a way in. Be firm in your decision to get sober and cut ties with those that enabled your addiction in the first place.
How Sober Friendships Help Recovery
You cannot heal in the same place you got sick. Even if you are no longer around the people that allowed you to use, you cannot make friends with people that will offer you drugs or drink alcohol in the future. Sober friendships and positive influences are crucial to maintaining your recovery over time. Surrounding yourself with sober friends and people that actively support your recovery will keep you focused on sobriety and protect you from potential risks of relapse.
Friendships often influence the people within them, so it is best to pick ones that will push you to be healthier. If you are around people that use drugs and drink, you may find yourself doing the same. If you surround yourself with those who engage in sober activities and healthy coping, you will most likely do the same, which will significantly boost your recovery and well-being.
How Do I Make Sober Friendships?
Expanding your sober support network is crucial in recovery. The wider your circle of support is, the more secure you will be in your recovery. However, now that you are changing the way you live your life, you may be unsure as to how to find and make sober friends. The best way is to be more involved in your community. After all, the best place to meet sober people in recovery is to go to places where they meet, such as support groups, volunteer opportunities, and more. Since COVID-19 is prohibiting many in-person meetings, consider asking your treatment center if they know of any online support groups taking place. You can also do a quick search for online addiction recovery meetings.
Once it is safe to do so, you can consider going to places where you can participate in sober activities. These may involve playing sports, joining an exercise or yoga class, trying a cooking class, going to museums, and other activities you enjoy. Of course, you should not do this until the Center for Disease Control deems it safe, but you can still find online groups interested in these subjects to discuss and make friends. Making friendships in your newfound sober life will involve you getting outside of your comfort zone. Despite uncomfortable feelings, you will be happy you did when you can spend time with others without the fear of risking your sobriety.
Recovery is all about reshaping your life to match your goals of becoming clean and not falling back into unhealthy habits associated with addiction. To do this, you will need to let go of the negative influences from your past that enabled you to use drugs and drink alcohol in the first place. This process can be challenging at first, as you may find yourself having to end friendships you have had for years. Even so, you will get through it, and your future will be better for it. Sober friendships are vital to recovery -- they encourage you to stay on the path to healing and won’t tempt you to use drugs or alcohol. To make sober friendships, you will have to go outside of your comfort zone and push yourself to meet new people. This can be at online meetings for recovery support and other sober hobbies such as exercise, yoga, cooking classes, and more. To learn more about sober friendships in recovery, call Northstar Transitions today at (303) 558-6400.