Understanding the changes that need to take place in sobriety is essential to recovery. One of those changes is who you choose to spend your time with. When you were active in your addiction, the friends you hung around with probably drank and used as heavily as you did. You and your drinking and using buddies were also not likely the best influences for one another. Yet you stayed together because you could cosign each other’s behaviors without feeling bad about what you were doing.
Now that you are active in recovery, you will have to overhaul your friend group. The people who influenced you to drink and use drugs before may need to be avoided so that you are not triggered to pick up again in your sobriety. New friends will need to be made to replace the old ones, even if only temporarily, so that you can stay sober and make meaningful relationships count after you leave rehab. Going back to the same environment and the same people will only create the temptation to pick up where you left off.
Finding new friends may be terrifying, even if you are the most outgoing person. You will no longer have drugs and alcohol to take the pressure off meeting new people with the shame you are working through. You may even wonder why anyone would want to be around you after all you have been responsible for in your addiction. There are people ready and waiting to get to know you better in recovery meetings. You just have to be willing enough to receive them and get to know them better. Whether you are terrified or not of what comes next with novel friendships, here are a few tips to help guide you.
Find Those Who Advocate for Your Recovery
The best people to be around when you are trying to stay sober are those who want you to stay sober. Old friends who have seen you at your worst will want nothing more than for you to stop drinking and using because they have seen the destruction your addiction has caused. New friends should rally around you, especially if they are in recovery, too, so you can feel safe and protected in their company.
Find Those Who Encourage You Every Step of the Way
Not only do you want people to rally around you, but you also want them to root for your recovery. With the right social group, you can feel the support and encouragement you have always desired. Recovery can be strenuous at times. Having people believe in you and give you some thumbs-ups along the way can help you persevere.
Find Those Who Have a Shining Example of What You Desire to Be
Friends who are a good influence on your recovery need to have a place in your life. You can find them at recovery meetings and other places like church and the gym. Those who suit up and show up in their life can be an excellent example for you to do the same.
Find Those Who Will Be There for You When You Feel Unsure
Some days will be more challenging than others. Having solid friendships that can lift your spirits to focus on your recovery will be helpful. You might have white-knuckled your feelings before, which just feels awful. Talking through the ups and downs of life with someone you trust makes all the difference in the world. You did not get sober to be alone. You got sober to surround yourself with people who can pick you up when you are feeling down.
Find Those Who Want the Best for You
You may occasionally encounter some old friends who used to drink and use drugs with you. They could create cravings without understanding that your recovery saved your life. Try to find friends who will be sensitive to your situation and deter you from drinking and using by choosing safe environments to hang out. Although you are the one who needs to make changes, those who will conform to your situation because they want the best for you are keepers.
Find Those Who Are of Service Without Wanting Anything in Return
Being around relatable and like-minded people will make your recovery stronger, primarily associating with those who serve. As you take a direction of service, you should hang around others who are in service. People who are selfless in service can show you what it is like to serve without expecting anything in return. Service work shows a person’s character, and you will improve your character by spending time serving alongside others.
Friends may come and go, but the ones who support your recovery are the ones that will stick around. Addiction was not your friend, and you will need reminders of that truth through friending people that have your best interest at heart. Acquaintances are the people you see in meetings and have the common goal of staying sober. Friends are the people you see in meetings, have the common goal of staying sober, and help you know that you are worth your recovery. Stick with the winners, and you will find yourself more grateful, more inspired, and more recovered.
The Detox Center of Colorado has created a community of people in recovery who support each other in finding success with their sobriety. Once you leave our facility, we hope that you have the skills to connect with others who can assist you in your healing and in life. Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Valiant Detox utilizes a combination of medical assessments, collaborative opportunities and treatment planning to optimize your recovery. Through evidence-based therapy options and Colorado’s endless adventure, Valiant Detox fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. Call us today for more to get started: (303) 952-5035.