Choosing Your Friends Wisely

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Friends having a picnic

Friends are an important part of your recovery. Shortly after treatment, it’s helpful to build a strong support network that includes friends and family. Plus, friends help you avoid boredom and isolation, two things that can sabotage a healthy recovery. But, it’s important to know that not all friends are the same. You must be careful about the people you choose to surround yourself with, as some will be good influences on your recovery and some may not.

As you identify the best friends to add to your support network, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Make some places off limits. Let your friends know what places are off limits right from the start. Bars, nightclubs and wine tastings are obvious no-nos but there may be other places that you aren’t comfortable going to yet, such as sports games and restaurants.

  • No drinking. A friend in support of your recovery should not drink in front of you, let alone get intoxicated. Make it clear that this type of activity cannot be tolerated right now. Sometimes, non-addicts don’t realize the intensity of these actions.

  • Your sobriety comes first. Again, a friend who supports you knows that your sobriety comes first. This means that if you want to hang out, it needs to be done around your AA groups and counseling sessions. True friends will accommodate your new schedule so that you’re not left out.

Where to Find Friends

You may be lucky enough to have some great friends that have stood by your recovery. You may still be looking for some. To make friends in early sobriety, attend sober events that are hosted by your local park district or library. Or, choose events where you know alcohol won’t be served such as a ceramics class or book club.

You can also connect with the people in your AA group. Some may have sober events they’d be happy to include you on. The more you connect with others, the more opportunities you will have to meet other people. Just be sure to choose your friends wisely. As you become more comfortable in your recovery, you can extend yourself further. But for now, you need the best influences in your life.