Addiction specialists and research scientists agree that a strong support network is crucial in early sobriety. An addict’s friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc. influence how well he or she does in recovery. This is why addiction experts recommend severing old ties to reduce temptation and easy access to drugs and alcohol. While this is good in theory, it also means that many newly recovering addicts feel lonely.
Having a positive social circle is not just beneficial for a healthy, balanced life but also as a safeguard to sobriety. Let’s discuss the ways that you or a loved one can make friends that you enjoy and relate to in the early days of sobriety.
Start in Your Recovery Groups
One of the built-in benefits of a 12-step group is that support is readily available. This is the best kind of support because these individuals can relate to what you are going through. You don’t need to explain anything or worry about being judged; support groups offer a place of acceptance. In fact, members in your group are likely to be some of your first friends.
It’s common for addicts to seek friendship in those who are going through the same phases of recovery as them, but this isn’t always effective. These relationships can be unstable and lead back to addiction. It’s recommended to develop relationships with those who are confident in their recoveries, as they can offer a unique perspective and also identify potential signs of relapse.
Look for Shared Interests
Just because someone is going through recovery with you doesn’t mean you will have much else in common. The best friendships have shared interests, such as sports, music or art. Start by identifying your personal hobbies. Have you always wanted to try yoga or a spinning class? Do theater and music excite you? Perhaps joining a book club is more up your alley. By taking part in these activities, you will naturally meet others who share the same passions.
Identify Specific Traits and Qualities
It’s smart to build a well-rounded circle of friends and family. No one person can serve every purpose. For example, you may have a few friends that you can count on to catch a movie or go out for dinner with. Your siblings may be the ones who offer a shoulder to cry on. Think about the type of people that you want/need in your life. Even if someone doesn’t enjoy the same hobbies as you, they may offer a different quality such as being a great listener or motivator.
Be Open and Transparent
One of the difficulties in forming friendships in early sobriety is that you may not be sure of who you are. What do you enjoy doing? What are your talents and skills? Recovery is a learning process, so give yourself time to explore your place in the world. As you go through this beautiful experience, you will naturally meet people that appreciate you for who you are.
When you start your journey to sobriety, each day is a step forward. Even the hard days. The River Source offers integrative treatment for substance abuse and mental disorders. Our success rates are higher than average, and we have a strong continuing care program. Call us today to learn more.