Rare were reciprocal relationships in which true mutual support existed, by their description. Some expressed that ‘friends’ abandoned them when they ran out of money or drugs, or experienced incarceration. Another rationale was that ‘like attracts like,’ and people tend to surround themselves with those they perceive to be similar in interests and mindset. When someone steps out of the lifestyle of addiction, they leave behind the behaviors and social activities that once filled their calendar. Some who continue to use and are not ready for recovery might find someone who escaped the prison of addiction to threaten their own paradigm.
New Friends Can Mean Getting The Pre Using Friends Back
Accompanying feelings might include sadness and a sense of loss. Even if the friendships didn’t feel genuine, they may have served a purpose of warding off isolation and loneliness. The tendency to isolate is not uncommon when a person is using, since depression and anxiety may be accompanying symptoms. One person mentioned that she had pushed everyone in her life away while she was using and that once she got clean, she was able to re-establish connection with sober friends and family.
Recovery Is A New Life
When stepping into sobriety, people are entering a new life. It is a clear cut decision that brings with it commitment to another way of perceiving oneself and the relationships with people around them. Without the substance between themselves and those in their innermost circles, a renewed relationship can be formed. When someone is using, the primary relationship has been with the drug, as all else falls by the wayside. It calls for authentic connection with others and that can be frightening.
You’ve Got a Friend
Consider the qualities that comprise friendship. They might include common interests and shared values. Reliability and reciprocity may feel important to you. It could be someone who is willing to listen and hold space as you maneuver through challenges. Trust is an essential ingredient as this is a person who ‘has your back’. If recovery is your priority, be sure that these are people who support you in staying on track.
Ways to Create Sober Supports and Social Connection
- Faith communities that offer a sense of family of choice. Some host 12 step meetings.
- Therapeutic support groups in a counseling center.
- Volunteering at hospitals, nursing homes, Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchens, animal shelters, food banks, literacy programs for adults and children, as well as meetings.
- Meet-ups- gatherings for people with common interests such as music, gardening, fitness, books, yoga, computers, spirituality, language, hiking, meditation and movies.
- Some colleges have sober mixers for those in fraternities and sororities.
- Sober vacations for singles and couples.
- Theater groups or choir.
- Improv acting, music or dancing gatherings.
- Create a neighborhood block party.
- Game nights with board or card games.
- 12 step meetings or alternatives such as SMART Recovery or the Buddhist influenced Refuge Recovery
- A home group and sponsor bring additional layers of support.
Some find the support they seek ‘in these rooms’.
Content Originally Published By: Edie Weinstein @ Reach Out Recovery