What to Do About Old Friends in Recovery
When trying to overcome a substance abuse problem, it isn’t just about your time at a residential rehab or other treatment program.
Recovery is a lifelong journey. You will face many challenges as you transition from life in a structured and controlled environment to life outside of treatment trying to navigate your newfound sobriety. While all of these changes can be difficult and overwhelming, one of the hardest areas to navigate for many is what to do about old friends in recovery.
Why Old Friendships in Recovery Can Be DangerousAs a Boca behavioral health center, we know that while some of your friends may be supportive of your sobriety, others may not. Some friendships from your past may be toxic or unhealthy, especially now that you are sober. Even if they do not mean to, these friends could be putting your sobriety at risk.
Continuing to be friends with the people you used to drink or get high with as well as even your former drug dealer is dangerous. These people will likely be strong addiction triggers for you. Just being around them can lead to uncontrollable alcohol or drug cravings that could cause you to relapse. Along with being an addiction trigger, these people may not care about your sobriety either. They may be a bad influence and even encourage you to fall back into bad habits. Instead of putting yourself in this bad situation, it is better to avoid old friends in recovery who may fall into these categories and put your sobriety at risk.
How to Deal with Seeing Old Friends After RehabAlthough you may be willing to try and avoid old friends in recovery for the sake of your sobriety, you may not be able to avoid them completely. It is possible that you may run into them or that they will reach out to you after rehab. If this happens, stay calm. Politely explain to them that your sobriety is the most important thing in your life right now and that you need to put that first. Most people will be understanding.
You may not be able to separate yourself from everyone who could be problematic. If this is the case, be cautious of your relationship with them. Try to meet them at a public place or have a person you trust be present when you are with them. Both precautions can help ensure that your sobriety stays on track if your friend could derail your recovery.
Making New Friends in RecoveryHaving a good group of friends is important for everyone, but for a recovering addict, it could drastically impact their success in recovery. Recovery from a substance abuse problem is difficult, but a good support system can make it easier. Instead of relying on a few old friends in recovery, now is a good time to make new friends and build up your support system. Especially if you are in early recovery, you want to find friends who will support your sobriety, not hinder it.
If you are looking to make new friends in recovery who will support your sobriety, try:
- Attending recovery meetings in your area regularly and getting to know these people outside of the meetings
- Meeting up with people you met in rehab
- Joining a new group or class that meets regularly
- Try to connect with your sober friends’ friends
At Banyan Boca, we know that making new friends in recovery can be difficult, so patients who complete treatment at our Florida detox center will be connected with others who have also successfully completed a program at one of our many facilities. This community of recovering addicts and alcoholics can help keep you on track and open you up to lifelong friends.