When you get out of our Gilman drug rehab, your recovery journey isn’t over. Your life has been turned upside down, and you are likely facing many changes from your previous lifestyle. Along with changing your daily routine, you will likely want to make new friends in recovery as well; your sobriety may depend on it.
In order to be successful and find lasting sobriety, you need a good support system in recovery. Unfortunately, the friends that you used to drink or get high with are not the best option. Not only will they probably not support your recovery, but they may also be a bad influence on your sobriety. Whether or not they try to get you to use again, just spending time with them may lead you to relapse. These people are often addiction triggers that create strong drug cravings that are too overwhelming for you to handle, especially in early recovery. Instead of putting your sobriety at risk, it is better to avoid these old friends.
If you are cutting toxic relationships out of your life, you may be left with only a few people you can trust. To avoid feeling lonely or bored, both common addiction triggers, try to make new friends in recovery. These people could be the added support you need to be successful in your sobriety.
Making new friends isn’t always easy and can sometimes even be intimidating, but it is so important for your sobriety. If you are struggling, here are few tips on how to make new friends in recovery that can give you a good start.
Because making new friends in addiction recovery is so important, you may want to be a little more particular than you normally would. You want friends who will support your recovery journey, not hinder it. Not everyone will be a good match now that you are sober but determining this may take time. Also, just because someone is in recovery doesn’t mean that you will click. The addiction community is a diverse group of people and not everyone will get along. Take the time to get to know people and determine who is a good fit for you.
At Banyan Heartland, we have a rehab alumni program that connects former patients with one another so that they have a large community of support already waiting for them when treatment is complete. Try to find people in your area so that you can do sober activities together. If you don’t become friends with these people, you will at least have people who understand what you are going through.
If you are wondering how to meet sober friends in particular, recovery meetings are a good start. Not only will attending these meetings regularly help keep you on track in your sobriety journey, but you also have the opportunity to meet people who are in a similar situation as you are. If you find yourself connecting well with someone, ask them to do something outside of the meeting.
Hobbies are great for filling that void that your addiction left behind and keeping busy, but they are also a good way to meet new people in recovery who share at least one interest with you. Especially in early recovery, try joining several different groups or classes to not only see what you like but also to expose yourself to new people. In particular, volunteer organizations, sports teams, and exercise classes can have even more added benefits.
A good way to expand your friend group and make new friends in recovery is to get to know your friends’ friends. Chances are anyone who you went through an inpatient or intensive outpatient program with you is also looking to make new friends in addiction recovery so meshing friend groups could be beneficial for you both.
Some people find strength in their faith during recovery and churches can also offer a strong community of support. Along with attending service regularly, church volunteer opportunities and church groups can help connect you with new likeminded people.
Telling people you are in recovery can be intimidating, but it is better to be honest and start a new friendship off on the right foot. Some people may not have the best reaction to finding out that you are in recovery, but it is better to find that out earlier rather than later because you don’t want to be friends with someone who won’t support you anyway.
While this may seem obvious, it is easy to walk past someone without saying hello. Making new friends in recovery takes time and effort. You may need to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit and be more outgoing than you normally would.
If you are struggling to meet people face-to-face, it may be time to try the online sphere. There are plenty of support groups and forums online that are dedicated to addiction recovery and can connect you with other sober individuals.