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Creating New, Healthy Friendships in Recovery

friends in recovery

People in recovery learn quickly that they need each other. After all, the power of the 12 steps lies in not having to figure everything out on your own. Friendship and socializing are natural human needs. When you were getting high or drinking, you may have had trouble being a good friend. Or maybe your friendships were unhealthy in another way; for many people who had drinking or substance-using buddies, the friendship becomes more about the high than about healthy boundaries.

New People, Places, and Things

When people get sober, they’re told to give up old people, places, and things. This means that to stay healthy and focused on recovery, change is vital. For example, it’s not safe or healthy to continue to be friends with anyone you got high or drunk with. While they may care about you or have been a considerable part of your life, letting them go will help you stay sane and sober. It’s also essential to stay away from old haunts and other things that remind you of using drugs or alcohol.

Once you’ve had some time sober, especially when you’re in treatment, you’re going to learn more about yourself and your unhealthy relationships. Many people in recovery struggled with relationships, even before they began using substances.

Healthy relationships, especially platonic friendships, are a stepping board to a healthier life in recovery. Making other friends who are honest, open-minded, and willing to stay sober can help you develop a strong support network.

Staying Sober And Growing With Friends

For most people in recovery, new people, places, and things are necessary for staying sober. The new places may be 12-step meetings or other sober activities. New people are other people who are staying sober one day at a tie. The things that change will be new, healthy activities and other changes that enhance your life. Friends in recovery can help you find new interests.

In recovery, your sponsor is a significant relationship. This person can guide you through the 12 steps and teach you to stay sober a day at a time.

You’ll also make new friends the longer you stay sober. Try to hang around with people who have been sober longer than you. If you’re friends with only new people like yourself, you may struggle if they relapse. On the other hand, having a good mix of friends in recovery can help you stay strong and give you experience to draw on when you’re feeling vulnerable.

Sober Living Can Help

If you or somebody you love is looking for a structured living situation that supports a new lifestyle in recovery, sober living can be a great option. When you live in a sober living home, you’ll meet and be around people who are focused on recovery and their new way of life. You’ll gain a community and also have the supports in place you need to stay sober.

Learn more about our sober living options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Male bonding is something that’s usually portrayed in the media as living like a "tough guy.” Let’s face it; there are a lot of shows on television where men sit around, work on cars while swigging beer or heading on out to the bar. They say a sentence or two and then getting back to drinking.

Life isn’t very much like those portrayals, anyway. The world is diverse and full of people with a lot of different interests. You don’t need to drink to make friends or have closer relationships.

What To Do For Fun and Bond?

All that male bonding requires is having fun. In recovery, you’ll discover a lot about yourself, including new interests. A lot of guys return to interests they had before they started using drugs.

You might like to surf or ride your bike, for example. You may have been an amateur chef. Believe it or a not, a lot of people in 12-step rooms share similar interests with each other. In some areas, there are even running and marathon groups that have formed for people who are in recovery.

A lot of bonding goes on before meetings and after meetings. If you go to a meeting in the early evening, you’ll probably discover that there are people who like to go out for a few hours to dinner afterward. Or maybe you'll head over to eachother's homes to play video games.

So go ahead, make friends. It's not complicated.

Talking About Yourself

Talking about yourself may seem a little awkward when you’re hanging out with guys you’ve just met. Getting to trust others and become close to them can take some time. As a person new to recovery, you may feel insecure and lonely. These feelings and thoughts will change over time. Male bonding takes time.

One of the first people you’ll learn to trust in recovery is your sponsor. It’s usually recommended by “old-timers” that you choose a sponsor that is your own sex. (If you’re straight; LGBT people may feel more comfortable with the opposite sex.) So you'll start to trust and confide in a male regularly pretty early in recovery. That's a big part of male bonding.

You'll need to tell your sponsor a lot of things about yourself. You'll work the steps with them, call them when you feel like drinking or drugging, and generally let them get to know you pretty ewell.

As you stay sober a more extended period, you’ll know people from meetings quite well. After all, you will all be sharing to each other regularly. You’ll find that when you’re with people you trust, it’s easier to hang out and bond. And that’s how people really bond, anyway; by being honest and being themselves.

Sober Living Can Help

Many people find that it's beneficial to start life after treatment by entering sober living arrangements. In sober housing, you'll live with other guys who have the same goals. You'll also have support and structure to rely on when you need it. Call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more.

Getting clean and sober is a great start in a new way of life, but it’s not the only step to happiness. When you first get clean, most of your focus is on learning how to cope with the whole world without the use of substances. You’re often told to stay away from people, places, and things that present danger to your recovery. This may mean avoiding people you’ve known for years through drug and alcohol use. It’s a difficult thing to do, but you’re worth it! And as you adjust to life in recovery, you’ll find you make new friends with similar interested. But how does somebody go about making new friends in recovery?


Getting to Know People at 12-Step Meetings

One of the first lifestyle changes outside of staying sober that you’ll make is getting yourself plugged into 12-step meetings. Here is where you’ll find a sponsor to help you work the 12 steps as well as building a reliable support network.

Staying clean isn’t a job to be done alone. You need a robust support network to lean on when times get difficult.

Making friends at meetings is an excellent start to building this network. But friendships don’t exist in a vacuum. Going to meetings alone isn’t enough to build a relationship. You’ll need to collect phone numbers and make an effort to reach out to others.

How can you get to know others in recovery outside of 12-step meetings? It’s easier than it may sound. Start going out with the group after meetings, if your schedule allows. Find out about events that are hosted by 12-steppers in your area. You’ll see flyers for events such as sober dances, camping getaways, etc. at your local 12-step groups. Make an effort to attend these groups and try to make friends with people who are more than a year sober. They have experience, strength and hope to offer you.

If you have trouble talking to people or are shy, try to make sure that you get a “service position” at your favorite meeting. This is an obligation that you fulfill weekly, and it may be as simple as making coffee or putting out literature. You’ll get to meetings earlier when you have a service position and, even if you’re shy, people will start to learn your name when you show up early every week.

If you’re worried you won’t have enough support after treatment, 12-step meetings are essential, but they are not your only option. Consider aftercare therapy groups and sober housing, which will give you support from peers who understand what you’re going through.

Finding Sober Housing

Sober housing is a great way to make friendships with others and live in an environment of supportive peers. Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

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