Everyone needs a friend, and as you spend more time in recovery, you’ll find you have a lot of people you call when you need support. Supporting others is an important and productive way to give in recovery.
The 12-step world can be a big second family as you start to find your way without the use of substances. The experience, stories, and support that other people share with you is essential to making your way in life. You’ll end up becoming part of a support network for others, too.
As time goes on and you begin to feel more confident with your new life in recovery, you’ll want to be able to give back to others. Supporting others is a great way to do that. But how can you make sure you’re doing it in a healthy way.
You’ll want to be cautious as well as supportive if the person you’re trying to help as been sober less time than you.
Keeping Healthy Boundaries
Make sure you set healthy boundaries in your friendships. If you become friends with somebody who does risky things, be wary. A friend who is in relapse mode may end up trying to take somebody with them. Offer to be a shoulder or a ride to a meeting, but never put yourself in a situation where you’ll be around drugs or drug users.
Let people call you, but if you can’t take calls at work, don’t. Turn off your phone if you’re sleeping or at work. Let new friends know which hours are best, and it’s okay to send a text message to you.
If you become friends with the opposite sex, be aware that there may be complications. 12-step programs often warn newcomers from getting into any romantic (or potentially romantic) relationships within the first year of recovery. Relationships can be thorny and complicated. When you care for somebody romantic, you won’t be able to focus on your own recovery. Take some time to get to know yourself.
You may want to limit your outings to groups of people, or “guy’s night” outings rather than spend time alone with the opposite sex. Most of all, try to make friends with people who have been clean and sober longer than you. Don’t surround yourself with newcomers. You need other people with more experience for support, too.
Consider Sober Housing
If you’re looking for an excellent place to take your time transitioning to “regular life,” sober living may be the right choice for you. In sober housing, you’ll learn to stand on your own two feet while living among others working on their personal goals in recovery. You’ll have space, structure, and support to help you continue the journey. Call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.