One of the main triggers of relapse is boredom and boredom leads to loneliness. The National Institute of Health ran studies that showed the correlation between loneliness and social isolation.
Most importantly, the excess mortality of lonely people adjusted for age, gender, and subjective health increased continually with the passing of time suggesting that suffering from loneliness is not merely a consequence of acute changes in the health and living conditions but may aggravate mechanisms leading to impaired long-term survival prognosis. (NIH)
Making friends in early recovery is crucial for improving your support system and strengthening your sobriety. If a craving attacks you, there will always be someone to talk to that can help. We can’t do this alone no matter how hard we try, and many have failed following that approach.
Why is it Important to Make Friends in Early Recovery?
If you find yourself lonely, you may feel life is pointless with nothing to do and that is when old friends and places seem attractive. The best antidote to boredom has clean and sober friends to spend time with. People who have clean time will be an example of the fact that it is possible to stay clean and sober and be happy as well.
The people with clean time have progressed further along the path of recovery, and therefore they will act as guides and bring with them warnings to possible pitfalls. It is well understood that early sobriety is lonely without a good support network around you. Avoiding friends and saying goodbye to friends that are still drinking or using can be a hard phase to go through and will make you feel vulnerable. It is normal to have anxiety about the future, but friends can offer advice and give you support.
How are Friends Made in Early Recovery?
Lack of confidence and lack of self-esteem will have recovering addicts struggling to feel comfortable around new people. Though making new friends can be scary or difficult, there are steps you can take to make new friends. Start by finding people who are respectable and not people who have something to offer you or something they can do for you. A simple hello or a smile will involve some effort but remember it will be hard to make new friends if you ignore people.
Mingling on social media will lack some intensity, but it will provide opportunities to form new and strong friendships. You will find many recovery communities on the internet that are for sober people to network. The longer you stay clean and sober the more mature you will become, and therefore the easier it will become to attract new friends. Once you find how many activities are enjoyable in recovery you will come across some good times. Try out hiking, surfing, joining classes at the local gym or reading clubs. In recovery, it is strongly suggested to do service because it will empower your sobriety, and it is an opportunity to give back.
Service is an amazing way to make new friends. Spend some time thinking about others to make sure that you are combating any self-centered or selfish ways you have that might hinder you from making new friends. Get a homegroup in your 12-step fellowship; this meeting will be the one that you attend no matter what. This will encourage you to form friendships because you will have the same people around you regularly. Pick a recovery fellowship that best suits you.
What Kind of Friends Should You Look for in Early Recovery?
In a nutshell, you should look for people who are clean, sober, trustworthy, honest and have a balanced life. Every person in recovery will experience hard times, days, minutes and it is during these times that an encouraging friend can make all the difference. An understanding friend can create a sense of camaraderie and allow for the recovering individual to feel a part of a community.
A supportive friend will be there to cajole and redirect a recovering addict to stick to the path of sobriety. A friend who has strong boundaries will set an example to you as you watch them, and you can learn how to assert your own needs. Taking the time to evaluate your friends will protect your recovery.
How Can Recreate Life Counseling Help You?
We have evidence-based treatments that will guide you in recreating your life. Our core philosophy is respect for our clients. The help we provide is designed to increase the likelihood of our clients achieving and maintaining their recovery. We understand that you have a vision for you, and we want to facilitate your journey of sobriety and finding new friends. Our team of substance abuse professionals is here to answer your questions about getting help for yourself, or an addicted loved one.