During recovery, you will make lots of new friends who will help you stick to your goals. While letting go of negative influences during your first stage of treatment was hard, you are now ready to embrace meeting new people who support your belief in sobriety. Among the many friends you will meet are those who have never struggled with addiction personally yet have committed themselves to a life of sobriety. Their reasons to do so may vary from yours, but they still have many lessons to share as you learn how to live a sober lifestyle. As you build your social network, keep these reasons in mind for why you want to surround yourself with sober people who provide a positive influence for your recovery.
When you spend time with someone who simply chooses to avoid drugs and alcohol, it suddenly makes sobriety seem like a normal way to live. After years of dealing with addiction, this can be a relief since it gives you a break from all of the recovery talk. When you go out, your sober friend will just think it is normal to suggest a movie or shooting hoops at the park rather than asking to hit up a bar. Since they act so nonchalant about it all, you will find yourself not even thinking about trying to go out for a drink. Feeling normal after dealing with addiction for so long is like a breath of fresh air.
Avoid a Sympathetic Relapse
Your recovery friends are an important source of support, yet these relationships can sometimes become an issue if you begin to fall into the trap of mutual negativity. Sympathetic relapse is one reason why newly sober people tend to be paired up with people who have had longer experience in recovery. It is also why sober living environments promote accountability with regular testing and around the clock support for anyone who is struggling. Sober friends tend to prefer their lifestyle, and you won’t hear them complain about how bad life is without drugs and alcohol. Instead, they embrace their lifestyle with a sense of joy that is fortunately contagious.
Receive Positive Peer Pressure
Years of having other people try to drag you down may leave you feeling hesitant about making new friends. However, having a sober friend give you that side eye when you mention having a drink is all it takes to keep you on the straight and narrow. Let your sober friend know that you are in recovery, and they will be one of the first people to give you direction if they notice you start to fumble. While a sober friend will never shame you, just knowing that you might let them down if you were to relapse is enough to help you make good decisions.
Learn To Define Boundaries
For many people who have never dealt with addiction, trying to explain their decision to stay sober requires a strong will to overcome other people’s protests. For you, this is a great opportunity to learn how to stand up for your needs. Watching as your sober friend shoots down an invitation to go out for drinks after work, or refuses to lend money to a drug abusing friend helps you learn that boundaries are a good thing. You will also benefit from learning how to convey those boundaries to others even when you are faced with peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol again.
A wonderful thing about sober friends is that they are always doing something new and exciting. They’ve cultivated a lifestyle that embraces health and happiness, and jumping into their social circle puts you right in the middle of wholesome activities. From overnight hiking trips to late night movie binges with soda served instead of alcoholic drinks, there is always something on your sober friend’s agenda that will keep your mind from straying to your addiction.
Build a Sober Social Circle
People who choose to be sober tend to attract like-minded people. This means that you can quickly begin forming connections with even more people that know a life without drugs and alcohol is far more enjoyable. As you build your social circle, you will find that those feelings of loss for your old friends tend to fade away and be replaced with respect for those who support your decision to enter recovery.
Those first several weeks of sobriety are challenging, and you will find that reaching out to other people is critical for your success. While letting go of your old friends might have been hard, it truly is necessary to find new ones that share your goals. From lending an ear when you are struggling to show you how to have fun without your addiction, your sober friend is like a trusty sidekick who will guide you through each stage of your recovery.