Building a Strong Support Network: How to Make Sober Friends in Recovery
Relapse is a common part of the recovery process for those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of individuals in treatment or recent recovery experience at least one relapse episode. However, by completing approximately five years of continuous recovery, former users can approach an 85 percent chance of achieving lifetime sobriety. While the road to recovery is long, it’s important to remember that no one has to travel it alone. Building a strong support network of sober friends can be one of the most effective ways to stay clean and maintain sobriety. In this article, we’ll explore why it’s important to make new friends in recovery and provide some tips on how to make sober friends.
Why Make New Friends?
Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction can take a significant toll on the body and mind. While it may feel like making new friends is the last thing on your mind, building a network of supportive individuals can be incredibly beneficial. Having friends who understand your struggles and won’t judge you for your past will give you someone to turn to when you’re facing the temptation of a relapse.
Spending time with new friends can also help keep you away from old friends who may promote or enable drug or alcohol use. While it can be difficult to cut ties with old friends, being around them is likely to trigger unpleasant memories and increase your risk of relapse. This can ultimately hinder your progress in building positive and healthy relationships with sober friends and family members.
How to Make Sober Friends
1. Join a Support Group
Attending a support group is a great way to connect with others who are going through similar struggles. While it may feel daunting to admit your struggles to a group of strangers, attending a support group is about more than just expressing your feelings – it’s about realizing you’re not alone. Consistently attending a support group can allow for the development of meaningful relationships with individuals who know the challenges of recovery and can offer support when needed.
2. Invest in a Hobby
Taking up a hobby can be a great way to spend time doing something you enjoy while also connecting with others who share similar interests. From joining a book club to learning about your family history or taking photography classes, there are countless hobbies to choose from. Not only does investing in a hobby provide a way to fill your time in a productive way, but it also encourages the development of relationships with others who share your interests.
3. Participate in Sober Activities
Participating in sober activities is a great way to create new experiences while also connecting with others in recovery. Rather than going clubbing or spending time with old friends who may promote drug or alcohol use, consider taking part in activities like taking classes, exploring local sites or museums, or attending summer festivals. By exploring these activities with like-minded individuals, you can create meaningful relationships while also experiencing all that life has to offer.
In conclusion, building a strong support network of sober friends is an essential part of maintaining long-term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. By making new friends through support groups, hobbies, or sober activities, you can create meaningful relationships that provide support and motivation when needed. While the road to recovery may be long, you don’t have to travel it alone.