Finding friendship is essential to help you through recovery. Loneliness can lead to relapse, and you often need a support group who understands what you are going through. You can easily find people who might be great friends.
Do not let your newly sober life suffer due to fear of reaching out. Use these tips to find friendship in your sober life. Finding friends in recovery can be difficult at times, especially if your old friends were enablers, or even co-conspirators, in your addiction.
Your non-addict friends and family may offer you love and support, but often they just do not understand everything you are going through. Creating meaningful relationships is essential to your sobriety, and it is possible.
With these five tips, you can find new, or recover old, friendships while remaining sober.
Join a Support Group
It can be difficult to make new friends at any age, especially if you suffer from low self-esteem, as many addicts do. Joining a support group provides you with a pool of sober, recovering addicts from which to find a new friend.
This can help you two-fold. One, you will have a wide support network to help you through your early recovery. Second, it can help you to form friendships with people who understand with what you are dealing and offer additional support and advice.
Start a New Hobby
You do not have to just search for friends who are also recovering addicts. If you start a new hobby that requires going to a class or otherwise doing things in groups, you have an opportunity to meet new people, away from the temptation of drugs and alcohol.
You can join a yoga class, an art class, knitting class, a language class, a dance class, or anything in which you are interested. You will meet people with similar interests, as well as engage in something healthy that will keep you active and away from your substance of choice.
Volunteering is another way to search out for meaningful friendships that do not revolve around drugs or alcohol. You can volunteer anywhere that has meaning for you, including a local food bank, homes for humanity, a beach or park cleanup, or anything else.
You can also become active in your faith community. You will meet people who could potentially become great friends that do not remind you of your old life.
Learn to be a Good Friend
Whether it is due to narcissism or the draw of the addictive substance, many recovering addicts have only experienced superficial friendships with those who have drank or gotten high alongside them. The thought of developing something more can sometimes be frightening.
Learning to be vulnerable, to listen to another person, and to care can also be difficult. You might have to go through therapy if you have significant issues, but for most people it just takes conscious effort to actually listen and care about another person. This can also help you restore some of the damaged relationships you already have.
Take a Chance
The number one way to finding friendship in recovery is to actually try. You have to reach out to people for them to respond to you. You can join all the groups, classes, clubs, and volunteer organizations you want and still not make any friends if you do not actually engage with other people.
Sometimes, as little as a smile or a hello is all that is needed. You should not feel shame about your addiction, or any other aspect of yourself. You will find people with whom you share common interests and who will love and support you through your recovery and beyond.