Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are usually the gold standard of addiction treatment today. After all, once you have completed an inpatient detox or treatment program, it’s your support network that is going to help you continue your journey in recovery. Supporting your friends in recovery is essential.
Being a Friend to Others
While you’re a newcomer to recovery, you may be told to focus on yourself. After all, your first year in recovery may have its ups and downs. Staying substance-free is your number one goal. Concentrating on yourself, however, doesn’t mean sacrificing friendships. It’s essential to start having healthy relationships. Building a support network is also important. You need to be able to reach out when you need help.
Friendship is also a two-way street. You need to be there for your friends when they need you. How can you do this, while still focusing on your personal recovery goals?
Here are some tips:
- Send your new friends text messages asking how they are doing.
- Be supportive of their goals. Show up to celebrate anniversaries, gra
- Be the kind of friend that listens. Practice active listening – ask questions, relate a similar experience to theirs, etc. Stay on-topic. When you’re talking about feelings, be caring and thoughtful with your responses.
- Invite your new friends out to places, new 12-step meetings, movies, etc.
- Reach out to friends when they seem to be isolating. Ask them how they’re doing.
- Make friends with people who have been sober longer than you. While neither of you will have all the answers, you’ll be able to build a recovery network with a lot of experience.
- Give suggestions when asked. If not asked, you should practice the art of listening.
Recovery is a time of growth and change. Creating healthy friendships is a part of your new path in recovery.
Remember that you can’t fix anyone, and you should never put their welfare ahead of your recovery. If a friend asks you to put yourself in a risky situation, you should say “no.” Tell them to call their sponsor – or a taxi cab – to get themselves out of that situation.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love has a problem with alcohol, drugs, or other addictions, help is available. Detox is usually the first step to a new way of life. Take the time to focus on yourself, getting well, and healing from the grip of addiction. Call us at 1-800-970-8774 to learn more about your options.