Loneliness is dangerous for people who are sober but early sobriety can be particularly challenging. It is essential an individual begins forming friendships in a network of clean, sober friends who can help abate the lonely feelings but also provide a source of support and advice.
Need for New Friends
One of the challenges of people in recovery to make clean, sober friendships. Spending time with old friends who still have bad habits or trigger cravings can have devastating consequences to sobriety. Sober friendships challenge the old way of doing things and push people to think differently about what to do and when to do it.
Need for Social Support
Friends are necessary as a social net for a successful life in recovery. Human beings are social animals and depend on a network of other humans to provide support for difficult times as well as the good times. Leaning on friends in times of need can be critical to long term success. Social support mechanisms come from family, friends, acquaintances who provide a host of positive experiences to partake of that do not involve drugs or alcohol.
Never Be Alone
Loneliness is a huge trigger for individuals in recovery. Sober friends understand this and work to support one another to not feel all alone. Some people can feel lonely even when in a room full of people. Real friends are critical to avoiding the feeling that things are devastatingly challenging and further push a person into isolation. A relapse trigger or feeling that increases chances of returning to active addiction can make life difficult. Loneliness sucks the joy out of life and many times it is unbearable for others to witness. It helps to have sober friends who challenge the idea being alone too much is good, especially in early recovery, and support a person through planned social events and engagements.
One of the keys to making friends is to let go of low self-esteem and think about how friendships can help recovery. It may be challenging early on but the following tips can be helpful:
- Join recovery fellowship with other sober friends in a similar situation
- 12-step fellowship programs make it easier to build friendships
- Becoming a good friend begins with building stronger friendships. Letting go of self-centeredness that comes with addiction is helpful
- Serving others in recovery can provide opportunities to meet people and help others (it is also a great principle to practice in recovery)
- Try new hobbies and activities that don’t involve substance use
- Social media and the internet are great platforms for social networking with others to share stories and experiences
Don’t expect too much too soon, but do expect that sober friendships will challenge and surprise an individual when given the opportunity. Start by trying to find people who share similar experiences and build on up from there.
The Villa believes in the power of companionship for the journey of recovery. Call us to find out how we can help you get started.