In recovery, there is often the difficult task of making new sober friends. You know that you can’t return to your old friends, who use drugs and drink. You might not even be able to go to your family members who might also be drinking and using drugs. And in this case, those people with whom you develop new friendships might feel like closest people you have in your life.
Meeting Friends with Sobriety on Their Mind
Therefore you must find a way to meet new people who have sobriety on their minds. Or you might even be able to befriend those who don’t struggle with addiction at all and never have. Although this might be challenging for some, when you do have a group of friends that are sober and feel safe, they can become your refuge.
In essence, when you’re in recovery you’re becoming a new person. There is actually a new consciousness that you are developing. Where in the past you relied upon drugs and/or alcohol to be your refuge, you’re finding new means of coping. You’re beginning to believe in your ability to manage your life. You’re beginning to realize that you can live without drugs and alcohol.
If you’re familiar with neuroscience, you might say that you’re developing a new brain. Every time you learn a new skill, you are rewiring the brain and you are teaching yourself to respond to life in a new way. Experts say that when you learn a new skill your brain’s structure actually changes. So, you are not only changing your choices and responses to life – your external world – but you are also changing your brain – your internal world.
Growing in recovery means a new brain, new life, and new experiences. Because of this it’s essential to have family that can facilitate this change. It’s important that you have people around you have similar thoughts, who are making similar healthy choices in life, and who are aiming for long-term sobriety as well. In fact, you may want to make friends with those who are a few years ahead of you. They’ve already developed the thoughts, habits, ideas, skills, and beliefs that keep their health, happiness, and sobriety firmly in place.
Finding refuge in your new sober friends can be a great support in your recovery. For instance, the unique experiences that recovery brings, such as attempting to find your strength outside of drinking or using drugs, can be shared among friends who are also recovering addicts. You might be able to find healing and self-acceptance in hearing the stories of others. You might be able to find a different kind of strength inside that you didn’t know was there by talking with others. Slowly, with these friendships, you can let go of the cravings for alcohol or drugs.
You might run into the problem of finding new friends. For some, this can be difficult. However, keep in mind that during your recovery, you’ll be rooming with others at an addiction treatment center. You’ll be attending group therapy with others who have the same concerns, and you’ll be meeting others in your support groups who are working through the same issues that you might be experiencing. Essentially, many people you meet during your recovery will be striving to facilitate their emotional and psychological growth, just as you are. For this reason, find refuge in new sober friends, friends that might often feel more like your family than your family.