After drug rehab, going back to normal everyday life can be a bit difficult. You just came from a place where you admitted your faults, were mentally and emotionally analyzed, and exposed your inner demons in front of strangers. This was probably far outside of your comfort zone, but it was beneficial in the long run. One thing you need to learn to do again is socializing. Socializing is a norm in today’s society and it’s important for a former addict to socialize with the right people.

Sometimes, coming out of addiction means you need to make new friends or faze other friendships out. Neither of those are easy choices, but they are necessary for someone wanting to achieve long-term recovery. The last thing a former addict needs are feelings of loneliness. Feelings like loneliness can lead to depression which can lead to many detrimental issues or even relapse. It won’t be easy to socialize after such an emotionally and physically taxing journey, but it is necessary. The key to this process is finding those friends that help support and encourage your sobriety, not belittle it. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 tips that will help you form friendships that benefit your long-term recovery.

Forming Better Friendships

Are there experts on friendships? No. However, there are great ways that can help you form better friendships that will do nothing but benefit you as a person. It’s all about picking out the right kind of people! There is no doubt you’ve had some experience in the past picking out friends and there is no harm in using what you know to benefit you. You more than likely have made and lost friends; think about what made those friendships so great or what made them terrible. Look at the qualities of the friendships and find out what you want and don’t want. This is the simple truth of friendship, you know what you want and what you need. Analyze the friendship carefully and ask yourself: Does this friendship build me up or tear me down?

New Beginnings

You are out of drug rehab, now it’s time for a new beginning. Living a sober life doesn’t just mean kicking your addiction. It also means kicking out anything and everything in your life that enabled or encouraged your addictive behaviors. Focus on the positive aspects of your life and the things that help you keep your mind off substance abuse. That being said, one of the biggest reasons for addiction is a person’s surroundings. Family members, significant others, jobs, past trauma, and in this case, friendships. Often times, people can find a friend that likes to push the party lifestyle onto others, thus leading to addictive behaviors. These are the kind of friends you want to avoid.

Any kind of friend that encourages, enables, or causes you to start abusing substances is one that should not be in your life. Now that you are clean and sober, it’s time to make better choices when it comes to friends. Make friends that encourage and support your new lifestyle rather than judge it. Also, it isn’t just about encouraging your new lifestyle, but also just accepting you for who you are. Finding a friendship that makes you feel happy and more positive about life, in general, is an ideal friendship for someone new to sobriety. With that being said, here are some tips for you to use when you are looking for the right kind of friendship that will benefit you:

  • Self-love: This will not only help you, but also help new friends to accept you for who you are. Accept yourself and others will accept you.
  • Be open: This can help create a sense of comfort and openness in your friendship, allowing you to be open about your past, present, and future. Share your vulnerabilities and your strengths so your friend can better understand you. This can also remove ‘safe-spaces’ and create more comfort where others may be uncomfortable.
  • Listen: It is not only important that you find a friend who will listen to you, but it is also important for you to listen to them.
  • No judgment: You wouldn’t want your friend judging you for your new or old lifestyle, so don’t judge them for their the way they live. This will create more openness, acceptance, and understanding. Laugh often – Life is a playground, ease up and share a giggle.
  • Don’t be so serious, have fun: Things don’t always need to be so melodramatic, ease up a little! Live, laugh, and have fun with each other!
  • Be a leader: Lead by example to your friend. Show them that you have personal accountability and you aren’t necessarily co-dependent on them. Sobriety isn’t about someone helping you stay clean, it’s about you learning how you can keep yourself clean.

Want To Be Social? It’s Easy!

Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, but you have experienced this in rehab. Opening up, admitting you need help, and exposing yourself has already led to great results for your new life in sobriety. Think about all the great things that have come from being open in rehab and apply that to you seeking new friendships. It won’t always be so easy making new friends, you may be met with scrutiny, but there’s no harm in trying! Not everyone is going to be your friend, but there is no doubt you will find someone with whom a friendship will benefit you. If you don’t try, you’ll never know!  

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of friendship is stepping outside of your comfort zone and admitting you need or are open to making new friends. Your efforts might be met with scrutiny. After all, trust without verification is not in abundant supply. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know. Put yourself out there, talk to someone that looks lonely, talk to someone that seems friendly, try anything you can to make a new friendship for yourself; it’s easy! In the end, making new friendships not only benefits you, but it can benefit others. Put yourself out there, don’t be afraid, and start making new friends that encourage you!

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888-512-1705.

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