On the road to recovery from addiction, you will need to make new, sober friendships. This is common if you are working through a traditional 12-step rehab program like that of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). You see, while many 12-step programs suggest that you leave behind old harmful habits, it may also require that you cut loose some of your old friends from when you used to use. This may include your drinking buddies, or dope friends. But when you decide to take your recovery seriously you’ll need to consider making some new friends that share your interest in being sober.
Sobriety isn’t an easy thing to achieve, but the road to recovery can seem a little lighter when you have friends. Transitioning back into everyday life after an in-patient rehab, or traditional 12-step program can seem impossible, and that is just the reason to reach out to other like-minded people where you can find them.
Where to Find Sober Peers
When you are looking to meet new people, you don’t want to risk relapse by making friends with those who would want to use your drug of choice. So, it’s best to steer clear of dangerous situations like parties, or large get-togethers where alcohol may be served. Instead, seek out events, or groups where you can find like-minded people with a love, and passion for healthy living. You may be able to find them in some unexpected places.
Here are just 3 ideas on where to spark a new sober friendship.
- Open Market. A healthy diet that includes a range of natural foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is the best way to stay healthy. And while you are on the road to recovery it is very important to treat yourself right. That means eating healthy foods whenever you can!
The ideal place to shop for healthy foods from Mother Nature is your local Farmer’s Market. This type of open shopping market allows you to breathe in fresh air while you shop for seasonal produce, and chat with vendors in your area. It’s a great way to start an easy conversation with a person who cares about their health.
- Meditation Circles. Meditation is a word that can intimidate you. But if it does, don’t worry! Meditation is something that is very simple, and easy to do, and you may also meet some really cool people doing it! You can perform meditations at home in order to reduce stress, and also seek out group sessions where you can meet others who share the passion for relaxation, and a clear mind. It’s worth giving a try!
- The Gym. You may not enjoy exercise, but it is a clinically proven way to boost your good mood! While the road to recovery can feel lonely, working out makes you feel a little better as it is known to boost the production of “feel-good” chemicals in your brain responsible for a sense of contentment, and happiness.1
If you feel like running on the treadmill, or spending time on a Stairmaster just isn’t for you, consider taking a group fitness class. There are many to choose from including yoga, aerobics, Zumba, hip-hop dance, and others!
How-To Create Lasting Friendships During Recovery
When you have developed a support system that includes healthy people you may also need to build stronger relationships with other people in recovery. Some popular peer groups for those in recovery include Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. But you can also use the internet to locate peer groups near you. Try Addiction.com as a meeting finder for your area. This may lead you to peer groups where participants share why they are in the group, how their path to recovery has been, and what has worked best in maintaining their sobriety. There may also be an opportunity to connect with a sponsor, and share more personal details about your path to recovery – which can help a lot!
Long-Term Recovery is Possible
There are many different places to find support as you take on the road to recovery from addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence can provide you information on the different types of meetings available. And if you want to, maybe even check back with your rehab program to see if they have anything to suggest as part of an ongoing outpatient program. Most likely, they do have some type of support to help you make a successful recovery so, do not wait to reach out!
After rehab, it takes time to get strong in your new sobriety. So, remember to always walk the path to recovery one step at a time. If you start to feel lonely, or down, head outside to a place where people value their health. There, you may be able to meet a new sober friend to help support you when times get tough.
- Simon N. Young. How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 Nov; 32(6): 394–399.