How Strong Friendships Support Addiction Recovery

Research consistently shows that people are wired to seek human connection. Our social motivations, such as the need for belonging or the desire to please others, can lead us down the road of substance abuse. But strong friendships can also help individuals succeed in recovery.

The Types of Friends You’ll Meet in Recovery

We often think of friends as the people that we go to for emotional support, but solid friendships offer much more. Friends share resources and information. They can provide accountability or a ride to meetings. They listen to you and offer constructive feedback and support without enabling you to pursue unhealthy behaviors. Making new friends usually feels different when you’re in recovery. You have a different perspective on life when you’re operating from a clear, chemical-free mind. Many people who are new to recovery are coming out of periods of isolation, during which they found it difficult to connect with others in a meaningful way. They might also have a history of making friends with people for the wrong reasons. Therefore, establishing trust and openness feels especially vulnerable. However, you’ll work on your emotional intelligence during recovery. You’ll develop better skills for communicating, processing your emotions, responding to others and managing social anxiety. You may find that it’s easier to communicate with peers who are also in recovery because you are all working on honesty. Stay open to the different types of friends that you’ll meet during recovery. Some of them will be mentors and guides. Some will open doors to other opportunities. Many will trigger you, activating your capacity for continued healing. While some friendships will come and go, others will last a lifetime. Regardless of how long they last, healthy relationships are essential for recovery.

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Why Strong Friendships Support Recovery

Establishing friendships in recovery is validating. It confirms that other people have had similar struggles as you and come out on top. It helps you recognize that treatment options for mental health disorders are effective. It also corroborates the fact that you are worthy of being loved. There are many other benefits to maintaining healthy friendships in recovery.

Your Life Will Feel More Meaningful

You likely feel a little lost as you begin to reestablish your life. Most people in recovery struggle with self-care and self-love. If you don’t know what direction to head in, connecting with others can help. Whether you’re making new friends or strengthening old relationships, you’ll also get satisfaction from helping others. Solid friendships give you a chance to share your valuable insights and support. Acts of service for others add meaning to your life and help you step away from your own problems. Just make sure that you don’t fall into codependent relationships. You should evaluate your people-pleasing tendencies and create friendships with individuals who set and respect clear boundaries.

Strong Friendships Boost Your Self-Esteem

Friends help you feel like you matter. Although it’s important to develop self-worth that doesn’t rely on external factors, having strong friendships However, research shows that close friends improve your self-confidence. Positive social relationships give you hope and encouragement when you’re feeling insecure. Good friends can motivate you to do something good for yourself when you’re feeling down. One consequence of having high self-esteem is that you’re likely to develop more positive relationships. Another is that you’ll have more confidence in yourself to continue with treatment and sustain your recovery.

A Strong Support System Helps You Avoid Relapse

While you can certainly achieve complete sobriety, you can’t do it alone. Your support system will help you avoid relapse. Friends take you to meetings when you don’t feel like going. Making plans gives you an outlet to enjoy yourself and a distraction when you’re having cravings. Your friends also keep you in check. When you establish healthy relationships, your loved ones will look out for you and address potential problems before they’re apparent to you. Trusting your friends to have your back allows you to seek help when you need it instead of hiding your feelings and sliding into a relapse.

Healthy Relationships Help You Identify Toxic Ones

You don’t need to cut ties with everyone that you had friendships with before recovery. However, as you build healthy relationships, you’ll likely notice the detrimental ones too. The communication skills that you learn during recovery will help you strengthen the positive friendships and let go of the ones that don’t help you grow.

Friends Help You Feel Safe

Entering recovery can be scary no matter how many times you have gone through it. Being around others who have had similar experiences makes you feel less alone. Trusting someone to show you the ropes creates an initial connection that breaks down some of the fear of the unknown. These types of friends help you understand what to expect. As your comfort level increases, you’re more likely to take strides that might make you uncomfortable at first but ultimately lead to a healthier lifestyle.

How to Make Friends in Recovery

If you attend an addiction treatment center or recovery meetings, you’re in an excellent place to make friends. You will probably find that you relate to some people’s stories more than others. Don’t be afraid to thank them for their shares. This will often create an opportunity for deeper conversation. Sober living facilities also encourage friendships. You’ll be facing similar challenges as your housemates, and you can relate on many levels. If you have had difficult interactions with people from your past, you may need to make amends. Be honest and informative. Explain how you feel about your past behavior and what you have done to change it. Let people know how they can support you and ask them about their expectations and boundaries so that you can begin to rebuild relationships. Don’t be afraid to let go of friendships that aren’t right for you, however. If a relationship doesn’t feel positive, it’s ok to take a temporary pause or a permanent break. This is the time to create a better life for yourself. Set the foundation with the relationships that you make at Burning Tree Programs.

Find an Inpatient Rehab Program Now

We are here to help you through every aspect of recovery. Call our admissions team to find the best for long-term recovery.

(866) 287-2877


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