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How to Make New Friends in Recovery and Why It’s Important

a person hugs another after making friends in recovery

After you leave a residential rehab, it is almost like you are starting over. Along with learning how to live without drugs or alcohol, in many cases, you are also encouraged to make new friends. While it may seem silly, you aren’t asked to branch out for no good reason. In reality, making friends in recovery could be the difference between lifetime sobriety and relapse.

Our team at Woodland Recovery Center encourages patients in our addiction treatment programs to make friends so they can be supported during the early stages of recovery. Learn more about our personalized care plans and how they can make a difference in your or a loved one’s life. Contact our team in Southaven, Mississippi, by calling 662.222.2989.

The Importance of Making Friends in Recovery

If you are new to recovery, spending time with old friends that you used to drink or get high with can be problematic. While these friends may still support you being sober, just being around them can be triggering and may lead you to relapse. In order to be successful long-term, you also need a good support system that will be there for you when recovery gets tough. In addition to friends you connected with during addiction, some other circumstances could be triggers for relapse, including:

  • Stressful situations
  • Financial challenges
  • Negative emotions like sadness or anger
  • Social pressures from old friends
  • Places you used to drink or use drugs
  • Events or celebrations

If you are separating yourself from your old friends and your relationships with your loved ones are still rocky, you may not have a lot of people left that you can depend on. Making new friends in recovery not only helps you build up your support system but also gives you people to turn to when you encounter relapse triggers.

How to Make New Friends in Recovery

While you may understand why you need to make new friends after rehab, doing so is sometimes easier said than done. Especially if you are an introvert, the prospect of making new friends in addiction recovery can be daunting. These tips can help as you start making new friends in recovery:

Stay Connected with Alumni

When you leave rehab, it doesn’t mean you have to leave all the friends you met behind. Even if you do not live near one another, you can stay connected online or make plans to visit one another. You may even be able to find people who graduated from the same program in your area through the rehab’s alumni program. These friends have been in your shoes and can provide you with the support you need in early recovery.

Meet Sober Friends

While you don’t need to only spend time with other people in recovery, if you are able to make sober friends, it may make your life a bit easier. Not only do you have something in common already, but also they understand what you are going through. If they are newer to recovery, they may be looking for new friends as well. There are several ways to meet sober friends, including at recovery meetings, intensive outpatient treatment, and groups specific to people in recovery. Be friendly and take your time finding people you connect with.

Be Upfront

You shouldn’t have to hide who you are from your friends. If you start connecting with new people who are not in recovery themselves, it is probably better to be upfront with them about being sober. While not everyone may have the best reaction to this news, it will save you the time and effort of building a friendship that won’t work out.

Get Involved

One of the easiest ways to meet people in recovery is to get involved. Join a sports team, find a club, take classes, try a group, or get involved with a church. These activities can not only help you find people who have similar interests as you but may also provide you with a new passion or purpose.

Meet Friends of Friends

It can be intimidating to build a friendship with a stranger, so why not ask your friends to connect you with their friends? You likely have already heard a bit about them, and you already have your mutual friends in common. A group activity with everyone can also help take away any pressure or awkwardness.

Be Selective

While not all of your friends need to be sober, they should all support your recovery. You need to be careful that you do not make friends after rehab with people who could hinder your recovery progress or even cause you to relapse. Finding the right people whom you also feel connected to may take some time, but it will be worth it.

Get Online

Not everyone feels comfortable meeting people face-to-face, so start with building friendships online. Gaming, talking over a recovery forum, or joining an online group can help break the ice. There are even apps to make friends. Just be careful since not everyone is truthful or helpful online. While making new friends after addiction can be intimidating, it is often an important part of your recovery journey and may take time.

Start Socializing in Addiction Recovery with Help from Woodland Recovery Center

If you are struggling to find support in early recovery or recently relapsed, let us help. At Woodland Recovery Center, we offer the full continuum of care to help people in every stage of their recovery journey.

Our programs include:

  • Drug and alcohol detox – To help you safely clear your body of toxins
  • Inpatient treatment – For intensive addiction therapy and recovery support
  • Evening intensive outpatient program (IOP) – To receive ongoing counseling and addiction therapy as needed
  • Alumni programming – To help you stay connected and start making friends in recovery

Our team is here to help you make the progress needed for a successful recovery. Contact our Southaven, Mississippi, location today by calling 662.222.2989 or completing our online form to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one work toward sobriety.