The secret to a successful recovery isn’t to simply stop using. Rather, it’s to create a new life where it’s harder to turn back to old ways, and easier to move forward. Without letting go of your old life, the more difficult it will be in recovery to find the support and practical solutions you need. For many young men, one of the most damaging influences are old friends, who – because they haven’t changed – can derail a recovery. This stresses the ever-important step of finding new friends. Friendship and Support Groups: The Key to Sober Living It’s not uncommon for “friends” to be dismissive or even hostile when an addict gets clean. In many cases they can become flat-out destructive. For young men in the midst of addiction treatment, it’s critical to not only psychologically prepare for this possibility, but form new friendships and support groups. Tough calls will have to be made that cut ties with negative influences. This is a difficult yet critical component of sober living. Think hanging out for just a few hours with your old drinking buddies from high school won’t cause any damage? Think again. As difficult as these decisions can be, the reality is that living a successful sober life means that we keep our social influences anchored and balanced. Many young men make the mistake of assuming that they’re the exception and that nothing will happen to them. But all it takes is “just one drink” or something similar to derail the progress made in addiction treatment. Recovering in a city like New Haven with its strong young people’s recovery network can be the perfect opportunity to begin evaluating who you want in your circle of trust and which friends aren’t necessarily the best influences. Aren’t sure how to establish a new support group and let go of your old one? Here’s a few guidelines to get you started.
- Avoid old hangouts. Living in a sober community in New Haven makes it easier to avoid hangouts that would otherwise be associated with negative influences. Living sober means that you must detach yourself from things that could tempt you to make a bad decision. Remember, even after you’ve finished addiction treatment, the battle isn’t over.
- Try to stay surrounded. While we certainly need time to be alone and meditate away from the bustling world around us, being alone too much can allow temptations to foster. Surround yourself with positive people and influences that will encourage you along the path towards sober living.
- Attend 12 Step recovery meetings regularly. When you come on a regular basis, people start to know you and miss you when you are gone. Don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself. You’ll find a lot of support, and interesting people you might just want to know better.
- Find sober people with similar interests. Do you play an instrument or just love music? Always wanted to take a yoga or mixed martial arts class? Become a Literacy Volunteer? You’ll be taking care of yourself, maybe helping others, and along the way meeting people you can look up to.
- Be honest. Being transparent and emotionally trusting about your addiction puts it out in the open for your new support group. There’s no place for it to hide and you learn to embrace your story and see the inspiration that others see in you.
Successful recovery from addiction and a meaningful sober life are reliant on the solid support system built around you. Don’t try to take the journey alone. Trust in positive, supportive friends and family, and make finding new sober friends a priority.