What does your social life consist of? Are you the kind of person who enjoys having plans for every second of each weekend, or do you prefer an occasional lunch or dinner with friends? Whether you consider yourself to be a social butterfly or more of an introvert, you can expect your social life to look a little different in recovery.
Social circles tend to change following addiction. Typically, social functioning is largely impaired by substance abuse, so you likely lacked many real connections. You may also be very out of practice when it comes to appropriate, meaningful social interactions.
It is important to learn how to navigate social settings and maintain healthy relationships in recovery. You must filter people and places that no longer serve and support your new lifestyle. Below are a few tips for safely navigating social situations and maintaining a healthy social life in recovery.
The Right People
There is some truth to the phrase, “You are who you spend your time with.” Countless research has been conducted on how humans are influenced by other humans. To sum it up, anyone you interact with can have an influence on you. Those you choose to spend the most time with, of course, are more likely to have a greater impact.
This being the case, it is likely that while battling addiction, you probably spent at least a little time around others with similar habits. It can be common to surround yourself with other users for various reasons. It is best to avoid further contact or interaction with anyone who may still be engaging in substance abuse.
Once you have decided to enter treatment and begin a new life of sobriety, it is important to evaluate your relationships to ensure you are spending time only with those who support your new lifestyle and benefit you in this new season. You may have the opportunity to mend a few strained relationships as a result of your sobriety.
Prior to treatment, you probably had a few locations that served as your “go-tos” for drinking or using. It is important to steer clear of your old hang-out spots, bars, or parties that you suspect might involve drugs or alcohol. You may not need to avoid bars or parties forever, but doing so initially can reduce temptation and set you up for success.
Look for new places to meet up with friends or enjoy a night out. Coffee shops can be a great environment for socializing. Spending time in nature can be a great setting for relaxing or spending time with friends and family.
If you plan to attend a party or celebration, it is best to know a few things beforehand. Will there be drugs or alcohol? Will there be anyone present who may be triggering for you? Can you politely leave early if you need to? By knowing the answers to these questions, you can weigh your options and determine if the event is safe and healthy to attend.
Solid Support Network
Earlier, we discussed the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. To expand on that a bit, let’s discuss developing and maintaining a good system for support. Having people in your corner during treatment and recovery is critical. Friends and family members can serve as great examples.
It is also important to have a network of support outside of your close family and friends. This can include a sponsor, social or support groups you frequently meet with, or even mentors. These are people you can rely on to keep you in check and accountable when you need it most.
After you complete treatment and enter recovery, getting involved in an alumni program is a great way to stay connected. Making the jump from inpatient treatment to sober living or independent living can be intimidating, and it can be tough to rebuild your social life.
Remaining engaged in programs connected to your facility and in contact with others who completed treatment or are in the treatment process allows you to stay focused on your goals and on track throughout recovery. Furthermore, you are surrounding yourself with like-minded people who could end up being great friends or supporters.
Feeling isolated and yearning for social interaction following treatment can be normal. It is important to interact with others; we all need it. Choosing the right people and places and staying connected even after treatment is critical. Following the tips listed above can enable you to have a fulfilling social life after addiction.
Human interaction is an essential part of life. Following treatment, it can be hard to navigate social situations and even more difficult to initiate them. Choosing who you spend your time with wisely is very important following addiction. With your new life in recovery comes new friends, new environments, and new routines. Renaissance Ranch offers an outstanding alumni program designed to keep you involved and connected following treatment. Our Band of Brothers program offers continued support and provides a culture of sobriety that can be very beneficial following treatment. You have the opportunity to connect regularly with other alumni and others who may be new to treatment to help instill hope. There is no lack of accountability or fellowship here. If you or someone you care about is abusing drugs or alcohol and could benefit from our programs, give Renaissance Ranch a call today at (801) 308-8898.