You’ve heard it before and you’ll likely hear it repeated throughout your lifelong recovery journey: Undoubtedly, social support plays a key role in your ability to sustain lasting sobriety. Social support refers to the support network you have in your life, made up of friends, loved ones, and other peers who are supportive of your recovery journey. Whether you have a well-established support network or need new support, making new friends is an important part of your recovery. Nonetheless, as making new friends in sobriety can be challenging, it is crucial to discuss suggestions for expanding your social support network, specifically to protect your recovery.
As an alumnus of Renaissance Ranch, and as a member of our Band of Brothers, you may feel content with the social support circle you currently have. However, making new friends in recovery can help you further your growth and healing in a plethora of ways. You must put yourself out there to connect deeper with your community and to discover the role you play in it all. Further, never hesitate to reach out to our staff members to help you identify ways to make new friends throughout your recovery journey.
The Importance of Friendships in Recovery
Simply put, the relationships we share with those around us are an essential part of life. Moreover, friendships are associated with an array of health and well-being benefits. According to an article in Frontiers in Psychology:
Friends provide us with a strong sense of companionship, mitigate feelings of loneliness, and contribute to our self-esteem and life satisfaction. Perceiving greater support from friends is associated with a greater sense of purpose and control over one’s life… Friends also help individuals institute healthy behaviors in their own lives.
Further, friendships also provide benefits specific to addiction recovery and relapse prevention. For example, friends help to prevent isolation and boredom, which can otherwise make you vulnerable to re-engaging with alcohol and drug use.
In addition, peer relationships, such as the relationships you share with your Band of Brothers, can help you stay accountable for your sobriety by noticing and addressing when you start to fall off track. Moreover, your friends provide you with an essential self-care outlet, providing a listening ear for when you feel stressed as well as a sounding board when you need advice.
Why Should I Make New Friends in Recovery?
As mentioned previously, if you already have an established social support network, you may question whether or not you need to make new friends in recovery. With that, it is necessary to understand the specific benefits that come with making new friends.
For instance, one benefit of making new friends in recovery is that new friends will encourage and challenge you to move past your comfort zone. While existing friends tend to do this too, new friends can facilitate new growth beyond a level that you have experienced in the past. Similarly, new friendships can also bring about new experiences that can foster skill-building and shifts in perspective.
Suggestions for Making New Friends In Sobriety
Despite these benefits, you, like many others, may find it difficult to make new friends, especially as you are working to find stability in your sobriety journey. Oftentimes, identifying or locating a space to make new friends in sobriety is the biggest challenge. Perhaps you are an introvert who prefers to spend time alone. Or, conversely, you may be someone who thrives when making new friends, yet you fear what a new friend could do to your sober efforts.
First and foremost, during the blossoming of any new friendship, it is necessary to be cautious about how this person could potentially affect your sobriety, both for better and for worse. Similarly, they must know that you are in recovery to avoid any peer pressure or judgment early on. So long as you try to avoid meeting new friends in nightlight or bar scenes, it is likely that any person you meet will be understanding and supportive of your sobriety. Nonetheless, exercise good judgment and caution always.
As you keep this on the forefront of your mind, here are some suggestions for making new friends in recovery:
- Attend Renaissance Ranch’s alumni events, such as those hosted for your Band of Brothers
- Participate in sober networking events hosted by your city or larger community
- Connect with individuals online through recovery forums, social media groups, and online support group meetings
- Sign up for a Bible study group or attend Sunday service or other events at your place of worship
- Consider connecting with health-related resources such as finding a fitness group or starting a gym membership
- Join a book club
- Sign up to take educational classes based on your hobbies or interests
Nevertheless, there is never a better time to make new friends in recovery than now.
Friends are an important element of social support in addiction recovery. Further, social support plays a key role in your ability to establish and maintain lasting sobriety. While making new friends in recovery poses its own challenges, it also poses numerous benefits for your continued recovery. For example, new friends can push you outside your comfort zone and motivate new learning experiences. Yet, you may find it difficult to make new friends, especially in early sobriety. As an alumnus of Renaissance Ranch, let us help you find new ways to make friends throughout your lifelong recovery journey. Our Band of Brothers is a great place to start. Learn more by calling (801) 308-8898 today.