The path of recovery can be challenging for our friendships. Many people will lose or have to let go of a number of their friends in order to live a sober life. The idea of this is often enough for many people to stall on going to treatment, as friends in addiction recovery are a huge part of our support system and life after treatment.
For many people, their friendships revolve around alcohol and drugs and they often feel their friendships cannot survive without it. Knowing that you will eventually leave treatment and need to find new friends can be daunting.
Healthy Friends in Addiction Recovery
It is important that as you make new friends you bring people into your life that support you on your journey. Many people fall into toxic relationships that do not actually serve you and drain you instead.
There are, however, some important elements to a good friendship.
You Respect Each Other:
Respecting your friends’ boundaries is an important part of a good friendship. We are each unique in what makes us feel cared for and loved. Finding this balance takes communication and respect to understand and negotiate.
Instead of allowing resentment to build when a friend has done something to hurt us, it would be better addressed from curiosity and compassion, as often it is a misunderstanding. In all our relationships, we have to teach people how to treat us, what we’ll allow from them, and what we need.
You Are Real and Honest With Each Other:
Good friends make you feel accepted and comfortable being yourself. You never have to feel like you have to pretend to be someone you’re not. They know your shortcomings and love you anyway. They bring out your best version and celebrate your successes and empathize with your challenges.
You Can Disagree In A Healthy Way:
We all have different points of view, experiences of things, and have different opinions on matters that come up throughout life. It is important to feel safe enough to be able to voice this with your friends and those you trust most.
It is healthy to have debates with friends and not be afraid to disagree and talk things through. Conversations where two people disagree don’t have to end in an argument, especially when you’re willing to hear the other person out, and they’re willing to do the same for you. There are healthy communication skills that can help move through disagreements that include compromise, agreeing to disagree, and forgiving and letting go of negativity.
You Trust Each Other:
It’s important to feel safe with our friends. A solid foundation of trust allows us to share and be authentic without fear of being rejected or shamed. When we have trust we feel comfortable sharing our feelings and details of our life without the fear of them sharing it with others.
Having trust in friendships also means that we have faith that our friends have our best interests at heart. It is this sort of trust that helps us navigate the differences in opinions we may have, and allows you to be your most authentic self with one another.
You Put in Time and Effort:
Good relationships take work, but it doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. We do need to make a conscious effort to reach out and make plans by getting together, talking on the phone, or experiencing new things together. We also need to make a conscious effort to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to share the details of our life, and let others be there to support us. Depending on the friendship, it may take a different amount of effort, but it is important that both people take time to nurture the relationship.
Obviously friendships are a huge source of support in anyone’s recovery journey, and make a huge difference as you journey throughout the process. When it comes to the friendships you had when you were in active addiction, it’s important to ask yourself, “Were they really looking after my best interests?” or “Were they pushing me to be my best self, or were they just echoing the voice of shame?”
Sober Living West LA
In recovery, and especially at a Sober Living home, you will have the potential to meet many new friends and others who can help you to find your way again.
At Riviera Recovery, our dedicated structured living and can help you create life-changing patterns, and friends in addiction recovery for life. Learn more about the unique atmosphere here at our sober living in West LA, where you can build solid relationships and a solid foundation for the next stage of your life.