Recovering from addiction is hard. You can’t do it alone. Friends will get you through the rough patches and help you grow in the good times.
Much has been written and said on the topic of female friendships. Jane Fonda put it well when she said at the 2015 Sundance Women in Film brunch, that her female friendships helped “keep the starch in my spine” throughout her long and incredible career in Hollywood, by just being able to “hang together and help each other.” Another Harvard study found that the most successful women were those with a close inner circle of female friends. And a more recent study showed that for many women, their female friends are a place of refuge and safety (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0959353519857752).
That friendly support can be a lifeline for those in recovery. When people talk about sobering up, kicking bad habits and embracing the whole recovery journey, there are all sorts of unexpected challenges and changes you need to make to the shape of your life. Yes, of course battling withdrawal feelings and having therapy to make sense of all those complicated feelings you were hiding from are two of the key tasks at hand. But another essential job to do, if you’re going to stay on track, is to say goodbye to those toxic friendships that might be holding you back from the fabulous, sober life you deserve.
I know, saying farewell to pals you’ve known forever is tough, really tough. But here’s the deal: sometimes the ones we love the most can be the ones dragging us down. When we are in active addiction, we tend to hang out with people who cheer on our not-so-great habits and dodge the ones trying to get us on the healthy train.
Now that you are focused on your recovery, you can’t afford to hang with these enablers. Spending time with them would be a recipe for relapse on speed dial. Even if you’ve been clean for ages, bumping into these characters could still set off those temptation alarms.
The cold, hard truth is that those who fuelled your addiction are no longer your kind of people. Until they prove they’re on your team and you can see that they’re waving the recovery flag, it’s a wise move to keep them firmly in your past as you focus on enhancing your sobriety glow. It’s a mental adjustment but you need to get your head round the idea that you’re a different person now. You have new priorities and so there’s no room any of your old shenanigans. It’s important to remember, you can’t heal where you got sick. You must ditch the old crew and roll with people who lift you higher, not drag you down.
And so here’s the good news. Sober friendships can become your secret weapon, helping you to keep that recovery train chugging down the track. You need to surround yourself with pals who’ve got your back and are going to cheer on your new clean-living goals. It’s like creating a forcefield against the risky business of relapse.
Now, let’s talk about expanding your sober squad because it’s not always easy and frankly the more, the merrier! Changing your lifestyle might have you scratching your head on where to find these amazing sober pals. Don’t fret. There are friends in the making right in front of you. It’s all about diving into your community.
Join a sober support group and get stuck in. Introduce yourself. Say hello. Share, open up a bit. Be friendly, smile. Help out. Then think about other sober activities you might like to do: sports, yoga, cooking classes, you name it, give it a go.
Making friends in this newfound sober chapter might feel like stepping out of your comfort zone. Yes, it takes work, but it’s not impossible. Trust me, it will be worth it. Push through the awkwardness, and soon enough, you’ll be chilling with your new crew, loving life and most importantly, you’ll be doing all without risking your sobriety.
Come on. Give it a go. Let’s make 2024 the year of you find your sober sisterhood! 🌟
If you’re finding it tough in recovery, don’t try to go it alone. Get in touch with me at email@example.com and we can talk.