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Maintaining a Social Life While in Recovery

One of the leading reasons people living with addiction both relapse and avoid treatment is fear of the unknown – in this case, not having a clear picture of what their sober socialization will look like for the rest of their life. However, there’s good news: People have accomplished it, and continue to do so every day. Many recovering addicts navigate sober social lives by implementing a few common-sense strategies and skills, such as the ones below.

1. Knowing When to Say No

Now that you’re working on your recovery, you may be feeling awkward about contacting old friends again. After all, even your best-intentioned buddies probably don’t understand the process you’ve been going through, and they might naively invite you to join them for “just one drink,” not understanding how doing so could jeopardize the sobriety you have worked so hard to build. In recovery, you will need to concentrate on setting boundaries, which often includes avoiding people, places and circumstances that represent threats to your sobriety. For example, there may be a period where you can’t set foot inside a bar because the sight of other people drinking is too much of a temptation for you. If you don’t trust yourself to go, there’s no shame in saying no to a friend’s invitation to hang out in a place that serves alcohol.

2. Finding Friends Who Get What You Are Going Through

Another huge benefit to people living a sober lifestyle can be to cultivate new relationships with like-minded friends. These could be people who went through addiction treatment alongside you, those you meet in person at your support group meetings or people you have found through online message boards or social media. As part of setting boundaries, you may have to cut ties with some people who might hold you back from making progress in your recovery. For example, if you drank or used drugs for a long time, it’s likely some of your relationships were entirely based on your shared habit. Now that you’re sober, you will undoubtedly have trouble finding common ground with people like them. One way to find empathetic people who support your recovery is to get out and try new, sober experiences like yoga retreats and volunteer vacations that will usher in more nurturing, meaningful relationships in your life.

3. Discover New Pursuits

Boredom and loneliness can be two of your biggest enemies in recovery, especially in the earliest phases. You’ll need to work hard to find activities that keep you mentally stimulated, such as painting, birdwatching, knitting – anything you enjoy that also helps you stay active. Invite any old or newly found friends to join you in these activities to enhance the social aspect of these healthy hobbies. You can also try meditation to keep yourself occupied. Though busy-ness is diametrically opposed to the practice of meditation, learning to still your racing thoughts can be valuable, especially if you are struggling with stress, anger or lonesomeness.

We All Need Somebody to Lean On

Seeking new friends and hobbies in recovery can be highly rewarding, but you must be willing to get out and explore. Once you discover who you are without the burden of addiction holding you back, you may be more confident in yourself, and you can find it easier to relate to others. At Segue Recovery Support, we provide a structured, high-accountability living environment for people who are serious about protecting their sobriety and avoiding a relapse. If you are committed to your long-term health and happiness, contact us to learn more about how our sober living can help you.