Healthy relationships are important aspects of addiction recovery. Having the support and encouragement of positive people can spur drug addicts through the difficult times in recovery. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recovery has four major dimensions, one of which is community. In regard to addiction recovery, the term “community” refers to the social networks, friendships and other relationships that provide support, love and hope to recovering addicts as they develop their sober lifestyles. In other words, the better one’s relationships with others, the better addiction recovery can be.
Ideally, all recovering drug addicts should have a strong network of caring, supportive people who are invested in helping them succeed in recovery. Recovering addicts can develop strong relationships that aid recovery if they meet people through their rehab program and support groups and if they socialize with other people at sober events. They may also be able to find support from their family and old friends; oftentimes, relationships with such loved ones may have disintegrated due the addiction, but, fortunately, recovery provides people with countless opportunities to restore old relationships as well as to build new ones.
Making New Friends as a Part of Addiction Recovery
According to PsychCentral, many people who abuse drugs are part of a community of drug users. Usually, the friendships within this community are based solely on drug use, so, when one person decides to seek addiction recovery, then his friendships within the drug community are likely to fall apart. Other drug users are unlikely to help someone go through recovery, because they do not want to stop using drugs themselves, so they cannot see the need for someone to stay clean. Furthermore, one person who seeks addiction recovery can signal to his drug-using friends that addiction is, in fact, a problem that they are ignore, but must face.
When an individual begins rehab, then her friendships with drug users may end altogether, but they may also become a stumbling block to her recovery if such people try to persuade her to use drugs again. Oftentimes, it is in the best interest of recovering addicts to let go of these unhealthy relationships and to move on to other, more constructive ones. Unfortunately, letting go of old relationships and beginning a new lifestyle can be a difficult adjustment; however, recovering individuals will soon reap benefits from their positive choices. In fact, constructive friendships can greatly support recovering addicts through rehab, which will help them establish long lives of sobriety.
Differences Between Negative and Positive Friends in Addiction Recovery
During the early stages of recovery, it can be difficult to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy relationships, because even people who do not use drugs can be a bad influence to your sobriety. Generally, anyone who is unsympathetic to the difficulties of recovery, who makes hurtful comments or who disrespects your boundaries may cause more harm than good for you avoiding relapse.
However, positive, constructive friends will accommodate a recovering drug addict. They will never drink or use drugs in front of you, and they will never belittle your efforts to remain sober. They will be understanding and supportive during the difficult aspects of recovery, such as drug cravings, and they will never pressure any recovering user to do something that may lead to relapse, like go to a party where drug use may occur. Constructive friendships provide recovering users with hope and community, which allow a recovering user to see the benefits of long-term sobriety and all the reasons to stick with it.
Reestablishing Old Relationships as a Part of Addiction Recovery
Along with making new friends, another enormous benefit of addiction recovery is that it can allow someone to restore relationships that may have ended when drug abuse was at its worst. As a disease, addiction often leads to many negative behaviors that alienate users from their loved ones. However, recovery gives people the opportunity to rekindle old relationships with family and long friends by making amends.
According to Everyday Health, enlisting the help of a counselor or therapist can help recovering addicts make amends in old relationships. Addiction can lead to a lack of trust and great resentment between two people, but, over time, trust can be rebuilt and resentment can fade. Restoring old relationships can be a positive experience for recovering individuals, and renewed relationships with family and old friends can further motivate someone to stay sober.