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3 Easy Tips to Make Sober Friends While Recovering from Addiction

3 Easy Tips to Make Sober Friends While Recovering from Addiction

Relapse is not uncommon. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of drug abusers currently in a treatment program or in recent recovery experience at least one relapse episode. Only after completing approximately five years of seemingly endless recovery do former users approach an 85% chance of achieving lifetime sobriety. The road is long, there is no doubt, but you don’t have to travel it alone.

Why Make New Friends?

Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction takes a toll on your body. The desire to make new friends is probably one of the last things on your mind, if it’s there at all. But building a network of new friends is one of the best ways to make sure you stay clean. A strong support network including people who won’t judge you for poor decisions you’ve made in the past will give you someone to turn to when the temptation of relapse calls out to you on a particularly rough night.

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Spending time with new friends also helps keep you away from old friends who may promote or even enable your drug or alcohol addiction. It’s difficult to cut ties with old friends, especially if they helped you cope with some tough times; but being around them is likely to trigger unpleasant memories and increase your risk of relapse. This is likely not a risk worth taking, as it can destroy any chances of healing your relationships with sober friends and family members and building a brighter future.

How to Make Sober Friends

1. Join a Support Group

In early addiction recovery, you may feel reluctant and unwilling to admit you are struggling or to express how you feel, especially among a group of strangers. And that’s okay. Attending a support group is about more than just expressing your feelings—it’s about realizing you’re not alone, that others are dealing with similar struggles and need just as much support as you as they finally take control of their lives and say no to their addictions.

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You have something in common with these individuals, and together you can help one another stay clean and create a better future. It is reassuring and even motivating to know that someone who is sincerely willing to support you is merely a phone call away, even at three o’clock in the morning. Attending a support group regularly is a great way for you to build that type of relationship.

2. Invest in a Hobby

Taking up a hobby is more than just collecting paperclips or birdwatching on the weekends. It’s a great way to spend time doing something you enjoy, time you may have otherwise spent sitting around and, pre-recovery, getting wasted. Not only is it a better use of your time, it’s an excellent way to meet others who share your interests.

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Reading is a more entertaining alternative for escaping reality than getting high or drunk. You can do it on your own or volunteer to read to young students or the elderly. Consider joining a book club, where you can view stories from other people’s points of views and develop relationships with fellow readers. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn your family history. Research your ancestors online to build your family tree and connect with relatives you didn’t know you had while discovering more about your heritage. Take photography classes. There are literally hundreds of hobbies to choose from.

3. Participate in Sober Activities

Instead of going clubbing or reconnecting with your old pals with drug or alcohol addictions, consider taking part in activities that keep you out and about and in good company.

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Ever wanted to further your education? Now would be the perfect time. Taking classes helps fill your spare time with subjects you’re interested in. With the countless classes you can take, homework requires a good portion of your time, as well. Get together with people from your classes to form study groups or just to hang out. There are so many things to see and do for free as well, where you can meet others with similar interests. Go to local festivals in the summertime. Google nearby towns for ideas on where to go and what to see. Explore historical sites. Visit art museums. The options are endless.

Featured photo credit: Credit: Andrew Krasnoyarsk/Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Dan Gellman

Director of Marketing for High Focus Centers

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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