Before treatment, the thought of socializing without drugs or alcohol just wasn’t appealing. Now, you feel stronger after going through your treatment program, and you have discovered that life has more meaning when you can remember what you talked about with your friends the next day. As you continue making efforts to leave your addictions in the past, use these strategies to rebuild your social network as you get more comfortable with your new sober lifestyle.
Ditch the Old Haunts
Sure, you may have memories at that old bar or have enjoyed years of good times with your friends. Yet, you do not want to take a walk down memory lane when you are still in the early part of your sobriety. In fact, you may find that it is best to never go some places again. While it might seem like a logical step to call up your old best friend, the truth is that being around other people who use drugs or alcohol is a major risk factor for relapse. It might hurt to let some people or places go, but it is for the best. Instead of looking at this like a loss, look at this time as an opportunity to discover new places to go that are filled with people who can have fun without using substances.
Nurture Your New Interests
Finding new friends is easier when you feel like you have something to share. In treatment, you got a chance to find activities to fill your time. You can also look back on the past to remember things that you used to enjoy before you got caught up in the downward spiral of addiction. Before you jump into the social world, give yourself some time to explore your favorite hobbies. Then, take a class or join a group that enables you to meet others who share your interest. Whether you like comics or gardening, being around other people who like the same things helps create an instant connection that motivates you to continue sober activities.
Take Baby Steps
After feeling secluded for so long, it is tempting to go all out and search for the biggest party you can find. However, it is often best to begin with small steps such as developing a new friendship with a sober companion. As you learn how to interact with the people while you are sober, you can begin to add more friends until you are comfortable socializing in a larger group.
Find a Sober Community
Sober living homes and communities are filled with people who know exactly what you are going through. While the majority of the people you meet there have dealt with addiction, you will also encounter people who are experienced in helping people avoid relapse. In a sober living community, avoiding drugs and alcohol is just a normal part of the lifestyle. In fact, being able to find someone to shoot a late night game of pool without the temptation of throwing in drinks is refreshing. With this type of support, you never have to worry about explaining your situation since everyone already understands.
Cultivating a sober social life takes a little time, but the effort is worth it when you always know that you have someone to lean on for fun and support. As you begin to make new friends, remember that sobriety is always your main goal. By using these strategies you will soon be on your way toward building a new lifestyle that supports your health and happiness while preventing relapse.