The Company You Keep Can Make or Break Your Addiction Recovery
In addiction recovery, the people you surround yourself with makes a huge difference. Your company is arguably the single most important part of staying sober. It is for this reason that it is recommended not to date in the first year of recovery. One bad relationship can bring you right back into using drugs or alcohol.
Addiction Recovery Is Only As Successful as the People Around You
Anyone in recovery can relapse at any point, no matter how much time they have or how strong they may seem. A perfect example of this is a 26-year old male named Ryan whose drug of choice is heroin. He had nearly a year clean.
Ryan moved to South Florida after rehab and rebuilt his life. He lived in a supportive halfway house and got a job working in Marketing for a successful company. All seemed well, which was a huge sigh of relief for the countless people who watched Ryan spiral down in his addiction.
After about 6 months of being clean, Ryan began dating a girl who was also in recovery for opiates. Unlike Ryan, the girl struggled majorly with trying to stay sober and frequently found herself back in rehab and detox facilities. It was just a few months until Ryan relapsed with her. Together, they began using heroin and before long were back out on the streets – unemployed, drug addicted, and homeless.
Dragging Someone Down is Easier Than Lifting Them Up
Unfortunately, it is a lot easier to drag someone back down into addiction than it is to lift someone out of it. As someone in addiction recovery, it is essential that you make your sobriety a priority and avoid people who are into drugs or drinking. To be around such people is to put yourself directly in harm’s way. It will only be a matter of time before you fall right back into your addiction.
Cutting off people close to you who are still in addiction can seem heartless, cruel, and incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, it is a part of protecting your sobriety and making yourself a priority. By allowing people into your inner circle who don’t have good intentions, you are opening up the door for failure and relapse.
Learn How to Establish Healthy Boundaries
Creating and maintaining boundaries is a huge part of addiction recovery. You need to set boundaries with friends, family, and work. This is a time where you should be your first priority, and everything else will follow.
Relationships in recovery aren’t entirely black or white. It is understandable that some relationships will be harder to break off than others. For example, if you are in recovery for alcohol, and you have a parent who is an alcoholic, cutting them out completely may not be realistic. However, you can think of ways to keep a healthy distance, while still maintaining a relationship of sorts.
Romantic relationships are notoriously difficult in early recovery. The need for approval and partnership can overshadow healthy, normal boundaries. Codependent relationships can form, with one or both people falling right back into addiction. These situations simply aren’t healthy. It is extremely important for people in recovery to be vigilant about maintaining the healthy boundaries that can help keep them sober.
Build a Strong Sober Network
The more people you have who want to see you succeed on your side, the better. Your sober support network can help open your eyes to other people or situations that may not be in your best interest. They are people you can turn to when things get hard.
Sure, it is easy to turn back to drugs or alcohol, but staying sober and facing things in a healthy way is infinitely more worth it. As soon as you get out of rehab, it is important to start thinking about who you keep around yourself. Some ideas of people who can make up your sober support include:
- The professionals – a therapist, doctor, etc.
- A sponsor
- People with more sober time than you
- Trusted family members who have your best interest in mind
- People who are not in addiction themselves but understand what you are going through
- People with similar sober hobbies and interests as you
Eventually, seeking out other healthy people will become second nature. Until you are strong enough in your own recovery, allow yourself to receive guidance from people who have been in your position already. Make it a hard rule to stay away from people who use drugs or alcohol and those who don’t care about your recovery.
As the expression goes, if you hang out at a barbershop long enough, you’ll end up getting a haircut. The same goes for using drugs and alcohol. If you are constantly around it, you’ll eventually have a weak moment where you give in. The best way to prevent that from happening is to separate yourself from that world as much as possible.