Relationships in Recovery Can Come With A Cost
Individuals who enter rehab typically experience a similar pattern. An addict will start in detox – miserable, uncomfortable, and withdrawn. Most people in this stage are less than thrilled to be sobering up, and the last thing they want is to socialize with others. Getting them to talk to therapists and doctors is a task within itself.
As the burden of detox starts to wane, people start coming out of their shell and begin talking to their peers. They begin to build relationships in recovery; they realize that they are not alone in their efforts to get sober and that their fellow addicts can be a great support system for sobriety.
While fellow addicts in recovery can be a great support system, they can also be a person’s downfall. As people who are freshly out of the world of addiction, in rehab, they are incredibly vulnerable. All it takes is one bad seed to convince a bunch of people to go down with them.
A Story of Relationships in Recovery Gone Sour
In the summer of 2015, there were four girls who attended a rehab facility in South Florida. They did not know each other prior to a meeting in treatment but had one thing in common, and that was an addiction. Three of the girls came to rehab because they knew they needed it to survive. The fourth, Linsey, was only there because her court order mandated so. She was young and didn’t really care to be there. Getting high when she got out was still on her to-do list.
Turned out that Linsey didn’t even want to wait until she got out. While everyone else in treatment was working hard to learn how to live his or her life sober, she continued to glorify her drug use. During down time, she concocted a plan to leave her residential treatment facility at night and abuse drugs.
Linsey kept telling the other three girls about her plan until two of them finally caved. One night, they waited until midnight to sneak past security and off campus. They had no money on them and no cell phones. Linsey’s plan was to go to a bar and meet guys until they found one who had drugs.
One Person With Bad Intentions Can Ruin it for Everyone
They walked to Wendy’s parking lot before chatting with two shady characters that offered them drugs in exchange for sexual favors. Linsey consented, and when the other two declined, the men took advantage of them. Too distraught to do anything about it at the moment, they all began to do heroin at the men’s hotel room. One of the girls overdosed and had to go to the hospital. The other two showed up back at their rehab the next morning. Linsey showed no remorse. As a rape victim, the girl was traumatized and subsequently terrified of her future. The third was still in the hospital, but she would survive.
In this story, we can’t say for sure if the girls would have gone out without Linsey’s prompting, but chances are high that they would have stayed put in rehab and avoided this enormous setback. Their loved ones would have been spared the horror of knowing one of their girls was raped and the other was in the hospital. There was just no need for any of this to occur.
Choosing Your Relationships in Recovery Wisely
Stories like these that should leave a lasting impression for people who are in recovery and are out meeting new people. Whether in rehab, a sober living home, or in the “real” world, there are plenty of people in the world with negative intentions. They will not hesitate to bring people down with them. As a matter of fact, they often look for people to relapse with so that they don’t feel as badly about themselves.
In early recovery people are vulnerable. Friendships are made fast, and it is important to be cautious. This isn’t to say friendship should be avoided because it is important to be surrounded by good people in addiction recovery. The keyword is “good people.” Newly recovered addicts should be cautious about who they let in close, and be on guard for signs that the person may have alternative intentions.
This is especially true for people who tend to be kind, open, and trusting individuals. People who are the opposite unfortunately look for these people and take advantage of their open nature. In early recovery, it is, unfortunately, common for people to take advantage of other people’s time, money, cars, living situations, and anything else that will benefit them.
How to Make Friends and Keep Sobriety Safe
When it comes to relationships in recovery, just proceed with caution. Keep a healthy guard up, and listen to the advice of others who have been there before you. Make sure to have a strong sober support network, which should include a therapist, a sponsor, and other people with long-term recovery.
Eventually, the right friends will surface and they’ll become a wonderful part of your sober network as well.