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New to Rehab: The Value of Your Friends in Recovery

New to Rehab: The Value of Your Friends in Recovery

Sober friendships and social ties can be especially important during the early recovery period

Sometimes, when people become addicted to drugs or alcohol, they focus on relationships with other substance users and let their relationships with sober friends fade away. Some people are fortunate to have sober friends who maintain a relationship through the addiction period and who are supportive of the recovery journey. It is common, however, for people in recovery from Clonazepam addiction to need to build new friendships and social ties.

Friendships Before and During Rehab

Friends can be helpful at every stage of the recovery process. Sometimes they play a role in getting people who suffer from addiction to recognize their situation and need for treatment. They can participate in formal interventions or can be influential in other ways. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that enticements or sanctions from others can significantly increase the rate at which people enter and stay in treatment.

During rehab, people often make new friends. These friendships can be very deep, because people are sharing intense common experiences. Rehab is often a time when pretenses are stripped away and people get to know each other quickly, at more than a superficial level. There can be great value in supporting each other through the process, but it is wise for people to be aware that not everyone has the same level of motivation to recover and that it is possible for friends made during rehab to provide temptation as well as support.

The degree to which outside friendships can be maintained during rehab depends on the regulations and details of the treatment program. It is obviously easier to maintain friendships during a low-intensity outpatient program than during a residential stay. Residential programs vary as to how much communication with those outside the program is allowed or encouraged. Often, communication is limited, especially in the beginning, to encourage full focus on the goals of recovery. Programs that restrict phone or computer usage may allow mail. It can be helpful for people in rehab to receive encouraging messages from friends that build hope and confidence.

Friendships in Early Recovery

The early recovery period, immediately after treatment, is a time when friendships and social ties are especially important. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lists four dimensions of a life in recovery. These are health, home, purpose, and community. They define community as social networks and relationships that provide hope, love, support and friendship.

Addiction treatment professionals sometimes speak of the addiction recovery resources people have at their disposal as “recovery capital.”  A 2008 article in the journal Counselor notes that resources include capital that is personal, social, community-based, and cultural. Social capital includes relationships that are supportive of recovery, including with people in recovery themselves. It also includes access to sober leisure activities and connections to social institutions like schools, churches, workplaces, and community organizations.

Building a Support Network

It is wise to build a broad support network. Often, family members play a significant support role. Sober friends both in and out of the recovery community are helpful, as are mentors, spiritual advisors and therapists.

Patience and persistence may be needed when forming new social ties. Addiction support groups are obvious places to meet new people. New friendships can also be formed from shared interests and activities, such as clubs or sports teams.

Although they don’t replace in-person friendships, online relationships can also be part of an individual’s social recovery capital. A 2014 article in The Atlantic quotes people in recovery who’ve posted their progress on Facebook. They note that the positive feedback provides a sense of caring and accountability. It can also provide hope to others in recovery or active addiction.

Friends can help people in recovery in numerous ways. They can provide logistical support, such as childcare or rides to support group meetings. They can provide alternative recreational activities or a listening ear when temptation strikes. They can hold their friends accountable for behaviors and attitudes.

It is likely that different friends will play different roles. Sometimes friends want to be helpful but don’t know how. At times it may be necessary to be direct in asking for help. It is also important to remember that friendship is a two-way street. Building relationships requires developing and expressing interest in what matters to others.

We Can Help You Find Your Path

If you are addicted to Clonazepam or other substance and ready to begin a recovery journey, we can help you find your path. Our toll-free helpline is available 24 hours a day and is staffed with caring and knowledgeable consultants who can help you identify your treatment options and find the one that is best for you. They can even check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. Your new life is waiting. Why not call now?