Making it through addiction treatment is undoubtedly challenging. Making it through the recovery process can prove to be an even harder. The potential for relapse is very real, and doing what can be done to avoid it is crucial for a successful recovery.
While recovery might sound easy enough, this isn’t usually the case. Sobriety presents an entirely new life, which is one that can be confusing and difficult to navigate. It’s easy to want to turn to what’s familiar, which is why many people in recovery often turn to their old friends for support.
Here’s where things can get tricky during the recovery process. Surrounding one’s self with the people that used to be a part of their addiction (whether actively or not) is easy to do, yet can prove to be detrimental when it comes to lasting recovery.
Why Getting Rid of Bad Friends is Crucial for Addiction Recovery
The people we surround ourselves have a direct influence on our lives. Surround yourself with good influences, and you’re bound to experience a more positive life. Surround yourself with bad influences, and you’re quickly going to notice that misery loves company.
Peer pressure is powerful, and during the recovery process it can prove to be even more so. Recovery is a very delicate time in the life of an addict, which is why it’s crucial that they stay away from the old friends they hung out with when they were using. Whether it’s the buddy from the bar or your “best” friend, getting rid of these people is totally necessary if someone is serious about staying sober.
Some other reasons to get rid of old friends and toxic people during recovery include:
- Giving in To Temptation
Hanging around the people you once used with can make it extremely tempting to want to use again. Memories of happier times may come up, making the temptation to use drugs or alcohol even stronger. Whether it’s the temptation you feel by being around them, or them trying to convince you your life was better when you were using, you can be sure that hanging out with the “friends” you used to use with is a surefire trigger for relapse.
- Putting Yourself in a High-Risk Situation
Hanging out with old friends can put you in high-risk situations that make you want to drink or use drugs. As much as you might want to spend time with the people you used to hang out with, it’s very probable you could be putting yourself into a situation where there is drugs or alcohol involved. And if you’re surrounded by people using, it makes it a whole lot easier to give in and use as well.
- The Need for a Strong Support System
There is nothing more important than having a strong support system during the recovery process. If you don’t have the support you need, relapse is almost guaranteed. You can almost bet on the fact that your old friends cannot provide the support you need. The people that can offer you the foundation you need to successfully make it through recovery are the ones that have your best interest at heart. And, as much as you think the old friends from your past might care about you, it’s really the friends and family members who are sober and love YOU (not the addict) that are who you need for support.
As a recovering addict, the need to surround yourself with positive people during recovery is vital. It can be easy to think your old friends have your best interest at heart, but, unfortunately, this isn’t the case at all. And as comforting as it may seem to be around them when you’re feeling down, they’re only going to continue to take you further down with them.
Being Cautious of Who You Spend Time with During Recovery
You are the single most important person during your time of recovery. Without honoring yourself and your sobriety, it can become very easy to slip into old patterns. The recovery process is a time for you to do just that…recover. And when you spend time with old friends, recovering from addiction can prove to be even more difficult than it already is.
When you’re cautious about who you spend time with, it’s easier to control certain triggers that may come up. While seeing someone from your past might seem like a good idea, the potential for relapse becomes much greater if they’re someone you formerly used with.
If someone truly cares about you, they’ll understand your need to distance yourself from them during this time. A true friend will support you in anything you need while you’re in recovery, including spending time away from them. It’s important you put yourself first and realize that the “friends” from your recent past aren’t truly friends at all.
You deserve to be free from addiction, which often means freeing yourself from those that brought you down. Be patient with yourself, and know that by getting rid of old friends you’re taking the steps necessary towards lasting freedom.