On your journey to addiction recovery, those drinking friends have to become a thing of the past. You need to sever all ties with those pals who really have nothing to offer the newly clean and sober you. To continue to see them will make it next to impossible for you to stay sober after addiction treatment. You have already gone through what may have been the most difficult time of your life, i.e. detox treatment and now, in recovery, and you can’t just throw that away.
Break all ties cleanly and quickly. If you feel you must, you can tell them by phone why you won’t see them anymore. You are clean, sober, and determined to stay that way. This may encourage one or more of them to also quit, but don’t count on it. In fact, be prepared for the excuses and enticements to get back into the drinking groove. Politely but firmly decline and end the call. You’ve made your point. You don’t owe them anything else.
Find new and sober friends. As mentioned earlier, start with your allies at your support group. But branch out from there. Here are some suggestions on where/how to find clean and sober friends:
People you interact with at work are a great choice. You see them regularly and have reason to be in situations that are productive and healthy. You aren’t likely to want to jeopardize your job by engaging in self-destructive behavior but do seek out people who you know don’t drink.
It does not necessarily mean a blind date, although it could. Family members can serve as a great resource for introductions to people who may have the same interests or hobbies or would like to share recreational and/or cultural opportunities. It’s worth a try. Besides, you won’t know if you don’t give it a chance.
Former College or School Friends
Look up some of your former college, high school, or school friends or individuals whom you admired. Many are members of the social network Facebook or My Space, and it’s easy to connect with them and see what they’re doing now. Interact via the Internet for a while to ensure they’re the kind of individual you want to spend time with. If personal emails get into talk of drinking and doing drugs, discontinue contact. But if the individual seems receptive to further communication and getting together, and they don’t appear to be drinkers, by all means, try to set something up.
Get a pair of hiking boots, buy a parasail, skis, boogie board, something. If you like to play basketball, find a group that gets together to do that.
Physical exercise is a terrific way to release the body’s natural endorphins – making you feel good physically and emotionally. When your body’s juices are flowing, and your cardio’s going great, you just naturally start to think of things in a more positive light. Join a gym, work out at home, and even take a 30-minute brisk walk around the subdivision or in a park or trail near your home. Go to the beach and swim, hike along the water, kayak, canoe, sail, and fish. There is a lot to do outdoors year-round – and you’ll find many new friends in the process.
Like making model airplanes or cars? How about model train collecting? Buy and sell things for your collection on eBay. Or get into cleaning out your trash and treasures by making a little profit selling them on eBay. Finding a hobby and others who engage in the same hobby can lead to some great and constructive friendships.