Social connection is one of the most important aspects of addiction recovery. Whether you’re spending time with friends, family, or people from your sober network, social connection is one of the best ways to reduce stress, improve your mood, and feel a greater sense of meaning in life. Social connection makes you feel like you’re better equipped to deal with life’s problems and it gives you a greater sense of accountability. Your sobriety isn’t just about you. It’s also about being honest and present with the people you care about. However, friendships don’t happen automatically. We make acquaintances without much effort, but rue friendship takes work. Here are some tips for creating deeper, more meaningful friendships.
Turning an acquaintance into a friend requires consistent connection and time spent together. Familiarity is increased by regular contact. This is why it’s so easy to make friends at school where you see the same people every day. As an adult, you have to be more proactive. Reach out and ask people if they want to get together, even if it’s just for coffee. Make a point of making regular contact, even if it’s just a simple text or phone call a few times a week.
Show an Interest
The biggest difference between an acquaintance and a friend is that friends have a greater stake in each other’s wellbeing. Ask how your friends are doing and listen to what they say. Notice if something seems to be wrong and ask how you can help. Try to understand what’s important to them and demonstrate your concern, perhaps by checking in on a problem or offering advice.
Perhaps the truest mark of friendship is that friends are willing to open up to each other. This could mean a greater willingness to get vulnerable and share something embarrassing or being honest about something difficult. For example, if you’re worried about an acquaintance’s drinking, you might keep it to yourself. When you are feeling concerned about your best friend’s drinking, however, chances are that you will practice honesty and vulnerability through communicating your concerns. Opening up in situations like these are crucial as addiction can be fatal. At the end of the day, your willingness to open up and be honest with a friend shows how much you truly care. Although this can be uncomfortable, it will strengthen your bond in the long run.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about friendships is that you can’t force them. Cultivating friendships takes time, patience, and compatibility. In general, the more you reach out to others, listen, and are willing to be open, the greater your chances are of having good friends. At Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon, we understand the importance of supportive relationships in addiction recovery. Part of our unique treatment program is helping men build a sense of connection and teamwork towards strengthening their sober support network. Call us today to learn more at (503) 850-2474