Having a strong sober network is one of the most important parts of recovery. A sober network provides extra emotional backing and resources when things are tough, as fellow recovering addicts and/or alcoholics tend to understand what you are going through. Maintaining a sober network also provides an extra layer of accountability that can help you stay on track even when your motivation is lacking. Making sober friends can be challenging, especially in the beginning. Here are some tips for finding like-minded people to spend time with once you get sober.
Go to meetings.
An obvious place to start is by attending recovery meetings regularly. 12-step meetings, like AA or NA, are by far the most common but you can also check out other kinds of self-help groups such as SMART Recovery and LifeRing. Although these aren’t as abundant as 12-step meetings, they are fairly popular and they have many online meetings as well. Keep in mind that 12-step meetings vary quite a bit, so it’s a good idea to try several meetings and see which ones suit you best. From there, it shouldn’t be hard to make some sober friends, provided you attend consistently and make an effort to reach out.
Explore a New Hobby or Interest
While meeting friends through a hobby doesn’t ensure your friends will be sober, it’s at least a way to connect over something positive. Countless opportunities exist to explore and increase involvement in a new hobby or interest. Taking a class is a great way to see the same people regularly and establish familiar faces, increasing approachability. Consider attending a retreat and/or teacher training, if you enjoy activities such as meditation, yoga, and fitness, where you’ll meet other people who share your passions. Get to know people in your area using apps like meetup.com, where you can find new and established groups related to your interests. An especially good strategy for men is to join a recreational sports team. Research suggests that participating in team sports is the form of exercise that is best for boosting mental health.
Volunteering is great for recovery for a number of reasons. First, you gain an opportunity to meet like-minded and interesting people. If you already attend 12-step meetings, you can start by getting more involved there. Since there’s not much interaction during formal meetings, engaging in service work can increase your contact with other members. However, volunteering for any cause you care about will help you make friends, especially if you volunteer regularly. Again, there’s no guarantee that your new friends will be sober but you will be able to connect over something positive.
Looking for Support?
Recovery from addiction isn’t just about abstinence from drugs and alcohol; it’s about living a more fulfilling life. Making the right kind of friends can strengthen your recovery by providing a sense of connection and purpose. At Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon, our unique treatment program fosters a sense of belonging and teamwork among our clients. To learn more about our approach to recovery, call us today at (503) 850-2474