There’s a common adage in the recovery world; if you want to know who your true friends are, get clean and sober. True friends and loved ones will embrace your recovery efforts. They love and accept you, but will always encourage you as you strive to grow. At the same time, they will be patient and understanding of the bumps in the road. Those friends are few and far between, but there’s no better time than the present to purge out toxic relationships from your life and focus on finding friends who promote your health, healing and wholeness.
1. Make New Friends
Your recovery comes first. Unfortunately, some of your friends and loved ones may not be prepared to embark on that path. If they are still actively using, and are urging you to join them, you must draw the line. It is painful to cut ties, but think of it like this; perhaps someday, the life you build in recovery will inspire them to finally follow. Recovery is about building a clean, happy lifestyle, so surround yourself with the right people. Make new friends when you join a religious or civic organization, volunteer for a cause you care about or reach out to people in your recovery meetings. Positive friends will empower you and embrace your progress.
2. Try New Hobbies
More free time is just one of the many glorious perks of recovery. Explore new hobbies. I recommend yoga, tai chi or another fitness activity to strengthen your body and mind. Peace can seem unattainable during the tumultuous early stretch of recovery, but staying active both physically and mentally will help gain steady ground. You can also take up painting, gardening or baking and adopt a pet, go back to school or join a civic organization. The possibilities are endless. All the while, by seeking new positive experiences, you’ll encounter others who may make wonderful friends.
3. Set Boundaries
Unfinished business and muddy terms in toxic relationships are a certain way to stumble into recovery quicksand. If you know that a person is poisoning your recovery efforts, you need to draw the line. You need to make it known to both them and yourself. You need strict boundaries; the less confusion in your life, the easier it will be to navigate towards recovery. If they deplete you far more than they complete you, cut the cord. If their doubts drain you, it’s time to simply let go. It will be hard, but I promise you that recovery will save your life and open up so many doors to wholesome happiness.
4. Improve Your Self-Esteem
If you feel ashamed and worthless, you will instinctively surround yourself with others that feed those emotions. It’s a vicious cycle, but it is by no means unbeatable. Many of the tools we use for recovery will also bolster your self-esteem and heal emotional wounds. As you discover just how much there is to love about yourself, you will find that the right people will be drawn to you.
5. Stay Committed to Your Recovery Plan
Recovery will gain you so much more joy, health and satisfaction; the sacrifices you make to accomplish this will reward you tenfold. So please focus on this to muster the courage to break free from those who drag you down. As you attend meetings, surround yourself with uplifting people, work with your therapist and untangle pent-up emotions, you will foster the strength and positivity needed to fuel your recovery. This momentum will ease the the pain of leaving toxic relationships and remind you that it will all be worth it.