sober new friendsRecovery is a time of new beginnings. For many people, that includes reevaluating old friendships and cutting ties with anyone who isn’t supportive of their newfound sobriety. Ending toxic relationships can be painful, but you’re not destined to be alone forever. Here, we share some tips to help you make new friends who share your commitment to a wellness-focused lifestyle.

Get Over Your Fear of Rejection by Playing to Your Strengths

Fear of rejection is the most common reason adults have trouble making new friends. When you’re in recovery, this fear can be amplified by your own anxiety and lingering feelings of guilt or shame regarding your past addiction-related behavior.

Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has insecurities. Even people who’ve never struggled with substance abuse or mental health issues find it hard to make friends as an adult, so you’re certainly not alone in your frustration. That being said, you need to keep your focus on your positive attributes.

What do you have to offer a new friend? Are you known for your sense of humor or adventurous nature? Are you always willing to lend a hand when someone needs a favor? Are you the friend who never forgets a birthday? Play to your strengths as you expand your social circle.

Put Yourself Out There

When you’re a kid, making friends is easier because you’re near people your own age at school. As an adult, the only people you probably see on a regular basis are your coworkers and your family members. To make new friends, you need to find additional opportunities to meet people who share similar interests.

If you’re in a 12-Step group, you’ve already found one great opportunity to make new friends. Other ideas to consider include:

  • Sign up for a Bible study group at your place of worship.
  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit organization.
  • Take a fitness class at the local gym.
  • Join a city rec sports team.
  • Try out for a community theater production—or sign up to help out backstage.
  • Join your public library’s book club.

Say “Yes” to New Experiences

While you shouldn’t socialize in ways that would put your recovery at risk, it’s good to step outside your comfort zone once in a while. Accepting social invitations shows others that you’re open to expanding your circle of friends. If you turn down too many invitations, people will be less likely to invite you to events in the future.

Visiting new restaurants, trying new activities, and spending time with people you wouldn’t normally socialize with can help you better identify what you want your life in recovery to look like. If you make new friends in the process, that’s an added bonus!

Build on Existing Relationships

Casual acquaintances can often become close friends when given a bit of encouragement, and your current close friends may know people that you’d hit it off with. Build on these existing relationships by hosting a game night, movie night, potluck, backyard barbeque, or another social event that provides an opportunity to get to know each other in a low-pressure setting.

Hosting your own event is a good idea in the early stages of recovery because you’ll have more control over your environment. You don’t need to worry about being pressured to drink or running into someone you used to use with.

Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

Studies suggest that the typical adult has three to five close friends. While the “right” number of friends depends on your personal views towards socializing, keep in mind that you don’t need a huge social circle to be happy.

As an adult, it’s much better to have strong relationships with a handful of people you trust than to have hundreds of casual friends who aren’t invested in your success. Be patient with yourself and let your new friendships develop organically over time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out for Help When You’re Struggling

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Loneliness is a common relapse trigger, so we encourage you to reach out to the team at St. Joseph Institute for Addiction if you’re having trouble making new friends in recovery. We provide extensive relapse prevention and continuing care services for graduates of our Pennsylvania residential addiction treatment center—focusing on building a strong connection to the recovery community and creating the foundation for a life free from the burdens of substance abuse. We’re here to provide the support and encouragement you need to face the challenges of recovery with confidence.

Looking for addiction treatment near Altoona, PA? To learn more about SJI Pennsylvania addiction rehab, and our programs, please contact us at (888) 352-3297.