If you are serious about overcoming an addiction, you will have to make relational changes. It can be challenging to develop new positive relationships as you become sober. Of course, there is also the possibility that you have destroyed some relationships with friends and family because of your addiction. You will need to determine which relationships are worth salvaging, and why, and which people to cut off completely.
It doesn’t matter who you are, or how successful you are: everyone needs positive relationships. These relationships are even more important for those who are trying to stay positive and recover from their past addictions. Here are some reasons why positive relationships are integral to overcoming addictions of all kinds.
A Source of Stability and Empathy
The right support network can finally make you feel as though your life is more stable because of your sobriety. Often, addicts have led a chaotic life, and are unsure of how to establish a foundation to build on. Many addicts may have had friendships based on addiction, and these friendships may have been toxic marred with manipulation and mistrust.
The right relationships can make a former addict feel like they finally have a stable friendship with someone who isn’t trying to cheat them somehow. They can also prove to be empathetic to your situation, rather than judgmental or negative. These positive relationships can help you maintain the courage to stay sober.
Positive Forces That Help You Understand the Past
A positive relationship can also inform you of why your past relationships were toxic. For example, a true friend can help explain to you that you were hanging out with people that didn’t have your best interests in mind, and give you a new perspective regarding who you were associating with, and why. You may have experienced trauma that led you to self-medicate, and a positive relationship can help you understand that you must cope with this trauma in a different way.
If you understand your past better, it can help you when it comes to improving your self-esteem and loving yourself. Positive relationships can also replace your negative relationships, which can help you avoid enablers that might steer you down the wrong path once more.
It isn’t a fun fact for an addict to realize that they simply cannot associate with someone anymore if they want to truly remain sober. If you are serious about recovery, it’s not as if you can simply hang around friends that use. These friends could obviously put you in a situation where your emotions might become triggered, and it could lead to a relapse. Every addict should understand that there will be people that have to be cut off completely.
If you have an addiction, you will want to find friends that can help you feel better about yourself and engage in activities that have nothing to do with the addiction. You might end up befriending many individuals at AA or NA meetings, for example. Some addicts may also end up making healthy new friends through a religious organization or a charity, as well. These new positive friends could also introduce you to new hobbies or introduce you to other people that could also end up being a positive influence on your life.
Healthy friends can help you get through the tough times in a way that doesn’t involve addiction. This is integral in case you are tempted to turn backwards. You may also have a family member who forgives the way you acted in your addiction and establish a healthy relationship with them based on compassion, reciprocity, and trust. You might feel as though you can remain sober on your own, but the truth is that authentic healthy relationships can keep you on track and accountable.
Addictions are not easy to overcome. It can be extremely difficult to examine your past relationships and realize that they were toxic. You will have to understand that you can no longer be around enablers who want you to remain addicted, and that these people must be cut off permanently.
Your healthy relationships are only part of the equation, of course. If you want to remain sober, it’s not as if your healthy relationships will prevent you from relapsing if you truly want to turn back. However, the right support system can help you feel connected and accountable regarding your recovery. Ultimately, this isn’t just about avoiding your past influencers, it’s about creating new relationships with those who have your best interests in mind.
The author also wrote, The Stages of Change Workbook.