The Company You Keep Affects Recovery
If you have been dependent on an illegal substance or alcohol it is probably safe to say that the company you were keeping, and those you met along the way helped to fuel the fire of addiction.
Those who have taken the brave step of rehabilitation and are now ready to continue their life in an alcohol or drug-free manner need to make changes in the company they keep.
It is human-nature to be sociable, some are far more sociable than others. The company we keep is an important identifier to who a person feels they are and where they belong.
Close relationships, friendships and acquaintances all have a place in our lives, as do people we either do not get along with or dislike.
Company kept while dependence deepens:
As a person’s dependence upon drugs or alcohol deepens they will find that their normal social friendships shrink, but time spent with those who share the same substance interests deepen.
These deepening ‘friendships’ are a large factor for many in their continuing slide into addiction. It must be realised that if a person in recovery is to avoid relapse and a rapid return to their old way’s this company must be avoided.
There are 3 strands to future relationships for a person in recovery. We will leave the one closest to home for last.
Voluntary recovery groups:
They help a person understand such problems are not theirs alone, encouragement to regain self-respect is majored on and new friendships are formed. These factors and more help the recovering addict feel far less stigmatized.
Another important asset that should be taken full advantage of is the ‘Sponsor’ allocated to help during recovery.
These men and women have experience, they have been in those dark places you may very well find yourself in. Advice and direction will be offered along with constant comment and encouragement. They can be particularly important during early-stage recovery.
Bonding with others who are in recovery is important, but it will also benefit a person to establish new relationships. This can be achieved by joining a variety of groups in the local area that share interests, pastimes or hobbies you have enjoyed or feel you would enjoy.
Meeting new people in new surroundings can be refreshing and extremely encouraging in terms of keeping relapse at bay. After all, they do not need to know your history, and you do not need to reveal this until you are good and ready, if at all.
Friends you have distanced from:
Those friends who were close before dependence got the better of you may be open in terms of renewing relationships. It is important to understand that amends could well be in order and that such actions are not simply an apology.
Time needs to be taken over how you will approach each individual, and how thoughts and feelings are conveyed relating to your actions towards them during your addiction-fuelled days.
If some refuse this offer of renewed friendship do not let it cloud your judgement or have any serious effects on your recovery. Respect everyone’s personal feelings and hopefully the majority will respect yours.