Only Sober Friends

There is a notion that seems fairly common among people in recovery that they should only be friends with other sober people. For many people in early recovery, this can mean confronting the often overwhelming idea of completely distancing themselves from everyone currently around them.  Do we truly have to completely change all our friendships in recovery? My honest answer to that would be it depends. First, I will say I think it’s incredibly important to have friendships with other people in recovery for those who have struggle with addiction.

That said, I don’t think this always means there aren’t ever relationships in our lives that are worth holding on to. If you have people in your life now who are supportive of you and your sobriety (even if they are not completely sober themselves) certainly hang onto them IF you feel like you can have a relationship with this person and maintain firm boundaries around not drinking and using. It is also important to be willing to have a conversation with these people around what those boundaries are. This may look something like “hey I’m actually not drinking (or using X) right now and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t order a drink (or do X drug) around me”. Or maybe “I am not doing that any more but if you wanna meet up and..insert whatever sober activity you want in here..I’d love to spend time with you”.  

Setting  boundaries involves really getting honest with ourselves about what may be tempting for us. It may mean saying goodbye to all your old friendships and it may not. By really thinking about what a healthy relationship looks like and whether any of our current relationships fit that bill, we will be on the right track to establishing the support we need in recovery.