Recovery is not something that you should do by yourself. Having a strong recovery support group will be a key factor in having a successful recovery. Friends can help you stay focused on your treatments, encourage you during difficult times and hold you accountable to your goals. While having supportive friends is important, it is equally important to avoid developing friendships with people who are likely to impede your recovery process. Those who encourage you to push the boundaries, skip important parts of treatment or begin using again can make your recovery process more difficult and even lead to a relapse.

Why Are Sober Friends So Important?

Finding sober friends that are supportive of your recovery process can be vital. There will be times in your recovery when you wonder if it is worth it to continue, or when you feel an irresistible craving for the substance you are recovering from. In times like these, having someone to talk to about how you feel can be very helpful. While you may not feel like continuing, sober friends can help you refocus on your goals and on how far you’ve come. By developing these friendships, you are helping yourself be successful in your recovery.

The best sober friendships tend to be with people who have successfully recovered from an addiction or are otherwise not currently addicted to drugs or alcohol. Those who have never had an addiction before can provide an alternative point of view on the recovery process and may be more engaged with learning about how to help you, as their experience with recovery will be tied to your own recovery instead of being based off a previous experience that may not be similar to your own situation. Those who have successfully recovered from addiction can offer perspective and support based on their own experiences. They will understand many aspects of your recovery better than anyone else ever could.

Assessing Past Friendships

Just as good friendships can be crucial to promoting your recovery, negative friendships can greatly hinder your recovery. You may need to assess past friendships and ask yourself if these friendships will help or harm you during your recovery. While it can be difficult to break off previous friendships, having a friendship with someone who will encourage you to relapse can be very harmful to your recovery. It is almost impossible to have a partial break in relationships with previous friends. If you decide that a friendship may harm your recovery, partially breaking from that friendship will almost definitely result in that friendship and its negative effects are continuing. You may have to completely eliminate spending time with and communicating with people who could be toxic to your recovery process.

Meeting New Sober Friends

Making sober friends may be difficult for some people, depending on the types of friends they had prior to starting recovery. Many who are recovering previously made new friends in settings like bars or nightclubs — places that should be avoided during recovery. This can make it more difficult for people who are recovering to make new friends than those who already had a social group with many sober friends.

Some resources or potential ways of finding new sober friends include:

  • 12-Step Meetings: 12-step meetings are not just helpful for the recovery techniques that they teach, but are also very helpful as addiction recovery support groups. These meetings provide a way to meet and get to know people who are sober.
  • Classes & Clubs: Most communities have a variety of clubs or classes that you can get involved with. Clubs or classes provide a way to meet new people, learn a new skill or hobby and interact with individuals outside of recovery programs.
  • Community Events: One way to meet a variety of newer people who are participating members of your community is to be involved in community events. These events can be as effective as other relapse prevention activities at keeping you sober and provide a way to meet more people while participating in fun, sober activities.
  • Social Media: Social media can provide a way to make new sober friends. Participating in online sobriety support groups and making new sober friends online can be effective ways of expanding your social network with healthy friendships.

Sober Friends Provide Recovery Support to Prevent Relapse

Relapse prevention is an important part of any recovery program. Having strong peer support in addiction recovery can provide you with a group of people who care about you and are invested in your success throughout the recovery process. It will be important to find friends you can be open about your struggles and feelings with and who will be there for you when you need them. By building a strong support group, your chances of successfully recovering from addiction will be much greater.

If you want to learn more about how to begin the path to recovery, The Recovery Village is here to help. Our compassionate and understanding team has a proven record of helping those living with addiction and can give you the tools you need to succeed. Reach out to one of our caring staff to learn more about how you can start your path to recovery today.  

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Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more

Kelly, Sharon M., et al. “The Relationship of Social Support to Tr[…]Assessment Inventory.” Substance Abuse, January 2011. Accessed August 16, 2019.

Brooks, Alyssa T., et al. “A Qualitative Exploration of Social Supp[…]isorder and Recovery.” Addictive Behavior Reports, August 2017. Accessed August 16, 2019.

Monico, Nicolle. “Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) & The 12 Steps.” Alcoholics Anonymous, July 14, 2019. Accessed August 16, 2019.

Shatter Proof. “Social Media & Sobriety.” March 16, 2019. Accessed August 16, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.