As you venture out into the world after treatment, the relationships you create with other people will look different than they did prior to your recovery. Whether you are seeking out friends or a romantic partner, you will need to be aware of your needs as they relate to recovery. It will take conscious effort to form relationships that are conducive to your continued sobriety. These relationships will take an extra level of communication and effort. That investment can make those relationships a fulfilling and rewarding aspect of your recovery.

Choosing the Right People

The company we keep contributes to the people we become. With any endeavor, having the proper support can make or break our goals. This is especially important to keep in mind during recovery. Having supportive people in your corner can encourage you during difficult times. They can keep you on the right path even when you start to stray. These people can celebrate your victories and help you overcome obstacles that might otherwise feel impossible when you are alone.

On the other hand, having the wrong people around you can have the opposite effect. People who are negative or who are not actively rooting for your recovery can slow you down or even inhibit you from reaching your goals. This makes surrounding yourself with people who understand the importance of recovery and the work involved especially important. Even if they have never been through that experience, they should be able to recognize the hard work you have put in up until this point and respect the sacrifices you have made to better your life. 

This appreciation of your perseverance and acknowledgment of the work that still needs to be done will equip someone to be an effective advocate for your success. Being a friend to someone in recovery might also require compromises. It is important for two people to share the same vision for the future of their relationship, especially when it comes to romantic partnerships, and this means acknowledging which compromises are acceptable. 

For example, if someone typically uses substances, they will need to forgo that substance use while spending time with someone in recovery. If someone is unwilling to adopt this perspective and make these compromises, they are not a good person to have beside you in recovery. Fortunately, there are many people who are more than willing to be part of your life, even if it means adapting their behavior and being open to learning.

Setting Boundaries and Expectations

When reentering the social scene after treatment, it is important to be clear about your expectations. While you are not required to explicitly disclose anything to others, it is crucial to establish boundaries early on. Discussing your need for all parties to be sober and expressing your interest in pursuing activities that do not involve substances will quickly eliminate ambiguity. Being clear about your expectations will also serve as a barrier against those who would not respect your needs.

In some cases, you might find it best to be completely candid about your substance use history and your recovery. At other times you might prefer to simply express your boundaries regarding substances without delving into the reasons. Many people choose not to use substances even if they are not in recovery, and you do not always need to disclose that information immediately if you are not comfortable with it. 

While this is your personal decision, being in recovery from substance abuse is not something to be ashamed of. It is not something you should avoid disclosing because of fear of rejection. This is part of you, and your decision to change your life and pursue recovery should be celebrated. Anyone who responds negatively because you shared that you are in recovery is not someone you need in your life. Furthermore, being open and honest provides a solid foundation for relationships. This will also make it easier for everyone to be on the same page. Being upfront allows you to advocate for yourself more effectively.

Prioritizing Recovery in Your Relationships

It is exciting to start reclaiming your life after addiction. You will be exposed to many new opportunities that may have once seemed so far out of reach. As you delve into these opportunities, including new relationships, you must still keep your recovery at the forefront of your mind. You have invested significant time and effort into recovering. Remaining vigilant can help you avoid a lapse in judgment derailing that progress. Finding people who are equally committed to your recovery is paramount. Being open about your goals allows others to support you in them. Communicating clearly about the things you need to do to safeguard your recovery makes those things a priority. 

Recovery is a journey, and having the right people to share that journey with you can make all the difference. We all need support and encouragement, especially as we are working to overcome something as challenging as addiction. Choosing relationships to invest in after recovery is a deliberate process but also an exciting opportunity. This is something that a licensed professional can help you navigate. At Family-Centered Services, we can help with this and other concerns in early recovery. Our comprehensive array of services can guide you through every step of the recovery process, starting at the intervention stage and continuing past discharge. If you are eager to rebuild your life after addiction, call (509) 991-5822 today.