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How Can I Build Healthy Relationships in Recovery?

Relationships are an essential part of life. We all need human interaction. Friends and family members are great to have around during happy times, and especially during tough times.

Knowing the value of positive relationships, it is important to learn how to identify them. How do you build healthy relationships, and what makes some healthy and others unhealthy? This can be determined by how you feel and behave and whether they support and encourage positive aspects of your life.

If you are or have struggled with substance abuse, likely some, if not most, of your relationships during that time were not healthy. Typically, those battling addiction surround themselves with others living similar lifestyles. As a result, your social circle will likely change as you enter treatment and progress through recovery.

Impact of Others

The company you keep can have a huge impact on you. Those around you can be more influential than you might think. For instance, spending time with people who prioritize healthy eating makes you more likely to follow a healthy diet. You tend to conform to similar interests and activities. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.

When it comes to addiction, your behavior can often be reinforced by those you spend time with. Individuals that use substances tend to hang around others that also use substances. This can be for a variety of reasons. This could be out of convenience. Accessing substances may be easier in specific environments. Individuals that use substances may also spend time together because there is a lack of judgment felt when others around them are engaging in the same behaviors.

As you enter treatment and begin your journey to recovery, you will find that many, if not all, of the individuals you used to spend time with will fall off. Without drugs or alcohol, you may find that you don’t have much in common with these people. You will now be interacting with others who may be going through treatment or are already in recovery.

Connecting During Treatment

Building relationships in treatment can create a sense of community and reassure you that you are not alone. You are surrounded by others who are going through the same process and can likely share your perspective. Health and wellness groups are often held in a group setting, helping to facilitate new friendships and connections during treatment. Many programs will include skill development specifically to assist you in building and repairing relationships.

Equally important as connecting with others during treatment is connecting with yourself. This bond could even be considered to be the most important. It can be common to lose touch with yourself as a result of addiction. You may forget who you are and become very disconnected from the things and people who really matter. Treatment is an excellent time to re-establish your internal connection and build new habits of checking in with yourself regularly.

Connecting in Recovery

Some relationships may carry over from treatment to recovery as a result of the bonds created with peers during the experience. You will also begin to form new relationships following treatment. These relationships are very important. As mentioned previously, those you spend your time with can have a huge impact on your life.

Choosing your friends and connections wisely is more important than ever. Aim to identify like-minded people. This can be done by attending recovery meetings and continuing to remain involved in programs as an alumnus.

This is often a time for rebuilding broken relationships that may have been damaged due to your addiction. Many times, bonds with close friends and family members become strained due to your behavior while using drugs or alcohol. It is important to take steps to reconnect with those who care about you and support your recovery, as they can help you remain on track and encouraged.

Facilities, such as Enlightened Solutions, often elect to involve friends and family members in the treatment and recovery process. Studies show major advantages to having a strong support system following treatment. As mentioned by Henning Pettersen, Anne Landheim, Ivar Skeie, Stian Biong, Morten Brodahl, Jeppe Oute, and Larry Davidson in their article, “How Social Relationships Influence Substance Use Disorder Recovery: A Collaborative Narrative Study,” “[Substance use disorder] treatment providers should involve clients’ networks to a greater extent when designing new treatment approaches. They should invite significant others, family, and friends of the client to treatment programs in the interest of promoting and prolonging positive relationships relevant to establishing sobriety.”

This supports the value of positive relationships in recovery. By attending regular meetings and staying involved, you can continue to build your support network following treatment and throughout recovery.

Building relationships is not always easy. In fact, the older you get the more difficult it seems to become. Addiction can cause you to damage positive relationships and develop negative ones. When you make the decision to enter treatment, your social circle is bound to change. Enlightened Solutions offers group therapy and classes to encourage connectedness and facilitate group learning and healing. Many activities involve learning communication skills, conflict resolution, and other abilities that will help you build new healthy relationships after treatment and throughout recovery. Our health and wellness groups are always held in a group setting, as we find great value in creating a sense of community and learning new things as a team. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, make the decision to seek help today. Call Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-LIVE.

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