How to Make New Friends When You’re Sober

How to Make New Friends When You’re Sober

One of the common challenges for the newly sober is finding new friends. It’s typically a good idea to distance yourself from friends who still drink and use drugs. They often won’t support your recovery and just being around them can trigger cravings. Furthermore, when people get sober, they often realize that drugs and alcohol were the only things they had in common with certain friends and they otherwise aren’t very interesting.

This can put you in a dilemma in the early days of recovery: You don’t want negative people in your life but neither do you want to be lonely. Loneliness itself is distressing and can increase your risk of anxiety and depression. Therefore, it’s helpful to try to make some new friends. If you’re the kind of outgoing person who makes friends easily, this won’t be a problem, but if you’re more introverted, guarded, or just socially awkward, the following tips may help.

Take the Initiative

First, if you want to make new friends, you may have to take the initiative. When you’re a kid, you just sort of end up being friends with people who you’re around all the time but as an adult, things are different. If you want to spend time with someone, you actually have to make a plan and follow through and you can’t always rely on the other person to get things started.

Don’t Push Too Hard

Although you may have to take the initiative, it’s also important not to push too hard. You’re basically just extending an invitation that the other person can accept or not. You can’t force someone to be your friend. These things have to happen in their own time.

Don’t Take Rejection Personally

One of the major problems people face in making new friends is fear of rejection. This is obvious when it comes to dating but less obvious when it comes to friendships. You think you would feel like an idiot if you invited someone for coffee and they just weren’t interested in spending half an hour with you. It’s important to keep in mind that rejection is not a value judgment on you, at least not an objective one.

Sometimes people are guarded and wary of new people. Sometimes they legitimately don’t have time. Sometimes they won’t like you for reasons that have nothing at all to do with who you are. The main point is that if you are willing to take the risk, you will probably end up making a few good friends. At worst, you may get a reputation as a friendly person.

Put Yourself in Favorable Situations

The other major component to making friends sober is to put yourself in situations where there are more opportunities to make friends. There are two main components to these situations: You see the same people on a regular basis and you share some common interest. Familiarity is perhaps the more important of the two because we tend to feel more comfortable around familiar people but sharing a common interest makes conversation much easier. The following are some common situations where you are more likely to make new friends.

12-Step Meetings

For people new to recovery, 12-Step meetings are typically the best places to make new friends. These groups are inclusive and there are typically several meetings available in your area. There are also specialty groups in many areas. These may be men-only, women-only, gay, and so on. Some groups may have a sort of informal niche. The point is that you can probably find a group where you fit in pretty well.

One major advantage of meeting friends at a 12-Step meeting is that they will typically share your commitment to staying sober. And since you’ve had many of the same experiences, you will be able to communicate in ways other people might not understand.

Sports Leagues

If you’re not really a talkative person, joining a recreational sports league, an exercise group, or an exercise class might be the way to go. Exercise is already a great thing to be doing in recovery, with many mental and physical health benefits, and making exercise social compounds these benefits by adding social interaction and accountability.

You’re more likely to show up to the gym or the basketball court if people are waiting for you or if your friend comes and drags you along. Playing on a team or running in a group is an easy way to become familiar with people and get to know them. Since exercise gets your endorphins going, people who exercise together are more likely to have positive associations with each other, much like sharing a good meal.

Classes

It’s easy to make friends in school because you see the same people every day for years. While you probably don’t want to go back to school, you may enjoy taking a class. It doesn’t have to be anything too serious, although many friendships have been forged by cram sessions for organic chemistry and other challenging classes.

You can take a class in cooking or tennis or art. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s something you enjoy and something that will put you in contact with the same people for a few weeks or months. Learning new skills and getting into new interests is also great for recovery overall.

Networking

Finally, make use of “weak” social ties. These are people outside your immediate circle of friends and family, who typically mostly know each other already. This is an underutilized resource when job hunting and the same is true for making new friends. Ask about the friends and acquaintances of your friends and family. If someone sounds interesting or like you might have something in common, see if you can get together.

For example, your cousin has a friend who is a year sober and likes the same music you do. Maybe you arrange to have lunch with your cousin and ask him to invite his friend too. Sometimes these work out and sometimes not but these kinds of associative connections are easy to make and follow through on with lower than average risk of major problems.

Having a strong social network is one of the keys to a strong recovery. Feeling connected, feeling a sense of belonging reduces stress and gives you a sense of purpose and accountability. Making friends is mainly a matter of being willing to make the first move and putting yourself in situations where you meet people who share your interests and values. After that, you just have to be patient and let your friendships develop.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that connection is crucial to a strong recovery. That’s why family and community are core principles in our approach to treatment. To learn more about our addiction treatment program, call us today at 833-801-5483.


How an Actor Should Take Care of Their Mental Health

How an Actor Should Take Care of Their Mental Health

Being an actor is hard work as you face rejection on a daily basis. If you go through a series of auditions and not get a single one, it can damage your self-esteem and throw you into a depression. By knowing how to take care of your mental health after an audition, you will be in good spirits for the next one. 

How to Deal With Rejection

All actors deal with rejection. Even if you are talented and gave a great audition, someone else could have given a better one. You should embrace rejection into your life if being an actor is your dream instead of dreading it. None of us wants to feel this pain and we will do whatever it takes to stop it. You should find the power in rejection. Whether or not you are an actor, not everything comes easily to everyone. After a series of rejections, you may finally get the part you have always wanted. Do not let rejection be an enemy, but embrace it instead.

How to Stay Motivated

When you act in an audition or an acting class, you must feel a rush of excitement and you feel proud of yourself. Remember through challenging moments why you decided to act. You can tell yourself that rejection is just part of the process that will take you a few steps forward towards your dream. You can also let yourself know that everyone loses. Just like your favorite sports team has probably lost the finals of an important game. They did not give up, but they pushed themselves every game. That is how you have to see yourself after every audition. 

How to Avoid Jealousy

It is easy to compare yourself to others in the business. You may be looking at other aspiring actors in the audition room and seeing what they look like or how much experience they have told you they have. You could also be thinking of how your favorite actor or actress started at a young age and are scared your time has passed to be cast. Once you know what you are jealous of, turn that negative statement into a positive one. For example, if you think you are not good enough, change that to you trusting your gifts and talents. Read the positive and negative statements out loud and see which ones sound stronger. You will know your jealousy is gone when instead of feeling negativity when seeing other actors, you are instead happy for them in their success.

How to Handle Audition Anxiety

You may enter the audition room and you hear your name being called out. Once you see the casting directors waiting for you, everything about your confidence changes. This is because when adrenaline rushes to your bloodstream, you tighten up, sweat, shake, have dry mouth, shortness of breath, and dizziness. This fight or flight response can lead to a panic attack. By trying to ignore these symptoms can actually make them worse if all of that energy is pent up. Expect this kind of reaction when you are in front of judges and just tell yourself that these casting directors want you to do well and are rooting you on. Casting directors are looking for the actor to embody the character they have imagined and want that person in front of them to be the one they have been looking for. This should build your confidence.

When to See a Therapist

People tend to be afraid to go to therapy because they are afraid that it will make them appear weak. The truth is that anyone can benefit from therapy as you speak about your problems to someone who is unbiased. Most insurance plans offer mental health coverage and you can find a therapist that has a sliding scale to help with costs. A therapist can help you figure out why you love what you do, help you cope or make necessary changes, and dealing with new challenges. Therapy can actually help benefit your acting career.

Change Your Intentions

Actors tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves during their audition. Instead of telling yourself that this will be the part that will make or break your career, find a new intention instead. Tell yourself that you are doing this audition as an opportunity to introduce casting directors to your new monologue or that this is just for practice. Focus only on that intention and let that be your goal so that you can walk out of the audition feeling like you accomplished something.

Emotional Health

You can find a community of other actors going through the same through online message boards on Facebook or in your acting class. Everything you are feeling is most likely what they have felt as well. While acting may be your main passion, it does not have to be your only passion. Find a hobby to engage in between auditions and to help take your mind off the last audition. You should also focus on what you need to improve on for the next audition such as cold reading too quickly, shakiness, forgetting your lines, etc. You can speak to your therapist about how to improve in these areas. It is important to realize that you need to improve your mental health to help benefit your acting career and your own personal health.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.