Entering drug treatment can be a very stressful and scary time for people that are trying to adjust to being sober. There are a lot big changes that an addict has to go through while they are in rehab and it can be a period of time with plenty of ups and downs. Making close friends in rehab can help ease some of the stress and make it easier to have a support system throughout recovery.
While people in rehab are discouraged from entering romantic relationships while they are receiving treatment, fostering friendships can be extremely beneficial. Romantic relationships are more complex and can serve as too much of a distraction but friendships are recommended throughout rehab because they can help each patient feel stronger and more connected to the program. Feeling lonely or isolated can be very damaging for addicts so maintaining good friendships can ensure better success in recovery.
People might be weary initially of making friends in rehab because they worry that associating with other addicts could lead to relapse. Having a friend that eventually relapses is a legitimate problem for people in recovery but it doesn’t mean that their behavior will lead to your own relapse. As long as you make healthy friendships with people who are committed to the treatment program, friends in rehab can be a positive influence.
Healthy Relationships with Peers
Other patients in rehab are going through a lot and may be on a difficult path. Some may be struggling or be in a negative place which could be dangerous for a relationship. Making friends in recovery means finding someone who is emotionally available, willing and ready to work through the treatment steps and is open to having a healthy friendship.
The important thing to remember about making new friends in rehab is that you will need these connections with other sober people in the future when you completely your treatment. In many cases it will not be safe or appropriate to continue hanging out with old friends from home who are still involved in drug or alcohol abuse. Having sober friends that are on the same recovery journey as you are is essential for people after they finish rehab.
People with addictions have a tendency to become isolated, withdrawn and they often avoid social situations that don’t involve substance abuse. That isolation allows them to continue abusing drugs or alcohol in a space where they won’t be criticized or confronted about their behavior. To become sober, addicts need to combat their inclination to be isolated and instead embrace friendship and closeness so that they can be more responsible and accountable to people around them.
Friendships in recovery give you an outlet and a confidante so that you have someone to share the experience of rehab with. Instead of going through every day alone, you can talk to your friends in rehab about your progress, your fears and worries and what you still find difficult about being sober. You will have someone to listen to you that you trust and care about so that you build a connection and feel less alone.
How to Build Friendships with People in Rehab
In order to develop close connections in rehab it is important to learn how to be open, vulnerable and honest with others. Being able to actively listen to other people’s problems and offer advice and support is also helpful in fostering a friendship. These are qualities that you can work on developing throughout your stay in rehab so that making friends comes more easily to you.
When you meet people in rehab you can start to spark a friendship by making efforts to engage in conversation with the people in treatment. Make sure to ask open ended questions, listen carefully to them and provide thoughtful responses. Take note of what you have in common with someone instead of focusing on differences so that you can feel more connected and don’t push them away.
As your friendships in rehab grow make sure to follow up and keep in touch with them after you have completed your stay and are leaving the treatment center. Your friends from rehab can become a part of your support system that helps you stay sober in difficult moments when you are learning how to adjust to living at home again. Try to call them on a regular basis and find out how they are doing with their own recovery.
You may not connect with everyone you meet in your treatment program but making a few close friends will help you feel more grounded in your sobriety. Friends from rehab can become someone you can count on when you need help or just a person to talk to. If you make an effort to find friendship in rehab and you will experience more success in recovery.