Being a good friend means many things. It means listening, spending time together, granting and asking forgiveness, and treating someone as you want to be treated. Friendship also means standing by someone when he needs support. Addiction and recovery are challenging and can sort out true friends from those who aren’t. If you have stood by a friend during his addiction and treatment you are truly a good friend. Now you need to support his sobriety.
Support from friends and family is essential to an addict in recovery. Recovering addicts need to have healthy people around them to act as positive influences. Your friend needs you and others to help him resist the urge to relapse and to act as a source of positive peer pressure.
Tips To Support Your Friend’s Sobriety
There are many ways in which you can support your friend in his recovery and help him to maintain a healthy and sober lifestyle:
1. Voice your support – Don’t take for granted that your friend knows you support him. Tell him directly that you are proud of his accomplishments, that you like the new sober person he has become and that you will be there when he needs you.
2. Be a good listener – Your friend may need to talk out his issues and feelings regarding being sober. One of the most important attributes of a good friend is the ability to listen. You don’t have to solve his problems, just listen when he needs to be heard.
3. Be sober – You don’t have to be completely sober to help your friend in his new-found sobriety, but it will make a big difference if you abstain while around him. Even if he doesn’t ask you to, stay sober when you hang out and don’t meet him in bars or other places that may trigger his urge to drink or use drugs.
4. Withhold judgment – The last thing your friend needs is a lecture on his past mistakes or judgment from those closest to him. He made mistakes and he has owned up to them. Let the past stay in the past and assure your friend that you don’t think any less of him because of his struggles.
5. Join in with healthy habits – To help stay sober and resist the urge to relapse, your friend should be engaging in healthy replacement habits. This could mean starting up an exercise regime, doing volunteer work, taking a class at the local community center, or anything else that is positive and distracting. Support your friend and encourage him to engage in these new hobbies by joining him. Be a positive role model in this respect and be someone to whom he is accountable for participating and not quitting.
6. Encourage support group participation – An important part of recovery for most addicts is participation in a support group. These groups can help recovering addicts as a form of maintenance therapy. Remind your friend that his treatment is life long and that he shouldn’t be complacent. Encourage him to attend regular support group meetings even if he is feeling strong in his sobriety.
Support Your Recovering Friend, But Remember That Friendship Is A Two-Way Street
Having a support system while in recovery is so important for a former addict. As a friend you can be a crucial link in that new network. There are a number of ways in which you can support your friend and be the kind of friend that he needs. Make sure, though, that you don’t lose sight of the fact that friendship is a two-way street. Don’t get swallowed up by your friend’s needs and be sure to take time for yourself as well.
Remember To Love Yourself While Loving Your Friends – You Are Worth It!