Who Should You Spend Time With After Getting Sober?

Building a strong community can benefit your recovery. Read more for tips on the qualities to look for when you are forming friendships after getting sober.

5 Traits To Look For In People During Your Recovery

It’s important to seek out people who are going to be a positive influence in your life. Here are some personality traits you may want to consider as you build new relationships.

1. Honesty

You do not want to be surrounded by people who only tell you what you want to hear or don’t care enough to let you know when you are taking unnecessary risks with your sobriety. You need people who will speak up and tell you when you are doing things that could harm your path, like spending too much time focusing on the negative, skipping therapeutic interventions or meetings, or otherwise getting distracted from your focus: staying sober. Honesty from others helps you to be honest with yourself and to course correct when little things threaten to throw you off.

2. Ready to Hold You Accountable

There may be times when you are going to be dishonest with yourself or with others and make choices that are in clear violation of your commitment to a balanced and healthy recovery. You will need someone in your life who will follow up with you and hold you accountable, the kind of person who will notice when you are not at the meeting you both attend three weeks in a row or that you stopped showing up to the coffee place where you usually meet them with others in recovery. This person may notice things you don’t, or they may make you pay attention to a situation you are trying to avoid. In both cases, this person can be invaluable in helping you to get back on track before you relapse.

3. Working on Recovery as Well

When you spend your time with other people who are actively working on their own sobriety, even if they are struggling with different aspects of their new lives, it can normalize your experience and be a constant reminder that you are not alone. Conversely, if you spend a great deal of time with people who have a “normal” relationship with alcohol or who continue to use and abuse illicit substances, then that way of life may continue to seem like the most comfortable route and may trigger a relapse. The more time you spend with other people in recovery, the more likely you are to hear something every day that will help on your path to sobriety.

4. Encouraging

Spending time with positive people – those who try to look for the silver lining, avoid gossip, and are fun to be around – can improve your mood and help you to find levity in life rather than getting stuck in a cycle of negativity and depression that can lead to a relapse.

5. Supportive

Staying sober isn’t easy. You will have days when you are in a bad mood for no reason, feeling hopeless and unsure of why you started down the road to sobriety in the first place, and otherwise not a good friend to the people who care about you most. It is good to have someone in your corner who will support you no matter what comes your way – and by extension, theirs – and who will be there for you as you grow in recovery.

Are You Connecting With The Right People?

Take a moment to consider the group of people you spend the most time with. Can you pick out the ones who have the qualities listed above? Do you know right away which ones are best for you in recovery and which ones may be having a questionable impact on your ability to stay sober?

It is not always easy to make changes or to find the kinds of people you need in your life – at least not immediately. With time and patience, you will find that there are good people everywhere, and it will take just a little bit of effort to connect with the right group for you. You can:

  • Go to a variety of different meetings and groups. Don’t just go to the 12-Step meeting in your neighborhood. Head to meetings all over town, go to yoga classes in the park and try out something different with new people to meet.
  • Stay after and socialize. Don’t just run home after class or a meeting. Pack up slowly, make small talk, and connect.
  • Exchange contact information. You can give someone your phone number, email address, or social media information. Take a chance; you never know who you’ll meet unless you put yourself out there.
  • Be patient. It takes time to develop a genuine connection with someone, and the best relationships unfold slowly.


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