Most successful substance abuse recoveries are backed by an effective addiction treatment program. They are also usually backed by a team of experienced and caring professionals and a strong support group. However, when you first arrive in substance abuse treatment, you’re new. Thus, you have not had a chance to get to know everyone. That’s why you should give yourself some time before deciding on who are going to be your friends in recovery. While you can find life-long friendships during addiction treatment, some people may actually deter you from moving forward in your recovery.
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The Importance of Having the Right Friends in Recovery
While in addiction treatment and recovery, you are vulnerable. Thus, everything and everyone around you can impact your future addiction treatment and addiction recovery journey. This includes friendships. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with the right people during and after rehab. This is especially true since many of the people that you will add to your support group after rehab is over will be the friends that you made while in rehab.
It really is true that you are who you surround yourself with. Thus, if you start to notice that the people that you’re hanging out with during addiction treatment or recovery are still abusing substances or are just toxic in general, you need to stop hanging out with them. Otherwise, you’ll start taking on some of their toxic traits and will likely relapse and start abusing substances again.
People to Avoid in Rehab and Recovery
Before you try to gain the right friends in recovery, it’s vital to first cut out all the toxic ones. Not every patient in a rehab facility may mesh well with you or be good for your addiction recovery journey. Thus, it’s important to know who to avoid getting too close to while attending addiction treatment at a rehab facility.
Below is a list meant to give you an idea of some of the different types of personalities you want to avoid while in treatment:
Substance Abusers and Suppliers
This should be obvious, but you need to cut out people in your life that still abuse or supply substances. This includes the people that you used to abuse substances with. This also includes the people that you used to buy substances from while you were suffering from addiction.
While you may think that you can handle having friends in recovery that still abuse or supply substances, it’s a slippery slope. Remember, you are who you surround yourself with. Thus, if you continue to hang around people that abuse or supply substances, it will only be a matter of time before you relapse. This is especially true since hanging around people who abuse or supply substances will likely trigger your desire to use drugs again.
The Thrill-Seeker Who Likes to Bend/Break Rules
This is the type of person in rehab that is still resistant to the addiction treatment process. As a result, this person goes the extra mile to bend/break the rules. Thrill-seekers in addiction treatment programs are also likely not far along in their addiction recovery journeys. Thus, following their lead will likely only leave you stagnant in your addiction recovery journey, or worse, set you back.
The thrill-seeker in addiction treatment will also likely encourage you to make bad choices, thus giving you another reason to not build a friendship with this type of individual. People in rehab that start hanging out with the thrill-seekers may even get themselves kicked out of rehab. This is because of bending rules with the thrill-seekers and partaking in the thrill seekers’ shenanigans.
Sometimes, constantly hanging out with an impulsive rule breaker such as thrill-seekers will cause you to relapse. If that happens, you’ll have to restart your addiction treatment and recovery process all over again. That’s why it’s vital that you don’t make the thrill-seeker in rehab one of your close friends in recovery.
Another person that you should avoid in rehab and throughout your addiction recovery journey is the complainer. The complainer is the person who often makes it seem as if rehab is a “waste of time,” or boring, or filled with unneeded counselors.
Complainers in rehab spread around negativity. This is the opposite of what you need to cope with your addiction triggers and achieve and maintain recovery. That’s why it’s important to not befriend the “Debbie Downer” in rehab.
The One Who Acts Like He or She Knows Everything
The person who acts like they already know everything about rehab and addiction recovery is often close-minded, self-centered, or even narcissistic. As a result, they often don’t pay full attention during rehab or take addiction treatment as seriously as they should.
People that already think that they know everything when it comes to rehab also often put down the values of addiction treatment and the rehab center that you may be receiving treatment at. This is counterintuitive for a person like you who is trying to make the most of addiction treatment. Also, constantly putting down the values of rehab spreads around negativity which, once again, is the opposite of what people need to achieve and maintain recovery.
People who are truly knowledgeable about addiction treatment and recovery know that they can never have all the answers. Thus, if you meet someone in rehab who acts as if he or she does have all the answers, that is not the person you want to take advice from or add to your future support group. That also means that this person shouldn’t be someone that you’re trying to add to your friends in recovery.
You need to surround yourself with open-minded people who won’t put down the values of the rehab center or your values. Bouncing off ideas is crucial in recovery, so a know-it-all will only deter you from making addiction recovery progress.
Someone You Are Sexually Attracted To or Are in a Romantic Relationship With
We often think of our partners/companions as our immediate and most compassionate supporters. Beware, though, as a sexual attraction or romantic bond may influence you in negative ways. How so? Well, because strong emotions in relationships can influence the fragile mental state of a person that’s new to recovery.
Also, experiencing a fight or a breakup with a romantic partner who is also in recovery can easily cause you to relapse. Thus, the benefits of having a sexual or romantic relationship with a friend in rehab aren’t worth the risk.
If you’re a hopeless romantic who values love and the idea of not including a person in rehab that you’re attracted to or sexually or romantically involved within your group of friends in recovery doesn’t sit well with you, remember that you don’t have to let them go forever. Just focus first on getting healthy and loving yourself and then venture back out into the dating world.
If later on, when you’re further in your addiction recovery journey, you reconnect and discover that the person you were romantically involved with while in rehab is stable in his or her addiction recovery journey, you can rebuild your romantic relationship.
It’s important to hold yourself accountable for your actions while in addiction treatment and recovery. That way, you will be less likely to relapse. To hold yourself accountable during addiction treatment and recovery, you need to cut out all of the people in your life that enable your substance use.
It’s important not to have enablers as friends in recovery because they won’t hold you accountable when it comes to avoiding substance use. Instead, they will allow you to use substances whenever you encounter addiction triggers or have a weak moment. Thus, over time, enablers will likely lead you towards substance use rather than away from it.
Seeking Addiction Treatment? Receive It At Florida Center for Recovery
If you’re looking to receive addiction treatment at a quality rehab facility with staff that is serious about helping you achieve and maintain recovery, look no further than Florida Center for Recovery (FCR). Florida Center for Recovery is a nationally renowned rehab center with the most comprehensive addiction treatment models in the United States.
Florida Center for Recovery also contains a top-notch staff that caters to the needs of patients. Thus, you can rest assured that you’ll receive support while attending alcohol or drug addiction rehab here.
We here at Florida Center for Recovery know how difficult the decision to receive addiction treatment is. We also know what it takes to ensure that you find your own personal path in recovery.
That’s why it’s important to find your own authentic voice and tell your own truth and embrace it. Recovery is all about living a life you don’t have to medicate away – and it’s worth fighting for, even if that fight includes fighting for the right friends in recovery.
If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol or drugs and wants to recover with experienced addiction professionals through an inpatient rehab program, call the Florida Center for Recovery (FCR). Our trained staff is standing by to take your call and help you in any way that we can.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.