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Healthy Friendships Can Be a Lifeline in Sobriety

Healthy Friendships Can Be a Lifeline in Sobriety

It can be hard to know what are healthy friendships and relationships, and which ones are not in sobriety. The truth is, we make friends for life, or so we think. When we become sober, we realize they may not be healthy for us. Sometimes letting go of a toxic relationship can be the healthiest (yet hardest) thing we can do, while finding new, healthier friendships can be just the lifeline we need.


It will become clear very quickly who your new, healthy friends are in sobriety. It is not just those people who are sober and clean, because sometimes those friends aren’t healthy, either. Friendship is really a verb–a process of finding out how we want to relate to others and how we want to be treated. Friendship takes practice being with other people and learning how to do this from interactions. It is a mutual bond of respect, trust, and vulnerability that encourages healthy growth and acceptance.

Healthy Friends

A healthy friend can be a big lifeline in sobriety, just as an unhealthy relationship can be a threat to your hard-won abstinence. It is critical in recovery to discern between relationships that are affirming and those that keep you stuck in old patterns and roles. It may be harder for people who are older in recovery to let go of unhealthy relationships, because friends can have a long history which makes it harder to let go. It helps to ask:

  • When do I spend time with this person
  • What is the nature of our friendship
  • Does this person encourage or discourage me
  • Does this friend or relationship affirm my efforts in sobriety

Saying goodbye to a friend can be hard and painful, but members of a recovery group can often help because they are also working to maintain healthy relationships in sobriety. Men and women can benefit from attending same-sex groups where new friendships can be made without the pressure of worrying about relationship challenges or issues.

New Focus

As you begin to decide how to live in sobriety, it helps to notice who you spend time around. Those people who affirm your sober living principles are the ones you want to spend the most time with, others less so. Even if it is family, it helps to spend less time with them because they may become toxic for you to be around if you have to keep reminding them about your sobriety. Recovery means change, not just for you, but everyone on the journey with you. Choosing whether to continue a relationship is an important part of recovery. The better your choices become, the more solid your recovery will remain.

Making friendships is a skill that needs to be learned in recovery. It takes time, like everything else in sobriety. We help you figure out the tools and resources you need to recover from addiction and help you stay clean and sober. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401