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Sobriety and Friendship

Entering recovery from addiction also means you may have to choose between sobriety and friendship. This could include temporary separation from your party-going buds or permanently leaving behind people in the thick of drug culture.

It is hard to give up people who seem to care for you, but necessary. Ask yourself this: Where were these people when you were at your lowest? Where are they now? Did they support your choice to get clean? Will they help you maintain sobriety? Can my sobriety and friendship coexist? The bottom line is if they do not support your choice to live a sober lifestyle, hurry up and break up the friendship. I can hear the protests.  Here are some reasons to break up and how to do it.

They helped you when no one else would

As you descended to rock bottom, you felt isolated, misunderstood, hated, worthless, and so many other terrible things.  Your friends made you feel okay. Perhaps they took you in, loaned you some money, and shared their drugs or alcohol. That was a kindness that you sorely needed at the time. Understandably, you feel obligated to stay in touch. But is it worth risking your sobriety? If your friends are still involved with drugs and alcohol, you will be tempted to partake by them or by your addiction. Hanging out with them may put you in a bad situation where you cannot say no.

How to Break Up with Them:

Depending on the relationship, it may be best not to talk to them anymore. After all, it’s normal to drift apart when interests change. If suddenly stopping contact seems harsh, try writing a letter, text, or calling them. Say thank you, and explain why you can no longer be friends. Your health and sobriety come first. You no longer think the relationship is healthy. You’ve decided to live your life differently. Be sincere, and try to reflect the kindness that they once showed you; they may be drifting to rock bottom themselves.

You want to convince them to get clean, too

After the pain and sickness of addiction, you can see the world clearly, and you want to share it with everyone! You see your friends’ suffering and know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Before you go rushing back to spread the good news: think. What got you to recovery? You. Each person has to choose for himself or herself to get clean. Your priority is to get yourself through a day, week, month, even a year without using. Your recovery is the most important.

How to Break Up with Them:

The people that gave you hope and showed you the way were familiar with the recovery lifestyle. Focus on yourself first. If you want to help someone, try helping those in rehab or your meetings with you. As for your friends, write to them about your choice to live sober, and invite them to join you. Don’t compromise your sobriety by going to where they are. If they choose to come, greet them with open arms.

You’ve always been friends

You go way back. Like, back before, you knew what getting high was like. And, they know all your secrets, especially the ones you don’t remember. They would absolutely hate you forever if you break up the friendship. It’s hard to do, but if they truly are your BFFs, then they’ll give you space to recover from addiction. With time, you can get together again.

How to Break Up with Them:

Be honest. Tell them that you have to focus on your sobriety right now. Once you are in a solid place, you can start hanging out in sober environments. Explain that it’s nothing against them but that you need time to get on a straight path. Most importantly, tell them that if they don’t support your sobriety, they don’t support you.

Many people do not believe that they can have both sobriety and friendship.  Yes, you will leave people that used to be a big part of your life. And it’s hard. However, you will find forgiveness from people from your past and rekindle those relationships. You will also make new friends who will support your recovery. Ending your drug or alcohol habit is not the end of social life. There is a whole group of people who are cheering on your sobriety. Just give it a try.


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