Relationships in Recovery - Sobriety

The Pros and Cons of Making Friends in Addiction Rehab

The Pros and Cons of Making Friends in Rehab

During addiction treatment, evaluate friendships made in drug rehab carefully to make sure they will be positive influences.

Friendships are an essential part of life. They help you learn your mental and emotional needs, encourage you to set personal boundaries, and serve as a valuable resource for advice, support, and general companionship. 

When addiction takes over a person's life, it is normal for them to migrate toward people who have similar patterns of substance use. For many people, this may mean friendships they had before attending an addiction recovery program enabled their substance use.

During your treatment program, revisit these friendships to identify whether or not they could be toxic to your long-term recovery. It is common for people in recovery to find themselves needing to create new relationships with people that support their sobriety.  Treatment will equip you with the tools and resources needed to sustain sobriety, especially for preventing relapse. You will experience different therapeutic interventions alongside individual therapy, such as group or experiential therapy. Since you will inevitably meet other people working to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety during your recovery journey, it is important to be mindful of the positives and negatives that may accompany making new friends in rehab.

The Potential Consequences of Making Friends in Rehab

There are several potential downsides to making friends during your treatment experience. Be wary of these consequences so that when you come across a friendship situation in rehab, you are able to evaluate it as best as you can. 

The consequences of having or making friends in rehab may include:

  • Taking the focus of treatment away from your recovery

  • Causing you to question your self-worth through comparison

  • Making you more susceptible to relying on someone else's mental strength

  • Leading to romantic relationships, which are complex enough without adding the therapy process factor

  • Leading to misunderstandings about what a healthy friendship should look like, especially for those that have never been in a healthy friendship

  • Them not fully supporting your recovery journey

Your main priority in rehab should be you and your recovery. Everything else is secondary. Things like friendships are good, but if they take away from that primary goal, they may not be worth it.

Every client probably has individualized treatment programs and schedules, which makes forming consistent friendships difficult to begin with. Friends in rehab can be distractions from your recovery, especially if they enable you to take treatment less seriously. Relationships in therapy may become mutually dependent, meaning that if one of you happens to relapse, the other person may be more likely to relapse as well.

The Potential Benefits of Making Friends in Rehab 

Now that those potential consequences have been addressed, it is crucial to touch on the various benefits that having and making friends in rehab can have on your long-term recovery. 

The benefits of having or making friends in rehab may include:

  • Having a sense of community, which serves as a protective layer against relapse

  • Staying motivated to maintain long-term sobriety

  • Feeling less alone in your feelings, thoughts, and experiences

  • Feeling supported through extreme mental, physical, and emotional challenges

  • Holding each other accountable for engaging in harmful patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving

  • Making your rehab experience more memorable and enjoyable

  • Having a friend as you leave treatment, even if you had to say goodbye to old, toxic friends

Friendships are an essential part of everyone's life. They can make your recovery journey feel more meaningful and worthwhile, especially on days when you feel stuck. Having that support is not just beneficial in treatment, but it is essential in maintaining long-term recovery. 

Having\ friends in rehab will allow you to feel less alone in your mental, physical, and emotional struggles. When you make friends during treatment, you can commit to sobriety together. Having sober friends is necessary, as they can motivate you to go to meetings or support you when you need it, even well after your rehab program is completed.

In the end, the potential benefits of making friends in treatment outweigh the potential drawbacks. As long as you're careful and smart, making friends is a good idea.

Evaluating Healthy Relationships

You're almost guaranteed to find at least one person you connect deeply with during treatment. Many rehab facilities encourage discussion and interaction with peers to enhance the recovery experience, which encourages friendships to be made. 

When you reflect on past friendships or decide to make friends in the future, you must understand what defines a healthy relationship in recovery. This should help you to determine whether or not your relationship with this person will be beneficial for your healing journey

Ask yourself the following questions about potential friends:

  • Does this person support my decision to become/be sober?

  • Does this person regularly use drugs and alcohol? If so, are they willing to avoid doing it around me?

  • Does this person make me feel loved?

  • Will this person continue to have open conversations about mental health with me?

  • Do I feel like this person judges me?\

If they are in rehab:

  • Is this person committed to a life of sobriety?

  • Does this person have a history of relapse?

  • Does this person distract me from my treatment goals?

  • Will this person respect my personal boundaries?

Having & Making Rehab Friends Has Benefits … And Consequences

While friendships can help you to stay accountable and motivated during treatment, friendships can also be a distraction to your recovery journey. It is important to evaluate your past and present friendships to ensure that you are surrounded by healthy relationships as you heal from addiction.

The Edge Treatment Center recognizes how important friendships are when it comes to sustaining your recovery. Our treatment program stresses the importance of community bonds. For more information, give us a call today at (800) 778-1772.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Relationships in Recovery


March 16, 2022