One of the many challenges of sobriety is determining how to handle the relationships that were important to us in the past and navigating the dynamics within those relationships. It can be confusing and stressful trying to figure out how to interact with old friends and loved ones, particularly if they are still using our same drug of choice. It can be difficult to be around them, especially when they are using. While there is no right or wrong way to go about handling these sensitive issues, here are a few suggestions to help us along the way.
We want to be able to communicate with our friends and tell them how we’re feeling about the situation. If we can’t be around alcohol, for example, we want to tell them that and give them the choice of abstaining for our benefit or of spending less time together. We can’t expect other people to get sober for us, and we can’t expect them to overhaul their lifestyles for us. Our recovery journey is ours alone, and we can’t impose our new perspectives or choices onto anyone else. All we can ask is that our loved ones be considerate of our needs. It’s so important, therefore, that we determine what our needs are first and foremost, without other people’s input. This means we have to get clear and honest with ourselves. Are we genuinely feeling solid and secure in our sobriety, enough so that we can be around people who are drinking? Are we still feeling vulnerable to relapse? Does the sight of people drinking make us anxious or nervous? Do we still feel tempted when we see alcohol? We have to get clear within ourselves about our needs so that we can express them openly and honestly with the people who care about us.
Ultimately there might be some people that we need to separate ourselves from altogether, particularly those that don’t understand our need for sobriety. They might invite us to join them in certain activities but then insist on including alcohol. They might pressure us to drink again. They might try to convince us that we don’t actually have a problem, that we just need to learn how to drink in moderation. Often these people are struggling with addiction themselves and aren’t fully aware of the extent of their problems. They may very well still be in denial, about both our addictions and theirs. In these situations, we want to practice discernment and healthy detachment. Our sobriety has to be our number one priority. No relationship that costs us our peace of mind and our sobriety is a relationship we can risk holding onto.
Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.