There are countless challenges we face in recovery, and one of the hardest for many of us is the fact that we end up losing friendships that were very important to us. Why is losing friends such a common part of recovery for so many of us? There are many different reasons why this can happen. Here are a few.
As we’re recovering, we’ll come face to face with the fact that not all of our friends are ready to get sober. They might not be willing or ready to take on the work of recovery. They might still be in deep denial about their addictions. They might be pressuring us to use and therefore exacerbating our feelings of temptation and compulsion. They might be emotionally triggering for us in certain ways. They might be insensitive or even forceful, trying to bring us down. We realize over time that these friendships can’t come before our sobriety. Our peace of mind is too important.
Sometimes we feel tied to the friendship and are afraid, and deeply sad, to let it go. We might be worried about our loved ones’ mental health issues and problems with addiction, and we want to be there for them and give them support. We might feel as though we’re abandoning them when they need us most, and we have to reconcile difficult feelings of guilt and shame around this. We have to let go of our sense of obligation to friends who are endangering our sobriety and our mental and emotional health and well-being. Our loyalty has to be to ourselves, and we have to prioritize our recovery over everything else if we truly want to get well. It can be common for us to lose friends when we’ve reached this new and deeper understanding of ourselves and the importance of making our sobriety our first priority.
Sometimes when we encourage friends to get help and they’re not ready to take those steps, this can drive a wedge between us. Our friends can feel as though we’re accusing them of having a problem, and their denial, shame, and embarrassment can cause them to distance themselves from us. Recovery is a complex emotional journey. We all have persistent issues we have to heal in order to stay sober. Our friendships might have sustained injury and estrangement that are just too big to surmount, and we may have to come to terms with the fact that not all friendships can stay with us for the rest of our lives, and for our lifelong recovery journeys.
Riverside Recovery understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.