In early recovery, you will meet many new people in a short time. You will likely attend several meetings at different locations after treatment in search of a homegroup. That is a particular meeting that you frequent most often. Some of those who attend your homegroup will become part of your “deep bench”—the individuals you turn to for support and guidance.
In time, you will develop friendships with men and women; these relationships are about more than just talking recovery. The acquaintances people make in early recovery often become lifelong friends provided one stays the course. The time you spend with them outside of meetings will prove to be just as valuable as when you are inside.
Recovery is about so much more than weekly meetings and working the steps. It’s about more than total abstinence, as well. Recovery is a complete life redesign that involves changing a myriad of aspects of one’s existence. Those who achieve lasting sobriety adopt new traditions and behaviors; they walk a different path than before. In the process, they must surround themselves with people who share common goals and mindsets.
The first meetings you attend post-treatment will include vetting individuals to determine who shares a similar drive for progress. Unfortunately, many newly sober people fall into crowds who are not committed to doing the work. The truth is that not everyone at meetings is in it for the long haul; some people are attending due to exigent or compulsatory circumstance. Once their obligation is fulfilled, a good number will return to active use.
It’s critical that you foster relationships with individuals who are in recovery for themselves, with men and women who are willing to do whatever it takes to excel. There is a common saying in the rooms, stick with the winners. That’s not to say that people who aren’t committed to long-term recovery are losers, but they certainly have different priorities. Stick with people who share your vision for a healthy and productive life.
Bonding in Recovery
Finding a sponsor or recovery mentor is one of the first things people do following treatment. After a few meetings, you will have heard several people share; at least one likely said something that resonated. Hopefully, you approach said person after the meeting and ask if they will guide you through the steps.
If they accept, they will probably ask you to meet up regularly, call every day, and commit to reading recovery related material. In most cases, the time spent with one’s guide leads to friendship. The sponsor-sponsee relationship should not be viewed as hierarchical. Instead, take the perspective of it being two people working together to help each other stay sober.
Sure, your sponsor will have more time sober than you, but that does not mean they are above you. Since you’re both on equal footing, you can form a lasting bond. The sponsor-sponsee connection is beneficial in several ways; you have someone to turn to in good times and bad. What’s more, your sponsor’s friends will likely become yours as well. If your recovery guide has confidence in other people’s commitment to progress, then it’s safe to say you can too.
You will, over the course of recovery, make friends with individuals outside of your sponsor’s inner-circle. Early on, the practice of sticking close to your sponsor is beneficial. However, in time, you will start to sponsor people with less time and making new friends along the way. Fortunately, you will have gleaned from your sponsor by then some protocols for deciding whom to invest your time and energy.
As an aside, please remember that the people from your substance-using past should remain in the past. Trying to hold onto old acquaintances will compromise your mission. Moreover, most of the people you used with were friends of convenience. Recovery, on the other hand, is an opportunity to forge healthy and spiritually uplifting connections with people who care about your well-being and continued progress.
California Addiction Treatment Center
We invite you to reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat for a complimentary assessment if you feel that your drug and alcohol use is problematic. We offer several programs to help people take the first step toward lasting addiction recovery. HVRC works with most insurance providers.