Yesterday we talked a bit about losing old friends when we start our path to recovery, and it ended on a somewhat somber note. Today, we look at the silver lining of those situations.
Losing Old Friends Is Not What It Sounds Like
Perhaps the best news is that most people don’t usually lose all their old friends. True friends are generally very supportive and often times make up key parts of our support systems. Also, as is sometimes the case, the person who looks for recovery can trigger others within their circle to do the same. No one should count on this happening, but it is not unheard of. So don’t worry, it isn’t all doom and gloom and a life of isolation.
In fact, many of us have more fun in recovery with other addicts and alcoholics than we ever had while we were out there. In many cases, alcoholism and addiction essentially become full-time jobs. We are always chasing the next fix or the next drink, or looking for money so we can continue that pursuit. A lot of people find that, once they get into recovery, they actually have more free time available, rather than less. Besides, losing old friends isn’t much of an issue if you no longer had time for them anymore in the first place.
A Vision For You from the Big Book of AA describes the relationships that form in recovery as “mak[ing] lifelong friends…for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.” That sentiment is exactly what makes the friendships we develop in recovery so fulfilling, and also why they are so vital to our recovery as well. Having someone who knows the chaos, madness, and incomprehensible demoralization that we had to endure gives us hope. We see that there can be a happy, fulfilling life for us without drinking or using.
When we first get clean and sober, many of us feel like our lives are over, when in reality they are only just beginning. By developing real emotional bonds with people in recovery, we often see for the first time how ultimately unfulfilling most of the “friendships” we had while in our disease actually were. It isn’t so much losing old friends as it is gaining new friends—new friends with whom we more closely identify and have more common interests outside of getting loaded.
Additionally, our OC drug rehab has seen that a lot of people actually have more fun once they get into recovery. The energy and vitality that had been drained from us for so long suddenly comes back stronger than ever. With the resources, friends, and freedom to do what had not been possible before, those in recovery find that the thing they were most afraid of was the best thing that ever happened to them. Research shows that this.