Many people are concerned that after they complete addiction rehabilitation treatment, they won’t be able to relate to friends or even family members anymore. This isn’t necessarily true, but if some people don’t understand the journey you’re on now, it might be time to consider expanding your sober social circle. This doesn’t mean you leave anyone behind, but it does boost your long-term recovery efforts to engage with individuals who recognize and support your recovery.
We All Need Connection
Humans are naturally social beings. Whether you describe yourself as an extrovert, introvert, or ambivert, connection with others fulfills various fundamental needs and serves several purposes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthy social connectedness is defined by the following characteristics, which we provide verbatim:
- The number, variety, and types of relationships a person has.
- Having meaningful and regular social exchanges.
- Sense of support from friends, families, and others in the community.
- Having close bonds with others.
- Feeling loved, cared for, valued, and appreciated by others.
- Having more than one person to turn to for support. This includes emotional support when feeling down, and physical support, like getting a ride to the doctor or grocery store, or getting help with childcare on short notice.
- Access to safe public areas to gather (such as parks and recreation centers).
There are vast benefits to having a sober social circle. Here are just a few.
Having someone to talk to, share feelings with, and receive empathy from can alleviate stress and improve emotional well-being. This is one of the many reasons why belonging to peer support groups in recovery are so vital.
Social connections are crucial for mental health. Loneliness and social isolation can contribute to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Fostering healthy relationships with other people helps in combating these issues and maintaining mental well-being.
Studies have shown that socializing has a positive impact on physical health. The CDC indicates that strong social ties are linked to lower stress levels, better immune function, improved sleep, healthier eating habits, increased physical activity, and even longevity.
Sense of Belonging
Being part of a community or having meaningful relationships gives people a crucial sense of belonging and identity. It helps in forming a support network and feeling accepted.
Learning and Growth
Interacting with others exposes us to different perspectives, ideas, and experiences. It broadens our understanding of the world and helps us grow intellectually and emotionally.
Building connections creates a support system that provides guidance, advice, and practical help in various aspects of life, from career advice to personal challenges.
Happiness and Fulfillment
Meaningful relationships contribute to a sense of happiness and fulfillment. Sharing experiences, celebrating successes, and having people to lean on during tough times all contribute to a richer, more satisfying life.
Overall, connecting with others is an intrinsic part of being human. It enhances our quality of life, provides support, and contributes significantly to our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
How to Expand Your Sober Social Circle
Practically every hobby or pastime has a passionate collective. If you enjoy something in particular, look around for clubs and gatherings that help you connect with like-minded people. One easy place to start is MeetUp.com, where you can search for activities and groups by interest, date, and location. You can also try Facebook, local community calendars, university and college calendars, parks and recreation websites, library websites, health clubs and other fitness programs, and Eventbrite for more ideas.
Consider mutual aid support groups, too. In addition to SMART Recovery and various 12-Step program meetings online and in-person, branch out to explore others including, but not limited to:
- Celebrate Recovery
- Gay and Sober
- Loosid App
- Men’s Group
- Recovery Dharma BIPOC
- Sober Black Girls Club
- The Luckiest Club
- Women for Sobriety
- Wounded Warrior Project Peer Support
- Young People in Recovery
Also consider taking a sober travel trip. There are numerous options now, including Sober Vacations, We Love Lucid, Hooked Alcohol-Free Travel, and Choose Life Sober Adventures.
Find the Support You Need at Ivory Plains
The philosophy of our addiction rehabilitation program in Adair, Iowa is to offer you a safe, supportive setting and board-certified professionals to meet your needs both during treatment and in aftercare. Our residential and partial hospitalization programs emphasize a structured community approach while establishing not only early recovery skills but also a long-term foundation for recovering adults. You’re never alone on your recovery journey—talk to a member of our admissions team to learn how we can help you heal and create lasting wellness.