Entering a drug rehab in PA and overcoming your substance use disorder is a courageous step towards a healthier and happier life. However, sobriety doesn't end with rehab - it’s just the beginning. One of the most important aspects of maintaining your sobriety is surrounding yourself with positive influences.
Finding sober friends who you enjoy can be a challenge in early recovery, especially as you’re discovering who you are. But with the right strategies and mindset, you can build a strong support system that will empower you to stay on track.
Below are some tips that will help you build a supportive circle after leaving rehab.
Join Support Groups
Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide a safe space to connect with individuals who have faced similar challenges. These will be some of your first platforms for making friends, as you will be building relationships in a non-judgmental setting. Attend meetings regularly and actively engage with members to foster meaningful connections.
As you form deeper bonds with fellow members, you can spend time with them outside of meetings. AA members can be friends - great friends in fact - because they can talk you out of bad decisions, spot the signs of relapse and be there for you when you need it. Eventually, you can even travel with fellow members, attend golf outings and enjoy other activities as a sober group.
Pursue Your Interests
Engage in activities that align with your passions and interests. Whether it’s art, sports, music or any other hobby, pursuing your interests not only enriches your life but also allows you to meet like-minded individuals. Together, you can share in the activities that bring you joy while also building a life of purpose and meaning.
Furthermore, staying active prevents boredom, which is a trigger for relapse. Drugs and alcohol change the way the brain works by releasing dopamine to reward and encourage certain behaviors. If you don’t have something to keep you busy in early recovery, it’s easy to give into temptation. Fortunately, engaging in hobbies and activities can produce a natural high and prevent your mind from fantasizing about substances.
Volunteer for a Cause
Volunteering for a charitable organization or community service not only gives you a sense of purpose but also introduces you to compassionate and caring individuals. Working together for a meaningful cause can form strong bonds based on shared values and a desire to make the world a better place.
Also, volunteering can help you see your own struggles from a different perspective. People experience all types of hardships, and while you may be struggling with sobriety, you have other good things in your life. Volunteering reminds you not to take these things for granted.
Take Educational Classes
Enroll in educational classes or workshops that interest you. It could be anything from cooking and gardening to language and literature. Educational settings create an environment conducive to building friendships, as you interact with classmates and instructors who share your enthusiasm for learning.
While there are many places that offer educational classes and workshops, the best places to check out are your local community colleges. Many provide continuing education courses and special interest classes that cover subjects like meditation, knitting, history, photography and more. They are a fun and low-cost way to advance your skills and meet new friends.
Attend Sober Events
A quick Google search of, ‘sober events near Easton PA’ will turn up various events in the area that cater to individuals in recovery. This is a great way to find events like walks, meetings and other events designed for sober and sober curious individuals. You can also use sites like Meetup.com and EventBrite.com to find local events. After the pandemic, there are many virtual groups and events for sober individuals.
If you’re looking to fill more than an hour or two of your time, consider taking a sober vacation. Again, an online search will bring you to different companies and organizations that offer sober vacations, getaways and excursions. Whether it’s a Halloween cruise, a yoga retreat or a trip to the Bahamas, there is something for every traveler. These vacations typically include 12-step meetings on their itinerary.
Exercise and Wellness Activities
Another great place to find sober friends is at the gym. Join a local recreation facility, take a yoga class or participate in group fitness activities. Individuals who participate in these physical activities tend to lead healthy lifestyles, making it easier for you to sustain your recovery.
Additionally, staying active is a proven way to support your recovery, as it lessens depression, anxiety and stress. It also releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, producing a natural high. This is important in early recovery, as the brain is often short on these chemicals, which can prevent you from feeling pleasure from normal activities.
Be Open and Honest
While you only have to share your journey if you want to, there is a certain level of openness and honesty you should practice when meeting new people. Sharing your experiences can create a genuine connection, and you may be surprised by how many people can relate to your struggles. Being transparent also prevents you from getting into uncomfortable situations where drugs or alcohol are present.
You may even find it beneficial to become a motivational speaker. For example, drug rehab centers like to hear successful stories from individuals in recovery. Local high schools also often look for motivational speakers for assemblies, and you can share your story this way. Being vulnerable can be difficult, but this is a wonderful way to build authentic connections and give back to your community.
Drug Rehab in Easton PA: Your First Step to Sobriety
Research continually shows that friendships increase a sense of belonging and purpose, which is an important ingredient in sobriety. Therefore, you should not underestimate the importance of having friends in recovery. These are the people who will relate to your struggles, celebrate your milestones and lift you up when you need it. If you are ready to start your journey to a meaningful, substance-free lifestyle, contact Recovery Cove at 484-549-COVE.