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February 26, 2019

How to Support a Friend Getting Sober in the New Year

Do you have a friend who is making it their goal to get sober in the New Year and are wondering how to support them in achieving and maintaining sobriety? It can be a challenge to know how to support someone who is in the process of getting sober, especially if you have never been exposed to addiction and recovery before. It can be daunting to know how to navigate their journey towards sobriety and maintain your friendship in a way that helps to support them during recovery.

For a user getting sober and recovering from an addiction, regardless if it is a drug or alcohol use disorder, it can be extremely helpful to have a strong support network of friends and loved ones to help motivate them to continue living a sober lifestyle and to talk to them about their experiences. Substance abuse is a widespread problem and for many individuals, getting sober and entering recovery at a detox center is a huge hurdle to overcome. There are a number of simple steps you can take to support a friend getting sober in the New Year without inadvertently endangering their recovery process and sobriety.

Tips for Supporting a Friend Getting Sober in the New Year

Getting sober is just the first step for an individual recovering from an addiction and will be a life-long journey that requires commitment each day and will be made easier with the support and love from friends and family. Below are tips to help you support a friend who is getting sober in the New Year.

  • Create a Substance-Free Environment: For a newly sober user, it is vital to have a substance-free environment to help support long-term recovery. By making sure that you are creating a substance-free environment when they are around you, you can help them to stay away from potential triggers that could cause a relapse and instead, support them creating new, sober habits that fuel their recovery. Taking an active role in fostering a substance-free environment helps show your friend that you support their sobriety and want them to live without substances, which can help motivate them to stay sober and shy away from potential triggers.
  • Accept Them Without Judgment: Many recovering users can feel judged by their family and friends for their actions and choices, which can cause them to feel hesitant to share their struggles. It’s important for your friend to feel supported and loved while they are getting sober and entering recovery, which means it is vital to accept them without judgment. Instead, be a friend that they can spend time with without feeling judged for their past mistakes or missteps. It’s best to focus on the positive changes they are making in their life and give them a safe and calm environment during their recovery.
  • Listen to Their Struggles, Thoughts, and Triumphs: One of the most important ways in which you can support a friend getting sober in the New Year is to listen to their struggles and thoughts as they work towards getting sober. By listening to them without judgment and giving them a safe space to discuss what they are going through, you are providing them with an invaluable support network. Sometimes people just need to feel heard and listened to, and by listening to both their struggles and their triumphs on their journey towards recovery, you can give them this vital support.
  • Support New, Healthy Habits: When a user is working toward getting sober and maintaining their sobriety, they will often try to find new, healthy habits to replace destructive habits centered around substance abuse. You can support your friend getting sober by partaking in their new, healthy habits with them and encouraging them to pursue them. Examples of healthy, substance-free habits include exercising, cooking food, taking up a new hobby, and playing games, to name a few. You can schedule times to spend time with your friend where you do these new, healthy activities together to help support their sobriety and encourage substance-free habits.
  • Be Understanding of Missteps: The path to sobriety can be filled with ups and downs, which is why it is vital to be patient and understanding with a friend that is getting sober. They may make mistakes or missteps along the way, but it is important to remain positive and understanding rather than focusing on their errors, as this can cause them to feel discouraged and disappointed. Recovery can be a long and complicated process, so just show them you are there, you care about them, and you support them getting sober no matter how many hurdles there are along the way.
  • Be Sensitive to Potential Triggers: While it’s unlikely for you to know or be aware of all of your friend’s potential triggers, try to be sensitive to any triggers that you know about and avoid them when with your friend. Getting sober and staying sober can be challenging and it is important to foster a calm, trigger-free environment when you are with them to the greatest extent possible.

For more information regarding relapse prevention, alcohol and drug addiction, and learning how to support a friend that is struggling on their journey towards living a sober life, read our related article about supporting a loved one in recovery. Also feel free to contact us and ask about our addiction recovery treatment centers and programs, such as inpatient rehab and long term rehab.

Sources:

  • Foundations Recovery Network. “6 Ways to Help Someone You Love Stay Sober.” Retrieved from https://www.foundationsrecoverynetwork.com/6-ways-help-someone-love-stay-sober/.
  • Freedom Institute. “Supporting Your Newly Sober Loved One.” Retrieved from https://www.freedominstitute.org/supporting-your-newly-sober-loved-one/.
  • The Discovery House. “Honest Advice For How to Support a Sober Friend.” Retrieved from https://www.thediscoveryhouse.com/03/12/2018/honest-advice-support-friend-sobriety/.
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