Skip to content

How Constructive Friendships Can Support Your Rehab

How Constructive Friendships Can Support Your Rehab

Strong friendships and supportive family members are often the difference between recovery and relapse

The Role of Community in Recovery

A 2008 study was designed to understand what impact, if any, a peer-support community program would have on reducing relapse in addiction recovery. This study utilized interviews, participant observation and a pre- and post-test evaluation of quality of life, and found a significant reduction in the risk of relapse for all study participants who included the peer-support community program as part of the recovery process.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) concurs in its assessment of the role of peer support in effective recovery. SAMHSA reports that the following four dimensions  help support a life in recovery:

  1. Health – Managing the symptoms of addiction and making healthy choices
  2. Home – Stability and safety in your living situation
  3. Purpose – Participating in meaningful daily activities in the form of work, hobbies, or volunteerism
  4. Community – Maintaining relationships with love, support, hope, and friendship

At least one, and perhaps two, of these dimensions touch on the value of relationships to maintain movement toward continued and long-term recovery for an addict.

Beyond Research and into Practical Outcomes for Friendship in Recovery

Most individuals do not need to read research articles and visit government sites to know that friendships are valuable for anyone at any point. Solid and healthy friendships make life happier overall, reduce stress, and even improve overall health. But, some of the specific benefits of friendships are particularly valuable and meaningful for people in the recovery process.

  • A safe place to fail – Recovery comes in fits and starts. Rarely does a person quit and never look back; mistakes and full-blown relapse are a normal part of the process. The shame and self-hatred accompanying these missteps can hurt an addict’s recovery, unless he has a safe place to talk about it without judgment. A constructive friend or family member can be exactly what he needs, and can provide him the strength to pick himself up from his failure to step again toward sobriety.
  • Support to maintain a realistic and positive self-image – The psychological impact of addiction is more powerful than many realize. Thoughts of despair bombard the addict, to the point where he may wonder if he even deserves a healthy and sober life. An individual may struggle to fight these internal battles alone, and this is where friends are invaluable. Friends and family can help her remember that her life has worth and that she deserves to be happy and healthy, regardless of past mistakes she’s made.
  • Someone with whom to celebrate milestones big and small – Recovery is a lifelong event, but milestones big and small must be celebrated along the way. Every day someone chooses sobriety is a victory, but these small accomplishments are far too easily missed if you have no one with whom to support and celebrate your recovery. When you choose to share your recovery with others, your friends will notice and remind you of your successes, and celebrate them with you in joy and sincerity.
  • Reality checks – Friends who support your recovery can hold you accountable, in both good times and bad. A friend can help you see when your behavior may be leading to relapse, and also when you are being too hard on yourself and should be focusing on the progress you’ve made rather than your mistakes.

The importance of friends and family who are ready to support you in the midst of your recovery cannot be overestimated. The research proves it, and so does a common sense understanding of the human condition. Nobody is at his best when he’s on his own. An individual needs at least one person in her life who will believe in her no matter what, and who will push her to be her best and sober self.

Find the Support You Need to Recover from Addiction

If you or a loved one in Des Moines is working through addiction rehab or recovery, having a community around you makes this process easier, because you do not have the bear the burden alone.

If you need extra support with your addiction recovery, we can help you. The admission counselors at our toll-free helpline are available 24 hours a day to help you learn more about addiction and find the best treatment resources to meet your unique needs. Call today to get the treatment you need to lead a healthy and sober life.