Can I Stay Friends with People Who Use Drugs or Alcohol?

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As you recover from addiction, you’ll need to be intentional about protecting your sobriety. This often means cutting ties with the people you used to hang out with. If you continue to stay friends with these people, it can trigger a relapse.

Even though your old friends may not be a good influence on you, it can still be difficult to end these friendships. But you must remember, your sobriety is your priority. It must come first.

Let’s take a closer look at why ending harmful friendships is something you’ll likely need to do and some tips for cutting ties.

Why it’s Important to End Past Friendships

Although it’s not mandatory, it’s a good idea to end friendships with the people you used to spend time with. Unfortunately, these people put your recovery at risk, even if they’re not encouraging you to use drugs or alcohol. The fact is that as they continue to abuse substances, this can trigger thoughts and emotions that can cause you to relapse.

Here are some of the key reasons why you’ll want to take a break from your previous social circle:

  • Relapse. If you continue to stay close to your old peers, relapse will always be a risk. Eventually, you may find yourself in situations that are difficult to control.
  • Lack of support. People who are using drugs or alcohol are not going to share the same mindset as you regarding recovery. Some may even encourage you to go back to your old drug- or alcohol-using ways.
  • Poor mental health. Substance use and mental health go hand in hand. Friends who are still actively using may be dealing with depression or anxiety that can cause problems for your own mental health.
  • Lack of stability. Friends who use drugs or alcohol usually don’t have stable lives. They might drink all night and sleep all day. Right now, you need a social circle that provides you with support and stability.
  • Difficulty with boundaries. As you work your recovery program, you’ll learn the importance of setting boundaries. Unfortunately, it’s hard to set and keep boundaries with other addicts.

How to Cut Ties with Friends Who Use Drugs or Alcohol

The best way to end friendships with past friends is to be upfront and honest. Let them know about your new commitment to sobriety and that you’re choosing to put your recovery first. In order to do this, you must eliminate your triggers. This should send the message that you’re not interested in getting drunk or high anymore.

Of course, addicts are not bad people. You may have genuine connections with some of your old friends that you’re not ready to let go of completely. Tell them that you would love to continue the friendship if they get clean and sober one day. You never know when your own choices can make a difference for someone else.

In other cases, you might find it best to let things fizzle out naturally. Maybe your old hangout group was convenient, and by turning down invitations and not interacting with them on a regular basis, the relationship will naturally die out. This is a less confrontational approach that works well for some people.

Start Recovery and Grow a Healthy Support Network

If you’re ready to start your journey to sobriety, contact Wolf Creek Recovery in Prescott AZ today. You’ll have a support network from the time you step foot in our facility. Many of our staff are in recovery and can offer you the support you need during this time. You’ll also meet great people in group therapy who you can relate to. Eventually, these people will become part of your new sober support circle, and letting go of past friendships won’t be so difficult.