While working through the process of recovery, you may make friends with other individuals in recovery. As a supportive friend, you want to encourage their sobriety and help them through the recovery journey. How can you be able to do this while you are working through recovery yourself?
Hardships of Influencing
Many individuals struggle to influence others in addiction while in recovery themselves because they fear they cannot hold themselves to the standards they want others to follow. It can be difficult to champion sobriety if you struggle to maintain it yourself. Trying to help these individuals can cause conflict and feelings of hypocrisy. This is a challenging time to be an influence, but your desire and mindset to be sober yourself can help you not only to recover personally but also to set an example for your friends to follow.
It is important to be prepared for possible conflicts when working to support others in recovery. There will likely be conflicts that come into play or setbacks in either of your recovery paths. Taking these moments as lessons and using the knowledge you gain to push yourself toward success can help both of you succeed.
How Can I Help?
There are many ways that you can help your friends and family struggling with addiction while you are in recovery. These strategies to help your peers can also benefit you in your recovery process.
Listen to Them
As you have set goals for yourself, take some time to review your individual goals together. Discuss the hardships you have had in trying to achieve these goals. Having someone to talk to that understands their situation can be extremely beneficial for your friend. The two of you can share areas in which you’ve struggled and accept advice from each other. You may find that you have similar struggles and can reach out to a member of your treatment team to come up with possible solutions for these obstacles.
Open Up Yourself
One way to help others not feel alone in the process of recovery is to show that you understand what they are going through. Open up about previous setbacks you have had and show them they are not alone. It is easy to self-isolate in recovery. Being open about your progress and putting yourself in a state of vulnerability can help you feel supported by the individual you are sharing with.
When you are communicating with your friends in recovery, it is important not to overstep your boundaries. Ensure that you are not creating an image of yourself that indicates you perceive yourself as better or more worthy than your friends. Treat them as equals to you and be willing to accept their advice as well.
Set Goals Together
If both of you are struggling to maintain sobriety, set a goal together for your treatment success. Plan an activity the two of you can engage in after staying sober for a specific length of time. Make this commitment together. This can increase the chances of success because you both will want to avoid breaking the commitment you made together. Breaking a promise to yourself is often easier than breaking a promise to a friend. Creating this form of an alliance can help both of you feel supported and motivated to work toward your recovery goals.
If either of you are not able to maintain this commitment and have a slip-up, ensure you communicate with each other. Setting the expectation initially that neither individual will be shamed can help the other person feel that they can be honest. If your friend breaks this commitment and uses substances again, it is important to not get angry. You may feel frustrated that they gave in and you did not, but getting angry will not solve anything. It is okay to be disappointed and express that to your friend, but don’t let it harm your relationship. Instead, learn from what action led them to break their commitment and work toward setting a new goal together.
Set an Example
Work to set an example for your friends in treatment. We adopt many characteristics from the individuals we surround ourselves with. Try to be a positive influence on your friend’s recovery. This does not mean you have to be perfect through the full length of recovery, but you should strive for greatness. Showing a path toward success for your friends to look up to can motivate them to work through treatment themselves. After completing treatment, you can continue to support these friends and give them advice on their hardships.
While going through recovery, you may wish to support the friends you have made in recovery in their sobriety and recovery success. This can be challenging to do when you are working through similar issues without overstepping your boundaries. However, there are many ways you can support your friends in recovery while also benefiting your recovery. Listen to their problems and advise them on their struggles. Share your problems as well. Be accepting of any advice they give you and take it to heart. Create goals together and encourage each other to succeed. Don’t allow yourself to be angry if they encounter setbacks, as you would want their support if the same situation happened to you. Strive to be role models for each other. To learn more about how to support your friends in recovery, reach out to Dream Recovery today at (949) 732-1960.