Cutting off ties to old friendships that are unhealthy to your new sober lifestyle can cause a temporary period of loneliness. Making new friends can seem a daunting task, especially if you’re recently sober and potentially suffer from low self-esteem. However, humans are social creatures by nature and it’s important to have a network of friends in your life.

Letting go of old friends

One of the hardest things after giving up your addiction is deciding if you should let go of your old friends. You may have friends you’ve known your whole life or who’ve helped you through some tough times that you feel are like family. However, if they don’t support your sobriety, they are a relapse just waiting to happen.

If you decide to keep old friends, the most important question you should ask yourself is, “Do they support my sobriety?” If the answer is no or you’re uncertain, you should probably sever this friendship. This is especially true if your old friend is an alcoholic or user that regularly partakes in substances that you must deny yourself.

Making new sober friends

Whether you’re recently out of addiction rehab, in a sober living house or back home, friends not only give you the social support you need, they also provide relief from loneliness and boredom. Building strong and lasting sober friendships is an important part of addiction recovery.

One place you can make new friends is at AA meetings, where you’ll find a network of support from like-minded people who understand what you’re going through. However, be wary of the “13-steppers” or sexual predators that prey on recently sober addicts. If you’re unsure if it’s innocent flirting or inappropriate advances, talk to your sponsor or other members of the group, because these predators often have a reputation.

You should try to have a balance of new friends inside and outside of recovery. Friends you make outside of recovery don’t necessarily have to know that you are a recovering addict, as long as they aren’t going to expose you to situations where alcohol and drugs are prevalent. You may like the idea of someone who doesn’t know you as “the addict” or “the recovering addict.”