How Sober Living Helps You Disconnect from Old Peers and Establish New Healthy Relationships in Early Recovery

Have you found it difficult to disconnect from relationships which trigger an urge to use drugs or alcohol? Your past relationships friends you went to happy hour with, or people who remind you of your drug-seeking behaviors, create stress in early recovery. Learning to disconnect from your past acquaintances is vital to success in long term recovery.


Once you’ve taken the initial steps to seek recovery, you’ll begin to reflect upon your past behavior for a while. You’ll learn a lot about yourself.  The work you will be doing with your recovery coach involves creating a plan for day-to-day success in a lifestyle in recovery. You’ll find that you are more calm, relaxed, and able to make better decisions about your life.


Sober living is the link to establishing a sober support network and healthy peer relationships


Residing in a sober living home has allowed you to establish connections with new peers who hold you accountable to your goals, will support your decisions made in an effort to stay sober, and motivate you to continue to pursue happiness in life.  


While you are creating new habits and new healthy relationships, your past actions, behavioris, and acquaintances arouse feelings of regret, guilt, and shame. It is vital to work through these emotions to find happiness in your recovery.


You chose to reside in a sober living home after treatment because you add the extra support and structure to help you learn how to use the tools and skills acquired while in therapy.


Triggers which cause cravings to use can be found anywhere and everywhere throughout the day. One of the triggers which create stress in your recovery is learning how to disconnect from


Your life in recovery requires commitment and a propensity to create new healthy connections. It is challenging; learning to walk away from old acquaintances and friends from your past, but you will realize that past relationships are dangerous to your sobriety.


Regardless of whether your old companions support your recovery or not, investing energy and time to these former peers creates stress. When you are serious about creating happiness in your life in recovery, it is vital to develop an escape plan to handle conversations with these old companions.


Here are three tips you can use to help you disconnect from unhealthy peer bonds and establish new, and healthy, relationships:


1. Use your new healthy relationships to practice what you'll say to old companions.


Envision potential communications with your old companions. When you meet with your recovery coach; rehearse, or role-play, situations when you might be faced with a former peer. Doing this will enable you to deal with circumstances without surprise or being caught off guard. Not only will you be prepared for such uncomfortable occasions, you will also have a coping strategy to follow to help you deal with the stress or urge to use, which might follow after you end the conversation.


Different scenarios you can plan for are as follows:

  • What will you do if you keep running into an old companion in the city?

  • What will you do if an old companion reaches you and needs to hang out?

  • Imagine a scenario where an old friend makes a trip to see you: Preparing and having a readied reaction primed for interaction with them, is a lifeline for survival after treatment.



2. Be transparent - Recover Out Loud, with new healthy relationships.


Coming up with reasons for why you can't spend time with old companions can get old, and chances are, you're not fooling anybody. The best arrangement is to be straightforward and open with your old friends, especially if they call, or make a trip, and need to see you.


Clarify that, at present, concentrating on your recovery is an essential thing in your life, and spending time with old companions makes you fear falling back into old patterns and behaviors.


Trey Laird, founder and CEO of The Lighthouse Sober Living, feels that when he lets others know that he no longer drinks alcohol or uses illicit drugs, the fewer people he has to drink or drug with. In his Linked In post , he writes more about how his decision to Recover Out Loud was so beneficial to his path in recovery.


3. Decide when or if it is safe to reconnect with old peers


Living day to day after treatment involves forging new relationships. It's ideal to separate ties with old partying companions. While it's critical to surround yourself with non-using individuals in early recovery, it isn't realistic to say that you'll never again be able to associate with any of the people from your past active addiction.


If a peer you used with was a family member or close friend you might decide to reconnect with them. Only you will know when you're ready to begin to spend time with people from your past, and that decision will be based on several variable elements. Discuss reconnecting with old peers or family members with your recovery coach or 12-step sponsor. Most importantly; if the friend respects the life choices you have made. If your relationship was based entirely on using, there is no reason to reconnect with those friends. In those cases, you will no longer have a common thread or motivation to spend time with them.


While residing in sober living, use your time to create positive, healthy relationships, which support your choices and goals. Even when old friends do not coerce you to use just being around them is a trigger in and of itself.

Recovery is a process of establishing new connections and healthy relationships.


Recovery is a process that drives you to improve your life and to achieve your full potential. Interacting with old companions can derail the active recovery, yet growing new healthy relationships with individuals in recovery, helps ease the pain of losing old companions.


Choosing to reside in sober living can help you navigate everyday life after treatment. Sober living allows you to experiment and investigate new conceivable outcomes for your life. Discovering new ways to enjoy life without using is vital to achieving happiness in a lifestyle of recovery.  


At first, you might find it troublesome to break ties with old companions. However, as your recovery strengthens you'll build more beneficial connections.  You'll come to understand that it’s simpler to separate yourself from your previous lifestyle, and people who affected you in negative ways.


If you or a loved one would like to learn more about the benefits of sober living, call Mark O’Connor at 203-246-9534


John Makohen