4 Ways to Get Your Recovered Social Life Back on Track
Being in (addiction) recovery means putting your health and recovery first. Eventually, you will want to start getting your social life back on track. But, this can seem like a tall order for people who feel guilty about their past or who have little confidence in being able to abstain while attending parties, going for dinner, and socializing in general. These tips will help you get your recovered social life back on track.
1. Host Social Events
If you worry about the temptations of social situations, take control by hosting your own. Holding dinner parties, game nights, and other gatherings will give you the confidence to reconnect with family members and friends in a safe, substance-free setting. You also control the guest list, so invite people who support your recovery and with whom you are comfortable.
2. Have a Support System in Place
People in recovery especially understand the value of a strong support system. Don’t let your support system end when you venture back into the social scene. Your recovery process is something that you need to maintain for the rest of your life, and having social support will help you bring the fun back into your life, too.
When you decide to go out for the first time in recovery, ask for help from your support system. Family, friends, or your sponsor can accompany you and help you stay on track for the evening. Choose someone who will understand if you need to leave part-way through dinner or who will be able to distract you from temptations. Consider attending a support meeting afterward so that you can share your challenges and get more support.
3. Think Outside the Box to Make Socializing Easier
If you have tried socializing but continue to feel stressed or anxious, think outside the box to make things easier. For example, try going to new places to socialize. You may feel more comfortable in a small, local coffee shop than in a bustling restaurant with a bar. Be kind to yourself and don’t force yourself into situations that you don’t feel ready for immediately.
Another way to think outside the box when socializing is to get a dog. First, you should know that there are several mental and physical health benefits of owning a dog. According to Time, pet owners have lower blood pressure, heart rate, and risk of heart disease than non-pet owners. You will spend more time exercising and playing when you own a dog, both of which help reduce stress.
But, a dog can help you in other ways, too. When you take a walk with your dog, it is easier for you to talk to new people. You will find yourself handling low-pressure interactions with others more easily when your dog is by your side. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet new people at the dog park when you take your dog to play.
If you can’t own a dog because of your living situation, don’t despair. Another way to benefit from being around dogs is to become a dog walker. You will get to know new people as you take on clients, and you’ll be able to socialize at the dog park while making money caring for someone else’s pet.
4. Don’t Rush Into a Relationship
Most addiction treatment programs advise people in recovery to avoid dating or starting a romantic relationship for the first year. According to U.S. News & World Report, recovery should be your priority, and people who are single should stay that way for at least one year to avoid replacing alcohol addiction with a love addiction.
Furthermore, relationships are stressful, and you don’t need added stress during the first year of recovery. While you begin socializing again, focus on strengthening friendships and family ties. The time will come for you to get your romantic life back on track.
Being in recovery doesn’t mean you can’t be social. To get your recovered social life back on track, host events, rely on your support system, and think outside the box. Remember not to rush into a relationship for the first year.
Michelle Peterson believes the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride. Her mission is aligned with that of RecoveryPride, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it.