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15 Aug The Importance of a Social Circle during Recovery

Recovery—especially at its early stages—is a time for introspection, when the individual in recovery goes through the psychological changes necessary to gain a grasp on living life sober and to hold to responsibilities such as securing a stable job, managing finances, and practicing healthy eating and exercise habits. Also important for the individual in recovery, however, is a strong social circle that will support him or her in living a fulfilling life. When a recovering addict is supported by a strong social circle, he or she is less likely to seek fulfillment in substance use.

Part of your support system

One primary benefit of having a healthy social circle in your life as you navigate recovery from addiction is that it can serve as a strong part of your support system. A support system is vital to helping you remain accountable, keeping you away from temptations to use, and reminding you of your strengths when you feel a lack in confidence.

Spend less time focusing on your own concerns

While of course it’s important to be mindful of the stresses that you encounter during recovery—and what might trigger a relapse—you can’t spend all of your time focusing on these stresses. Spending time with friends who serve as positive influences will help you to escape the narrow world of your own concerns and will help to put the things causing you stress into perspective.

Feel included

Choosing to seek treatment for your addiction can leave you feeling alienated from the group of fellow users that you are used to spending so much of your time with. When you build a circle of friends that is just as dedicated to your sobriety as you are, spending time with them will help you to feel included once again, which is crucial to rebuilding your own identity and feeling as though you are a part of society once again. You’ll steadily grow into of a social circle that promotes sobriety, instead of one that inhibits it.

Higher quality of life

Studies have shown time and time again that both the quantity and the quality of your social connections has a major influence on your overall happiness. Establishing a strong and positive social circle that includes deep, meaningful relationships, then, will contribute to your overall happiness. When you are enjoying a happier life and feel fulfilled by having a strong social circle, you are less likely to seek relief or pleasure in substance use.

Ally Keenan is a University of Utah graduate and currently works as a Clinical Social Worker and Substance Use Disorder Counselor. Ally started her career in 2009 working in adolescent residential treatment as an assistant program director. Since 2010, she has worked as a clinician with individuals suffering from addictions, chemical dependency, and co-occurring mental health disorders in both the Intensive Outpatient and Residential treatment capacities. Ally currently serves on the board as vice-president of the non-profit foundation Recovery Outreach; a 501(c)(3) organization created to help fund treatment for individuals suffering from addiction and lacking the financial resources to afford it. In 2010, she took the opportunity to incorporate her passion for animals, and their powerful healing nature, into her work through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). She truly enjoys facilitating Equine Psychotherapy, and life-skills sessions, as a form of experiential therapy.

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