“True friends are families which you can select” – Audrey Hepburn
I’d bet my big toe that a large majority of alcoholics and addicts come into the world of sobriety without an army of best friends and devoted supporters trailing behind them for moral support. We kind of have a habit of creating wreckage, burning bridges, and hurting those we loved in order to obtain whatever we needed to feel okay.
Sometimes, we can mend those relationships, and sometimes we can’t. But the most beautiful, the most meaningful part about getting clean and sober, is becoming part of a network with sober supports, who have been where we have, and who can show us how to better.
If you are one of those people that has scraped and clawed your way through life, completely alone, and feel that you don’t need friends or support, try to soften your heart for a moment and consider the possibilities. As of right now, many of newly recovering alcoholics and addicts have no idea about WHY THEY EVEN NEED SOBER SUPPORTS.
When You’re First Starting Out
Listen, it’s going to feel weird, and you’re going to probably feel pretty embarrassed, but you will find that:
A: it gets easier
B: it’s going to save your life
Walking up to a complete stranger and asking them for their phone number, without having a drink or a drug in you (this isn’t a bar homie) is not something we are used to doing. This can be especially tricky for men because all of that pride and ego and whatever. But here’s the deal, when we first come into these rooms, we have literally ZERO idea how to get sober, or else we wouldn’t be here, duhhh.
So, making friends and sober supports with these other alcoholics and addicts, will not only get us connected to the program and the fellowship, but they will help us navigate our next steps, point us in the direction of a good sponsor, or just show us that fun in sobriety is possible.
When SH** Hits the Fan
Getting sober is no easy feat. So if you are working towards that goal, let me extend my greatest congratulations to you. Unfortunately, I know all too well the depths that you are coming out of right now, and I can promise you that it gets better.
We need sober supports because, firstly, people who have not been to the bottom of the barrel, simply do not understand us. They can try, and they can sympathize, but they will never truly comprehend the destructive patterns and self-mutilating behaviors that characterized our previous make-up.
Do you know who does? Other alcoholics and addicts.
Having friends and sober supporters who have been to hell and have come out the other side to live a happy and sober life, are strictly staying sober by helping the newcomers. One day, you will be that person to reach your hand out and help someone new as well.
The 12th step of our program centers around the fact that we help other people. Page 89 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states,
“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail..
Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.”
Never in my life would I have thought that I would actually ENJOY helping people, let alone just sitting and listening to the issues and the joys they are going through in their lives But it has actually become one of the greatest… dare I say, blessings, that my sobriety has given me.
So Go out There and Make Some Friends!
Please excuse my corny, Pollyanna mentality on this, I just get excited, I actually have friends and solid sober supports today to get excited about, I definitely couldn’t say that during my addiction.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips, tricks, whatever, to get the ball rolling.
- Go to a Meeting!: This is where the magic happens. Raise your hand, share that you are new. DO IT! If you hear someone share something you like, muster up the courage to go up and talk to them after.
- Get Phone Numbers!: Again, this is weird, but get over yourself, and do it. I can give you my 100% guarantee that they will save your butt some day.
- Get Involved: Whether it be a service commitment or just fellowshipping after the meeting, get involved.
- Get a Sponsor: Chances are, your sponsor has other sponsees that you can hang out with, and your sponsor probably has sober supports that you can call. Sponsorship is just… amazing. Utilize it!
For myself, I didn’t want to reach my hand out for a long time because I felt all of that fear that no one would like me, or that I was a burden or that they didn’t want me around.
Oh, how wrong I was! Having sober supports taught me that I was loved, people cared about me, and that I was worthy of good friends, good times, and a better life.
Now I’m not saying that you are going to want to be friends with every person in every meeting. Chances are, there are going to be some meetings that you go to where no one sparks your interest or seems to have a sobriety that you desire. That’s okay, because the coolest thing about sobriety, is that WE get to shape it ourselves. We get to pick our friends and sober supports, we get to pray how we want and go to whatever meetings we want, we pick our own sponsor, etc., etc.
So take your time, find people who will truly support you, and have your back, and call you on your B.S. But remember, the only way to have a true friendship, is to also be a true friend.
Need Help for Substance Abuse?
Addiction in any form is never a pretty thing. Lives are ruined and chaos is unshackled as we begin to fixate on whatever chemicals can be tossed our way. This can go on for some time unless we listen to our inner intuition telling us that everything is not okay. Justifying our alcoholic tendencies will only keep up in the misery for longer. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need substance abuse treatment, please call 1-855-49hills or visit www.hhills.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.