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Recovery Challenges: How to Deal With Unsupportive Friends After Rehab

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It wasn’t easy being in rehab, but you stuck with it and now you’re ready to move on.  Substance use kept you from reaching your life goals, but you now have a chance for a new start.  Along the way, you’ll face many recovery challenges, but the skills you gained in rehab will help you manage them.  

One of the things you learned in rehab was the importance of cultivating new, sober relationships.  But, it’s hard to walk away from people you’ve known for years.  Yet, continuing the old friendships that were part of your substance use days can lead to relapse.  Another problem with starting anew is that the friends you had before recovery may not understand or respect your new way of life.  

What Are the Most Common Recovery Challenges?

Certainly, the biggest recovery challenge is avoiding relapse which is a complex issue.  Avoiding relapse is like walking through a minefield.  Each day brings a barrage of stress, anxiety, cravings, and old acquaintances to manage.  

Studies show that the most common recovery challenges people in recovery must learn to navigate are:

  • Recovery ChallengesDealing with shame and trauma without drugs or alcohol.
  • Developing effective coping strategies.
  • Repairing old relationships and building new ones.
  • Avoiding boredom.
  • Finding a new purpose.
  • Transitioning from rehab to being back home.

Most rehab programs recognize the difficulties faced by newly recovered individuals. They work with clients before their treatment program ends to create a relapse prevention plan, known as aftercare.  The goal of an aftercare program is to help people like yourself succeed in maintaining sobriety after rehab.  They provide ongoing support, guidance, and resources to keep you on track during your transition back into society.

Despite your participation in an aftercare program, you may still struggle with various issues. So, what else can you do to protect your sobriety?

Suggestions for Managing Recovery Challenges

Dealing with challenges is a common issue for people in early recovery, and it takes determination to get through it.  If you’re in the position of dealing with this type of situation, here are some tips that will help you persevere.

>  Stand Up for Your New Truth

Friends or family may want to argue about your past mistakes while you were using drugs or alcohol.  Remember that recovery was a personal choice and you worked hard to get through rehab.  If people don’t respect or want to question your decision, try to change the subject or just walk away.  

>  You Don’t Have to Explain Yourself

People may not fully understand the reasons for seeking treatment in the first place.  They may not know the whole story about the consequences you were dealing with.  So, they tend to ask too many personal questions.  You should not feel obligated to explain yourself, especially when it comes to highly sensitive information they are probing for.

>  Make Time for You

During recovery, you’ll often be surrounded by people who don’t respect your new sober lifestyle.  Their negativity can shift your perspective and make you doubt yourself and question your goals.  When you feel it’s all a bit too much to deal with, take a step back from them.  Instead, surround yourself with supportive people, and don’t forget to find meaningful activities that will help you rededicate yourself to recovery.

>  Try to Understand How They Feel

When friends or family members are unsupportive, it may be because they are struggling with their own issues.  In turn, they reflect their insecurities onto you.  If they are still actively using drugs or alcohol, they may be defensive about their own substance use.  They may also feel resentful of your ability to quit.  Some people feel the need to bring others down to their level because they don’t have the courage to change.  It’s best to avoid these individuals if you can.

>   Remind Yourself Why You Got Sober

Recovery is not an easy path to walk, and you may feel tempted to give up sometimes.  If so, find ways to remind yourself why you wanted to get sober.  You had a reason, so don’t forget about it.  To help remember why you chose recovery, try keeping a journal.  Also, helping others who are also in recovery can be therapeutic.  You can also listen to recovery-focused podcasts or attend extra group therapy sessions.

Unsupportive friends or family can increase your risk of relapse.  It’s up to you to prioritize your recovery.  Making new friends who want you to succeed is a good way to ensure success.

Design for Change Understands Your Recovery Challenges

Design for Change Recovery realizes that addiction recovery is difficult.  For this reason, we work with our clients to create an aftercare plan to help them transition into sober living.  Our aftercare services provide support and guidance to help clients stay focused on their recovery goals.  A customized plan will include various resources such as sober living facilities, self-help programs, counseling and therapy, medication management, and more.  

To learn more about our full continuum of care for addiction treatment, contact our Lancaster, CA facility by phone, email, or online to speak with a treatment advisor.

Sources: – Recovery and Recovery Support – Recovery

Recovery Challenges: How to Deal With Unsupportive Friends After Rehab