The bad news is your friend has a substance abuse problem. The good news is they wanted to get help and they got it. You miss your old friend and want them to be themself again and get healthy. You are supportive of their decision to seek treatment and you want to be there for them when they get out so that they can stay on the right path. The problem is, you don’t know how to interact with them, and you are feeling uncomfortable in their presence. What do you do?
When your friend comes out of treatment, they may have a different perspective on life and different boundaries. Rightfully so. It may take getting to know them again from a different point of view than before, but that is OK because, at the end of the day, they are still the friend you knew before their addiction took hold. The problem is, maybe alcohol is their substance of choice and you used to enjoy time together drinking. Now you aren’t sure what to do together, what to say to them, or how they will respond to you.
These are normal and natural feelings for those of us waiting for our loved ones on the outside.
Let Your Friend Make The Calls
Your friend is going to be assessing his or her life and those who they have previously surrounded themselves with. Their fresh new perspective on what will work for them will determine who they will want to continue to socialize with. If they choose to reach out to you and connect, that is a good sign that they trust your friendship and your part in their life.
If it takes a while, give it time. They are adjusting to a new way of thinking and behaving in an environment that was once where they engaged in toxic activities. They may even want to potentially leave to start new somewhere else so as not to fall into old habits. Environments pose many triggers.
When they first get out, it can be overwhelming starting back again on the other side of treatment. Reach out to your friend and let them know you are here for them if they want if they need it. Then let them determine if your friendship will continue by allowing them to make the call on who they will continue to be associated with.
How To Relate To A Newly Sober Friend
When your friend has connected with you, getting back together again isn’t entirely different than getting together with any other friends. When they are first out of treatment, you will want to just keep in mind that they are sober and learning how to be sober on their own in everyday life. So just keep that in the back of your head. The good news is that after some time you won’t even have to think about it before you hang out with your friend, you will just act naturally around them because you will have learned how to do so. Try the following:
- They are your friend regardless of their sobriety journey, treat them with love and respect like you would any other friend.
- Unless they want to talk about their substance abuse issue, there is no need for you to bring it up. Everyone that knows them knows that they had an issue, don’t assume that because they are out of treatment that is the topic of conversation they want to talk about.
- Engage in fun, healthy activities like hikes, yoga, movies, and cooking classes.
Building Strong Relationships
Recovering addicts aren’t fragile or damaged. Treating newly sober individuals with the love and care that you would anyone else will make them feel more comfortable at home. If you have a friend that isn’t quite there yet and needs help, Discovery Place’s alternative medical detox and alternative addiction treatment center have programs designed to help those dealing with addiction who want to get sober. Our facility is located in the beautiful rolling hills of the Tennessee countryside. Discovery Place’s alternative Tennessee addiction treatment center is a place you can heal and overcome your addiction.
Call our Tennessee alternative detox treatment center anytime day or night at 1-800-725-0922 to discuss your situation.