Men’s Issues: I Don’t Want To Lose My Friends

friends in recovery

Table of Contents

It may or may not be surprising to hear that one of the most common concerns for those of us who are new to recovery is the potential loss of friends. We may fear that our friends will abandon us once we adopt the recovery lifestyle or, on the flip side, that we will have to leave certain friends behind to ensure our own recovery. Either way you slice it, friendships tend to cause a lot of worry in early recovery.

Friendships are normally a happy part of life, so it seems strange that such a good thing could make us hesitant about our own recovery. True friendships should be able to endure whatever lifestyle changes the people involved make, especially when it means life or death for one of them. But sadly, this is not always the case. Hence, potentially losing friendships becomes an issue of real concern for many men in early recovery.

Recovery Is Not the End of Fun

We need to clear this up and get it out of the way from the start. Friendship and fun go hand in hand. Many newcomers to recovery fear that the 12-Step lifestyle means the death of fun. They’re afraid they will become boring, uptight people in recovery and their friends will abandon them for being so square. But the truth is that you can be anything you want to be in recovery, and life in recovery is most certainly not the end of fun. We are not a glum lot. We absolutely insist on enjoying life! What good would recovery be if the life we lived wasn’t a million times better than our life in the active disease? Living in recovery is all about being happy, joyous, and free. So let’s put the “no more fun” fears to rest right now. Recovery is the beginning of the real fun.

Old Friends

It’s likely that we’re lucky enough to have a few old friends. For those of us who are so fortunate, this can be scary to consider in the light of recovery. These people have known us for a long time, and suddenly we and our life will be drastically different. But it’s also very likely that if we have old friends, they care about us very much. They will most likely be happy that we have found a solution to our alcoholism or addiction. They will probably be among the most supportive about our new journey, whatever changes it may bring.

Fairweather Friendships

We’ve all heard of fairweather friends, the kind who are only around for the good times. The second we need help moving, their phone doesn’t work anymore. We don’t ever want to be this kind of friend, but we don’t necessarily owe anything to this kind of friend either. The 12-Step program tells us that constant thought of others and how we may be of service to them is vital for our lives and our recovery. If a fairweather friend needs help moving, then we are there for them whether they’d be there for us or not. But if we risk losing this kind of friend because of our recovery, we need to think long and hard about whether or not loyalty is worth risking our lives over. After all, recovery is a matter of life or death for most alcoholics and addicts. Friendship is a beautiful perk and perhaps one of the best parts of being alive, but it isn’t a life or death deal.

Bar Buddies

Now we’ve come to what is usually the biggest issue. Our time spent in active disease is full of heightened emotions and drama. We forge friendships in barrooms or at the dealer’s house, and we become close to these people quickly. After all, they encouraged our disease the way we wished everyone would. But then we had enough, likely lost everything, and maybe even got close to death. We were lucky enough to find recovery, but now we find ourselves concerned about losing the friendships made in the darkest times of our lives. We want to go back to the bar or the drug pad and see our old friends, maybe even see if they want to come to a meeting. The harsh truth here is that the friends we made in our disease, the ones who drink and use, are not healthy friendships for us as we work our way through recovery. In the right program, you can surround yourself with people who will encourage and support your recovery lifestyle and forge real friendships that stand the test of time.

Friendships in Recovery

Friendships in recovery aren’t just a bonus of working the 12-Step program, they’re an integral part of our recovery. That’s right — friendship is part of the deal. We simply can’t recover alone. We need each other to work the Steps and we need each other to recover. Not only are the relationships we make in the 12-Step program a beautiful necessity, but working the 12 Steps themselves helps us become better in all our relationships. As we work the program, we better our existing relationships and make brand new ones along the way. As we go to meetings, work the Steps, and find ways to be of service, we forge bonds and friendships that we never could have imagined. Friendships in recovery make our lives full, fun, and connected.

Jaywalker Lodge is all about community. We believe in the beauty and power of the relationships we make in recovery, and we know the transformative and healing power the 12 Steps has for all the relationships in our lives. Recovery has a lot to say about making us more fit for all the connections we have, and part of that practice is the new relationships we forge as we work the program. So not only do the 12 Steps help us live in freedom and recovery, but they fill our lives with healthy connections. People are what make life full and fun, and recovery is all about living a life that’s as full and fun as possible! Jaywalker Lodge believes in community so much that we keep our alumni involved all the time. We do meetings together, family dinners together, and service to the extended community together. If you’re ready to become part of a thriving recovery community, call Jaywalker Lodge now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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