Whether you can still be friends with people who drink after you get out of rehab is difficult to say. On the one hand, you want to surround yourself with people who support your sobriety. On the other hand, you may have known some people for a long time and don’t want to lose their friendship. It’s not an easy decision, and you need to weigh the pros and cons.
A few things to consider are whether your friends pressure you to drink and how often they drink, as well as their willingness to respect your sobriety. If you decide to remain friends with someone who drinks, be sure to stick to your boundaries. Tell your friends that you don’t want to be around alcohol and just want to make social plans that don’t involve drinking. In addition, you may want to make new friends who can support your sobriety.
Evaluate Old Friendships Based on Relapse Risk
The presence of alcohol-dependent people can increase your likelihood of relapsing. If you’re trying to stay sober, avoid the risk of relapse when choosing whom to spend time with. Research has shown that being around people who drink can increase your craving for alcohol and make you more likely to relapse. Spending time with people who engage in activities you’re trying to avoid can lead to temptation and relapse. In addition, being around people who drink can make you feel uncomfortable and trigger anxiety or depression. If everyone around you is drinking and you aren’t, it is helpful to have a plan to leave. Never allow yourself to feel pressured to remain in an uncomfortable environment. When you’re sober, there is no shame in admitting that you need to look after yourself, and that sometimes means cutting yourself off from old friends who don’t support your sobriety.
Make New Friends Who Support Healthy Lifestyle
If you feel at risk of relapsing, finding new friends who support your sobriety may be in your best interest if you have old friends who still drink and tease you about joining them. There may be old friends who agree not to drink when spending time with you. Along with deciding which friends you want to hang out with who still drink, you should also consider making new friends. New friends can be a tremendous help if you’re trying to stay sober.
There are many reasons why you should consider making new friends who support your new sober lifestyle choice. To begin with, they can hold you accountable. If no one checks in on you, it’s easier to relapse, but if you have friends who care about your sobriety, they’ll check in on you and make sure you’re doing well. Second, friends can provide distractions. To avoid thinking about drinking or using drugs, it’s helpful to keep yourself occupied with fun activities and hanging out with friends is a terrific way to do that.
Set Boundaries with Old Friends
Even if your old friends refuse to admit that they have a drinking problem and put you at risk of relapsing, you can always set firmer boundaries. You may have already set some boundaries with your friends, telling them not to offer you alcohol or consume alcohol around you. However, if you’re still experiencing problems, you may need to set some firmer boundaries. Tell your friends that you no longer want to drink alcohol and see if they are open to hanging out in other settings. You may need to reassess your friendship if they are unwilling to compromise. You need to surround yourself with supportive people if you decide not to drink.
Here are a few more tips for setting boundaries with friends who drink around you.
- You have the right to say no. Please don’t feel the need to justify your decision not to drink. Simply say you’re not willing to go back to your old ways.
- Be assertive when needed. If your friends are forcing you to drink, tell them you don’t want to. Even if they don’t like it at first, they’ll respect your decision. Besides firmly saying no, you can also let your friends know you appreciate their support if you want to stay sober by reaching out to them.
- Walk away from a situation if it gets too intense. When you start to feel uncomfortable or your friends start to get rowdy, it’s fine to leave. You don’t have to stay in a place that makes you uncomfortable.
Call us at 833-846-5669 if you would like to learn more about how to stay sober after a relapse. Counselors can offer suggestions and resources to assist you in your journey.