How to Find a Healthy Friend Group in Recovery


Group of friends laughing

Seeking substance use treatment is difficult but you don’t have to do it alone. Studies have shown that a key aspect of success in recovery is changing your social network to initiate and maintain abstinence. Finding a healthy friend group is a major part of the recovery journey.


Outpatient treatment programs are an important part of your recovery support system and offer an opportunity to meet others who are also on a journey of recovery. However, it is important to find people outside of that, in your personal life to support you in your journey. This process can be isolating and intimidating but positive social relationships are a key component of healthy recovery support systems.


Substance use can place a lot of strain on relationships and friendships. Forming your recovery support system may take time, but today we will talk about some suggestions for finding good people to navigate recovery with.


Support for Mental, Physical, and Social Recovery Needs

Substance use is viewed from a biopsychosocial approach. This process emphasizes the biological, psychological, and social implications of substance use on an individual. The biological aspect refers to the physical implications of substance on the brain, its structure and functioning. The psychological aspect refers to the impact substance use can have on your mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as disorders that are often comorbid with substance use. However, for the sake of this article, we will be stressing the social aspect of healing from addiction. Social factors can increase positive friendships and outcomes, and decrease risk factors of relapse and unhealthy coping habits.


Recognizing the importance of each component of this model can help us understand what whole-person recovery looks like. We need interventions in each primary area in order for recovery that lasts.


Finding Friends in Recovery

Making new friends can be intimidating and difficult at times. Knowing where to look, how to approach someone new, and how to initiate a healthy and supportive friendship takes time. Those who are in recovery themselves will have a first-hand understanding of where you’ve been in life, but you may not want recovery friends to comprise your entire support system. Having friends with similar passions and interests can give you a sense of normalcy and provide insight into life without a fixation on substances is like.


Below are 4 tips to help you find a healthy friend group in recovery.

  1. Facebook and Other Online Platforms In the times of social media, it is easy to connect with people instantly and virtually... Looking at local groups or organizations that offer social events for people in recovery or meet-ups for specific activities can help you find people you have things in common with. This can be a great way to approach finding friends and developing some new hobbies while you’re at it.

  2. Rekindling Old Friendships Substance use can make it difficult to maintain relationships and may sever relationships with people who care about you. Often these relationships end because they want what is best for you and cannot support your choices with substance use. When seeking out a healthy friend group in recovery, rekindling old friendships and relationships could be beneficial in processing past mistakes and finding support in recovery. True friends will avoid shaming you for how you’ve acted in the past, although some hard conversations may be necessary to clear the air between you.

  3. Yoga (and Other Healthy Hobbies) Developing hobbies are another great way to make friends. Participating in workout classes, like yoga, is not only good for your mind and body but can help you connect with people who share similar interests with you. This may not be specifically in the form of recovery, but maybe people who are looking to better themselves physically and mentally. Either way, you have the same common goal. If yoga isn’t your thing, you can look for other workout classes, walking/running/hiking/cycling groups, art classes, book clubs, adult education classes, or look into what else your community offers.

  4. There’s an App for That Phone applications are no longer just for dating in the modern world. There are many apps that are designed to help people find friends based on common interests and hobbies. Utilizing an app can be helpful to break the ice and ease into finding friends with some less pressure and in a less intimidating way. These apps can help give you a space to find people you relate to and can have a positive impact on you in your recovery.

It Takes a Village

Recovery is challenging enough and it is especially difficult managing recovery alone or with negative, tempting influences. Having a support system of positive influences and motivational individuals is critical to aid in a successful recovery. Humans are social beings and our influences create enormous impact. In fact, you could even build lasting relationships with others in recovery and be a support for each other outside of the program. For questions or concerns about recovery and making friends in recovery, the professionals at SagePoint IOP can guide you through the recovery options and process and be the start of your healthy support system.