The modern world—and social media in particular—has changed the way we think about the word “friend.” Heck, in current usage, the steadfast noun can even be used as a verb, as is: “Hey, I friended you. Why haven’t you accepted my friend request?”
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Friends vs Acquaintances
But let’s face it, the vast majority of people on your social media “friends” list are not really your friends.
It’s not that they are your enemies or anything like that. It’s just that most people on that online list are acquaintances rather than true friends. They are people you know (mostly) and probably people you like (mostly), but when it comes right down to it, your list of social media friends is not exclusively made up of people you could really rely on when the going gets tough, right?
That guy you went to high school with? The woman you met at a networking event who immediately “friended” you? That person whose friend request you accepted out of kindness who only posts about their cat and their political opinions? Yeah, these folks are not your friends in the true sense of the word.
True Friends & Addiction Recovery
If you are a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, you are going to need to know who your true friends are. That’s because a strong support system is a key to ongoing sobriety—and true friends can be a firm foundation for that system of support.
Let’s take a closer look at the key characteristics of a good friend.
A Good Friend Will Forgive You
There is a strong likelihood that you damaged some important relationships while you were using drugs or alcohol. It can be extremely helpful to identify those relationships and apologize to those you may have hurt.
Apologizing is a good idea in and of itself, but it can also be an excellent way to determine who your true friends are. A steadfast friend will accept your apology and will work with you to repair your relationship. Some people may find that they are not able to do that yet—and that’s okay—but those who can are friends you can likely rely on going forward.
A Good Friend Will Support You
While you were taking drugs or drinking to excess, you may have been hanging out with a group of people who you thought of as your friends. Maybe you partied with them regularly or relied on them to supply you with drugs. Maybe you thought you had a real connection with them.
But odds are the only true connections were the drugs and the partying. When you have regained your sobriety, you will need to avoid hanging out with people who are still using. Instead, you will want to spend your time with people who never pressure you to use drugs or alcohol—and who are even willing to trade their usual beer for a soda when you are hanging out together.
A true friend will understand that sobriety can be a fragile thing, and they will always be willing to help you support your efforts to keep it intact.
A Good Friend Will Take Your Late Night Call
It might seem like a cliché worthy of a greeting card, but the truth is that a real friend will answer the phone when you call in the middle of the night. These are the people you can count on when staying sober seems impossible and you are ready to give up. Your friends will be willing to listen—even to come over—in the dead of night because they understand how important that support can be in times of crisis.
Knowing you have a friend like that can be a great comfort—even if you don’t actually make that late night call.
A Good Friend Deserves a Great Friend
We have been focused on how a good friend can support you during your recovery journey. But of course friendship is not a one-sided deal. If you want good friends, you need to make sure you are a good friend in return. You have to be willing to forgive your friend when you get crosswise of one another. You have to be willing to support them when it seems like others have turned their backs on them. And you have to be ready to field the occasional late night phone call.
After all, every single one of us faces a whole range of challenges. Knowing who your true friends are is a key to facing those challenges successfully—no matter what they might be.
Friend, Bel Aire Recovery Center Can Help You Get & Stay Sober
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, it may seem as though you don’t have a friend in the world and that you cannot possibly overcome your addiction. But neither of these things is true. At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we have the experience, expertise, and compassion to help you regain your sobriety—and we can give you the resources, support, and strategies you need to maintain it over time. If you need help, we are ready to provide it—just like a faithful friend.