Committing to recovery is potentially one of the most terrifying actions an addict or alcoholic will ever take. In attending an inpatient drug rehab and pledging to a professionally formulated aftercare program, you are essentially promising yourself and those that love you that you will completely change your life permanently and for the better. As logical as the transition from a depraved and miserable life of isolation and physical discomfort to a life of general ease and happiness may seem, many face the opportunity of recovery with extreme apprehension. The fear of the unknown comes into play in this situation – a fear that may prevent those in desperate need of professional help from seeking it before it is too late. One fear in particular that may hinder a fair amount of addicts from seeking treatment and from succeeding in maintaining sobriety for any prolonged length of time is the fear of making new friends. There is essentially nothing more frightening than approaching a stranger and introducing yourself – especially if you are not yet entirely confident in who you are. However, in order to enrich your own life significantly and thrive in your recovery it is essential to surround yourself with genuine and reliable sober supports – and this means, unfortunately, stepping outside of your comfort zone and making new friends.
Making Friends in Early Recovery
It may be surprising, but making friends in early recovery is far, far easier than you could ever imagine. As it turns out, most of the individuals you will meet in 12-step meetings are just as insane as you are, making the ability to relate a non-issue. Additionally, all those in the rooms of AA and other 12-step fellowships are going through exactly the same thing as you are – or have been through what you are going through before. Simply approach a stranger after or before the meeting and begin conversation, and you will be shocked to find that you can relate on at least several levels. It may seem awkward and uncomfortable at first, but take comfort in knowing that most everyone feels the same exact way you do. Still, it may help to have several conversation starters on hand.
Conversation Starters to Make Introductions Easier
In order to make your assumedly awkward (it is easier and less awkward than you think) introductions more self-assured, we have compiled a list of potential friend pick-up-lines.
- “Hey, I heard you share in a meeting and thought you had some really good stuff to say. I was wondering if I could get your number?”
- “Hey, I’m looking for a couple people who are solid in their sobriety to talk to, maybe we could get together for coffee?”
- “Hey, I like your shirt.”
- “Hi, my sponsor wants me to get phone numbers and call a few people… is it cool if I give you a call later tonight?”
- “How long have you been in [insert city name here]?”
You can pretty much get away with any introduction, no matter how lame you think it is. Reach your hand out and introduce yourself by name. If someone is wearing an LA Dodgers cap and you know something about baseball, ask them if they have ever been to a game. Be creative and be brave – approaching people is not necessarily easy, though making friends in early recovery is.