Tag Archives: friend

How to Change Your Playground

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“Everyone in the recovery rooms suggest that you don’t make any major life decisions/changes within the first year of recovery however, they do tell you to also change your playground. That means; people, places and things. These guidelines are made for a good reason but I found in order to do one thing, I had to discount the other. I moved to Florida for a fresh start. I changed everything. Here, I know only family members that support my recovery and other than that, this place is like a foreign land. I have found that, despite the major change, changing my playground has been the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. It keeps me on track; no distractions, no temptations. Here are some tips of how you can make the change without going miles away!” -Love, Robyn

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One of the most crucial components of a successful addiction recovery is changing your lifestyle. This most often includes distancing yourself from old drinking friends and haunts, such as a favorite bar. Addiction recovery usually entails making new friends. This may seem like a daunting task, but it’s something we all do throughout our lives. Healthy friends are important to our emotional and physical well-being, and they can impact someone’s recovery by decreasing the risk of relapse.

Here are some tips from PsychCentral.com on how to find new friends while in addiction recovery:

  1. Making friends is not just for the young. Most friendships don’t span a lifetime, so many people are continually looking to replenish their group of friends. Remember that looking for friends at any age is normal.
  2. Pursue your passions to find friends who share similar interests. If you’re just starting to realize your passions during your new life in recovery, pick a hobby or try out a few. Look for local and online communities that are involved in the same activities.
  3. Put yourself in situations where you see the same people routinely. For example, the gym, a class, club, political group or volunteer organization. It’s often casual acquaintances that set the ground for new friendships. Start conversations and follow-up with people. Show you’re interested in others’ lives.
  4. Don’t shy away from online communities or websites, such as www.girlfriencircles.com orwww.meetup.com. Athletics, book clubs, films, gardening, or pets. Find people who are interested in the same things you are and there is potential for developing a new friendship. Enjoy friendships online and/or offline. Join neighborhood or apartment building listservs to try and meet those around you.
  5. Be prepared that not every person you try to befriend will turn into a friendship. This is a healthy and expected part of life.

Be patient. Friendships don’t just happen over night. Give it time and don’t give up if at first it feels awkward or intimidating. There are many rewards to growing new friendships while building your new life in addiction recovery.

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Take Seven

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She remembers a time when her phone was so heavy. When she could find any excuse not to pick it up. But something about today was different. Something couldn’t keep her hands off her phone. She went down a long list of all the girls she met in rehab. Only about a quarter of them picked up but every conversation was worth it. Talking to some of them for almost an hour. Reminiscing, complaining, and expressing so much gratitude for their sober lives. So much happiness to hear from her again and know how well she was doing.

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In rehab, she had been something of a teachers pet. She sped through the steps one through three thoroughly. Constantly asking questions and seeking advise from the other girls and counselors. She kept everything neat and pristine in a large three inch binder. It was so packed after a few days that she could hardly get it to open. She didn’t care and all the girls found her so amusing.

When she first arrived she was in a daze. Having just came out of the psych ward for a week, she wasn’t sure what she was getting into. All she cared about was the fact that she was out of her house. She was going stir crazy. Knowing not to talk to any of the people she got high with in college, she tried contacting her old friend from high school. Lets call her Sunny.

Relying on Sunny was such a fail, such a disappointment. Sunny was afraid of her now. Everything she had vented to her about her experience in psychosis and her admitting to her addiction had just caused Sunny to push her further away. Its like she changed. Everything was different. She no longer accepted her. Sometimes she wonders how things got this way. We once promised we would always be there for each other, no matter what. We were going to be friends for life. But what good is it if she choses to ignore me? I am sick of all the excuses. We had a month to see each other… She seemed to be so apologetic when I called her in rehab…

I really needed you Sunny! Why didn’t you see that? You were the first person I called when I got back from India and I really could have used your support.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize what was going on.”

“You could tell something was wrong though…”

“But I didn’t know what to do! I didn’t understand what you had went through! I guess I just thought you would be a bad influence on me…”

“Really?… I was trying to get better. I was seeking your help and your support. I just really need your support. Can you promise me that you’ll always be here for me? When I get out, can we see each other and really talk?”

“Of course! I’m so sorry, I just had no idea. I’ll be here for you.”

Lies. All lies. She should have known better. She should have seen this coming. It had been so long since they had talked. Even while she was in India she couldn’t get a hold of her. Sunny was surely going through her own shit but is that an excuse to leave a friend behind? That was the last kind of person she wanted to be. She had been a poor friend before to quite a lot of people. She had dismissed them and left them with nothing but sour words all for the sake of her independence.

She always had a hard time keeping friends. Making them was easy, it was listening to the same stories, committing to emotions, understanding the expression of feelings and dealing with the neediness. She couldn’t handle all the responsibility. She could never give them what they gave to her. She knew that. At least thats what she thought back then. Several years later she has a different approach. Finally grasping the importance of friendship, she’s changed her views and made it somewhat of a goal to be a better friend. She started with picking up the phone. And she’ll never forget the support and love she received in those minutes that turned into an hour, but will last the whole day.

Take Five

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Take Five

Sure enough(she really should’ve known) when it came to going up, she would come down. This rapid cycling has been going on for about two weeks now. Today she spent the whole day laying in her bed crying. Going over all the insanity she had experienced six months prior when she was in India. Every time she managed to stop, she burst end out in tears again. She decided to make some calls. After several failed attempts she finally reached a girl she had met in rehab.

Amy had been a good friend from the start. At the age of 19, with it being her first time in rehab, she had more in common than most of the other girls. They spoke about their dreams of travel and made up a master scheme to backpack around the US with all the money they would save in sobriety. But those dreams were about to be shattered… 

The moment she picked up her words formed in an endless stream, overwhelming Amy on the other line, “Hi! How are you!? I’m terrible, I don’t know what’s going on I’ve been crying non-stop and I just don’t know why I think its a bipolar flare up or something I know you don’t have bipolar but I just thought I’d see how you were doing I just need to talk to someone! How are you?! What are you doing?!” 

It didn’t take long for Amy to come out with her guilty truths. She had relapsed and judging on her tone and lack of inspiration, she wasn’t coming back just yet. She explained how she had ODed… 

Amy listened as she began to cry for her. “Oh! No! I feel like I want to relapse now! How could you? What’s going on? What made you relapse?!” 

Amy immediately replied, “No! Don’t relapse too, be strong! It’s just tough for me, so many things have been going on, I just can’t control…”

Ahh, but there lies the problem. Amy thought she had to control this. But that’s not it. Give it to your higher power. That’s what I’ve learned in NA and AA. It took her another phone call to a member of NA, Ryan, before she realized this. After that call she had prayed so hard she though God would get annoyed.

Ultimately it took her a long walk, a couple more calls before she was able to calm herself down. One girl, Tay, told her firmly that everything passes. Tay may not struggle with bipolar disorder but if there is anything she knows how to do, its lift people up when their down. When she hung up with her she felt empowered enough to get out of the house and keep her mind busy. Though that was another faulty idea, as her sister, Jacquelyn, pointed out. 

“You need to face your thoughts, not just dismiss them and burry them in your heart. You can’t escape from yourself or you disorder. You have to learn to live with it. It may not be who you are but it will always be apart of you.” Jacquelyn told her.

She found all of these people so gracious and understanding. She knew again– because she needed reminding– that she was loved and not alone

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