Content reviewed by Anthony T. Triola, Executive Director at New Hope Ranch
December is traditionally associated with the holiday season. The holiday season is traditionally associated with good cheer, shopping, and family. It can also be a very lonely time. While advancements in technology have made it so you can connect over long distances with friends and family, sometimes this can hurt your social experiences. Many individuals have become accustomed to the convenience of technology at their fingertips that they might miss out on important ways to communicate healthily.
Most options that technology grants can give you too much to focus on. Therefore, connecting with friends and family might become another task to check off your list of things to do. However, interactions with loved ones are essential to recovery and sometimes need more time and attention. December 28, 2021, is National Call a Friend Day and could be the perfect opportunity to call a loved one for a good conversation instead of sending them a quick text. Let’s look at why friends are essential for your recovery and why you should take the time to talk with them instead of sending them a quick text.
The Importance of Friends
Even beyond recovery, friends provide you with many mental health benefits. Friends are great for support and guidance. Studies show that friendships increase a sense of belonging and purpose, boost happiness and help with self-confidence and self-worth.
The dynamics of a healthy friendship are crucial in recovery. If friends cannot support your sobriety and continue to drink or use around you, these friends could lead you to relapse. However, not all friendships are healthy for recovery and can have adverse effects. Therefore, it is important to pursue as many healthy friendships as possible.
Friendship and Relapse Prevention
Relapse is always a real possibility when in recovery. You might experience triggers and impulses from trying to do too much too soon, for example, pursuing romantic relationships, starting a new job or moving. Having many lofty goals happening at once could lead to feeling stressed and overwhelmed. However, this is when reaching out to a friend will benefit you. Whether they are peers from recovery or friends that support your sobriety, they will not only understand that recovery is an ongoing process but remind you that it is a journey.
Friends can also support you to say “no” and offer ways to help you avoid triggering situations. Additionally, having a support system outside of group meetings will enrich your life with sober activities. Such a network can help guide you through everyday life.
Activities could include:
- Playing music
Friends Can Help You Focus on the Importance of Fun
Some individuals believe that there is a perception that they are no longer fun to be around once they get sober. However, this cannot be further from the truth. As helpful and valuable as sober activities are, it is also important to enjoy yourself and have fun.
Recovery does not need to feel like a serious and pressing journey toward health; recovery can be fun. Doing something recreational with friends, such as camping or rock climbing, is just as essential for healthy living. Good friends will remind you of this. Discovering new hobbies and interests should be part of a recovery program.
How Calling a Friend Can Help
The internet and advancements in smartphones have allowed people to communicate in many different ways. However, this has also reduced the number of phone calls made. In 2014, texting overtook phone calls as the most popular form of communication for individuals under 50 years of age. More and more people are trending away from communicating with their voices. Texting friends and family to ask simple questions or low-priority information might be the best way to communicate. However, spoken conversations prove more useful.
Instant messaging fails to help build the communication skills needed for your personal and professional relationships. It can also feel impersonal and not as genuine. However, engaging in conversation can engage and ignite your mind and improve your overall brain function and experience while talking to someone verbally. Therefore, a verbal form of interaction can be more pleasurable mentally and physically.
Participate in National Call a Friend Day
Since the holiday season can be stressful and even lonely, reaching out to friends that support you is the best remedy. The easiest way to participate is to call a friend. Even a conversation that lasts a couple of minutes will go a long way. Not only can it help you cope with any feelings of loneliness, but it can help a friend too. Sometimes these moments can remind you that you share certain experiences with others, and it can be comforting knowing that you are there for one another.
Surrounding yourself with healthy friendships is essential to the recovery journey. However, you must remain persistent and continue to stay in touch. While text, email and direct messaging are good ways to connect, it is important to call now and again. Having conversations adds depth to your interactions because hearing one’s voice is more beneficial than reading a text. At New Hope Ranch, we understand that the recovery journey can become lonely. Our programs work to build friendships and community in your life where you might not have had it before. Our approach to care, including helping you seek 12-step programs in Texas, will create bonds in your life that help you participate in activities long after treatment. We aim to help you realize the support and potential you have in all areas of your life. If you are currently struggling to manage your recovery, get help today. Call us at (737) 600-8565.