In January’s TIME article entitled “Friendship is Key to Sticking To Goals,” Carlin Flora demonstrates a correlation between healthy friendships and success. The connection, she writes, is especially relevant when someone is going through addiction rehab. While it is true that friends can sometimes negatively influence one another, a healthy lifestyle demands healthy relationships; a positive friendship could be the difference between a sober life, or relapse and needing treatment for addiction.
Flora writes, “Forging new friendships with people who are also determined to stay clean, however, establishes different patterns and helps fill the emotional holes that form when one abandons a way of life.”
Friends, she argues, can help us to “reinforce individual willpower,” giving us the push needed to stay true to any goals we set. She describes how a waning individual drive can be strengthened by a healthy friendship:
“Shortly after we make a decision to change our behavior, we often sense a softening of what at first felt like ironclad conviction. We chastise ourselves for our inability to summon motivation and return to the poor habits we’re trying to break to comfort us, actively undermining our goals. What a disheartening cycle. But research shows that having friends with the same goal can interrupt that cycle.”
But ensuring that your friend is one who can help you reach your goals, especially your goal of succeeding in addiction rehab, isn’t simple. Keep in mind that a friend should:
- allow you to express your emotions without passing judgment or criticizing you
- not always understand you, but always accept you
- be someone who you respect and trust
- keep your personal life confidential
- challenge you in a way that helps you to evolve
A friend can be a wonderful resource, and a lifeline during addiction rehab. If each friend should be a role model, the friendship will cause you to grow and to build emotional tools to help fight addiction.