Two women smiling and hugging each other; how social factors influence your addiction

How Your Friends Can Affect Addiction

Addiction and recovery are difficult paths to walk down. And some people can get the help they need and be on the right path but are surrounded by people who bring them back to addiction. Although we may love our friends and family, they may be contributing to the difficulty of staying sober.

So, how do you balance old relationships with your new lifestyle? Here are some solutions for you and how social factors influence your addiction.

How Do Social Influences Affect Addiction?

Social influence on addiction can be significant. Although it makes sense to take your share of responsibility for your addiction, some people in your life may still encourage that lifestyle. Some of them may still be living in addiction, and they may bring you back into your old lifestyle, which can compromise your sobriety.

The social proximity effect is related to the people you spend time with and the habits you develop. People who spend time together will begin to do the same things and enjoy doing so. This may be the case for some people you know living through addiction.

This principle shows that the more time you spend with someone, the more likely you will pick up on their habits.

Social influences will help you reinforce bad habits or create new ones. Being around people who support your lifestyle can be beneficial for creating a last change away from addiction.

How to Navigate Old Relationships

When you get sober, it’s important to recognize your friends’ social influence on your addiction. Some ways to help navigate old relationships with people can include:

  • Think about what you’ll say to your old friends before seeing them.
  • Don’t assume that you will be able to avoid engaging in their old habits.
  • Don’t go to the places where you and your old friends used to go to use drugs and alcohol.
  • If you must go, consider taking a sober friend with you to see your old friends.
  • Give yourself a certain amount of time to be with old friends.
  • Make it a point to have something to occupy yourself and your old friends, so you don’t use it out of boredom or awkwardness.
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