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How Friendships in Rehab Help Fuel Stronger Recovery Efforts

March 14, 2019 - , - 0 Comments
Make Friendship in recovery

Success in addiction recovery treatment and dual-diagnosis care requires a lot of emotional support. Men going through this care option typically need a lot of love from friendships and family to succeed. However, those in treatment may also find that individuals in their rehab facility provide some of the strongest and healthiest friendships they’ve had in years.

In fact, making friends during rehab with those who have experienced similar problems with addiction is often the best way to fuel complete recovery. These people have seen the same kind of failures, suffered many of the same issues, and likely have the same level of trauma and PTSD that other individuals in rehab have in their lives.

Therefore, any man – or woman – going through therapy for substance abuse needs to understand the power of friendships and the ways that they can fuel a person’s ultimate recovery. By committing yourself to stronger bonds with those going through addiction care, you put yourself in a better position to succeed. Even better, you create an active support group who always has your back when times get tough.

Friendships Produce Miraculous Recoveries

Although many people spend their whole lives looking for a great romantic relationship, friendships with non-romantic partners may be just as – if not more – essential for a person’s mental health. For example, a study published in the Journal of Oncology found that women who had breast cancer had a better chance of recovery if they had many friends. Just how high was their increased chance of survival? Over two times higher than women who did not have a friendship group of higher than 10 friends.

Male loneliness

Surprisingly, these results did not occur in women who were married or who belonged to a religious community. Although these results are focused on women, other studies have shown the same results in men. For example, a study by the University of Michigan found that men who were lonely, i.e., those with few friends or no romantic partner had higher rates of mortality and more difficulty completing simple tasks than men who did have friends and romantic partners.

These issues were most common in senior men but also occurred in younger men who had few outlets for emotional support. Interestingly, another study found something quite startling: men, unlike women, often relied more heavily on their romantic partner for emotional support than they did male friends. Shockingly, men with wives or long-term lovers lived longer than men who did not have a wife or who were widowed.

That said, several websites discussing the importance of male friendships stated that many men reported feeling more satisfied with their “bromance” than they did with their romantic partners. In fact, the importance of intragender (or male-on-male) friendship cannot be ignored. While women often hug, gush, and treat their female friends with many positive emotions, men may struggle to show their male friends this same type of affection.

However, men suffering from anxiety, depression, and related co-occurring addiction may need friends, now more than ever, to overcome this health danger. Thankfully, they are likely to meet a large volume of individuals while in treatment and going through the detox and 12 step processes. These individuals will likely form bonds that will fuel sobriety and a stronger sense of connection.

How to Make Friends During Rehab

Making friends in rehab might seem hard at first. Many individuals may be guarded or focused entirely on themselves. However, many others will need somebody who is willing to listen. This simple process can help you make friends while in rehab:

  1. Talk to everybody when you get the chance
  2. Truly listen to what everybody says
  3. Offer your opinions and share your experiences
  4. Attend sessions with someone and do things outside of each course
  5. Never judge someone for what they’ve experienced
wrong pathway

That last step is particularly critical for friendships formed in rehab. Recovery requires a no-judgment zone where everyone feels comfortable talking about their lives. No matter what your new facility friend tells you about their life, you need to listen to them without judgment and empathize with what they experienced because of their addiction. There’s a good chance you probably went through something similar.

And, just as importantly, you need to drop your guard and be willing to show genuine affection for your friends. Don’t be afraid of hugs or crying with your new friends. That “tough” male shell forced on you from birth needs to be broken to let your true core out. In this way, you can feel genuinely touched by your friends and connect on a level you’ve never felt with a friend.

Substance Abuse Recovery Requires Friendship

When an individual suffers from an addiction to substances, friendship helps provide them with a tool for ultimate recovery. This fact is particularly true for men. A study published in Psychology Today found that friendship ultimately helped fuel positive rehab results by creating a support system for men that went beyond what their normal friendship circle offered.

In another study, “What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?” the power of friendships forged with individuals in sober living houses was carefully studied. It was found that men in these homes experienced positive results due to the supportive influence of those in the home. Their treatment was particularly useful if the people in the house had also suffered from addiction.

Just how important were these friendships towards recovery? Well, a study published by U.S. News found that individuals going through recovery suffered from a strain in their pre-addiction friendships. For example, they may have fought with family and friends before treatment in ways that nearly broke – or did break – relationships. Even worse, these individuals may have addicted friends who inspire them to abuse when they get back from a care center.

By contrast, this study found that friendships forged during substance abuse treatment were stronger and more supporting. Simply put, these individuals better understood what their friend went through when in therapy. Like their friend, they experienced suffering during detox and the difficult psychological assessment processes during the dual-diagnosis process.

As a result, friendships forged in a treatment facility often provide the best chance for a person to overcome the dangers of addiction. For example, these friendships usually lasted long after their recovery process was completed and provided benefits such as:

  • 24/7 Help – Friendships built in rehab often provided pals who are willing to drop everything for another person to help them through a complicated process.
  • Companionship During Hard Periods – Going through the rehab process is tough and may be physically and emotionally painful. Friendships forged in this atmosphere typically last longer because these friends have seen each other at their worst.
  • Lifelong Sobriety Support – When the urge to use strikes an individual after finishing substance abuse treatment, friends from rehab can help them fully understand the issue. They can then talk their friend down from the edge and keep them healthy.
  • Fun and Unforgettable Times – Bonds formed in rehab don’t have to be full of doom and gloom. In fact, men who make friends during the recovery process often get together for sober fun, such as watching movies, traveling to new places, or just chatting on a lazy afternoon.

All of these benefits make recovery friendships a powerful tool during rehab and once care is finished. And maintaining these friendships requires a constant commitment to being a supportive and caring individual even when you are suffering. Just as importantly, you and your friends can utilize the lessons learned in dual-diagnosis to help each other stay strong.

Using Lessons Learned in Dual-Diagnosis

One of the best ways to utilize friendships formed in addiction care is to use dual-diagnosis lessons to help friends beat their reliance on substances like opioids, benzos, and alcohol. For those who have yet to experience its healing powers, dual-diagnosis is a care method that focuses on managing mental health problems – like depression, anxiety, trauma, and PTSD – and understanding how these issues fuel a person’s addictive behaviors. For example, someone may have lost a parent and turned to substances like heroin or prescription opiates to manage their symptoms.

male mental health

This situation may create a cyclical situation that is hard to break. For example, the use of opiates may calm a person’s anxiety in the short-term but does nothing to manage the underlying issues. As a result, a person self-medicates with heroin whenever they feel depression caused by their parent’s death. But since the use of these opioids doesn’t actually heal the mind of its problem, a person repeatedly turns to these substances to feel happy, healthy, and stable.

The resulting addictive pattern creates a situation in which substance abuse fuels mental health problems and vice versa. For example, a person addicted to alcohol may recognize that they have a problem but feel helpless to stop it. As a result, their depression grows and becomes more difficult to control. And as their depression increases, they repeatedly turn to alcohol to soothe their nerves.

Thankfully, dual-diagnosis works by understanding how substances like benzodiazepines (such as Xanax) trap a person in this cycle. For example, after individuals go through physical detox, their 12 step recovery often focuses on understanding the severity of their mental health problems and teaching them how these issues not only fuel their addiction but how it creates abusive patterns of behavior that trap them in a negative feedback loop.

Thankfully, once an individual leaves rehab, they will fully understand how to implement these lessons in their life. However, they may suffer from cravings or relapses in mental health that can easily trigger instances of abuse including using substances like methamphetamine as a coping mechanism for anxiety. However, friendships forged in rehab can help avoid this issue by creating a tight social group that supports your recovery confidently and successfully.

For example, you can get a rehab buddy’s phone number or Facebook account information and message them when you feel the urge to use. They can help talk you down from the edge of relapse and provide you with a caring support system. Just as importantly, you can meet up with these friends when you’re feeling the urge to use and let their presence calm you and keep you from addictive behaviors.

And, just as importantly, you can serve the same role in a friend’s life when they experience substance abuse triggers. Dual-diagnosis is a two-way street, one that creates positive communication techniques that can last a lifetime, just like the friendships you built in rehab. With the help of your new support group, you can stay strong and say no whenever the urge to use strikes.

Let Us Help You Recover

Although your rehab friends may fully understand how to use dual-diagnosis and other methods for helping you overcome anxiety and depression, professional help may be necessary from time to time. For example, our outpatient clinic can provide you with the comfort you need when you just can’t seem to say no or when you relapse and have nowhere else to turn.

Just as importantly, our inpatient center is here for people who have yet to take the healing path down addiction recovery. When you stay with us, you meet caring treatment specialists who have been where you are in life and who understand the pain of addiction. Just as importantly, you’ll meet new friends who are currently walking the path towards managing their addiction and mental health problems.

So please, please, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help forging new friendships or if relapse seems like a real threat. Our experts will assess your situation and help you better understand your underlying problems. With the help of our dual-diagnosis experts, you can regain a sober life, stay true to your friends, and learn how to build lifelong bonds with people who genuinely care about your health.

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