Honor the power of your voice and begin your journey with us today!
Honor the power of your voice and begin your journey with us today!

How To Make, Keep, or Break Friendships in Drug Addiction Treatment

It’s so important in drug addiction treatment to surround yourself with loving and supportive people. Friendships in drug addiction treatment should be healthy relationships, based upon reciprocity— or a healthy give and take nature of the relationship. A lot of alcoholics and addicts hold friendships with toxic people, who they will need to break their friendships with in order to protect their sobriety.


Recovery is all about living differently, not just putting down the drink or drug, but living by a set of principles that help to create a life of meaning and manageability. Addiction is a chronic disorder, that if ignored, will progress. Many of those with substance use disorder, also suffer from a co-occuring mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression. At Royal Life Centers, we are experienced in treating guests with a dual diagnosis, for a full-health approach to addiction recovery. During treatment, we educate guests on how to make and maintain healthy relationships, and how to cut off unhealthy relationships.
Ask yourself what kind of people you would like to surround yourself with. The emotional connections you make with others will lead to a meaningful life. A key to recovery is having the care and support of good, close friends. With that being said, let’s explore how to make friendships in drug addiction treatment.

Making Healthy Friendships

In drug addiction treatment, you should be making healthy friendships. Often, one of the signs and symptoms of alcohol or substance use disorder is isolation: which is distancing oneself from social interactions. Royal Life Centers encourages guests to make healthy relationships in recovery, in order to build a strong support network and create meaningful memories.
When making healthy friendships, guests should first ask themselves what kind of people they would like to have as a friend. Look for friends with a similar mindset, friends who value sobriety and are supportive of you. What you value most in relationships is important to consider, but also consider what you value most in yourself and choose friends who will complement who you are. You don’t need friends who are just like you, in fact, you’ll want a variety of personalities so that you can get feedback and advice from different points of view. Friendships should be built on a level of trust, enjoyment of each others’ company, and boundaries. Like all healthy relationships, friendships should have boundaries too.
Make sure to build an emotional connection slowly in new friendships, as this is the way emotional intimacy will thrive. In the early stages of a new friendship, make sure to take the time to get to know each other, this way you can both understand each other clearly if any issues arise in the future. Knowing each others strengths and weaknesses will help you propel each other into bettering the way you act and react, and also provide a sense of accountability. Don’t be afraid to address any toxic behaviors that you notice on your end or your new friend’s end. You should want to grow with your new friendships, and provide a supportive experience that stems from true care for each other. Conversely, you will want to make new friends that hold you accountable for toxic behaviors, this way you can work on yourself with your friend’s support.

Keeping Healthy Friendships

Making friendships and keeping friendships are two separate things. You not only want to create healthy relationships, but you should want to keep them. Maintaining healthy relationships is not a challenge, but is new for some people. Keeping a healthy friendship requires checking in with your friend, following healthy boundaries, and providing support. Keeping friendships should rely on a healthy give and take nature of the relationship, you should never feel like you’re the only one working to maintain the relationship.
In order to maintain a healthy relationship, you should practice reciprocity and support. Make time for your friendships, and be open and honest with your friend. You will feel more connected with friends the more you share openly and honestly with them. Friendships should always include a healthy give and take relationship, or reciprocity. Reciprocity is providing an equal amount of effort, support, care or concern as the other person.
It’s easy to maintain a healthy friendship if you are both putting in effort to keep the relationship, as well as showing up for each other in your times of need. For lasting friendships, the relationship should develop gradually— so don’t worry about putting your all into a new friendship in order to develop the relationship, let the friendship develop naturally. Make sure you are maintaining friendships without revolving your life around spending time with friends, being needy in a friendship will strain the relationship. Friendships should complement your life and add meaning to it, not become it.

Breaking Toxic Friendships

In addiction recovery, we need to cut out toxicity. A lot of friendships can be toxic and harmful to your recovery, which is why it is important for those with a drug or alcohol addiction to evaluate the friendships they already have in their lives. In recovery, we need to take measures that protect and support our sobriety, so maintaining toxic friendships is an unnecessary step that will hinder your recovery. Whether you just outgrow certain friendships, or need to end them because they are unhealthy, there are a few steps to take in order to break toxic friendships.
First, evaluate the existing friendships and find out what you value most in your healthy relationships as a basis for what you need in a friendship. Next, identify the toxic friendships you have. Ask yourself if these relationships are worth trying to fix, and if they are, address your concerns with the friend directly. It is perfectly normal to address any concerns or causes for concern with your friends, and if they are receptive to change, the friendships may not have to be broken.
Some toxic relationships will have a lack of boundaries, limited contact, etc.— things that make the relationship convenient to maintain, but contribute to toxicity in your life. Ask yourself what positives are you getting from your friendship with someone who is toxic, what draws you to their friendship? This is an important point to consider, as it will give you insight into the friendships you have and why. If a friendship is toxic, directly address your concerns with your friend, begin to spend less time with that person, becoming less available to nurture that toxic friendship. Take into consideration your friend’s feelings, and be open and honest in communicating why you are distancing yourself. Through some of the behavioral therapies we offer at Royal Life Centers, guests will learn interpersonal effectiveness, which is basically how to communicate effectively with others— helping the process of breaking ties to toxicity much easier.


At Royal Life Centers, we want guests to build and maintain healthy, supportive friendships that are conducive to their recovery. The importance of healthy friendships in recovery is endless, as friendships will provide support, accountability, and meaning. Part of our treatment program includes education on what a healthy relationship looks like, so our guests are fully equipped with the insight they need to choose healthy friendships and cut off the toxic friendships in their lives. Royal Life Centers is with you every step of the way, to provide guidance and support as you re-build a life of happiness, meaning, and success in sobriety.

Our Addiction Treatment

At Royal Life Centers, we encourage guests to build strong sober support networks that include healthy friendships. Guests will learn the importance of reciprocity in relationships, and will participate in group therapies with topics like how to set and maintain boundaries, interpersonal effectiveness, and healthy relationships. Our treatment programs at Royal Life Centers include: medical detox, a residential inpatient program, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), an outpatient program (OP), sober living and graduate housing. Our treatment options all include intensive therapies and proven effective methods of addiction treatment, we use only the best practices.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out to our addiction specialists at (877)-RECOVERY or (877)-732-6837. Our team of addiction specialists are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.

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