5 Ways to Support Your Newly Sober Friend in AA Anon

If your best friend or loved one is struggling with addiction, you may be willing to do whatever it takes to help. But sometimes, you may not be prepared for the changes you’ll face in your own life when alcohol is no longer a shared pastime. When your friend decides to go to alcohol rehab or AA Anon meetings to get sober, they’re going to need all the support they can get to overcome addiction — including support from you.

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? Understand that help is available and nearby. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-839-1686Who Answers? to speak with an addiction counselor about your options for nearby alcohol rehab centers.

Sometimes, the little things you do and say can go a long way toward helping your friend achieve sobriety. Here are five ways to support a newly sober friend.

1. Understand It’s Not About You

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Support your friend’s decision to quit drinking and live a healthier life!

When your best friend suddenly changes their entire lifestyle to stop drinking, it’s not uncommon for your own life to be affected as well. Understand that when your friend stops drinking, it’s about their decision to become healthier and sober. Don’t take it personally when your friend decides to get help.

2. Do Sober Activities Together

Though you may not drink with your friend anymore, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fun things you can do that don’t require alcohol. Support your friend in recovery by helping them find new interests and hobbies to replace drinking. For example, hike a new different trail every weekend, or take martial arts classes together.

3. Know Your Friend’s Triggers

Nearly all addicts have triggers that influence them to drink or use drugs. Part of being a great, supportive friend is knowing your loved one’s triggers, and helping them avoid those triggers. For instance, if you know your friend normally turns to drinking after having a bad day at work, steer your friend toward the gym or suggest another healthy activity that helps relieve stress.

4. Don’t Be Controlling

You may think you’re helping your friend by constantly reminding them not to drink, or following them around at parties to make sure they stay sober. But this type of behavior may not be empowering to your recovering friend who is working hard to overcome triggers and addiction on their own.

Allow your friend to make their own decisions, and be supportive without being too controlling. Plus, if your friend goes to AA Anon meetings, they may already have a sponsor they can turn to when the risk for relapse is high.

How Do I Talk to a Friend about Joining AA?

5. Encourage New Friendships

When your friend starts going to AA meetings, they may start making new, sober friends in their AA circle. This is normal, and a healthy part of recovery — especially since your friend can bond with other recovering addicts who share similar struggles. Don’t allow yourself to get jealous about your friend’s new relationships; instead, offer support by allowing your friend plenty of time and space for new friends.

Supporting a friend through AA Anon and recovery is a great way to demonstrate that you truly care about their health and overall well-being. Embrace the positive changes in your friend’s life, and allow their new healthy interests and hobbies to improve your overall livelihood, too!

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, understand it’s never too late to get help. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-839-1686Who Answers? to speak with an addiction counselor about nearby alcohol rehab centers and AA Anon meetings that can guide you or your loved one to lifelong sobriety.

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