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As you journey through recovery, you will come across many different situations that test your willpower, strength, skills, and everything you learned while in treatment. One situation that some people in recovery encounter is being around people who still use drugs or alcohol. Whether they are using your former substance of choice or something else, you will need to be ready to handle the challenge. 


It can be challenging to find yourself still wanting a connection or relationship with someone who still uses. You worked hard to achieve sobriety, and sometimes it can be hard to understand why someone else would not make the same choices that you have made. Learning what situations place your sobriety at risk is necessary. Your triggers will change with time, just as you will grow and change as well. If you find yourself wanting to maintain a relationship with someone who still uses drugs or alcohol, the following five tips will help you keep the relationship while maintaining your sobriety. 


#1. Be Open About Boundaries


Boundaries are crucial as you work through recovery and sober living. Having solid and stable boundaries will help you ensure that you make your health a top priority. Boundaries can help you to maintain friendships and relationships in a manner that aligns with your goals. When you have boundaries, you are setting yourself up for success. You can explain what you need from those around you and what you cannot have around you. 


When establishing boundaries, it is important not to assume that others understand or know your boundaries. You may think that some of your boundaries are common sense or, to be expected. Never assume others know or understand your recovery and sobriety. Everyone is on a unique life path. Many people in your life will never have experienced addiction or mental health struggles. Others may have experienced those things but have not traveled the same road that you have. Be open and honest about your boundaries. Be clear and straightforward regarding what you expect from others or what you need to succeed. 


#2. Talk About Your Progress and Goals


You have made some tremendous changes in your life since starting your recovery journey. You made the decision to reach out and accept help. As you maintain your relationships, be open about your goals and progress. Talk about where you hope your relationships will be in the future, as well as your overall well-being. 


If you internalize your thoughts and feelings, others around you may not understand or know what you are trying to work on or accomplish. Never assume your loved ones understand your recovery. It is a great exercise to talk about your progress and practice being open and honest about your struggles and goals. 


#3. Create Sober Relationships


While you may still have friends who use drugs or alcohol, it is crucial to also have sober friends. Having people in your life that understand your struggles firsthand can be very comforting. When you connect with someone in recovery, while it is true that they are on their unique journey, they will understand on a deeper level when you talk about your struggles, temptations, triggers, and challenges. They will understand what it is like to create and enforce boundaries designed for the sake of your health and well-being. Recovery can be challenging and stressful at times; having someone in your life who understands can be a powerful resource. 


#4. Have Safety Plans in Place


Having plans in place is one way to protect yourself. If a trigger were to occur, how would you handle it? If you found yourself in a particular situation, would you know what to do? Having plans in place will help alleviate stress and worry. You cannot control every situation in life. You cannot possibly know how every single situation will occur or play out. You cannot control other people’s actions or behaviors. However, you can control your actions and behaviors. In treatment, you learned more about your temptations and limits. Use what you learned about yourself in treatment to mentally prepare for various situations you may encounter. 


#5. Develop Healthy Hobbies


Developing healthy hobbies is a significant part of recovery. When you were facing addiction, your world probably revolved around that addiction. Learning to explore and try new experiences can be very positive. You may realize you enjoy certain activities that you never thought you would. Developing healthy hobbies and seeking out new experiences can help you become the person you have always wanted to be. 


Recovery can be an amazing journey. You have done a great job reaching out for support and beginning your journey of sobriety and health. However, as you continue past treatment, you will be faced with many different challenges. One such challenge is creating and maintaining supportive friendships and relationships. You may find yourself wanting to maintain relationships with those who do not live a sober lifestyle. Learning your triggers and limits is essential. Creating strong boundaries may help you maintain relationships with people who don’t have a sober lifestyle and prioritize your mental health. Here at The Guest House, we understand that navigating situations that arise can be stressful, and you may not always know the best way to react. We are here to help. We have extensive experience helping people just like you continue on the path toward their goals. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 to learn more about our treatment options.