Drug and alcohol addiction takes a hard toll on our relationships by creating co-dependency and deteriorating trust and the family unit [1]. Although restoring your life and relationships in the grips of addiction can seem impossible, it’s important to know that hope is available through recovery. In this post, we’ll go over how to develop healthy support systems that can help restore healthy relationships during recovery.

Are you or a loved one struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction? Help is available. Click here to read about Olympus Recovery’s drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Defining a Healthy Relationship

People in the throes of addiction often develop co-dependent relationships and relationships built around drug and/or alcohol use. When you are in recovery, it is critically important that you learn how to say goodbye to these toxic relationships in order to build a strong support system. So, what defines a healthy relationship? Here are a few cornerstones of a healthy relationship:

  • It supports recovery, not addiction.
  • It is built on mutual respect.
  • It is centered around the health and wellness of each party.
  • It involves healthy communication.
  • It encourages you to achieve your goals (including sobriety and restoring your relationships).
  • It respects boundaries.
  • It is trustworthy and reliable.
  • It builds you up. 
  • It enriches your life.

Finding Your Support Systems in Recovery

During recovery, it can be challenging to build relationships with new friends and find a support group. But this step is crucial to recovery. Developing strong support systems has been shown to reduce relapse, increase engagement in treatment, and help people mitigate secondary substance-related behaviors, such as cravings [2]. However, making friends as an adult can be hard — regardless of whether you are in treatment for addiction or not. So, how can you find a strong support system as an adult? Try the following ideas:

Use the Internet To Connect

In today’s digital age, there are more ways than ever to connect. Sign up for “friendship dating” websites, such as Bumble BFF or MeetUp. Similar to dating websites, you’ll create a profile with a photo and describe your interests, and then you’ll be matched with people with similar interests. This is a great idea to make friends for people who are new to an area or people looking for new friends who won’t tempt them to fall into old behaviors.

You can also use the internet to find online support groups for recovery. A quick Google search of “online recovery support groups” will yield a broad range of groups you can join. Online support groups cover a lot of territory, including:

  • 12-step recovery groups
  • Groups focused on sobriety
  • Spousal support groups
  • Family support groups
  • Parental support groups
  • Religious groups
  • And much more!

Support Groups at a Treatment Center

If you’re more of an IRL person, drug and alcohol treatment facilities are one excellent resource to find support groups. From 12-step recovery programs like AA and Al-Anon to group therapy and family therapy, there’s a support group for everyone. If you take a more therapeutic route to find your support system through a group at a treatment center, you get the added benefits of being guided by a licensed addiction therapist who can teach you coping skills as well as meeting friends who know exactly what you’re going through.

This is key in helping you feel less alone through the often overwhelming process of recovery. These people are just a phone call away in case of a sudden urge to relapse. Learn more about Olympus Recovery’s treatment programs by clicking here.

Participate in Activities You Enjoy

Another great way to meet new friends and participate in activities that will distract you from your urges to drink or do drugs is to get involved in the community. This can be done by giving back, whether it’s through volunteering or by participating in extracurriculars at your local rec center or classes at your local community college.

Don’t think you have to be a tennis pro or chess master to get involved in activities. In fact, learning new skills is extremely valuable to recovery because learning new skills actually rewires the brain, changing your reward system and giving you something new and motivating to focus on [3]. Learning new skills provides a whole host of mind-body benefits, including:

  • Giving you motivation
  • Beating boredom
  • Keeping you healthy
  • Boosting happiness, independence, and confidence 
  • Improving brain health and memory
  • Connecting you with a new group of friends and people with similar interests by fostering connection with others

All the above-mentioned benefits are extremely important during recovery and beyond, helping you stay on track and find joy and motivation in productive activities — not to mention the friends you’ll meet along the way!

Learning To Be Okay Alone

Recovery can be lonely, and that’s okay. Addicts often find it extremely triggering to be alone or bored. But it’s a crucial step of recovery to learn to be okay with being by yourself and being still. Being alone doesn’t have to mean feeling lonely. Here are some things you can do to grow comfortable with being alone:

  • Focus on rebuilding your relationships.
  • Connect with yourself through yoga, meditating, journaling, walking, and any other activities you enjoy.
  • Confront and accept your emotions.
  • Take yourself out on dinner dates, to the movies or a show, and anything else that piques your interest.
  • Start a blog. The benefits of a blog on your recovery journey are multi-fold. It will serve as a personal journal for you to look back on and see how far you’ve come, it will inspire others who are experiencing the same emotions as you during recovery, and it will help you connect to other people going through recovery — another source for building a strong support system.

Looking for more resources about addiction and treatment? Browse the Olympus Recovery blog here.

Olympus Recovery Can Help

Remember, you are not alone during your recovery journey. To learn more about building your support system, seeking treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction, or any other ways Olympus Recovery can help, contact us today. Our goal at Olympus is to set the standard for quality care for clients suffering from addictive diseases. Our team of committed professionals uses evidence-based practices combined with decades of experience to produce long-term, sustainable recovery. We are a low-cost, high-end treatment facility that creates excellence by staying with the basics.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-30396-001
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5047716/
  3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00035/full

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