In recovery people often talk about sponsorship. This is someone who will guide you through your sobriety and the Twelve Steps to remain clean and sober. But, there is another aspect of recovery that is just as important; making friends. For anyone in recovery, long term sobriety is strongly associated with the connections made in the rooms of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous.
Just like the workplace developing strong relationships adds to the quality of a person’s life. A recent article discusses the benefits of having friends at work. So, the alcoholic or addict needs to build friendships to be content and lead a fulfilling life in sobriety. One former patient discussed the value of such a friendship. This patient after leaving treatment went to meetings on a regular basis. He did not have a vehicle. Therefore, he would ride his bike to meetings and work. Yet, after a while he met a gentleman who offered to pick him up and take him to meetings and work.
A friendship developed and they spent more time together. Thus, they started enjoying each other’s company and would talk a lot about living sober. The gentleman was not this person’s sponsor. He was just another alcoholic helping a friend out. One day, they were out eating lunch. The former patient mentioned that he was having thoughts about wanting to relapse. His friend looked at him and simply said, “I don’t want to see you do that”. The sincerity in this man’s eyes and the tone of his voice was so caring that the thought of drinking again did not seem appealing anymore.
The friendship prevented a relapse and enhanced the quality of this patient’s life. They still hang out to this day and have lots of great laughs. The patient later conveyed to me that he often remembers this friend and others when he is going through tough times. They motivate him to stay sober! Twelve Step Meetings offer a better life and a deep sense of fellowship. That is what recovery is all about.