Humans are always susceptible to influence from those in their social circle - this is a genetic predisposition formed long ago as part of tribal living. For those of us in recovery, it is especially important we be mindful of who we are choosing to spend our time with, as the sober supports we develop in early recovery will have a great deal of influence on our success in sobriety. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin the process of forming your circle of sober supports.
First, you should look to establish a base of support consisting of those with at least a year of continuous sobriety. This is important as these are the people whom you will consult when you encounter any obstacles in early recovery, and their experience is what will provide them the wisdom to be able to guide you through any difficult situation you face. If you were to only associate with others in early sobriety, you would have a “blind leading the blind” situation when any of you encounter difficulty in your recovery journeys.
Once you have built a base of support consisting of those with experience in recovery, you should also seek to build relationships with others who are in a similar stage of sobriety as yourself. This is important as you will want to have people in your life with whom you can relate in recovery, peers who you can commiserate with regarding your stepwork and demands of your sponsors. These individuals should also consist of persons with similar interests and of a similar age as you, ensuring you will be likely to participate in fun sober activities together.
Your circle of sober supports has a substantial impact on your success in recovery. It is therefore important you put some thought into who you associate with in early sobriety, especially when it comes to their motivation and desire to stay sober. Hanging out with people who are not serious about recovery will do your sobriety no favors, whereas spending time with others who love their new lives in sobriety and are motivated to maintain their recovery program will inspire you to do the same. Above all else, listen to the advice of your sponsor when it comes to who you associate with in recovery, and trust your gut instincts as these are often signals from your higher power. So long as you do this, you will make the right choices when it comes to peers in recovery!