Having or establishing a strong sober living network can boost the likelihood of recovery from addiction, according to a January 2017 study published in the “Journal of Applied Social Psychology”. The study about sober living networks surveyed 537 individuals in recovery. The study’s authors found those who established a new social network as part of their “recovery identity” reported a better quality of life in recovery.
What Is a Sober Living Network?
A sober living network can mean different things to different people. For some, this is key friends and family members who agree to play a supportive role in their loved one’s recovery. They stand by them when they are struggling. They hold a person accountable in their sobriety and may even attend meetings or group therapy sessions. A person doesn’t need a large number in their social network. Instead, the study emphasized quality of those supporting the person, not quantity.
For others, a sober living network is an entirely new group of people a person meets through their recovery process. An example could be the people in a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery. This network of people can help a person identify ways to successfully overcome the pull of drugs and alcohol.
Transitioning to a New Sober Living Network
One of the key findings in the “Journal of Applied Social Psychology” article was how a person’s social network changed as they progressed in their sobriety. At the height of their addiction, most people had only friends who used drugs or alcohol. Once they entered recovery, their friends and social contacts started to transition to those who were sober. Many of them met through sober social networks. Ultimately, those who had been sober for longer made many more contacts and developed relationships with people who were formerly addicted.
This research shows there is a strong network of people supporting each other to live sober, healthier lifestyles. With time and effort, a person can transition to this more positive sober living network and enhance their quality of life.