Throughout the recovery process, each individual will be exposed to several like-minded people who intimately understand the difficulties of addiction recovery daily. Coping with anxiety, depression, urges, and any number of other mental health disorders is an exhaustive process. The individuals that comprise one’s sober tribe are crucial in maintaining a healthy mindset, appropriate goals, motivation, and a constant influx of new therapeutic ideas.
However, when an individual graduates from a recovery program and begins their role as an alumnus, they also gain the ability to expand their tribe in the way that best fits them. Creating this new tribe is an essential practice that can dictate how each person can best maintain their sobriety going forward.
Creating a New Social Circle
Establishing a healthy and supportive tribe in sobriety involves two distinct aspects: allowing oneself to open up to new individuals and letting go of other potentially destructive relationships. While it is common to want to get back with old friends for a feeling of normalcy, creating one’s tribe in sobriety may involve letting go of these relationships if they are not understanding, supportive, or willing to learn about one’s new sober lifestyle.
One’s social circle holds a great deal of weight in one’s ability to maintain sobriety. It is important to prioritize one’s own recovery and health when deciding which individuals may not be conducive to a prolonged, healthy lifestyle.
Bringing the Recovery Community Home
Creating one’s sober tribe can begin with the familiar. Those who have gone through the recovery process and have grown together make a great place to establish one’s tribe outside of the recovery sphere. Keeping in contact with fellow alumni, sponsors, and even those just beginning their journey to sobriety can all create a baseline of community and camaraderie that extends beyond the physical limitations of a recovery facility and reaches towards every other aspect of one’s life. Keeping in contact with these people, sharing interests and hobbies, and otherwise deepening relationships is a great place to create a sober tribe.
Expanding Your Tribe
After starting one’s tribe with fellow peers in the recovery sphere, it is also important to expand one’s social circles following a recovery program, especially as an individual continues to explore their identity outside of their past addiction. However, making this transition can be difficult, and it is still important to be selective about how each person is introduced and integrated into one’s social circle.
Sharing some kind of interest or goal is essential for continuing to develop any kind of relationship. A shared kind of goal, whether related to one’s sobriety or to one’s proficiency in a certain hobby, interests, or other aspects, can provide a common ground for building a relationship. Keeping individuals with shared interests close and available can allow trust and confidence to develop organically, leading to a more genuine kind of relationship going forward. These relationships can develop based on shared identity and interests–not correlated with one’s past.
Multiple Circles for Multiple Needs
Expanding one’s tribe doesn’t necessarily mean that all people, supports, and friends in one’s life all need to be a part of the same social group. Each individual in recovery can have multiple social groups for different reasons. While one’s tribe from their recovery facility and fellow alumni may help in dealing with urges and developing new coping strategies, one’s sports club can then help by providing an outlet for self-expression, personal development, and practicing real-world social skills.
While one tribe is focused on maintaining sobriety, that doesn’t mean that all tribes are necessarily a part of the addiction recovery sphere. Rather, being a part of a social circle where alcohol is simply an afterthought, such as a bowling league, taking art classes, or any other kinds of groups where alcohol or drugs simply aren’t a part of the common dialogue, can all provide a needed outlet in recovery. There is no need to necessarily mix all of these tribes together into one conglomerate.
Tribes play an important role in recovery, and expanding one’s tribe to fit one’s new, sober lifestyle is essential in continuing to develop one’s identity in recovery. However, when interacting in social environments, it is important to remember that one’s well-being comes first and that successful tribes are built by finding people sharing personal interests and not by forcing interests. One’s tribe reflects their own desired identities, both inside and outside of the group. Because of this, each individual’s tribe will hold intimate, personal benefits to their continued sobriety.
Building and expanding your tribe during and after graduating from a recovery program is a core part of the experience. It is a time for each person to surround themselves with others who share in their new sober identities. Everlast Recovery is here to help you better understand your own identity and work towards your ability to establish your own tribe in sobriety. We offer a comfortable, home-like atmosphere, complete with home-cooked meals and a feeling of comfort to help you address the unique ways that addiction, mental health disorders, or trauma have impacted your life, all while helping you explore your identity through varied therapeutic approaches. Art therapy, music therapy, individual, group, and family counseling, and much more are all available to help you find your sober identity and continue to build and expand on your tribes with your best foot forward. For more information on how we can help you or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.