Whether you’re about to enter treatment for a mental illness or addiction, many, if not all, aspects of your life will change. Don’t be frightened by this – change is what treatment is for, after all. You may have struggled in the past and those struggles were negatively impacting your daily life. Treatment is supposed to help you change the way you dealt with your struggles – most often through medication, support groups, therapy, and more. Over time, your perspective towards your challenges and yourself will likely change, as will your perception towards others.
Eventually you will begin to evaluate your social life and determine who supports and benefits your journey to recovery, and who does not. This is an important process, because the people whom we spend our time with says a lot about who we are and what we stand for. First, how do we, as people in recovery, change our identity over time while in recovery?
In 2015, researchers from Australia and the UK completed a study titled, “Social Identities as Pathways into and out of Addiction” and found that those with addiction change their perceived identities from a “substance abuser” identity to a “recovery” identity. Some participants felt a loss of valued identities when their addiction began, but were later able to renew those identities after treatment. Participants who felt socially isolated before treatment were able to develop new, aspirational identities involving roles in study, work, or family. This shows that the way we view ourselves before treatment is often different from the way we view ourselves afterwards. It would make sense, then, that our social circle reflects and/or honors the identities that we hold of ourselves.
The U.S. News confirms that “many relationships formed prior to rehabilitation can be considered toxic” – these may have included a person that sold drugs or even “friends” that abused substances with a person before they entered treatment. These friendships were likely based on convenience – without buying/selling the drugs or using substances, these connections likely wouldn’t exist.
Once you’ve formed a newer, healthier identity for yourself, you will want to re-evaluate your friend circle, and some may not “make the cut”. This is normal and even safe – after all, you want to be surrounded by people who uplift and support all the challenging work you are doing in recovery. You deserve that much; you’ve earned it. Form a support team that admires you for the work you’re doing towards living a happier, healthier life.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment center. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you to restore and rebalance your mind, body, and spirit. Make the decision to seek help today. Call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation.