Advice for young adults: Finding the right social supports throughout alcohol addiction recovery

Young adulthood can be a socially difficult time to recover from alcohol addiction. During a decade where the norm is to hang out in bars, play beer pong at parties, and meet up with friends for drinks, young adults seeking sobriety from alcohol will have an easier time doing so if they have the right social supports backing their efforts.

Consider AA

Young adults find social supports and increase their likelihood of abstaining from alcohol by participating in self help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), especially when the group members fall in their age range. According to a study published by Drug and Alcohol Dependence, young adults are more likely to engage in 12-step meetings throughout the beginning of their alcohol addiction recovery if they find a program that caters to their age group.  During the early stages of recovery, young adults may feel more comfortable sharing their struggles with alcohol addiction with people their age.

Age appropriate

Besides taking part in age appropriate 12-step meetings, young adults may find support socially by seeking services which address the unique challenges throughout the transition to adulthood, like the Alcohol Addiction Services at Yellowbrick. Designed to meet the social needs of young adults, the Alcohol Addiction Services at Yellowbrick empower individuals to explore the complexities of their addiction, while making social connections with other people who are processing through similar situations. Young adults share their stories and learn about addiction in structured group counseling settings, yet have the opportunity to find meaning in their newfound relationships in less formal settings, like preparing meals together and sharing an apartment.

Grow your network

While self help groups, like 12-step meetings, certainly increase the likelihood of sobriety, young adults benefit from additional outlets in order to grow their sober social networks throughout alcohol addiction recovery. A team of researchers point out that making social network changes are not affected by participation in groups like AA. In other words, young adults can expect to receive meaningful support from groups like AA, but should not solely depend on them to find a new group of sober friends. As young adults recover from alcohol addiction, they may be able to grow their sober social network by following their interests. When you do something you like, chances are, there will be others doing the same thing. Make new connections by trying new activities, taking classes, or volunteering in the community. It would be worth it to check out sober sport and social clubs, art studios, and gyms.

Figure out your friends

Recovering from alcohol addiction may include determining if your social connections put you at risk for relapse. Often times, close relationships are put on hold, as pressure to drink alcohol may put newfound sobriety at risk. Letting go of destructive relationships feels conflicting and be a difficult part of recovery. Young adults should be honest with their friends about sobriety. While some people might not understand or necessarily agree with the choice to abstain from alcohol, a true friend will offer support.

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