Changing Playmates and Playgrounds in Early Recovery

Many people in recovery don’t understand the importance of what it means to change everything in sobriety – especially early sobriety. This is especially true where changing “playmates and playgrounds” are concerned. What this means is that to be successful in recovery it’s highly suggested to leave your old friends and neighborhood behind for a substantial amount of time while focusing on early recovery.

Young people are especially susceptible to influence from their peers. Staying in the same area where friends who are using hang out, old boyfriends live and the dealer makes his/her rounds can be incredibly tempting. Changing unhealthy routines will aid in creating a new set of behaviors supportive for a healthy lifestyle.

Moving to a sober living home with young people the same age that are also in getting sober is a good start for recovery. Because young people care what their equals think and believe, and have a desire to be a part of the group, this type of facility yields great results. A young man is going to identify with the other guy his age, going through the same type of challenges, much more than he will identify with the older men, going through a divorce and at risk of his house and career.

Building a sober community that young men in recovery can play a part in on their new journey is established as a result of getting sober with this new group of friends. This would be nearly impossible to do if he stayed in his old neighborhood. There would always be an old distraction to pull him into the same old patterns. There’s a great saying in the recovery community…If you hang out in a barbershop, sooner or later, you’re going to get your haircut!

Good, quality sobriety comes with taking contrary action. It might not seem like taking a break from old haunts will result in anything other than loneliness. But recovery works best with the guiding principle…If you want something different you’ve got to do something different.

  • Robin Hilton-Folk
    Posted at 16:39h, 10 April Reply

    I can attest to this. If my son had not moved out of San Diego and started recovery at the New Life House in Torrance, I highly doubt he would be sober today or even alive. As a result of changing everything about his life, from location, old friends, from the clothes he wore, to the way he spoke, to the way he thought and acted, he would not be the young man he is today. I am proud to share that he is EXCITED about his new life being sober (approaching 20 months), grateful for the friends (brothers) he has cultivated a meaningful and honest relationship in the house with, for his ability to show up for others, live a life of integrity and honesty, to have purpose in life and a desire to be of service to others. I am a very grateful mama and will forever be thankful to New Life for teaching my son a new way of life and to live life on life’s terms.

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