Social Life and Drug Addiction

Substance abuse and drug rehab can have drastic effects on addicts’ social lives. In some cases, close friends can provide invaluable support to people who are struggling to deal with cravings and avoid relapse. At other times, friends can enable addicts’ drug habits or even sabotage their recovery efforts. It is crucial that addicts understand the ways their friends can influence their lives before, during, and after clinical drug rehab. The people with whom they associate can have profound impacts on their abilities to get clean and stay clean. Here are a few of the most important ways in which drug addiction and social life are related:


Unfortunately, some friends become enablers for addicts who still use drugs. These friends may be addicts themselves, constantly encouraging the people around them to get high. These unhealthy friendships often built on shared addictions – rather than on common interests, intellectual similarities, or emotional connections.

Even non-drug-using friends can be enablers. People who are unsympathetic to the difficulties of drug cravings may encourage their addicted friends to congregate in compromising, temptation-filled environments. Addicts with these types of friends must eventually find new social circles – or fail to stay clean.

Confrontations and Interventions

Denial often keeps addicts from seeking the treatment they need. In these cases, good friends will sometimes stage interventions. They will confront their addicted friend as a group, discuss the ways addictive behaviors have hurt them all, and encourage the addict to seek clinical help. These types of confrontations are sometimes the reason why addicts finally attend rehab after months or years of drug use.

Active Participation in Clinical Therapy

One of the most successful therapies used by rehab specialists is family counseling. In order to create healthy home lives and positive family dynamics, therapists will invite their patients’ relatives to participate in group discussions. However, some addicts alienate all of their close family members with their addictive behaviors.

In these cases, good friends sometimes participate in similar group therapies. They may talk about ways in which addicts’ behaviors have impacted their own lives, and they may even help their friends formulate long-term strategies for staying sober.

Avoiding Negative Influences after Rehab

Almost all addicts must make sweeping changes to their social lives once they complete drug rehab. The first thing they must do is to cut ties with people who continue to use. Other addicts might mean well, but their presences and influences will inevitably lead rehab patients to use once again. Seeing other people use drugs is one of the most powerful and irresistible addiction triggers.

Addicts must end their associations with enablers, as well. Staying sober after rehab takes constant, dedicated effort, and unsympathetic people have no place in recovering addicts’ lives. It is of the utmost importance for people with drug problems to avoid being lured into compromising environments and situations.

Finding New Friends

To find the support necessary for lasting sobriety, addicts must replace their negative friendships with positive ones. They need to make friends who not only abstain from drugs – but who lead lifestyles free of dangerous or addictive behaviors. They should also attempt to reconnect with old friends they may have previously alienated during periods of active use.

Finally, support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous provide excellent opportunities for addicts to meet like-minded people. Having friends who are experiencing the same difficulties can actually make it easier to endure the pain of continued cravings and post acute withdrawal.

Recovering from addiction requires a great deal of hard work, but the rewards are well worth the sacrifices. If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug problem, please call the number at the top of your screen now. Taking back control of your life is as simple as dialing a few numbers – you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Call now.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
Recovery First is located in Hollywood, Florida, which is easily accessible from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Our small groups means you get more one-on-one support and make stronger connections with the community. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs near Florida's Atlantic coast or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.