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Recovering Addicts Get by With Help from Friends

Recovering Addicts Get by With Help from Friends

When it comes to alcohol consumption, family and friends matter. New research shows that people trying to sustain recovery from alcohol addition are more successful when they have positive social relationships.

The research, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, indicates that these positive influences can have a powerful effect and can last for at least three years post treatment.

Study participants whose family or friends directly advocated that they abstain from drinking alcohol were more successful. Those volunteers who had someone encouraging them to drink (pro-drinker) had more trouble staying away from alcohol.

“Most of us have an image of a ‘pro-drinker’ as someone who drinks heavily. Often, however, pro-drinkers are people who may be abstainers or light drinkers, but don’t believe their friend who is struggling with an alcohol problem has a drinking problem that requires treatment,” said Dr. Robert Stout of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Stout and his colleagues offer that perhaps intervening with pro-drinkers to make them advocates for abstention may help those who are trying to recover from additions.

Stout went on to say, “It can be intimidating to reach out to new people, or to explain to one’s current friends and family that they need support during recovery. Breaking off old relationships can also be hard, but equally important.”

The paper, “Association Between Social Influences and Drinking Outcomes Across Three Years,” supports the development of treatments that promote positive social changes and the need for additional research on the determinants of social network changes. Dr. Stout’s co-authors include Drs. John Kelley of Massachusetts General Hospital, Molly Magill of Brown University, and Maria Pagano of Case Western Reserve University. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Do you know the warning signs of alcohol abuse?

  • Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
  • Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
  • Does your drinking worry your family?
  • Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t?
  • Do you ever forget what you did while drinking?
  • Do you get headaches or have a hangover after drinking?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions (from the NIAAA) you may have a problem with alcohol and should discuss your concerns with your doctor.

For more information and publications about alcohol abuse, prevention, and recovery visit NIAAA

Photo: BananaStock/Thinkstock

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5:15AM PST on Mar 6, 2014

As i consider addiction cannot be left out so easily. It is the best medium to recover from addiction with the help of friends. They helps easily to came out from bad addiction with loving approach.

2:12AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

The keys to recovery from any addiction is the very deep, private and personal decision to quit. The second is a complete change of "friends". If drinking/drugging is the only common denominator for socializing with someone, they are not friends.

One has to commit to completely, and totally change all aspects of their life that is in any way involved with their addiction. A complete and total severance and the commitment to follow it through.

8:42PM PDT on May 4, 2012

We all need other people! No man or woman is an island. In Australia, particularly we have a huge alcohol problem, all the way back to our penal origins and having rum as a currency for God's sake! It's ridiculous the pressure exerted on people to have a drink and made to feel as if there is something wrong with them if they aren't half shot.

12:01PM PDT on May 3, 2012

It is difficult for some people who are around drinking people to not join in, but just as people learn to eat well when around other people who aren't =- it's possible. Dedication to the idea is the main drive.

5:44PM PDT on May 1, 2012

thanks for sharing

7:09AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

A good post. Thanks.

6:35AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

thats what friends are for

1:40PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

We all get by with a little help from our friends ... not just those with addictions.

11:20AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

friend in time of need

3:57PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

i hope none of the ones i love will have a struggle with alcohol but i hope i would be there for them to get through to struggle

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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