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


Michele Lavigne
Michele Lavigne4 years ago

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.

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey6 years ago

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.

Karen Foley
Karen P6 years ago

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.

Sheila L.
Sheila Swan L6 years ago

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.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.6 years ago

thanks for sharing

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

A good post. Thanks.

Ingo S.
Ingo Schreiner6 years ago

thats what friends are for

Duane B.
.6 years ago

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

Boubaker B.

friend in time of need

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia6 years ago

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