“It’s very hard to stop doing things you’re used to doing. You almost have to dismantle yourself and scatter it all around and then put a blindfold on and put it back together so that you avoid old habits.”

―Tom Waits


For many, rehabilitation from substance abuse can be truly life changing. Essentially, you are taking yourself as the person you once knew, and reforming, reshaping, rehabilitating them into someone who you hope can live a healthier, addiction-free life.

Rehab means you may have to give up some things beyond booze and drugs, such as friendships with those who you used to hang out and party before you became sober. And then in some cases, you have to give up friends you’ve known for a long time. This can be painful.

In the article Holier Than Thou, we examined what it’s like to break up friendships that promoted your substance abuse, and now with you sober, can endanger your rehabilitation process. This article will examine what might happen if your friends break up with you now that you are sober. Is their breakup out of respect, fear or disdain for your sobriety because you can no longer hang out with them?

Friendships are difficult to have and maintain, especially when something as life altering as sobriety comes between friends. This can worsen if your friends no longer stay in touch – even when you call them. You may start to wonder what might be wrong with you, and in the long run, ask yourself if your stint in rehab is worth losing your mates over.

Well, it is worth it. After all, you’re on your way to a healthier life which will need your undivided attention to achieve. Yes, sobriety vs. friendship remains a tall order. But you should also keep in mind that depending upon the circumstances, which in this case is your eventual sobriety, people and circumstances change. These changes can also alter relationships. During your recovery, you need to keep in mind what’s best for you, including your relationships, both past and going forward.


Sure, we understand: if rehab isn’t hard enough, losing your friendships can make rehabilitation that much longer and more arduous.

In a recent Cosmopolitan article, a contributing writer describes the pain she felt once her friends dropped her after she entered rehab for alcohol and cocaine use:

“My social life revolved around bars and parties, and I had no interest in hanging out with people who didn’t drink. In fact, my online dating profile at the time actually included the line, ‘Don’t message me if you don’t drink.’ I stuck with people who drank and used like I did, as they made me feel less alien and less like I had a problem.1

Sure, it hurts, but now we see things for what they are. Besties, drinking buddies, pot pals, etc., tend to do things centered around those (and other) substances. If the friendship that ensued breaks because you no longer engage in that behavior, you now see how shallow that relationship might have been from the beginning.


Or, consider this: now that you’re sober, you might actually be a reverse enabler rather than an enabler.

In essence, because you stopped drinking and doing drugs, your old friends might now detect that they as well should cut back, or quit altogether, which in itself can put a rift between you and them.

If you can, explain to your old friends that diagnosing an abuse problem for yourself and them was never your goal. Further explain that both addiction and recovery are personal issues. The one person who can decide if they are an addict and should seek professional counseling is the person most closely affected by an addiction, which in this case is you.


And then there’s rehab. A place to get well. A place that can help you overcome your addiction, and in turn help you overcome addiction triggers, such as old party pals, which can cause a relapse of your substance abuse.

What will instead happen is you’ll meet new friends with like-minded values and interests. Remember, sober living doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or interests in your life. It simply means you can have all the fun and interests you want but without the impediments of drugs.

In the end, you’ll have a much fuller and happier life for it, and likely new and better besties, who are respectful and understanding of your continuing recovery.

If you or a loved one have an addiction to alcohol, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.


  1. When I Gave Up Alcohol, I Gave Up Many of My Friends Too. Retrieved May 16, 2016.

I Went to Rehab and Lost All My Besties