“Your energy is the sum of the company you keep”
The true quote goes something more like this: “you are the average of your five closest friends”, and I don’t necessarily find that to be true. You can have a best friend or family member who has opposing ideas and values, and that doesn’t make them a bad influence on you. I don’t think if you want to be a doctor, you need to surround yourself with Harvard medical students. If you want to be more into yoga, you don’t need to only hang out with vegans and Kundalini masters. What you do need to do however, is surround yourself with the right energy.
What do I mean by energy?
When you’re trying to get sober, or stay sober, the attitude and outlook you have on your situation is quite possibly the defining factor of your success. Likewise, the mindset and outlook of the people your spending your time with has a direct effect on you, too.
Think of energy as a combination of words, tone, emotions, feelings, perspectives, and “vibes”. How people walk into a situation, handle the situation, and exit the situation are all going to impact your state of mind, which impacts your drive to stay sober.
It’s so important to surround yourself with supportive people who understand your goals and help hold you accountable. It’s equally as important to have people that dont judge you when you’re at your worst, but encourage you to take small steps to get back to your best (or even just better!) For example; you can have friends that drink, and they can still be a good addition to your circle. It’s not about what they do for themselves, it’s about the energy they bring to the space you’re sharing. They may be able to drink without a problem, but they also need to understand the same does not go for you- and therefor their attitude towards your drinking habits should be different.
So how exactly do we go about building a circle that optimizes our wellbeing?
- Be honest and open about your sobriety
If people don’t know you’re trying to be sober, how can you expect them to be supportive of a sober lifestyle? You need to get comfortable communicating your needs and values. By voicing your mindset and your energy needs, you’ll be able to work through who in your life can be beneficial to them and who could potentially cause harm. It’s also important not to judge so quickly. Maybe there are people you assume straight off the bat are a bad influence because of X, Y, or Z. Try talking with them about your recovery, why you’re doing it, and what it means to you. You may be surprised to find that when people understand your intentions with something, they’re often more supportive than you would initially believe them to be.
2. Don’t be Afraid To Cut People Out
This one hurts, sometimes a lot. There may be some people in your life you know just bring all the wrong energy to the room. They are negative, they complain, they bring you down, they make you want to revert to your old ways. They have trouble seeing the positive in anything, and they encourage you to continue your addiction and isn’t it’s no big deal. These are the energies that are going to clog up your space and take away potential. No matter how close they are to you, no matter what your relationship has been in the past, it’s really important to distance yourself from these kinds of people during your recovery. Recovery is about you, getting to know yourself, and most importantly taking care of yourself. Part of doing that is learning to say no, and goodbye. These are going to be hard moments, and hard lessons, but ones you will be thankful for later down the road in sobriety.
3. It’s not just friends!
The initial stages of sobriety are typically pretty routine. Whether you’re in an inpatient rehab, or outpatient program, you probably have meetings, regular doctors, therapists, and peers. It’s important to make sure these people bring good energy to your day. If you don’t appreciate the way a doctor treats you, ask for a new one. If your therapist doesn’t respect you, find a new one. If you have a peer in a group that makes a joke about sobriety, talk to the group leader. The People in our lives that affect our energy aren’t just ones were close too, but who we are exposed to at high frequencies. Many times in rehab programs there is a small amount of fear intertwined with “authority” figures. Therapists and doctors are not above you, they are there to help you. If there is not a mutual respect and fair treatment, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Having a hard time recognizing bad energy? Here are some things to look out for:
- They tell you what to do- people with good supportive energy won’t tell you what do. Instead, they will ask what you want to do, and find ways to benefit your goals.
- They complain a lot- We all complain to much, but if someone is constantly complaining it’s only going to bring you down. Sobriety is hard, and if we wanted too, we could always find something to complain about. Good energy is about choosing to focus on the positive. Make sure your circle does the same!
- They don’t celebrate your victories- It’s a good idea to celebrate even the small victories in recovery. 4 days sober? Yay! Celebrate! You did it! People with bad energy often like watching others fail, so cut out people who aren’t proud of you when you’re doing well.
- Mutual Respect- If you don’t have mutual respect, you don’t have good energy. Plain and simple as that.
There aren’t always pin points to whether or not someone is good energy, or worth keeping in your circle. Sometimes it’s just a feeling, and when you get that feeling- go with it! Try to keep your energy at the level you need to feel happy, confident, safe, and supported. Keep your head high, your goals in mind, and make sure your circle encourages your sobreity.