Rebuilding one’s social network is essential to long-term social recovery from a substance-use problem. Despite this awareness, studies are needed for showing how people in long-term social recovery describe their networks and what they perceive as important in developing these networks. This study has sought to investigate (i) how people in long-term social recovery from substance-use problems describe their social networks and (ii) what they experience as key factors in developing their networks. We interviewed seventeen participants in long-term social recovery and mapped out their person-centred networks. Most of the participants were satisfied with their social networks, although some felt their networks were small and wanted more friends in the future. The qualitative thematic content analysis suggested that rebuilding networks was experienced as a demanding, anxiety-filled, long-term process. Access to social arenas, prolonged time spent with others and identification with and recognition from others were key to developing social networks. We argue that there is a need for tailored assistance and long-term support for people in long-term recovery to help them cope with the stresses of entering new social arenas, overcome societal stigma and develop social networks.