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People recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) benefit from connecting more deeply with peers, their care team, loved ones, and their inner experience. According to Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, “[T]o reach and maintain abstinence, it is important to maintain positive relationships and to engage self-agency to protect oneself from the influences of negative relationships.” West Coast Recovery Centers helps clients experience a deeper level of healthy social engagement using group therapy, peer support, and skill development. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Connecting With Others on a Deeper Level?

Deep social connections provide comfort, accountability, and inspiration for individuals in treatment. Medical professionals recognize the power of positive relationships in treating physical and mental health conditions. Individuals recovering from substance abuse benefit from creating wholesome social connections. According to Substance Use and Misuse, “Research has repeatedly found that those with stronger social support networks remain in treatment longer, and have better recovery outcomes with a decreased likelihood of return to use.”

Some of the known health benefits of building a strong social network include: 

  • Reduced stress levels
  • Decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression 
  • Improved self-care and overall wellness 
  • Reduced self-harming or risk-taking behaviors
  • Improved mood 
  • Reduced sleep disturbances 

Moreover, people feel physically better and more in control of their lives when they have people they trust and rely on to help them make healthy changes during recovery. 

5 Ways to Connect With Others at a Deeper Level

People participating in rehabilitation programs benefit from spending quality time with peers, loved ones, friends, and their care team. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients and their loved ones to engage in the local recovery community and build healthy relationships. Furthermore, below are five ways people in treatment and ongoing recovery deepen relationships and increase the benefits of social interactions:

#1. Actively Communicating With Peers, Clinicians, and Loved Ones

Humans are social creatures, and interpersonal relationships play an essential role in helping individuals maintain physical and mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Research shows that social connectedness can lead to longer life, better health, and improved well-being.” Social connections are built from verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. People who do not know how to communicate positively, empathetically, and compassionately may have difficulty developing deeper connections with loved ones, peers, and clinicians. 

Clients in treatment improve communication skills by doing the following: 

  • Learning to identify and process emotions 
  • Using coping skills to manage stress and triggers 
  • Spending more time with others engaging in low-stress, enjoyable activities 
  • Discussing concerns about communication or relationships during individual and group therapy 
  • Developing essential social skills, including active listening and conflict resolution

West Coast Recovery Centers provides clients with the skills to communicate more effectively with others. Effective communication helps clients express their needs better to the care team during treatment. 

#2. Engaging in Therapy on a Deeper Level

Therapy is a very vulnerable activity for many people. Some clients may hesitate to express their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs openly with the care team. However, engaging more fully in therapy allows people to get more out of each session and can speed recovery from substance abuse. The care team practices empathy, compassion, and grace when developing a therapeutic alliance with clients in recovery.

A few ways clients can engage more deeply in therapy include: 

  • Being willing to share things they have not spoken about with anyone else 
  • Accepting guidance from the therapist and providing feedback
  • Expressing concerns about recovery 
  • Actively taking part by completing therapy homework assignments

Deep discussions about the effects and causes of addictive behaviors provide clients with context for their thoughts and actions. Clients often respond better to treatment when they know more about their condition’s underlying causes and symptoms. 

#3. Family Therapy and Spending Time With Loved Ones

Family therapy is an excellent way to strengthen and repair close relationships impacted by the effects of chronic substance abuse. Friends and family know their loved ones best and often provide essential support and motivation. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to spend time with supportive family members. Family therapy is offered for clients who may benefit from developing healthier family dynamics.

#4. Mindfulness Allows You to Engage With Others on a Deeper Level

Mindfulness-based practices keep people focused in the moment without self-judgment. Clinicians guide clients through practicing mindfulness-based techniques and exercises. Many individuals find it easier to build deeper and more meaningful connections when using mindfulness-based techniques to stay focused and present. 

#5. Sharing Your Recovery Journey

Everyone has a different recovery journey. Sharing aspects of recovery with others can be life-changing for some people in treatment.

A few ways individuals share their stories with others include: 

  • Providing guest content for a podcast or blog 
  • Creating a blog, vlog, podcast, or other social media account 
  • Sharing the story in writing to specific people or in a public space 
  • Speaking about the topic to specific people or in a public space 
  • Sharing in support groups 

West Coast Recovery Centers provides people with the tools to connect more deeply with the recovery community. Often, people feel more comfortable sharing their stories with others who share similar life experiences. 

Social connections help people heal, cope with stressors, regulate emotions, and manage symptoms of SUD. Everyone has different needs and relationships. Treatment provides people with the tools and skills to repair or strengthen relationships damaged by the effects of substance abuse. Group therapy, self-help groups, and peer activities also allow people to practice social skills and create deeper bonds with loved ones and strangers. West Coast Recovery Centers understands the importance of positive social engagement. Community activities and the welcoming atmosphere make people feel more comfortable creating new and deeper connections. To learn more about the programs and services we offer, contact our office today by calling us at (760) 492-6509.