Building a strong support network of friends, family, and professionals can have a significant impact on addiction recovery. Support from others can provide you with the encouragement, guidance, and accountability that you need. Additionally, your recovery community can help you to overcome the challenges and obstacles you may face on your recovery journey.
Why You Need Support During Recovery
Recovery is achieved best with support where possible. It is not always an easy journey. Addiction is a chronic condition that makes recovery a lifelong endeavor. Additionally, there are several stages of recovery. Each stage presents its own challenges. Having support is an essential component of weathering the trials of addiction recovery. These stages include:
#1. Admitting to and Recognizing Your Addiction
For some, this is the hardest component of recovery. It can feel defeating to recognize you have a disorder and need to make a change in your life. Often, it feels like life will be unrecognizable. At this point, it is wonderful to have a friend or family member who will support you in taking the next step.
#2. Seeking Treatment and Support
This stage is characterized by finding a medical health professional, such as a primary care physician. A professional can determine whether you need a medical detox to begin your recovery or whether you are safe to pursue detox at home.
#3. Participating in Withdrawal and Detoxification
Withdrawal and detox can be a very uncomfortable part of the recovery process. In the case that inpatient detox is needed, facilities like West Coast Recovery Centers offer the medical supervision required for a safe start to your recovery. Researching recovery facilities can help you find the right fit for your needs.
#4. Utilizing Behavioral Therapy and Counseling
A good recovery center will offer behavioral therapy and counseling. WCRC offers these in individual and group settings. A group setting is ideal for the next item on the recovery list as well.
#5. Building a Support Network and Aftercare Plan
In a group therapy setting, you are working on your recovery alongside peers who are on their own recovery journey. This gives you the opportunity to grow your support system with others who understand the difficulties recovery represents.
#6. Continuing Care and Maintaining Recovery
WCRC provides care that continues beyond an inpatient stay. We offer outpatient services during which you will develop a plan for your life beyond detox and/or transitional living. The plan in itself is a support, as it provides you with resources to turn to when recovery becomes challenging.
#7. Dealing With Potential Setbacks and Relapses
It’s important to note that everyone’s journey through addiction recovery is unique and may involve different experiences and challenges. The goal is to achieve and maintain sustained sobriety and improved quality of life. With that said, know that relapses happen. Relapse does not indicate failure or an end to your journey. Rather, relapse is an opportunity to reassess and continue working on sobriety.
The Benefits of a Recovery Community
It’s also worth noting that having a strong support network can also have a positive impact on mental health. Studies, such as those from the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, have shown that social support (i.e., your recovery community) is associated with better mental health outcomes, such as reduced anxiety and depression and increased self-esteem.
A strong support network will consist of friends, family, and professionals. It will provide several benefits during addiction recovery, including:
- Emotional support: Having a network of friends, family, and others who understand and care about what you’re going through can provide a source of comfort and emotional support.
- Practical support: People in your support network can help with practical tasks such as transportation, meals, and household chores.
- Encouragement and motivation: Your support network can offer encouragement and motivation to help you stay on track with your recovery goals.
- Accountability: Having people to answer to can increase accountability and help prevent relapse.
- Reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness: Peers that will listen when you need to be heard can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can be a common challenge during recovery.
- Increased self-esteem and self-worth: Having a network of supportive individuals can boost self-esteem and self-worth, which can be important factors in maintaining long-term recovery.
Building Your Support Network
A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research found that individuals in recovery who had a strong support network had better treatment outcomes, including a reduction in drug use and improved mental health. This is compared to those without a strong recovery community.
The next steps in building your network might look like this:
- Identifying individuals who are positive and supportive
- Joining a support group
- Seeking treatment
- Building a network of healthy activities and relationships
- Staying connected
Making your network broad means that you have many directions to turn to when you need help. This strengthens your position in addiction recovery, making sobriety more sustainable and recovery more likely.
Building a support network can involve reaching out to support groups, self-help groups, or mutual-help groups that can provide valuable resources. It should also include friends, family, and medical professionals with experience in treating your unique needs. Building these ties creates a safety net, a place to land if you get tripped up by the challenges of recovery. West Coast Recovery Centers offers resources and guidance in the process of creating your support network as you embark on your recovery journey. If you are seeking ways to grow your support network or how to best support a loved one during their addiction recovery, call us today for help at (760) 492-6509.