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Recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) takes time. People often feel more motivated to stay in treatment if they find healthy ways to engage with their local community. Relationships with sober peers also help people heal from substance abuse. According to Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, “Peer support in substance use recovery assists individuals who seek long-term recovery by establishing supportive and reciprocal relationships that support the initiation and maintenance of recovery.” West Coast Recovery Centers encourages community engagement and hosts local events to help clients remain motivated and move forward in their recovery

Health Benefits of Community Engagement

Spending time in the community provides people with new perspectives, allows them to learn and practice social skills, and reduces isolation during early recovery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “When people are socially connected and have stable and supportive relationships, they are more likely to make healthy choices and to have better mental and physical health outcomes.” In addition, “They are also better able to cope with hard times, stress, anxiety, and depression.” Clinicians at West Coast Recovery Centers have created a nurturing and supportive environment where people feel like part of a welcoming community. 

The health benefits of healthy community engagement include: 

  • Increased self-confidence, self-worth, and self-efficacy
  • Reduced loneliness 
  • Increased motivation and accountability  

Additionally, positive social engagement reduces stress, blood pressure, and symptoms of mental health disorders. Individuals with SUD may respond more effectively to therapy and other forms of treatment if they have strong social relationships providing additional emotional or practical support. 

3 Common Forms of Community Engagement During Addiction Recovery

Everyone has different needs, preferences, and recovery goals while participating in treatment at West Coast Recovery Centers. Spending time in the community doing personally meaningful activities helps some people transition more smoothly into aftercare. Social connections can take place online or in person. Individuals in recovery benefit from engaging with many types of communities, including friend groups and sober peers. Below are three common forms of community engagement people use to heal during addiction recovery:

#1. Community Engagement and Volunteering

Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to the community while practicing self-care. People often feel better about themselves and more empathetic towards others when they volunteer their time and energy to help members of the community. According to BMC Public Health, “Research has found that participation in voluntary services is significantly predictive of better mental and physical health, life satisfaction, self-esteem, happiness, lower depressive symptoms, psychological distress, and mortality and functional inability.” People recovering from SUD often find volunteering a meaningful and productive way to give back to the community while practicing essential coping skills. 

#2. Sharing Your Story

People often benefit from engaging with others who share their struggles or identify with their recovery goals. Some individuals in treatment publicly share their recovery journey to uplift and inspire others. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “When you share your recovery journey and how your recovery has impacted those around you, you show people they are not alone.” 

Individuals share their stories in many ways, including: 

  • Writing blog posts 
  • Sharing videos or vlogs 
  • Speaking in public 
  • Sharing with friends and family 
  • Writing books 

Meanwhile, West Coast Recovery Centers provides people with the information, tools, and resources to share their stories. 

#3. Mentoring or Sponsoring

Sponsoring or mentoring someone else going through recovery can increase self-confidence and accountability. Many people find it rewarding to share the routines and skills that have helped them achieve sobriety. Individuals struggling with substance abuse often benefit from the guidance of someone who has been through those same experiences and made it through to the other side. 

Mentoring or sponsoring is an important part of sobriety for millions of people. According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, “When individuals can relate to or identify with those who may provide an intervention because of shared life experiences, they are more likely to seek and engage in treatment.” West Coast Recovery Centers help clients better understand the benefits of mentor or sponsor relationships within the recovery community. 

How Does West Coast Recovery Centers Support Community Engagement?

West Coast Recovery Centers supports community engagement by providing clients with different avenues for connecting with peers and the local community. Many clients find it challenging to stay motivated during continuing care. Community engagement offers them a safe space to grow, heal, and be inspired. 

Spending Time With Others Reduces the Risk of Relapse

Aftercare services are often more effective for people who have strong social support. Spending time with others reduces the risk of relapse by providing healthy distractions and emotional stability. The care team ensures clients can access the tools and information needed to utilize community engagement. West Coast Recovery Centers help people identify activities and community resources they may benefit from during early recovery. 

Communities provide people in recovery with emotional support, guidance, insights, and a sense of fellowship. Individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder often feel alienated or separate from their peers. Spending time with others who share similar life experiences reduces feelings of loneliness and improves the effectiveness of treatment. Community engagement occurs online or in person and can involve many activities, including volunteering, mentoring, or providing practical support to people in early recovery. West Coast Recovery Centers has created a thriving sober community where clients, alumni, and their loved ones heal and grow together. Contact us today to learn more about our programs, services, and community events by calling (760) 492-6509.