The people who surround you play a significant role in your recovery, which can be positive or negative depending on their behavior. Friends and family can sometimes support addictive behaviors unknowingly. It is possible that some members of your community share the same addictions, making it easier for you to stay in unhealthy, addictive patterns. That’s why it is vital to choose your community wisely when on the path to recovery. Relapse prevention is heavily influenced by community support.
In order to set ourselves up for success when it comes to addiction recovery, we need to surround ourselves with friends, family, and others, such as medical professionals, that will encourage us to stick to our goals and make forward progress. Keep reading to learn how you can begin building a community of addiction recovery allies.
Building Your Community
There are a number of ways you can build and strengthen your support network. Some examples include:
#1 Set Boundaries With Your Friends and Family
Recovery support starts at home, which means the first step is determining your personal needs and setting boundaries accordingly. The second is communicating them to friends and family. Clearly articulating your needs will let those closest to you know how to support your recovery.
It might be the case that those closest to you are not supporting your addiction. This can happen consciously, as in cases where the person does not want to face their own negative patterns, so encourages you to continue yours. This can also be unconscious, happening because your needs are not clear to them. Either way, communicating your needs is key.
If someone close to you is unable or unwilling to support your recovery, you may need to pause your relationship with them in order to meet your goals. Recovery can be a difficult road, and you deserve to make it as easy for yourself as possible. If saying goodbye to a friend or family member means letting go of the negativity that feeds your addiction, you are making the best choice for yourself.
#2 Work With Medical Professionals
In order to set the best and clearest boundaries, work with a medical professional like a therapist. Therapists can help you uncover your needs and the root causes of your impulses to use substances. This aids you in clarifying and maintaining boundaries that support your recovery and prevent relapse.
#3 Join Peer Support Groups
Not everyone has access to friends and family. This is where a group of like-minded peers can make a difference. Peer support groups are made up of others also in the process of recovery, as well as medical or mental health professional facilitators. Being surrounded by individuals who are working toward the same goal goes a long way. An article titled “Effectiveness of a peer-support community in addiction recovery: participation as intervention” showed that a “significant reduction of risk of relapse was found in clients who participated in the programme.” Sharing goals with peers can increase motivation.
#4 Ask Your Care Team for Resources
Additionally, your therapist can point you to community resources that you can try on to see if they fit your needs. Whether you are looking for a 12-Step meeting like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or you would like to join a hobby group, such as knitting or crocheting, there are plenty of options for you to engage and grow your community.
Once your community is built, you can proceed into sobriety with greater confidence. A strong community means you will have someone — or several people — to turn to in moments when recovery feels hard. Being able to reach out and express frustrations allows you to move through your feelings rather than staying stuck.
#5 Consider Holistic Approaches
One further thought on the community: it is a non-medical method of recovery. This means it is part of a holistic approach or treating you as a whole person. Medication and therapy are important parts of your recovery equation, but there is more to you outside of medicine. You are a person with hobbies, interests, hopes, and fears. Developing a core community will support your pursuit of personal goals and maintain your sobriety. A whole-person approach acknowledges that symptoms of addiction can be the result of behavior or environment and addresses them by examining their root cause.
It could be that the company you do or don’t keep is a major player in your addiction. Closely examining your personal needs will allow you to understand what community means to you. Phase out those that don’t empower you, and engage with those who support and lift you up.
Finally, it is important to have open avenues of interest to pursue. Even just one other person can be that resource for you. Having a community means having options.
Community starts at home with family members and close friends. It then expands to others you seek out, such as medical professionals and peer support groups. Who you choose to surround yourself with plays a critical role in your addiction recovery. It is crucial to set clear boundaries with those in your life. This sometimes means saying goodbye to those you love until they can adapt to your needs. West Coast Recovery Centers can support you in identifying and setting boundaries and also offers peer support groups to aid you in your recovery. If you or someone you love are ready to take the next steps in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, call WCRC today at (760) 492-6509.