The process of recovering from an addiction is never easy. In the earliest stages, people often admit themselves to facilities where they receive around the clock attention. Once the detox phase is over, what happens then? In the best-case scenario, you have a recovery community ready to help you keep moving forward. Here is what the right community will do for you in the months and years ahead.
Who is Part of a Recovery Community?
In order to understand what this type of support network can do, you should understand who is part of that community. Friends and family who stand by you and support your efforts to overcome and control your addiction are key members of your network. Professional counselors and your family doctor are also included.
A portion of your community may be the other residents at a sober house. It’s not unusual for a recovering addict to live in this type of environment for a time. It serves as a bridge between living in a completely controlled environment and getting back into the world at large. Those other residents and the counselors who live on site understand the struggles associated with rebuilding a life after getting sober.
You are likely to be involved in some type of ongoing support group designed to help those with similar addictions help each other through those days when it would be so easy to slip back into old ways. They will also be part of the recovery community.
For those who are religious, spiritual counselors are often included in the recovery network. Having someone to talk with about where you are right now and what they means in terms of the faith you espouse can provide more motivation to keep moving forward.
Your Community and a Sense of Worth
One of the most powerful things that your community will do for you is providing a constant reminder that you are a person of worth. People who have found themselves addicted to alcohol, medication, or any illegal substance often experience a decrease in self-confidence and begin to think that they don’t matter. The right type of community helps to counteract those feelings.
It’s not just a matter of verbally reminding you that you are important and that you do have worth. Members of your community will convey that message in a number of different ways. They do so by being there when you need to talk, offering encouragement when you feel the urge to slide, or doubt that things will ever get better. Those same people are on hand to celebrate with you every time you move on to the next phase in your recovery.
Sharing Ideas and Information
The people who compose your network have a lot of information to provide. Some of it you will be ready to absorb at different times in your journey. In particular, your counselors and other medical professionals will be in a position to determine when you are physically and emotionally ready to make the best use of new data.
With addiction recovery, there is always something new to learn. Encountering information at a time when you can readily see how to put it to good use provides one more resource that makes moving forward a little easier.
Keep in mind that the sharing is not all directed at you. There will be times when you are the one sharing an experience, providing an ear to someone who needs to talk, and helping others understand how to support a loved one seeking to control an addiction. Other members of your support group, residents in the sober house where you live, and even a loved one who is just beginning to acknowledge his or her dependence on alcohol or some other substance could find what you have to say helpful.
Rebuilding a Social Life
Many people in recovery find that they don’t have much of a social life left. That’s because the addiction became the focal point of what sort of relationships they cultivated. When you decide to become and remain sober, some of the folks you spent a lot of time with will no longer want to socialize. In your heart of hearts, you also know that you need to find some new friends.
Your recovery community serves as one outlet for finding people who get where you’ve been because they’ve been down a similar road. Along with having recovery in common, you are likely to find people who share common interests in music, art, different hobbies, or professional backgrounds. Those elements form the basis for making new friends and enjoying a social life that does not revolve around the use and abuse of any substance.
While you are always the primary factor in your recovery, there is no reason to make the journey alone. Become part of a recovery community and be open to receiving the support they have to offer. Be an active participant and do what you can to support others on their journeys. In the end, everyone has a better chance of building a bright future.