For anyone in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction, a strong support system is crucial. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40% to 60% of people in the United States treated for a drug or alcohol addiction will experience a relapse. Your support system does not want you to be one of them.
What Makes a Strong Support System?
A solid support network consists of positive people who encourage your recovery and want to safeguard your sobriety. The members of your support network should be people you like, trust, and respect. Your support system may consist of family members, friends, others in recovery, faith leaders, teachers, and people you meet in classes or at work, as long as they are living healthy lives. These are the people you know you can turn to for practical and emotional support. They will help you through difficult times and celebrate your successes.
Enlist Family Members & Friends
1 – Family treatment: When you are in recovery, you need the stability and emotional support of loved ones. Addiction affects the entire family. Unfortunately, it is often loved ones who are hurt most deeply by addiction. Some family members may need to take part in family treatment to understand and work through the harm addiction has caused. Being involved in family treatment builds a positive, healthy environment for your recovery.
2 – Communicate: Reach out to loved ones and friends. Talk to them about their feelings and expectations, and share your own. They want to support your recovery but may not know what to do. Give them ideas of what they can do to make you feel supported.
3 – Healthy friends: In recovery, you must cut ties with friends who continue to abuse substances. Their unhealthy influence can result in relapse. By surrounding yourself with others who care about your sobriety and are actively working toward living a healthy life, you avoid potential relapse triggers and stay focused on sobriety.
Meet Others in Recovery
Your support system should include others who are going through recovery. You will meet peers at the recovery center, aftercare, 12-step meetings, and social events held by recovery groups. Although each person’s addiction story is different, everyone’s goal is the same – lasting sobriety. Your peers will understand your struggles and situation. Over time, as you attend meetings and gatherings, your support system will build up naturally.
Attend a 12-Step Program
Attend a support group, such as a 12-Step program, regularly. 12-Step programs are designed to support those in recovery. Connecting with others in similar situations greatly helps with the healing process. At the meetings, you can talk openly about your addiction and listen to others share their stories. There is no criticism or judgment. Members will always be there to help you stay accountable and on the recovery path.
Find a Sponsor
A key element of 12-Step programs and an essential member of your support system is a sponsor. Your sponsor is your confidant, mentor, and coach. Finding the right person to be your sponsor takes time and thought. Your sponsor should be someone you admire. You should feel comfortable with them and have a rapport. They will always be there for you and keep you focused on your recovery.
Three Benefits of a Strong Support System
1 – Acts as a lifeline: When you are feeling tempted by a trigger, contact your sponsor or another member of your support system. They will be there, ready to help you through the difficult time.
2 – Provides healthy peer pressure: A strong, sober support network provides peer pressure to make healthy choices.
3 – Helps prevent isolation: It is difficult, even dangerous, for a person in recovery to be isolated. When they are alone, they often feel depressed, anxious, or bored. Isolation may trigger a relapse.
Are You Struggling With Addiction?
If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, help is available. Now is the time to take the first step on the path to recovery. Call and speak with a professional at English Mountain Recovery located in the scenic Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. We will answer your questions and concerns, putting your mind at ease. At English Mountain, you will receive the treatment and care you need to achieve your goal of sobriety.
About the Author:
Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.