Disconnection from friends, family, and community may be a sign that someone close to you is suffering from addiction. Feeling alone causes some people to use drugs or alcohol, without realizing that their excessive substance use pushes those around them further and further away.Common strategies used in interventions to help people accept treatment include emotional appeals and reminders that the addicted person’s loved ones care about him or her. However, once that person is on the road to recovery, it’s important to continue to encourage them to build the sense of closeness and community that was possibly previously missing in their life.

Inviting your loved one to family events, taking them out to lunch once a month, or simply reminding them that you care can all help them feel less isolated once they’ve completed treatment. However, even a family dinner can sometimes prove stressful for the person in recovery if alcohol is present. For instances like those, it’s important that your loved one have a sober community they can turn to for support.

A sober community of like-minded people also recovering from addiction can offer unique insight that your loved one may not receive elsewhere. They also provide the opportunity to develop meaningful, long-lasting, and, most importantly, new friendships outside of your recovering loved one’s old community. If those who were around them prior to treatment were also using, new connections such as those within a sober community can be crucial to preventing relapse.

A sober community can also offer another layer of accountability. Many people suffering from addiction have become adept at avoiding consequences and responsibility. Developing new connections within a sober community and establishing outside accountability makes it more difficult to keep secrets, evade consequences, or return to negative behaviors.

Supporting your loved one in their recovery can be crucial to their long-term sobriety. However, don’t forget to encourage them to build an outside support network of like-minded individuals who are also committed to remaining sober. That community can act as a valuable tool and help your loved one have long-term success in staying clean.