In many respects, recovery is an isolating experience. You may find that friends and family don’t understand your struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, or those who can’t empathize with your desire to get sober. The real work of healing is a deeply difficult and personal task and you may feel judged or dismissed by the ones you love.
The challenging journey of recovery requires a personal commitment and at the end of the day only you can achieve sobriety for yourself. However, surrounding yourself with an addiction recovery community can be crucial to your success.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of community in recovery and some tips for building those long-term bonds.
The importance of community in recovery
Beginning treatment for substance abuse can feel like a solo journey. You might have fears about being singled out in treatment, missing family or living with strangers for the duration of inpatient treatment. In reality, rehab for substance use disorders tends to be an integrative experience, with supportive staff and peers who understand what you’re going through.
Community naturally forms in addiction recovery treatment because treatment centers do not operate by treating only one individual at a time. There are likely to be several others attending both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Moreover, partaking in a sober living home as part of your treatment is guaranteed to offer communal experiences.
The fraternal nature of addiction treatment is no mistake. There are numerous benefits of the addiction recovery community. Here are a few:
Substance abuse often results in self-isolation and withdrawal from social groups. The recovery process aims to heal not only the addiction itself but the negative impact on the lifestyle that results. Socializing and creating relationships in recovery remedies this symptom and can create friendships that last a lifetime.
2. Support outside of treatment
Healing requires that a person create a lifestyle that supports recovery. Social circles that embrace sobriety and are aware of your personal goals are essential to sustained recovery. Friends who are similarly seeking recovery and can help to minimize or combat triggers outside of structured treatment can serve as useful as well as meaningful relationships.
Others in your life may be hesitant to discuss triggers or worry that their words might contribute to a relapse. Those in recovery understand the importance of open and honest conversations and will help hold you accountable during tough times.
4. Community can help you rebuild meaning in your life
Those in recovery often lament the loss of their life before addiction. Whether it was a successful career, a solid community or varied hobbies, recovery means reclaiming a life you enjoy. Relationships you build in recovery can help you accomplish those life goals again by offering advice, sharing encouragement or creating long-term friendships outside of treatment.
Guiding principles for finding addiction recovery community
Finding a community is easier said than done, though. While you are likely to meet numerous people through treatment, you should still discern whether the relationships you’re creating are compatible with your number one goal: recovery.
Here are a few tips for finding an addiction recovery community:
- Keep your top priority in mind: sobriety. Make smart choices about associating with those who don’t take treatment seriously or are on the verge of relapse
- Aim to befriend those with solid social skills: behavior is strongly influenced by those a person surrounds herself with, and since treatment is a time to boost your social skills, ensure that your new friends are honest communicators and are able to manage distress and conflict peacefully
- Listen well: listening is one of your most powerful tools in recovery. There is much to learn, both from clinicians and from peers. Listening can help you see how lessons are applied to life so you can avoid learning them the hard way yourself
Each person’s story is unique, but you’re likely to find many similarities between your experience with addiction and others. These shared circumstances can build true friendships and inspire your recovery.
Recovery community resources
Building relationships during your quest for sobriety can happen inside or outside of formal treatment. Here are a few recovery community resources to help you reinforce a healthy social life.
You can look for a meeting near you through the Alcoholics Anonymous web page.
Using a website like Meet Up, you can search specifically for sober events in your local area. These tend to be event-based and may include activities like sober sports leagues or sober holiday parties.
The treatment center you attend is likely to offer connection to local recovery community resources, such as support groups, sober living homes, community programs and more.
A local community center
Events and classes hosted by your local community center are likely to be designed for sober activities. If you’re eager to find hobbies and learn new skills without the explicit title of sober events, you can find a wide variety of options in your city. You may find that a ballroom dance course or pottery class offers you the social opportunity you’re looking for.
Through specific hobbies
If you already have a hobby you’d like to pursue, consider looking into that specifically. Activities like biking, swimming, running, book clubs, painting and so forth can quickly bud friendships and are likely to be sober events. Just ensure that there is nothing triggering connected to these meet-ups, such as a group outing to the bar after running a race.
The best way to achieve a recovery community is through professional treatment. You’re likely to bond with several others in your inpatient or outpatient program, and case managers can assist you in finding sober social opportunities beyond the formal treatment setting.
Silvermist Recovery can help you find the community you’re longing for. Contact us today to learn about treatment options and get your life back on track.