Ask anyone who has ever struggled – addiction is a lonely road.
So many emotions are wrapped within the experience of addiction that it often leaves people with all sorts of thoughts and feelings that are both isolating and exhausting.
Among their friends and family, there may be very few people who can actually relate to their experience on a personal level. And this is why a community in recovery is so important for a successful journey. Because, while the support of long-time friends and family members is irreplaceable, the shared experiences of those in recovery can help minimize those emotions of isolation and increase a sense of hope in recovery.
The importance of community
When in recovery, it’s helpful to have a sober community — when everyone around you is talking about and practicing sobriety, it’s positive and motivating. Even on days that are challenging, you have people around you to help remind you why you’re on this path.
Not to mention the other countless benefits of a recovery community.
You have people to process sessions with
During recovery, you are attending both group and individual counseling sessions. In between sessions, you have people you can dialogue with about the challenges, realizations, milestones and setbacks you all encountered during these sessions. You have people who were there, who’ve experienced it, with whom you can talk and process any accompanying emotions and feelings.
Other members can help keep you accountable
When you’re in recovery, the people around you know generally when and where you’re supposed to be in meetings. If you skip a session, the others in the meeting will know and might ask you about it later. This can actually work towards your benefit, as it keeps you accountable. On days when you feel particularly off or unmotivated, having your community can work to your advantage by getting you to attend the sessions you’re reluctant to go to.
Community encourages healthy social skills
Sometimes during addiction, one becomes so hyper-focused on meeting the demands of addiction that other aspects of life fall to the wayside, including social skills.
One of the benefits of a recovery community is the reality of learning to work alongside other members of the program. This includes learning how to dialogue and communicate appropriately, how to listen and respond to the needs of others and how to share and express your own needs, thoughts and feelings in a healthy way.
Not only is this beneficial in the realm of recovery, but it will also benefit you for the rest of your life.
You have built-in adventure buddies
Recovery is a lot of hard work, but it’s not all work and no play. In fact, the best recovery programs encourage participating in healthy activities like hiking, camping, cooking meals together or exploring the local town to encourage the mentality that there’s a lot of fun to be had in life without the use of substances.
Trying to do these things on your own is great, but having a sober community to share in the experience is even better. Together, you’ll learn skills like teamwork and even conflict resolution, as well as just enjoy each other’s company in a sober environment.
What role does my family play?
We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of a sober community, but it’s true that one’s family and friends also play a crucial role in their loved one’s recovery community.
If your loved one is in recovery in an inpatient treatment facility or sober living home, visitation hours are likely pretty restricted. However, you still can show your support and encouragement by taking the time to show up and spend time with your loved one during these hours. Ask them about their journey so far, listen to their experiences and offer support for the healthy choices they’re making.
When your loved one returns home, or if they’re participating in an outpatient program, you can help them by removing any substances from the home; ask them about how their time in treatment is progressing, but don’t hyper fixate on it; take the time to do other activities with them that don’t focus on recovery, like visiting a farmer’s market, going out to a movie or exploring a local museum. Help them feel peaceful and normal by planning peaceful and normal activities.
Seeking substance abuse treatment?
If you’re looking for addiction and/or mental health treatment, Silvermist Recovery offers not only individualized treatment plans but a sober community in which to recover. To get started today, reach out to our team to learn more.