A community approach towards addiction treatment is successful because it pits together many individual and unique experiences and journeys, teaching valuable and important lessons to those on the path towards recovery, such as the fact that they are never alone, and that there are many challenges they have not had to face, that others have overcome and grown past. Being in a recovery community for recovery can help people see their journey differently, with different perspectives all around.
Everyone experiences addiction in their own way, and processes it in their own way – while it’s rare for someone in a recovery community to find someone else in the exact same boat, listening to others speak about their experiences can help give the sort of perspective necessary for recovery to intensify.
That is why it is vital to choose the right recovery community when looking for a place for yourself or your loved one to improve and get better in a lasting way.
A Varied Approach
First and foremost, any legitimate addiction recovery institution should recognize that addiction is a varied disease – and it requires a varied approach. There is no one-size-fits-all program that all people in recovery should adapt to – that is a flawed way of thinking, and one that can alienate people and lead them to believe that there is no hope for them simply because they do not mesh well with a single approach.
Some people do brilliantly under the twelve-step program, for example. Others struggle immensely with it, and cannot grasp the concept of a higher power for themselves. Some even feel oppressed under the philosophy. Giving people room to explore diverse ways to heal can help them find a way that truly works best for them – and in a community environment, they can expose themselves to a much larger array of concepts and many ways of thinking.
Often, recovering from addiction means making more than a few drastic changes in life, and this can be quite jarring. It may mean discovering a newfound form of spirituality in life, or even a new religion. Or it may have nothing to do with that form of healing, and instead revolves around forming new relationships with people, and finding pleasure in simple things such as travel and trekking.
Variety is the spice of life – and in addiction recovery, it’s vital towards a successful recipe.
People You Like
The second thing to watch out for is a community and spirit you enjoy being in. If you feel like the atmosphere of your community is not one in which you feel comfortable, then you won’t get very far in your endeavors towards lasting recovery.
Some say that addiction is all about a lack of connection – that some people, especially those struggling with drugs on an emotional level, are lacking a sense of belonging and feel lost and lonely among their usual friends and family. Healing that by bringing you together with people you can relate to and bond with can help mend that fracture and eliminate the emotional sway that drugs hold over you, replacing it with new friendships.
People matter to us in general, even if you don’t care to admit to it. We’re social creatures, and we need people in our lives – from parents to lovers, friends to acquaintances, and even just strangers to pass by daily. One big step in recovery is feeling comfortable among people you care about, bringing yourself to feel secure and confident enough to accept that you are someone others can care about as well.
Things to Do In A Recovery Community
Nothing ruins recovery quite as much as getting bored – in all seriousness, one way to stem the urge to relapse is by keeping yourself busy. Making a schedule, trying out new things, experiencing new sensations, exploring new aspects of living – a hallmark of a good community experience is one where there are many things to do.
Community events, group support meetings, projects, therapy sessions, outdoor activities and more – if your recovery community centers its philosophy around replacing addiction with life and all its real, living joys, then you’ll not only find a way to lasting recovery: you’ll have fun doing so. And fun is important, especially when fighting against addiction or any other mental illness.
Sometimes, giving life structure is exactly what we need to get out of a rut and into a good state in life. Addiction can easily throw life out of balance and put us on a chaotic and out-of-control track towards total wreckage – from broken relationships to career damage and a spiral of self-destruction. It’s not easy to get back from all of that without falling off the horse a few times – and aside from the massive emotional support that a community can give you, structure from living within a recovery community can also help you develop the necessary discipline to continue staying sober after your initial recovery period is over.
Yes, addiction is a chronic issue – but it gets easier to manage with time, and with the right tools. Goals, scheduling, and structure – these tools are immensely important early on and have carry-over later in recovery as well.
An Agreeable Philosophy
A good recovery community needs to be one where you can feel comfortable, one with people you can feel close to, one with many things to do and with the structure necessary to help you regain control over your life – but most importantly, you must find a community that operates on a philosophy that you can agree with. It’s important to have all sorts of different people around you with different opinions and points of view – but there should be some common ground, and in a recovery community, that common ground needs to be the recovery philosophy.
Every place has its own philosophy, its own pursuit of truth and a reason for its founding. Some places are driven solely by profit – other places are extensions of a founder’s firsthand experiences, shaped by them. While there is nothing wrong with operating a business efficiently and for the sake of profit, making something only for it to make money takes all the soul out of the equation.
Instead, find a sober housing program that seems truly genuine to you, one where you feel that the staff and organizers understand addiction and see you not as just another customer, or just a number on a spreadsheet, but as a person with individual needs and a purpose within the community. When you have found a place like that and begin to call it home, then your journey towards lasting sobriety will be much easier.