Addiction recovery is a multi-faceted challenge, one where every case requires a unique and justified answer. What might work for some will not work for others – but the one common denominator in nearly any kind of treatment is the community. Without community in recovery, addiction recovery and the road to sobriety lead nowhere.
The notion of being a “lone wolf” appeals to some, especially among teens in their rebellious years, but any functioning human being ultimately needs a place to belong to, and people to be with. This is especially important in addiction, where a lack of connection can be the primary cause behind it, making a sense of community in recovery especially important.
To understand this, it is important to understand how addiction works, the difference between chemical dependency and emotional dependency, and how some people can use drugs for decades without withdrawal symptoms, while others can become alcoholics within a week of drinking. With that in mind, understanding the power of community in recovery and real human connection can give you an insight into why sober living communities and similar treatments work so well.
A Community In Recovery Means Enduring Motivation
Community in recovery helps you recommit yourself to sobriety, even when your own will to stay sober begins to falter. There’s no shame in accepting that life after rehab is hard, and staying sober can be very, very hard. There are days when sticking to the program just seems like such an impossible task – and having others to help you stay honest and stay clean is an absolute godsend.
Addiction recovery is so much more than a 30-day program and a few group meetings. It’s a lifestyle, it’s learning to live a fully-fledged and fleshed out life without drugs, learning to be happier with time.
Remember: there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an off day. But when days like that swing around, having community in recovery is exactly what you need to make it through and do so entirely without drugs.
A Community Helps In Re-Establishing Connection
Aside from helping you stick to the program and practice abstinence even on days when you cannot be bothered to do anything, living in a Los Angeles sober living community and enjoying the perks of being around a lot of different people again can help you re-establish what it is like to connect with others, and build meaningful relationships that can last years – or even lifetimes.
Addiction itself can wreak a lot of havoc on some of the most important relationships in our life, while simultaneously introducing us into new, toxic relationships we may not want to pursue in the long-term. Cutting yourself out of those toxic relationships, and pursuing healthy, beneficial relationships both old and new is a vital part of the recovery process.
Aside from reconnecting with your family and old friends, a vital part of making it in the first few months is making entirely new friends. Some of them might be through sobriety – others would just be people you meet through other pursued interests. In a sober community, there is plenty of opportunity to meet new and interesting people, and find out more about them.
At first, opening to others can be quite difficult. However, by being open to sharing the details of your sobriety with others going through their own troubles, you not only can help others with your perspective, but you gain the trust and respect of those around you, and begin a bond that can, in some cases, lead to life-long friendship.
Connecting with others is more than just making comments or superficial remarks. Some argue that the advent of digitized social interaction has begun reprogramming the way we interact with one another, killing the conversation and instead focusing on just talk. By taking the time to connect with others on a face-to-face basis within a sober community, you not only relearn what it’s like to have conversations, you also get the opportunity to step out of your own comfort zone and tackle entirely new perspectives.
A Community Is Vital For Affirming Self-Love
Self-love is a critical aspect of successful addiction treatment; however, it is a concept that is entirely misunderstood. Instead of a kind of narcissistic self-worship, self-love entails being your own champion, staunchly fighting for your right to help yourself.
Guilt, shame, anger – these are emotions that have their place in life, but typically only fuel self-destruction in the life of an addict. Through self-love, you are telling yourself that you are worth getting better for, and that recovery is something you must go through not just for your family or your loved ones, but so that you yourself can enjoy life once again.
Feeling optimistic about yourself while in recovery can be very difficult. For some people, it can be a challenge to jump into addiction recovery and make a commitment towards themselves. Community in recovery, however, can make you see the value you have. It can make you realize that you are worth more than you think. And it can reinvigorate your sense of self-love, or help you develop one.
We Always Need Others
A human being can survive alone, but the human spirit cannot. Without others, without the stimulation of conversation and the benefits of being around others, we go stir crazy. We lose hold of ourselves. Loneliness begins to set in, and soon thereafter, the depression kicks in hard.
People are not built to be lone wolves. Even if we can’t get along with others, we need them in our life for one reason or another. Some people cannot connect with others on an empathic level, but they need other people around them to manipulate to remain sane. Other people cannot function without someone else to talk to, confide in, grow alongside of. Even the introvert in a bustling village must take the time to be among people.
If we put ourselves through extreme isolation, we mentally dissolve. We’re more likely to develop dementia. Our immune system goes haywire, unleashing stress hormones and triggering inflammation. Just being lonely can be the trigger for a major depression, and anxiety issues. It’s no wonder, then, that one of the many common causes and root factors behind a heavy addiction is a loneliness and a lack of connection. And following that logic, the only way towards a successful long-term sobriety is through connection; through community in recovery.
Many paths run through to sobriety. There are several treatment types, programs and therapies available for all sorts of people going through addiction. Some require a physical approach, others struggle with mental illness, and for some, only one-on-one therapy does the trick. However, in all instances, success relies on the strength of the community and the support you surround yourself with.