One of the most important factors in successful recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction is learning how to ask for help when it is needed. It is often the case that being isolated from positive influence fuels the beginning stages of addiction, and is the nature of addiction to perpetuate that negative path. Addiction has often been called a disease of isolation, and reaching out for support is the first step of many toward freeing yourself from the cycle.
Support From Family
The primary function of a family is to provide us with a ready-made social structure. Ideally, we learn how to feel safe, supported, and unconditionally loved through those first humans we encounter after birth. The only one who suffers as much as the person in addiction is the family member who is concerned about it. Many prayers, sleepless nights, and tears are experienced by a family member who is worried that an addicted loved one won’t make it through another day.
The family members who provide the best support during your time of recovery will be those who are understanding, non-judgmental, and educated in the dynamics of what an addict needs for recovery. They will understand the importance of reducing relationship friction for the recovering person, and will have good boundaries in place toward not enabling the person in recovery to continue to the substance use behavior in their presence.
Support From Friends
If you already have a group of friends who have been cheering you on toward your recovery, you are in a great position. The friends who stick by you during your hardest times are generally the ones worth keeping once your life has improved. There is a tendency, however, for those in the middle of substance abuse to gather other people around them who also abuse drugs or alcohol. Once you have made the decision to get sober, it may be necessary to eliminate these social connections. Particularly during the early stages of recovery, the added temptation to use that these types of acquaintances bring can not often be afforded.
For some, good friends become a surrogate family. This may be due to irreconcilable differences, large distances, or lack of availability of biological family members. Mental health services have expanded the perspective of what constitutes a family, and many treatment programs invite a participant to bring in anyone whom the client considers to fit the description. The most important factor in a relationship during recovery is that you feel supported, encouraged, and understood by your loved one.
Support Through Therapy
Substance abuse treatment programs usually offer some form of therapy in tandem with providing tools which are directed exclusively toward remaining sober. The justification for this addition of services lies in the fact that many of those who are struggling with substance abuse are also struggling with mental health issues. The relationship between substance abuse and mental health problems becomes cyclical, with one factor negatively impacting the other. It can be difficult to piece out which problem came first. This dual-factor experience is known as a co-occurring disorder.
Once you have made it through the initial stages of detoxification, and are ready to start doing the work of figuring out your sober life, therapy can provide a space for exploring the issues which began long before the substance addiction, and those which have worked to push you toward the escapism that being under the influence provides. Discovering parts of yourself which have been overlooked, developing new perspectives on old experiences, and gaining more effective methods of approaching life are some of the benefits of participating in therapy.
Support Through Education
You may have noticed that many substance abuse support specialists experienced their own battles with drugs or alcohol, and won. Their position, now, as substance abuse counselors, shows that they did not stop there. They went on to solidify their recovery fortress through adding the coursework and putting in the hours necessary to be in a position to assist those who come after. Obtaining support for your recovery through higher education can simultaneously equip you with tools to face your own challenges, and equip you with the credentials necessary to help others with theirs.
While beginning a program to become a substance abuse counselor usually requires that some amount of recovery time be under the belt, there are other ways that education can help, meanwhile. The internet has become nearly an infinite source of information, and issues concerning the dynamics of substance abuse and recovery abound. Educating yourself about topics such as self-care, boundary setting, codependency, abusive relationships, family interactions, and co-occurring disorders can provide you with insight and inspiration to continue onward.
Support From a Sober Living Community
The benefits of a sober living community encompass all of the above attributes. While plugged in, you can receive professional support, psychoeducation, and a ready-made social network of people who are invested in your continued recovery. If your community program includes a living facility, you will be provided with a safe place to rejuvenate and retrain your habits to not include drugs and alcohol.
Those who operate a sober living home understand the importance of environment on recovery. The process of maintaining an addiction includes many routines and familiar settings. Getting yourself into a place where you are challenged to operate in new ways can allow your brain the space to rewire toward filling your time with other pursuits and activities. Sober living homes are also safe spaces, where you can expect that others will not be harassing you or putting substances in your path.
Sober living facilities tend to house several participants at one time, meaning that there is ample opportunity to connect with other people who are on a similar journey of life improvement. There are opportunities to participate in support groups, therapy, and fun social outings. Some programs even include job training and job placement options, for those who need a fresh start on their career path.