The Importance Of Community In Addiction Treatment Services

Addiction Treatment Services | Transcend Recovery Community

Community is important regardless of where in life you stand. Community is important for addiction treatment services because we thrive on communication and social living. Even if we withdraw ourselves to being friends with two or three people, our relationship to these people and the support they give us is important to our self-esteem, and our ability to express how we feel about ourselves.

Of course, that has its dangers. People can be damaged, angry, and troubled – and what they say in such states can come off as abrasive, hurtful and, if internalized, it can reduce our self-esteem to ash. There’s a fine line between accepting criticism and letting insults define us – just as there’s a fine line between taking care of your psyche and ignoring every ounce of valid negativity.

In addiction treatment services, there’s little room for lies. Honesty is important, and people are important – but knowing when someone is honest and when they’re just trying to hurt you can take some time to figure out. That’s why trust matters, and that’s why environments where trust is essential matter greatly.

Community, in this sense, isn’t just the population within a geographically-designated area – it’s the people you surround yourself with in your life, everywhere you go, all throughout the world. We live both in the real world and online, and with travel being as accessible as it is, the term “community” can become very flexible. In the specific case of addiction treatment services, a good example of community is the recovery community: your people, your friends, the individuals that help make your recovery what it is.


Why A Sense Of Community Plays A Big Role In Addiction Treatment Services

Humans are generally pretty bad at looking at themselves – with our eyes being where they are, it’s difficult to get a clear view of how we look. Instead, we use mirrors.

The same principle works when talking about what lies beneath the surface. The people we spend the most time with and are the most honest with are our mirrors – they help us clearly see who we are, and it’s through them that we have to adjust our behavior if we want to act a certain way. If we lie, and cheat, and create a falsehood about who we are, then the mirror image we see will be distorted, faked, and fragile.

Honesty matters – trust, is vital. In addiction treatment services, knowing as much as possible about yourself is important in order to help you better understand how you can change, improve, and cope.

We are shaped by the people we surround ourselves with – and if you find the right people, people who genuinely care about you and whom you can care about, then you’ll be able to count on them to help keep you in the focused mindset you need to keep a relapse from ever happening again. Then, you can truly break your addiction.


The Importance of Community and Family in Late Recovery

Part of establishing a strong line of defense against the possibility of a future relapse is through a strong foundation in life. That means being comfortable and confident in your position in life, and in the lives of others. We need others to co-exist with in order to have a solid concept of ourselves – it’s through others that we can reassure ourselves of the value we have in life.

That isn’t to say that there is no such thing as self-determinism and or individuality. It’s important to maintain boundaries – no matter what anyone says, your life is always worth living, and it’s always worth hoping for better things.

But it is in human nature to rely on one another as a gauge for what is socially acceptable. This isn’t always good, but it’s usually true – and when undergoing addiction treatment services, it’s important to know who and what is most important to us. Because if we know what bears the greatest amount of importance in our lives, when we can invest in it, and use that accountability as a leverage to never use again.

Family is a good example of this. When enough time in sobriety has passed, and the urge begins to wane, accountability becomes an important tool in order to keep yourself in check and ensure that, if you do feel like using again, you have every deterrent at your side to help stop yourself. However, it’s not just about using what’s important to you to prioritize over your past. First and foremost, it’s about making a difference. A difference between past you and current you.

If you really want to pursue theoretical permanent sobriety, then you need to embrace the idea of radical change as a catalyst for truly achieving permanent sobriety. By becoming a different person with a different mindset, a different level of confidence and with a different, more positive personality, you can cut ties completely with your old self, and having people there to support you on your journey and help keep you in check is important.

Change is about challenge, and few things are as challenging as addiction recovery. Going through addiction treatment services while embarking on a personal quest to complete a certain project, create a certain piece of art, or even complete certain athletic achievements can be transformative, and can help you really cut a swathe between the you of today and the you in your days of drug use.

Anchor yourself in family and community when going through addiction treatment services, and you’ll find that you’ll be much stronger and more confident in your ability to succeed on your path to recovery, rather than being limited by the same low self-esteem that addiction often creates, due to feelings of guilt.

Finally, it’s important to remember that family might not always mean biological family. It’s not uncommon to have bad history with your family, and many might not want to return to a household or family that mistreated them. Instead, make a new family. You can’t choose where you’re born, but you can choose the people you surround yourself with, and making new friends is important when you’re starting off in addiction treatment services or in a sober living program.


Why Your Sober Living Home Is a Community for Recovery

Sober Living Home Is a Community for Recovery | Transcend Recovery Community

The journey of recovery is not going to be understood by everyone. Sure, you might have friends and even family members who have said they understand how hard it has been for you or that they can empathize with the challenges you’ve had. However, anyone who is not on the road to recovery themselves is not going to fully grasp what it means to be in recovery from addiction.

If you’re living at a sober living home, then there’s a good chance that you’re surrounded by men and women who are on the same trek to get sober and stay sober. There’s a good chance that they’re facing similar challenges, feeling the same emotions, and hoping for the same things. There’s a very good chance that you and others at your sober living home have a lot in common.

Thousands of years ago, human beings lived in their own sort of communities – tribes. They traveled, worked, ate, and slept in communities. They stayed together as a unit because it was necessary to do that to survive. Today, we don’t have tribes; we have families. But even those are breaking down. Children move away, parents get divorced, and families separate. Many men and women aren’t a part of a community at all. They have to seek them out in their churches, sport teams, and social clubs. And others simply isolate, pulling away from other people, perhaps believing that it’s emotionally safer to be alone. But even still, communities can be hard to find, and worse, hard to feel like you’re a part of even if you do find one. In fact, feeling lonely and feeling like you don’t belong is one of the primary reasons why people turn to drinking and drug use in the first place.

And now, here you are: in recovery and in a sober living home, a place that is inherently a community. A place where others are walking the same journey you are. And not only that, you are likely seeing each other in the kitchen or living home of your sober living home, at 12-step meetings, and support groups.

Here’s what a sober living community can do for you:

  • Restores hope.
  • Creates confidence.
  • Combats loneliness.
  • Helps improve self acceptance.
  • Strengthens commitment.
  • Boosts empowerment.
  • Creates a feeling of belonging.
  • Encourages open and honest communication.
  • Provides opportunities to help others.
  • Provides opportunities to witness success and effects of relapse in others.

People crave connection. Desiring connection with others is a natural response. Human being s are social creatures. We cannot live in isolation. Even when we are born we need the assistance of our parents to feed, nurture, and tend to all our needs in order to survive. And that doesn’t change as we get older.

If you’re craving connection with others, but not sure how to start, begin with a simple hello. When you see your roommate, ask her how her day is going. When you see someone at a 12-step meeting, compliment them on how they share at each meeting.

Your sober living home is a natural community. It is in the context of community that people heal, grow, and succeed.


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Recovery Returns To You All That Addiction Took Away

Transcend Recovery Community likes to ask its community members, “What do you want to do with your life?” We believe that anyone who is on the path of recovery has the potential to reach their dreams. Although addiction can steal happiness, honesty, and wholeness, recovery can bring it all back.

Here is a list of what recovery can do for you:

Community – When you’re struggling with addiction, you tend to become more and more isolated. Dishonesty, lying, and hiding tends to put a distance between you and your friends and family. Addiction will also create distance within yourself by consistently denying the fact that there is a problem. While you’re lying to your friends and family, you’re also likely lying to yourself. Yet, in recovery, those separations from yourself and others begin to disappear. You’re given the opportunity to heal your relationships, experience the benefits of community, and feel good about yourself.

Honesty – When you’re in recovery, you might be participating in support groups, therapy, and 12-step meetings. These are all opportunities to be honest with yourself and others. You finally have the chance to say what you’ve already wanted to say but perhaps couldn’t. The supportive experiences that you tend to have in recovery are meant to encourage honesty because it can lead to healing and growth.

Connection – One of the reasons people tend to use alcohol and drugs is because they desperately want connection. Perhaps they want a deeper connection with friends or family but never experienced it. And depression, which can be experienced as a lack of connection with yourself, can also drive someone to use substances. Yet, in recovery there are many opportunities to connect. And it is through connection that people feel seen, heard, and understood. It’s through interpersonal connection that healing takes place.

Support – Another reason behind substance use is feeling alone, lonely, or isolated. And feeling like you need to make it through life alone can be so scary that men and women turn to substances to feel stronger. Or they may want to escape the burden of loneliness through substances. Either way, recovery means support. Even if you have lost the relationships with your family, recovery brings the support of a sober community, professional help, and the assistance of new friends.

Joy – As you continue on your path of sobriety and as you’re having more and more connections with friends and professional staff – as well as with yourself – you might actually experience a moment of joy. You might start out with a small feeling of happiness, contentment, or the experience that life feels a bit easier. Perhaps these moments of the beginning of bringing joy back into your life.

When you’re on the path of recovery, you can start reaching for your dreams. As one Transcend graduate put it:

“After Transcend, I took a job in Boston and did very well there for almost three years. I bought a house, bought a car, and had a very solid, stable job. I design lasers and wrote a textbook for grad students in nonlinear optics. I moved to Denver to join a laser startup company in October 2015 as the CTO. I’m living downtown and enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle, and my workaholism tendencies remain successfully at bay.”

You can read more Transcend testimonials here. To make your dreams a reality, let recovery give back to you what addiction took away.


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The Power of a Recovery Community, Because the Opposite of Addiction Is Connection

If you’re new to a sober living home or new to a 12-step meeting, you might feel like you don’t fit in. You might feel odd or like you don’t belong. If you’re used to spending time with friends and people you’re familiar with and suddenly you’re spending large amounts of time with strangers, you might even feel intimidated and nervous. You might feel self-conscious about the things you say and what you do, wondering if your new community of people are going to accept you for who you are.

It’s common for addicts to have a low sense of self-esteem. And those patterns of low self-worth can persist into recovery. However, there are ways to feel better, feel a connection with your new community, and even feel supported by them. It’s so easy to feel uncomfortable going into a new environment, especially if the others have already formed a group of their own. Yet, although it feels odd, there are important tips to remember so that you don’t feel like the odd man out but rather the one everyone welcomes with open arms.

Check in with your own feelings and thoughts. When you’re about to go into a new support group or 12-step meeting, and especially if you’re feeling nervous, notice that some of what you’re feeling is a pattern. You probably always feel this way around new people. You might have patterns of feeling uncomfortable until you get to know someone. It’s important to know that these are simply patterns in your mind so that they don’t bring you down or interfere with making new friendships.

Get to know people before making up your mind about them. When you are feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, it’s easy to be judgmental of others as a form of self-protection. For instance, if you have an interaction with someone and the other person feels cold to you, you might think to yourself, “Well, he’s a jerk.” It’s easy to blow someone off and make up your mind about them without really knowing them. You don’t know if he was having a bad day, upset by something that was said in the meeting or just doesn’t know how to socialize very well. When you’re new to a group, give people a few chances before blowing them off.

Treat those you meet with kindness. It might sound obvious but kindness can go a long way. If you’re used to bantering, making fun of, or even arguing with friends, then kindness might feel odd to you. But as you can imagine, most people respond well to kindness, especially at the beginning of a friendship.

Volunteer your time. Whether you’re living at a sober living home or attending regular 12-step meetings, when you volunteer you show that you care. You send the message that sobriety is important to you. But not only that, you also send the message that you want to help others out too. You want to be there for your peers. Others in the group often appreciate and even admire the volunteers for putting in the extra time and effort.

These are tips for feeling more comfortable in your new sober community.


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Your Sober Tribe Affects Your Vibe

If you’re in recovery then you’re probably meeting new people every day. Every time you go to a 12-step meeting or attend a support group, you might run into someone you’ve never seen before but someone who shares the goals of sobriety and recovery from addiction. And if you reside at a sober living home, then you might have opportunities to interact with and form relationships all your housemates.

But not everyone you meet in sobriety will be your kind of person. Just because they are in recovery, like you, doesn’t mean that you’ll love everything about them. For that reason, it’s important to find your tribe, your network of people that you resonate with. It’s necessary to find the type of crowd that speaks your language and with whom you have more than just sobriety in common.

For instance, you might be an artist. Perhaps you want to connect with other artists and uncover how being creative can support and perhaps jeopardize your sobriety. For so many artists, getting into a creative spirit meant having a drink or getting high. On the other hand, creativity might be healing and spiritually nourishing in recovery. Having a circle of artists around you who are also focused on recovery can be supportive.

Or perhaps you’re lesbian or gay. Over the years, many resources have been created for the sober LGBTQ community. But it wasn’t always that way. In 1969, The AT Center began after 6 gay men met for an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting and decided to call themselves “Alcoholics Together”. Membership quickly grew through the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, throughout Southern California and even in cities far away such as Boston and New York, the acronym “AT” became synonymous with gay AA. Today, the gay Los Angeles sober living community now knows The AT Center as a significant place for refuge.

Another growing community within sober living groups is one that is focused on wellness. Many recovering addicts place emphasis on yoga, meditation, acupuncture and other holistic practices in their recovery. In fact, some would say that their recovery wouldn’t be what it is without these practices.

And along the same lines, many men and women in recovery rely heavily on their spirituality. They may find their support for sobriety through their church by attending church-related 12-step meetings or bible studies for recovering addicts. They may resonate highly with the emphasis on spirituality in each of the 12-steps.

Community is an essential component to recovery for many men and women. It’s the primary reason behind the recommendation to attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days for new recovering addicts. Men and women find support in the personal stories that reflect obstacles and challenges faced by many in the group. And those stories are strengthened and may have more meaning when there’s a shared worldview or common interests.

If you’re new to recovery, don’t just look to spend time with those who are sober, but find your own unique tribe within the sober living community.


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How to Get the Support You Need in Recovery from Addiction

Having a solid support system in addiction recovery is extremely important. And there is a wide range of support in recovery, many of which are free of charge. Despite this, there are many recovering addicts who simply do not get the help they need. There may be many reasons for this, including financial obstacles, stigma from friends or family, self-judgment, or fear. But the support is out there. And it’s available when anyone is ready and willing.

Certainly, recovery is not an easy journey, but those who have done it are thrilled and grateful they did. Recovery might be compared to climbing a mountain. Along the way there may be challenges, dangers, and setbacks, but once you reach the top, you feel fulfilled and joyful and experience a sense of accomplishment. For most people, the journey of sobriety is well worth the challenges.

But you will have to overcome the inner obstacles that stand in your way. For instance, here are steps for overcoming fear, stigma, and self-judgment:

Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Sometimes, you might not even know what it is exactly that’s keeping you from getting the help you need. Whether you’re in recovery or not, you might simply be resisting change but not sure why. If you take a few minutes out of your day and tune into your feelings, you might be able to identify what’s going on inside. You may be able to pinpoint whether it’s fear or judgment or stigma.

Take action despite your feelings. Nelson Mandela once said: The brave man is not he who feels afraid, but he who conquers that fear. However, you probably won’t be able to take action before identifying what you’re feeling first. If you can identify what’s holding you back then you can make a conscious decision to call for help, attend the 12-step meeting, or talk to your sponsor.

Join a sober community. Even if the only thing you did was become part of a community of others who were working toward health and sobriety, that alone will be a significant step. You might meet others who are also afraid or also concerned about losing their old life. Your feelings and fears will be validated, but your hopes and dreams will also be validated. In other words, you’ll see that there are others who are afraid but who are working toward their sobriety goals nonetheless. A sober community will inspire hope, courage, and emotional well-being.

Talk to someone. Another step to take, especially if you’re feeling afraid about doing anything else, is to talk to someone you trust. And this doesn’t even have to be a therapist or drug counselor. Simply talking to a friend, relative, or your spouse can help get your feelings out. And as a result you might feel more clear-minded.

As mentioned above, the help is out there. There are all sorts of online communities, 12-step meetings, and support groups that anyone can attend, and most of them are free. Yet, sometimes when it comes to changing your life, you may need to overcome those inner obstacles to get the help you need. The above suggestions are tips to help you do that.


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When the Whole Community Shares a Vision, Everyone Wins

One of the greatest qualities of communities is that they have something in common. They share a goal, a vision, or an endeavor. A group of people who come together are not necessarily a community. What makes them a community is when they have something in common, something they commune with, which unites them. An online dictionary defines community as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common”.  For instance, in New York City, there are many ethnic  communities, such as Little Italy or Little Brazil. What makes these parts of the city unique is that they inhabit a group of people who share the same culture. The people in these communities immediately have a bond because of their ethnic background.

The same is true in recovery. There can be an immediate bond because of the shared goal of sobriety. There is an immediate understanding of one another. Everyone is struggling with or has struggled with the endeavor of getting sober and staying sober. Everyone is making an effort toward changing their lives. Because of the shared vision of living a healthy and sober life, simply being in the community helps to strengthen one’s own personal vision.

Another benefit of having a shared vision is that everyone has someone to rely on. Individuals in the group eventually find their unique roles, working toward supporting the benefit of the whole. For instance, within a sober community there might be:

Leaders: These are those who might say hello to newcomers, volunteer to set up 12-step meetings, become sponsors, and take responsibility for the health of the group.

Sponsors: These are those individuals who know the difficulty of the process and who might volunteer to support others through the 12-step process, or another type of recovery model.

Spokespeople: These are the individuals who know the importance of sharing their own story both to heal themselves and to help the healing of others. They might visit recovery centers, speak at 12-step meetings, or facilitate support groups.

Gatherers: These are people who may not necessarily play a role in a recovery community but gain so much out of it that they often invite others. They see the benefits of community that they feel inspired to share those benefits with others.

Attendees: Newcomers may not play any role at all. But they may simply be a part of a community and that alone is significant. It is significant for their own recovery but also for the recovery of others. Simply being a part of a recovery community supports the health and wellbeing of everyone involved.

Regardless of the role you play in your recovery community, you matter. The community exists because of the people involved and the vision you share. And simply by being a part of the community, you gain from it. You gain the support, courage, and hope that sober communities offer to each of its members.


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A Sober Living Community & its Role in Recovery

A Sober Living Community & its Role in Recovery | Transcend Recovery Community

A compulsion is an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against your own conscious wishes. Acting compulsively, whether it’s with drinking or eating or gambling, is the essence of having an addiction. Behaving in a way that you just can’t seem to stop is quintessential experience of acting compulsively.

It’s as though you have a battle with yourself. There’s a part of you that continues to live your life, as you have been. You spend time with friends, family, and co-workers. But inside you know that perhaps something is out of control. Behind closed doors, you drink a little more often than you should. Under the radar, you know that you’re use of marijuana is getting out of control.

Having an addiction is having a loss of control. You might find yourself spending large amounts of time engaging in alcohol-related activity to the point where you are neglecting social, academic, or familial responsibilities. You’re not only drinking but you’re thinking about drinking. You’re planning your day so that you can drink. You’re planning your financial life so that you can be sure to have enough money to buy alcohol throughout the month. Everything is centered around drinking, even though you don’t see why anything is wrong.

One of the significant problems to this is that the hidden nature of the addiction makes it stronger. Hiding it, keeping drinking or drugging behind closed doors, only strengthens the need for it. There’s an obsession that develops – an unhealthy one, an obsession that becomes destructive. Your compulsive behavior grows until you begin neglecting social, work, and/or family responsibilities.

That’s why, finding a sober living community is incredibly healing. The primary reason community is so effective for recovery is that it takes the secretive, hidden quality of the addiction off the table. Suddenly, in a sober living community, where there are other adults who are in recovery as well, addiction and the road to living sober is being openly discussed. The horrible experiences, the challenges, the obstacles, and the breakthroughs are being shared among people who have been to the bottom too.

Of course, the most classic sober living community called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson, sometimes known as Bill W. Since its founding, AA communities have sprung up around the world. And if you’re in recovery, participating in a sober living program, whether that’s living at a treatment facility or a sober living home, then you’re likely attending AA meetings as a part of your weekly program.

The benefits to a sober living community are not unlike those experienced in group therapy. Group therapy is a treatment method similar to individual therapy, although there are a number of people in the room discussing a psychological or social concern they share. There is often at least one mental health professional in the room to facilitate a therapeutic discussion of the topic.

In group therapy, and in a sober living community, a person can find others who are struggling with the same issues. They can come out of the dark about the concerns they are having.  Parents, spouses, and children of those struggling with addiction can also experience the benefits of community in support groups. For instance, Al-Anon is a related AA community for loved ones of those struggling with addiction or in recovery. Such a group can provide loved ones with the resources they need to support their addicted relatives or friends through the difficulties of addiction and breaking free of an addiction’s grasp.

The fact that someone might need to hide their drinking or drug use or that they need to minimize the destructive effects of their using makes joining a community of those in recovery incredibly helpful and healing. Joining the community within sober living can be the primary method by which your recovery begins.


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50 Tips for Best Sober Living Experience

50 Tips for Best Sober Living Experience | Transcend Recovery Community

There are many programs out there that can aid one on their journey towards long-term sobriety. Of course, the best sober living programs are those of which target a specific addiction — much like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a meeting program that’s highly respected and favored within the recovery community, as well as in every city across America. Continue reading “50 Tips for Best Sober Living Experience”