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 Connect with Others in a Healthy Way

If you were raised in an unhealthy home, perhaps with addiction, domestic violence, neglect, or codependency, then likely the way you’ve learned to relate to others is also not that healthy. You might have learned to be sarcastic, negative, or critical towards others. You might have learned to make fun of others as a way to connect and relate to them. Often, the way we relate to others is the way that our family members related to us. And the way that our parents related to each other also has an influence on how we reach out for connection with others.

You’re probably learning new ways of relating in your recovery programs. If you’re attending support groups, 12-step meetings, or therapy, then you’re probably noticing that people behave and connect with others in a more positive way. In fact, connecting with others in a healthy way is much more than being nice. Healthy relating requires a few easy-to-learn skills, such as those described below:

Listening:  The degree to which you listen is a skill that strengthens over time. Most people listen long enough in order to say what they want to say. When you listen, use all of your senses, including your intuition. Watch the other person’s body language. Listen for what he or she is communicating underneath the words. Then, when you respond, repeat back to him or her what you heard in your own words. This process strengthens trust and respect. The other person will feel heard and understood versus being pushed or coerced into anything. If you succeed in this task, the person you’re speaking with will be more willing to discuss what he or she is experiencing. And, more importantly, he or she will also be more open to what you have to say.

Sharing: Addiction comes with a deep tendency for denial. For this reason, as you discuss your feelings, ideas, thoughts, it’s important that you use an “I” statement. This is a way of phrasing your sentences so that you take responsibility for your own feelings, choices, and behavior. For instance, “I feel validated when I hear others talk about feelings that are similar to what I experience.” Or if you need to say something not so positive that will also require the use of an “I” statement. For instance, “I feel angry when you leave without saying good-bye”. Healthy communication is being mindful of what you say and how you say it. It requires honest self-expression, empathy for yourself, as well as empathy for others.

Authentic Connecting: If you’re trying to connect with someone, don’t make things up just to prove that you have something in common. Finding a common hobby, goal, or dream in life will come naturally if you stay true to yourself. This is part of having empathy for yourself. And you don’t have to look for something to have in common, just by having a conversation, making eye contact, and enjoying brief moments of laughter already creates connection between two people.

If you know that your social skills could use some improving, try these suggestions for getting to know others in your sober living community.

 

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A Sober Living Community Can Strengthen Your Sobriety

Getting sober is a significant accomplishment. You’ve made a choice to heal and get healthy. You’re probably learning new coping tools, making amends with family and friends, and working your way through the 12-steps of sobriety. However, it’s hard to do all this alone. It’s incredibly challenging to not have a network of support around you, especially when you might be vulnerable to your old patterns, triggers, and cravings. This article will discuss the grave importance of having a sober living community to participate in, rely upon, and find strength in.

Fortunately, there are often many sober living communities that are available in a neighborhood. The first one that you might already be participating in is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). If you’re already working through the 12-steps, then you might also have a sponsor to support you. However, for some people, their AA community isn’t enough. They might need a group of sober friends to spend time with, a support group to discuss addiction-related issues, and/or an online community of men and women focused on sobriety. Many recovering addicts believe that the more support they have the better, including getting involved in as many sober living communities as possible.

If you’re feeling like you need more support, you might first look to see what else is available in your community. There might be Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) meetings for those who struggle with addiction and a mental illness. There might be Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. You might also find 12-step meetings at your local church, if you’d like to include your faith in your recovery. And you might be able to access therapy from your employer through the Employee Assistance program, which is a service that most large employers offer their employees. And lastly, many social service agencies offer addiction-related services to their community, such as support groups. There are many sober living communities that you can participate in.

Even if you live in a remote part of the country, online sober living communities can be helpful to feel connected to others who are sober. For instance, you can find online groups for Alcoholics Anonymous at AAonline.net. NA Recovery has online sober living meetings at NA-Recovery.org.  LifeRing Secular Recovery and Moderation Management also have online meetings. And if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like computers so much, you can also find AA meetings that take place by phone. All you need is a good connection and you can instantly connect with a sober living community with those around the country.

What’s important to point out is that community is one of the key ingredients to sobriety. Without supportive people around you, it’s possible to lose hope about your progress. Without support, you might give in to your old habits more and more versus turning away from them. You might feel a greater YES when you have cravings versus standing strong in saying NO to them. Without a sober living community, you might forget about the reasons you got sober in the first place.

If you’re searching for more support, look for a sober living community either in your neighborhood, online, or by phone.

 

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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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Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part Two)

Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part Two) | Transcend Recovery Community

In the first article of this series, Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part One), there was a lot of discussion regarding destruction and how addiction is in fact a self-abusive cycle. This article will focus on how to transform that destruction into creation, beginning anew, and making life-affirming choices instead of self-abusive ones. Continue reading “Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part Two)”