Importance of a Support Network in Recovery
Building a support network in recovery is important. It can be incredibly beneficial to spend time with people who are living life to the fullest without drugs and alcohol—and who encourage you to do the same.
For example, attending regular meetings or staying at a sober living house can increase accountability, provide more opportunities for open and honest communication, and work to combat cravings and decrease the likelihood of relapse.
The more time you spend with positive people, the more positive choices become the norm and less likely you will be to consider drugs and alcohol as a viable resource for the management of stress, boredom, anger, and other issues that arise.
If you’re looking to build a support system in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, here are some ideas to get you started.
Frequently Attend 12-Step Meetings
Free, readily available almost everywhere in the country, and filled with people at different stages of recovery, 12-Step meetings offer a great way to connect with new people interested in making connections as well. Whether you are just starting out in building your support network or looking to meet new people who understand what you are experiencing in recovery, 12-Step meetings and other addiction-focused support groups can be a good place to begin.
Similarly, joining support groups that speak to another part of your life can also help you connect with people seeking positive change. Parenting groups, groups for those diagnosed with a mental or physical disorder that you live with, grief groups, and more can all provide a forum for meaningful connections with others.
Rebuild Relationships With Trusted Family & Friends
Family members are often the people most deeply hurt by an addiction, and it can be difficult to face the high emotions surrounding those memories and experiences. Though it can feel counterintuitive when you are working so hard to remain positive, it may be helpful to allow for some time to process through difficult emotions and work toward hopeful solutions in important relationships.
Keep in mind that healing will not occur overnight. Family members may or may not initially be a great source of support in recovery. However, taking the time to attend family therapy sessions and begin the work of rebuilding those key life relationships can eventually lead to strong bonds that help you to maintain long-term recovery.
Take Part in Non-Recovery Activities
Aside from mutual support meetings and other recovery activities, there are plenty of ways to strengthen your support system. Things like going out to dinner, outdoor sports and events, and new hobbies can all help improve your mental, physical, and social health.
Yoga is a great addition to recovery and an excellent way to meet positive people—so is a tai chi or art class. You can learn how to play an instrument or Japanese, whatever it is that interests you. Join a gardening collective or book club, enroll in a community college course, or volunteer at a homework club for kids. Anything you enjoy doing that decreases your stress levels will help put you in contact with other people who are also living a positive life.
Connect with classmates or group members slowly. Unlike recovery support groups, it cannot be assumed that anyone you meet is clean and sober; thus, people you meet outside of the recovery community may with good intention invite you out for a drink or to another activity where drugs and alcohol are present. Instead, choose to socialize at activities that support continued growth in recovery. These activities can generate positive connections that will boost your recovery.
Connect With a Workout Group
A regular running group, exercise class at the gym, or sports team can connect you with others working to make healthy choices. Better than simply making a personal commitment to a running regimen or regular workouts, connecting with an exercise group can help you achieve your personal health goals and create lasting positive habits.
When you feel better physically, you will also feel better mentally. This can contribute to your ability to make positive choices in relationships with new people and create friendships or even acquaintanceships that help you to stave off loneliness and stay committed to your recovery.
Use Good Judgement
While friendships and other social connections in recovery are essential to helping you avoid the isolation that can trigger relapse, it is important to remain aware when forging bonds and building sustainable relationships. Some points to remember include:
- Not every connection you make will become a long-term friendship. You may attempt to be friends with someone and find they are simply too busy or otherwise disinterested. This is not a personal attack on you or a negative judgment of any kind. Rather, it is a non-issue, perfectly acceptable, and doesn’t require even a second thought.
- Not all new friendships will last forever. Rather than getting overly attached to a friendship, it is important to practice mindfulness and allow the friendship to continue to grow and evolve over weeks, months, and potentially years. People move, their schedules change, and other relationships start or end. Connections change as well. It is a great thing to find a new friend and enjoy spending time with that person, but it is also important to allow that friendship to evolve as needed without judgment.
- People who are actively abusing drugs or alcohol are not positive choices. Even when someone is supportive of your decision to stay sober, it is not a good fit if they regularly abuse drugs or alcohol—especially when you are just starting out in recovery and beginning to build your support network.
- Checking in on the status of friendships is just as important as checking in with yourself in recovery. It’s a good idea to remain actively aware in all relationships and identify any situations or interactions with certain people that cause you to feel stress, jealousy, anger, irritation, or poor self-esteem or self-confidence. Any of these can be a trigger for relapse and a good reason to look for other connections in recovery.
Addiction Treatment & Tools Tailored to You
At Greenhouse Treatment Center in Grand Prairie, Texas, we know there is no one-size-fits all approach to addiction rehab. That’s why we customize every treatment plan to meet a person’s individual needs.
Our aftercare planning begins on day 1, working to provide the resources and community that help our patients sustain their recovery. Our Texas rehab facility also has a sober living residence to help patients transition from residential treatment to regular daily life.