The right support systems are crucial for an individual’s successful recovery. The people that make up a support system can be family or friends, but they can also come from other outlets. An online support group, a trusted therapist, spirituality, a new wellness activity, a pet, or even a beloved book can all serve as a support system in their own way. Collectively, they make up a strong support system, which is central in helping a person leave addiction behind for good.
Addiction may develop, in part, due to negative influences. These influences may be the people that supply the drugs or alcohol or the chaotic relationships that lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. One of the goals in recovery is to establish those unhealthy sources, while finding the right support system. This can help you leave your addiction behind and engage in sober living to the fullest.
Identifying Unhealthy Systems
With the help of therapists, twelve-step group members and recovering peers, you can uncover previous routines, former social circles, and traumatic events, which may have been detrimental to your well-being then, and may still be harmful to you now. Sometimes, it is not understood how dangerous these systems are until recovery. Only sober minds are clear enough to truly begin the hard work of making necessary change.
Healing in recovery is a collaborative process. Through therapy, recovering substance abusers will begin a recovery treatment plan. A lot of the work done in therapy involves helping the individual transition back to regular life. In recovery, a recovering addicts’ support system is built in and is drastically different from the systems that may have been around the person prior to treatment.
Analyzing Former Social Systems in Therapy
It is important to analyze events and relationships of the past in a controlled setting. Therapy is a safe space to do that. The therapist will guide you and stay with you as you confront pain or trauma, which may trigger addiction urges. While difficult, this work is important for the larger goal of healing addiction. Therapy can provide the recovering addict with tools to decipher the harmful patterns of the past in order to avoid repetition or relapse. While certain things may obviously need to change, it can be difficult to decipher which personal relationships need distance. And recovering abusers need to be aware of toxic influences.
While transitional living requires separation from the outside world, eventually individuals will have to rejoin the regular world. However, through this quieter time of reflection of the past, individuals may further understand which relationships were toxic. In recovery, you may decide that a change of residential location is necessary for your sobriety or that formal social relationships may have run their course and have no place in your new life.
Learning the Transitional Living Process
While some people may have access to positive support systems, many do not and need to figure out what that support system will be. Therapy, twelve-step meetings, and sober living are all chances to practice accepting help and understanding what true support looks like.
Many addicts may have experienced some form of trauma and consequently, may not know what a healthy support system should look or feel like. Many may grow up feeling confusion about what support means. Genuine support is when someone cares about all aspects of your well-being. Feelings of warmth, security, compassion, and inner peace are its cornerstones.
When people are caught up in addiction, they are often isolated. Their addiction is kept hidden and relationships are negatively impacted as a result. Recovery is about finding balance.
Building a Healthy Support Network
In certain cases, family or friends may be instrumental to an individual’s recovery. Sober living homes sometimes hold family visitation days and may encourage family therapy sessions, if it is beneficial for the recovering individual. Therapists will help develop a support system based on observations and information learned in sessions. Family or friends may be part of that system once sober living is complete.
Therapy itself is a process where the therapist and client can gain insights into triggers towards substance abuse, unhealthy relationships, and past trauma. Twelve-step meetings should continue regularly, upon returning to the outside world. By doing so, the recovering addict can heal and stay prepared for stressors, people to avoid, and how to navigate trauma once they return to living independently.
Healing Power of a Support System
Preventing relapse is a main goal in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. However, the right support system can virtually eradicate that potential threat not just in transitional living, but also for the foreseeable future. Healthy support systems can provide a recovering substance abuser with a sense of positive reinforcement and accountability. With the right support network in place a recovering substance abuser has a higher chance towards living a clean and sober life.
Therapists, sponsors, and twelve-step group members should all have a place in the individual’s support network. However, people from former social circles may not be a part of an individual’s new life.
The skills and strength acquired in sober living will help the recovering abuser build a new life, free from substances. However, in order for the transition back into the real world to be successful, strong support systems within the individual’s inner self also have to be in place.
The recovering addict needs to understand his or her own triggers. They need trusted individuals to voice their stress, struggles, and anger. In sober living, recovering peers, staff, and therapists are part of their support system. However in life after, recovering addicts may not have immediate access to recovering peers or addiction specialists. They need to have additional resources, firm boundaries, trusted friends in the outside world, meaningful work, productive activities, and an outlet to share addiction struggles. Sober living can help develop the right skills and create meaningful connections.
Addiction provides sensory pleasure at the expense of safety and health. While substance abuse may have once provided temporary relief, it cannot provide sustainable physical or emotional nourishment – only genuine support and sobriety can do that.