Recovery as a Community Effort

addiction recovery communityYou have probably heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This same philosophy can be applied to addiction recovery. When addiction recovery is thought of as a community effort, it tends to be much more successful. Every place that is home to a substantial population will offer an addiction services community network to struggling and recovering addicts. It is proven that addicts who plug into this network and go to it for support will have a much stronger recovery than addicts who do not.

  • Rehab. Many addicts meet in rehab and form lifelong supportive relationships. Living alongside one another as roommates and peers can develop a special bond between addicts and strengthen their journey of recovery.
  • Halfway house. A halfway house can be its own service or an extension of rehab. They are intended for people who need to live in a supervised, addiction free environment but who are also functioning within the world for vocations, responsibilities, relationships and recreation. Many addicts live alongside one another in halfway houses and support one another.
  • Support group. Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous are just two of many support groups that are available to addicts. Every type of major addiction has its own support group. These gatherings reinforce the community mentality by providing a safe place for addicts to meet and share about their addiction struggles and recoveries.
  • Recovery church services. There are specific church services that are designed with the needs of recovering addicts in mind. For example, Celebrate Recovery is a church movement that can be found throughout North America. Services frequently provide a meal and are held for extended hours on weekend nights which are statistically the nights an addict is most likely to relapse.
  • The importance of spontaneous social time and get-togethers among recovering addicts and the people who support them is very important relationship building. When addicts meet other addicts who they have a lot in common with, they are able to relate to one another and socialize in the exact way of their choosing. Everyone needs these friendships and addicts are no different.

Addiction Thrives in Isolation

isolation and addictionAre you an addict who is ready to quit your addiction but cannot get past the hump of admitting that you are an addict? Or, do you have a loved one who is struggling with a serious addiction but you are not reaching out for help at the addicts request? The most important advice anyone can give you is this: break out of the isolation pattern! The moment you begin to bring other people into the situation, it will begin to improve. Be selective and careful who you tell; do not bring people into the situation who will make it worse. But whatever you do, do not stay silent. It could be a matter of life and death. Speaking up will get you connected with the addiction treatment, anxiety and depression treatment or whatever other type of treatment you require.

When you isolate yourself with addiction, you isolate yourself with debilitating shame as well. Every addict is conscious on some level that their choices are hurting themselves and hurting the people in their life. So long as they have some morals in tact, this realization will fill them with regret and shame. But it is also the pattern of an addict to push the shame down in order to keep returning to their addiction. Ending the isolation will put a stop to this harmful cycle.

Being isolated with addiction also isolates an addict with their denial. Denial is pivotal to making an addict return again and again to their addiction. If an addict truly believes that their well being depends on quitting their addiction, they will take steps toward ending it. The addict knows this on some level, which is why they will go to great lengths to convince themselves that their well being does not depend on quitting their addiction. This is a means of serving the addiction; by defending it even to their own better nature.

Which brings us to the third thing an addict isolates themselves with: worship of the addiction. This may sound fantastical, but worshipful is exactly the word to describe a severe addict’s reverence to the object of their addiction. They will put their addiction even above their family members in importance, as well as serve it and defend it from attack.

Relying on Your Support System During Recovery

addiction recovery support systemAddiction recovery is a challenging road to walk down and no one should have to go through it alone. The support system that a recovering addict gathers around them is a very important component to recovery. An addict in recovery should be able to trust their support system to do right by them and rely on their support system to lift them up when they are down.  Those who make up an addict’s support system have a very important and responsible role to play in the addict’s recovery.

Firstly, an addict needs to make sure that they have a healthy support system. This means that if the members of their support system influence them to want to relapse in anyway, the addict must find a new support system. This may seem harsh but it is absolutely vital. Addiction cannot heal among dysfunction. An addict’s support system should be mentally healthy, made up of non-addicts or addicts who are passionate about their recovery and available to the addict when they are in need.

Secondly, it is important for the recovering addict to spend a good amount of time with their support system. A healthy support system is a very good influence on a recovering addict because they boost the addict’s morale, exemplify the benefits of an addiction free lifestyle and keep the addict busy with healthy activities.  This sentiment can be applied to anyone; not just addicts.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, an addict’s support system is meant to be there for them in times of weakness. An addict’s support system acts as a lifeline for them when they are in danger of relapsing. The urge to relapse can come on hard and sudden, and sometimes the only way of resisting the urge to relapse is by leaning on trustworthy people. An addict’s support system should be aware that they have a responsibility to the recovering addict to be a voice of reason for them when they are struggling. They should be prepared to talk the addict through their urges and remind them why they do not want to give in to them.

The Importance of Peers to Addiction Recovery

addiction recovery peersAll addicts need meaningful, supportive relationships in their lives to help them strengthen their recovery. But the importance of having peers in an addict’s support system cannot be overstated. In other words, it is important for an addict to have other addicts in their support system who are going through the same struggles and fighting for their recovery as well. The reasons for this are many.

Only an addict or former addict can fully empathize with another addict. Those who have never been addicts will never have a clear understanding of what an addict’s struggle really is. Nor should they. It is an absence of logic rather than a sound logic to relate to. The empathy that addicts get from one another is a weight lifted off their shoulders. Knowing that others have gone through what they have gone through is very important to their sense of belonging and self esteem. It helps them know that they are not alone, they are not throw away people and they are part of a community of other recovering addicts.

Addicts supporting addicts is also a way of building camaraderie. When people are joined in a similar cause, they build strength in numbers. Feeling like you are part of a team in working toward recovery is much more appealing than feeling like you are the only one making this effort. Addicts build strength in their recoveries by seeing other addicts fight for their own recovery, and the shared morale becomes contagious and is lifted.

And lastly, everyone needs to know that there are other personalities who are compatible with their own. This does not necessarily mean that addicts should pursue romantic relationships with one another in order to find compatibility because many addicts are not healthy enough to be in a romantic relationship at all. What it does mean is that like personalities benefit the lives of like personalities, and for addicts, tight relationships with other addicts who resemble on another are very beneficial.

Combat Addiction with Relationship

addiction and relationshipsAddiction is a complex, devastating matter that requires special care in order to treat. More and more people are coming into an understanding that addiction is a disease rather than a character flaw and are gaining more understanding for how hard it is to defeat. There are a number of methods that are useful for beating addiction as well as other mental disorders, one of these being relationships. The relationships that an addict has in their lives can have a major impact on their recovery for better or worse. Once an addict has begun their journey of recovery, it is imperative that they make careful relationship choices to ensure the survival of their recovery.

Healthy relationships are a major key to addiction recovery. When an addict is blessed with family and lifelong friends who have good mental health, it is going to make their journey of recovery much easier and smoother. Some addicts do not have healthy relationships in their lives or in their pasts, and will have to take the initiative of finding and building healthy relationships for themselves. The reason this is so important is that everyone has a need to reach out for help in hard times. This is characteristic of mentally healthy people and mentally unhealthy people. When an addict reaches out to their healthy relationships for support, they are met with empathy, love, sound advice and availability.

On the other hand, if an addict has a support system of mentally unhealthy people and they do not find a better support system to belong to, their recovery is going to be much more difficult. Most cases of addiction are tied to relationship problems, particularly within the family unit. Often, if one person in the family is addicted, others are addicted and / or mentally unhealthy as well. When an addict reaches out for help by returning to these dysfunctional support systems, they will end up worse off than they were before and will be much more likely to relapse. It is hard for everyone to walk away from what they know, but addicts must be prepared to do what is best for themselves.