Social Support for Recovering Addicts
You’ve had an addiction and you decided to give up that addiction. You followed a treatment, the treatment was successful and now you are recovering. Congratulations! Here we will discuss the importance of social support for recovering addicts.
Aristotle said a long time ago that human beings are "social animals" and therefore will naturally seek the company of others as part of our well-being. This thought is confirmed by scientists: children who experience great relationships with family and friends are more likely to be happy later on in life; adults who have more than 10 friends (and see them regularly) are more likely to be happy than those who have fewer friends.
You may not feel like going out and socializing. Maybe you still experience withdrawal symptoms and feel irritable or anxious. You may feel guilty as well for isolating yourself away from others so you could use the substance. However, relationships with others are also essential during your recovery from an addiction. The opposite is also true: isolation will increase your risk for relapse; hence the importance of social support for recovering addicts.
Take Some Time for Yourself
You got attached to that drug or alcohol. It’s normal to experience a sense of loss when you gave up the addiction. Pay attention to your emotions and feelings around loosing that "friend". It’s ok to feel lonely or angry.
Look for a Support Group
You will come across people who understand better than anyone else what you are going through, because they had similar struggles. For example, consider joining one of the following:
You can also choose to work with a therapist at the same time, in addiction treatment facilities.
Work with a Therapist
Considering the fact that stress, emotions and social problems increase the risk of relapse, it’s worth working with a psychotherapist or psychologist because they help you cope better with these issues. They can do individual or group therapy and can use a special form of therapy called CBT (or cognitive behavioral therapy). CBT teaches you how to better understand your moods and thoughts, the triggers and addictive cravings. During CBT sessions you will learn how to replace addictive behavior with positive, much healthier choices.
Are You Ready to Re-Connect with Family and Old Friends?
You may never feel ready, but make the decision one day to call them and have an honest conversation. Tell them you are recovering from addiction and you are in the process to re-discover yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone who really cares about you will be happy to re-connect and see you are on your way to being healthy and happy again.
Stay Away from Negative People
You don’t need negative people around or those who are still addicted to drugs or alcohol. Being around these types of people can have a negative impact on your rehabilitation, and being around active addicts could also increase your chance of having a relapse. Instead, you need only supportive people during recovery. It’s perfectly fine to not answer the calls of negative people or reply to their emails.
Also, you may want to stay away from the TV news as well, since most of them are bad news. Rather, choose comedy channels or a TV show. This is an easy way to avoid unnecessary negativity in your life.
Make New Friends
Start online if you feel more comfortable doing so, and slowly switch to meeting new friends in person, over a coffee, for dinner or for a walk by the lake. Join a new class or a fitness club, and soon you’ll have a great social life and social support system to help you with your addiction recovery!