Recovery is better in many ways when you have a strong support system. Recovery is not a linear journey – there are many peaks and valleys, accomplishments and challenges. Having a strong support system by your side, whether it’s your best friend or others in recovery from all around the world, will help immensely in holding you accountable, keeping you on track and cheering you on.
Family and friends
Your loved ones are likely the first people who come to mind when you think of your support system. They will have known you for most of your life, as witnesses to your struggle with addiction. If possible, use recovery as an opportunity to make amends and rebuild relationships. Ask your friends and family if they would be willing to help you through your recovery. You are responsible for staying sober and committing to your treatment, but your loved ones can check in on you, encourage you, keep you accountable and help you explore sobriety.
Not everyone is close with or able to lean on their friends or family during recovery; that does not mean you are out of options when it comes to support. Love and support come in many different forms.
Support groups geared towards sobriety offer safe, neutral and judgement-free spaces where you can work through the recovery process. Less formal than therapy, support groups have a more relaxed setting that promotes conversation and engagement and they are often led by other participants rather than a therapist or counselor. Support groups also offer a place to embrace your vulnerability and be honest with yourself and your support group community about how your journey to sobriety is going.
Group therapy can come in many different forms, depending on what the individual wants and needs out of their group recovery program.
Group counseling sessions, for example, are typically led by a therapist and have roots in psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. You will be encouraged to vocalize your thoughts and feelings on your recovery journey. Fellow group members can respond with support, empathy and understanding.
Experiential group therapy, on the other hand, is still a therapeutic approach that promotes healing by recreation rather than through talk therapy. You will engage in recreational therapy activities with your group members while learning life skills in mindfulness, mind/body activities, interpersonal communication, problem solving, and de-stressing and de-escalation techniques.
The first 12-step program, Alcoholics Anonymous, was designed to promote and support recovery from alcohol addiction. Several 12-step groups have since been born utilizing the 12-step ideology to address different kinds of addiction, including drug addiction (i.e. Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous and Marijuana Anonymous), gambling addiction (i.e. Gamblers Anonymous), compulsive eating or binge eating disorder (i.e. Overeaters Anonymous), sex addiction (i.e. Sexaholics Anonymous) and more.
12-step programs entail group meetings guided by the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Group members each have a chance to share their stories, relate to others sharing their stories, and provide encouragement and support throughout the meetings. Each 12-step program member is encouraged to form a relationship with a sponsor, or someone who is also in recovery and has gone through the 12 steps themselves.
Having the support of someone who has gone through recovery is immensely valuable; your sponsor will be one of the few people in your life to truly understand the journey you are on.
Virtual group engagement
There are a number of online resources centered around social engagement for those in recovery, ranging from virtual support groups to social media platforms. Seeking recovery support online is a great way to meet other sober individuals from around the world, locate a support group that works with your schedule and safely engage with others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Real Recovery Clinical Services takes an evidence-based and compassionate approach to recovery and sobriety. Our outpatient programming in particular is specifically designed to incorporate group treatment and recovery, providing you with consistent social engagement with other individuals in recovery who can understand and relate to you. Reach out today at (855) 363-7325 for more information on how social engagement can help you thrive during recovery.