30 Apr The Importance of Support and Community in Recovery
Ah, sobriety, and the freedom that comes along with not being tethered to the bottle, the powder, the spliff, the compulsive behavior – whatever it is, you’ve managed to successfully set that substance or habit aside. Maybe it’s been a week, or a month, or even a year. No matter the length of sobriety time, getting clean is an epic accomplishment, period. That being said, are you working a solid recovery program? Or, are you simply white knuckling it, or dancing in and out of twelve-step meetings or other programs?
We’re certainly not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do in terms of your own recovery, because at the end of the day, your recovery is just that – YOUR recovery. We’re all individuals, and we all have different habits, addictions, or compulsions. There’s no one-size-fits-all recovery blueprint, but it’s been our experience that for a true-blue addict, staying clean without a solid recovery program very often leads one down a slippery slope, right back into the throes of addiction. And yes, even for folks who’ve gone as long as an entire year (or longer, even). Again, this isn’t the case for everybody, but it’s frighteningly common for white knucklers to relapse in recovery.
Most people who’ve overcome any type of addictive behavior are dealing with some form of root cause that has led them to adopt the behavior in the first place. That root cause could be any number of things, from childhood trauma, to family of origin stuff, to just plain old genetics if addiction runs in the family and you subscribe to the biological disease model. Whatever the reason, though, if you’ve ever truly struggled to give up a substance or a habit and have suddenly, by some miracle, managed to have some success this go-around, what happens when your sense of well-being is triggered? And when we talk about triggers, we’re primarily referring to any event, object, person, place, or situation that conjures up memories from your past that typically led you to drink, use, or act out. Maybe you’ve gotten lucky and had minimal exposure to triggers for a long time, enabling you to maintain a relatively long recovery period, but if you’re not targeting the root cause – the why – then most likely, you’re not standing on very solid ground.
Why Recovery Meetings are Important:
Virtually countless people who struggle with addiction will attest to the fact that recovery programs are vitally important to maintaining their own sobriety. Here are some of the reasons why, and the benefits you stand to gain from adopting and maintaining a solid recovery maintenance plan or program if you don’t already have one:
- It gives you an instant support network. Addiction author and journalist Johann Hari has been famously quoted as saying that, “connection is the opposite of addiction.” And this quote rings true for many. In recovery meetings, you’ll hear the stories of others. These stories can serve as guidance, particularly if the story is similar to your own. At the same time, it’s wise to always focus on the similarities rather than the differences in any recovery program, because this is where you’ll find true connection. Meetings remind us that we’re not alone, and no matter what we’ve been through, there’s likely to be someone who’s been through something similar.
- It gives you tools to maintain your recovery. Just about any reputable recovery program, whether it’s AA or NA, an outpatient rehab program, SMART Recovery, or similar, will provide you with tools to get to the root cause of your addictive behaviors and to work through just about any challenge life hands you. In AA or NA, of course, these tools are the twelve steps, but there are so many other fantastic programs out there that apply different methods which can be effective. Find one that works for you, and you’ll be able to keep that toolbox full.
- You won’t be judged. Recovery meetings and support groups, as a general rule, are judgement-free zones. People who attend are experiencing a similar range of emotions to you, and you should never be judged for your actions. These meetings provide a safe space to talk openly about what’s going on, and share what your struggling with, but without any non-encouraging feedback.
- Accountability. It only takes one sip, sniff, or puff to relapse after a period of recovery, and if there’s no one around us to remind us why it’s a bad idea to, you know, sip, sniff, or puff on a day when we’re feeling a bit lousy, then it’s just a little too easy to slip. We might say to ourselves, “what’s one drink, or bump, or hit gonna do?” Well, it could easily lead us right back into an addictive cycle, because for anyone who struggles with addiction, really, it’s pretty black and white – one is too many, and a thousand is never enough, right? And, so, it begins. Having an entire group holding each other accountable, on the other hand, can help keep us on the up and up. It’s just one extra little trick of the trade that our fellows in recovery can lean on when the going gets tough and the temptation is running strong. And, the wider your network in recovery, the more people you have that you can pick up the phone and call to help talk you off the ledge if you’re tempted to throw in the towel on your recovery. It only takes five minutes to make that call, but it can result in an instant perspective shift, prevent a relapse, and turn your whole future around for the better if you really and truly were thinking about drinking or using.
We’ve merely scratched the surface here, but if you haven’t noticed, we’re big proponents of recovery programs. Going at it alone in recovery is a dangerous road, and with so many other inspiring, like-minded individuals who do subscribe to the ways of recovery programs, why would you even want to? Once again, your recovery is your own, but if you’re sober and not working a recovery program, perhaps do a quick little online search to find a good one near you, and just give it a shot. No one is going to lock you into a room, and if it’s not for you, you can always walk away. But you may very well find the coolest tribe ever of sober fellows to join you on your recovery journey, and how awesome would that be?
Kembali Recovery Center is Here for You
If you or someone you love is struggling to stay sober, or if you’re in recovery but feeling disengaged and like you might be in danger of a relapse, Kembali can help. Contact us today to learn all about our four week treatment program, as well as our Recovery and Beyond program for those who are already clean and need some additional recovery tools. Always remember that you never have to do this alone.