Recovery support can take many forms and provide multiple benefits, including inspiration, accountability, education and sober social activities. Tips for building your support system include the following:
- Let professionals help. Addiction and mental health treatment providers can work with you on issues that affect your relationships. They can help you learn conflict management skills and healthy ways to manage stress.
- Make sure you’ve covered all the bases. A strong support system will provide people you can turn to for emotional support, people who help you fill your social needs in a healthy environment, and people who will help you avoid and cope with triggers.
- Take advantage of networks that already exist. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two well-known addiction recovery groups, and research proves their effectiveness. Support groups help people succeed in overcoming addiction in many ways. Two significant goals they can help you reach are to change your social network to find people who support your goal of sobriety and build your confidence in your ability to stay sober in social situations. Many groups provide new members with a sponsor who can serve as a mentor and guide.
- Be intentional. Strong relationships don’t just happen. It can be scary to build new friendships because of the fear of rejection, but there’s no reward without risk. It’s helpful to remember that other people are looking for support, too, and that you have much to offer them.
- Look for people that share your interests. In addition to recovery groups, you may find support in churches, community groups and clubs.
- Don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed. If going to an in-person gathering seems too challenging at first, you might want to start with an online group. If you’d like to build a better relationship with a family member, a simple text or email to ask how they’re doing is a good place to start.
- Be patient. The first time you attend a new meeting, you’re likely to feel out of place, especially if a lot of people there already know each other. The only cure for that is time. Keep going, and after a while, you’ll be the old-timer that can reach out and help new people feel at ease. Even one-on-one relationships take time to build. When you feel uncomfortable, remind yourself that it’s a temporary condition.
- Think about combining goals. Do you want to both strengthen your support network and learn a new skill? Taking a class might accomplish both of those things. Would you like to contribute to your community while meeting new people? You may be able to find a volunteer opportunity that meets those objectives.
- Remember why it’s valuable. Stress can increase the risk of addiction or mental health relapse, but having a support system reduces stress levels. One study found that the average stress level for people without emotional support was 6.3 out of 10, but for those with a social support system, the stress level was 5.
- Consider starting close to home. Family members can be an important source of emotional support and can help in substance abuse recovery. People who have family members involved in their treatment have fewer relapse episodes.
- Don’t run from your support system if you slip. When we fail to meet a goal, we tend to want to hide because we feel like we’ve let people down. After a slip, however, is when you most need the practical and emotional help from friends, family members, and professionals on your team.
If you or a loved one need help and are concerned that you’ll have to go it alone, The Right Step Hill Country is here for you. Our treatment center can help you learn how to build the support system you need. Call us today at 844.675.1628.