When it comes to addiction recovery, there are two major perspectives. The first perspective focuses on the physiological aspects of addiction, why addiction occurs, and what happens when an addict stops using drugs or alcohol.
The second perspective focuses on psychological factors such as why people start drinking and using drugs in the first place, how certain people become addicted while others do not, and ways to prevent or stop addictive behaviors.
Both perspectives look at life from an addict’s point of view; however, one perspective does not necessarily contradict the other (and often, there is some overlap between them). However, neither of these viewpoints focuses much attention on the role of support systems in addiction recovery.
This article will focus on the importance of support systems in addiction recovery. Read ahead to learn more!
So what is a support system?
A support system is a group of people committed to helping each other remain sober or to assist one another in living their best possible lives. Support systems are made up of friends, family members, counselors, therapists, clergy members, mentors, and others closely involved with the addict’s life.
They provide encouragement, advice, assistance, tools for coping with difficult situations that might trigger an addict’s desire to use drugs or alcohol again, and accountability throughout the recovery process. It is these “others” who may be most instrumental in recovering addicts’ ability to stay sober through the good times and the bad.
What are support systems so crucial for addiction recovery?
The truth is that for many people, staying sober can be a solitary venture. Sad but true. The addict may not have any family members or friends willing to step up to the plate and be there for them when they need help the most.
Even worse, some addicts don’t have an available support system because they have alienated everyone close to them through their behavior during active addiction or by making poor choices once they decide to get clean and sober. Sometimes it is even hard for recovered addicts to admit they need support from others and find the right recovery services.
But as difficult as it might seem, there is someone out there who can and will help. People are waiting to be asked for support. But it takes a lot of courage and strength to ask for help, especially when we consider that these very people might have been turned away or ignored previously by the addict themselves.
It doesn’t matter where you look for this help: community agencies, church groups, family members, online forums – addiction recovery support systems exist all over the place. There are ample men’s recovery services and women’s recovery services for those looking for some help.
Here are some factors that might contribute to an addict’s unwillingness to reach out for recovery healthcare and support in their journey:
- The fear of being judged, ridiculed, embarrassed, and humiliated by family members or friends. Many addicts’ have gone through severe consequences due to active addiction, including losing jobs, homes, marriages, children, family members, education, wealth, etc.
Seeking support for addiction recovery is difficult enough when addicts are surrounded by loved ones who unconditionally accept them as they are. Still, it becomes nearly impossible to do so when there are people around who remind the addict of what they have lost due to active addiction.
- Codependency issues / relationship with counsel. People with codependency issues often become enablers when dealing with an addict’s addiction. Suppose family members and friends cannot set limits and boundaries for appropriate behavior and what actions will not be tolerated. In that case, counselors and therapists must be involved in the addict’s recovery process.
Codependent relationships can result in a domino effect of enabling behaviors that keep addicts stuck in active addiction and unwilling to recover.
- Denial is a crucial component throughout the entire recovery process. However, it is not until addiction recovery support systems work together to break the walls of denial that addicts start on the path to recovery and beyond.
Here are a few tips for finding a good support system:
- Addicts must understand that they cannot do this alone. They need people who love them unconditionally, who will never give up on them, who will be patient with their steps towards recovery, etc.
- Be clear about what support you need. Do you need people to be there for you? To give advice? To listen when you are in the mood to talk? Be very specific about how much time, money, or energy you can commit to this endeavor. You must set the boundaries for your supporters to respect them and not overstep their bounds. For instance, if you’re looking for residential treatment centers, be clear about it.
- Asking for help does not mean that addicts are giving up. It is just the opposite. It takes strength, courage, and determination to admit that they cannot do it alone, that they lack specific skills necessary for living a sober life. And when addicts finally ask for help, it takes even more strength and courage to accept help when offered.
The following are a few examples of promising support systems for addicts in recovery:
– Twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
– Family therapy.
– Individual addiction therapy.
– Therapy sessions with friends or roommates.
Online alternatives of support groups for addicts :
It is important to give addicts in recovery options to find an appropriate support system. The internet has made this possible for people who live far from multiple resources or do not have immediate access to therapists or treatment centers. Instead, they can join online groups that will provide them with the same encouragement and motivation they would get in person.
- Online anonymous chat boards are a great example of alternatives for support group meetings. Addicts can communicate without revealing their identities, thus maintaining their anonymity.
- 2. These chats are also available 24/7, so addicts can participate at odd hours if necessary. Such accessibility gives more opportunities for addicts to get involved in a good support system.
- There are also online communities, such as social media forums and message boards, designed specifically for people in recovery. These places give addicts the opportunity to interact and share their thoughts with peers who have had similar experiences.
Luckily, addicts can find multiple resources both on and off the internet when looking for solid and reliable sources of encouragement and motivation. In addition, the right kind of social network around addicts during addiction recovery will significantly increase their chances of living sober lives; while simultaneously giving loved ones some peace of mind knowing that they are not alone in this process.
Hopefully, this article has been helpful and has provided you with a better insight into the importance of finding the right kind of support systems during your addiction recovery journey.
Lastly, if you’re based in Nashville, there are great options for sober living in Nashville, as well as Tennessee recovery centers that are waiting to help you get better!