Finding a solid support system after treatment is a huge part of leading a successful recovery. Think about this for a moment – do you think you would take another drink in front of your mother/doctor/brother (or any positive person in your life)? Unlikely. Do you think you would be tempted to if you were alone?
Before treatment, you likely spent a lot of time alone – or with other addicts – because the positive people in your life didn’t agree with what you were doing. You knew they wouldn’t want you to take that hit or that sip. So, you did what you knew you could – you isolated yourself and kept on running with your addiction.
Well now you are done with treatment – and you have a choice: remain isolated as you were or solidify a support system that is going to have you soar – while sober. The latter is your golden ticket.
Why Is a Support System So Important?
Support systems are called such because they do just that – they support you. That is what makes them so important to recovery. How good does it feel to know that you have friends, family, co-workers, therapists, etc. all on your side – especially when faced with a dark situation? Sometimes leaving treatment can lead to awkward social situations and even isolation. After all, you have to re-learn to live your new healthy life.
A strong support system can offer you many things. Here are just a few:
- Accountability is probably the most important role of a support system. If you didn’t have anyone holding you accountable for your choices and actions, then you would be able to slide straight into a relapse without a net! Accountability is so important in recovery.
- An outlet. Your support system will know that supporting you will not always be fun. But they are there because they love you and want to do what is right for you. If you need to vent out your frustrations or need to discuss your struggles, they are there. If you need to celebrate a milestone in your recovery (in a sober way), they are there for that, too.
- A 24-hour hotline. You will never need to worry about feeling tempted when you have a strong support system. Any time of day or night, you will have at least one person you can count on to be there waiting for your call or cry for help.
- Socialization. You will never feel alone or isolated. Your support system is there to keep you active, social, and in the loop. No more lonely pity parties for you! That also means you can’t get away with any sneakiness! Turn your eyes in the wrong direction and someone is bound to notice!
Your family likely encountered a lot of turmoil – directly or indirectly – because of your addiction. They have seen your rise and fall and are filled with love and a great desire for you to stay on track. Family members can provide you safety, stability, and a great deal of support.
Positioned as accountability pillars in your life, your family can commend you for your hard work and celebrate your milestones along the way. However, they can address changes in your behavior or help you when you are struggling. Family is great for this task since they are the ones who will likely know you, your behavior, and even your sneaky tricks better than anyone else.
Being productive makes us feel good. Having goals and creating something makes us feel good. Earning honest money for honest work makes us feel good. So, why not immerse yourself with the people in your workplace or in your school? This is another great platform for a support system.
You spend many hours in either work or school each day and you need to be held accountable. Adding these individuals to your support system can help to reinforce you. In fact, when you are having a bad day or encounter tough situations in the workplace, you will appreciate having someone close by who understands your situation. Without that, one bad day could lead you straight into temptation. And, well, no one wants that!
Feeling good and taking care of yourself – both physically and mentally – can do wonders for your recovery. Eating well, exercising, and learning relaxation techniques can all benefit you. Staying up on your doctor and therapy appointments can, as well.
Believe it or not, these can all be part of your support system – workout buddies, therapists, doctors, nutritionists. They can help you and guide you in keeping your health in check. When you feel good and feel strong, you are likely to lead a more positive life. Having this support system in place can help keep you motivated to staying healthy – and sober.
Friends, social networks, community organizations, etc. can all be a source of positivity, support and love. And, as much as they want to give – you need. Take it all in!
Where Can I Find a Good Support System?
You can comprise your support system of many different people. In fact, it is best to have a wide array of individuals in your system. For instance, friends and family (who are sober, of course) are great to have. They are close to you, providing you comfort and allowing the tone of conversations to touch on many different depths and at very different emotional levels.
Doctors, therapists and other individuals who are also in recovery can provide a kind of support that family and friends may not. They have a set of knowledge and skills that they can use to help guide you and teach you to cope with your struggles and especially during moments of temptation. Seek out their expertise and add them to your repertoire.
A strong support system can make a huge difference in your recovery. Leaving treatment and re-integrating with society can be a scary time – no one wants to do this alone. Look around you and find those individuals who can be the strong beams that hold you up and latch on to them.