Recovering from addiction is not easy. It takes a lot of strength and courage to quit an addictive behavior and begin the process of rebuilding your life. Unfortunately, many people who struggle with addiction also face social isolation, which can make recovery significantly more challenging. Recovery from addiction is especially difficult if you lack strong support networks. In fact, research shows that having good friends and family members increases success rates for recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The support of others can be a great help during this process, but it’s not enough to simply have a few trusted people in your life. Instead, you need to actively participate in a supportive network that will keep you accountable and help you stay on track day after day.
The Relationship Between Isolation and Addiction
Social isolation is one of the biggest risk factors for addiction. People who are socially isolated are much more likely to develop substance use disorders. Some research has even found that the relationship between isolation and addiction is stronger than the relationship between mental illness and addiction.
Moreover, if you struggle with an addiction, chances are you’ve noticed the way it gradually chips away at your social life – so the relationship goes both ways.. This happens because addiction tends to be a highly self-centered behavior that leaves little room for the relationships in your life that aren’t related to your substance use. Addiction is also often stigmatized in society, which can add to the degree of isolation that you experience. This can make it incredibly difficult to ask for help, which is why isolation is so dangerous for people dealing with addiction.
Without friends and family around to support you and keep you accountable, you’re more likely to use your substance of choice. In fact, a great deal of substance abuse relapse is a direct result of isolation. For this reason, it is critical during addiction recovery to build a solid social support system – sometimes known as a “recovery network.”
How Can Social Support Help in Recovery?
Social support is the assistance and encouragement that people provide others. It comes in all shapes and forms. It could be a call to a friend who’s going through a tough time or a visit to somebody who is dealing with addiction-related cravings. There’s a lot of research that suggests social support can be a huge asset in recovery. Having people around who care about you makes it easier to stay on track with your treatment goals. It also makes it easier for you to express emotions that are related to your addiction, like guilt, shame, and regret. Social support can also help you discover new ways to cope with life’s ups and downs. This can make it easier for you to deal with cravings, anxiety, and other emotions that often lead people to turn to substances.
Build Your Recovery Network
- Start With Yourself – First and foremost, you need to work on building a strong sense of self-worth. This means taking the time to figure out who you are and what’s important to you. It’s important to resist the urge to compare yourself to others. Instead, work on accepting and loving yourself for who you are. Once you have a good sense of self, it’ll be easier to bring others into your life. This can be as simple as joining a support group or attending a 12-step meeting.
- Seek Out People with Similar Interests – Having people in your life who share your interests can be a great way to connect and build relationships. If you enjoy art, for example, joining an art class might be a good place to start meeting new people. If you’re interested in sports, you could try going to a game and talking to the people sitting near you.
- Spend Time with People You Trust – You don’t have to go out and meet tons of people to start building a support network. Instead, you can start by looking at the people in your life now. Do you have a friend who’s been there for you during tough times? Is there a family member who you trust and feel comfortable talking to? If so, you can try reaching out to them to see if they’d consider being a part of your support network.
How Can Sober Livings Help?
Sober livings are communities of people who are working on sobriety together. They give you a great chance to connect with others and form supportive relationships that can make it easier to stay sober. Most sober livings also offer a variety of helpful tools and resources that can make it easier to stay on track. These can include programs like support groups, yoga and meditation, and various other therapies. Sober livings also often provide one-on-one support from a life coach or mentor who can help you navigate the ups and downs of recovery and meet you where you’re at. Moreover, sober livings help residents get involved in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, which allow them to expand their recovery networks even further. The support provided by sober livings can make it easier to deal with cravings, handle challenging thoughts and emotions, and stay motivated to continue working on your recovery goals.
Find Long Term Sobriety at Sober Living West
No matter how hard you try, you may still experience some ups and downs in the early stages of recovery. It’s important to have a strong support network in place so that you have people to turn to during the harder moments. Having a good support network is often what makes the difference between having a few slips and full-blown relapse. At Sober Living West, we provide a supportive environment that gives you a chance to connect with others and form bonds that can help you stay sober. We’re a structured sober living for men that offers a variety of services and resources that can make it easier for you to deal with cravings and stay on track with your recovery goals. If you are ready to put down the drugs and alcohol and build a new life for yourself, contact our staff today!