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The Importance of Social Support in Addiction Recovery

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When you (or a friend or loved one) are suffering from addiction, it can seem as if you're alone in the world, with problems that others simply can't understand. That's why social groups for those seeking addiction recovery exist--they're made of individuals who also know firsthand what it's like to battle a drug or alcohol addiction, as well as those who have recovered from their addictions and can use their knowledge and experiences to help others.

In fact, it's usually the social support you or a loved one might receive that really helps you to overcome addiction--following a 12-step plan or seeking help through biblical teaching certainly has some value, but it's the social support that plays a key role in addiction recovery.

How Social Support Helps

First and foremost, being part of a group that shares the same experiences serves to dismiss the feeling that you are alone. A sense of belonging can be the first step in feeling self-empowered, rather than simply isolated and struggling.

Social support also offers safety, understanding and compassion, and gives you the chance to talk with others about what you're going through, which is a healthy way to start to purge yourself of the issues, stress factors and other things in your life that led to your addiction.

Through meetings and discussions with others, you can begin to gain hope for the future, thanks to the realization that others before you have also battled with addiction and have overcome it, subsequently instilling within you the optimism you need to know that you too can recover from your addiction.

Additionally, social support isn't just about attending meetings and speaking to other recovering or recovered addicts. Sometimes it's just a small gesture from a friend or loved one, even those who haven't struggled with addiction. Or perhaps you are the one who wants to help another--you can do so just by being there for them when they need you:

  • Providing transportation to a doctor's office or addiction recovery meeting
  • Helping them search for a viable addiction recovery group in your area
  • Loaning them items they might need for self-improvement, such as a suit for a job interview
  • Being there to listen and offer encouragement

Social Support Must Remain Positive

Although you or a loved one may be discussing a lot of negative issues in an effort to release yourself from your addiction demons, social support should remain wholly positive. Positive social support on a consistent basis is what instills the desire to overcome addiction and become self-empowered, with the will, strength and courage to know that an addiction can and will be beaten. That's why it's so vital for someone to receive social support early and throughout the beginning of recovery--doing so can prevent a recovering addict from giving up and relapsing into alcoholism or drug use.

Social Support Groups You May Not Have Heard About

The following are just a few of the social support groups available to help those struggling with addiction. You'll undoubtedly notice from the variety of groups that addiction can affect anyone, and that there's a social support group for all types of individuals as well.

Association of Recovering Motorcyclists (ARM)

As the largest group of clean and sober bikers in the world, and with organizations spread internationally, ARM gives respect to all bikers, and receives respect in return for the good it does in helping those who join the brotherhood to fight against their addictive demons.

Celebrate Recovery (CR)

Celebrate Recovery attempts to help those battling addiction through Scriptures and Principles associated with the teaching of Christ. It's a 12-step program with strong biblical teachings.

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing offers support through self-empowerment, teaching that one can be a successful, better and happy individual without the aid of drugs or alcohol in their lives.

Rational Recovery

Rational Recovery offers an alternative "cure" for addiction where other traditional methods have failed. The group aims to make self-recovery and lifelong abstinence an option to all who seek it.

Refuge Recovery

This recovery community uses Buddhist philosophy as its basis for teaching recovery from addiction.

SMART - Self Management and Recovery Training

Taking advantage of advanced scientific research, this leading support group provides individuals with a 4-step program designed to help them overcome all types of addiction.

Women for Sobriety

The first-self-help organization for women battling alcoholism and other addictions, Women for Sobriety helps women all across the nation and beyond find their own path in life through strong social support and self-awareness. Soon to have an onsite meeting at Fusion Recovery!

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)

Those who are uncomfortable with or don't believe in the religious philosophies that many 12-step or other recovery programs are based upon can find solace and support in Secular Organizations for Sobriety.

Moderation Management

Moderation Management is a social support group designed for those who may not readily identify themselves as an alcoholic, but would still like to change their drinking habits or learn how to fully abstain.

HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol

HAMS offers individuals support and strategies for a positive change, whether it be by learning how to drink in moderation or to fully abstain.

Many other types of support groups may be available in your area. Take the time to find one that best suits your interests and needs, and good luck on the journey to recovery.

Written by Michael O’Brien, CATC, FAC, CSC, SAP, NCAC I

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