Social support is one of the biggest predictors of success in recovery. Having a strong sober network reduces stress, increases positive endorphins, gives you more resources for dealing with adversity, and helps keep you accountable in your recovery. In a perfect world, this strong support network would begin with your family. Your family would participate in therapy, helping everyone learn to communicate and respect boundaries. Ideally, this support would continue after treatment, making sure you had a safe place to stay and helping you get back on your feet. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. There can be many reasons your family might be unable or unwilling to support your recovery. Maybe you don’t have a family. Maybe your behavior in active addiction was so bad they want nothing to do with you. Maybe your family’s own struggles with mental health issues and substance use are so bad you’re better off without their support. If, like many people, you can’t rely on your family for support during recover, here are some ways to adapt.
Make use of your alumni network and mutual aid groups.
Whether or not your family is behind you, making full use of alumni networks and mutual aid groups is a good idea. A good treatment center will hold alumni events and connect you with other people in your area who have been through their program. Along with the friends you meet in treatment, this can be an excellent way to make new friends who support your recovery goals. Joining a mutual aid group, such as 12-step program, SMART Recovery, or Refuge Recovery is another good way to make sober friends. And since meetings happen regularly, you can participate and enjoy some encouragement even if you haven’t yet made any close friends in the group.
Consider a sober living home.
The first days and weeks after leaving treatment are a crucial time. It’s important to have a safe, clean place to stay after treatment to keep you from relying on old friends and falling back into old habits. If you don’t have a family that can supply that safe, clean place, consider trying a sober living home. These have less structure than treatment facilities, but they do have rules. You will typically be expected to help with housework, have a job or look for one, and be home at a certain time. They can be a good way to smooth the transition to regular life after inpatient treatment.
Volunteering has many benefits. It puts you in contact with other people who share your values. It distracts you from your own problems and boosts your self-esteem. It can be a give others the support you didn’t receive. It can also be a way of making amends for mistakes you made during active addiction. Although it might not be the same as family, helping others and bonding with people over shared values can be a powerful experience.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.