Why Do I Need Community in Recovery?

Why Do I Need Community in Recovery?

Community is essential to living a sober life

When you are in recovery having a healthy community around you can be vital to your sobriety. Why is this the case? Why is community so important? The answer has several layers to it because community is made up of different people, such as your family, friends, neighborhood and other groups that are important to you.

The people you surround yourself with play an important role in your recovery. These important people can either help you or hinder you. No matter how you feel right now, there will be times when you are frustrated, angry or stressed. It is typically during those times that you will struggle the most with your addiction, and you will even have times you want to pursue substance abuse again. But when you are in recovery, you cannot rely on only your willpower. It is not enough; the community you surround yourself with, however, can be the support needed to stay sober. Before you got clean your primary way of handling stress was to get drunk or high. Now you can pursue healthy behaviors that allow you to connect with your community and even contribute.

When you are in the early stages of recovery, it is a good idea to avoid parties or gatherings where you know you will be tempted to use again. Because of this, it is also common to want to pull away and stay at home and isolate yourself from others. It has been proven that loneliness and isolation can often lead to relapse. Sources[1] say as clients reluctantly sever their ties with substances, they need help managing their loss and finding healthy substitutes. Often, they need guidance in understanding and managing their emotional lives. One of the best ways to do this is to get support from your community. A community gives individuals purpose and makes them feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves.

Let’s look at some specific ways in which a sober community can help you in recovery:

Your family plays an important role in your recovery

When you are in recovery, your immediate family — who you live with and interact with the most — plays a very important role. Even the attitudes of those around you have a great influence on you and your sobriety. So if you live with your parents or a spouse who continues to drink and you are an alcoholic, the odds of relapse are much, much higher. Another factor to consider is that addiction is often passed through genetics, so if you struggle with addiction, your parents and your kids are much more likely to struggle with addiction. Research[2] conducted on twins and adopted children has shown the impact of genetics in relation to alcohol and drug dependence. Researchers have also identified numerous genes as affecting the risk for dependence on alcohol and drugs.

Your friends greatly influence your recovery

Who you spend your time with is often a good gauge for the person you will become. It was once stated by Jim Rohn that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If your friends get together at the bar and drink, you will be much more likely to join them there. When you have friends who are sober themselves, you do not have to worry about being tempted by them to drink or do drugs again. You know to have a good time together substance abuse is simply not part of the equation. Rather, you can pursue healthy activity together such as working out, going for a walk or taking a new class together.

There are groups in your community to support your sobriety

Wherever you live, there are very likely support group meetings close by your home. You may decide to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a Narcotics Anonymous meeting or another option. A support group is a great way to receive encouragement from others in your community. The group will be made up of your neighbors, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who make up your community. Over time, you may even find a sponsor who will provide you with the personal attention and accountability needed to stay sober.

If would like to talk with one of our counselors, there is one available right now. He or she can give you some outside perspective, and answer any questions you might have. If you would like some ideas for how to pursue healthy friendships, one of our counselors can assist you in this area as well. Please call our 24-hour helpline. Our counselors are there to listen and help you during any times of need.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64208/ , Substance Abuse Group Therapy 5 Stages of Treatment

[2] https://ncadd.org/about-addiction/family-history-and-genetics Family History and Genetics