Recovery is a “We” Thing – Not a “Me” Thing
Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction is quite an undertaking. We say this not to scare you. Living a sober lifestyle is one of the most loving things you could ever do for yourself. It will also be one of the most rewarding. Nevertheless, we want to prepare you for the long haul.
Here’s the thing – you can’t do recovery alone. And, you shouldn’t try. Staying sober requires a collective effort. In order to navigate life’s ups and downs without putting drugs or alcohol into your body….. well….. as the saying goes; “It takes a village.”
There is great value in establishing a healthy support system in sobriety. There will be times when you need people to be there to encourage you on your journey. You need a sponsor to work the 12 Steps. It is important to have loving people in your life to process uncomfortable feelings with. You need to be around other recovering addicts who “get you.” Plus, you want a strong support circle to celebrate your victories with!
We do recover – but we do it together.
From the Isolation of Addiction to Making Healthy Connections in Recovery
Addiction has a way of isolating us from others. Many of us drank or used drugs alone. If we got loaded with others, these relationships were based solely on a mutual need to get the next drink, pill, or hit.
We hid from our friends and family members because we didn’t want them to know the extent of our drug or alcohol use. We lied to everyone around us. We tried to manage our addiction alone – but we failed.
In the early days of recovery, forging new, positive relationships can be difficult. After isolating for so long, it can feel uncomfortable to reach out for the helping hand of another person. Nevertheless, you simply MUST build healthy relationships. Your life depends on it.
The Benefits of Having a Healthy Support System in Recovery
It is very common for people to enter recovery and insist they don’t need help. They think they can just stay sober, go to meetings, and then go home and binge watch their favorite show on Netflix. This is not how recovery works! You can’t fix the stuff in your head with the stuff in your head. You need other people to lift you up and help you along the way.
If you are still struggling with isolation, here are a few of the many benefits to help motivate you to get excited about building a strong support circle in recovery:
- You will learn things from others you cannot teach yourself
- You will have fun and experience new things with friends
- You will not feel so empty or lonely
- You can ask questions about recovery-related topics
- You get to enjoy authentic human connections
- You will get a boost to your mental health
- Life won’t feel so difficult
- You will make genuine friends who care about you
There are hundreds of reasons to get out there and establish a support network. If you are feeling fear about making new friends, that is totally understandable. Ask your sponsor to introduce you around. Go fellowship after meetings. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will be worth it!
If You Don’t Have One Already, You Need to Get a Sponsor
If you are sincere about staying clean, you need to have a sponsor in your life. A sponsor is someone who helps you work through the steps and shows you how to live by a set of spiritual principles. A sponsor is someone you can fully trust with your deepest secrets. A sponsor provides tremendous support in recovery.
It is quite reassuring to know that you have someone in your life you can count on to walk with you on your recovery journey. She will be there in the hard times. She will assure you that you are not crazy – that recovery is about being restored to sanity. She will help you develop a relationship with a Higher Power. She will help you build a new life for yourself. Sponsorship represents a sacred relationship between two recovering people.
We cannot stress this enough – YOU NEED A SPONSOR!
Other Recovering Women Will Understand What You Are Going Through
In addition to your sponsor, you want to make sure you have other sober women on your team. It is suggested that you talk to at least three other recovering women every day. If you take the time and put forth the effort to make new friends, you will find out how valuable it is to have a healthy support system
Some women go to a treatment center to get sober. This is a great place to meet women to call and fellowship with when you both get out of treatment. Others opt out of rehab and instead go to a 12-Step program like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
The truth is – it doesn’t matter where you meet them. It doesn’t matter what their drug of choice was. It really doesn’t even matter how much recovery time they have. What does matter is that you find women who are working toward staying clean and living a sober lifestyle – just like you.
Addiction affects women very profoundly. Sober women will be able to relate to you in a special way where others can’t. You may have girlfriends or family members you are close to who are not involved in a 12-Step program. That is great! However; you definitely need to have women in your life who can talk to you about your sobriety.
Need Help Getting Sober?
If you are smack dab in the middle of an addiction, it can be next to impossible to have healthy relationships with anyone – including yourself. Once you get into recovery, you can begin to establish a solid support system.
Are you battling a substance use disorder? If you decide to get sober at New Directions for Women, you will have support for life. We have a very active alumnae program that encourages our patients to connect with other recovering women after treatment. We also help to connect you to resources in your community where you can meet sober friends.
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder and you are ready to find a new way to live, we are here. Get help now.