As human beings, we all need to find our place in the world through a community that loves and supports us even at our most vulnerable. Being a part of a group makes us feel safe and secure, even when times are tough.
Community is important for all people, especially so for alumni of substance use treatment programs. We often need specialized support as we navigate life in a world where the very thing we need to avoid can be commonplace.
There is another form of support that we seek from our communities: trauma support. Addiction is a trauma that we will live with for the rest of our lives. Finding a peer support group to help us through that emotional turmoil is essential to our success in finding lifelong sobriety.
Fortunately, as alumni of a successful program, we already have many of the tools and resources we need to rely on in life. The bonds of brotherhood we form in a treatment program stay with us as we head out into the world.
But we sometimes need help identifying the outside resources we can use to build new communities as we grow our sober living identities. We may wonder, how do I form those bonds, and with who?
Studies have shown that the involvement of community support in addiction recovery vastly improves our chances of successful treatment and sobriety. Being able to lean on family and friends has a powerful effect on our ability to find happiness.
Whether we are in a support group with our continuing treatment and education or looking to make friends outside of our program, community matters. Read on as we discuss how community affects your continued sobriety, and the resources you can use to find a new, sober living community.
The Role of a Community in Addiction Recovery
Community is one of the four major dimensions of recovery. Along with managing health, finding a safe space to call home, and identifying our purpose, a community is an essential component of lifelong sobriety.
Having a community provides us with resilience in recovery. To cope with changes in our lives, we need resilience. The community provides us with this when we create connections with others, and in turn receive friendship, hope, and love.
You can find communities of people wherever you go. You may even be a part of communities you do not normally think of. Here are some ideas of where you can find socialization within groups:
- Go to group meetings. As alumni, we attend our regular 12-Step meetings and group counseling. These are great opportunities to socialize with people who understand your struggles.
- Join a group activity. Most of us live near a nature trail, or state or national park. Find a group that hikes in a park or a running or jogging group you can join on a nature trail. Yoga in the park is a great way to practice mindfulness while making new friends. Volunteering to pick up litter can help you beautify the world while meeting new people. The possibilities are endless.
- Find your spiritual community. Try connecting with like-minded people within your community. Wherever your beliefs lie, those who share those beliefs would love to know you. Spirituality provides us with wonderful connections.
What You Need Your Loved Ones to Know
Family is the first community that many of us are brought into. It is a pillar of strength that we rely on as we walk our journey in life. But family can also be a fragile and tenuous relationship, especially for an alumnus of addiction recovery.
Addiction affects everyone around us, even long after treatment. Our families often suffer with us when we fell into addiction, and that trauma can continue after our treatment program. Finding support in family is critical, so as alumni, it falls to us to educate our families about addiction recovery. Here are some things for them to know:
- Almost twenty million people are affected by addiction yearly, and so are their families. Addiction is not rare, and unfortunately, neither is the trauma it causes.
- Addiction is a disease, and it does not have a cure in the traditional sense. It is something we all work through daily.
- Recovery is a journey. It is personal, life-long, and may or may not be treated by medications. The only measure of success is continued sobriety, and the support of our families can make that a reality.
Finding Support in Al-Anon Services
Al-Anon is a community organization that has spent nearly a century fighting addiction. It is from this organization that we derive the successful and proven 12-Step programs.
The members of this organization are people who have also suffered from addiction, sought treatment, and work to live sober lives. They describe themselves as a “fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics” whose mission is to support people just like you.
Finding a Community in Faith
Churches and faith-based organizations can offer you a chance to find solace and redemption through a higher power. Being a part of something bigger than yourself can give you the community that you need and crave.
National organizations supporting addiction recognize the power of faith in recovery. That is why they have established partnerships to make recovery more effective. So when in doubt, find your spirituality.
No matter what path you choose to walk, your supportive care teams are right behind you. From peer networks to group counseling and medical care, to friends, family, and church, your loved ones have your back. When you need them, reach out and they will be there.
Finding support in your community can be the key to your success on your lifelong journey to sobriety and recovery. You need the support of your peers and families as you continue this journey. Know that you have a whole peer network at your back, a great support team, and people who can help you find the community you need to keep you on the path to a healthy, sober life. Community investment in the success of those in addiction recovery has a profound impact on those who have graduated from treatment. When you need someone to talk to, you can rely on us. Call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898.