5 Ways Recovery Communities Can Build Us Up
The nature of addiction is inherently isolating and lonely. In recovery, it can feel like no one understands what we’re going through. Fortunately, recovery communities provide a safe haven to connect with others to when we’re struggling.
Read on to discover what a recovery community is, and check out just some of the many ways a recovery community is an indispensable part of the healing journey. Finally, explore what steps to take to find the right recovery community for you.
What are recovery communities?
Recovery communities are essentially supportive groups for those who are in recovery from addiction or actively struggling with addiction. They can be either virtual or in-person, and can range from daily meetings to weekly meetings.
In today’s world, there are many different types of recovery communities to explore. Some of the more commonly known recovery communities are 12-Step programmes, SMART Recovery, and sober living houses. However, there are also specific religious and spiritual groups, non-religious groups, LGBTQIA+ groups, groups for children, teenagers, parents, and more.
Research shows that peer support in recovery has been an integral part of many addiction treatment programmes, including the community reinforcement approach and 12-step programmes.
Having support from like-minded others makes a huge difference to the recovery process, and can offer support, healing, guidance, and safety when we’re at our lowest lows.
5 ways recovery communities can build us up from rock bottom
Below are 5 ways a recovery community can help build us up when we’ve hit rock bottom.
1. Carry us when we feel vulnerable
Recovery is full of many ups and downs. Especially in early recovery, when we’re having to face many difficult emotions without the aid of substances to numb us. Recovery communities are a great way to carry us in our moments of vulnerability. If we’re struggling with feelings of sadness, emptiness, grief, or anger, we can feel safe in our recovery community to express these feelings and not feel judged. We can utilise the support of a recovery community to help us through these difficult times.
2. Support us in life's challenges
Life doesn’t pause when recovery begins. For many people who are early in their sobriety, life challenges can feel magnified. A recovery community is a great way to have support through these inevitable challenges in life, without feeling the urge to turn to substances instead.
Whether we’re facing challenges at work, relationship troubles, or the death of a loved one, a recovery community can help us get through our pain. Additionally, a recovery community can help us through important decisions, such as what step to take next at a career crossroads, or whether we should go back to school. A recovery community truly acts as a chosen family, one that has our best interests at heart.
3. Mitigate loneliness
Addiction itself is an incredibly lonely disease. In active addiction, we’re truly stuck in the confines of our minds, regardless of who is around us. The “friends” we had in active addiction were never really our friends to begin with, and putting ourselves around them threatens our sobriety. Additionally, we may have damaged many relationships around us while in active addiction.
In recovery, we can feel incredibly alone. Although we may try to repair damaged relationships, there are still many moments of quiet loneliness. Recovery communities help mitigate feelings of loneliness and help us to feel connected again. They offer us relationships with like-minded people who understand what we’re going through, who empathise with us, and who we can learn from.
4. Decrease feelings of isolation
Just as recovery can be lonely, it can also be incredibly isolating, too. In recovery, we may feel that no one understands what we’re going through. Even if we do have the support of friends and family, they may not be able to fully grasp our struggle. They are unlikely to understand what caused our addiction, what being actively addicted was like, and how overwhelming recovery can be.
For instance, many people believe that once we stop using substances, our problems will be solved and things will go back to “normal.” However, early recovery can be an incredibly difficult time. We have to face many difficult emotions and painful memories, and essentially learn a new way of navigating the world around us. Without people around us who understand, it can make the process significantly more difficult.
Recovery communities let us know we’re not alone in our struggles. These communities offer validation. They reassure us that what we’re experiencing is completely normal, that things will get easier, and that if our peers can succeed, we can too.
5. Teach us that we can have fun in recovery
Recovery isn’t a death sentence. However, after using substances for so long, it can be hard to picture what life without them can look like. The truth is, recovery is incredibly liberating and fulfilling. It’s filled with so much peace and joy, but that can be hard to see in the early stages of recovery. This is why a recovery community can be so beneficial. In a recovery community, we’re surrounded by peers who are sober and are also living fun, fulfilling lives.
We can form relationships and connect with people who we can spend time with and know there won’t be any temptations to engage in substance use. We can get new ideas for places to go and things to do that don’t involve using drugs or alcohol. Also, we can try out new hobbies, and meet people who have the same interests as we do. Recovery communities offer us a great opportunity to explore new layers of ourselves and to truly experience joy again. Connecting with others on a deeper level allows us to build a rock-solid foundation for our recovery journey.
A final word on recovery communities
In addition to the 5 reasons listed above, recovery communities also provide accountability, inspiration, and motivation. According to research, recovery communities can even lower stress levels.
It’s easy to see that connecting with others who are in the same space as you is so important to your sobriety and overall well-being.
If you’re still looking for your tribe in recovery, don’t worry – it takes time! Authentic, genuinely supportive relationships may take longer to forge, but they are priceless to have.
If you’re looking for a recovery community to call your own, try joining a local meeting, or even finding one online. As mentioned above, there are many different types of groups you can join extending far beyond the traditional NA/AA groups. Try different groups out until you find one that truly resonates with you, and feels comfortable.
Additionally, you can get connected with Recoverlution to meet others who know exactly what you’re going through. Recoverlution offers you a safe playground in which you can grow, explore your inner world, and connect with others in a non-judgmental space.
Recoverlution offers virtual meetings as well as groups you can create or join based on your own unique interests. Wherever you are in your recovery journey, Recoverlution is here to offer you guidance, support, and a safe space to call your own.
Author - Thurga