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Individuals that are on the path towards living a clean and sober lifestyle will find it very useful to put extra effort into creating a sober support system before living an in-patient treatment center. Upon leaving a substance abuse treatment program, the structure at home and work can be stressful to a recovering addict or alcoholic. And it is certainly advised to stay away from old associates and places that are connected to the former lifestyle that involved getting and using drugs.
According to the Substance and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA), there are 4 areas that can help in establishing a good recovery support system – health, home, purpose, and a community that includes relationships and social networks to provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Strength in Numbers
When you surround yourself with healthy individuals that refuse to enable drinking or drug-using behaviors, it’s easier to keep moving forward and remain hopeful despite life’s challenges. Once a person in recovery severs ties with old acquaintances, staying social and active is still recommended. The more sober friends and activities you can find in recovery, the more you reduce your chances of coming into direct contact with triggers that may start a progression towards relapse.
Becoming stronger in recovery means having a self-care plan that includes work, relationships, and activities that will offer normal and healthy opportunities for socialization and to also provide a lifeline during times of mental, emotional, or physical struggle. A strong support system can also offset the tendency towards depression that some people experience during early recovery.
Where to Find Sober Support
A good place to start looking for a sober support team is during treatment. Meeting up with your recovering peers at 12-step groups in the community is a good way to attend meetings and not feel like an outsider. When joining forces with others that are early in the recovery process, it is important to keep the activities based around sober places and sober activities. Here are some other ways to find people to build a sober support team while also staying social, staying sober, and still practicing self-care:
- Outpatient Treatment – Here is an instant support group for those that are leaving inpatient treatment. Outpatient programs offer additional education in the disease of addiction while also giving new members a chance to share the newness of living clean in a supportive environment.
- 12-Step Groups – At 12-step meetings you can get a sober coach and get involved in helping run the daily or weekly meetings. Once you get involved, you will likely find many people with years of sobriety that are willing to share a phone number or a conversation over coffee.
- Community Volunteer – If activities that generate money are a trigger, volunteering in the community is a great way to spend some hours not thinking about yourself but, giving a helping hand to someone else.
- Join an Exercise Group – This may not sound like a recovery-related activity, but most people who are exercising on a regular basis are living a healthy lifestyle – and these are the type of people you want to surround yourself with.
- Family and Friends – If you have trusted family or friends that are sober, ask them directly if they are willing to be a part of your sober support team. You may want to let them know you will respect their boundaries of time and energy, because you want to be careful not to establish a codependent relationship.
Speak with a member of the Bay Area Recovery Center team to learn more about sober support systems that can provide a healthy foundation for living your new life in recovery.