The Importance of Social Support in Addiction Recovery

Extensive research has shown that social support is not only extremely beneficial to addiction recovery, but that attendance in a sober support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or any other 12-step fellowship is directly associated to prolonged abstinence and more fulfilled and meaningful sobriety. Social support has been shown to provide endless benefits to a newly sober individual; some of the most prevalent are listed below.

Benefits of Social Support in Addiction Recovery

  • Establishing a sense of security and safety.
  • Establishing a sense of inclusion and belonging.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Getting second opinions on issues and situations.
  • Decreasing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Increasing a sense of purpose and usefulness.
  • Increasing feelings of optimism towards the future.
  • Counteraction of shame and secrecy.

While social support is extremely important, you want to make sure that the support you’re getting is high quality – and is always helping you, never hurting you. One of the built-in benefits of attending inpatient addiction treatment and moving into a halfway house for an extended period of time upon completion of the residential program is the integrated sober support community you will unavoidably be surrounded by. Of course, you are not expected to get along with everyone you are placed into treatment with. Be sure that the friends you do choose are dedicated to their recovery, and that they are supportive of you on your journey towards bettering yourself. Listed below are several additional attributes to look for when forming your social support network.

Look For Specific Attributes When Forming Your Sober Team

  • Be sure that you feel appreciated and respected by the other members of your group.
  • Be sure to feel a healthy sense of attachment and commitment to those in your group – you truly care for them as individuals.
  • Your support group members should help you to recognize and appreciate your value.
  • When you are making a decision as a group, it is important that all members are allowed and able to offer their input.
  • You should feel comfortable approaching members of your support group in times of need.

Early recovery is a very vulnerable time – despite how strong-willed you believe yourself to be, you will likely be at least somewhat influenced by the individuals you surround yourself with. Make sure your social support network is full of reliable individuals that you trust and know are serious about their recovery. Providing yourself with not only friends in the program, but a regular therapist, primary care physician, and entire team of trusted supports could be the difference between prolonged, meaningful sobriety and a return to old ways.

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