Building a Support Network Tailored to Your Recovery.

To “support” means assisting someone currently or going to help someone in the future if they become in need. Most of the time the supports are a good friend, a family member or any individual you can rely on and they will hold you accountable for maintaining your health and recovery. In recovery everyone talks about needing and having a support network and the importance of not going at life alone and not isolating.

It takes some work to get a strong support network in place and to step out of the comfort zone. Reminding yourself it will not be happening instantly and we have to put ourselves out there in new, vulnerable situations. If you’re just starting in early recovery, you have probably have heard, stay away from people, places, and things that trigger you or can cause a potential harm or relapse. It’s difficult letting go of friends we have been through the ringer with and really have created a “bond” while actively using. Detaching from people in active use and the chaotic lifestyle can only set you up to succeed. You can set positive example to your using friends that you got sober and they can too and maybe then will be able to re-connect down the road. It took me several attempts to really learn that I couldn’t mesh the two. Being in recovery doesn’t mean you’re cured of addiction. Maintaining your sobreity puts your addiction in “remission” but it never disappears. Keeping that in the front of the mind because addict tendencies can creep up at any moment if you’re not working a soild program of sobreity. In the rooms of AA they say, “you’re either working on recovery or you’re working on a relapse” and I cant stress this little saying so much.

Waves of emotions and feelings slamming us everyday because we are newly sober and learning all about what we tried to hide. Your future self will thank you for not isolating and stepping into a life you’re creating full of love and support. Support is there to make our life easier and more manageable and personally, something I’m working hard on. Imagine having someone you can rely on, that you can turn to when you just want to relapse and throw everything away. Trust me, I’ve been there. ( Even though, our inner self knows that is not what we want, it’s the disease. ) That’s why I felt it was important to write this post because you are worthy of living sober.

When searching for a support, there are some qualities to keep in mind during the search. Your support needs to know the exact needs you need to be met. He or she should also be trustworthy, honest, confidential, and reliable. This person will be holding you accountable so make sure you feel comfortable going to them when you are in a time of need. It is also important for them to be educated on the disease of addiction/mental illness and also your plan at maintaining long-term recovery. Supports should care about your well-being, your recovery, and your future. Anyone can be a support such as a friend, family and co-worker. As long as you feel confident you are able to turn to them in a time of need, instead of reaching out to the drugs, it is a good sign they are a good support for you. Society has put this label on asking for help that it is a weakness, but in all actuality, anything that can keep one sober, should be seen as a strength. Recovery is not meant to be walked alone and there is no reason to hit “rock bottom” to start implementing positive changes in your life.

In AA or any meeting like AA, they have whats called a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who is in late recovery and helps newcomers work through their early recovery and the steps of AA. Sometimes the steps scare people away. Nothing is mandatory and everything is always just a recommendation of what has worked for others. If you’re a newcomer and you go to a new meeting, they will send around the room a meeting packet and they will put their numbers down for support. A total stranger willing to help you in your time of need. Everyone has different needs and here in Rochester NY we have over 70 meetings a day, of all different types of addictions. No meeting being alike, they are a very positive start for the folks in early recovery. Meetings will push you out of your comfort zone in a way you can grow. If by any chance you’re uneasy of going alone, bring a friend or a family member. For a while, I brought my mom, just in case, because of early recovery being such a wild ride.

This is a very difficilt time for anyone who is trying to start a new way of living so be compassionate to yourself. Make sure you do not overload your plate to the point of getting in “analysis paralysis” from letting the mind take over. Thoughts will always be there no matter what but we do not have to act on them just because they are there. We can choose.

Valerie

Stay healthy out there with everything going on with the coronavirus. Take necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy per the CDC.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

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