The creation of a support network is one of the most important elements of the addiction recovery process. Exactly what this network is made up of depends on the individual, the situation, and his or her needs.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says that life in addiction recovery has four key dimensions: health, home, purpose, and community. Before you can address the other dimensions, you must manage your health and your addiction by abstaining from substances, engaging in positive self-care like healthy eating and exercise, and looking after your emotional well-being.
Having a stable living situation is also supportive of sustained addiction recovery, as is having meaningful daily activities like a job, studies, caretaking, or creative activities, ideally in pursuit of being economically self-sufficient. The community with which you surround yourself matters too because relationships and social networks create a safety net and help you on days when you have trouble helping yourself. Your community – your support system – is not a static entity, but can be expected to change over time.
Are you the same person you were one year ago? What about your parents, children, siblings, co-workers, and friends? People change with time, and sometimes new people come into your life and others leave. The point is, you cannot expect the support network you develop during addiction treatment and recovery to remain static for all time.
You have to accept that eventually someone may move, lose a job, take another job, tackle life challenges, or otherwise change in his or her relationship to you. You will change as well. Rather than hoping that your initial support network stays the same for all time, you should understand from the outset that building your personal community is an ongoing task.
When you are completing rehabilitation and entering your addiction recovery phase, you are probably primed to reach out to others, and others who care about you may reach out to you and offer help. While this is a good thing, it is not a one-and-done situation. There will be times when, for whatever reason, you simply cannot reach out to someone you reached out to before.
That is one of the key reasons that you should see your community as stable, but constantly evolving. It is why it is important to continue activities like going to your 12-step meetings, finding a new sponsor when your old sponsor relocates, and giving a new mental health counselor a chance when your old one retires.
Dealing with an evolving support community is not, however, a constant practice of crisis control. In fact, it is a healthy adaptation to life which, as you know, never stays still. It is important to deliberately adjust your perspective as your addiction recovery progresses, and you can do this in several ways:
The truth is, you would not like a life that was absolutely static and unchanging, and with the right resources, attitudes, and support systems, you can roll with many of the changes life gives you. When you do this successfully, you only strengthen your addiction recovery. If you are in the addiction recovery process and have questions about building a support system or navigating life’s changes, we encourage you to contact us today.