When going through the process of recovery, it’s incredibly important to have a support system to come out successful.
There are more than 20 million people in addiction recovery. All of you are at some point on a recovery scale. You are in different stages of recovery and with each one, there are different things you can do to stay on track.
There are five stages of addiction recovery. More specifically, they are stages of change, because a lot of change must happen if you want to stay sober. Think about it, it you go through detox, get sober but don’t change things like who you hang out with, you will likely relapse.
However, if you commit to making changes, you can expect greater success in your recovery.
The Stages of Change
In the beginning, you may experience what is called pre-contemplation. During this stage you are still using, and you deny that your addiction is a problem. The faster you can move out of this stage the better. The next stage is called contemplation.
In this stage, you are willing to think about and consider the fact that you need to change. At the end of this stage you agree that you need help and are willing to seek it. You move into the preparation stage, where you start putting together a plan of action for getting sober.
Once your plan is created, you implement it in the action stage. This means you go to treatment and you actively participate in your recovery. You attend meetings, individual and group therapy sessions, you take medication if prescribed, and you make getting sober a top priority.
You learn how to avoid relapse and build a support system. Once you accomplish this, you can move into the maintenance stage, where you continue to implement what you have learned. For instance, maintaining and improving a support system during addiction recovery.
Your support system is key to your recovery.
What is a Support System?
A support system during addiction recovery is filled with people who have specific talents that can be used to help you stay sober. Your support system should start with a person who won’t let you get away with lies or manipulation. You need a person who can counsel you and teach you tools to improve your mental health.
You need people who will attend meetings, listen to you in the middle of the night, help you get a job, motivate you, and help keep you on track. Support does not mean being nice or easily manipulated. Surrounding yourself with that type of support sets you up for relapse.
Below are just a few of the supports you need in your system that can help you avoid relapse and turn your recent actions of getting clean into life-long sobriety.
Support That Helps Ease Boredom
A relapse can happen when you are bored and unsure of how to fill your time as a sober person. This is where your support system comes into play. You should have at least one person in your group that you can turn to when you are feeling bored and restless.
Together, you can create a list of activities you both enjoy and work your way through this list each time your feel antsy. When this list is finished, create a new one, kind of like mini bucket lists.
Support That Holds You Accountable
During addiction recovery, you need people who will hold you accountable. You may not want to hear the truth, but that’s not the point. A supportive person will tell you what you need to hear, they will give you the right advice.
For instance, if you have been behaving as if you have relapsed, they will call you on it. They will let you know if they have caught you in a lie or if your behaviors are suggesting you have relapsed. They will also help the rest of your group implement their bottom lines and create a new rock bottom for you to help you get back into treatment.
Support That Cheers You On
Being in recovery is a huge accomplishment. It is not easy, and you should be given credit, often, for what you are accomplishing. Not everyone in your life will be a cheerleader. Therefore, you should assign someone specifically to remind you that you are doing a great job.
If you don’t hear positive and encouraging statements, you may veer towards relapsing.
It’s important to have someone who can help boost your confidence and self-esteem. Having someone in your corner to support you in this journey can make staying sober a lot easier.
Support That Is Therapeutic
Friends, family, co-workers and sponsors are great members to have on your addiction recovery team. But they cannot provide you with tools you need to prevent relapse, address mental or physical illnesses, or set realistic goals and monitor progress in reaching those goals.
This can be done with the help of an individual addiction specialist. Finding a therapist who is skilled in both addiction and mental illness gives you better access to treatment methods.
You also need therapeutic support that comes from your peers, or others in addiction recovery. Attending support groups or therapy sessions such as intensive outpatient groups prevents you from feeling alone in the process.
The rest of your support system may love you, but they may not truly understand what you are going through. They don’t know the cravings, the obsessive thoughts, the ups and downs of emotions, or the social anxiety. Others in recovery know exactly how you feel.
Make Your Support System Successful
There are a few things you can do to make your support system successful. Choose the right people for the right job. Make communication a top priority with each member. Show appreciation, be grateful, and make them feel important because they are very important.
Finally, show them respect, even when you do not agree with them. They want you to succeed, otherwise you wouldn’t have chosen them in the first place.