When somebody is trying to recover from a battle with drugs and alcohol, there are several things that need to be addressed. Physically, the drugs and alcohol need to leave the body and the person needs some time to heal. There is often a need for clinical or therapeutic work so that the recovering addict and start to understand themselves and their relationship with drugs on a deeper level.
There is one piece of the recovery process that is often overlooked: the need for community. Active addiction can be a very lonely place, and sometimes those who are experiencing that loneliness forget about the importance of human connection. There are so many benefits to sharing experiences with other people, all of which can lead to a better understanding of oneself and one’s importance to society.
Isolation Is A Menace
The need to withdraw leaves us trapped in the grip of our addiction with little hope of recovery. The problem with isolating ourselves while we are still actively abusing drugs is that we keep reinforcing the lies the drug is telling us. The drug convinces us that we must have it to exist. We have to block everyone and everything out of our hearts and brains in order to keep that outlet in our life.
We need forms of social connection that provide coping skills, support, and opportunity for a healthy lifestyle because humans are, by nature, social beings. Disconnection can worsen melancholy, sleeplessness, low self-esteem, worry, and stress. Even if it’s only a small group of people, having a strong support system is crucial.
Leaning On Others
An important realization in early recovery is the understanding that you are not alone. The idea that there could be others out there who understand the pain and misery that you’ve gone through, and have even experienced it themselves, is truly liberating. The walls that are built up during the isolation of active addiction and be torn down, and the benefit of shared group experience can be utilized.
During the healing process, developing relationships with others can help you write a new chapter in your life. When people in recovery surround themselves with healthy, like-minded individuals it creates a space for them to learn more about themselves and others. The opportunity to openly exchange ideas and information with people who have the best interests of others in mind is an invaluable tool for growth.
A Whole New Life
Change is not necessarily comfortable for anyone, and that is often especially true for addicts. Part of what keeps people in active addiction is the inability to break free from the lifestyle and routines that have been developed. Despite the dangers inherent in the day-to-day activities of a using addict, many tend to find comfort in that familiar minutiae.
Ceasing the use of drugs and alcohol is often just the first step on the road to living a health lifestyle. When the brain fog caused by substance abuse is cleared, mental and physical health can become more of a priority. Yoga, exercise, and meditation are just a few examples of practices that can lead to someone become wholly healthy after getting sober. Whatever mental, physical, and spiritual health looks like to each individual; the excitement comes in finding what speaks to you. A life free from the bonds of active addiction provides an opportunity to create new routines and participate in new activities that promote a healthy mind and healthy life.
Giving It Back
When people are in the midst of a battle with drugs and alcohol, their thoughts and actions often become singularly focused on doing whatever necessary is to maintain the addiction.
The ways that the addiction is kept alive are often highlighted by thoughts and actions that are most accurately described as selfish and self-centered. The need to escape becomes so consuming that it can be difficult for addicts to make the basic needs of other people, or even themselves, a priority.
Many people find that one of the greatest joys of recovery is the renewed pleasure that is found in getting outside of oneself and helping others. Doing things from a place of selflessness and a desire to help others can keep the passion for recovery alive. In short: giving back can keep you sober. The best part is that there is no limit to the ways that people can be of service and help others. Whether that is service work within a recovery community, doing volunteer work, or simply sharing experience and hope with someone in need, the opportunities to give back are almost infinite.