Last updated: 05/1/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
“Illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older—9.4 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug in the past month. If you are one of the millions who dealt with addiction and you chose to pursue rehabilitation, good for you!
Seeking, participating in, and completing drug and alcohol rehabilitation is a huge accomplishment and one that deserves a lot of praise. But, the journey of sobriety doesn’t end when rehabilitation treatment is completed. It is a life-long endeavor and trying to reestablish your life with a focus other than substance abuse comes with a lot of stress.
Understandably, for some recovering addicts, family isn’t a support. Often families fail to weather the difficulties of addiction or are themselves responsible for playing a large role in the initial addiction.
Firstly, don’t assume that a broken family needs to stay broken. Second, think of family not as a group of blood relatives, but, instead, as the intentional family you have surrounded yourself with. Your “family” may be your next door neighbor, a fellow volunteer, a partner, and a cousin. Define family for yourself.
Don’t assume that your family, regardless of their makeup, knows what you need. When you need additional support, or any support, be vocal. Let people know that you are working the best you are able, but you need help. The people who care about you want to help you maintain your sobriety.
Support groups are an obvious source of support; it’s in their title. When looking for a support group, start with the facility where you received treatment. They may have a group that former patients can attend or resources that can connect you with other options.
Next, widen the net. Check with community centers, local hospitals, places of worship. Do internet searches. Ask other people in recovery.
Once you have gotten together list of options, start attending each of them. No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. The same is true of groups. Once you go, you aren’t obligated to go back. Find what works for you; it may be a single group or a combination of them. You may need one core group and a couple of others when you are triggered very badly.
Online Support Groups
If the idea of meeting a lot of strangers or of socializing causes you anxiety, you may not benefit from in-person support groups. You should try to work up to them, but a good starting point may be online. As with anything else, you can find a number of support groups that are run entirely via the internet.
These websites often include message boards, links to news stories, tips for remaining sober, discussions about health and fitness, discussions about the role the arts can play in recovery, humor, and discussions about parenting and interpersonal communication. Because they have thousands of active members, these groups can allow you to connect with information and people you would never have found otherwise.
If you aren’t immediately ready to jump into conversations, take your time and visit the online groups to read what others have to say and what help is offered up. You may find yourself feeling more connected to the community and that may be enough to get you involved.
What you need to support you in sobriety will be unique to you and your addiction. Be sure to look for support and to engage with it when you find it.