Recovery from addiction can be difficult. We may need to distance ourselves from those who enable our addictive behaviors. Due to this separation, we might feel alone during a time where we may need the support of others the most. When you are in recovery, you can find a new sense of community among your peers. Your peers can help you fulfill your needs of belonging and teach you healthy ways of building new relationships. Your peers can also teach you new ways of having fun without engaging in addictive behaviors. Finding a new “tribe” in recovery can help you feel less alone and less isolated. Remember that you are not alone. You now belong to the greater community of all those in recovery, where a helping hand is always nearby!
Replacing Unhealthy Relationships with Healthy Ones
Much of the recovery process involves replacing old, unhealthy behaviors with new, healthy ones. Relationships are also important to our recovery, and we may need to seek building healthy relationships. Healthy relationships can give us the support and understanding that we need while going through the emotional process of recovery and healing. One way to start building healthy relationships is by looking to your peers in recovery. Your peers are also making changes in their lives and may have similar goals in recovery. Finding a common ground or similar interests is one of the fundamental steps to building any relationship. Peers in recovery already share many things, such as common backgrounds, similar struggles, and comparable goals for wellness.
Recovery treatment programs and sober living homes foster a sense of community by bringing people together with the common goals of making their lives better and changing their lifestyle habits. The common bond of those in recovery gives us a sense of belonging and fulfills our need to find people from a familiar “tribe.” We share stories, express emotions, and help one another with our goals. Community is one of the pillars of many recovery programs. By supporting one another, peers build their own sense of community to ease the feelings of isolation and loneliness that can accompany recovery from addiction. Peers in the same recovery program help to hold one another accountable toward achieving common goals.
We may feel bad that we have to “replace” some of our friends. Some people have been in our lives for many years and will forever be a part of our stories. Unfortunately, sometimes our closest friends do not respect our desire for change and may enable us to continue our addictive habits. Change can be difficult for anyone, and our friends may have a tough time seeing us change, even when we change for the better. They may also be struggling with their own addictions and might fear that they are losing a “partner-in-crime.” They may also enable your behaviors to maintain their own sense of belonging. When you notice that your friendships are not helping you change to build a better life, you may need to walk away from them. While saying good-bye and letting go of these people may be difficult, your fellow peers in recovery may have felt the same sense of loss. Your peers might be able to relate to the pain of losing friendships that you have built over the course of a lifetime. During recovery, you are not alone and you have the chance to rebuild a sense of community with others, who will support you in your goals.
Defining a Recovery Community
A community can be defined as a group of people sharing common interests that live within the same area. In recovery, our definition of a community may extend outward beyond a specific place or region. Often, those in recovery consider themselves to be part of a larger network of all others in recovery. We may find people in our community or “tribe” on online recovery groups or in our support groups, like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. Most recovery support groups consider themselves to be a part of a larger group of individuals attending groups across the nation. We may also meet community members during stays at long-term treatment homes. Community in recovery can consist of a sense of being part of a larger group within the entire country or being part of a smaller group of supportive individuals within your hometown. Remember that there are many others out there with similar struggles and challenges as you who can help you find the resources and the support that you need to continue with your recovery.
One of the most difficult aspects of growth and change is realizing that we may need to let go of some unhealthy relationships. Sometimes, these relationships keep us stagnant and prevent us from achieving our life goals. We may feel lost or alone when beginning recovery, as we may be cutting ties with people we have known for years. Long-term treatment programs and sober living homes can help you foster a sense of community during your recovery. Many programs emphasize the feeling of community among all those in recovery. You are not alone in your recovery and others are willing to help you with the process. At Camelback Recovery, we have a structured home environment with individuals learning to cope with similar issues as you. Through our common goals, we cultivate a sense of community among the peers within our home. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 for more information!