How To Avoid A Relapse: Secret #3 Develop A Positive Support Network
Published On: May 24, 202212 min read
If you’re in your first year of sobriety, it’s really easy to relapse. This is why you need a positive support network. This is a group of people in a shared safe place where you can connect with them. You can get a sponsor to help you with that or you can stay connected to people who are also in recovery. There are a lot of ways to build a positive support network. Join Tim Westbrook as he shares some secrets to avoiding relapse.
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How To Avoid A Relapse: Secret #3 Develop A Positive Support Network
My team and I, over the course of many years, have helped thousands of people to stop their suffering and continue on their path to recovery. Let’s get clear on one thing. We believe that a relapse or a slip is not a part of recovery and that’s exactly why this show is dedicated to you or any loved one you know in their first year of striving to live a clean and sober life. The purpose of this show is to come clean with all of the misinformation that’s out there about recovery from addiction, treatment, mental illness, and the strategies to stay sober in general.
If you believe you’re in the right place or if you know someone who is struggling with addiction, it’s my privilege to share this episode with you. I have no idea if you and I have ever met, but what I do know is that AA saved my life. I also know that to find long-term recovery and live happy, joyous and free, it is not just about stopping your drinking, drugging, gambling, sexual indiscretions or any other addiction you may have struggled with or suffered from. At Camelback Recovery, we believe that sobriety can and should be fun.
Any recovery process is not easy. It is challenging. It can sometimes be annoying and for most of us, it is often difficult to stay on the path, but here’s the good news. The self-awareness you gained from reading this blog, especially in your first year of recovery, will help you make better choices that will ultimately lead you to a kick-ass sober life. Visit CamelbackRecovery.com to learn more about our treatment strategies for alcoholism, drug addiction or mental illness. We even offer recovery coaching so that you can enjoy the freedom and happiness you’ve always searched for.
Welcome to the 74th episode of this show. This show is devoted to people in their first year of sobriety. Although your first year in sobriety is central to our discussions, you and I will also explore other fascinating and important topics such as health and fitness, self-care, food nutrition, breathwork, and biohacking. All of these things are your gateway to living a kick-ass sober life, which is our mantra at Camelback Recovery.
In this episode, you’ll learn about the third secret, which I believe is critical to avoiding a relapse. You’ll discover what, which is that developing a positive support network is imperative if you want to avoid a slip, along with why it’s so important if you want to avoid that relapse. I will share my experience and how I developed a positive support network. Based on that information, you’ll be able to figure out how it works for you. Lean in and read carefully because this episode could have a significant impact on how you can make it to a year and much closer to live in a kick-ass sober life.
[bctt tweet=”So you don’t slip, call three people per day to stay connected to people who are also in recovery.” via=”no”]
Also, this show is similar to an AA meeting in that everyone here is either clean or sober, struggling, and thinking about getting clean and sober or whatever it may be. On that note, if you learn anything or if you hear anything that resonates with you throughout this episode, please let us know. What you share might resonate with someone else and could possibly save them from a slip or maybe even save their life. Don’t be shy. Be sure to share what resonates with you.
You must develop a positive support network if you want a chance of getting this thing. Remember, if you’re in your first year, the chances that you make it to a year are very slim, like less than 10%. You must surround yourself with people that you want to be like, who have what you want and people that have been down the same path. You’ve never ever gotten clean and sober, which is why you’re reading this episode.
Enlist your friends, family members, addiction, professionals, people in support groups, fitness groups, etc. These are the people who will guide you, support you, love you, give you direction, give you good suggestions, be honest with you, and help provide the accountability community and support necessary to achieve long-term sobriety. Be open and honest with your network. Tell them what you’re doing. Get integrated into a fellowship.
How did I do it? How did I develop my positive support network? I did a couple of things. First, I got a sponsor and I followed his suggestions, which meant I called him every single day. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days. I probably went to 1 or 2 meetings a day for my first couple of years, but as far as my sponsor goes, I went to the same meetings as he went to. I went to the meeting before the meeting. I went to breakfast after the meeting. I can remember it was a Saturday morning at 7:00 AM. I went to that meeting. There are lots of laughter, joy and connection. We would all go out to breakfast after.
That was just a way for me to stay connected to my sponsor and stay connected to other people in the program. I also met with my sponsor on a weekly basis in person. Typically, we did step work and until I was all the way through the steps. I also called three people per day just to stay connected to people in recovery, people in the Twelve-Step program. I showed up to meetings early. I stayed late. I participated while I was at meetings.
Positive Support Network: If you’re in your first year of sobriety, the chances that you make it to a year are slim. You must surround yourself with people that you want to be like or people that have what you want.
I stayed present. I didn’t get up and go to the bathroom three times during the meeting. I was involved. I made announcements. I did service work. I also saw a therapist on a weekly basis. I let everyone know in my network that I am clean and sober. I wasn’t advertising or promoting AA, but I wanted to make sure that people knew what I was doing with my life and them having awareness, which I found to be a positive thing. Me letting other people know was a positive thing. I did lots of service work, whether it was sharing at a meeting, making coffee, chairing a meeting or cleaning up the room after the meeting.
Another friend of mine in AA, who was the chairman of the board of directors of Crossroads, which is a nonprofit here in Arizona, asked me to be on the board of directors. It was a 501(c)3. That was a great service commitment for me. I remember there was a guy named Kyle. He was struggling. He was in the hospital. He got into a major car accident and I brought a meeting to him every single week. He used to be close to my house and then he ended up moving to like 30 minutes away and I would round a bunch of people up and that was my service work. I’d round a bunch of people up and go see him every week.
Even now, here I am. I’m over eleven years sober at the time of this recording. There’s a guy that I sponsored. He’s at The Salvation Army. I go down and I see him on a weekly basis. That’s my way of being of service and staying connected. It keeps me connected to the right people. What did I not do? There are a lot of things that I didn’t do. I can tell you one thing. I’m going to talk about what I didn’t do later.
Avoiding new relationships during early sobriety is something that I would recommend. It’s recommended not to date for your first year. I found that to be really helpful for me. I didn’t date for my first year. What I focused on is I focused on building real human connections with both men and women. I learned how to be vulnerable and honest.
Before I got clean and sober, I did not know how to be vulnerable and honest. I didn’t know how to connect with another person below the surface. It was all very much on the surface. I didn’t know how to have an intimate relationship. I knew nothing about intimacy. I used to think that intimacy meant having sex and that’s not the case.
[bctt tweet=”Do not date in your first year of sobriety. Instead, build real human connections with both men and women.” via=”no”]
Sexual intimacy is a type of intimacy, but it’s not the only type of intimacy. There are four different types of intimacy. There’s a good definition of intimacy that I learned from Joe Polish. Intimacy is a mutual exploration of a shared safe place. Abuse is anything that takes away a safe place and addictions are what we do to make ourselves feel good when we don’t have a safe place.
This definition was shared with him many years ago in the rooms of Sex Addicts Anonymous. I think it’s a great definition, especially for someone in recovery or an addict or an alcoholic in recovery. Intimacy builds over time as you connect with someone. You grow to care about each other and you feel more and more comfortable during your time together.
The first intimate relationship I ever had with another man was with my sponsor and that was a beautiful thing. It’s not sexual intimacy. It’s intimacy. It’s a shared safe place for us to get vulnerable and honest. I learned how to have intimate relationships through the Twelve-Step program. That’s how I learned. Getting to know people below the surface is much more satisfying. If you’re like me, you don’t know how to connect.
For most alcoholics and drug addicts that are in addiction, it’s very much on the surface. Once you learn how to connect, you’ll attract a different type of person into your life. You will attract people that are honest, whom you can trust and have a shared safe place with. You should have that shared safe place with everyone in your positive support network. You’re putting yourself at risk if you’re spending time with anyone you don’t have a shared safe place with.
Your addiction is the solution and the path of least resistance. The path to feel good if you’re getting squirrely is to reach out to your drink or drug of choice. You want to do everything you can to feel safe and not get squirrely. Being around people in your positive support network is a path to avoid that slip and relapse.
Positive Support Network: Don’t go around advertising or promoting AA. Just make sure that people know what you’re doing in life. Spreading awareness and letting the people around you know is a positive thing.
Remember, you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. As you’re becoming a different person, you’re attracting different people into your network. You also want to be selective in who it is you let into your network. You want to spend more time with more people you want to spend time with, people who have that positive influence and are conducive to your recovery and sobriety. Spend more time with people that you can have the mutual exploration of a shared safe place with. These are the things that will set you up to make it to a year without slipping successfully.
Here’s a quick review of the insights you and I both rediscovered in the 74th episode of the show. Developing a positive support network is key to avoiding a relapse. I also went over why it’s so important in this episode. I also shared my experience with how I developed my positive support network. Based on everything you’ve read here, you can figure out how it works for you. Remember, these insights will only work for you if you work them. Please make sure you apply what you’ve learned in this episode because if you do, you’ll be on your way to live in a kick-ass sober life. I think you’ll agree that’s exciting to think about.
Speaking of reviews, before we end this episode, I want you to go to the review section on YouTube, Apple, Spotify and type in one thing that resonated with you. Every comment counts and what you share could resonate with someone else that is struggling and potentially save their life. You will also be asked to rate this episode. I hope I’ve earned five stars from you. Go ahead and share the one thing that resonated with you. It’ll take just three minutes out of your day, but what you share could save someone’s life.
That does it for this episode. I hope that our paths cross again next time for our next episode. This is the show devoted to people in their first year of sobriety. Does it sound like a plan? Do whatever it takes to join me for episode number 75 because we’re going to talk about secret number four, staying in therapy and continuing with your recommended treatment plan. I encourage you to invite a friend, a loved one or a sponsee to read this blog. I can’t wait to connect with you. It will be an insightful episode, so I really want you to join us with your loved one.