Many of us in recovery know that when we leave our treatment center, our recovery work is far from over. We’ll still have intense inner healing work to do. We still have to revisit our childhoods and retrieve suppressed memories. We have to reprogram our subconscious minds and confront the deeply rooted fears that are still driving us and impacting our lives in negative ways. We’ll have to continuously resist temptation, staying away from things that threaten our sobriety and learning how to withstand addictive urges and compulsions. We’ll have to work to strengthen our willpower and resilience. We’ll have to heal the wounds that tell us we’re not good enough. We’ll have to learn to love and accept ourselves unconditionally. All of this work is hard to do alone. We can benefit tremendously from having a supportive community beside us. When we’re surrounded by people who empathize and can relate to us and our stories, we feel strengthened and empowered to continue fighting for our recovery. When we have people in our corner who believe in us, we believe in ourselves that much more. We have renewed hope and faith in ourselves.
For all of these reasons, it’s so important for us to stay connected to our recovery community. We might be tempted to fall back into patterns of isolating ourselves. We want to retreat back into our own worlds, sometimes because we’re overwhelmed with all of the different emotions arising in recovery. We feel at turns elated with our progress and disappointed in ourselves for how long it took us to get here, how much time we feel we’ve wasted, how much pain we’ve caused ourselves and others all these years when we could have been living peacefully and happily. We feel excited for what’s to come and at the same time, anxious and afraid. We’re afraid we’ll relapse. We’re afraid we’re not actually strong enough to recover after all. We’re afraid we don’t have the inner resources, the strength and the motivation to make our goals a reality for ourselves. All of this fear, all of the sadness and disappointment we feel for the lives we’ve lived, can cause us to isolate ourselves. We distance ourselves from the people who want to be there for us and support us. Isolating ourselves can be dangerous. It can make us more vulnerable to our depression and anxiety returning. It can create an environment conducive to even worse episodes of our mental health issues – an environment of silence, shame and secrecy, where we don’t let anyone in, we don’t let anyone give us love and support, and we’re tempted to deny and bury our issues in an attempt to just move on, hurry up and be well. Staying connected with our recovery community can help us offset all of these difficulties.
The recovery community we’ve created for ourselves is like the team we build for ourselves, people that are on our side, helping us to stay true to our recovery. This community might include other recovering addicts we met while in treatment or in our support groups. It might include our sponsors and recovery coaches. It might include our therapists, spiritual guides and mentors. It might also include loved ones, who we might or might not have allowed to support us before our recovery. We create a team of people who have our best interests at heart, who are fully supportive of our sobriety and who don’t enable our addictive patterns or threaten our sobriety in any way. People that fall into these other categories aren’t good candidates because they themselves are often still grappling with their own addictions and mental health issues, and they can’t provide the support we need. We want people who can help us stay committed to our work, aligned with our goals, and steadfast in our dedication to getting well.
We can lean on this community any time we feel ourselves faltering, any time we feel temptation coming on, any time we’re feeling weak in the face of an addictive urge. We can lean on them to help us talk through our difficult emotions, our fears and anxieties, our self-doubt and insecurity, our negativity and pessimism, and our feelings of hopelessness. They can help us stay the course when we feel ourselves getting off track. They can help ease our worries and remind us that all of these feelings are normal and common in recovery. We feel soothed and calmed by their reassurance and validation. We feel less alone. We feel supported by their love and acceptance. We’re reminded that we aren’t actually alone in our struggles. We’re reminded that we don’t have to feel isolated anymore. We have other people who can relate to our stories, who themselves have lived their own similar stories of addiction and recovery. We can feel uplifted and heartened by their stories of success and perseverance. We can be inspired to keep going, just as they have.
Staying connected to this community benefits the other members too. Sometimes in recovery, we forget how much we have to offer, teach and give others. We have stories that can motivate, uplift and inspire. We have experiences that can provide important life lessons and that are full of valuable wisdom. We have our many years of growth and transformation to offer as a meaningful example that change is possible. We have our many gifts to offer as resources. We have our own journey and our evolution to provide inspiration to fellow recovering addicts, to show them just how beautiful recovery can actually be.
Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We understand the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and are here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.