Going through recovery alone is an extremely difficult process, which is why a sober support system is so necessary and important for success.
In anything that you do in life, it is always a great feeling to know that someone is behind you – offering support and cheering you on, isn’t it? So, when it comes to doing something as difficult and life-changing as getting sober and entering recovery, having a support system is crucial.
But, how does one obtain one of these all-important systems? After all, they surely don’t just appear. And, really – what makes them so important when it comes to getting sober?
We’ve decided to take some time and explore this important part of living newly sober.
What Is a Sober Support System?
A sober support system is a team of individuals who are educated and knowledgeable about your situation and have committed to supporting you through your triumphs and your trials.
While support can be comprised of nearly anyone in your life who meets these qualifications, these systems typically include:
- Family members
- Addiction specialists
- Support groups, and others
And, Why Is It So Important?
After completing treatment and re-starting your life as a newly sober individual, you will encounter many struggles and challenges. Reintegrating back into society is hard – and relapse is always just a moment away.
Learning daily living tasks, finding – and keeping – employment, taking responsibility for your actions, avoiding old habits and meeting new friends are all things that you have to do. And, to be quite honest, it is all very stressful.
Have you ever struggled with something on your own and thought to yourself, this would be so much easier if I had someone on my side? Well, in a supportive environment, you have an entire team on your side.
Because you have likely spent so much time breaking relationships due to your addiction and surrounding yourself with negative influences, once you are sober, you may find it hard to find someone to be there for you.
The last thing you want to do is go through this stressful integration alone. Or worse – with your old friends.
Having a sober support system means that you have worked before it is needed to put a team in place for when those stressful, vulnerable moments arise. And, they will arise. You need to be ready.
Ok, Since I Need a Sober Support System, How Do I Build One?
A great way to build a sober support system is to choose to live in a sober living home after treatment. You are surrounded by people just like you – all seeking the same thing. Bonds are often formed here that last a lifetime.
You can also build one by talking with your counselor or therapist. Work with family members and other important individuals in your life to make sure everyone fully understands what you are going through and how to support you properly.
1. Make New Friends
Whether we like to admit it or not, we need friends. At least one friend. We need people in our life. But, as we enter recovery, we have to realize that the friends we had aren’t going to be on the same path we are on today. So, it is time to make new ones.
These sober friends will help provide you with emotional support when you need it, as well as provide you with someone to talk to, someone to seek advice from, and so on.
Sober friends also allow you to be social and have some fun – without drugs and alcohol. And, since boredom can be a trigger, this is super important.
2. Where to Find Them
Ok, so you know you need new friends – but where do you find them? You obviously cannot find them where you used to hang out. So, instead, focus on things such as:
- Support groups
- Coffee shops
- 12-step meetings
- Those you were in treatment with
- Those from your sober living facility
Of course, you can always join in on sober social activities, Meetups, or volunteering.
You don’t have to have a ton of new friends. In fact, you don’t even need a handful. As long as you have a friend or two that you can relate to – and who can relate to you and your sober life – then that is all you need.
3. Let Go of Your Old Friends Who Are Using
As you’ve learned in treatment, you absolutely cannot keep your old friends who are still using. This is an ultimate trigger and a great way to find yourself stuck in old patterns with old habits. Avoid them.
It doesn’t mean you can never see these individuals again. But, in the early part of your recovery, you are very vulnerable and it is highly advised to avoid any and all situations involving your old friends.
4. Actually, Use Your Sober Support System
It is one thing to have a sober support system in place. It is another to actually use it. We try so hard to act like we are tough. We got through treatment – we think we don’t need any more help. If this is how you are thinking, you need to change your thoughts – now!
A support system will do you no good unless you use it. Pretending to be ok, pretending to act as if you are easily sober and don’t need anyone’s help is ridiculous. You have a team that is ready to be there for you whenever you need them.
They are ready to do what it takes to see that you remain on your healthy, sober path.
Don’t fool yourself, every single one of us is vulnerable. We each have weak moments. However, having that someone that we can lean on when things get tough can mean the difference between a relapse and a successful recovery.
Don’t face recovery without having a support system. And, just as you need people there for you, you can be there for someone else.
Believe it or not, this makes you stronger, too. Be the type of support for others that you’d like for yourself. Start building your sober support system today.