The Benefits Of Addicts Helping Other Addicts
Medically reviewed byIsaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC
March 4, 2019
Depending on where you are on your journey, whether you are seeking support or looking to offer it, there are many reasons why meeting others in recovery may benefit your recovery process.
One of the most beneficial parts of entering a rehab facility for addiction is being able to connect with other people who are facing the same struggles that you are. Talking to others that have fallen victim to substance abuse or addiction may help you to realize that you are not alone. For some people, this kind of social support may be more crucial than any other kind on the road to recovery.
How To Make These Connections
There are many ways to connect with others who are struggling with addiction, or who have overcome it. If you are solid within your recovery, you can volunteer your time to others who are struggling. If you have just recently decided to seek treatment for your addiction, you can offer your support to others entering treatment as well, and even meet people who you may stay connected to after treatment ends.
Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and a variety of other support groups were created so that people with similar struggles could connect and help each other. These meetings have been an integral part of many people’s success, and have also provided them with a great network of people that have helped all throughout their recovery.
Connecting With Others Is Good For Your Mental Health
Staying connected and engaged with people can be extremely good for your mental health. It can, at times, be even more beneficial if you are connecting with other people that share stories and struggles that are similar to yours. Many people who have become victims of drug and alcohol addiction also suffer from depression or other mental health disorders. Though a good treatment program should work towards addressing these concerns, it is always good to have a support system in place should you begin to struggle with them again.
You may find comfort and hope in chatting with others going through the same thing. Feeling understood, by discussing how you are feeling without feeling judged, can really help your recovery. If you begin to struggle with a mental health concern, talking to friends, in conjunction to a good therapy program can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of turning to drugs or alcohol to manage your symptoms.
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It May Help Prevent Relapse
Anyone in recovery faces a risk of relapsing, this risk is especially high in the transitional time when a person leaves rehab and enters back into their normal life. Leaving the comfort, structure, and support of rehab can be extremely intimidating, and some people find themselves relapsing because of this challenge.
Seeking out others that are also struggling to get back into their everyday lives, or individuals that have successfully made this transition after rehab, can help to fend off relapse. Instead of falling prey to relapse, you can reach out to each other and gather a group to discuss what you are going through, while encouraging each other to stay on the right track.
It is okay and completely normal to have the urge to relapse, however, it is what you do to prevent it from happening that is really important. Having a support system of people that are successfully recovering from addiction may set an example and give you something to strive for, as well as giving you someone to talk to when times are tough.
A Reminder Of The Past
Many people in recovery may find themselves facing days when they struggle to remember why their life spent under substance abuse or addiction was all that bad. As the days of addiction, and the damage caused by it begin to fade within your memory, support systems are more important than ever. Reaching out to a group of people that can remind you of both where you came from and how much progress you made, can help you to stay on a clean and successful path.
It Can Curb Boredom
After rehab, it is important to keep a somewhat busy schedule. Those who sit idle without having something to occupy their mind and grant them with a sense of satisfaction may have a hard time keeping their thoughts away from their addiction. Boredom may also lead a person to experience a sense of loneliness or isolation that may push them towards relapse, as they seek to displace these negative feelings.
If you’re feeling bored, call the individuals you’ve connected with during rehab, therapy sessions, or support groups, who understand the necessity in staying busy. Don’t feel like a bother, remember, you’re likely providing them with a welcome distraction by helping them to stay busy as well. You could even start a weekly sports team or a book club with these individuals, so that you can check in with each other, and provide a positive and healthy distraction.
New Friends May Come In Handy
A lot of people in recovery may find themselves with less friends after they achieve sobriety. This is due to the fact that a lot of your friends may have shared the same bad habits and damaging behaviors that you did. These kinds of people may continue down the path of substance abuse and addiction, even if you choose to stay clean. Keeping them in your life can be too difficult, and can even become dangerous as it threatens your sobriety by exposing you to peer pressure and a variety of triggers.
Making new friends, whether it be in treatment or afterward, can help you in maintaining your sobriety. As you continue to turn your life around, surrounding yourself with people that have the same goals will positively impact your own success and keep you inspired. These people can help to remind you of the importance of staying sober, and can keep you accountable and inspired during the times you may struggle.
Having Someone To Listen
Being able to talk to someone that actually understands what you are going through can be very important. While you may have friends and family offering you their support, they may not understand your situation and struggles the way that a person going through it will.
You may feel more comfortable talking to your peers than talking to your counselor or your doctors. While we do strongly recommend that you continue to involve a medical or addiction specialist in your treatment and aftercare, as there is no substitution for their expert training, having this additional outlet may help to further encourage you on your journey. While professionals do a great deal to help you successfully recover, even they understand how important it is to connect with others that have faced addiction.
While your stories and paths may vary, the foundation of why you are seeking treatment is caused by the same desire—to obtain sobriety, wellness, and a more balanced life. Your peers, including those currently within treatment, and those that have already found sobriety, will be able to understand and support you on a different level than most other people.
Seeking treatment can be a trying time. Whether you are seeking help by attending meetings, group therapy sessions, or by entering rehab, there may yet be negative influences that you will face in your quest towards sobriety, and during the time after as you take steps to maintain it.
Connecting with people who are on similar paths will encourage you to reach for your own triumphs. Having positive influences to turn to while you face temptation, negativity, and doubts is vastly beneficial to your success, both within treatment and throughout other important aspects of your life.
Becoming A Leader
As you make your way through recovery, you may find interest in becoming a sponsor or peer mentor to others who are just beginning their journey. This can positively impact you as well, as you will have an opportunity to find purpose, satisfaction, meaning, and a greater sense of responsibility. Remembering your own journey and using it to help those who need it now, will help to keep you on a successful path, while assisting them in beginning their journey on the right foot.
Find Support Now
Being a victim of addiction and connecting with those who have also struggled with the devastating effects of drugs or alcohol can be an integral part of the recovery process. Understanding that you are not alone in your journey and taking advantage of that fact is a huge step in the right direction.
Rehabcenter.net was created to be a means of support for those who are suffering from addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with drugs or alcohol, you’ve come to the right place. We can help you to find the path that is right for you, and lead you down the road to recovery. Contact us today.