Is Your Support System Failing You?

Posted on June 11th, 2015

Social support is a crucial element of both treatment and recovery for addicts. Almost all treatment approaches to addiction recovery include some type of social interaction to support sobriety: anonymous support group meetings, peer group therapy and family therapy, to name just a few. Because we humans are social animals, we need to rely on each other in tough times in order to succeed, and that includes recovery. If you have a support network of friends, family, peers and mentors, are they really supporting you or are they falling down on the job?

Are They There When You Most Need Them?

You can’t expect everyone who supports you in recovery to be on call at all times, which is why you should have several people on whom you can rely and whom you trust. With a good-sized support network, you should be able to find someone who can be with you when you are feeling weak and as if you might relapse. If you ask for help from the same person several times with no response or with a rejection each time, that person is not being a supportive friend.

Do They Listen Without Judging?

A positive supporter will listen to you when you need to talk. Sometimes you just need to get some things out in the open. To talk about what’s bothering you or to open up about your feelings can be a big relief. You need someone to listen who will also not judge you, lecture you about what you’ve done wrong in the past, or try to make you feel worse. A supportive friend just listens and gives advice gently and with compassion.

Do They Encourage Healthy Habits and Activities?

A supportive friend will not drink in front of you or eat junk foods if you are trying your best to make positive choices. Your most supportive friends and family members will try to make those choices right alongside you. They will join you and participate with you in fun, social activities.

Are They Patient and Kind?

You know you have tried the patience of your loved ones simply by being an addict. You caused them to worry. You probably lied to them and maybe even cheated on or stole from them. But don’t fall into the trap of believing that you deserve to be treated badly as some kind of retribution. Real supporters of you and your sobriety will be kind and compassionate. They may lose patience every once in a while, but for the most part they will stay by your side through thick and thin and even through a relapse and second recovery.

Do They Push You to Keep Up With Treatment?

One of the most important things you need to do to prevent relapse after going through rehab is to keep up with regular treatment. When you let treatment lapse, you set yourself up for relapse. A good support network will remind you, encourage you and even push you to maintain your treatment schedule, especially when you start to get lazy.

A good support network is one of your best tools for staying sober and avoiding relapse. If any member of your group claims to be supportive but isn’t really helping you, or is even discouraging you, rethink your relationship. You may need to distance yourself from anyone who isn’t a positive influence. Staying sober for you is a matter of life and death and should be taken seriously by anyone who cares about you.

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